It is 12:36 pm and the first thing to cross my lips is bad coffee with two containers of nondairy creamer and a generous squeeze of honey. I just burned the roof of my mouth with a fresh beignet.
I need to pick up my prescription for lamotrigine today. It has lapsed. I don't know when. Okay, I know that I used up the last of the pills some time this last week, but it is spring break. And I am unhitched from time.
Also, my sleep schedule totally sucks.
One thing that was brilliant but I didn't happen upon it until a few days ago was to binge watch Gallatica with my teen (also on spring break) because this means that we both get up instead of remaining comatose throughout the day.
Damn, fresh beginets are delightful. I'm not sharing.
I feel jittery. I have for the past two or three days. It is a kind of jittery that I associate with meds in or not in my system. I wonder if this means I have not been compliant for longer than I think.
I'm still working on my YA novel. I had to scale back on the number of things the main character was involved in in high school because she was too busy to be part of my book. She wasn't even really based on me.
Then I made a list of all the things I did in high school and decided I would make a completely unbelievable character in a work of fiction:
Band, Choir, Chamber singers, Youth Orchestra, Odyssey of the Mind, Community Theater, Soccer, Private piano lessons, Private horn lessons, Private voice lessons, National Honors Society, part time job at a fabric store, co-wrote a one-act play, did freelance calligraphy for the Daytons and had a job as a church accompanist...
and in my spare time I just hung around with the fencing team.
I have, by the way, decided that Depression has great taste in people. Seriously. My friends who are dealing with Depression crap right now are some of the best people I know. (I guess I can be the best too.)
Already resent the time spent away from working on my fiction piece. Chapters 1-7 posted here (now in order).
Wanna do me a big favor? Read one or two of the chapters and then click on the star to vote at the bottom. Why? Because I accidentally voted for myself and I am the lone star on my piece and it makes me feel like a narcissist.
I haven't finished the book I'm writing yet.
I'm gonna give myself a break on that because it hasn't even been a month.
Things keep changing.
Yesterday I wrote at a coffeeshop across from elderboy and bounced ideas off him. Which was fun.
I think I'll try that again.
It is spring break.
A friend of mine is struggling, which sucks.
In fact, probably more than one of my friends is struggling. Which sucks more.
On a whim I'm putting a few chapters out while I'm still very much in progress.
Don't know why.
I guess that's why they call it a whim.
So today I decided to start writing... not I did start writing a new book. I still have a few old ones to return to (and I will, I promise) but this one needs to be written now first.
Young Adult novel that draws heavily from my young adult self but is not autobiographical. Main character is much less angsty and neurotic than I was. But chances are good that people might recognize themselves or parts of themselves in this. And I need them to know that they are fiction.
This was not an issue with my 19th century romance novel. It was an issue with my Deeply Depressing Literary Fiction.
Regardless. I am going to write and see what comes out. Writing is good for me.
"In seventh grade my best friend told me she thought I’d been sent by the devil to test her faith. I found this problematic for several reasons. First off, I don’t believe in the devil. Or god for that matter, which I guess was the root of our theological crisis. Secondly, if I had been sent by the devil I was doing a terrible job at tempting people to betray their values. Or sin, or whatever. But really, it terrified me that this person who was closer to me than anyone else in my life might decide she could no longer risk being my friend. These were difficulties I had not been able to foresee when I came out as an atheist at age 12."
Had a wicked sore throat for a week or two. Then nearly complete exhaustion.
It reminded me of before I started working full time and my friend wondered if I would have the energy to work since I slept so much during the day.
I have just the energy for work. Plus I feed my hypomania on the energy from my students.
My last period class is full of enthusiastic new to country students. I max out on energy and excitement during their class and then crash when I get home.
I was really sad for no reason this week.The kind of sad where you question your worth as a living organism.
Didnt last long. Went back to just regular blah.
Bad physical health as a cover for bad mental health? One causing the other or making it worse?
i can’t see what I’m typing. This is no fun to write.
Stupid phone interface.
So I had a stretch of 3 or 4 days go by without taking my meds for bipolar. They are mood stabilizers. This short stretch of time probably doesn't make a huge difference. They hang around in my bloodstream long enough.
But in a kind of reverse-placebo effect, I notice increases in my symptoms when I have a few missed doses. I think because I tend to miss doses for symptomatic reasons.
In this case, I needed to pick up a new prescription but I never wanted to go to Target to pick it up because the lights and the noise and the people were too much for me to deal with, so I also didn't take the few pills left in my pill minder because (wait for it...) I didn't want to run out of my prescription.
I went a bit hypomanic on the Friday. Already in the morning I was shaky and ditzy. Kept forgetting what I was doing. Attention Deficit-type symptoms. Shiny objects kept appearing and taking attention from whatever I was supposed to be doing. Remembered that I needed to pick up prescription and wrote "meds" on my hand so I wouldn't forget. (Now I have "mailbox" written on my hand so I will remember to empty my voicemail box on my cell phone. I had no idea they got full.)
I had trouble remembering words for things like "email" so I had to use circumlocutions. "I need to check the mail that comes to me in my computer." And a few nonsense words that I just let slide. Not very word-salady. Just a bit zippy.
This was before I spent several hours in the big big gym with hundreds of screaming high schoolers. I did have my earplugs in, so that helped. But you can't really block out the energy that also gets to me. And the crowds. And I always know there will be a crash.
I made elderboy come in to Target with me to get prescription when I went to pick him up after swimming and was talking a mile a minute and mentioned that I was a little on the manic side and he said, "I can tell." Which made him accompany me in to Target rather than waiting in the car because I can easily spend a lot more time wandering around when I am so unfocused.
Saturday I did nothing. Stayed in a dark room. Didn't deal with people. I needed that. Detox. And I took my meds.
Sunday I was hoping for some sweet serene group meditation through Quaker worship. Which I didn't really get. Because... Well I don't think I was irritated about this just because in hypomanic mood state EVERYTHING irritates the crap out of me...
EVERY FIVE MINUTES someone was coming in late. For the entire hour-long worship. Which makes it difficult to settle in. And some of them weren't very sneaky. And some of them wore giant winter boots dripping with snow.
I cleverly did not stand up on a pew and say, "Hey! Take your dripping boots off or at least dry them off can't you see the rest of us are in slippers!"
Or after the fifth interruption I also did not stand on the pew and say, "Stop! Enough already! You aren't going to get anything out of 10 minutes of Quaker worship. Can't you just wait in the library until the rise of meeting?"
I did successfully calm myself down to the same level of irritation that I had been at when entering the meetinghouse... but it was not a very worshipful experience.
However, talking to Friends after the rise of meeting during fellowship WAS a valuable experience. And having the chance to talk to someone new that I had sat beside often during silent worship but never really met... and having the chance to reconnect with a Friend who is frequently in my thoughts but not often in my presence... glad.
Now I am stuck at home for I think the 6th "snow day" of this school year. In which no one goes to school and I don't teach.
But at least I got some posts done.
There was a meeting recently where everything came together. It didn't have some mystical quality of gathered silence that I would describe as a "gathered meeting," but for me there was a certain wholeness about the thing. It was a meeting that reminded quite potently of why I am Quaker.
There were four different people who spoke. And if isn't really a thing to write down what other people say in a meeting for worship, this felt so much like a sermon. Or like spiritual Haiku-- in which there were several short lines with a surprise at the end that drew them all together.
One Friend spoke of growing/continuing despair and unease over the vast number of threats to the world and its people. Of how it seems we are powerless in the face of such incomprehensible forces. But then she realized that she couldn't fix everything... but she could do this one small thing.
One Friend spoke of an unexpected message read on a whiteboard in a men's restroom. It was a brief inspirational zen-like quote about flowers not comparing themselves to other flowers. An unexpected piece of light reading at a local tea shop. This Friend was really struck by how much time they spent comparing themselves to other flowers. And that the important thing was to really know who you are.
Then this person stood and talked about a time from 11:20-11:55 pm on December 10, 1988 when she was suicidal. And walked on the railroad tracks in the cold, waiting for a train. And then got bored and walked up a hill where some beautiful boy was practicing piano in an abandoned church.
When she went inside (and scared the bejeezus out of him) he said he was practicing for an audition at conservatory. So she listened to him play. And it was glorious. Then he asked if she played and she looked at her raw red hands that were swollen from cold and said she did play, but she didn't have anything memorized. But it was okay because when she started playing, the boy turned out to have that very piece in a black canvas bag at his feet.
And as she played she realized that for her, music was where the light lived. It was proof of divine. It was how spirit spoke to her. Always. And so when she continued to become the church pianist at that very place when the boy went off to college... and when she had her own auditions at a conservatory... and when she went to study music it was like she had gone to seminary.
And at meeting, when she was given a message it was almost always music. But she felt guilty. Felt like apologizing. Because... no, just guilty. There wasn't a good reason. When she had a song, and it was a message, she wanted to say that she was sorry. Maybe because it wasn't the usual way of messages-- but other people sang too, so that can't be it.
So she had a song that was a message and had sat there with it for a long time because she didn't want to apologize. But when she started to feel her heart pound out of her chest, she rose. And gave the explanation. And then sang.
Let it Fall (by Over the Rhine)
Have you been trying too hard
Have you been holding too tight
Have you been worrying too much lately
Whatever we've lost
I think we’re gonna let it go
Let it fall
‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall
Have you been carin' too much
How this one ends
Y’know it’s not the kind of fight
That you lose or win
When you’re down so low
You feel the imprint of the ground
‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall
One friend talked about how their child was recently assaulted-- kicked to the ground. It was a case of mistaken identity. Misplaced revenge. but an all-out brawl was avoided when he and his friends refused to engage. Didn't escalate.
And not engaging became that one small thing. Knowing who he was. And being who he was without apology. And feeling the imprint of the ground on skin... let it go.
Posting this now... it is an old post. I have more soon. Here:
Depressed more I think. Not debilitating. But worse than my usual baseline low.
I’m writing this from my seat on the stands waiting for the postponed swum meet to start. See it was supposed to be last week but a polar vortex intervened. And the whole state of MN closed.
Now there is snowstorm and roads are terrible and one team is hours late. I dunno when they meant to be here but I know they wanted to warm up and the bus is not here... and meet was to start 15 minutes ago or so.
I recognize Downs because I am doing nothing but watching Thai TV series. Other than work. And yesterday I accidentally watched one with a sad ending and now I can’t stop weeping.
Could tell I’ve been more on the anxious mood dude because I’ve felt internally jittery. Shaky. Irritable.
Coincided with being formally observed at work and turning forty-7. I do not have birthday related anxiety. But I do have the workplace stuff.
Coteacher sibling is in hospital so she is stressed.
Side note: observation went well.
But I was primed by Incorrect Usage of a Fancy sounding Word I became a Towering Volcano of Rage.
The word: regalia
This past week I was walking in the halls at school and I had a momentary experience of awesomeness.
I felt great about life, confidant in my abilities and worth in the world... it only lasted a few seconds but it felt great.
Nice to have a reminder of what that feels like. Scary to realize how low my daily baseline is.
Because right now with no added stressors when things are going well... I am just this side of okay.
Not a lot of reserve. The emotional equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck.
So do something,
Im gonna eat better. Actual vegetables. Learning Chinese cooking. Tonight’s offerings were a hit if not terribly authentic.
End of term is coming. Trying not to tie my self-worth as a parent to my children’s successes and failures.
I feel over busy.
I should unearth the treadmill and use it. If going to the Y is too stressful.
Quaker, teacher, parent,