Dance of the Blame Fairy

“I think the reason you’ve never seen me manic is because when I am, I cancel all our appointments.”

Let’s just say this week was greatest bipolar hits from 2011.

Or let’s not; let’s unpack that, because it’s hard enough to go on with this in my skull.

This week, I found out that Spontaneous ∂erivation had been “pharma-hacked”. Most of you wouldn’t have seen it, but Google and other search indices did, where my content was replaced with anything from full shopfronts to content from 12/23/2011, which I figure was the actual hack date, seeded through with pharmaceutical spam. So, not connected to DreamHost’s recent security woes, that I know of.

I discovered this on joining Google+, which, by connecting me with my own content, exposed what was going on. This is not a plug for Google+, but just an interesting side note.

Now for the bag of stir-crazy: I’ve been stuck at home for two weeks, due to peer reviews and then snow. During this time my mania was also starting to get out of control, and since I was also oncall last week, I didn’t sleep more than a handful of hours from Friday through to Monday. Then I was oncall again Monday night, so by Tuesday I was running on maybe… six hours of sleep over four days?

Then I discovered the hack, and lost it. I jumped to all sorts of bizarre conclusions, leaped great canyons of illogic without realizing anything was wrong, screwed up my relationship (such as it is) with DreamHost, and wigged out on my closest friends. If you know someone who’s bipolar, you know how… disconnected I was with reality.

I didn’t sleep on Tuesday night. The hacks kept happening, which meant a backdoor in a plugin, but I just couldn’t accept it goddamnit.

By Wednesday the mania had receeded enough for me to see sense, and raze my wordpress installs all to the ground. This had to be done several times, because at least one plugin, freshly installed from, came backdoored. (You know, the minimalism is kind of entertaining. I pretty much don’t want to install plugins ever again, or mess with a theme that isn’t from WordPress. The Tim Thumb AJAX scripts can go die in a fire.)

I slept 6 hours after the mania crashed into depression on Wednesday.

For some reason on Thursday, my boss, who is very into preventative measures (i.e., if he waits too long and I flame out, it’s too late), took me aside and told me gently to go home. For the rest of the week. No, this isn’t a pink slip; this is because he’s seen me like this before: during the events that led to taking intermittent FMLA leave in the first place.

I can never live that down. And I don’t really want to.

Anyways: I wasn’t being very introspective or very monitoring of myself while all this was happening, and even a bit before. At the same time, bipolar is bipolar, and a hack is a hack. And it’s not the end of the world.

Except that I can never forgive myself. I know there was a post about forgiving oneself that circulated around; trust me, I’m not ready to read it and may never be. This is very much about how my parents treated me. Y’see, my parents had this interesting approach to raising a kid: when something goes wrong, beat the kid and tell them it was their fault. My father handled the first part, my mother the second part after he got his rage all tired out.

I framed this as “teaching right from wrong” but… it’s not teaching the kid right from wrong, is it. My friend pointed this out: “That’s teaching how to be utterly afraid of doing anything wrong and take all the blame on yourself for things that you cannot control, then feel awful when it doesn’t work.”

My bartender had a similar take. We talked about it further. He had another insight, which is that my parents also punished without distinguishing right from wrong. I was never told when I was doing something good, it was purely all negative reinforcement. Except once my mother told me that my father was actually very proud of me—it’s just that if he showed it to me, I would no longer try my best, so this was for my own good. So I basically had to take it on faith that my father loved me. And damn, how I would do anything, including accepting blame for him knocking over a lamp or for wanting to go to band’s celebratory dinner, for that love.

I made great leaps of logic to try to figure out what would please my father without being told in the first place.

Man, being a kid sucks, when you want love that bad from someone who will never give it to you except when trying to emotionally manipulate you.

Oh, here’s an interesting little story. Once upon a time, my mother bought a floor lamp that was thin and skinny, a modern thing. My father hated it upon sight, and began to hit her because he was convinced that you couldn’t return electric devices to the store. I’m serious. So I took the lamp, and the receipt, and the car keys, and returned the lamp to the store. I should have gone to the police, but that ploy only resulted in strangling the last time. I gave my father the money.

Result? Beating, along with cries of “why didn’t you stop your mother from buying that lamp!”

Afterwards, my mother took care of me and explained all the while that this I deserved wholly and utterly.

You see my point.

I’m fortunate in that I managed to learn from outside my family what was right and wrong, at least with the more important topics, but I have never applied right/wrong as separate concepts to myself; it’s all just blame. Which is, admittedly, better for society than the obverse would be.

Anyways, now I’m aware of my tendency to pin enormous amounts of blame only on myself, but it’s kind of awful that I can’t actually seem to rescind the belief that I don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s buried way deep, beyond logic. And this is the reason I like my bartender: he didn’t keep telling me to “just forget it”, because he knew how deep the wound went. The wound may always be there, but I don’t have to let it determine how I act. I think the next session he will add the concept of “or how I feel”, he tends to build things up gradually.

And yes, he has made very sure that I have appointments coming up. I will try to not cancel them, which should be easy because now I’m in the depressive cycle. I can tell because I have no desire to eat.

Friday will be sleeps day, assuming there are no more hacks.