Time For a May Update!

So it’s time for an update, it’s been a couple of weeks and I currently have a D on my foot, which means I’m stuck.

Send help and chocolate!

But, seriously, spring is … erm … springing. We have blossom and my windows are open/the Sonos are on half-pelt. Life’s okay.

My foot is going to sleep. Crap.

But, yeah, I survived London and Easter. S’all good. My mood has been relatively stable which is nice, though my anxiety remains through the roof. Not so good but it’s a work in progress. Shall we do this through the medium of bullet points, just for brevity?

 Okay then:

  • London was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I’m still paying it off but it was worth it.
  • Hidden Figures is even more awesome in the cinema. Bonus for having an actual American with me who can explain the whole political mess around it and the Space Race. Also, it makes me want to go back to my Space Race on an alien planet novella.
  • I am writing. My current focus is still on the Atridia books, specifically on a short story I’m calling “Bindings, Seen and Not” about a neutral gender bookbinder living in a city under state-sanctioned non-binary gender oppression.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale was amazing … and severely triggering. I want to watch the rest of it (I think there are like ten episodes). I’m not sure I’ll be able to though, it’s horrifically foretelling but incredibly relevant. I know a lot of people are noping out purely because of anxiety issues with the content.
  • In election news, I’m noping out. Due to a bureaucratic cock-up relating to the Great Name Change, I’ve been kicked off the electoral roll and won’t be back on it time for the local election. I’m very angry about this but also glad I caught it as I do want to vote in the general election next month. I just don’t want to have to listen to the election kerfuffle until then. Aside: I know it’s a cock-up because they have ZERO records of me under Old Name either and I’ve lived here for a decade and voted, both in person and postal. They also have no problems sending me Council Tax bills in my new name. It’s a work in progress but I don’t expect it to be resolved in time to vote locally (I have re-registered to vote and intend to give someone at Electoral a serious talking to about the legalities of this, I’m registered as a head of household and am not dependent of anyone else so there’s no reason for me to have been removed).
  • There’s no ETA on the guide dog front either. Sigh. The cats are picking up the slack though. Bramble and Gismo hugs are also helping.
  • I got an update on Uni’s progress and she’s doing so well. She’s happy and has a beach. That’s all I can ask for.
  • My mood has been yoyoing but nothing too hard-core though I managed to really trigger myself last weekend. It was unpleasant. Oh and I’ve been obsessing again, mainly on buying things, Field Notes and food. Oh and Midori, of course. But I’m starting to argue out reasons why I should wait (example: my phone is due an upgrade but, instead, I’m going to go sim-only for a few months/til the end of the year as it’s cheaper).
  • Money-wise, I sat down and worked out my income and did a spreadsheet. I’ve worked out a rough, date by date, payment plan and should be debt free just after my birthday. I even budgeted in a new Limitless card and my rent. 2018 should start out with a nice, clean, slate. If I can restrain myself and focus on the Big Picture.
  • At some point, I’m going to write that book on bipolar or, at least, how to manage things like money while dealing with the mood swings.
  • I’ve decided to teach myself bookbinding (I started learning it a couple of years ago), thanks to the help of YouTube. Actually, I’ve been a lot more crafty of late; mostly laminating stuff and experimenting with little things like making postcard-sized pictures for my fridge (mostly of upcoming movie posters and inspirational quotes) or laminating stuff for friends. I am now the proud owner of an awl, a craft knife, cutting map, guillotine and haven’t yet done myself any serious damage. Go me. My task for this week is to learn to saddle stitch and learn how to bind my own notebooks for my wallet (there’s more variety in terms of paper and cover colour). Plus it keeps my brain quiet which is the biggest thing.

  • I cancelled my gym membership. The pressure of attendance (I’m not an evening person, especially not when I ‘have’ to do something I don’t want to do) and my continuing plantar fasciitis had been driving me nuts. Said PF was getting better, then I went to London. Sigh. On the upside, I’m not missing the place and much prefer walking around Eaton Park with my guide dog owner friends and their hounds.
  • I’m eating better food. Simple meals which are easy to cook and fast (or involve the minimum amount of prep). This week it’s garlic and bacon pasta with chorizo and lots of herbs. Healthy and tasty.
  • My faux Midori wallet is working beautifully, as is the free diary I got from JP Books (though it runs out in September and I kinda want a dated one. Dates are hard.). I’ve been playing with the inserts and now have a zipper pouch, a kraft folder and a notebook inside each other on the first string and my diary and expenses ledger held together with a band on the second. It works perfectly. Oh, I added a Neo Queen Serenity tiara charm onto the string and it sits beautifully on my yen coin.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is freaking awesome. End of. I didn’t look at my watch once AND I’m going back tomorrow.
  • I’m looking forward to so much TV and so many movies. I have tickets to Alien: Covenant and Wonder Woman already. I’m actually going to the cinema physically and ordering in bulb because the Odeon site only lets me book two performances ahead online (in person I can book loads). It’s annoying and cramping my social life.
  • Doctor Who is actually kinda good this season.
  • American Gods starts tomorrow. YAY!!!!
  • I’m managed to keep on top of household stuff, though I’m yet to put my washing away. Small steps, Asha, small steps.
  • I’m back in therapy and it’s helping. Reddit is helping more in terms of a support group which is just odd but so welcome. Ditto my very closest chosen family.
  • Ramen is still awesome.
  • I finally got my hands on a Lindt 1kg Gold Bunny in the post-Easter sales and I don’t regret it. Not for one second. 😀
  • We are Groot, people!
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The Creatives’ Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder: Living with Medication

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Brain fog is a pain in the behind. It’s a combination of the various meds I take to control my anxiety, sleep and my Bipolar Disorder and I have to plan my life to avoid it (usually by waking up at 5:3oam). If I sleep in, I turn over and dream some more, waking brain fogged some point around noon. It’s important that I get the right amount of sleep as too much/little is a mania trigger for me. I have to take them at night because of the sedating effect, except that they trigger my insomnia so I can’t get off to sleep. Oh and just to be uber-weird one night a week I have to sleep for at least thirteen hours to reset my brain, usually on a Saturday or Sunday night.

/cries.

This week I made a point of sitting down and watching Stephen Fry’s new documentary The Not So Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive: 10 Years On. The original two-parter (which I saw while manic/just about to get my autism diagnosis) is a must-watch (part one/part two) for anyone who thinks they might be bipolar/been recently diagnosed. The documentary is horrifying in the parallels where you watch it and start ticking off symptoms you share both with Stephen Fry and the various people he meets.

It took me several more years before I could see a psychiatrist and get my own diagnosis, being told that ‘there was no way’ I’d be able to see one unless I was manic. As it happened I was manic when I got diagnosed but it was change and circumstance. Plus I’m a very ‘aware’ manic, it’s a blessing from my autism where I have safe-guards others don’t share. I still spend, I still plow hours into novels and stories, skipping around like a bouncing puppy but my obsessions seem limited to things I can actually do/achieve, like getting tattoos, changing jobs and visiting foreign places.

The new documentary still made me feel sick; it covered, for example, the irrational anxiety, the manic highs where you know you’re manic but are impossible to control, it’s riding a rip-tide and hoping you survive and make it back to shore.

The documentary reminded me of several things I know. Diet is important, taking yourself out a situation (such as hiding your credit cards) is a good. My close, close friends can now identify my mania on sight and it’s that phase which is much more dangerous. At least when I’m depressive I just go to bed. It also reminded me that no medication stops the mania/depressive episodes, they just level you out so said episodes happen less often.

I had at least five manic episodes last year. Being conservative.

The big one, for me at least, is that alcohol is a bad idea (my meds say it, like, explicitly) but I still drink. I know it doesn’t help my mania, knocks my meds dead in the water and makes me cycle (which means I go from high to low rapidly, sometimes several times in one day). I have PTSD, helpfully triggered this week by my broken dishwasher, and drinking helps, as do anti-anxiety meds. I like cider so you can probably guess which method I prefer.

Oh and, of course, there are the micro-obsessions which drive me nuts. Here is, for example, a collection of my recent obsessions with notes in parentheses:

  • Buying a PS4 and Bloodborne. Oh and obsessing over the lore. (No, I can’t afford it. It can wait till I get out of debt. This is why there are playthroughs. Ditto Dark Souls III.)
  • Getting my dishwasher fixed. (A Bosch man is coming next Wednesday.)
  • Going to the gym before Zumba twice a week. (Once is perfectly okay, esp as I’ve hurt my arm.)
  • Trying to finish my back pile of short stories and sending them out to markets. When I finish a story it has to go out immediately … (I’m in a crit group; they exist for a reason, as does my submission slot.)
  • Designing a cover for “One Quiet Night”. (It’s not even going to be releasable till the middle of the year when the rights revert.)
  • Making a chocolate torte. (ARGH!)
  • Buying jewellery from my favourite and shutting down soon store. (Nope, just nope.)
  • What happens in five months when I hit the max dose for my current medication? (Yeah … because I really like playing psycho-pharmaceutical  Russian Roulette.)
  • Why am I not working on a novel???

My gods, it’s exhausting.

The medication doesn’t affect me too much, aside from making me thirsty/making my mouth taste of my fillings whenever I up the dosage. Oh and the weird sleep thing. I find tracking my moods and what I do helps a lot. Not only does it make me feel like I’m not wasting time. I also have a record as my memory, yeah okay, that’s the other side-effect. My memory is in pieces. Lists are good, they give me goals and help me remember what I need from Morrisons.

This weekend I’m trying to get a start on a novel project, get my hair cut and try not to be too ill thanks to whatever crud I’ve picked up by being around other human beings. Oh and sleeping and critting a short story. I’m hoping to take it a little easier than usual, gods know I need to.

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