China Visa and Writing Prospects

China Visa and Writing Prospects June 11, 2009

My Visa for China arrived today – amazingly fast. From the looks of the Chinese Embassy website, I feared long delays, returns for lacking or incorrect information, and (perhaps being a bit overly paranoid) some sort of rejection on the grounds that I’ve blogged so much about Tibet. In my brief time in D.C. I dare say I learned the art of paranoia and international intrigue; all far removed from my working/middle-class upbringing at the end of a dirt road outside of Helena, Montana.

I should say I had a taste of that art, as the paranoia was mainly second-hand (though it is easily contagious).

In any case it’s there, just a few pages from my unused Indian Visa and two stamped UK student Visas. I used a Visa Agency in Washington D.C. called Chinese Visa Express, and would highly recommend them.

I finished “The Soloist” last night, the first full book of ‘pleasure reading’ I’ve finished in ages. I’ve come away with renewed interest in penning my own story of time spent with a person with a mental illness. The story, to me at least, is fascinating. It shows a side of mental illness rarely, if ever, portrayed in the media or in movies, a side of mental illness that lurks in the shadows of society yet is every bit as common as schizophrenia or Alzheimers.

Just as common as these illnesses and just as destructive. Perhaps even more so at times as this illness, Borderline Personality Disorder (along with Antisocial, Histrionic, and Narcissistic), has the power to reach deeply into the lives of those close to the afflicted. With schizophrenia or Alzheimers the illness manifests in a way that is more or less obvious, given enough time. You begin to see that the world of the afflicted person is twisted this way or that. While at times all is okay, at others their connection with reality fades or is lost altogether.

With personality disorders the internal struggle may be just as painful for the person with the illness, but the illness comes out in ways that also tend to warp the worlds of loved ones. The connection to reality is never fully lost. There is, in psychological terms, no psychotic ‘break’ from reality. There is however, at the bottom of the list of symptoms, “Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.”

Even today I am left with more questions than answers regarding this mysterious illness and the person close to me who had it, but that’s okay. Sometimes life doesn’t answer our questions and neither do the stories we attach to it.

(with small updates at 3:40pm, same day)
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