Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (but well worth knowing anyway!)

Welcome to Byron’s Heroes, the blog site where everyone is “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.”

This goal of this site is to have an online “safe venting” area for those suffering from long term illnesses. I hope this site will also allow those who interact of live with someone with a long term illness a glimpse into our frustrations and anger toward the “Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”*, otherwise known as an unexpected illness.  If you are suffering those “Slings and arrows” Byron’s heroes is the spot for you.  I can’t run this blog alone, I implore my fellow suffered of “outrageous fortune” to please contact me to contribute to the blog.  Anything from “War and Peace” to “Fortune Cookie” sized contributions are most welcome. Here we will take the gloves off (often with pain from arthritis so our joints are swollen) and get down and dirty (sometimes bending down is an issue as we get dizzy and dirt is dangerous as we are often on immune suppression medications and germs are bad).

It's safe to let the mask slip for a bit, pain is an emotional as well a physical malady.  (Andrew Merritt Photograph)
It’s safe to let the mask slip for a bit, pain is an emotional as well a physical malady. (Andrew Merritt Photograph)

The title Byron’s Heroes (I know, no ‘ but that’s just because it works better for the internet address) was inspired by a quote about Lord Byron.  The poet was considered “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” by polite society of the time.  Keep in mind though the quote is from Lady Caroline Lamb, who was madly  and badly in love with Byron. History tells us she probably wasn’t that nice to know herself! Her own behavior, including being served up naked in a serving dish to Byron, shows we should not quite trust her judgement.  Even today, it’s not considered good behavior to attend a party naked under a large serving platter, unless you are Lady Gaga.  Then, it’s just good publicity.

"Yes I am still in my pajamas, my foot really hurts today!"
“Yes I am still in my pajamas, my foot really hurts today!”

The point is Byron was a talented poet with a difficult life.  He had many problems, from a mother with what we today call “issues” to a cousin with “issues” and a half sister with real “issues”.  But one of his biggest “issues” was his club foot.  He was tormented and teased about it from everyone.  Even his mother joined in by torturing him with doctors trying to find a way to help, yet in a bad mood also teasing him about how he walked. His classmates at school were probably the worst. Aren’t they always?  It also physically as well as emotionally hurt.  If Byron were “mad and bad” it was probably because no one quite got what it felt like having that darn club foot.

He also was prone to getting fat.  This was because he couldn’t move as much as others, being unable to dance or even walk vey far with his club foot.  He resisted wearing special boots made to help him, which often seemed to just cause him more pain.  Women found him brooding and romantic, but he still could never dance.  Also pity is the one thing above all anyone with a disability or illness hates the most.’ In the end though, he was killed at far too young an age by his doctors.  Don’t we all worry about that sometimes?  (Here take this medication, oh and read the four pages of side effects.  Yes that last one is “death”).

We all have a little Byron in us.  Yes we are talented wonderful people, but at times this illness just gets us down.  How many time people have said to me, now that I have two types of Arthritis “Oh well, you have put on some weight!  I suppose that’s the medicine?” (no, it’s mainly I can’t walk as much as before and I eat because if I don’t I’ll puke up my medication, but thanks for pointing out the weight gain!  I really hadn’t noticed it myself!)

It’s also about the “to know” part.  Because all of us with long term or life long illnesses have to check ourselves emotionally at times.   We all are dependent in some way on family, friends and physicians.  We want to be ANGRY about our illness.  We often are in deep physical pain. We also don’t want to drive away those we depend on so much by being a whiney jerk.

We  feel we often have to hide part of our pain, loneliness and frustration because if everyone were “to know” how we felt in our darkest hours they might not like us.  At least that is our fear.  We love these people.  We depend on their emotional and practical support to live the best life we can.  We’re often happy, upbeat and we certainly do not always feel depressed or simply overwhelmed.  But there is an anger many of us keep hidden.  It’s ours alone.

Until NOW!  Because this the place to just let out all that hidden darkness.  Our “Mad and Bad” side is allowed to run free here, because it’s not dangerous to share. Everyone with a long term illness understands this is just how we feel sometimes.  Our poor brains are dealing with pain so much it often fight back with “You think I have any good emotions left in this pre frontal cortex?  FUCK YOU!” and depression sets in for a bit.

Byron’s Heroes  here Unite,

Be Mad and Bad to your Delight!

This selection from Shakespeare finally makes sense when you are living a life with pain as your companion.  It’s a battle, emotional as well as physical.

*HamletTo be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

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