So I’m only three months late in reviewing my year of Breaking B.A.D, things snowballed back there leaving me with little time to sit down and write about everything.
I wasn’t in a great place when I started this blog, trying to work out how to manage the whole manic-depressive thing (Y’know, forever. No breaks. Nada) in such a way that I might spend less time at the far ends of the spectrum. Or at least enjoy the steady-as-she-goes in between times more. Turns out that the second part has been easier to achieve than the first part. But that’s probably not surprising. Most difficult to accept has been the fact that there’s only so much you can do – dodging the whole mood switching business is impossible. Yes, this is obvious. I know. Doh. However, by trying everything possible within the limits of my brains and budget I’ve actually been able to let myself off the hook a bit. Shock -horror, you can’t organise yourself a wee holiday from bipolar.
Writing this blog made me confront some of the things I had been trying to avoid facing down (such as the above) whether I included them in my ramblings here or not. I changed jobs, did battle with my sleeping pattern (ongoing…) and tried to shake off the bitterness that was creeping in – so many lost and broken opportunities man, you know that riff. I revisited some hobbies, started selling some doodles, took up some music work, kicked off exercising again and got a slice of mindfulness into my life. I’ve given up Ben & Jerry’s too *weeps* in the hope of getting into my summer clothes. A decision wrought as much by practicality as vanity -the moths in my purse have left because the conditions are so poor; purchasing a new wardrobe is not currently an option. Plus the spending blips of past-me mean that future-me will have plenty to wear. In about an inch I reckon.
I’ll have to shake things up again at some point so that the mice don’t ship out too for fear of starvation.
Overall things aren’t to B.A.D (ugh, sorry).
Toodlepip for now x
These have been some busy times, I’ve visited over the last few weeks and then got waylaid halfway through writing a post. In fact something is bound to distract me any moment now…No? Phew. I’ll keep going then.
I officially left my job at the end of August and since then have been drawing up a different sort of career plan. Currently I’m marginally under-employed but building up hours slowly – I’ve been lucky enough to find work doing the things I love and am getting mildly entrepreneurial with some drawing stuff too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty broke and I will need to get a ‘day job’ to keep things ticking over but I’m excited about work once more after feeling so miserable about it for so long. You don’t realise how bad things have been until you begin to come out the other side.
If there’s been a challenge over the last month or so it’s been to hold my nerve and not simply hop back on to the treadmill – it would be easy to do, it’s what I have always done before – for short-term financial stability. Writing this blog really made me look at the B.A.D patterns in my life, one of them is that I burn out super- fast under stress and take a long time to recover. I’ve spent a lifetime railing against this, imagining that each new set of circumstances will yield a different result. Like banging your head against a brick wall and expecting it not to hurt if you do it enough. So I’m trying out a new way of doing things. If I end up eating sawdust-bread and living in a shoe box I will know that the old way was better.
So, October will continue to be a ‘hold-your-nerve’ challenge and I’ll be looking at research about how we break patterns and cycles and make changes. Brain stuff an’ that.
In the meantime,
Well I made it back from my travels in one piece, which is always nice, and now it’s time to actually start job-hunting properly *tiny sigh*. In order to delay this for as long as possible I’ve been doodle-tastic – designing cards, setting up shop on Etsy, organising market stalls and also uploading some work to zazzle and redbubble. Man, it takes up a lot of time . To be honest it’s a nice way of indulging in something I like without feeling too guilty (it’s entrepreneurial innit) and it might just keep me sane once I get back on the treadmill too (the work treadmill that is, not the other sort, I’m still working off a lot of ice-cream. Damn you Ben and Jerry and your delicious, cellulite inducing desserts ).
So, if you feel like making people look at stuff-they- can -get- you- for- christmas on the internet, experiencing the outcome of summertime hypo-mania by-proxy, or just analysing the extent to which people will go to avoid doing anything sensible, then go and hang out at the slightly rustic (eg. just about holding together) http://www.doonesdrawingroom.co.uk
Anyway, I’m going to make myself finish some application letters now, no doubt I’ll have some musings to share about the whole process along the way.
In the meantime, peace x
Darwin T Platypus – a highly cultural monotreme
If I have been quiet recently (virtually, not in person, much to the dismay of those around me) it’s because I have been out and about with this little chap Darwin, we are currently in Romania and one of us is a little bit sunburned.
Now might be a sensible time to explain about Darwin and his link to this whole bipolar business…stay with me now…
A few years ago my daughter played me a clip from Phineas and Ferb, a Perry the Platypus clip as it happens, wherein Perry remotely controls Dr Doofenshmirtz, resulting in his transformation into coolness. Or something.
Anyway, the point of this, according to my daughter, is that sometimes I am not entirely in complete and total control of my behaviour thanks to the whole bipolarity issue…thus she has decreed that there is a platypus controlling me.
And so on and more tenuous.
But the platypus became a thing and a slightly twee and friendly way of referring to the overtly bipolar times in my life.
So now I have an actual platypus puppet (most romantic birthday gift ever. Truth) who travels about on adventures with me.
Yes I get a lot of funny looks.
So now you know.
My next challenge is to be less weird. Just kidding. Once I’m back home I’ll figure it out.
In the meantime, peace x
Ketamine is an anaesthetic and also a pain-management drug, it’s mainly used as a horse tranquilizer and is not approved by the FDA. It can have hallucinogenic effects and invoke feelings of detachment – a floaty, out-of-body type experience. Ketamine’s a class B drug, so recreational use can get you into considerable trouble with the law…However it has been trialled as a short-term treatment for severe depression and there seem to be some positive outcomes. It seems that the effects are not long-lasting but can alleviate some of the worst symptoms of depression with relative speed. Essentially it helps you begin to get your mojo back.
I like the sound of that.
It’s probably not going to arrive at a pharmacy near you any time soon, but it’s one to keep an eye on. In the meantime you’ll have to make do with trippy kids programmes and camomile tea.
So this is one of my new enterprises. Just thought I’d leave this here in case anyone’s having a greetings card emergency situation. Y’know. In case.
You can click for a look if you like.
That’s all for the shameless self – promotion 🙂 x
Well I’ve been tiptoeing around the web trying to find out what’s going on in the world of Mood Research and it’s made my brain ache a bit. So many diagrams, so many long words. Anyway, I’ve picked out a few choice things (that I vaguely understood) to share with you.
It has been suggested that the manic-depressive episodes of bipolar disorder are the result of a kind of evolutionary ‘feedback loop’ gone awry eg. our successes generate confidence and failures a lack thereof. This feedback loop misfires in bipolar disorder and creates an exaggerated perception of success/failure leading to an unbalanced sense of confidence (‘of course I can build a flying machine, just one more empty washing up liquid bottle and we’re airborne!’) or inadequacy (‘ I failed to create a flying machine because I am a worthless mess of a human & will never know love’) But, this doesn’t really explain why the feedback is all wonky in the first place, which is kind of what I want to know.
Research points to a genetic factor, according to The Black Dog Institute, having a parent with BAD gives you a 10% chance of developing the disorder, rising to 40% if both of your parents have it. It kind of goes without saying that stressful life events play a role in triggering symptoms of the disorder, but you can’t blame them for ‘causing’ it…and you’d need to have a word with your pineal gland and a whole raft of neurotransmitters to find out what on earth they are doing to make your moods bounce around so much. Nobody’s worked out how to communicate with the little critters as yet.
Brain imaging though, seems to be making progress into picking out the general areas of the brain that are doing odd things in patients with bipolar disorder. According to Psycheducation
Evidence is growing quite strong that a region of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex is underactive in people with bipolar disorder even when they are having no symptoms at all.
My basic understanding is that this underactive cortex wotsit is linked to decision-making and multi-tasking eg. difficulties with. Makes sense. And…this part of the brain has been shown to be more active in those taking mood medications. Which implies correlation at least.
I’m still pretty sure my brain looks like this
but I can’t prove anything. Yet.
Anyway, my next little wander round the net is going to involve Ketamine. Reading about, not taking (the internet doesn’t need Ketamine. It’s weird enough. As am I) Apparently it’s being trialled as a treatment…interesting…
Nope, still not dead, just poorly. And grumpy. Pity me. I have a plan for my May challenge (which is not entirely unrelated to being ill) but it’ll have to wait until my bones don’t ache.
‘Til then x
What is with the hideous freeze-frame? *shudder*
Well, I’ve had to do a number of things I wouldn’t ever have dreamed of doing just to upload this little clip-let. These things include: playing a rather beautiful guitar which doesn’t belong to me but to an actual guitarist (who is probably weeping right now at the crimes against strings I have committed on it) allowing my daughter to record me doing the above and then uploading the evidence to youtube just so I could leave it here. Oh and creating a youtube channel for that purpose. Pfft. Never say I don’t make the effort.
Anyway, I’ll be drawing something this week, I think that would be better for everyone.
In terms of being life-enhancing as an activity though, I’d say the whole song-writer-y thing’s done me some good. It’s been tricksy attempting to write to a deadline, which accounts for the shortness/lateness of this little piece, but it’s been a long time since I wrote lyrics and it’s been nice to go all retro (if not vintage – gulp) and pick it up again.
Plus the Rock of Ages thing has its’ origins in the fact that it’s the hymn my grandfather, Frank, used to sing to me (an odd choice for a non-religious chap, and not a particularly peaceful lullaby…perhaps he just liked the tune). Anyway, that little part of this lyric emerged from that family gem a long while ago, but it came back to me after my grandfather died last year. Now he’d probably wince at the terrible things happening with the strings, but I’m sure he’d like a little bit of song dedicated to him. And I think he’d approve of all the tiny acts of bravery that accompanied its’ appearance here. Although I think jumping out of a plane might have impressed him more. *Hey, it’s on my list.
To conclude. Art is good for the soul so far, but before I attempt any further musical shares I’ll learn 1) how to record sound properly 2) how to strum a guitar and make the right chord shapes 3) how to use youtube properly and 4) how to get a decent angle on the camera to best convey my natural beauty and radiance. But first sleep.
Here’s to Frank x
I am fully medicated, it took me a while to come around to the idea and I have had to try a few different types – my current med seems to be doing a reasonable job. Anyway, when I was looking to find out a bit more about mood stabilisers and other drugs (beyond the dreaded leaflets that leave you thinking that you’re going to explode in sunlight/develop a disfiguring or deadly rash/ become a zombie-insomniac) I stumbled across this place http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage
It’s a brilliant site with plenty of drug facts, not limited to mood stabilisers, as well as a forum where you can ask the people in the know about that nasty exploding-disfigured-zombie- side- effect thing you read about.
Oh, and they do mugs too