Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Super Bowl Memory (or Two)

It's funny the way this illness will grant you some odd remembrances and transform otherwise ordinary occurrences by filtering them through the lens of your condition. For example, I remember one Sunday watching a football game on the television in my room and now only remember the final play, in which the Atlanta Falcons kicked a field goal to defeat the Minnesota Vikings. I remember vividly the green artificial turf and the deep purple of the end zone. I must have watched the entire game but remembered only ten or twenty seconds of it after it concluded. The shock treatments have a way of scrambling your short term memory and even raiding your past, too.

When I think about Super Bowl Sunday, I mostly remember a party I went to directly after an extended three-month hospitalization. As I think back on it, I must not have been discharged for more than a week, at most. My best friend in high school was raised in an extremely right-wing Christian family and attended the Church of God. He invited me along, I think not knowing in particular what had recently come before. In his mind, I had simply disappeared from school for three months for some undisclosed reason. The worst depressive episode of my life was what had come before and I was still reeling from the impact of too many sedating medications combined with several sessions of electro-convulsive therapy. I was unsteady and largely uncommunicative, but even in my impaired state of mind I wished for company.

As I was a senior in high school at the time, everyone else at the gathering was in their teens. I sat at the back, shyly, not making conversation. An elder in the church was holding the party in his den, so at halftime instead of watching the entertainment the game was switched off and we were treated to a VHS video starring prominent NFL players eager to profess their unyielding faith in Christ. It made me a tad uncomfortable, since the Methodism of my childhood was a subtle affair, one that certainly didn't make any attempt to win converts by direct witness. In an aside that might be interesting to some readers, my friend later drifted away from conservative Christianity and the Republican party into a kind of netherworld of apathy that is the truest sign of the true believer gone sour.

As I have mentioned before, the immediate aftermath of shock treatments produces convoluted recollections and so I don't remember much else, aside from the fact that I felt out of place and wasn't sad when the game came to a conclusion. Interestingly enough, as I think about it, I also have a Super Bowl Memory from a mere two years ago that is still too fresh for me to wish to revist in much detail right now. At that point, I was in a state of mild mania, but managed nonetheless to luck into winning nearly $100 via a betting game. It was money I needed, since I was living off of disability payments by that point. As I recall, I used it to pay for groceries and co-pays to my therapist. Both of these instances come from places of pain and it is in the spirit of forgetting that I even mention them at all.


Gail said...

Good phrase - "the spirit of forgetting". I felt badly reading your memories so intertwined with your illness. I felt scared when you wrote of ECT. More importantly though, your diligent commitment to wellness is what I want to remember and applaud.

As a side note - I watched my nephew make the stuffing for "stuffed clams". - his Dad's time tested recipe - A memory and tradition at their house for Super Bowl Sunday. So, in honor of his Dad, he wanted to be sure the stuffed clams were made. After Kel died and I connected the timing to Super Bowl the stuffed clams were the first thing I thought about.

I wish you memories Kevin that don't require the 'spirit of forgetting', but rather the 'spirit of desired memory'.

Love Gail

PENolan said...

That "spirit of forgetting" idea is a good concept. I must have been doing that with the narcissist stuff - but the hard part is people will google it and now I'm getting to be a dang poster child for narcissistic supply sources. I wish they'd stick to Bokonism and Panties.

You're doing great, CK. Did you see that female who didn't call you all week like she said she would? She better have been nice or I'll jump into the bird shit mobile, drive to DC and kick her butt. You've got a bloggy big sister now, buddy, whether you want one or not. I might even convince Gail to come along. She can knock people on the head with her cane.

Comrade Kevin said...

PE Nolan,

The female did not show up at meeting today, regrettably. Nor did she call me or e-mail me.

I am disappointed.

Thanks for asking! I look forward to your visit with Gail in tow. :-)

PENolan said...

Someone - maybe Joni Mitchell - once said that life is a series of anticipation and disappointment. Seems accurate.

You, Me and Gail loose in DC? They'd have to change the name to Foggy Brains since I'm pretty sure our Bottoms are okay.

Gail said...

Oh yes - I am SO there. And, if I have my rollator with it's horn, well, watch out!! I can clear a sidewalk in five minutes.

Love Gail