need to Get more sleep. So do my grump grumpy children. Except younger boy who is much better at recognizing when he is tired or hungry or thirsty and taking appropriate actions.
this is a cheater post from my phone. Because I am tired.
I spent hours and hours and hours last night writing a piece for potential online publication. Then at the stage where I pressed SUBMIT, nothing happened. Glitch. Then I tried to fix something, went to change the magnification of my screen and accidentally rotated my display by 90 degrees. Which freaked out my track pad. And by this time it was already after midnight. And I was Not Happy.
I was quite disheartened at all the time and effort I expended. Then I realized that I wasn't that sold on the particular publication but I did like the idea of starting to submit things again. So I am chalking the whole thing up to Rough Draft. Because when I am working on a project I have no trouble writing vast quantities of stuff that I will not ultimately use.
This is very metaphorical... the whole waste of time vs. rough draft. Although right now I can't seem to make any awesome connections.
I am thinking of pulling together some of my favorite blog posts and polishing them up into little memoirettes. Because that is a word. Autobiographical articles? Slice of life? Humorous somethings? I would like to challenge myself to put together something a little more coherent and less rambling than this blog.
Because this blog, I guess you could say, is a rought draft/waste of time. I'm getting something out of it, no doubt, but it is hardly a finished piece. And I like writing. And it is good for me.
I am thinking of which anecdotes might make for the most interesting stand-alone tales... I just went back and read a bunch of stuff and I really don't know.
I think the story of almost drowning is interesting.
And the story of my terrifying psychotic episode.
And perhaps tales of zombie gardening and hypomanic cleaning (although it sounds dull at the moment)
Throwing the rock wall? Terracing the garden? Redoing the kitchen floor? Cutting my hair?
I might need to just pick one and see how it goes.
Grateful Crap: going slow at the moment
Read a lot
Looked for rocks with my children. (Found some really cool ones too... did I mention that I was very nearly a geology minor in college? True story.)
Took a bunch of pictures. (Eventually I will figure out how to edit them and store them. My computer system is antiquated at the moment... I am writing with a chromebook but it will not do the trick for my photos. And my old mac is not up to the task either. But maybe it is if I strip EVERYTHING ELSE off of it and put it in the cloud and on external hard drive... for another time.)
I am aware (as is my Psych NP) that I am in a hypomanic mood state at present. And probably have been for some time. Since when? Certainly for some weeks. Most of June? All of July surely. I could go back and look, but I haven't been faithful to blog this summer very much.
Wondering about hypomania? Here is the ten-cent tour...
Here's are some typical signs of hypomania (with commentary on my current/usual state when hypomanic)
Confidence/Assertiveness – I'm fricken' awesome. I am Wonder Woman... (but not really because that would include the "psychotic features" that are not present with hypomania.) This is hard to see as a negative for me since I think my "normal" state is fraught with self-doubt and low self-esteem.
Increased/Unrealistic activities – I can do ALL of the summer projects in a week. By myself. Because I am awesome. And Wonder Woman. (See above.)
Energetic – I spend hours on a project before my energy flags. Six hours straight on filling the dumpster. Four or five hours in the sun laying bricks or redoing landscape. Truly I don't look at the time. I just go go go. This energy makes me think that my unrealistic activities might be possible. Also, I currently can't seem to get to sleep before midnight.
Racing thoughts/distractible– I should finish reorganizing daughter's room. No, I should re-landscape the front yard. I just got five new ideas for beaded cuffs. Wait, isn't it someone's birthday tomorrow? I think I'll do all of the assignments for my online class now. Hey, I haven't played my new PS3 game in a while. Darn it needs to update. Guess I will do a blog post. Wait, I'll check on my grades. Excellent. Hey, I wonder if anyone has posted on FB recently. Oh, I was in the middle of making potato salad. Let me just declutter in the bathroom. No, my bedroom. Hey, there's the toolbox! I should hang some pictures. Dang, that blog post I started two hours ago is still open...
Irritable – Shut up. Don't hug me. Can't you see I'm BUSY! Also, please don't mention the fact that I have a thousand half-finished projects scattered throughout the house.
impulsive - I'm not at the "I think I'll shave my hair since I can't make an appointment to get my hair done in the next 10 minutes" or "Now is a great time to tear out the kitchen floor even though no one has had dinner and Spouse is out of town" stage. But I REALLY WANTED to take all of the spare change in the house and SURPRISE purchased a new refrigerator because one of the drawers cracked and I don't like the way this one closes.
When I am closer to manic it would not have mattered that Spouse pointed out it was an unnecessary expense at this time. When I am closer to manic I would not have texted him about my plan. Because the SURPRISE was going to be part of the plan. Thus using only coins rather than writing a check or using a card. Wonder why Spouse doesn't like surprises?
(I am very fortunate that my impulsivity has never included recreational use of controlled substances. I am too much of a rigid control freak and it holds no appeal to be altered in that way.)
hypersexuality - (I do read trashier romance novels when I am hypomanic. Not so much right now. Happy not to have salacious details to share on this count.)
I told Psych NP that I am aware that I am hypomanic. And I know the kinds of things that I SHOULD be doing. Making myself go to sleep earlier. Having some kind of schedule. At least get up earlier. And at the same time every day. Paying attention to meals.
But at the same time I am not willing to do the things that I know I should do because I am getting S**t done. And I am on a deadline. There is so much that I need to do before we host a student from China in just over a week. In fact I have only a few days to accomplish everything. Now is not the time for me to develop self-doubt, decrease my goal-directed activity or lose energy and drive.
I guess I seemed on the safe side of hypomanic, particularly because I am self-aware. No change in meds. She wants to see me in September.
Hope you enjoyed the tour... have to go do 10,000 things now.
Grateful Crap: NOT mania.
taking meds (refilled today) 200mg lamotrigine
read The Hobbit with The Daughter
played Uno (also with The Daughter)
Did a Reasonable Amount of things today
Also, current events are kicking my ass again. The dizzying speed of the news cycle and my extreme antipathy to the Current Occupant have played havoc with my anxiety. And anxiety feeds the manic side. Just like sadness feeds the Depressed side.
I want to use social networks to stay connected with F/friends because I am not about to see them in person at this time. (Unless they are part of an elite squadron of decluttering angels who will just swoop in and boss me around as I clean.)
But unfortunately current events are not just kicking my ass. They are kicking everyone right in the derriere. So my social newsfeeds are full of hysterical people in a state of existential terror.
And I don't want to downplay their terror or say that they don't have a right to feel the way they do or respond to things they way they are responding.
It is not what I need. The echo chamber is not a safe place. So I think I have to step back again from FB. And probably the New York Times.
Because when I was sitting still I would spend time on my phone (until both hands fell asleep) switching between FB and the TImes just to see what had changed in the last few minutes.
And I now hear all of the acquaintances of acquaintances on my friends' feeds shouting me down for how it is my privilege, my white female privilege to be able to stand back. That I am the problem. That my lack of action is the root of all evil in this country. That I have no right to turn a blind eye.
And they are right.
But I can't. I just can't. Right now everything feels like my fault anyway, and I can't read any more strident diatribes confirming that I am in fact causing the downfall of western civilization because:
I don't send my children to the neighborhood school
I don't homeschool my children
I have children (more than one)
I own a car/use air conditioning/overuse electricity
I occasionally eat meat
I don't go to protests
My friends are too white
My friends are too educated
I didn't vote for Bernie Sanders
I believe in science (this works both for and against me depending on how you think science works)
I married a boy (too gender-conforming)
I got married (too much a patsy of patriarchal norms)
And all of the negative comments that have me feeling so teenage existential angst-y? They are not directed at me. But it feels like they are. And I just don't need help staying stuck in a crappy mood state.
In this image you can see lovely little disembodied heads with what is meant to represent the entire range of my bipolar spectrum of moodiness. And I am sad to report that I think I'm stuck further over to the right than I would like to be.
Here is a brief tour of the rating scale:
I think at the minute I am in a mood episode of extended hypomania. As always it is difficult for me to tease apart what is my personality and what is my disorder... I don't do unscheduled well. And I tend to vacillate between DOING EVERYTHING and doing nothing.
Here are the ways I am not doing well
Feelings of nameless creeping dread about college classes that I am taking. Didn't help that I binged and did a TON of assignments for one of the classes and apparently misunderstood the directions and got a Bad Grade on it. That made me really freak out and spiral out on this for a while. Did not help that the class had DISAPPEARED from my online portal. Very happily, the prof was reachable almost right away and fixed that problem (had an incorrect class ending date) AND will let me redo the assignment that was not actually due for a week. And even with the Bad Grade I still have an A in the class. Nevertheless, had I not been able to reach the prof on Saturday I would probably still be completely freaking out about this.
CLEANING THE HOUSE - THE SCATTERSHOT METHOD
Need to clean the house in preparation for exchange student staying with us. So I obsessively cleaned PART of living room for a few days. And then PART of the kitchen for a few days. And then PART of my bedroom. And PART of daughter's bedroom.
So nothing is done. And then instead of completing any of those things, put out a "bagster" that I filled with junk from basement hallway and playroom and furnace room and garage and construction debris. But it all needs to be done. And it feels like it all must be done by me. And right now. Or yesterday.
ALL AND NOTHING
Don't have time to do anything but __________. Whatever bit of activity I am involved with. Beading or homework or cleaning or gardening. Can't be bothered to do other things. Kinda scared at the idea of doing other things, actually. So if I have energy, I am in motion. When I run out (as I must periodically do) I collapse.
I IN NO WAY WANT TO DO ANYTHING FUN OR SPEND TIME WITH ANYONE FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES
And now for the "fair and balanced" approach I will list the ways in which I am doing well...
So all in all I really don't think I am doing poorly. And I know what I could do to kind of come out of this mood episode somewhat gracefully I think. Or maybe not. I don't know. The problem is the time crunch I think. It feels to me like the summer is coming to an end and that I have to do all the summer projects by myself and in one week. And that feeling fuels the hypomanic side. I'm afraid that if I calm down I won't get anything done. And neither will anyone else. And then horrible things will happen.
Part One: The Garden Box
Once upon a time I went to Menards to get supplies to repair a small (3'x3') garden enclosure for youngerboy's butterfly garden.
Instead, I bought enough lumber to make a much larger garden box (6'x6')
Then I couldn't decide where to put it. The thing didn't really belong where the butterfly garden was... So I decided to ADD a garden. But I couldn't decide WHERE to put the box.
So I dug up all of the sod in one part of the boulevard. And then decided to put the box in another part of the boulevard. Keep in mind: this was supposed to be a small repair project. Now I had two GIANT GARDEN SPACES to deal with (which were both just lumps of mud and remnants of sod)...
And the butterfly garden was still in need of repair.
Part Two: The Front Hill
We went out of town for a short time of much rain and plentiful sun and returned to find a notice from the city telling us to mow our grass. My instant assumption was that one of our neighbors reported on my messy, overgrown and unintentional-looking prairie garden.
It was pointed out to me that the actual areas where we had lawn desperately needed to be cut. AND that the city had apparently gone around the neighborhood and given notice to plenty of us. It was not a disgruntled neighbor aghast at my untidy garden.
I felt terrible about the garden. And worse when several of my gardening friends looked at it in well-disguised horror and admitted they had no idea where to start.
The garden was quite deliberately planted nearly 10 years ago (or more?) with native grasses and flowers to create a low-maintenance front hill garden that was a no-mow solution. It did not look like the picture to the above left. It did not spill over on to the pavement with its giant tangled mass of green medusa-like hair. It was not a monoculture of unidentifiable grasses that looked like we just had forgotten to mow the lawn for 10 years.
I spent a lot of time pulling out weeds and years of dead undergrowth and uncovered several plants that had been completely shaded by the brutish grasses that were growing down the hill instead of standing tall.
Then I dug up a bunch of the grasses and shared them with F/friends. And there will be more.
Then I found rocks and woodchips and cute little things from Elsewhere In The Yard and arranged them on the hill. And I bought a few plants. And I transplanted a few others. And I will need to put in some shade-loving plants in the spot of the hill that didn't used to be shady but now it is.
And I was going to do this over several weeks. But I think I did it over several days.
Part Three: The walkway/patio/steps
Intended to have our steps redone this summer, but then half a tree fell in our yard and sucked up some of the funds for a project of that size. So I decided to repair the front steps myself. It took 50 pounds of cement. And I think I'll use a little bit more to fill in the step that was really not even a step anymore.
I think 45 pounds of cement went into remaking one step and 5 pounds of cement went into repairing a small crumbling bit of the top stair.
I got a cubic yard of woodchips (some of them in the new boulevard garden with the fig tree pictured at top) that we stuck in the back yard because it is mostly mud after taking out the wooden deck over a year ago. Almost 2 years I think.
And I spent some time laying out brick to widen the sidewalk, but didn't really have a vision for what I was doing. Now I have a vision so I will un-lay the brick (it wasn't set in sand anyway) and use some concrete molds and fill in most of the back yard with another cubic yard of woodchips.
Part Four: Planting (since last week)
Planning to plant soon
Planning to transplant soon
So June 9 was the last day of school functions. It is also the last day I posted. How can it be that nearly a month has gone by? Partly I was avoiding posting because it would involve self-reflection on how I am doing without a regular schedule.
Don't get me wrong, mood-wise I feel fine. Don't feel Sad or the other extreme: Rage.
Energywise I have been burning all candles at both ends and in the middle and I don't think that I can stop because there is so much that I have to do. And it takes too much energy to enlist anyone else's help. Much easier to just do it all.
I have been serially involved in projects that encompass All Of My Time and All Of My Energy.
Here are a few of the things that sucked up my time and energy. And I feel I need separate posts for a few.
1. Looking through all 9,000 photographs that I have now backed up to the cloud on my phone. And posting key ones to FB.
2. Then there was the garden. I've decided to do a separate post on this.
3. Redoing where everything goes in the kitchen.
(Some time in June I think our dishwasher and our vacuum cleaner died. Not sure what that has to do with anything. I did vacuum the basement steps and part of the ceiling and all of the filters on the air conditioners)
4. I presented for NAMI to 2 different groups. Separate post on this. One was a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for the Minneapolis Police Department. One of them was for a group of health and human service workers with an international focus.
6. I have binge-watched all seasons of Bitten. And I am now almost done with Strange Empire.
7. College courses. I am taking 2 classes. One of them is very well organized and I am really enjoying the content. The other one is organized poorly with randomly spaced due dates and I am so stressed about forgetting when something comes due.
So I spent a weekend (or maybe one day) obsessively doing ALL OF THE ASSIGNMENTS except for the final project that is due on July 20.
See, I can remember that. I don't deal well with random schedules. Bipolar/ADD or just my personality. I have trouble remembering what the date or day is in the summer anyway. And calendars are just not a thing.
8. Avoided cleaning the house. Obsessively. Finding a jillion other projects to do.
9. Spent the entire budget for summer projects in less than one week. Indications of hypomania. Also I am reading a lot of kinda-trashy romance novels.
10. Avoided posting. Because.
11. Was not AS good as usual at taking my meds everyday. I don't think. I think I forgot for some days. But never more than one day in a row. I don't think. I'm back on track.
As a funny aside, I received a bill in the mail for psychiatric services the same day that I received a paycheck from NAMI for my speaking about mental illness.
Also, elderboy is in China right now. And we are hosting a student from China in August. Which is why the house has to be not a disaster. I doubt our student will care if the backyard landscaping doesn't look great.
Grateful Crap: air conditioning (which I realize makes me The Enemy of Climate, but... I am grateful)
took my meds
spending relaxing time with family (scheduled)
Quaker, teacher, parent,