This story is written with the cheek firmly against the tongue – so all you atheists, Christians, agro-sticks, Vegetables, racists, pagans, wigwams, and “Others” – can just relax.
Ever since my birth, I have always dipped out on the exotic diseases, disorders, conditions, and ailments that afflict a very small proportion of the human race. I’ve had my fair share of the run of the mill stuff: dandruff, whitlows, fever blisters, acne, and various other body vermin too personal to mention on these hallowed pages.
I was born at a very early age, but even so; I vaguely remember Mother complaining that she had Postnatal Depression (PND) after this happy event. (Or maybe she was just in shock after giving birth to such an unsightly baby.) No, Gert, I can see. “Unsightly,” doesn’t mean blind – it means damn ugly.
Be that as it may, it took many years of medication, psychotherapy – and lots of help from the Post Nasal Depression Support Association – but Mother never got over the trauma of giving birth. And then, a day after I finally left home (at the age of thirty eight), a miracle happened! Mother was suddenly cured! Apparently she took to *singing and dancing, from room to room, for days on end.
You atheists take note: This proves beyond all treasonable doubt that PND works in mysterious ways!
I now realise that, being male, it is impossible for me to suffer from Post Nasal Drip; but dammit – there should be something similar for men – just to conform to the gender equality thing.
In my teens, if you were naughty, did not pay attention in class, behaved badly, were lazy or stupid, you would soon get a good thrashing for your evil ways. I was stupid: so I spent a lot of time waiting outside the principal’s office to have my hide soundly tanned. In those days, no one had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There was no recourse – you were judged, sentenced, drawn and quartered. And that was the end of your stupidity or hyperactivity. Whichever came first.
Nowadays, if little Johnny is **bliksems stout, he is diagnosed as an ADHD sufferer, given happy pills, and sent on his merry way.
Story of my life: I always miss out on the happy pills.
And then, when I finally had to start working for a living (Mother stopped sending money – she was on a boat cruise around the world), Yuppie Flu, aka, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), hit the fan.
I tried to fake the Yuppie flu symptoms at work: fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion – hoping to be diagnosed with CFS – thus achieving sufferer status at last. Unfortunately, my boss took one look at me and said something that sounded like: “Get your lazy arse in gear or leave, you malingering shyster!”
Needles to say, my recovery from CFS was very swift and permanent.
The latest ailment to top the exotic list is “Bipolar Disorder,” or “Manic Depression” – depending on your religion. I actually suffered from this disorder for many years; while I was still drinking for the First Team.
During a manic (“high”) episode a person displays behaviour that is out of character. He/she may be “overly” happy, have boundless energy, go for days without sleeping and lose their inhibitions in social settings.
During the “low” phase the person is depressed, lacks energy and struggles to enjoy activities, which were previously enjoyable.
Some people can experience symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. This is called “black mania” or a mixed episode. (Black mania is also known as: BEE or AA. But that’s not important right now.)
There is no single cause. The disorder tends to run in families; which suggest that there is a genetic link. In people predisposed to the disorder, the onset can be triggered by stressful life events, such as childbirth.
So, maybe Mother never had PND after all. Maybe it was me.
*singing – she sang: Happy Days are Here Again!
**bliksems stout – badly behaved