The Center Cannot Hold

This morning I read in bed for awhile before I got up. The book I ordered, The Center Cannot Hold came in the mail yesterday, so I started reading it. It’s a very good book, and it has won a lot of literary awards. So far, I’m about half way through. It’s a memoir written by Elyn Saks, a professor diagnosed with schizophrenia. I had a hard time putting the book down, both yesterday afternoon, and this morning. I highly recommend it!

I got up and chanted for almost 45 minutes. I heard someone say Why would you put your husband at risk like that? It sounded like the voice was coming from across the parking lot. Then someone else said, What if we kill her husband? The other voice responded, I guess that resolves it. I kept chanting. The voices are trying to get me to stop chanting again. They are also trying to get me to leave our apartment. So far I haven’t agreed to anything.

Yesterday I cleaned most of the kitchen with some smelly, toxic 409. Today, I am going to get things ready to take to Gilroy tonight. More clothes, and a few more boxes. Monday is Halloween. I might go trick-or-treating with my niece and her kids if we stay in Gilroy. Otherwise, we’ll come back to Sunnyvale, keep cleaning, and get ready for our trip to DC to visit my brother. We’re going to a 49ers-Redskins game, a tour of the White House, a visit to the National Archives, and the usual museum/memorial tours. Fun!

2 comments on “The Center Cannot Hold

  1. Adri

    Hi Jennifer,

    My name is Adri and I know about you from Aida. She sent me the link to your blog. I just wanted to introduce myself to you. I am the coordinator for a small self help center in Gilroy. The self help center is run by mental health consumers for mental health consumers and their supporters. We were started with the self help movement and believe one of the best tools to wellness and recovery is through peer support. So we offer one on one peer support, groups, guest speakers and social events. So, I too am a client. I have bipolar 2, with mild borderline personality and social anxiety disorder. Life has been extremely challenging due to my over emotionality from highs and lows coupled with the borderline and extreme anxiety. I have had to work really hard to keep my mind and thoughts in line, so as to not control as you know, because you can’t, but to direct them in the healthiest way possible. Our thoughts are so powerful and for me it’s been a very long road towards acceptance. It is my personal dichotomy of great creativity eclipsed by the exact opposite potential of self destruction. One of the ways that I was able to have a better quality of life was through my group therapy at Stanford University mood disorders clinic where I learned how to exercise DBT (dialectal behavior therapy). I think it saved my life actually and a huge part of DBT comes from Buddhist thought and practice using the concept of mindfulness, which is the base of DBT and has led me to better wellness. I still struggle and it’s never going to all go away forever, but now I have some coping tools to help me deal with my emotions when they become like an ocean, during the times I am less stable. I start to lose myself in that ocean and because of my support system of doctors, therapist, friends, family and DBT, I don’t get lost. I am happy to hear that your husband is supportive. I hope so much that one day I too can find a partner who loves me the way I am, mental illness and all. I look forward to being able to meet you and I love that you are writing and sharing this blog. Thank you.


    Adri 🙂

  2. Jen

    Thank you Adri for writing. It’s so great to know that there are other people out there who are encouraged by my blog. I am really looking forward to meeting you in person! I wish you all the best. Jen

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