Puzzling 11


I’m a lithium princess again. That was my username for a while on MSN Messenger. I picked it when I was 17 or 18 and taking lithium. I thought it fit me better than Jadimo (a username on AOL that my dad picked out for me–it’s the first two letters of my names) or anything like that. When I had gastric bypass surgery, I was taken off of it because my surgeon didn’t want it to interfere with the surgery. My psychiatrist never put me back on it, though he recommended it several times. I always insisted that it didn’t do any good and that I didn’t need it. Well, my current psychiatrist has decided that my mood swings are too out of control to not be on it, so I’m back on it. It tastes absolutely horrible, and I hate that I have to have blood work in a week to check my levels. I know what it will say. It will say that there isn’t enough in my system. That’s what happened the first time I was on it. I never had enough in my system.

Anyway, I should have been a princess anyway, even without the lithium. I didn’t know it at the time, but my family descended from royalty, which is true for most Americans. I’m not, though, partly because my umpteenth great-grandfather (John of Gaunt) decided to have an affair with his servant. They had a few children together (including my ancestor – Joan Beaufort), and Parliament wouldn’t recognize the children as legitimate. Finally, he married the woman, and Parliament said they’d recognize the children, but that they couldn’t be considered royalty. There were some down the line who ended up being royalty, but that was because they married back into the line. (Royalty did that quite a bit.) Because of the royalty and nobility that my ancestors came from, they were from a lot of different places. Instead of just picking one place and saying, my family is from this place, I tried listing some of them on my basics page, under “if you go back far enough”. Of course, coming from royalty and from rich folks doesn’t make me royalty or rich. It just means my ancestors were. I also have ancestors who were con artists, alcoholics, and sociopaths. That doesn’t make me one of those either.

So, speaking of my “wacky” family. I thought I’d be a little open about some of the more outrageous family members:

My paternal grandfather (the one the protected entry is about). He was emotionally abusive and sociopath, but he was also a good liar. My other grandfather loved to listen to his lies because they were just so well thought out and sounded so good. He was in jail once for stealing cars for an “organized crime group”. He was an alcoholic, which may or may not have had anything to do with the time that he threatened to blow up a television station. He liked to assemble guns in the house, and after he died, my family found guns and gun parts in quite a few places, along with those books that have the hide-y holes in them.

Uncle Johnny (my paternal grandfather’s brother) was also a sociopath, and my mother only let me be around him once or twice in my life (because he smoked and cussed a lot). I got to see him before he died, and that’s the only time that I remember my mom letting me near him. (My dad was with me.) He was also a con artist. He had many aliases and many fake social security numbers. He liked marrying women, but never kept a wife. He was a gigalo and had many girlfriends. He also liked being in jail, and loved when he was in solitary. He liked that he got fed, got to exercise, and got to be left alone. I don’t know much more about him because, like I said, I wasn’t exactly allowed to be near him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had anything to do with mob, though.

Uncle Frank (my mom’s maternal grandmother’s brother) also liked to marry different women, mainly cousins (who happened to be sisters of one another). He also was a notorious drunk, and, according to my mom, he (along with pretty much all of his brothers) was a sociopath. There’s this story in my family about him. He used to go to Georgia and get drunk. Well, after one of his trips, he was no longer allowed to go to Georgia anymore. According to what I’ve been told, he killed someone there, and he couldn’t go back because he could get arrested.

And my great-grandmother, who is apparently the beginning of the line of mental health problems for my mom, grandmother and me, was not a sociopath. One of her sisters was killed by that sister’s husband. (They found the body by contacting a psychic.) When that man died, my great-grandmother wanted to pour gasoline into his grave and set him on fire. I think she may have even brought the gasoline with her, but she was talked out of setting him on fire.

So, if I haven’t scared you off, then “big yay”. 😛 I’m not ashamed of my family. I don’t necessarily like what some of them have done. I didn’t like that some of my ancestors owned slaves. I didn’t like that some of my ancestors were alcoholics. I didn’t like that my grandfather was such a bad guy. I didn’t pick the hand I was dealt, so I’ve had to learn to live with it. Learning to live with some of the sins of my family’s past has been difficult. To know things that they did that were bad is really hard because you know that you come from them. You begin to wonder if you’ll be just like them. You begin to wonder that if they did something evil, then you’ll be evil, too.

I could bring this all up in therapy, which I’ve done in the past with some of it. I’ve actually talked about my family too much in therapy before. I tend to do it when I don’t want to talk about myself or work on my problems anymore. Besides, it’s entertaining…for me, at least.

So, what was this post about again? Oh yeah, my avoiding to talk about why I need the lithium to begin with. I was put on it because I told my doctor that I have this tendency to start a million projects and never finish them. I also told him about the near suicidal point last week. So, he noted that I had a major shift in moods in a short period of time, and decided that it was best to put me on lithium in addition to my other meds.

Oh, I watched Hotel Rwanda twice this week. It was a brilliant film. It left me feeling sad, heart-broken, and incredibly angry at the US and the rest of the world for not intervening to save the 1 million Tutsis who were slaughtered while the rest of the world just sat around and did nothing. I recommend that everyone should watch this movie.

Tom Cruise sucks more than he did before because of his idiotic stance on psychiatry. Did anyone else see any of the interview he had with Matt Lauer? He seems to think he’s the most “enlightened” person on the subject of psychiatry. He may know some things about psychiatry, but he seems to know NOTHING about mental illness. He’s a complete idiot when it comes to mental illness. Vitamins, exercise, family dinners, etc. don’t mean squat to someone who is desperately in need of medication and therapy. I wonder how many people will listen to him and go off their meds. His statements could lead to people killing themselves or other people. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, I hope someone sues the pants off of him.

I’ve added a new theme to the lineup. It’s called Chemistry and features Julia Stiles and Luke Mably from The Prince and Me, which I also watched recently.

I’ve been told that I’m a good writer, and this entry may change some minds. I typically write the way that I think. I think in a narrative. Sometimes, the narrative gets jumbled and I jump from one topic to another and back again. This entry, though I didn’t intend it to do so, kinda represents that. This is how my conversations with other people go. I’ll bring up a topic, talk about it for a while, go to another subject, go back to the first topic, go to another subject, go back to the first topic, etc. About the only person who can follow my conversation patterns is, who would have guessed this, my mother. To listen to me, you have to be willing to put a puzzle together.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.


11 thoughts on “Puzzling

  • kristal

    I commend you for getting help and talking through your experiences with your family. Too often, people try to ignore mental illness or treat it themselves (vitamins and family dinners anyone?). It takes a strong person to do the work and take the medication that is sometimes required to deal with it.

  • Monique

    Tom Cruise is annoying now. He feels that he knows so much about everything all of a sudden. He needs to stop criticizing people and their lifestyles and stick to making movies.

  • jen

    Is Tom spouting off his own take on mental illness AGAIN!? geeze!!! it’s his midlife crisis taking over.

  • Janet
    Post author

    I haven’t had any major mood swings in the last week, but I don’t know if that’s the lithium. I do know that some of it is in my system because my hands (especially my left one) will shake like crazy. I’ll be trying to read a book or something and my hand will just start shaking and I’ll nearly lose the book. At least this time I know what’s causing the tremors. Last time, I had to go to a neurologist because no one could tell me what the Hell was causing my shaking.

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