Copycat attack

I’ve been on Pinterest a little too much lately, I think. After spending a few days cranking out baby shower gifts on the sewing machine, I now have the crazy notion in my head that I can look at a thing and determine how it was constructed and make it on my own. And who knows? Maybe I can…for some simpler things, I mean. It might take some brainstorming and visualizing, but I’ve already got a few things in mind to make for myself, and I’m thinking of making gifts for some of my friends and family this year.

On one hand, it’s a good thing; I can utilize fabric scraps (that I don’t quite know what to do with) in a useful way. On the other hand, this could potentially be the early stages of a manic episode, so I had better be aware of my emotions and keep my impulses in check.

Sometimes I wonder if I can harness this manic energy that comes to me and use it to be productive…but then I remember how out of control I can get if I’m not careful, and it’s very, very hard to be careful when you’re in a manic state. Part of that mania involves a lack of…how can I put this? A lack of concern over consequences. I know that impulsive action A can potentially cause bad consequence B, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass whether B happens or not.

Then again, I might not be manic. Not every burst of creative energy is caused by an episode. It could just be that I’m in the mood to make stuff. But going off of past experiences and probability factors and all that science-y stuff, the scales are tipping heavily in the manic direction.

It’s frustrating as hell, that’s for sure. Not knowing if you’re slowly losing control or just in an unusually good mood. It sucks.

I’m probably still going to make the stuff though, if I can find the time. Whether it’s an episode or not, I’ve gotten it in my head that I can do this thing, and now I have to take on my own challenge.

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Let Sleeping Demons Lie

It’s World Mental Health Day, and I thought I’d take a little bit of time to discuss mental health–largely because it is most definitely directly relevant to my life. Sometimes I joke about it, because the humor helps relieve the pressure. Other times, though, like right now, I want to be more serious about the subject of mental health. It’s a very serious thing, and one that needs more awareness.

It has been a while since I’ve mentioned this here (because, well, it shouldn’t be something worth mentioning): I’m bipolar. I don’t have it as bad as some people, and the medications keep my emotional state mostly under control, but it’s there all the same. I don’t get to take a vacation from it. I don’t get to say, “Y’know, I think I’m not going to be bipolar today.” It’s there. It’s a daily thing, regardless of whether or not it’s at the forefront of my mind.

The fates have been kind to me lately in that I have been able to almost forget that I’m bipolar–almost. My moods have been running fairly stable, and aside from the daily pill regimen to keep those moods in check I really don’t have any constant reminders these days of the horror that I used to endure. I can’t really describe it adequately in prose; poetry sometimes better conveys the roller coaster of bipolar life. I’m going to add a poem here that the narcissist in me is quite proud of: “Hostage in My Head,” a poem written during a more difficult mental state.

 

“Hostage in My Head” (from Kamikaze Butterflies by AJ Mullican)

Trapped alone

Awash in a sea of terror

No escape from my own deranged thoughts

Impossible futures scroll through my mind

Over and over on a continuous loop

My mental movie screen glows

As the macabre fantasy plays unbidden

Death and disaster overtake reality

Can’t focus on the here and now

When the “might be” looms on the horizon

Against my will my death plays out again

For the hundredth time this hour

I watch my lifeless form slide to the ground

Shot in the convenience store

Pulled from the mangled wreck

Coded mysteriously at work

At the sight of my imagined death

My heart rate soars and pounds

There’s nothing beautiful and delicate

About the kamikaze butterflies in my chest

Every single nerve

Teeters on the edge of a precipitous drop

With a nightmare at the bottom

Just one nudge

One little push

And everything will come crashing down

I tiptoe on the inside

Walking the fine line between sanity and oblivion

Pacing the padded room within my skull

Inside I scream for a reprieve, for escape

Even for sweet, sweet nothingness

But my calls go unheeded

The nightmare begins anew

I am my own personal terrorist

And I am the hostage

 

So yeah. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes it’s easy going. Sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. You can never tell what the next day–or minute, or second–will bring. And you know what else you sometimes can’t tell? If someone even has mental illness. That’s right, it’s sneaky shit. The stereotype is always the scruffy guy standing in the corner at the bus station, muttering to himself. That. Is. NOT. Typical of mental illness. Yes, it happens, but mental illness could be as innocuous as a slight slump to the shoulders, an unusual amount of energy, a sigh. There are infinite signs, and they can be infinitesimal.

To anyone reading this who suffers from mental illness, no matter what that illness is, I’m here. I may not be able to fully understand your personal illness, or even your own form of bipolar disorder, but I can talk. I can listen. To anyone reading this who is fortunate enough to be fairly mentally “sound,” if you know someone who is mentally ill, be that person who talks. Who listens. Sometimes just a little show of support and understanding is enough to keep the demons at bay.

For now the demons are quiet, and I think I’ll let them sleep a little longer.

So much to do, so little time for nothing

Eight to twelve hours at work five days a week. Either game or events on Saturdays, then Sundays are either visiting with family/doing laundry/rapier practice or more event stuff. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings after work are for exercising, and Friday is more rapier practice. I occasionally get scheduled for a half day here and there, but inevitably someone calls out and I end up working the whole day.

That bugs the ever-living snot out of me. I feel like people see that I’m scheduled off-unless-needed and decide to suddenly be “sick” when they really just want a free day.

Why don’t I get free days? I don’t blame my bosses; they have to staff the clinic as is necessary. I kind of blame my coworkers sometimes though. Okay, most of the time. I mean, do they realize the kind of life I lead? If it wasn’t for my early-morning insomnia I’d never get anything done outside of work. No writing. No sewing. No artwork. Nothing. Just because I’m not out partying every night or don’t have kids to take care of doesn’t mean I don’t have things to do.

I’m tempted to request off more often just to get a break here and there, despite the need for PTO when I actually need the off days. I just can’t seem to catch a break.

Maybe this afternoon I’ll get the half day I was hoping for.

Maybe. But I doubt it.

Wandering blind

Wandering blind

I’m not quite sure where I’m going

I barely know where I’ve been

I want to do more than I’m doing

But I don’t know how, why, or when

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing

I don’t know quite where to begin

To do things is not really helping

To do not seems more of a sin

I’m not quite much help as a listener

And speaking always comes out wrong

I don’t quite know what I can do

I don’t quite know how to be strong

My body’s in rebellion (and my mind has taken up the cause)

It’s mutiny–mutiny, I tell you.

I don’t get it; I’ve been exercising and eating better. I’ve been trying to take care of myself. I’ve been doing all the right things, right? So why do my joints feel like a combination of arthritis pain, morning joint stiffness, and bruising?

At first I thought that the exercise was a large factor in it, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve been exercising on a fairly regular basis for months now, so theoretically my body should be like, “Yeah, man, I got this.” Instead, my body’s saying, “Fuck you. Fuck you nine ways to Sunday.” I hurt–a lot–and I have a hard time moving around. Standing sucks, sitting sucks, walking sucks, lying down sucks, and stairs? Yeah, my body really says “fuck you” when it comes to stairs.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just my body that was on strike. Unfortunately, my mind has decided to join right on in and picket alongside. I am sleeping less and less since the exercise started, and I find myself almost afraid to sleep–and I have no idea why. What the hell would cause my mind to not want to sleep? It’s not like I’m weak and sickly to the point of needing to be afraid of falling asleep–on the contrary, I’d like to think that, despite the aching, I’m in better shape than I’ve been in years. I should be sleeping like a champ, yet here I am, lying in bed with my laptop, hoping I don’t doze off. What the hell?

Maybe my old friend Mania has decided to pay a visit. It could explain why I’m able to keep up with the exercise despite the exhaustion, and it could explain why my switch is stuck in the “on” position. If so, that sucks. I don’t really want to think that all this progress is just due to my mood being out of whack,

Aaaand exhaustion won. Before I even could finish the above sentence (and don’t ask me what I was going to say), I woke up with the laptop still in my lap and a groggy feeling comparable to being a tad drunk. I put the computer away and lay back down and managed to get some more sleep before it was time to feed the Rory monster. Still sore as hell though, and it wasn’t nearly enough sleep to “catch up.”

One of these days my stupid body will sort itself out. One of these days…

Frayed

They creak and groan, they scratch and scrape

They make the hairs raise on my nape

They cut, they slice, they tear, they rend

What they begin brings me to end

They know my dreams, they know my fears

They whisper nightmares in my ears

Day in, day out, they scream inside

And from these things I cannot hide

I try to run, try to get free

From demons born inside of me

I bite, I chew, I scratch and scrape

I ponder both my life and fate

I cry, I sob, I’m beyond words

I live in prison, trapped by nerves

Blurred lines

I very nearly did it again. No matter how much sleep I get or how well-rested I am, it seems that whenever I wake from a dream my body has difficulty fully waking up–which results in a lingering dream state that both confuses and disorients me.

Dreams are weird things. They are often completely nonsensical, yet while you’re in the dream it all makes perfect sense. Problem is, when I am in that asleep-yet-not-asleep state between dreaming and waking I tend to get “stuck” in dreamland. I will actually begin to physically engage in whatever task Dream Me was doing. This makes for some strange mornings.

This morning I woke up with an urgent need to log in to Facebook and write several posts. The content I wanted to write was fuzzy and odd, but I had to write it; after all, it was something that I’d been charged to do in a group I co-admin. Or on a page. Or both. Or maybe neither. Thankfully the posts I felt compelled to write were harmless, mere welcoming posts for people who had joined the page/group/whatever, but it’s kind of disturbing to think I very nearly actually typed up these posts. The same thing happened a couple of mornings ago, when I dreamed about something I had to do with both my phone and my husband’s; by the time I fully woke, I had my phone in my hand and was on the way to the other side of the room to get my husband’s phone.

It doesn’t help that I have a history of sleepwalking and other sleep-related activities. My body doesn’t know when to quit, I guess, so it literally dreams up stuff to do. It can quit that at any time, thank you very much.

I suppose it’s off to the doctor at some point. Surely there’s some kind of medicine to help me that will stave off these hyper-vivid dreams. It would be nice to get a full night’s sleep–and to wake up fully aware of what I’m doing. I don’t really dig this sense of urgency that compels me to continue in the vein of the dream I was having. The disorientation is so bad that once I finally do wake up all the way I can’t get back to sleep.

All in all, it’s a big hot mess. The lines between dreaming and waking are all jacked up, and if I don’t figure out what’s causing it I could end up doing something ridiculous before I realize I’m not asleep anymore.