communication

Healing Expressions: Restorative Art

Yesterday, I was blessed with the privilege of attending a Therapeutic Collage Workshop, offered by Therapeutic Arts Facilitator, Lani Kent, of Healing Expressions, located in Vancouver, WA. Going into the workshop, I wasn’t sure how doing collage can be therapeutic, but, when Lani shared her story and her process, I saw how it can be another way to express and explore experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It can give the unspoken and unspeakable a voice and be a powerful part of one’s healing process.

Lani’s art both speaks from and to the soul. You can view her gallery here. You can also find her on Facebook.

img_7297When we arrived to the workshop, we were greeted by Lani and chose our seats. Each setting had a folder and a small gift packet with a Blessing Card attached to it. Each table had small displays of Lani’s collage art.

She had a very long table almost overflowing with magazines and had lined the perimeter of the room with more of her collage work.

After she had shared her story and experience with Restorative Art and how it had helped her on her personal journey of healing and recovery, she invited us to wander the room and select any of her pieces that drew our attention, in either and inviting way, or even one that repelled.

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At that point she gave us instruction and time to reflect. Then, she explained how to go about the process of collecting the elements we would use in making our own collages.

I confess that I just started tearing into magazines and collected way more than I could use. I collected so many possibilities, that I probably only had time to cut out elements from 1/3 of the material I had collected. I suspect that I have enough leftover magazine pages to make several more than the two I did make.

We were encouraged to write the date and what we were experiencing during this time period, whether it was about what we were doing with the collages in that moment or in the greater context of our lives. Lani counseled that we may not know or fully understand the meaning of our collages, at first. That we may come back to them multiple times throughout our journey and learn more about ourselves, from ourselves, in this way.

As I said, I did two. I’m only going to show one, here. The other one requires some processing and unpacking with my therapist. Both of them do, actually. However, I think the symbolism of the one I’m posting here is probably a very universal theme. Though, when I researched the symbolism I learned some deeper meaning and insight into what this could be saying.

Please let me know how this speaks to you, if it does

NanoPoblano – November 2018 Daily Blog Challenge

🤔 You’ve probably noticed, or maybe not, how dormant my blog has been for a long while. Periodically, I try to jumpstart my writing by doing a daily blog post challenge. This is another such effort.

The past few times I started a challenge, I haven’t been able to do the full month before…life. My hope and my plan is to incorporate my life into this month’s effort.

By that I mean I’m going to bring y’all up to speed with the things that have been going on in my life this year, especially the past couple of months:

• Parenting
• Autism
• ADHD
• Bipolar 2 disorder
• PTSD
• WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
• Binge Eating Disorder & Compulsive Eating

are among the things I’ll write about. There may even be a haiku or two and other poetry tossed into the mix.

Welcome and thanks for joining me on this journey.

Click above to find other NanoPoblano bloggers.

Writing Prompt: Photo Challenge & Word of the week.

Packing It In

We’ve lived like this
for far too long.
We no longer kiss.
With you, I’m always wrong.

You have too much anger,
I’m too sad.
We’ve lost our anchor.
Together, we’re bad.

This negativity can’t last.
I want you as friend, not foe.
I think our time is past.
It’s time to let go.

What’s next will be hard.
It will be rough.
We’ve both been scarred,
but, we’re tough.

I know you see what I see.
There’s nothing left to say.
This is what needs to be.
We must go our own way.


Word of the week: packing

Crazy

You’re not crazy. You’re pain is not a pathology. Your pain makes sense…You’re a human being with unmet needs.
Now This Op-Ed video about depression

Crazy.

“She’s just crazy. I’m done.”

“That’s just crazy talk.”

“How crazy is that?”

“What are you, crazy?”

Crazy.

How often do we throw that word around? We use it as a throwaway label for people and situations we don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to try and understand. It’s mostly a word which people who consider themselves as “normal” use to explain away and dismiss the abnormal.

Guess what? It’s ableism.

What is Ableism? According to The Urban Dictionary, “Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. It is oftentimes unintentional and most people are completely unaware of the impact of their words or actions.”

This definition isn’t only about physical disabilities, it also counts for those experiencing mental health issues due to atypical brain structure and neurochemistry.

Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
PTSD
Anxiety disorders
Addiction
Compulsive Behavior disorders
ADHD
Asperger’s
Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning)

These are but a few examples of things which people with non-neurotypical brains and brain chemistry experience.

Crazy

It is a word which holds a strong stigma. The thought of being “crazy” often causes people not to seek help for symptoms and behaviors which make them feel mentally and emotionally out of control. They don’t want to be labeled as “crazy.” WE don’t want to be labeled and dismissed as being “crazy.” We don’t want to be treated as defective or dismissed because having atypical brains makes us “less than.”

I say “WE” because I have a Bipolar brain which has been affected by ongoing and varied trauma experiences. Four and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Type 2, and PTSD. Around the same time, my youngest child was educationally identified as having “High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Recently she received the official diagnosis of Autism AND ADHD.

These things cause us to think, react, and act differently than those who have neurotypical brains. We aren’t “crazy,” we aren’t disabled. We are neurodiverse and differently abled.

The thing about the word, “crazy” is that it’s such an inherent part of our American vernacular that even those of us who have been affected and marginalized by the term frequently use it ourselves.

I’m not going to “go off the deep end” (another phrase often used instead of “crazy”) and call out everyone, every time I hear the word used. However, I will start with myself and maybe those closest to me. I haven’t figured out what to say instead, but, I’m working on it. I’ll keep you posted.

Maybe you’ll think about it the next time you hear or use the word.

In case you’re wondering, the August Scrawls Day 3 word is “atypical.”

Writing Prompts: August Scrawls, Days 1 & 2

I was stymied after prepping Thursday’s post on Wednesday. I had run out of the current prompts available on the social writing app I’ve been writing on – intermittently – for well over a year now. I needed more prompts, until either new prompts showed up on lettrs or my own ideas started flowing.

Did you know there’s a whole community of writers using Instagram? #writersofinstagram and #amwriting are a great way to locate fellow word warriors…but, you probably already knew that.

Nowadays, there’s a hashtag for EVERYTHING under the sun, on God’s green earth…(had to do it once “nowadays” showed up). So, I searched #augustwritingprompts. Lots of options popped up. Several set up scenarios and situations to write about. Not for me. I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to prompts. Give me something to interpret and write my own scene about, in my own voice.

I found such a prompt! It’s called August Scrawls and is hosted by @hopelessperriott on Instagram. A word a day! I can work with that. I hope.

Here are my first two days’ efforts:

Hunger

He hungrily watched her lips wrap around the oblong orb. His mouth went dry with thirst as a tiny drop of clear juice slowly meandered down. His pupils dilated as she captured it with her tongue. He longed to wrap his hands around the soft, golden skin. Mouth watering at the thought of tasting the firm flesh, he asked…

“Do you have another apricot?”

Gotcha! At least that was the idea. The word for Day 1 was “apricot.” How’d I do?

Here’s Day 2:

A Spectrum Moment

“Children, it’s time to work on your spelling words. Jennifer, will you please hand out this week’s practice sheets?”

Mrs. Vee, the teacher, surveyed her overly full classroom. Her eyes rested on the student in the far back corner, Shandi. Shandi was seated on a stool at the science workstation. Her head was bent as she intently stared down at the paper in front of her. She reached for a black marker and began drawing.

Mrs. Vee watched as Jennifer cautiously approached Shandi. Jennifer attempted to hand Shandi the paper. She kept looking at her artwork, seemingly oblivious to Jennifer’s presence. Then, Jennifer bravely placed the paper between Shandi’s face and the paper she was drawing on.

She reacted as badly as expected. The crumpled paper plummeted to the floor.

“Shandi! That’s enough. It’s time to work on spelling. You’ve had your art time. Now it’s work time.”

Defying her teacher’s authority, Shandi climbed down from her stool and stormed out of the classroom, disappearing down the hall to the CBC, Contained Behavior Classroom, where her IEP, Individual Education Plan, said she could go in times of distress.

Mrs. Vee sighed, then called the office, alerting them that Shandi had left the room, once again. “We really need more support from the District’s Autism Specialist,” she thought to herself.

Resigned to the status quo, she turned and addressed the classroom, “Who has completed writing five of the words?”

The word was “authority.”

This scenario is taken from the pages of my life as the parent of a child who interfaces with the world through the Autism Spectrum and experiences ADHD. There were a lot of these kinds of incidents over the past two school years. It’s felt good to interact with and try to support and encourage teachers who care. Most General Education teachers don’t receive much training or education in supporting kids with various special needs. I’m grateful my daughter is where she is.

Anyway, days 1 & 2 down. Hopefully, I’ll catch up with 3 & 4 tomorrow.

Propaganda Dispersal System vs Critical Thinking

This is intended as reminder for those of us who forget to use it, for whatever reason – I do include myself in this – and a primer for those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn it, for whatever reason.

“Critical thinking skills truly matter”

Our social media culture of “like, copy, share” has turned many of us, again, myself included, into cogs of the Propaganda Dispersal System (PDS).

Much of what passes in front of our eyes, through our FB news feeds and notifications lists, (as well as other places we like to hang out on the internet), regarding governmental, justice, social, and environmental issues, is both product and fuel of the PDS.

The facts are often true…except for a detail or two. There are frequent omissions or additions. Language is used in a way to slant and hook our emotions. This is why the term “click bait” exists.

If you know anything about fishing, the following may be helpful:

Fisherman = person/organization that wants our attention in the form of votes, money, and/or time.

Fish = us. Every single one of us is a target with thousands of goods, services, products, political parties, activist organizations, public and private institutions  ALL wanting our votes, money, and/or time.

Hook & bait = carefully crafted words, images, and videos designed to bypass the rational and analytical parts of our brains and hook into our emotions.

This is where fishing analogy ends and the virus one begins:


How many times have you heard the phrase, “it’s gone viral”?

Once our emotions are hooked, we then become carriers of the propaganda virus. Even the most educated and rational person can and does “catch the virus.” We all have some things we’re immune to. Things we can bypass without a thought or regret. However, all of us also have those things we’re almost always susceptible to. Again, this also applies to the well and over-educated, because we’re humans.

After that happens, we’re the carriers, propaganda is the virus, and social media is the transmission system. We get hooked by whatever powerful emotion the information in words and images and how it has been presented trigger in us. Then, we copy and share it so the people on our friend lists will see it and react. And the next cycle begins.

It has taken longer for you to read this than it frequently takes for the entire cycle to happen.

A headline. A meme. A 30-60 second video. 👍❤️😮😥😡 & share. Scroll and repeat.

If we will stop and take the time ask the questions in this chart, we can break ourselves free from the Propaganda Dispersal System.

The importance of communicating when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Being codependent with the world is not fun. So, I’m trying to change it. Guess what? Changing ingrained responses and dealing with the reactions of the boundary breakers who’ve been trained to believe that I don’t have boundaries, is about as much fun as staying codependent.

Which is to say, frustrating, painful, and draining.

For those who’ve been reading along recently, you know I’m overwhelmed with multiple challenges happening all at once. The interplay between those things and the mental/physical health issues, means I’m not coping well in a lot of ways. Truthfully, I know I’m coping better than I have in the past, but not as well as I (and others) judge I should be.

At any rate, the last thing I feel capable of doing is constructively and compassionately dealing with someone incapable of being constructive and compassionate. This is especially true if there is more being demanded of me than I feel I have to give.

The whole turn the other cheek, give the cloak off your back, go the extra mile thing is really a bit beyond me, at the moment. As a matter of fact, I’m even having difficulty with “how you treated the least of these, so you treated me” thing. Whether it’s oppressors, those experiencing more difficulties than I am, or those on the same level, I’m running on empty and haven’t got anything left to give anybody, that’s worth having. I haven’t got the mental, physical, or emotional space to be able to open up the spiritual channels and let the Love flow through. It’s like the garden hose that gets kinked so bad the water slows until it stops flowing altogether.

I know what I need to do. I am just not quite able to do it, yet. I’m working on it, but I can’t do anymore than I can do in this moment. So, when I’m confronted with one more person in my life who wants more from me than I have to offer, I have to say, “No.” Repeatedly. With explanation. With rebuttal. With unwavering resolution.

My next door neighbor is a psychic and emotional vampire. She can’t help it, she really can’t. My understanding is that there is some untreated mental health stuff going on in addition to some pretty severe, chronic and debilitating physical health issues – all of which feed on and interact with each other.

She’s in between the ages of my two adult children. She’s a young mom, who started younger than I did. I recognize a lot of how my younger self was in her attitudes and circumstances. Although, her situation is more extreme and challenging than mine ever was.

I’m probably one of the few people who doesn’t just write her off as a pushy, loud, crazy, obnoxious, unstable, lunatic. She can be very rude, scary, and out of control. However, I’ve also seen her be compassionate, caring, and generous. I’ve experienced her when she’s genuinely and sincerely trying to understand why her life is the way it is and I’ve seen the complete disconnection between her understanding of the role she plays in her own misery and her ability to choose different action.

In some ways it’s like Keith and his knee-jerk anger response to things not meeting his expectations or Luna not getting her way. Which, of course, is part of my difficulty.

Since Keith has been home, almost two weeks now, I’ve been struggling with the codependent aspects of my relationship with him and his emotions. There’s a ton of anxiety and anger. I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to maintain equilibrium, which is starting to look like self-imposed isolation. The physiological toll is energy drain, resulting in fatigue and exhaustion. Insomnia, pain, and irritability have increased as well. I don’t want to be around others when I feel like this, especially if I know I have to keep my failing shields up.

It would be like taking the battle worn and damaged Enterprise through The Neutral Zone toward the Romulans, and expect it to withstand and survive the ensuing assault. Yeah, I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek.

At any rate, because I have been “under siege” in coping with all the people I live with and their emotions and attitudes, while battling my inner demons, my capacity for constructive interpretation and response to others, especially my next door neighbor is greatly impaired. So, when she tried to pressure me into going to the store with her, I declined. I explained I wasn’t feeling well. She pressed on and I explained in more detail what I was experiencing and refused again. She continued to push by explaining that she deals with those symptoms on a daily basis – implying I should take what she was offering and do what she does, and go anyway. A final time I turned her down.

That seemed to be the end of it, until a few hours later she contacted me again with the following text:

You actually complain an awful lot. When your a mom you cant really say what u cnt do if it means …! It looks like an excuse after awhile. That’s what I mean when I say Fibromyalgia is an excuse. I wont allow some diagnosis to come into my world for an excuse why I cannot parent feed clean or raise my kids. That’s 100% BS in my opinion. Mothers keep on! I had a conversation with your daughter about it a while ago and she agreed that it seemed like an annoying repetitive excuse. Almost repulsive. You know?

I immediately felt under attack. I tried not to react, but eventually sent this message back:

Since you seem to feel it appropriate to assume and imply that I’m an irresponsible, excuse making repulsive parent, or at least imply it, I would appreciate it if you would just stop texting me.

You are not fully informed of the ins and outs of my life, what I do or do not do to take care of my responsibilities, or the factors that I cope with. I am tired of being subjected to your uninformed and unsolicited opinions of my character when I fail to meet your expectations or requests.

I have done what I am able to respond to you and listen at times. I am not able to provide what you seek and I’m really tired of dealing with this judgmental and pushy attitude toward me and my family.

Whether you intend to be so or not, your attitudes, words and actions, are often rude, hurtful, and not based on anything in actual reality other than your expectations and views.

We went back and forth for a while with her trying to explain it wasn’t meant as an attack on me, but was her talking out her feelings, experiences, and opinions about a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia her doctor has been talking over with her. She also asked what it was about what she’d said that made me feel attacked. I tried to explain the best I could.

The long and short of it is, despite my own issues and problems, because of things I’ve experienced in my life, I don’t have it in me to just completely cut difficult people out of my life and reject them, without attempting to communicate my reasons.

If we don’t let people know how their words and actions affect us and when we’re having issues with them, then neither they or we have the opportunity to know or understand where the areas of growth are. Even at my least willing and when I feel least capable of patience, compassion, and understanding, I still feel compelled to do this.

Part of me wishes I were different, but a deeper part of me understands this is a good thing, overall, even if it makes it more difficult and challenging for me personally.

Word-wise: Literal vs Figurative

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RIP… The word “literal” has died, and has been replaced by the word “figurative”. Unfortunately, the word “figurative” has been seen disguised as the word ” literal.

Don’t be fooled, if you see the word “literal” or the word “literally” around town, it’s actually the word “figurative” or the word “figuratively” in disguise.

RIP -“literal”. ~ A. Nikander

My friend, having Luddite tendencies, still wakes up to a radio alarm clock and actually listens to the radio programming whilst going about his morning routine.

“I woke up to my radio alarm clock, and within about 10 minutes, I heard two grammatical infractions in the use of this word.

Apparently, if I give money to a Haitian missions organization, I literally stick food in hungry children’s mouths… That would be cool, but I’m here, in Portland…”

As a reader, writer, and lover of words, it pains me greatly to witness how often words are misused and misunderstood. It especially bothers me when “writing and speaking professionals” use words incorrectly. However, it isn’t just my internal Grammar Nazi rising its harsh, critical head and deeming those who use the wrong words as imbecilic dolts.

While that may have been my modus operandi in my past, I now am more forgiving and willing to concede that not everyone has the same educational access or grammatical aptitude with which many of us have been gifted. I’ve also become more forgiving of the grammatical imperfections of others as I realize my own grammatical challenges with punctuation and other mechanics involved in writing.

No, I think it is most bothersome when I realize that many relational conflicts occur on the basis of the words being used. It is overly easy to take a misplaced word and change the entire meaning and intent of the original message. Then I realize that, often, the conflict isn’t as much from a misinterpretation or misunderstanding as it is from one person’s need to assert the rightness of his or her knowledge and understanding over the person who made the mistake, thereby putting that one in a defensive position.

We get hung up on rules of order and right vs wrong, forgetting that we are interacting with people who have feelings and life experiences where learning grammar and proper word usage may not have been life’s priority.

If you, like me, are instantly irritated by text speak and find yourself becoming snarky and agitated when you read or hear the word “literal” used where “figurative” should be, I have a couple of ideas for how to cope constructively.

The first is listen to yourself. If your first thought is name calling, then you’re not ready to address the situation in a helpful manner and will likely create or escalate conflict – over how a word is being used. “Imbecile, you meant ‘figurative’ instead of ‘literal.’ Learn how to use the dictionary,” reflects more negatively on your character than the other person’s language comprehension skills.

The second is to ask yourself, “Is this the right moment to address the grammar and word usage, or is something more important happening?” A secondary question to ask is, ” Is this a battle worth having right now?” Usually the answer is, “No!” Pick your battles and decide if this one is truly worth your time, energy, and a possible rift in the relationship. By focusing on a nit picky detail and derailing the conversation, you could be distracting and detracting from something which is important to the one communicating.

Thirdly, determine if it is your “place” to offer correction. If you aren’t in a position of parental, academic, or occupational authority in the other person’s life, then you really need to think about whether or not the relationship is more important than correcting his or her grammar. If the person speaking/writing has not specifically requested assistance, instruction, or correction regarding his or her language skills, then, let it go.

If you absolutely cannot let it pass, then, be as circumspect and respectful as possible in offering the correction, especially if you are correcting someone with whom you are not well acquainted. Do not blurt it out in front of others and make sure you’ve let go of any attitudes of superiority or judgment.

Finally, use humor without malice. If you want to joke about it, find a way to joke about the issue not the person. Avoid snark and sarcasm, unless interacting with someone fluent in their use. For example:

“Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated,” responded Literal upon hearing the obituary (listed above). “I have actually taken refuge with a network of devoted Grammarians, who do their best to ensure my correct usage. While it may be true, Figurative, has impersonated me, it is not her fault. She has been taken hostage by a group of pseudo-Grammarians. Within each forced impersonation she makes a hidden appeal to be rescued by the same network which protects me.”

Good grammar is important in achieving professional success, it’s true. However, constructive communication is important in all areas and relationships. Until next time, practice being word-wise and not just book-smart.

Right to be wrong or wrong to be right?

Why is it we feel the need to invalidate and disregard others who don’t think and have the same preferences as we do? I ask this using the inclusive because I realize I do it too.

When I posted the movie review about Daybreakers, there were several comments made that it wasn’t the kind of movie some would ever watch due to the gore and violence. I understand that, I really do. I am not a fan of that myself. However, and maybe this is just a flawed perception on my part, some of the comments seemed to have a subtle hint of disapproval or disdain regarding these kinds of movies and those who watch them.

I’ve seen it play out over and over again, sometimes participating. One person’s preference, opinion, belief, or method is taunted, ridiculed, rejected, or shunned, treated as invalid because it goes against what another or group of others think or are accustomed to.

A friend of mine posted an article that highlighted this very thing. It was regarding one family’s history of having a lot of children with the eldest son and his wife carrying that choice forward and having a third child. Apparently there is or has been a reality show about the family, although, I’ve never seen it. The article stated that our society has a “My body, my choice,” attitude of acceptance and normality for a woman’s right to choose abortion, but not if a woman chooses to mother a large family, especially if her religious beliefs factor into her decision. Apparently, there were a lot of horrific comments made to the original article announcing the family’s expansion. Name calling, vilification, and death wishes were the message of the day.

On the flip side, we’ve all witnessed at one point or another the open hatefulness that has been displayed toward staff and clients braving the picket lines of pro-life protesters.

I don’t have the answer to the pro-choice/pro-life debate – and it isn’t the topic at hand – but I will say this: I am both pro-choice and pro-life. I believe that each and every person has the right to decide for themselves what actions they are going to take. I believe that each person’s body is their own and no one has the right to impose or determine their will over another person. I believe in the sanctity of life and that life happens for a reason. The decision to end a life, regardless of how valid or senseless the reasoning is, has far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for the one making that decision and ripples into the lives and psyches of those connected to both the life that is taken and the one doing the taking.

Moving on.

I saw a post from a group of introverts who were frustrated and upset by an article stating that in order for introverts to be happier, they need to act like extroverts. Some of their responses were as denigrating to extroverts as they were accusing the article’s author of being toward them.

Drivers vs bicyclists

Horror vs drama

Vegan/vegetarian vs carnivore

Male vs female

Generation vs generation

Rich vs poor

Science vs religion

Religion vs religion

Race vs race

The list goes on and on and on. There are a lot of prejudices and isms in our world.

We use words and phrases that could have been sung by the character, Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Even if we don’t say it, we think it:

Those poor, unfortunate souls are mistaken, misguided, brainwashed, deceived, evil because they don’t think/look/act as we do and it makes us feel uncomfortable and somehow threatened that if their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perspective are valid, then we are invalidated.

I am learning that right, wrong, or somewhere on the multi-colored spectrum between white and black, every human being has validity and the right to be wrong, as well as the right to believe they are right. Someone else being right only means I’m wrong if I said two plus two was anything other than four.

Even if I disagree and think someone else is wrong, I’m learning to let go of my need to be vindicated and validated by having them agree with me and tell me I’m right. I’m learning to try to understand how they arrived at their conclusions and why they believe as they do.

I am teaching, or trying to teach, Luna that how she feels is how she feels, but feeling a certain way doesn’t give her the right to treat others badly when they don’t accommodate her feelings or say and do what she thinks they should. It’s a difficult lesson to teach a four year old. It’s especially difficult to teach when confronted with the reality that it’s one I’m still learning myself.

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Hypomania is breaking my brain…

Click for BfMH2013 posts

Click for BfMH2013 posts

I started writing this sometime late last night, I forget exactly what time. Then, midway through I finally was able to go to sleep – fitfully, intermittently, for several hours. The hypomania is over, but it triggered the fibromyalgia and I hurt everywhere and have a lot of fatigue in every area of my body’s core. My brain is foggy and disorented. I want to try to get more sleep, but it’s 8:30 a.m. and I want to try to capture these thoughts before they disappear in the midst of the hustle and bustle after everyone else wakes up…they just woke up, crap. Well, let me try anyway.

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I know I need to finish the story I began about managing hypomania, but to be perfectly honest, I think it’s managing me at the moment and today, erm yesterday by now I guess, was a a hellofaday.

I can’t quite remember what time I first woke up on Tuesday morning, but I’m pretty sure it was some time between 3:30 and 4:30 am, after not getting to sleep until well after midnight. I guess that should have been my first hint, huh?

I got so much accomplished with my writing and organizing the online and digital aspects of what I’m trying to do with my life that morning. I picked up a number of balls I had kept dropping and started getting the guest blogging project a little better connected. It’s still kind of in the organization stage, except, it really isn’t. Although, I have taken steps forward to make it happen.

Anyway, since then I was pretty much awake throughout the entirety of Wednesday, until I catnapped off and on some time between 1:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. then it was time to get ready to go walk almost a mile to pick up the Zipcar to get Keith back on the truck so he could get back on the road and hopefully start getting consistent miles and loads that will start supporting our family and let us catch up on the bills again…but that’s all supposed to be in the other post I started writing yesterday and couldn’t stay focused on. I will get to it, I promise. Unless I don’t.

So, anyway, I think I slept between 3:30 – 5:30 this morning…again with the dozing off/on. I crashed listening to my iPod with actual headphones, on this uncomfortable excuse of a couch the cat destroyed at the beginning of February. It wasn’t much of a sleep because I remember being semi-aware off/on during the time trying to tell myself to take the headphones off because the music was not helping me sleep and the headphones were uncomfortable to sleep in. Yet I was in such a state that I couldn’t actually take action on those thoughts.

I use actual over-the-head ones instead of ear buds because earbuds hurt, are uncomfortable and make me feel a bit crazier than I already feel. But I digress…again.

Thankfully? LaLa and her SpiritLove were here Thursday night because I knew there was no way I was going to get to sleep and Luna, having had to say goodbye to her daddy would be clingy and needing to have that physical contact with me to get to sleep or stay asleep. I knew there was no way I would be able to stay in bed with her and that me leaving the bed would eventually cause her to wake up. Since she had been woken up at 5 am so we could take him to his truck and she’d had a VERY busy day and needed rest. So, I had them lay down with her in the bedroom. I figured those who can actually fall asleep should be in one room actually sleeping on a bed, while I was awake in the other room, otherwise I was going to be lying awake, fidgeting and fussing inside of my mind all night and resenting not being able to do anything because all the rooms I could be in had to be kept dark and quiet so they could get the sleep I couldn’t

Sleep envy isn’t pretty. Just sayin’.

I did wind up napping off/on for a couple of hourse between 3:30 – 5:30 but don’t know how much actual sleep I got then either.

I guess the basic point is that from Tuesday morning around 4:30 am until about 1:30 am this Saturday morning, I had barely any sleep at all.

Yesterday was spent with me trying to stave off the bitchy irritability and stress reactions that come with sleep deprivation. On top of it, I discovered that some REALLY IMPORTANT PAPERS, I thought I knew where I had put them for safekeeping needed to be taken to the management office of our apartment, and I couldn’t find them. There was some relational tension happening between LaLa and her SpiritLove and the combination of their tense energy mixed in with my frustration over not being able to find the papers and I wound up tamping down on the rising feelings of panic and anxiety in order to not overescalate any of it.

The combination of all of that with the sleep deprivation and the hypomania I was still experiencing meant that as the day got further and further along, my ability to stay focused on what I was trying to write about diminished. So by the time the five o’clock hour came that evening I was hyper irritable and feeling rather explosive.

Luna was tired and crabby, and as kids tend to be, the emotional barometer of all the frenetic and negative energy that had been building up. So, she was basically acting out, not listening, climbing over everyone and everything, whining, demanding, and just generally acting like an exhausted and stressed out little kid.

I wound up snapping at her and yelling. When I yell, I don’t use harsh words or statements, but my voice booms and pierces. I try really hard not to go there, but I did. LaLa told me to stop yelling and I got really angry. I got up and walked out of the room. I can’t make the quick exits I wish I could, so the agitation further increased. After a couple of minutes I came back in and got Luna and carried her into the bedroom and told her I was sorry for yelling at her and explained that mommy wasn’t feeling good right now. I told her I loved her and asked her for a hug. Then let her go back to the living room.

Then, I went and took a shower.

When I got out of the shower, I grabbed my phone and went an laid down on the bed and just let go of the fight to hold up the wall against the overwhelm of everything and allowed it to take me under a wave of exhaustion.

Luna came in and tried to tell me something – I think they were finally leaving to go to the park – but I was non-responsive. I couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me. They left and I slept.

They came back and I woke up. I thought I’d slept for a couple of hours, then realized it was only an hour.

I was wide awake again and it was before 8:30 pm. I prepared to be up all night again and told them I would be in the living room again. About 1:15 this morning when I completely misinterpreted what a friend was saying with her commentary on her blog link post, I realized that hypomania was breaking my brain.