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.

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In the dark

It’s night. It’s almost pitch black despite the moon being on the full side. Things are quieting down here at Great Western War, and things have gotten philosophical.

Jobs. Economy. Life. Too deep of a concept string for my drunk ass to follow.

Yeah. I am drunk. I had an entire bottle of Bailey’s this afternoon. I ate, but I’m still buzzed. The alcohol still prevails over the food… and common sense.

I also feel outside my conversational comfort zone here. I am smart, but I’m not street smart. I don’t get the common sense stuff that most people just…get. I do my job, I pay my bills, and I don’t comprehend the status that most people live at. Working. Struggling. Striving.

I’m doing okay. I get by. I don’t make inordinate amounts of money. I don’t skate through life. But I get by.

Darkness brings all kinds of thoughts that wouldn’t come in the daytime. Is it the stars? Is it the lack of light that blinds us to reality? Am I still drunk? Maybe.

Who knows what I’m talking about. I sure as hell don’t. I’m just babbling.

I think I need a shower. Or a nap. Or bedtime. 

Mundane life beckons, and I don’t wanna.

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Writer’s block sucks, especially when it’s something as simple as a blog title. Or a blog subject, for that matter.

I could write about the stress of prepping for the upcoming out-of-state war event, but I’ve done enough whining about that. I could write a short story or some flash fiction, but again, writer’s block. I could write about the fact that my industrial piercing’s healed enough for me to put my freaking sword barbell in…but that’s not enough for a whole blog post. Hell, it’s freakin’ National Poetry Day and I got nothing. Zilch. Zippo. Nada.

So what am I even doing writing right now? Honestly, I don’t know. I think I’m avoiding doing any actual work, like finishing the tunics that need to be done before the event or revising Book 1 or hell, even practicing rapier stuff. But no, I’m writing a blog. A nonsensical, pointless blog.

Sometimes I guess you just need to zone a bit. Let that mental jelly ooze out. Barf up all the thoughts that have been upsetting your stomach and then wipe the bile off the corner of your mouth and go on with life.

Okay, maybe that metaphor/analogy/whatever was a little bit gross, but you get the gist of it. Basically, even when I have nothing to write, sometimes I just have to write for the sake of writing.

Perhaps tomorrow–or the next day, or the next–we’ll be back to our semi-regularly scheduled programming.

Staking claim

As they said in Mortal Kombat:

it has begun

What, exactly? The house. Our house. The stakes marking the corners of the house are in place and spray-painted bright pink. It’s not the official “ground-breaking,” but ground was technically broken.

Our original layout for the house turned out to be an ill fit, but we changed the orientation of the house in re the road and it’s all gravy now. My husband thinks it looks pretty tiny from looking at those four bright pink stakes, but having seen how HUGE my parents’ house turned out to be after it was finished, I know it will be plenty for the two of us (and Rory). I’m super excited for construction to get started. Next week the septic guy will come out and do tests on the dirt for all that stuff. In around a month–maybe a little less–construction will begin.

By our fifth anniversary, our home will be finished and we will be in the process of moving in. I still can’t believe it. I’d never thought that I’d have a home of my own (unless you count jointly inheriting my parents’ house some time in the distant future), let alone a freshly-built one.

We’re even making plans for years and years down the line. Distant future. More than just until the current lease is up. Long-term plans. It blows my mind. I’m so beyond excited. I may be busy as shit lately, but in the background is that constant buzzing of “new house new house new house new house“…

It’s starting.

It has begun.

Into the ring

For the past several months I have been in a “deputy” position for a large volunteer/charity group. Last night, the opportunity came up for me to take the lead position in that department, and I decided to bite the bullet and submit myself for consideration.

I don’t know that anyone else would even want the position, because it’s a stressful one, but still, I’m a little nervous. I mean, I’ve only been with the organization for six months; kind of soon to take over a role like this. As far as I know, anyway. Everyone was surprised when I was made deputy after only three months of participating, so I’m guessing that six months is a little soon.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I think I’m ready. I just have to get my lazy butt up earlier (is that even possible?) and get cracking every day. Pay more attention to the myriad of groups and pages and sites and events and … well, anyway, if I get the position, I’ll have my hands full.

Fingers crossed!

Heralding in change

As I delve deeper into my “medieval” life, I have the urge to design some kind of heraldic crest for myself. Why? Partly because I’d like to play around with design, partly because I just want a cool symbol for me.

My persona is named after a valkyrie that is associated with swans, which may not sound very imposing, but swans can kick ass when they want to. So I searched The Google for Viking-esque images of swans. I found a cool one that I’d like to use, but I thought I would still *try* to come up with something on my own. I’m terrible at actual Viking/Celtic knotwork without copying, but I can make stylized stuff that’s somewhat decent. So these are what I’ve come up with so far:

Collage 2017-09-02 17_13_15

The top one is the copy design, with a sword behind it (because rapiers). The bottom one is my own design. I like my own design, but it’s not really a “Viking” style, and it doesn’t lend well to adding a sword or other item to it. I mean, I kind of can, but I’m not sure on it…Kinda dig it, kinda don’t. Still sketching on that one. What do you think?

IMG_20170902_180019631

It looks better now that I’ve gotten the swords on there, I guess. So the next question is, do I want to even go for a heraldic crest at this point? I’ve only been playing about five or six months…is it too early for a crest? My “persona” might not be fully formed yet. I dig the idea of the swan because it’s both graceful and a bit aggressive. Though I’m not the most graceful person, I can, in rapier at least, be more than a bit aggressive. But is that who I want to “be”? I don’t know, but I think I might’ve kinda maybe sorta talked myself into it with this post.

What does everyone think? The not-quite-Viking-esque swan with swords or the copycatted-Google-image with a sword? I am digging the not-quite-Viking one more and more as I look at it, but I’m asking what you think….

Natural Armor +1

We all have our little defenses in life. Some of us use humor, some of us separate ourselves from people or situations that make us uncomfortable, and some of us throw ourselves full-on into work or hobbies.

My go-to defenses? I’d have to say it’s a combination of the three. If I don’t know what to say, I joke. If I don’t like the people or things happening around me, I shrink back and hide, and if I get overwhelmed with work or hobbies I dive into whichever one is the lesser of the two evils at that particular moment.

Social anxiety is one thing I have to defend myself from quite a bit. I have a terrible fear of meeting new people, having to remember names, faces, important dates–it’s just too much sometimes. In those instances, my best armor is one that would fall in the Natural Armor category in tabletop gaming…or would that be Charisma? I’m talking, of course, about RBF: Resting Bitch Face. Yes, I am an RBF sufferer. Except I don’t suffer. I use it to my advantage whenever possible.

With RBF, I can avoid social interaction should I choose. If I actually want to participate, I just have to focus on actually smiling and nodding and acknowledging the people around me. If not, I let my facial features relax and let people think what they may of me. If people want to assume that I’m a bitch, go right ahead. Then they’ll feel like assholes when they find out I’m actually quite nice and polite. 😉

Whatever your armor or defense may be, don’t let it take you out of the world completely. We all need some kind of human interaction to get by, even if it’s just a couple times a month. Let your RBF glow, but turn it off every once in a while to make friends and participate in life.