Posted by: Harold Knight | 10/01/2009

Lemony Snicket has nothing on my series of unfortunate events

I WRITE IN THE MORNING. So what am I doing here at 10:30 PM?
I couldn’t NOT write this if the sky was falling!

Lemony Snicket thinks he has something on me?

Lemony Snicket thinks he has something on me?

It started yesterday when I forgot to do something I’d promised and left a good friend in the lurch (I’ll blame it on Mr. Justice Thomas who was giving a speech in the auditorium in the building where my office is—a speech I, for one, was glad to miss—and security is always ridiculously tight for one of those speakers, and we have to get out of our offices). Then this morning I got up at 5:25 to write, and the computer was installing the new version of my virus protection because the old one expired today, and I clicked something wrong and it took 45 minutes instead of 20 minutes, and the whole time I was getting madder ‘n hops (check etymology), and finally, by the time it was finished, the urge to write was the urge to kill. And then my usual early morning phone calls started—I guess I haven’t mentioned that, to screw up TLE and bipolar disorder, I’m a recovering alcoholic (sober 23 years, thank you), so these guys call me every morning, and I have to talk to them. And this morning I wanted them to leave me alone.

This and that happened, and I was going out to run some errands and go to my therapist appointment, and I checked the email and there was a message from a good friend that I misread and didn’t take the time to check out what she really meant, and so I was pissed off at her. And I went out to my car and the left front tire was flat, so I had to drive to the nice guys at the corner tire shop and have them fix it, and by that time I was fit to be tied.

Now I know that anyone would have been pissed off by this time. The day was merely a series of very unfortunate events. My little fits of pique do not fall into this category of uncontrollable anger in some TLE patients:

Recurrent episodes with interictal affective aggression area rare but well-recognized problem in patients with temporallobe epilepsy. They are referred to as episodic dyscontrol or,more precisely, as intermittent explosive disorder (IED). Theamygdala play a crucial role in the affective evaluation ofmultimodal sensory input and the neurobiological mediation ofaggressive behaviour. (Brain, Vol. 123, No. 2, 234-243, February 2000 –if you think I have the patience to do a proper citation here right now, you’re farther gone than I am.)

My little angry outbursts are nothing like these uncontrollable outbursts. I’m just bad tempered and a selfish little brat when things don’t go my way. To stay angry at myself for something I didn’t do yesterday, at my computer, at misreading a message from a friend, and at a flat tire—to the point that I’m nearly in tears of rage when I get to my therapist’s office (thank God I had an appointment today) just needs anger management or a roommate to laugh at me or something. Not more Tegretol.

Or does it? I don’t know. I don’t know if I use TLE as an excuse for simply being ridiculously volatile (hardly anyone ever sees me in these rages). I don’t know if I make the whole thing up to prove that I have TLE. I don’t know. I do know that Dr. Norman Geschwind (who taught the doctor who diagnosed me with TLE), after years of study, made a list of the characteristics of the TLE “personality.” The first half: Emotionality, Mania, Guilt, Depression, Humorlessness, Altered sexual interest, Aggression, Anger and hostility, Hypergraphia. Today I was not manic. But emotional? guilty? depressed? humorless (my therapist did get me to laugh)? interested in altered sexuality (none of your business)? aggressive? angry? hostile? HYPERGRAPHIC? 527089239So does this sound like YOUR normal day? And now I’m up at 11:00 PM, way past my bedtime, writing it all down as fast as I can type knowing that if I don’t write it all down, something dreadful is going to happen. And it’s 11:30 now, and if I don’t get to bed, tomorrow’s events will be a series of DISASTERS, not unfortunate events! And I have so much more to write. Yikes!

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