janus – faced: on being bipolar

Dear Internet,
As I started prepping today’s piece, it struck me as I am also a gemini and if you’re hip to astrology, geminis are dual natured. I don’t think you could make my life any more hamfisted or obvious.
So today is World Bipolar Day! Last year, I discovered the cause a day after it occurred — which is always my luck. Since I’m so prolific about writing about my mental state of being, I thought I would take today’s entry and point out some of the resources, blogs, and books that I use to keep my brain in check.
A few disclaimers.

  1. I am not a doctor or a therapist. I cannot treat or diagnose your brain. What I write on this site is what works for me (including drugs, more of which I’ll go into in a sec), so for the love of fuck do not take my experiences as the end all, be all of being bipolar.
  2. Bipolar is, in short, a chemical imbalance in the brain. Unlike things like anxiety or borderline personality disorder, which are managed by talk therapy, it is nearly impossible to function without some kind of drug therapy, in addition to talking therapy. Yes, yes, I know people have said they manage without drug therapy (or talking therapy) and those people who are successful at managing without any type of therapy, successfully, is tiny. Like really, really, tiny.
  3. I implore you not to self-medicate.
  4. There are several different types of bipolarism. I am bipolar 1.
  5. Bipolar is typically comorbid, which means you can be bipolar AND have anxiety AND so on. I am bipolar 1 with anxiety, adhd, and borderline personality disorder.
  6. FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK DO NOT DIAGNOSE YOURSELF ON THE INTERNET AND I DON’T CARE IF YOU USED THE MAYO CLINIC / WEBMD / OR SOME OTHER KIND OF REPUTABLE SITE. You can get recommendations from your general physician, your insurance company or in Google: psychiatrist “name of your city” to get a listing of shrinks in your area. You’re going to want a medicating shrink for your drugs and a talking shrink for your talk therapy. Some doctors can do both. They will diagnose you and work out a treatment plan for you.

The below are resources / books I use or have used and found success with in my management of my brain. I am listing mainly bipolar stuff and US based sites. I have found in my searches for “bipolar” or “bipolar blogs”, up comess lots and lots of academic-y pieces on the disorder or links to sites like WebMD with explanations of the disorder but not much after that. I have also found a few sites that were more about snake oil then providing resources or information.
Which brings me to: Be weary of sites that always want to sell you something like, “How I cured Bipolar in 10 Easy Steps” and that kind of crap. If someone wants to sell you their life story on them and bipolar, that’s one thing, but the rest is mostly snake-oil.
Now the recommendations. (Amazingly, to me, the Reddit subreddit for bipolar is pretty chill.)

Mine

  • Pinterest board where I’ve started curating mental health stuff website
  • Article at MindBodyGreen, “I’ve Had Bipolar Disorder For 20 Years. Here’s How I’ve Learned To Manage It” website
  • EpbaB tags bipolar | bipolar maniamentally healthy

Reources

Blogs

Books


I am a:  LibrarianWriter. Nerd. Geek. Sassy.  Pug owner. World traveler. Pierced. Tattooed. Tall.Music and book lover. Discriminating Guinness taster. Aging, alternative hipster. Eco-conscious. Equally in love with James Bond, Jane Austen, and Doctor Who.
I am not the sum of my diagnosis.
My brain is broken but I am not.

I am more the sum of my parts and so are you.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1999

 

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Mental Illness, Shame, and the Art of Asking – 2016 Edition

#LisMentalHealth week is an initiative started by my good friend Cecily Walker and Kelly McElroy. You can follow along on Twitter, add resources to the Google doc, or check out the Storify of Monday’s chat.
Dear Internet,
If you’ve been reading (or following me on social media), it’s no surprise I’m open about my mental health. I talk pretty extensively on being bipolar (especially since I’m bipolar one which means I creep towards mania than depression), mental health in general, borderline personality disorder, adhd, depression when I get it, anxiety, and about my drugs, shrink, and fuck, probably a lot more I’m forgetting.
While I try not let me be these diseases, so much of what they do is an integral part of my life, it’s very hard to talk about them in some sort of context, “I’m being cray today. Ugh!”
So here is a week where I can talk freely and abundantly about my brain with professionals in my chosen career only to find as I opened up this editor to write — I am stumped on what exactly to say.
Three years ago (!), spurned by a TED Talk by Amanda Fucking Palmer, I wrote this piece: “Mental Illness, Shame, and The Art of Asking.”
In case you missed it, here is Amanda’s talk:

What I said three years ago

Yesterday, I was part of a panel at MSU Comics Forum where we gave a presentation on Golden Age: Comics and Graphic Novel Resources in Libraries. Our schtick is to present on this topic at non-library conferences because we knew it was important for artists, writers, creators, educators, and comic book lovers to be aware of what/how libraries are doing with comics and graphic novels. Within the library world, it is a given. Outside the library world, not so much.
 
While prepping for my talk, I was debating on whether or not to mention I was bipolar and relate that to graphic novels available on the topic. If part of my argument is graphic novels should be in libraries is because they help broach difficult topics, is this not a difficult topic and ergo a perfect example? The other question that would be asked is what kind of obligation do I have in mentioning I am bipolar to anyone about anything? Why does the onus fall on me?
 
This debate went on in my head up until I took the podium.
 
When the slide came up I had earmarked to mention being bipolar, I found myself just saying it as naturally if you please:
 
“I’m bipolar. I’ve had several friends who’ve read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me and say to me, ‘Okay. I understand what you’re going through. It was eye opening.’ And this is perfectly illustrates how graphic novels and comics can help broach difficult topics.”
 
Several heads in the audience nodded with agreement.
 
In the space of a few minutes, I had negotiated in my head the trust relationship between myself and the audience. I gave myself permission to be candid. The floor did not open up and swallow me nor did fire come reigning down the heavens.
 
While I was feeling manic up until that moment, and then the world shifted into focus. When my 15 minutes was done, I felt my body relax for the first time in weeks.
 
Before watching AFP’s talk last night, I had not realized the mental negotiations taking place in my head about having a mental illness were about exchanges in trust with whomever. Oh, not you Internet, but with those in contact of my daily life, who don’t follow me across the social sphere or read this blog. There is a price tag on honesty, and on revealing, one that was too high in the past to contemplate, and one that is constantly always under scrutinizing but is becoming easier to negotiate.
 
AFP rationalized it is not about taking a risk, rather it is trust. Shame comes in when those not part of the negotiation attempt to criticize it. I am currying trust with my readership by telling them about my crazy, but someone who doesn’t read my blog, or know me, starts to make judgements on the already established link between me and my readership, they are installing shame on the affair. Anything different is open to criticism and this needs to change.
 
My name is Lisa and I am bipolar.
It needs to be said, it has to be said, I will continue to say it.

That piece still sums up what I feel today, except when it’s not.
Bipolar can be controlled with drugs and therapy. I’ve been on the same cocktail for over a year now and 9 times out of 10, life is pretty even keel. Now Borderline Personality Disorder is taking center stage, rearing its ugly head and that has been running my life for the last year+.
BPD has ruined a lot of things with the most current such as TheBassist1 breaking up with me not because he didn’t love and want me, but because I was a flight risk2 and will always be a flight risk until I got my shit together.
BPD has ruined not only romantic relationships, but platonic relationships; it’s distorted my world view; it’s fucked a lot of things for me and sometimes I feel utterly and completely out of control. “I hate you, don’t leave me!” “Everyone hates me; I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.” “I have made a mistake somewhere and now I will be shunned/fired/etc.”
Coupled with being bipolar, I’m often surprised I’ve made it past 40. Hell, past 30.
I talk a lot about the domino effect which has plagued me these last few years. But what I haven’t discussed is exactly how that affected me on a much more personal level:

  • The #teamharpy case has made me a leper in the library world
  • nina and I racked up $15K in legal fees
  • I ran myself into $40K credit card debt between September 2014 and June 2015
  • On paper I’ve been homeless, on and off, since October 2014
  • I’ve had several breakdowns, starting with a long period of mania that lasted for about six months, then a bout of depression, back to mania, which finally came to a head in October when TheBassist broke it off with me.
  • From October to mid-December I rarely left TheExHusband’s condo or got out of my jimjams or did any kind of self-care. I ugly cried nearly every day
  • I’ve rarely smoked more than a couple of cigarettes a month until this past summer where I’m coming up to half a pack a day
  • While not suicidal, I’ve been in crisis at least twice in the last year

I’m probably missing a few things but this is the laundry list of ills that have been the albatross in my life for the last 18 months. A lot of these are my own choices, “If only I had…”

  • …used the word ‘alleged’ in that fucking tweet
  • …stop spending money on useless shit since I don’t have a job
  • …stopped denying everything was great and I was sick
  • …listened to what my loved ones said instead of thinking I could go at this alone

There are a lot of “If onlys.” Aren’t there always?
Being mentally ill is a goddamned highway with lots of on and off ramps. You make decisions based on your illness, it backfires, and you lose something important. You make a decision based on your illness, it comes up smelling of roses. You just never know how the die is going to roll and we keep taking the chance that what we decided was right.
We’re gamblers, we are. We worry by not telling anyone, we’ll not be able to get help when we need it. We worry if we do tell someone, we’ll lose out on life/partners/jobs. We worry how drugs will affect us or if self-care will actually work. We worry about the stigma, the pain, the anguish, the shame. We make ourselves sicker because we cannot disclose our sickness without fear something terrible is going to happen.
And the most painful thing? No one trusts you. TheBassist doesn’t trust me. TheExHusband doesn’t trust me. I’ve lost a lot of friends who can no longer trust me. What comes out of my mouth today can and has been either half-way true or another variation tomorrow3. It’s hard to ask for help when no one trusts you, even if they love you.
A lot of hard questions are coming up in the #lismentalhealth chat. Questions I want to be the queen of all that is mentally ill and bestow my wisdom to everyone as I have all the answers (“I am the greatest thing since sliced bread.”). I’m afraid to post because I don’t want to be seen as a scene stealer (“Everyone hates me.”). I don’t want to seem “weak” (“I can control this thing no matter what you say”), whatever that means, and I don’t want people to take pity on me even though I crave their adoration (“Don’t leave me.”). I’m a raging, sarcastic asshole towards people (“I hate you.”)
Being mentally ill is goddamned exhausting. I think this is one thing we can all agree upon.
One of the questions that did come up I can, somewhat, safely answer is about disclosing your illness to current and future employers. Right now I’m of the mindset of “No.” In my last position, because I was hell bent on being open and honest, I told my immediate boss. Within a few months, they used my illnesses against me. See the revised job description they put up when they did a call after my contact was about to expire. Look particularly at 12. They also would use verbiage such as, “Go take more drugs,” and “have you seen your therapist lately” out of spite. (Yes, I did try to get them reprimanded for such impertinence but since no one heard them, I had no physical proof…you get the idea where this going, right?) Despite the disability act/equal opportunity form you can volunteer to answer when you apply for a job, I choose “no response” to the question or I don’t fill out the damned thing at all. I cannot take the chance if someone sees I’m bipolar they will automatically disqualify me from getting a job. While this is illegal, I’ll never know since I will just get your standard rejection.
I have nothing to say. I have everything to say. I have a zillion answers. I have no answers.
I wish I did.
xoxo,
Lisa

1. One day there will be a day when I don’t mention him in a piece but today is not that day.
2. I can’t blame him for this part of why our relationship failed this time around. When the love of you life is leaving you every couple of months and then calls you ugly crying, you’d probably cut ties off too. But that’s a post for another time.
3. Pinky swear, on my grandmother’s grave, everything I’ve written in here, my world, has been true. It may have been fucked up, crazy sounding, or depressing as fuck, but this is the only place I have always felt like my safe space and thus can be completely honest.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011, 2011, 1997

drive

Dear Internet,
It’s Memorial Day and while most of you are out enjoying (hopefully) the good weather, I’m in TheExHusband’s condo waiting for it rain. Without access to a grill, and impending iffy weather, we’re keeping it indoors for the day. Pot roast will be consumed, laundry done, and at some point I will be start catching up on some telly. If we’re super honest, I will not get out of my jimjams for the rest of day and I’m okay with that.
I’ve spent the morning doing clean up and restructuring of some things around here.It seemed if I’m going to be coming back with gusto, a lot of the old features should be revamped and reinstated. I’m bringing back Collection of Cunning Curiosities, my breakdown of things I’ve liked that week across various mediums. I’ve dropped the medieval spelling and instead of a line item of things, it will be a summary of that particular medium. I’ve been Pocketing loads of things for months without referencing them after they were saved which was the point of CoC.
I’ve massively updated my Book List of 2015 and while it feels like I’ve been reading more as of late, the list still looks fairly puny to where I should be in order to hit the 100 book mark for the year. If you’re a visual person like me, I’ve also updated the board at Pinterest.
TheExHusband sprung for a new iPad Mini as an early Lisamas gift. Of course, I’m feeling overwhelmed with his generosity but my old iPad2 was becoming slower than molasses in January, close to obsolescence, and often freezing up. Surprisingly, as a second generation tech, it’s still much preferred over the next few generations until the iPad Minis and Airs were released.
I used my iPad2 like mad in the four years I’ve owned it but at some point, I noted it was, in addition to slowness, coupled with only 16g of space, almost too cumbersome for reading and game playing. The new iPad Mini that is sitting next to me is several chip generations ahead, bigger drive, thus much snappier and reading on it, especially comics with its retina display, is a delight.
I’m pretty sure TheExHusband and I do not have a normal divorced relationship, considering how much he’s been by my side through all of my foibles. But we were so integral to each other’s lives for so long, just disconnecting altogether would feel wrong.
My mania pitched this morning. It may be partially due to my intake of Lamictal, which is slowly being upped to 400mg and should be stabilized in the next few weeks. It could also be due to the pot of coffee I’ve had today. I swear, I didn’t feel manic when I woke up this morning and I even went to bed at a reasonable hour with zero problems sleeping! I have been so energetic this afternoon that we went on a walk because I’m even annoying myself. Of course the walk had to have a purpose – to get a waffle cone of chocolate sorbet. Huzzah!
I’ve been interested in tracking my sugars, not because I’m diabetic or even close, but I read a recent article in WaPo that it isn’t exercise or cutting fats that will allow you to lose weight, but cutting sugars. I’ve had success in the past when I’ve been diligent with calories, so cutting those along with watching my sugars seems a natural way to go with changing my eating. It is also bikini season.
The author, a doctor, uses reports and studies to back up his findings, and hell, who couldn’t do better with a more normalized diet? As a starter, I started documenting my food intake today  in which the only meals I have had is brunch and a snack, yet I have already consumed 125% of my sugar allowance. Obviously the sorbet didn’t help. So there is that. (And if you’re one of those people, you can find me on MyFitnessPal as biblyotheke. You can also find me on FitBit if you do a search for byvalkyrie@facebook dot com.)
Eurovision was Saturday, which TheExHusband and I watched live. The best way to explain it is American Idol on super speed but with 40ish countries competing instead of 12 hopeful contestants. The pageantry, costumes, and kitschy national pride is what sets it apart from just about anything else. Don’t believe me? Here is a quick recap of all the contestants from 2014.
Rising like a phoenix,
xoxo,
Lisa

Today in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2o03

year in review: 2014

Dear Internet,
Working at home today and getting supremely in the groove. Re-discovered that I used to do a round up, by month, of things that went on in the previous year as a year in review. This seems like a good idea to continue insofar as giving me a perspective for the year and helping me figure out what I need to improve or cut back on.
Previous years: 2000, 19971996

Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s wish for 2015:

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It’s too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.

It’s been a helluva a year. Here’s to 2015 being boring and slow.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013, 1999

bury the lede

Dear Internet,
It’s a clear night here on the east coast and I was outside having a smoke (or three), watching planes fly to and fro across the Sound. People winging their ways across the pond or coming back, minutes or hours from seeing their loved ones, taking a risk, starting a journey, or fleeing from a thing that is chasing them. This is an exercise I’m most intimate with, this thinking what this world around me is doing as it continually moves even if I’m standing still. In that frame, I felt insignificant and yet godlike. I have been all of those people, even if I am none of them now.
These are the times I feel most alone and most connected to others, for I feel the weight of their expectations, their glories, their regrets, and all other human emotion on my being. I was none of them and yet all of them. Here in this now, I am constantly running even in my brain and my energy packs are growing thin. I am gasping for breath and my head is on fire, even though I feel like I’m watching everything happening from an outside body. I watch my body move, smile, laugh, and fuck while my brain is somewhere else.
Brendan tipped me off to a service called ZocDoc, a service that allows you to search for doctors in your area and also allow you to narrow by insurance. You know, something your insurance provider should allow you to do without having to jump 15 hoops. I found a prescribing psychiatrist who had appointments open that day and by that evening, I had scripts for Lamictal, Abilify, and my trusty favorite, Klonopin.
Thus, I’m back on the drugs again.
Dr. P. recommended I not go down this road again until I was feeling more sure and stable in my current locale, but neither of us could have predicted that I would spin this far out of control. While he’s been keeping in touch with me, thank Nigel for that, I’m swinging too fast that by the time I talk to him, I’m stable for the moment again. But the moods are shifting too fast and too furious.
I need help.
Every day is as unpredictable as it possibly can be. Some days I’m up at and at ’em at a reasonable hour and days like Tuesday, I’m in bed all day crying or having some sort of massive panic attack. Others are a combination of the two. No one day is like its predecessor.
My smoking habit comes and goes, though if my need for control wears its hat properly, that is something I can fix so I’m quitting again. Tomorrow I plan on working on a daily schedule for myself to get in the grove to create a infrastructure and wait for job prospects to pan out.
During all of this, I’ve interviewed for two positions, of which one I was told to expect a follow up for a second interview while I was passed on the other. A third job prospect with an Ivy has weeded me from the pile of potentials to passing on to the selection committee for the position. This means nothing, no interview has been forthcoming as of yet, but it also means everything because of the potential interview. So while I’m emotionally falling apart, I am in some small ways, keeping my shit together.
That bit is important. I marvel at myself for having been able to not spiral so far out towards the sun.
The inability to articulate, when my verbal word retrieval fails me, has also been a huge part of the problem. I should be writing, even privately, but I haven’t been. Perhaps this is part of the problem I’m having in finding my footing. Not being able to communicate even to myself what’s in my head (even if scattered), which makes it even more difficult to communicate to those around me.
Right now, I do not know where I will end up or what I’ll be doing. But I keep reminding myself this is all very temporary, this shifting, while I wait for my moods to stabilize. Patience.
There are things I am certain of, of things I must do. But I must learn, above all else, patience. That will be my greatest struggle and fight, to remain patient as all of this works itself out.
While there is life, there is hope.
xoxo,
Lisa

disappear in the sweet, sweet gaze

Dear Internet,
It seems everyone around me is getting their shit together mentally, physically, or other. I’ve got friends of varying diameters from my heart who are all taking the big leap in making their lives whole, and you know, I don’t want to be left out. I may seem to march to the beat of my own drummer, but secretly I want to be part of the band.
The other half of my year long sabbatical (other than to write, natch) is to do also do a jump start on Lisa-love. Now that most of my major social obligations are out of the way, I can get working on the Making Happy project, which I started back in late December 2013 but did not continue. I got sucked into everything else happening outside my world and then forgot to do self-care bit. No, I’m not doing that anymore. I refuse to participate in any culture OR relationship where I can’t get my needs met OR interact with people who don’t desire to become better human beings. I’d rather be alone for the right choices then be in places to satiate some sort of stupid societal design.
(One of my favorite people, nina, talks about the importance of self-care and standing up for yourself in her post, I Desire to Be More Sensitive. Yes, she spins it from a professional point of view but honestly? If you continue to live in a world that only supports a small demographic, I don’t want you in my life.)
To that end, I am going to start documenting my moods/exchanges/other details to deal with getting my life on track and in order using the Day One app. It’s hard to make big decisions when I don’t know if what I’m feeling is the DISEASES whispering their madness in my ear or I genuinely am not interested in that thing. nina speaks the proverbial truth when she notes those who have mental health illnesses are punished when it comes to these feelings, “because they are constantly told not to trust their perceptions, intuitions, and feelings about the world (and themselves in relation to the world).” 
I <3 you,  nina.
The constant back and forthing on every decision is exhausting and defeating. I think I’m significantly better on deciding what is what, but for other things, not so much.
With all this in mind, I decided to go back on the bipolar drugs. Again. For the fourth of fifth time (I’ve lost track).
I know last year I was pretty adamant getting off the Lithium and focusing on holistic approach and it mostly works but it’s not enough. Constantly being ON takes so much out of me that I just don’t have the strength to do much of anything else.
And I’m missing out on the joy of life because keeping me on path is all I can do most days. I am desperate for my own Instagram feed of happy times, smiling faces, and good friends instead of food pics, random body pics, and dog pics.
I confessed to two people in these last weeks I thought maybe I had a good ten years left in me before ending my life by my hand. I’m continually amazed I made it to 42 because there was a long time where I didn’t think I made it to 30. A lot of what keeps me moving forward are those two people, and others, who inspire and touch depths of me that have never seen sunlight.
Even on days like today, where one cup of coffee is giving me a full body haze and the nerves in my face feels like a thousand tiny pinpricks on fire, I am buoyed by that love. I can grab joy in minute amounts, but fuck it, I want to hover up the whole buffet.
Yes, I am willing to do anything to amplify and extending getting to that joy and if that means I get back on the bipolar drugs, so be it. It will also help pull me back from me having to be ON all the time, which will allow me to enjoy life more rather than less. But I have guidelines, as you do, and this time no ADHD drugs or SSRIs. Lithium, any other drug that has lactose/whey as an inactive ingredient, is also out.
I crave mental stability much in the same vein I crave cake. I crave the details so refined to fill in the gaps of the experiences.
But I’m not going to give it all to the drug gods, no, I have to continue to do my work too such as refining the diet and continue with the exercise. And leaving the house once in a while.
Just like last year, just like now, I end this with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers:

There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a… a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know… a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle… and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt. Troy Dyer

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2012, 2010, 2010

 
 

Drunk Cabin Time

Dear Internet,
I decided to get drunk last night – because that is what writers do! They get drink and let it all fucking go and in that aspect of my career, I am sadly far, far behind.
TheHusband and I have a pretty well stocked bar at Throbbing Manor and we never, ever partake. Like ever. There are loads of reason for this, ranging from alcoholism in our individual family histories to my bipolar. Neither of us have cultivated a taste for alcohol “just because” we like the taste, it was always about getting drunk; this attitude ruled much of our 20s.
But I’m 42 now. Adult. Need to step up the game. Get serious about letting go and learning how to handle my alcohol much more responsibly than I did back then. That’s why I made sure to bring up some delights from home for my writing retreat.
So it was entirely in the realms of the possible I start mixing myself white russians while waiting for the 42 year old stove take 1023984102938 minutes to boil some goddamn pasta for my dinner.
(TheDrunk informed me last night via Facebook I made the amateur mistake of carbing up before drinking. One should only do that if they are planning on a day long binge, like beer fests.)
During all of this, I decided I really needed to hear Aphex Twin. Which turned into me mixing a 33 song set, while regaling people on the Internets of g-d nearly every song, lyric, and dance moves coupled with stories behind songs I was choosing. I even started ranting about TheEx for a bit with the thought if I ever saw him again, six years on now, I’d rip his testicles off and shove them down his throat.
I’ve totally grown up and gotten over my anger — I didn’t use the word “balls.”

[iframe src=”https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:user:quangola:playlist:32vfc6WvlldQnJqxU6Ze1N&#8221; width=”300″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″ allowtransparency=”true”]

You will note Aphex Twin is not anywhere on the list.
I spent a lot of time “singing” and “dancing” around the cabin, with the blinds wide open on the and not giving two fucks. And I’m using quotes here because shit starts moving when in places you don’t expect when one dances.  So I decided to tell the world that, and then this happened.
jjfad
I sort of got clued in around 2AM that I was not the least bit tired, I was ready for yet another glass of my magic potion, and I could continue mixing my love song to the 90s tape for a few more hours.
So of course I was probably manic. Durr.
To wind the night down, I decided to make a Vine to prove the darkness of the night and in the background, you can hear the BZZZZZZZ of the cherry orchard equipment running at 2 goddamn in the AM. They are fertilizing and or picking cherries, according TheHusband.
(Sorry, the Vine autostarts!)
[iframe class=”vine-embed” src=”https://vine.co/v/MQ1udVrD3pT/embed/postcard&#8221; width=”600″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″]
Hilarity: I had to google how to use Vine because I am old and forgetful.
There is something infinitely freeing about just letting it all the fuck go. Not getting sloppy drunk, or getting maudlin drunk (though that was close to happen there for a hot second, but I pulled out of it).
I woke up this morning with nary a trace of a hung over, while it was probably the carbs and the gallons of water I drunk before bed, I’m giving thanks to my Scottish ancestry for stepping up like woah, lassie.
Time for tea.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2008, 2003, 1999, 1998

daily walk: the floating head tree

Dear Internet,
Last night I was utterly exhausted when I crawled into bed around midnight with the hope that by reading, I’d be able to nod off and get to sleep. My brain had other things on its mind because I finished the book around 1:30A, and still wide awake at 5:11AM watching Bob’s Burgers.
I took half a Klonopin around 4ish, which I think finally drove me the edge into wonderland of sleep. However, I bolted upright in bed at around 9:30AM as if I had slept for days.
TheHusband, who was appreciative of me being quiet as a mouse while I watched terrible television last night, tried to cajole to go back to sleep but I was BRIGHT EYED AND BUSHY TAILED. LIke a squirrel on speed.
I decided to harness this extra energy by walking to the Downtown Market for their Saturday Farmer’s Market since we needed an assortment of veg. The round trip is about a mile and would also count as part of my daily walk series, PLUS getting some kind of exercise should help with the mania.
Win-win all the way around.
floatingheadtree
As we walked to the market, I had forgotten the house with the floating heads was on our way, which marked the perfect beginning of the journey.
downtownmarket
Because of some dilly-dallying on my end at home, we didn’t get to the market until after 12PM, so most of the fruit/veg were picked over but we still ended up scoring us some great finds. We were hoping to have lunch at Grampas’s Pasty Co., because goddamn their Conrish influenced pasties are delicious, but they were down to two flavors we weren’t rather fond of so we skipped them this week.
After loading up our messenger bags with our finds, we walked the Market’s inside hall to see if we were missing any else and to get lunch ideas. We ended up with a few treats from Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe for later, but still no lunch options were tempting us. Since we’re right downtown, we decided to see what was open.
stellas-2
Stella’s is one of our favorite spots to eat in the downtown core. They have awesome burgers, great fries, and metric fuckton of old video games to play. But we weren’t in the mood for Stella’s so we kept walking and ended up at Meena’s Joint, which serves stoner food with a Rasta vibe.
TheHusband might looks like he partakes but we are aging alternative hipsters and coupled with the Coheed and Cambria on the stereo, we were definitely not the clientele they are catering to. The food is basically anything that could constitute a sandwich filling packed into a grilled tortilla and the taste was merely, “meh.”
With our bellies full, I was ready to keep on walking around downtown, maybe do a stroll through GRAM or a saunter down Monroe Center,  but the threatening rain finally decided to open up the skies.
We decided to just walk home in rainy, companionable silence.
fitbitwalk-july12
Distance: 3 miles
Walk time: 1:00:54 (This is total walk time, does not include time we shopped at the market or lunch)
Pace: 20:17/mile
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010

TheHusband came in and told me how much he appreciated me and is encouraging of my work. I am noting this as I am naturally suspicious.

Dear Internet,
In our household, neither TheHusband nor myself are one for blowing smoke up each other’s arses. Thus when he showed up in my office this morning to tell me how much he appreciates everything I do and asked how he could be more encouraging of my work, I was naturally suspicious.
TheHusband is a snugglesaurus par excellence, but expressing himself verbally is not his forte. Hence my suspicion when the outpouring comes because it is so unexpected that I am inclined to narrow my eyes a little and start probing him with questions.
When you think about it, I’m the one being the jerk here when he’s the one wearing his heart on his basketball shorts.
(And he is the only person alive who is allowed to call me “Pookie Bear” without irony or fear of losing an appendage.)
It has been documented we have a very complicated mating ritual.

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My brain is on fire. It is spinning so fast, I feel at any moment it is going to whiz out of my skull and splat against the wall.
Mania has beset me this week, which is why I’ve been negligent on the daily walks. When it gets to the point where I need to start taking Klonopin to bring me down to normal human speed, even a half dose in the middle of the day, on a near daily basis, productivity slows down to a crawl. If I take Klonopin more than a couple of days in a row, even if my head is buzzing a million miles an hour, I physically feel exhausted and barely able to function.
It becomes a delicate balance of what can I accomplish before needing to take the drugs so I can stop being in mental pain.

««««»»»»

This week was  filled with Adult Responsibilities aka I had to wear pants and leave the house. I met with our new CPA on Wednesday and my lawyer on Thursday, both for the reason of completing a LLC on Pookie Bear Industries (not really the name though TheHusband was championing for it).
Why the LLC? Well, a couple of reasons with the main one being as that I’m in the process of lining up some freelance work, I need to be able to write off expenses related to the freelancing. I’m also planning on doing some self-publishing work that if I have a LLC, it will just look better professionally.
(There a metric fuck ton of homework that I need to do for both the CPA and the lawyer, so I’m trying to squeak that out when my head is not inflamed. Sometimes being an adult is hard.)

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I knew going into this I would not be writing every single day, at least not on a single project everyday, and I did know I needed to square out space for household activities to allow me to write uninterrupted. When I’m at home, I feel inclined to do all the domestic work needed and letting that overrun when I should be doing something related to this new adventure. But as I start to get a feel for my schedule and tackling much needed domestic things and Adult Responsibilities, it often comes to early evening before I even have that space to write. Coupled with the mania as of late, it’s all been a well managed chaos.
I will say I’m pretty pleased that even with how my brain is feeling, I set out a small goal todos every day and get those done without too much pain or stress. I’ve started documenting every single thing I’ve done for the day, no matter how minute, in DayOne so I can have better accountability and will making writing up my monthly summary easier.
Monday I’m heading up to Throbbing Cabin solo to work for a week without interruption. The goal is to get the bulk of the work I’ve outlined a few days ago started and in some sort of decent shape. This weekend will be spent doing work on the back end of the work. Without having a snugglesaurus TheHusband around or domesticity to tempt me out of my working lair, I will be able to buckle down and zone out in my worlds.
The kind of day I’m structuring will float something like this: Wake up, take a hike around the area (hence the daily walks will resume), get some writing done. Eat something. Get some more writing done. Eat some more. Do a bit of reading. Hang out at the beach with my telescope. Sleep.
If that does work, I am hoping to be travelling up to Throbbing Cabin as much as I can solo until the snows fall. And maybe, if TheHusband is very good, he can come visit.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011, 2003

attending shenanigans

shenanigans
Dear Internet,
It’s spring and along with it being the prime for allergies, it’s also cold drink season. Years ago I was introduced to the Toddy Cold Brew system via Kate and have been hooked on it ever since. Since I’ve been (more or less) caffeine free since January 1, and my recent exposure to caffeine did not end the world, I decided to mix 60% decaf and 40% caf coffees together for my first cold brew batch of 2014. The reason for the mix was that I did not quite have enough decaf for the brew and had extra caffeinated hanging around, so why not?
Big mistake.
The standard serving measurement is 1/4 cup of the concentrate per 8oz of milk or water. On Saturday, after brewing the coffee for about 24 hours, I mixed 1/4 cup concentrate, ice, and about 12oz of vanilla almond milk for consumption.
I was high all of Saturday and far into Sunday. I was so manic I opined the following on Facebook:

J. seriously considered throttling me in stores.
Case in point: Looking for shorts to wear to play tennis tomorrow, thought it bright idea to try them on outside regular clothes mid-aisle.
Subtitle: Keeping it classy since 1972.

I was so manic that even though I took one Klonopin that night to knock me out, that wasn’t quite enough to knock me back into the netherworld I so desperately needed, which lead into more mania into Sunday.
On Monday, because I hate throwing away waste and rather enjoy the brain mixing, I tempered down to 1/8th cup of concentrate, ice, milk and the mania was still on fire. Not as bad as over the weekend, but still pretty awful. A Klonopin was produced.
Tuesday, I took it down to a tablespoon of concentrate, then mixed in the ice/milk and we seem to have a winner. I can still get coffee taste without wasting what I had already produced AND most importantly, without enflaming the mania.  I’ve been doing this combination, mixed with 1/8th cup of water to help the dilution, all week and so far its been working.
It will take me a very long time to go through this batch.
As the cycle of the mania continues its elliptical path, when I was feeling so calm a few weeks prior, I wasn’t too surprised I started crashing Thursday morning. I’ve noticed my agitation on certain things escalates when I’m peaking during the mania, right before the downward dog starts occurring.
One thing I’m super impressed with myself on is my new superhero power of pulling in the crazy before all hell breaks loose. I found myself in a variety of stressful situations this week where I could have done some real damage. I swallowed hard the impulse, which seemed to sap a lot of my strength, but I’m just puffed I was able to keep it together. To be sure, there some difficult situations I had to address, even if I tried to escape from them, so I settled on brusque politeness to get the job done. That seemed to have done the trick.
Sometime this week, I found out it was National Mental Health Month, which lead me to my twice yearly search for a national foundation for people with bipolar in the United States. The United Kingdom has one, why don’t we?
After much digging around the Internet, I finally found a nationwide organization that supports both depression and bipolar, what has a local chapter here in Grand Rapids. I got in touch with the leader and they do indeed meet 2x a month, so I’m going to be checking this out.
I am suspicious of such things, as I am always suspicious of these matters. The last group meetings I did was about a decade ago for Borderline Personality Disorder which freaked me out more than helped. People obviously much sicker than me, barely able to cope with their daily lives, that I felt like an imposter within their midst. I wasn’t REALLY sick, because I was functioning far more in day to day lives then they were. The doctor amped them up on drugs for control, she pulled me off of mine and kept telling me how lucky I was to be so well adjusted despite my maladies.
Right now I feel like I’m grasping at straws. Drugs don’t work, thus I need  better coping mechanisms. After awhile, you get tired of crying in your car as you head home because you’re too manic to cook bacon, because  you know if you do you may accidentally set something on fire. You’ve done it before and you know you will do it again. Your whole life is a chain reaction against a single action, inflamed by this disease.
I wonder if any therapist ever gets that we want more than to “function”? We want the normalcy that we envy in others. We want to do more than just be able to hold down a job or attend school or keep a house. We want to live.
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013