Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mixed blessing

Recently, I've received vouchers from both Sainsbury's and Co-operative Food to compensate me for poor quality products I've bought from them. Partly it's a yay! for my assertiveness (if emails count as assertive) in standing up for my "consumer rights". We spend enough money at the supermarkets that it's surely fair enough to expect edible food in return.

On the other hand, I'm aware that this is something that happens when I'm not too well. I want to Fix All The Things.

For example, before my first adult inpatient stay in 1998, not only had I written to the publishers of a children's cookbook (used by my mother at school) to inform them that raw eggs shouldn't be used in recipes intended for young children because of the risks of salmonella, but I had also gone to the trouble of producing a sign for the local museum. I couldn't cope with their own shabby, handwritten, tatty thing blu-tacked to the inside of the door so I had to remedy it by making a replacement and posting it through the door. The museum put up my replacement sign. The publishers said that they would reconsider the recipe when making new versions of the books. So arguably these little crusades of mine were successful.

But it might also be worth asking why I can't allow things to be imperfect in the world. 

Just today I've been trying to sort something out for a BBC World Service radio programme that I follow on Twitter; they were trying to contact someone and I couldn't stop myself from pointing out a more efficient way of so doing. I did manage to stop myself from pointing out the difference between a blog and a blog post to a mental health charity that wanted people to "send your blog to the address!"  "No!" my brain is screaming, "I can't *send my blog* to an email address; I could send you a blog post but *not a blog*". I'm not sure what remnant of self-restraint stopped me from descending into needless pedantry. But I'm glad it did. 

I suppose it would be easy to provide a pat psychoanalysis of this: I'm feeling out of control, whether sub- or consciously, and gaining a feeling of control back from "fixing" things.  

To be honest, this isn't too useful in sorting out how to cope with the feelings. The main thing is that I'm articulating, however quietly, however disjointedly on this blog, that I am feeling out of control. This post even includes the words "when I'm not too well". And from that, someone might extrapolate that I acknowledge that I'm not too well right now. 

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