Bonus Round Patient Pages
Encouraging patient/doctor/caregiver communications


Sunday, March 07, 1999: Tenth-Rate Nervous Breakdown

dear sparky,

"'My God, there's absolutely nothing tenth-rate about you, and yet you're up to your neck at this minute in tenth-rate thinking. Not only is the way you're going at your prayer tenth-rate religion, but, whether you know it or not, you're having a tenth-rate nervous breakdown.'"
-- J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

i was re-reading franny and zooey last night and it finally occured to me that that was exactly what i was going through.

a tenth-rate nervous breakdown.

and instead of becoming disgusted with myself (something i'm actually somewhat used to) i started thinking about seymour's fat lady. which made me think of these very letters--i am usually pretty good with the mind-set that i'm only writing to you when in fact i'm writing to many... and it occured to me that in addition to writing to you, i'm writing to seymour's fat lady.

once that occured to me i realized that i didn't know what to say to the fat lady.

but i suppose the fat lady won't mind hearing about my breakdown even if it was tenth-rate.

i just wanted to disappear--not surrender or anything dramatic like that, just disappear. escape all of these problems-the lawsuit, my grandmother's death, the dying of my great-aunt, the fact that i'm still bloated from the steroids, but most all, the sickness and the pain.

and i realized how selfish that was of me--how instead of focusing on how wretched my current situation may or may not be... i should be thinking about seymour's fat lady, who might have it worse off than me.

(the fact that ALL of us are seymour's fat lady is irrelevant--i'm trying to stick with a more literal sense of the "fat lady"...)

i had to pick out my grandmother's coffin yesterday as well... it didn't bother me as much as you may think. i'm actually not that skittish about death--which is probably understandable considering what i've been through, so picking out her coffin meant no more to me than picking out a change of clothing for her.

which is probably why i can handle death so well--to me it's nothing more than a change of clothing. always has been. i've never once cried at a funeral, and i've been to MANY... for some reason i've always believed (as i said previously) that passings, no matter whose passing it is, are meant to be.

i also believe in some kind of afterlife--WHAT kind of afterlife i can't really elaborate on... whether it be heaven, a type of reincarnation, a joining into the "oversoul" or something else my mind can't even comprehend... but i don't believe that death is the end. and i know that wherever grandma is, she's happy... which makes me happy.

but back to my tenth-rate nervous breakdown. i think i've shed it. i might go through a bit of crisis at grandma's actual funeral (i get to be one of the pall-bearers) but for some reason i don't think so... i feel sort-of like franny did at the end of the book. in a few minutes after i finish this letter i'm going to kick off my slippers, shove the books on bed my onto the floor, pull back the covers and go to sleep. and perhaps, like franny, i'll lay there quietly, smiling at the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling.


lots of love,

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