Bipolar Disorder – A Manic Pause in Motion

I’ve often thought about how to explain more about how I think my brain works so that you might understand where I’m coming from… but heck, I’ve not nothing. Well, nothing simple or short anyway.

Most of the time, I hesitate for days and even weeks to post my thoughts to you for one main reason: I don’t think they’re perfect. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Perfectionism is NOT something I’ve ever been accused of. At least, not loudly enough for me to remember hearing.

Baby steps.

I’m having surgery on the 17th, and it might just slow my already lagging posting schedule down. My goal and my intentions aren’t to allow that to happen. This begins right now.

I’d like to share with you something that I have always found fantastically funny. As a matter of fact, I have gone through all 10 seasons on Amazon Prime and have now started watching them on YouTube so I can share them with people like you, people I want to help find lighter things, funny things, silly things to laugh about. Things that frankly don’t matter beyond what goes on once it goes into your head.

I do hope you’ll take a half an hour and give the series a try. There are far too many episodes for me to sit and watch them all and pick a favorite one to recommend. Most of them are ridiculous. Just last night, my 27-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son watched a random episode with me and we all laughed. They said that I didn’t need to have tricked them into watching it. All I needed to do was to tell them what it was. They would have stayed in the room and watched it anyway. Now that’s a gold star!

Give it a go and let me know what you think. If you love it and search for other episodes please don’t pick the ones with the show playing in the little box in the corner. If you have Amazon Prime, so much the better. You’ll need a subscription to Britbox at Amazon Prime, but I love many of the British shows available through Britbox. If not… hey, here it is, for free. One last thing, remember, this is a British television show from the 1970’s – a lot of things are different. Give it some room and go with the flow. I think it is hilarious! I hope you enjoy it too!

On with the episode. Season 8, Episode 3

Bipolar? STILL Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure

I took a webinar way back at the beginning of the year that helped me learn how to understand what ADHD is and how to live with it. I was told that I’m “atypical,” I’m not broken. I’m different. I’m not stupid. I can be brilliant, just like anyone else. Bipolar is just like that.

I was given the daunting task of listing 100 successes that I’ve had any time in my entire life. 100! I thought that was nuts! I put it off until the last minute, of course, but I did it. If I’m being honest I didn’t do quite all of them. I’m just too stubborn.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I have Bipolar and ADHD
  • I have had many successes
  • I tend to not see most of my accomplishments as successes
  • I tend to see difficulties as HORRIBLE
  • Not quites as COMPLETE FAILURES
  • I tend not to believe in myself

I’m not going to say that “I don’t believe in myself,” because I’ve been making a conscious choice to stop doing that. Talk about rough and rocky. Who chooses not to be rough on themselves and then stops doing it? I’ll tell you who. YOU AND I. How? Read a little further.

The name of this blog is REDUX. REDUX essentially means to do something again. Do-overs. Second chances. That’s what it means to me. How many times can we do things over? How many second chances do we have? Absolutely as many as we need. Our chances to improve, to be better, to rise, to put our shoulders back, and be proud to be different are unending.

I’m no expert, understand this. In my own life, I have had to accept that I can succeed and that I will fail and that both are okay. The most challenging thing I’m learning is that I don’t really have to forgive myself for having an emotion/mood disorder – for having an illness. It isn’t a moral issue. It’s a brain chemistry issue. Maybe. Probably. Anyway, it is not a moral issue. Unless I do something that goes beyond the emotion/mood and into a deliberate choice I don’t need to forgive myself.

What if I yell at people I love, and I hurt them? Did I mean to hurt them? Umm….. at the moment? Maybe…. When you’re falling out of an airplane, and you’re not sure how far the ground is, pull the chute. Darling, pull the chute. Apologize, and forgive yourself.

But wait, didn’t I just say I didn’t need to forgive myself? Yep. And so goes being human.

Pull the chute. As long as you doubt and question yourself, you won’t move forward. You won’t be able to feel like you’re succeeding. Listen to your heart. You aren’t saying hurtful things because you’re evil. Are you? You aren’t, are you?

I grew up on a ranch of sorts, and we had big animals with big ah… poops. Sorry, manure. I just – it slipped out. Anyway, after cleaning stalls and walking around in the horse runs it was a good idea to kick something hard to get the stuff off your boots and do some firm stomping. Kicking and stomping.

That’s what I’m suggesting. Kick the crap off so you can have another go at it. Same song, second verse. Don’t stop. Do it again. You’re not evil? Good, get up. Get going. Move. Get on with it.

Are you in the ground? No? Then get UP! You’re not a failure.

Bipolar? That Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure

On occasion, when I lose my mind and I think I might find support amongst my associates, family members, etc. regarding one of my passion projects (like the book I’m working on). Always – yes, always – they look at me like I’ve completely finished losing my mind.

The really crazy thing is I already have a book of mine in print and I’ve published over a dozen by other authors.

I don’t know what to tell them. Oh wait, I do. Ha! This is very dumbed down, but let me share with you kind of what I say.

I usually explain to the uninformed that, “Everyday that I’m alive, I’m a success story.”

I was explaining how this whole conversation usually goes down to my daughter the other day and this is how it came out instead:

“Everyday I’m above ground, I’m a success…”

Oops—

Still, that’s true too. Maybe even the most true. What do you think?

As a side note: It turns out that I’m not so crazy. I like to check my “pithy” sayings before I post them and I did just that before posting this pity saying. Without trying, this is what I found: “Any day above ground is a good day. Before you complain about anything, be thankful for your life and the things that are still going well.” Germany Kent / “Every day above ground is a good day.” Bernstein (Scarface)

Bipolar/ADHD-Focus or Not to Focus

Bipolar/ADHD – To Focus or Not to Focus, That’s the Damn Question!

I apologize if you don’t like the word “damn.” My mom still corrects me when I use it. You know it’s taken me a really long time to learn how to say it convincingly. I mean, forever when I’d get mad and say it people would actually say to my face things like, “Yeah, no. Don’t say that. You just can’t say that.” I’d ask why not. “You just can’t.” Why not? “Robin. You sound ridiculous.” How, can anyone sound ridiculous swearing!!?? It is swearing!! I thought all swearing sounded stupid. Apparently not.

Apparently, I still sound silly when I swear. My advantage, if I have one, is that when I’m really backed against the wall (read – super, super, very, very angry in a The Hulk sort of way) I may not have the best use or depth and breadth of swear words, but I make up for it in shear fury. Sometime I even scare myself with the power of that, what is it called, that RAGE. I hate rage. Yippie…. If I seem less than optimistic it may be because she referred to me as “atypical atypical.” I don’t know about you… but I dunno what the damn that means.

I’ve been in that place where a ton of stuff has been building and building and I haven’t realized that I haven’t released the pressure off of ANY of the things that need to chill out. I didn’t recognize how stressed I was or how long it had been since I’d had a good long laugh. I hadn’t been doing any of the right healthy things that would have kept me bouncing my life ball along the way I want it to go. Instead, well, yep, the doo-doo hit that fan thing and I went kaboom!

Sadly, I kaboom-ed the day after I started the new medication. My normal reaction would be to stop taking the medication immediately and talk to the provider. I can be very sensitive to some medications and have reacted violently to at least one of them. This time I was certain that I sensed I was feeling my old companion, rage, and not a medication complication. I could have called her up and told her it didn’t work. In fact, not only could I tell her did it not work, I could tell her I became hysterical and physically violent. I threw things and yelled and screamed. I slammed cupboards and the garage door and kicked them some more to make sure they knew they were in for it. I yelled and slammed, and slammed and yelled again, then again. I even stomped on the recycling and got it all ready to be taken out. I was feeling better so I screamed some more.

It didn’t take me long. It never does. All that adrenaline seems to surge around and drive all the clogged moods and emotions directly before it shoving them straight out my mouth and into the air where everyone can hear everything is say and scream. Hence, yeah, all the yelling. This is my most unscientific assessment. What do you think? I kind of like it. There are a few drawbacks to this.

First, while I’m acting all bonkers I sound like a fighter jet screaming in a rage stuck in the face of my kid who has been standing four feet away from me the whole time. I suck. She still loves me. She knows I’d do it for her. We’re a team. An unbreakable team. And, none of that matters. I ask her forgiveness. I apologize. I don’t expect her to help me fix my mess or even ask her to. It isn’t her job. Should I have realized I was brutalizing her emotionally by just raging against nothing? Of course. But, the unfortunate thing about losing one’s shit is that one has lost one’s shit and there isn’t a rotten thing one can do about it at that particular time. I know. It pretty much sucks.

Second, I made a mess and I have to clean up my own mess when I rage-out. This time things were very different than other times. I got to the point(s) fast. Meaning, I talked very fast and I stopped carrying on faster than was usual.

Okay, I say “as usual” but that really isn’t fair. It isn’t a “usual” thing anymore. It used to be my normal state everyday. I might not have thrown things all the time, but that rage was dwelling just behind my eyes, barely under control, for far too many years of my life. Now it is a moment that happens a couple times a year. That’s it. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. If you’ve struggled with something like this too and you’ve gained ground on it, if you’ve got your foot on it’s neck, even if you’ve just finally figured out where the neck is, then I applaud you! Keep your foot right there and press harder! You can keep doing this. Never, ever stop fighting.

It’s been over a week since I started this new medication. Now that my moods/emotions have finished imploding and exploding simultaneously I can begin to assess how I think the medication is working for me. I ask my two kids who live with me what they think and remind them to take my explosions out of the equation. We’ve all agreed that we shouldn’t make that part of our assessment. We have decided, that for now, all things considered, that I’m not manic and I’m definitely focusing better. Yep. Better focus, but not all the time and we wouldn’t say it’s great. And my ability to chose the right or appropriate thing to be focused about is lacking wisdom.

For example: Do hours of research for business proposal and writing projects by doing deep dives down Google rabbit holes. Nut house! (I’m trying to find someone to make a prototype for me of a product I’ve developed. Since I have so much extra time and not a thing to think about I’m researching crowd funding like Kick-starter

I’ve tried to do this event called The National Novel Writing Month for several years, but every year I… I give up. I convince myself that although I have been working on a viable and interesting story for months or even is some cases for years, I don’t have what it takes to write those 50,000 words in one month. Loads of other people do. But I can’t. So I never try.

This year my daughter and I were both ready to do it and then… um… I got sick. Honestly! I got a really bad head cold. And my arthritis is killing both my thumbs. And my sciatic hurts when I sit. And I sneezed. And I forgot that a mystery has to plant clues. I have to plan more!!!

Oh my gosh!!

Isn’t Scrivener just terrific? It shows you just how much research you should have done before you started writing. Apparently I’m much more of an Outliner than a Pantser. (I’ll explain in another post.)

Any port in a storm. Any excuse in an open schedule when I can waste as much time as possible. And my head cold is gone. And I’m still researching. And it is now November 7th and I have 87 words written towards a 50,000 word count goal. I do, however, have a lot of research including my murder victims, the killer, heroine, places the bodies are found (it happens during the Seattle World’s Fair – “Alaska-Yukon-Pacific-Exposition 1909“), the exact dates they were found, etc. I’m very excited about it. I’ve finally come to realize that once I have my victims all named and given them occupations/affiliations, chosen the day their body is found based upon the group they are affiliated with (groups at the fair have special days to celebrate their organizations), chosen where their body will be discovered and decide how many victims there will be the story will flow very easily. I really have a lot of it worked out in my head already. It’s the logistics that I’d decided I couldn’t do so I couldn’t write it. And then I decided that I wouldn’t be able to write the draft (note that I’m writing a DRAFT) if I don’t actually start writing on the first day of the month.

That was just a silly thought. Oh bother. Way to not believe in yourself bird! What would the kids say???

That’s easy. I’ve already been told off. LOL I talked about it with the daughter that is doing this with me and she helped me with some of the details I was struggling with. She actually got excited about it. The way the actually history of Seattle in 1909 and the real fair, etc fit with my mystery are all very exciting! Her being interested in helping me and talking about it with me really gave me confidence that I could carry on and do this thing.

I feel better.

One more thing before I let you go. In the middle of the day I was ultra productive. I took a pic of one of our cats. Savvy, actually. She’s our youngest. She’s our rescue. She thinks my Kelpie (dog) Bailey is her mother… still! Bailey is still not interested, but still is willing to play with her when she decides to. It’s amazing to see her put her nose under Savvy’s belly and flip her up into the air. Savvy doesn’t seem to mind. At that point, the game is ON!

While my daughter was at school I got a really cute picture of Savvy. I wisely decided to use my time to use some filters (I never do this sort of thing. I think I’ve used filters twice now.) and change the pic up and send them to her so she could feel encouraged. She’s been having some anxiety at school and I wanted to get her mind to snap off that feeling and on to something I know she’ll give 100% of her attention to for a few minutes. (She goes to a school where this isn’t a problem. She can take a break and the teacher doesn’t care.) Well, 30, 35, 40… I don’t know. Some-odd-minutes later I finally finished my very productive time wasting maneuvers and tried to return to doing whatever it was that I was not successful doing before I distracted myself from earlier.

Is it working? Am I focusing better? You tell me. What do you think?

This is what I was doing…. I asked myself, “How many filters could I use to make the same cat, in the same pose, look cool?” You be the judge.

Taking a Moment for Myself, Even Though I Can’t Sleep

So often I start to flip the panic switch in my brain when I can’t sleep… because I believe that I KNOW that I’ll be overcome by anxiety, exhausted, irritable and so on. I’ll be angry.

That’s been the situation too many times lately. I takes time to affect change, to see what will work and what won’t.

In the meantime, I’m taking about 8 minutes to slow down, to deliberately pause and cut myself some slack. I usually find it easier to do things like this using music. I’ve been listening to “Peaceful Day” and I really enjoy it. It’s very short. It’s beautiful. It’s restive. I think you might like it. Check it out!

Peaceful Day