FEB 24, 15 .. ALMIGHTY GOD AT WORK IN MY LIFE !

You believe or you don’t believe. It is that simple.  I tried NOT to post this writing.  I lay down and slept for two hours thinking it was going to just go away.  It didn’t go away! This web site is my Doxology .. This is my Praise to God .. 

I wonder and I marvel at what comes out when I (actually when any writer) begin(s) to actually write.  The title I just put up literally ‘came out of nowhere’.  MY title was going to be: OH MY!!  Go Figure Huh? BUT what I just wrote .. ALMIGHTY GOD AT WORK IN MY LIFE ! .. fits to a ‘T’ what I am going to share with you all.

In the autumn of the year Nineteen Forty Eight (as in 1948) I was entering the 8th grade. I was twelve (12) years old. I mean to tell you all I was in crisis and I was having a challenge .. I was having an issue .. with my HAIR!

I was at the left end of a long horizontal mirror over the wash basins in the boy’s bathroom on the first floor of Oakridge Junior High School in my hometown of Royal Oak Michigan and I was valiantly yet totally unsuccessfully trying to get the hair on my head to BEHAVE!

Suddenly it was ‘strike three and you are out’! I made a life changing decision: “I am going to go across Rochester Road and 13-Mile Road and get all of this hair cut off right-down-to-my-scalp.”

And I did exactly that. Up until each of my parents passed away .. they both used to say to me with a touch of longing .. “Will we ever see you with long hair?” It came to pass in the 1960s that many parents would wail to their male offspring .. “Will you please cut your hair off?”  The Beattles had arrived! Those parents would have traded places with my parents and my closely cropped scalp in one brief heartbeat.

Below are photos of me the way I like my hair and lack thereof. I am NOT bald. I do have a full head of hair.

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I wonder how many of you reading here realize how difficult these ‘selfies’ are!  I wonder how many of you wonder what on earth a ‘selfie’ is?

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I will add this disclaimer: This is how I like to look HAIRWISE! I look just a ‘tad’ too old AGEWISE!

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In the below photograph .. In my mind I am thinking .. “Captain! You really need a haircut! You are beginning to look like some shaggy long-haired Hippie from the 1950s Captain! Shape up MAN! Cut it when you get back to the motel this evening!”

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Patti is thinking .. “Where has that handsome rascal in the photo below gone to!”

DREAM CRUISE 321

I am starting out real easy here. Trust me. Things are going to ratchet up to INTENSE as we go along here. What I hope all of you are absorbing here is this simple fact: I have real issues with the length of my hair. I am the happiest when it is cut down-to-the scalp. Here we go I am now taking things up a notch or two. Hold on now!

I want to introduce photowise my closest and my very best friend here in Hong Kong. He and Patti were on the telephone yesterday morning and had a long and very satisfying visit. I snapped several photographs as the two of them were visiting.

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I have put up two previous posts (FEB 13 and FEB 15) about the issues that the two of us share as regards suicide.  If you have not read these two posts .. you may wish to do so.

PLEASE FOCUS UPON HIS HAIR!

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I will repeat here information I have given you previously.  Each of my only three first cousins successfully commited suicide. Their mother spent a fair number of years in the London Ontario Canada psychiatric hospital having a frontal lobotomy and numerous electrical shock treatments.  She .. My beloved Auntie Bea was Manic-Depressive. To confound the issue for me and to bring it really close to home .. my Auntie Bea was my mother’s TWIN SISTER! Oh yes indeed I have mental illness somewhere deep within my DNA and my genes. My Auntie Bea was hospitalized for her mental illness when she passed away.  My mother and I were with her in her home in London Ontario when we had to summon the ambulance to take her away for her final commitment in 1977. My mother graduated from the University of Michigan in 1927 with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. Women in 1927 did NOT major in that pair of subjects!  She then got her R.N. Degree after a three year program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan. I got my 141 I.Q. from her. All of my family mental illness is on the Irish side of my family.  Had my mother been my father my surname would be Casey!

In December of 1994 I spent three days at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle Washington being evaluated and eventually diagnosed as being Bi-Polar (or Manic-Depressive).

In June of 1995 I began to encounter what were the early stages of a mental breakdown that lasted into May of 1998. Gail and I were in San Diego California and the two of us were heading to Royal Oak Michigan. On the flight from California to Michigan I calmly told her .. “I am not going to be able to stay in the house in Royal Oak alone. I will be returning with you to California when our visit is over in Royal Oak.”

By the mid-summer of 1996 I was not able to board a San Francisco Public Transit Vehicle .. bus or street car. Me the world traveler .. Me the former enlisted member of the United States Marine Corps and former commissioned officer in the United States Navy Seabees!

After yet another failed attempt .. I would carefully plan out my next effort the following day to successfully get-on-the-bus or to get-on-the-streetcar. I will DO THIS THING at 10AM tomorrow! The streetcar will be almost empty. I fear no one. No one is going to harm me. The street car would slowly roll up to me and the driver would open the door and say very friendly .. “Good morning Sir! Step aboard please!”

I could NOT get aboard! Crazy? You got it Tonto!

During this period I was unable to open or to deal with so much as one single piece of mail. Again I would make my plan. Tomorrow I will look at one post card from a friend. Tomorrow never came!

In August of 1996 I walked (since I could not ride public transit!) to the Langley Porter Psychiatric Clinic of the University of California in San Francisco and got serious assistance. Patti flew down from Anchorage Alaska and on the day before my 60th birthday she accompanied me to see Doctor and Psychiatrist Herb a real-grey-beard (read extremely experienced psychiatrist .. GOD and GOD ALONE made it possible for me to be seen by him! .. Doctors of his stature do NOT take new patients believe me!).

Herb and I tried several psychiatric medications. Effexor (75mg and then 150mg and Paxil 20mg).

On some obscure day in October of 1996 I called Patti and said .. CALMLY ..

“Patti I have three life choices before me. One choice will be for me to walk up to the Langley Porter Psychiatric Clinic and check myself in.  A second option will be simply to commit suicide. My last open option is to fly up to Anchorage Alaska and visit you and see your doctor.”

NOT WAITING for any input from Patti I CALMLY .. said ..

“The best option is for me to fly up to be with you and to see your Doctor Lex.”

I was crazy BUT I was not stupid.  Good choice right?

I did. Doctor Lex and Doctor Herb consulted with one another by telephone and Doctor Herb and his recommended 20mg became Doctor Lex’s 60mg of Paxil.

For some reason .. maybe to vote in the November election .. back to San Francisco I went. In no time I was running the streets. With Gail and a flat several miles away I was living on the streets. Gail did NOT take kindly when I dragged ‘Revolver Rick’ .. a Black Afro-American brother .. back with me to her flat one early morning. “Revolver Rick’ was SO BAD that he did not have to say to any other living human being that he was BAD! In my state it seemed a good idea to have ‘Revolver Rick’ on my team! We too really hit it off.  I wonder where he is now.

During this entire craziness I was twelve stepping people on the street like crazy BECAUSE I was there with them on the street and NOT talking down to them from the front of some meeting. Patti can verify and Patti can document this entire episode. It was bad. It was crazy. 

Then one very sunny and pleasant 1996 autumn afternoon in San Francisco (I believe that) I called Patti and told Patti that:

My two choices in life are: Commit Suicide or Shave my scalp!

Into the bathroom I trotted and OFF came whatever stubble was on my scalp!

I may be crazy BUT I was not stupid. Good choice right?

By January of 1997 nothing was working and it was so bad that I decided to fly back to India figuring that IF I was going crazy why not do it in Asia and enjoy the ride down the steps into Hell. Doctor Herb said to me .. “Cap you cannot get onto a bus or a street car! How on earth are you going to get onto a jet plane and fly for 15 hours to Hong Kong and then on to India? Take these two black gel-capsules. IF things unwind on the flight take one. Save the second for when you awaken from the first.”

Don’t think for one instant that you can’t be having a mental breakdown as all-the-while you look relatively normal to the outside world! 

I had one of my best flights ever to Hong Kong. I did NOT need either of the black gel-capsules. My January 1997 to May 1997 trip to India .. Thailand .. Cambodia .. Viet Nam .. Laos .. Burma .. Australia .. Mainland China and Hong Kong .. was perhaps the greatest trip of my life to this moment. I was flying HIGH.

While I was in Asia Doctor Herb .. who Patti remained in contact with told Patti .. I am going to RETIRE! I am sane and Cap is crazy and Cap is having the time of his life. And Doctor Herb DID. Doctor Lex is still helping people in Alaska.

From May 1997 onward life was borderline impossible. I was in Michigan and it was horrible. I flew back to San Francisco in the autumn and then up to Anchorage in November and joined Patti. On December 22nd 1997 in the Anchorage Alaska downtown Bus Terminal I gave up my 34 years of California residence and became an Alaskan for life.

From January 1998 until May 1998 I worked the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in both Anchorage Alaska and in Nome Alaska.  In Nome I was in charge of the Nome Alaska telephone answering room.

Don’t think for one instant that you can’t be jointly having a mental breakdown as all-the-while you look relatively normal to the outside world!

And in May of 1998 I suddenly realized that MY THREE SOME YEAR MENTAL BREAKDOWN WAS FINALLY OVER!

And now to yesterday the 23rd of February 2015.

In this society of ours we have what is known as the Recovery Community. THE ENTIRE RECOVERY COMMUNITY CONCEPT BOILS DOWN TO THIS ONE SINGLE CONCEPT: Only a person who has actually experienced the challenge they are trying to recover from or overcome can really successfully assist another person in the same boat. What we call the Recovery Community began in June of 1935 when Bill Wilson reached out to Doctor Bob and together they recovered.  THAT is the magic.

Never once .. Never one single time .. has God ever told or implied or even hinted to me what was going on when I was in crisis. Believe me! Back in the mid-Autumn of 1996 when I told Patti in Alaska that ..

My two choices in life are: Commit Suicide or Shave my scalp!

God never said to me .. “Well my little Captain .. I am preparing you to assist a very special person that I am going to place into your life in eighteen (18) years.  It will be in Hong Kong China Captain. The count will be three and two and you will only have one chance when the vicious high inside hard fastball comes in at you going about 100 miles an hour to hit it right out of the Ball Park!”

The two of us were in downtown Hong Kong ..

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My guy had just wrapped up his visit with Patti in Anchorage Alaska ..

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In the past several weeks my man has made two serious suicide attempts. As we two were walking quietly along .. basking in the joy of his visit with Patti ..  he very calmly turned to me and said ..

“Cap. I want to shave my head.”

How many people in Hong Kong China? .. How many people in the entire world? .. Would instantly flip back to their own actual experience eighteen (18) years ago and think..

It was in the Autumn of 1996 when I told Patti that : My two choices in life are: Commit Suicide or Shave my scalp!

How many people do you think would say to my man .. That is silly! You don’t want to do that now do you! .. or in some other of hundreds of available ways minimize or demean his statement?

What didn’t I hear them say?  Friends of those who commit suicide say to themselves .. What didn’t I hear them say?

I thought .. “Oh My God! OH MY GOD!  OH MY GOD! I have got to get him to a barber and I mean RIGHT NOW! OH MY GOD!

It was in the Autumn of 1996 when I told Patti that : My two choices in life are: Commit Suicide or Shave my scalp! And he has made two serious suicide attempts in the past week or so!

I can’t let this slip past me and then wonder .. What didn’t I hear? Why Oh Why didn’t I take him seriously!  BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE WHERE HE IS COMING FROM!

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At this point I actually stopped the process and said .. “You can leave some hair on top if you like!” .. “Nope I am going all the way with this!”

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I KNOW I UNDERSTAND why he is smiling!

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His scalp was really in serious condition.

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I asked him IF he wasn’t always scratching and itching and worrying his scalp and he said .. “Only all the time.”  I got some of my St. Teresa’s Hospital skin lotion for him at a pharmacy as well as a thick ointment similar to the Eucerin that I also use on my scalp and took him to my apartment. I had him put a warm wet towel on his head and when moisturized .. had him rub in the skin lotion.

We enjoyed a nice dinner last night at our local Vietnamese Restaurant ..

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You can debate this post up and you can debate it down but in terms of my spiritual calling in this entire matter of my buddy and his suicidal challenges I had no choice but to tell it like it is and to leave the results up to God as I cannot even begin to comprehend God. The respective YOUs are NOT here with this very complex and extremely worthwhile young man here in the trenches of life with the two of us! There are too many of my own friends watching me thinking that IF Cap can hang in there with his mind going overtime then I too can hang in there with my own mind.

WHEW!

YOU GOT THAT RIGHT CAPTAIN!

And the Dinkey Bird is singing in the Amfalula Tree! Two Ding-A-Lings do NOT make a bell!

8 thoughts on “FEB 24, 15 .. ALMIGHTY GOD AT WORK IN MY LIFE !

  1. Patti

    W O W !!! This really is an INTENSE post … brings me back to those very tense and intense years between 1995 and 1998. You were REALLY struggling then to maintain some sort of, any sort of, balance. It was scary. It was life and death no matter how you looked at it. And, like so many of our challenges in life, the action was basically up to you. Fortunately, you had some very competent professional help, as well as spiritual guidance. To this day, I am grateful that you actively make sure you are drinking enough liquids, eating a balanced and nutritional diet, getting enough rest, and paying attention to when you need to pause, slow down, deaccelerate…and, of course, paying attention to when you need to shave your head again! I like the longer hair, but I far more like a healthy, happy Cap! Love and hugs and continued support. Patti

    1. Cap Chastain

      Thank You My Dear One .. YOU were with me like white on rice for those stressful and trying years. You even have some ‘marks’ on your psyche to show for that period of time .. NOT all of which was stressful. As just one ‘for instance’ the work on the Iditarod was beyond eventful and a joy to share with you. How about our trip to Ireland in the Spring of 1996 .. that was a phenomenal trip as I struggled with my Demons at the same time. Again .. Thank You for your love and for your support ..

    1. Cap Chastain

      Thanks Shaddy .. YES I feel strong and very UP .. a funny saying follows .. one thanks to Patti ..

      I hate being Bi-Polar it is awesome !!

      Joy ..

  2. Gullible

    Well, what can I say? Now you know why you extended your stay in Hong Kong after Patti left and why you are still there. I am glad you are there for your friend. I, too, have been touched closely by suicide and it isn’t much fun for those of us who are left, who wonder if we could have done more. You’re doing everything you can. My best wishes for your friend.

  3. Rob 94596

    A very dazzling and breathtaking post . . .

    Knowing you for so many years, hearing from you what were just outlines of your various episodes, the details are astounding. I remember your time in the Tenderloin and a brief wandering through it afterwards with you.

    I recall your saying that that time was your most deep depression by far, upon your return from India. Little did I know until now!

    And now being uniquely placed and eminently able to help another very much in need. Reminds me of the New Delhi YMCA restaurant and where your “messenger” man led you.

    I agree with Gullible – that is why you continued in Hong Kong. I too was wondering and now we know why.

    God does work through you.

    1. Cap

      YOU my friend of what .. Forty Nine years .. have LIVED this with me. Your own sister! WOW! Live and up close! And here I am .. at least as of now today .. Still Standing!

      Thanks for checking in here .. I so value your friendship!

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