Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On Being The Way I Am

Erethism, a word first used in or around 1800 meaning abnormal responsiveness or sensitivity to stimulation, coming from the Greek through French. Not only do I suffer alcoholism, I also suffer erethism, but not from Mercury poisoning. At least I don't think so.

Wiki says:
"Erethism or erethism mercurialis is a neurological disorder which affects the whole central nervous system, as well as a symptom complex derived from mercury poisoning. This is also sometimes known as the mad hatter disease. Historically, this was common among old England felt-hatmakers who used mercury to stabilize the wool in a process called felting, where hair was cut from a pelt of an animal such as a rabbit.

"The industrial workers were exposed to the mercury vapors, giving rise to the expression “mad as a hatter.” Some believe that the character the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is an example of someone suffering from erethism, but the origin of this account is unclear. The character was almost certainly based on Theophilus Carter, an eccentric furniture dealer who was well known to Carroll."

On Being The Way I Am
(But I mean well, don't you know)

My erethism
forces the hues surrounding
the roiling tendrils
of my knotted soul.
I sense the aneurysm
which I know will soon
burst and flood the scene
with all my good intentions,
as if that would do,
make up for all my
thoughtless actions which have caged
the tree of my fate.

September 19, 2010 2:48 PM.


  1. I've never heard of this before. So you're mad as a hatter?

  2. A very interesting post, even if more than just tinged with sadness. I also liked your expression of suffering alcoholism rather than suffering from.....

    1. I included erethism with alcoholism but excluded the typical historical cause of mercury poisoning. I was poisoned by my upbringing and inner states which did not combine well.

      One possibility that I have never really investigated and don't know how one could - I was severely asthmatic as a child and as consequence was given high powered drugs ala the 1950s treatments of choice for asthma.

      I do not know what the long term consequences of living on that medicine might have been for me.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!