Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for- you. – Shannon L. Alder
There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis. – Malcolm Gladwell
“Blink” was a craze when it went it was published, and everyone got on board with the book’s philosophy. That given a second chance months later, you wouldn’t regret having made the decision you did. Sure. Hard data says that. When you actually put it into practice, though, people are concerned that something is wrong with you. In my particular case, people assume I’m on an “up,” and I’ll just regret things and apologize later.
It is my feeling that “blink” doesn’t work if you don’t know yourself as well as you possibly can. It’s a disaster to blink on no information. It’s another to have 45 years of heuristics first.
I have only had one time in my life where the decision to cut someone out of my life has gone so poorly that I was miserable over it for years. So, the concept of a “Blink” decision is not foolproof. But my track record on good decisions for me is about average with everyone else who lives, works, and functions just like I do… which is in fact one person. Except without mental illness, but the part she gets, she gets hardcore.
Hypotonic cerebral palsy is a rough gig all on its own. We don’t have to talk about mental illness at all to say my life is hard. People punch down at me all the time without even thinking about it. I can’t change how my eyes work, especially on the fly. I’ve tried for years, and the closest I can get to 3D vision is that I can see both sides of my nose at once. Any further away, and things get messy fast. “What are you even looking at?” gets old very fast.
I don’t have an easy time of not looking like a crazy person with the way I move and watch, both from the outside in and vice versa. People think I’m staring at them all the time, but just because my eye is pointed at something above your head doesn’t mean that one of my eyes won’t drift. It happens in a way that I can’t even pay attention to it, because then it will take minutes to make myself look like I’m focusing and no one has the time for that.
Besides, people will fix it in PhotoShop if I’m ashamed of how I look. Except I’m not. They automatically assume that I would want it fixed. I don’t because I don’t want to present a curated version of who I am. It has made the price of entry into my circle of friends very, very high.
My mental health treats my body like crap… it’s really all the side effects of the medication I’m taking. I choose physical illness every day.
I choose physical illness every day.
I make that joke all the time, that I choose between sick and crazy without letting it affect me like I just did. I was diagnosed as Bipolar II/ADHD when I was about 21, then as PTSD set in a protocol was added for severe anxiety. I have been taking a pure, refined version of crystal meth for 20 years, and I have also tried agonists like Stratera and Cymbalta, which mimic the norepinephrine boosts that methylphenidate gives, but again… different med, different side effects. I was jumpy and nervous, heart rate sky high, couldn’t sit still. It was a worse ride than even an extended release dose of methylphenidate had ever given me, and I lived that way for six weeks until I gave up.
I was disheartened. With my medication, I had no appetite and a quiet brain… but it meant being on meth to cope.
Between it and my mood stabilizer, I have caused enormous damage to my physical body to remain sane to everyone else. This does not mean that I need to go off meds to get a baseline. That’s pretty much the worst idea anyone has ever had regarding my health. I just need better generics. Fewer side effects. A better understanding of the human body so I know that opioid agonists work on me and methamphetamine don’t. Why is it the same delivery method and two different results?
One chills me out like a Tylenol with codeine, the other makes me look like a schizophrenic heroin addict.
Here’s a joke I told Daniel that my medical people will get:
Is this a __ thing? Let me guess your diagnosis before you even say it…….. “It depends.”
In my experience, this is the correct medical diagnosis for everything. Every time. That’s why it’s called “practicing medicine” and often referred to as an art. It is still a better educated answer than you’ll get from someone who didn’t go to medical school, because what the doctor is really saying is “I need a whole lot more information, but if you can just give me your Google Search Terms I have like 50 things I can rule out that won’t kill you before you go on WebMD and scare yourself to death.” Doctors can only do “blink” decisions when they’re sure. It’s different when you’ve never seen a case before, what in med school would be a “fascinoma” and in law school would be a “prima facie” case.
Shows like “House” are built on doctors being wrong, and it happens all the time. I don’t mean in an intentionally malicious way, though you can find enough of those if you look for them. I’m talking about people going to doctors that have diseases so rare that it takes a detective years to figure it out, because the natural order of how something is supposed to go, well…. It isn’t.
It’s not even idiocy. I couldn’t have told the doctor on her way into a patient room that I thought a patient had shingles if I hadn’t seen the pattern in a book somewhere. It’s the same with an MD as opposed to me, a lowly MA (from whom you should never take advice. I’m a moron. And I know enough to tell you that). They’ve just seen thousands more patterns the higher you go up in terms of specialists. That’s why they’re specialists. They don’t necessarily study harder for anything. It’s that when they hear a herd of something coming, they know when to guess “horse” and when to guess “zebra” because they’ve seen enough to know the tiny, tiny, tiny differences, maybe down to one. Additionally, in those cases, a blink guess is necessary. Try Occam’s Razor first. If the patient gets better, don’t try anything more extreme. If the patient is worse, they don’t have what it’s most likely to be.
That’s when you get more eyes on it. People can go 15 years without an official diagnosis, and that’s what teams of doctors like the one portrayed on “House” is accurate. You also need different types of doctors, because rheumatology isn’t that different from endocrinology, dermatology, and oncology. You could argue that oncology falls under rheumatology, because cancer is also an autoimmune disease. It’s just that the need for oncologists surpasses the need for expertise in other autoimmune diseases that don’t have dedicated departments. I assume GRID/AIDS was first thought of as an autoimmune disease, rheumatological or oncological in nature. Then AIDS research, too, became its own department.
This is where the rubber hits the road. Blink and see if you’re right, but have an Option B. Doctors, particularly in Urgent Care and the Emergency Room, aren’t given time not to blink. They patch you up.
I’ve been patching myself up for decades because I have had the opposite problem. I have waited too long on a lot of things because I didn’t feel I was capable of them. In fact, I had seven years to do nothing but think about my motivations and goals. I’ve thought about the things I’ve done and left undone.
The dragons that circle my bed at night and let me lie on my back and watch the stars while we travel.
Who I wanted those dragons to be, and why, and why it should cost so much to be my friend. It costs something to be a friend that believes in a writer, because now they’re in the position of having to defend your writing whether they like it or not, because it’s your obsession, not theirs.
I chose one dragon in particular because not only is she the architect type of writer, she has also edited a few other things for me that have been successful (mostly book reviews). She also has the amazing ability to talk with me about craft and not plot. It works in our actual relationship as well as the one we have professionally. “I can’t fix this.” “You absolutely cannot fix this and I will be mad if you try.” Although I will say that sometimes I wish she could wave a magic wand because a good bit of the time listening to her goes better than whatever all THIS is (looking in mirror).
The other two are more talkers than writers, so we make up for it with phone calls and quick texts to set up phone calls, or we video each other. As I have said before, that’s new. I’m finally okay with it… as previously mentioned but I feel it goes along here very well. I talked to one person, and then I talked to my audience, almost in quick succession. This is because I realized that if I treated a vlog like a FaceTime call, I wouldn’t get overwhelmed at the stats. Here’s what I do know, though. Every post I write resonates with someone. They just don’t all resonate with everyone. That’s true of every writer on Earth, even Stephen King. Most writers have a special place in their hearts for “On Writing,” even the ones that don’t like horror. Those realizations created a blink decision. I vlog, because talking to a million of you is the same as talking to one of you.
I blinked, and didn’t regret it. I had the heuristics.