Post-Recovery


Good morning, peeps—how are you all doing today?  With your depression, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar—how are you all doing?  I’m doing fine, thank you, after having recovered from all those wrong-headed labels they stuck on me.

It’s a gray, wet morning here in Upstate New York—we never can decide if we’re Upstate New York or Central New York.  Technically, we’re in the exact center of New York State—we’re the belly button—but we’re often called Upstate.  I think that is how others see us:  “Downstate” is New York City; “Upstate” is everything else.

So what are you all, in your disordered states of mind, planning for today?  Are you going to hang out with all the other “psychiatric patients?”  Damn, I remember all the years I spent doing that—being herded around by psych workers (who were intellectually and socially my inferior but financially my superior) to activities that were supposed to be good for us.  Ugh! I am so glad to be free of that system.

This morning I’m going to take paratransit (Call-a-Bus) with my aide to do the grocery shopping.  Call-a-Bus used to be hellishly bad but I got them investigated by the Federal Transit Administration so now they work pretty well.  I got the manager put under supervision, and have forced out the worst drivers.  (After one really bad weekend, I filed thirteen complaints against a single driver.  She now works in the office.)  You have to clean up your corner of the world.

My aide, the splendid Amelia, has been with me for a year and a half.  I refused to accept the inferior workers the system was sending me and instead found a local program that lets me hire the person I want.  You have to do the hard work and research to get what you want.  There was also a large amount of the grace of God involved in placing Amelia within my reach.  You have to keep your account with God in a good balance if you want his help.

Here’s something I’ve never understood:  why do people think God should take care of them when they don’t do anything to take care of God?  According to the Holy Bible, he said, “I will be your God and you shall be my people.”  That’s an awesome statement that gives me chills right down to my tippy toes.

There was a woman whose grandson died in a motorcycle accident.  She blamed God.  But here’s the thing—neither she nor her grandson ever read the Holy Bible, prayed, or did anything to serve God.  Nevertheless, they expected God to serve them.  It doesn’t work that way, peeps.  If you don’t work for God then God doesn’t work for you.  What kind of father would keep taking care of a kid who doesn’t follow the rules, doesn’t work, is disrespectful and just plain not nice?  None.

But here’s the good news:  the Lord will always take you back.  The door is never, ever permanently closed.  Any time you want to get straight with the Lord, he will welcome you back with open arms.  According to the Holy Koran, you’re only in serious doo-doo if you return to the Lord and then fall away again.  And did you know that Hindus call Brahman “Lord,” Jews call Yahweh “Lord,” Christians call God “Lord,” and Muslims call Allah “Lord?”  There is one Lord, appearing to different cultures at different times in different places as different expressions of Divinity.

After Haiti was devastated by the hurricane in 2010, a woman told me that it was because they were devil-worshippers.  (Fact is, 80% of Haitians are Roman Catholic.  Ignorance is appalling.)  I noted that the world is large, and asked her what she thought happens to all those millions of people who are not Christian.  She replied that they go to hell.  Wow.  That kind of narrow-mindedness makes my stomach hurt.

So, it’s time to get up, put the coffee on and get this day started.  I used to be a psychiatric patient.  Now I am a child of God.

It’s pretty cool.

P.S.  Living without the Lord is like having sex without a condom:  you can do it but you’ll have no protection from the consequences.

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About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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