the wrong side of the bed

Sunday, May 21, 2006


i'm reading the spiral staircase by karen armstrong. it is quite good. a professor in my department, doug*, recommended it to me after learning that i have temporal lobe epilepsy. like me, karen armstrong had been misdiagnosed for years with anxiety and panic attacks. like me, she lived with epilepsy from 18 until about my age. like my mother, she entered the convent, but left it for a secular life (around the same year, i suspect). like me, she was studying for a doctorate. her PhD did not pan out because, like me, she failed. however, she should not have failed the defense of her thesis. i suppose some might argue that i should not have failed my prelims, but i did.

i've just gotten to the point in her memoir when she is diagnosed. she described the elation she felt at finally having a correct diagnoses after years of unsuccessful and often frustrating therapy. i stopped reading there and jumped in the shower, only to find myself sobbing. i'm scared to read the rest of the book. i'm scared to learn what happens. because of her failure to receive her PhD, she is forced to switch gears late in the game. but, because i know what happens to her in the long run, i know she becomes a successful author.

some people have asked me, since finding out about the epilepsy, if i am the lucky sort of epileptic who gets strange visions. it isn't so for me. i am run-of-the-mill in my epilepsy. i gain nothing from it. i doubt that i will go on to be successful at anything. i am almost 30 with almost nothing to show for it.

do you see why i am a bit scared to read the rest of the book?

* this asterisk is not to say that doug is not his real name. as far as i know, it is. rather, i wanted to say that i am grateful to doug for leading me to the book, even though i am scared to finish it. fear is not always bad, right?
12:13 PM


Girl. You're a freakin' fascinating person. You have a great mind whether or not there's more than two letters attached to your name. Two ain't bad, anyway. Besides, some might say that 30 is young. If Armstrong could become a famous author, what is stopping you from becoming a famous monster-maker? Wait, what is scary again? You already know it's a happy ending!
Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:40 PM  
hey, anonymous, who are you? i guess you could know that i have a master's degree and that i make monster's from my blog. hrm. but, who are you? i'm just curious if you actually know me.
Blogger dorotha, at 8:39 PM  
with almost nothing to show for it.

When you think of all the things you haven't got to show for it, think of all the things you could have to show for it. Im confident the darker recesses of your mind would make this a positive thought: with almost nothing to show for it. ! 2 negatives and all
Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:05 AM  
anonymous: what do i have to show for it? a master's degree in sociology. also, i know how to talk like a graduate student. in contexts other than graduate school, this seems to just make me come off as argumentative.

so, i have a master's degree in sociology and no idea what i can do with it. it isn't a practical degree. it is something you get on your way to something else.

as for monsters: yes, that would be fun. perhaps i could take a sewing class so that i could do a better job. in the mean time, i do need to eat.
Blogger dorotha, at 7:08 AM  
rather than visions, some epileptics feel a sense of elation or near-religious ecstasy before a seizure. it was this way for dostoyevsky. read the idiot by him, he talks about it.
Anonymous joe, at 1:58 PM  

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