Thursday, January 19, 2023


We are still experiencing a dreary, nearly snowless winter. This is exactly the kind of weather that I wanted to escape from in the Midwest. There are signs that we will have new snow soon. Middlebury was struck by the Northeast pre-Christmas windstorm: in our yard, two pines blew over and landed on the shed, and I cut the tops off and removed the wood on each side. Our neighbor, Fred, used his tractor to pull the trunks upright and return the roots to the large holes created by the uprooting. The winds were stronger than any we've experienced here before, and, besides damage to the shed roof, shingles blew off the house. Some of the porch screens were blown out, and a four-foot by eight-foot firewood rack filled with wood blew over. The roof repairs have been made, though it can be hard to find people in these situations in a rural area like this. In addition, the top blew off a maple tree and barely missed the electricity lines. I am saving that for firewood. Green Mountain Power is going to cut down the rest of the tree, since part of it still overhangs the power lines. As it was, our power was out for about thirty-eight hours, but we were not disrupted, since we have a generator.

Besides the weather, I am in a slight malaise for a couple of other reasons. Although I am generally in good health, I have had shoulder tendonitis since last summer, and this interferes with my sleep. I think that the tendonitis was probably caused by the heavy lifting I've been doing since moving to Vermont. That involved moving and stacking thousands of pounds of firewood each year and cutting and splitting thousands of pounds of damaged maples and elms, in addition to moving the thousands of pounds of the pine that just blew over. The aching seems to be subsiding, but, if it doesn't, I may get corticosteroid shots, which should alleviate the pain.

The other reason has to do with medication changes in my partner. The psychiatric community doesn't seem to care much about the people who live with their patients. If they have a patient who is bipolar, autistic and has ADHD, and the patient would rather be manic than depressed, they just give them the right drugs for that. I prefer a slightly depressed, less-socially-active partner to the one I have now. My partner feels happier when she is manic, though this exaggerates her shortcomings with respect to autism and ADHD. Autism generally involves social ineptitude, and a manic state increases the expression of that ineptitude. The ADHD in conjunction with manic behavior creates a high level of activity that tends to be unnecessary. For me, there are two major drawbacks: she is so loud much of the time that it is difficult for me to concentrate on what I am doing, and, in the social arena, she is adding counterproductive tensions to our relationship with my daughter and her family, who recently moved to the area from the State of Washington.

My message to psychiatrists is that helping make people who have psychiatric issues feel good is not necessarily a benefit to society. Do we really want Donald Trump to feel good about himself? How about Elon Musk? What about Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer? And then there are many people like Vladimir Putin, who, though they may not exhibit obvious psychiatric symptoms, need someone to reduce their enjoyment of life considerably: the happier Putin is, the more people die. From my point of view, there were plenty of warnings signs about Trump before he was elected president. The psychiatric community did make some effort to intervene against Trump, but their effort failed. If psychiatrists want to be considered productive members of society, they need to organize themselves to provide systems to reduce the behaviors that cause disharmony for people other than their patients. If you looked at the history of psychoanalysis, I think that you would find that, from the beginning, the field was directed at the wealthy, i.e., the highest-paying customers, rather than at any broader group, such as the public, that might benefit.

Regarding my personal state at the moment, my situation may be corrected soon, and, if so, I may resume my usual habits and begin reading again. I have given up on two books that I started recently, but I am looking for new reading material and may soon find something suitable.

CORRECTION. June 9, 2023. I later determined that my partner's behavioral changes may not have been caused by medication changes. I now think that they can be attributed to hypomanic symptoms of bipolar II disorder. I still hold her psychiatrist culpable, because, as far as I am able to determine, my partner has never been given the correct diagnosis or treatment.