30 Day Challenge: Check it. Day 1.

30-Day-Challenge is all over the place. I abhor reality television and celebrity magazines, but occasionally something will appear on the screen that somehow captivates me. Even if it isn’t captivating. Some of the mental health blogs I follow are posting within it’s borders, but I can’t find a map. Web searches yield challenges of every imaginable topic.

The basics:

  • Cook something new! That WOULD actually be a serious challenge
  • Fitness challenge! Got that one covered in my own personal torture studio every morning, but thanks
  • Cut back on Farmville! I’ve never been to Farmville, unless long drives through Tennessee and Arkansas count
  • Study for exams! Ya think?

The inane:

  • No soda for 30 days! Right, this is America
  • 30 Day Vegan Challenge! Dear God, why? I don’t want to cut trees down, but I don’t want them in my digestive tract
  • Invent 30 challenges in 30 days! Someone, please disconnect her wifi
The arty and cerebral:
  • Write something for 30 days! Oh how I do try
  • 30 Days of inspiring photography! That requires some latent talent & something more sophisticated than my iPhone
  • Compose 30 poems! NO, I can’t, quit challenging me already!

Lots of others – spiritual, philanthropic, therapeutic. Great concepts, but nothing for me.
I’m fighting Borderline and Major and CPTSD and Anxiety disorders all at once, all of a sudden and I can’t even detect the trigger.
I’m trying not to die. I have lots of reasons for that, of course, but they get lost in my mental maelstrom, where Captain Ahab and the Great Whale are still squaring off and my beloved Queequeg is hovering with a harpoon. If it becomes an actual challenge – well, there’s another animal altogether. A narwhal, even. And who doesn’t want a narwhal? (they can be found at: http://www.polarfield.com/blog/tag/narwhal/ if you should find yourself curious)
Probably this actually exists somewhere in a behavioral therapy group, manual, classroom. If it doesn’t, perhaps it should. When you’re both perfectly sane and struggling intensely, your average Tao-ist “calm-the-fuck-down” mantras (this is how it reads to me, its all in the translation, right?), while otherwise perfectly stabilizing, do not always penetrate. For me very little that is designed specifically to help actually does help – I tend to feel worse when confronted with the positivity of others – for some of us we have to find it ourselves, discover it, invent it (buy it).  In my mind, when I encounter other victims of mental illness who can latch onto something and organize the madness or tidy up the terror – I feel kind of left out, left out of something vital. I can only think it’s like being barren, watching your friends raise their families. Why not me?
So I’m challenging me to check myself, check my impulses, check my downward spirals and to just stop long enough to find something magical every day. Something legitimate. Something that forces me to think “Holy shit, now if I wasn’t here I would never have seen this bit of enchantment, this brilliance, this overwhelming generosity of spirit, this aesthetic, this impossible insight, this simple truth, this modest hilarity, this ridiculously obvious FUN!” that I often cannot see through a storm that abates but never leaves.
So, 30 Day Challenge, Day 1, marked with the obvious by, well, I’m not qualified to categorize The Wilde, he doesn’t require it anyway. Although, it would seem more appropriate to be quoting Melville, the closest he’ll ever come to Wilde is Morrissey’s “Billy Budd”. That will do, nonetheless.

In all seriousness



  1. i fucking love this blog.

  2. Sharon says:

    I LOVE this quote. This is just what is needed to live each day, not take things for granted –

    “Holy shit, now if I wasn’t here I would never have seen this bit of enchantment, this brilliance, this overwhelming generosity of spirit, this aesthetic, this impossible insight, this simple truth, this modest hilarity, this ridiculously obvious FUN!”

  3. Hello Madame MagicallyMad,
    You subscribed to my blog a few days back (today?) and I wanted to come by and say thanks. Little did I know I would be drawn into your words and would sit with you for a while this evening.
    This post prompted me to comment because I found myself in the exact same position a couple of weeks ago and I created a thirty day challenge that spoke to me rather than weeding through all the others out there. I entitled mine a Body & Soul Renewal challenge. I haven`t been very good at posting daily, but I am trying and I guess that is all that matters.
    I see a lot of myself in your angst and pain, I can empathize with a lot that you are feeling.
    Anyway, just wanted to say that you have a great and valid point of view and I hope that you come out on the up side of this. I have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I am told it is there!
    xo – S.

    • Hello S,
      Thanks so much for your comments! Am with you on the trouble seeing the light. i am so deep down right now I’m trying to determine if I have enough meds tonight to do the job or if I need one more tricyclic refill & a benzo switch to temazepam. A hotel for the weekend, a bottle of limoncello & those 2 meds & I don’t have to listen to my spouse telling me I’m abandoning my kids if I go into the hospital. As if he’d be saying that no an agonized cancer patient. And living with someone like that is enough to drive one right off a bridge.

      Sorry, I’m sure that wasn’t what you were looking for. Hopefully hospital tomorrow night.

      I can take my laptop to McLean so can follow your blog from there. Thanks again, I also hope you find peace. Peace is probably something different for everyone. But if you find it, please share.

      Hugs XOXO
      Just MAD

  4. I wasn`t looking for anything in particular, so your reply was right on the mark! In the post above you said that you tend to feel worse when presented with other`s positivity. You are not alone in this. I feel exactly the same about some of the blogs I follow. I look at their life and their writing and it highlights what I am missing in mine. Worse is when I realize that one of them has `come out the other side` in their struggle with depression, anxiety and body image issues. Please don`t misinterpret me, I am happy for them, really and in no way do I ever want someone to wallow in depression a second longer than is necessary. It`s just, like you, I ask `Why me?` Why am I so trapped in this dark place when so many others find the way out? My psych has insinuated that I am trapped because I think this is the way it is, all that I deserve because I am not meant to be happy, life is not meant to be happy. I have had such a hailstorm of shit fall on my head lately and I`d give anything to stop the torrent and make everything better.

    I missed where you talked about going into the hospital, could you tell me more about it? It sounds like you have a husband that is very much like my boyfriend of four years. I would l ike to hear more about that too if you have the time. Even if you just point me in the right direction on your blog, I would be happy to read posts instead of making you type it all again if you already have. I think one of the most challenging parts, well beyond the overwhelming desire to do nothing at all, is that anyone who hasn`t suffered from depression doesn`t understand the soul sucking and paralysing overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and futility. Like our significant others.

    One thing, don`t let anyone tell you that you are abandoning your children by trying to get better. You aren`t. The best and healthiest thing you can do for your children is to get you psychological issues dealt with so you can be there for them. Not that you aren`t now, but a couple of days or weeks away are nothing compared to losing a parent to suicide or watching your parents be depressed but not understanding what is wrong. You are so strong to have recognized and took steps to remedy your mood disorders. Really. Not suffering in silence is a really brave thing to do. You are showing your children that mental health is important and nothing to be ashamed of. Getting treatment is not something you should feel bad about, damn him for planting that seed of guilt. Whatever you do don`t let it germinate. Don`t let that seed become a full frown guilt tree.

    You are strong, you are wise. You just need a little help right now, you are one of thousands that will access mental health help, in fact I think that more than 50% of the population could use intensive psychological help whether they get it or not is a decision they have to make, You are making the right one in going to the hospital. And your husband and children will thank you for having the courage to go and for giving them back the you that is bound and blindfolded by depression.

    I hope this note finds you well, and don`t hesitate to send me an email if you would like to chat privately. gettingtheremyway@hotmail.com
    xo – S.

    • Thanks SOOOO much S, even within the mental-health community (our side of it), there are SOOOOO many differences in the way people think – you used the word “wise” & I think that nails it. Some of us are very educated about our issues & conditions & I think that’s why group never worked for me. Now if you, me & a bunch of like-minded sufferers could have group weekly, I bet we’d work it out & help each other, instead of looking at the woman next to you when she’s speaking & thinking to yourself (at least me) “What the F am I doing here with these people? Really??? You’ve been thinking for days about the “shell exercise” we’re going to do today? How about just sort out our fucking problems? Like you, nothing against the way other people cope or the nuances in our conditions, I just have trouble Ugh. Am at the office (better, thank you) but I will respond in more detail tonight, & yeah, if you have questions re hospital (I do not as yet have a hospital post, but I may as well write one, I had planned to) so just shoot me your q’s & I’ll give you the down low & strategies (there is MUCH strategizing to be done, even in Boston where we have probably overall the best collection of facilities anywhere – I try to go to McLean – I think it was the original master-facility (Sylvia Plath & lots of other famous historical folk are alums, although now the sexy thing to do is Mayo, except a player from the Miami Dolphins – or is it Dallas? – has BPD and went to McLean last year for help, so apparently it’s staid reputation doesn’t scare everyone off. Probably bc it’s still the best) – I can help research where you are & what is available to you if you need to go in, doing it without knowing how to go about it can be dangerous, some places can make you worse, if you can imagine), so do let me know of any specific q’s…

      OK, more later (& researching is part of my job, so it’s easy & second nature for me, so if I can help, let me 🙂

      Will save your e-m, if you’re on FB, I am Jill Gallagher, from Jamaica Plain MA (if you had to do a more detailed search) & my profile pic is one of my Gravatar images – purple blankets, a baby sleeping, a cat poised in argument with my toddler, toddlers arm forcing my copy of the Jonestown documentary onto the cat. So cat, baby, the Reverend Jones in his sun glasses. It’s my favorite picture ever. My facebook page is fairly light, although my friends know I’m a bit, off, & I love absurdity & art, so it can be a fun way to get to know each other if you’re game 🙂

      XOXOXOXOXO, hope you’re day is tempered by steel umbrella, but with polka dots & whatever details you find aesthetically pleasing – to keep the damned hailstorm from penetrating.

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