Bipolar, Depression, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Spreads like Octopus Ink

The blackness under water, the struggling, the suffocating feeling, the panic attacks, head stuffed with racing thoughts, the literal slow down of movements, fighting to not cry in public or at work—or even at home— because the tissue around the eyes is chaffed, and absents of self-esteem. This despair spreads like octopus ink over loved ones, too.

The negativity associated with depression is not wiped away with positive affirmations alone. If it were so easy, medications would be set aside.

It’s November, and here in Canada, daylight is sparse. The claustrophobic days of grey, damp oppression have begun, needing lights on for supper time, skipping the evening walks. And heading out in flip-flops is on hold for months.

Winter for most is enough of a bummer; however, depression is far more than a bummer. It’s deep and unrelenting. A good joke isn’t funny. Food is flavourless. Everything is exhausting. I mean everything. Even taking a shower is too hard.

Misery overflows. The loved ones who try to cheer one with depression to no avail become stymied. Tense. The blackness spreads like octopus ink. The light is somewhere, but obscured by a brain chemical imbalance. Think of it as lopsided. No one walks well when not balanced. Loved ones have an enormous job. I need not explain that.

Depression seems to get attention once it has taken hold. People notice, friends and family wonder what’s wrong with Johnny or Sue who stop posting on social media, they don’t show up for regular activities. If Johnny and Sue tell someone when they feel the pull, doctors, friends, family, early help and support is more efficient than trying to climb out of the pit from the bottom. It is slimy, slippery.

Talk, talk, talk before falling into the pit all the way. Ask friends for an invite tag along for errands. Courage mustered to it in a coffee shop and have a beverage, alone is need be, it actually helps stimulate the mind. The tinkling of cutlery, dishes, cups, voices, and sitting in a different environment than home where you have the corner of the couch staked out, or worse, bed. It helps to get out. Feel the cold penetrate the cheeks. I’m not saying freeze, just feel the sting so the mind has something to process. The most dangerous thing about depression? In my humble opinion of experience: numbness.

It’s November. We sit on the line between holding it together and losing it altogether. Talk about symptoms of depression. Get a thread going. Those are the kinds of online things with potential to help. Memes are too impersonal. Someone wrote it… who are they? Anyone care? Honestly? Seen it a hundred times. Scroll, right, because it doesn’t apply at the moment. Social media is truly moment by moment, but a real conversation sticks longer than a meme.

Those of us who know we’re prone to winter depression, talk about it enough to bring awareness without letting it take over every conversation. There is a balance to bringing awareness.

“I’m not feeling well. Depression is clutching me, I need to be with friends to help get my mind off negative thoughts.” There is not one aspect of shame in this. This doesn’t cause octopus ink, it brings awareness in a real way.

Here’s hoping for a decent winter; empathy for the depressed, recognition for the condition, truthful talks, and recovery.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements
Standard
encouragement, Human Behaviour, information, Traditional publishing

Is it a Traditional Disappointment?

It can take years to write then publish a book or novel: practicing query letters, and years of learning about market needs, and looking for a traditional publisher. Conversely, one can write a book, choose to get professional editing and professional advice, then go ahead with a cover and choose a printer, then viola— a book on Amazon—in much less time.

It’s up to the author to agree or disagree if “good things take time.”

Notice traditional Web sites. How long have they been operating, and how many books do they have? Is the web site up to date? How do the reviews look? Do the reviews add up to how many books they have published? Any complaints? At times, complaints can come in the form of a review which isn’t detailed with accolades.

A traditional publisher should apply for the copyright. About fifteen percent goes to the author, which is fair considering copyright cost, printing, cover, editing, and typesetting costs, so make sure the contract doesn’t ask you to buy an amount of books as a requirement. It could be an option, but never a requirement. If it is an option, you shouldn’t have to pay full price for books, and be sure you’re not paying for these books to be printed. You should be paying for completed books. At cost would be ideal, but don’t expect it as these sales profits go to the publisher. If you’re selling the books you buy, expecting to receive royalties on these books is lofty. You get whatever profit you can gain. Look for these issues in the contract, and study as much as you can before signing one. Take it to a lawyer, be sure if you are not.

An author, it they’ve invested in their writing with schooling, workshop classes, and courses, works hard on a manuscript. Work just as hard on finding a way to publish, because that’s the end goal.

I don’t have a lot to say for self-publishing as I went he traditional route. But I will say this: with self-publishing you have more control over edits, since you are paying; however, with traditional publishing, you’re still paying as you are only gaining a minimal percentage of sales. Remember that and don’t be shy about keeping your “baby” in the clothes you sent it out in, with the same baby powder scent. Don’t be convinced your characters’ dialogue is all wrong, and have your say about retaining your voice, your influence, your expression, and your experience.

I’m in the middle of my edits now. My editor is not a bully, but has gotten carried away with inserting her voice in an attempt to show me what works well. I am not obligated to take this advice; however, extended deletions and additions in my work have been disruptive to me as well as time consuming to restore my work. Never delete your original manuscript! You’ll want it side by side with your edits. You’ll see good changes and unwelcome changes. We have to let go of an amount of our precious words, but you’ll know what shouldn’t be changed according to the rest of your story. Make sure consistencies, if you editor has not read your story first, are not going to be disrupted.

Edits are necessary. Grammar, punctuation, some copy editing for awkward sentences, but remember this, no matter who you agree to for publishing your manuscript with, it is still your manuscript. It takes courage to send out query letters and manuscripts, so retain that courage when you’re in the middle of edits.

They All Wore Black is my novel manuscript. I don’t have a release date as of yet:

A traumatized, hushed-up family is struggling to learn it’s okay to cry out.

Brad Fadden trudges with his head down and his guard up. His deviant father died, but Brad aches with raw secrets. Haunting memories. His haggard mother is reticent about it. His protective sister fled eight years before because of it.
       It’s 1988. Ganja, cocaine, pills—easy scores. Even so, fifteen-year-old Brad cannot subdue his crippling emotions. He’s off to harass his dead father’s socially inept boozing pal who guards the pivotal truth. The fearful sot may be the only one who knows it
     A peculiar old man intermittently appears to caution Brad about addictions and prying. He’s left to think he’s hallucinating, but he won’t stop getting high and prying. They say, The truth will set you free. They’re wrong.

(Names of characters of fictional, and it is a pure coincidence if they resemble real people.)

 https://www.facebook.com/PennersPen88/

Thanks for reading.

Standard
Dyslexia, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, information, Uncategorized

LD or DL: Learning Disabilities or Different Learning

Some call them learning disabilities. They are not. They’re learning differences; a person is differently abled.

I have dyslexia. Sure, I have to triple check for reversals, and spelling errors light up red lines in my manuscripts and Facebook posts, but I’m not a disabled writer.

In fact, dyslexia enables my aptitude for descriptive writing and character development. I see scenarios in my mind, and I hear what characters are saying. I feel their joy, fear, courage, and agony. Emotions swell like surfers’ waves on pages. My imagination is prolific. I see in images, not words. I record with my fingertips, usually hunched over my keyboard in a deep concentration as I take on the fly-on-the-wall role.

This and outstanding spacial skills are the gifts of dyslexia. I’m a good shot; I’ll win all those stuffed animals at the fair with a flimsy gun, and I hang things on my walls in an even row or estimate space and size with no measuring tape.

I am able to read and write, I just have a different way of doing these things. And I ingest a lot of caffeine. It’s one of my coping tools. Cheers!

Standard
encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, inspirational

Nothing Prospers Yesterday

Nothing in the world will prosper yesterday. Yesterday does not exist save for our memories. It cannot be taken back and tweaked, and yesterday is a reminder that we live in the present.

No future plans will be turn out as we imagine, and how can we imagine anyway? The future is out of our reach. Planning is healthy, but expecting the perfect result may always disappoint. And it may surprise us. Humans were not designed to know the future, and there’a good reason for that. If we know our future, it could very well blow our minds. No psychic can truly see your future. Some people are truly gifted; however, the future events of our lives are not entirely predictable. There are too many variables. It’s my belief psychics can pick up impressions from the present, and guide persons into a decision, but who has learned the exact future from a person who is sensitive? In my experience, I paid too much to raise my own expectations.

Focus energy on today. Our days have twenty-four hours, and those hours are split into dark and light—to be awake and to be asleep. Fill days with hope, find solace in a good days work or play. Get a good night’s sleep after a busy day.

Today will turn into tomorrow—what have we done to enter into tomorrow? Have we succeeded at something? Will we? Tomorrow waits, but for today, dream, because dreams and goals are healthy. We enter into tomorrow with that dream.  What takes years to do always happens in our todays, and it could be this day we reach a lifetime goal.

Thanks for reading.

Standard
ADD, Dyslexia, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, information, inspirational

Breaking the “Bound” Barrier

So dead ends lead to new directions? Sounds legit. They say, “Don’t give up. Find the opportunity in loss.” But who are they, anyway? Those who have stabbed a flag in their goal?

It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Clinging to a goal and hanging on in savage winds while sharp edges of crumpled old leaves fly in our wide open eyes? Is it possible to endure that pain but not become jaded? Sure, only thing is, going against all odds is an arduous journey, which includes our personal barriers, like being bound by time, finances, criticism, learning differences, etcetera, plus the ever present competition also.

I have barriers I needed to accept before I could continue with my project, but I’m not complaining. Not anymore.

As you can see, I write. As you cannot see, I have dyslexia. My spelling errors, which are a lack of ability to retain many word spellings in my brain, and mistakes due to reversals, are seemingly endless to edit. Nonetheless, dyslexia serves me with a mind movie kind of imagination. I constantly think in images, creating story scenes with  ‘people’ you can’t forget in realistic fiction. I also turn things and images in many directions, obviously letters and numbers. But I don’t use a measuring tape to hang pictures or curtain rods because of my spacial ability. I know if a piece of furniture will fit a space, and I’m within an inch just by eyeballing. A three demential view of two dimensions is common. Hence, I don’t complain about dyslexia.

ADD is Another Directional Daydream. My mind flits. I form multifaceted stories with this barrier/ability. While writing, I perceive the present, future and past, quite similar to a movie. In the end, just as any daydreamer does, I come back to the present. This forms my plot, subplots and brings the story to a plausible conclusion.

However, beating the odds to have a manuscript accepted is an ongoing battle. This is my last draft—time to find a publisher! Not so fast. It can never be fast. Haste is waste in my world of dyslexia, and ADD takes the scenic route. Uh oh, so not my last draft. Throw on more coffee.

However, I did my time—I did it! I broke the “bound” barrier by respecting my barriers. Accepting what I’m bound by released me. My novel manuscript is back with my traditional publisher while I wait to see if she is pleased with my edits according to her instruction. This is an exhilarating and nail-biting good time!

I studied dyslexia and ADD and discovered what I should expect, and what I should respect about these gifts. My imagination is rich; I must be patient with the side effects. There sure is opportunity in loss.

 
Thanks for reading.

Standard
encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

The Gradual Shock

When it first shows, we either deny it, embrace it, or cover it.

The off-white ceramic tile floor held tables, chairs, and persons. New, round tables were dotted with various beverages and paper plates of colourful food. Emotions varied according to each person’s experience, connection and memories. Laughter peeled through the community room; so did sniffles and polite nose blowing.

Unlike family reunions, yet actually similar, are funerals. Saying good-bye isn’t like the hellos of a fam-jam, yet the gathering is similar in the way a lot of people haven’t seen each other for a number of years.

I sat with a coffee, and a rumpled tissue pushed under one eye then the other. The acoustic guitar tribute got me. I noticed not just me. Afterward, I watched mostly well dressed feet going in purposeful directions on the clean floor. Some headed back to food and beverage tables, other strode to greet people who had nearly become strangers.

I recognized many, and the surprise was subdued, because people grow older, I know. Nonetheless, it grows where a once proclaimed illusion of never ending youth is taken for granted. The gradual shock of grey hair.

The shock got the spirals of my long lost friend’s rock and roll pride. The grey strands mingled with intrusiveness in his soft brown length. Bit by bit, some were tentatively welcoming maturity. Others, years behind my age, the gradual shock left them entirely white. Silver graced the crowns of many, working its way to temples and tips. The gradual shock is a respecter of no one.

How did we all get this old? We’re only in our fifties.

I mingled, my silver stripes demoting me from childhood golden locks. My peers silently brought me to a realization this February: it’s okay to look older. It’s all right to let the gradual shock cajole me into aging gracefully.

Funerals are the celebration of lives lived. Weddings, a celebration of lives joined. Both of these events demonstrate how time waits for no one, starting with matrimony; babies, grown children, then funerals of parents, and next our friends….

I observed. I said good-bye. I cried. I viewed photos. I mingled. I hugged. I laughed.

I wondered how it is going to be for me.

Thanks for reading.

Standard
encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, information

Bipolar! Now What?

That mind-numbing moment when a doctor tells us that we have bipolar disorder.

Fresh hell! It’s like being sucked into a black hole—no air, no light, no hope—no direction. Mouth dries, can’t swallow. We are now labeled—tagged—might as well write mental reject or maniac or lifeless loser on our foreheads with red permanent marker so everyone can be as afraid of us as we are of ourselves. In the abyss, we’re reeling aimlessly. Head rush. We don’t even hear the doctor explain to us what exactly it is. He or she is telling us is, “Take this medication.” We hear the seemingly amplified scribbling sounds of the prescription being written.

For some, a GP will paste this new identity on our forehead after we were brought in by family, a friend or partner—for being “crazy,” the sharp word they used.

Perhaps we have been hospitalized, observed, micromanaged… then the dreaded news comes from a psychiatrist. Now a nurse holds out a tiny paper cup with our pills; sour apple juice. Friends don’t come to the hospital to visit—because we are too ashamed to let them. We may or may not remember what we did to end up in a crisply made bed in a room with no area carpet, no computer, no stuff we recognize as our own. The bathroom mirror is missing. Gone from the ugly rolling table, too. No sharps, not even nail clippers; that’s the rule.

Either way, we have a mental illness diagnosis. Really?

Bipolar, the two-headed Beast. It scares the hell out of us, because we know nothing about it when we’re diagnosed except the standard one-size-fits-all Oxford Dictionary definition: adj. 1 having two poles or extremities. 2 characterized by two extremes. 3 (of psychiatric illness) characterized by both mania and depression. No wonder the general public assumes that bipolar persons are “happy one minute and sad the next.” If only our episodes lasted a mere minute, and if only it was merely happiness or sadness…. Anyone who has bipolar knows that it is so much more than that—it’s anxiety and panic attacks, uncontrolled, scary, weird, negative or delusional thoughts. Inability to fall asleep or concentrate. Hyperrealistic sensory faculty. Lack of or too much confidence, anger episodes, weeping, death wishes or grandiose plans. We float up to extreme highs and regret what we say and do. We are pushed off a cliff and feel dead.

Perhaps we despise this label, bipolar disorder. Yet like a can of food, without a label, we don’t know what it is—what’s in us. Bipolar disorder is manageable—because of the label—believe this.

I was diagnosed in 1984 when they called it manic depressive disease. I lived in a psychiatric hospital during a severe manic episode, psychotic and terrified, then utterly depressed. Upon release after a few months with medications, and settled in at home with my young child, I utilized the library to research my illness. Computers weren’t readily available. I had to own it and educate myself, for me, my boy. I fashioned that section dust free. Discovering I have bipolar type 1 answered my “what’s in me” questions. This gained knowledge is my weapon against the Beast. I never did kill it entirely, but it has been tamed considerably.

The foremost strategy in managing bipolar is to understand it. Learn why people get ill with it (genetically predisposed; severe childhood trauma; nasty drug and alcohol additions in family history etcetera), discover the symptoms in detail as to recognize what’s happening so we can thrust a sword into the Beast before it takes our heads into its jagged-toothed jaws.

I learned what the triggers are, and I learned strategies to help myself—because the doctors talked about medication, gave me more, but never told me what researching helped me understand what I know today. Triggers are persistent distress (like an unhealthy relationship/toxic people, or jobs); missing medication doses or not having a medication schedule and sticking to it; finances not properly managed. Worrying is deadly, and not having a proper sleep schedule is equally detrimental. Negative self-talk has absolutely no purpose.

Added medications from a doctor can be helpful for controlling moods and the many other symptoms I described earlier. If they are not, never give up, try something different. Be assertive with doctors, tell of feelings and moods, research bipolar medications and ask about them. More often than not, medication combinations will help a lot along with wellness strategies. Looking up medications also helped me to understand their purpose, side effects and benefits. I had to be diligent about helping myself, because if I didn’t, who would do this for me?

With internet we are able to research, but make sure a source is given to follow up. My rule is I need to see information three separate places before I consider it to be accurate. After all, the internet is convenient and loaded with information, but realistically, any “know-it-all” can post answers or create a paying website.

I’m proposing a few sites I know to be authentic. First, I found an engaging documentary on YouTube. The introduction reveals what the general public thinks bipolar is; disturbingly, the lack of education isn’t surprising. However, the documentary (video) is highly relatable to persons who have bipolar disorder and, if family members and friends will watch it, they’ll gain insight since it is a series of interviews with people who experience the multifaceted symptoms. Beneficial characteristics are mentioned by the interviewees, too. Intelligence and creativity are hallmark traits. Never forget this. Famous bipolar persons are also mentioned—and our world would be lacking without them. Medications which persons find helpful are also mentioned. It’s worth watching for an hour and 23 minutes. Thus far there are 37 videos one can subscribe to, it’s copyrighted (2013) and likely to available long term, so, Google, “Up/Down” Bipolar Disorder Documentary. There is also, The Black Dog. It is a creative, insightful animation describing depression. An exceptional site is, Psychcentral.com. This site is loaded with various subjects pertaining to bipolar and other mental illnesses as well as medications. Explore it if you will. But! The most gratifying thing I ever did was to google “famous bipolar people.” Best way to get a fat head—try it—I’m left with a lasting impression. We bipolar humans are in a genre of people who are undoubtedly intelligent, entertaining, expressive, creative, and either successful or have the potential to be accomplish much.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance. Stability can be found through lifestyle, educating ourselves, healthy eating, medication(s), and our “I’m going to tame the Beast” attitudes.

Be well, stay well.

 

 

Standard