Living Better with Depression, Bipolar Disorder and/or Anxiety: strategies, tactics & tools for the short, medium & long-term. Based on my long journeys back from the Dark Side & and falls from high places, past, present & continuing....


State of Mind, State of House

(Just a note: i have been trying to post for weeks on both iPhone and iPad, through the Blogger app, but dear old Apple ensures it crashes, no matter what I try.  I'm going through the website now, or I'll never get anything posted. Apologies.)

I can't just blame the software though, unfortunately. It's not even that I don't have the material to post. I've got a folder half-full of drafts, and the blog idea section in my filofax is stuffed with notes.  There are just certain ways I can't make my brain work at the moment, and as far as I can tell, it's got something to do with organisation. More specifically, a complete inability to make a system to create order, leading to a complete inability to make order. In my thoughts, in my actions, in my social interactions, all the way down to even the inability to write a simple list.

It's maddening. It's tweaking all my obsessive triggers, but it's like mopping up a storm with a twig. Every inefectual effort brings more confusion, another half-finished task, more disorder.  This is most obviously manifested in the current state of my Sanctuary, my Fortified Keep, my geographical Peaceful Centre; MY HOUSE.

Ugh, I'm struggling to even write words about it. The feelings overwhelm me before they can be described. I'm hoping that I can blog my way through getting my house in order, a little section at a time; that i can use it to make linear some of the mush in my brain box. My usual tricks aren't working, so dear Reader, I invite you to traverse this rather desperate, improvised tactic with me and discover whether it has any merit...

Anyway, so far I've had a panic attack in between the first and second sentence of that last paragraph. But that's ok, it was more the "omigosh, omigosh, agh, agh" type rather than the paralysing black bite-style, so i quickly plugged in the vacuum cleaner and got to work on a section of my sewing room that i had already designated as "space needed as temporary holding bay" for the Tetris block of sewing stuff, market stall gear, yarn, boxes of clothes etc that my sewing room has become.

I pushed that out while the going was good, and got stuck into the hallway and into the lounge.  By the time fatigue and confusion overwhelmed me, I had tricked myself into making a small, but noticeable and pristine space in my house. I'll not overthink that, take the win and sit down to write about it.

I've got no idea what to do next, but I'm just gunna sit with it and maybe throw some ink or paint on some paper. Once you've decided on a strategy or tactic (or mental trickery heheh), I think it's important for something this crazy-making to be approached in whatever manner doesn't  trigger anxiety, or negative self-talk etc. Remember the "One Breath at a Time" principle. Break that shit down so small that you forget the overall larger task; inhabit the tiny little increments of life that you are able to.

So here are some paint splotches that I forced myself to lay down, despite knowing that only rubbish would come of it. No biggie, it's only coz I said I would and now I can tick that off (more small-scale mental trickery). Sometimes it's ok for your art to just be an experiment of expression.

I aso managed to squeeze in a load of washing.  I'm gunna work on getting that hung out nicely (one of my major obsessions, it requires energy to do properly), but then honestly? With the high pain levels and exhaustion/depression I've been experiencing the last few days, I really think that's quite enough for one day. I gotta keep some in the tank to feed myself and the animals, and water the garden. The washing might have to just wait...

Thank goodness for the bass.  But that's a whole 'nutha post, so stay with me. Sporadic as I may be, I do thank you.


Back to the Beach

 The bitter winter put me off hitting the beach a lot this winter, but two days in a row is back in the saddle, right? My mental health has been in the toilet, and I'm hoping the new warmth of Spring will be a positive motivator. The hound is most impressed... 

#beachcombing #dailywalk #shakethemblues


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#artbySENSE '015

Getting out of practice with Essential Practices 

Yes fine, I totally get it. I broke the "Post Often"(*) rule, haven't posted since November blah blah BLAH.  Well, you know what this blog is about, right? Let me remind you...it's a mentally fucked up person trying to make a blog about trying to not be so fucked up. Do I need to say any more? No? Good, let's get on with it...

OK, so today it's less of a straight-up tactics post, and more of a run-down of my recent rundown and some light analysis, but it features an easy-to-get allegory that I will not disrespect your intelligence & insight by pointing out.  You can reflect upon it as deeply as you like, but I put this forward in the hope that by relating the experiences wherein I learn something, you can also find something helpful for your own experience.

So, a little backstory..

#artbySENSE '015
By spending a large proportion of every day for the last year determinedly following an endless regime of mindfulness, meditation, exercise, yoga, breathing, supplements, visualisation, affirmations, ritual, analysis, reflection, micro-managing my nutrition/diet and my physical/mental energy supply/demand equation AND *gasping inbreath* all the other stuff I experimented with, I managed recently to obtain (and for a short time maintain) the closest thing to equilibrium I've ever had.

And of course, once I was feeling pretty productive I decided I could finally move through coping moment-to-moment, day-to-day to making tentative lifestyle choices and considering my potential (me! potential!) as a member of a larger community. Your world gets pretty small when you shatter, and realising you might finally have the chops to start considering putting primary-coloured blobby shapes on your Life's Landscape is nothing short of a MASSIVE DEAL.

Sounds pretty logical, doesn't it? Break down, get the tools to repair, start repairing, complete sufficient repairs to continue as before, or as close to that as possible. Got it? Go!

Only problem is that we are also humans, and when things are "going well" we start taking that state for granted (can you see where this is going?).  As I got more comfortable and confident, I started venturing out of the house, having the odd social interaction, became a volunteer companion to an elder, was back busking and regularly practicing my instruments. You know, just trying to make myself a bit of a Life, such as it might be.  It was still part-time (It seems I'm not able to do Life full time), but it looked very different from recent years.  Any interest takes up time though, and small but fundamental practices started to be put off as demands on my time and focus increased. Initially I was still feeling pretty deadly (energetic, strong, if a little scattered), so it didn't seem to matter that I'd choose to forgo a stretch, or my walk for that day. I was substituting it for something healthy and recognisably good for me, so it was all still a balanced equation, right?

#artbySENSE '016

Without consciously realising it, I broke out in an invisible rash of hairline fractures. It made me vaguely itchy, but my timetable had gotten pretty full and I didn't notice I was starting to use all my resources in trying to keep up with myself. I'd even stopped checking in regularly for reflection time, so I hadn't faced what was going on.

By the wayside it did fall. First the more subtle routines/habits; sleep hygiene, wake-up rituals etc. Then more structural stuff, like my exercise plan, regular eating and sleeping. On and on it went, getting incrementally more frenetic and sketchy until I finally sank to the floor a bit before crissMess, burst into tears and let the truth stare me down.

#artbySENSE '015
When I look back at my Scale of Stability now, I can see that I had been running at +1's and +2's for weeks and weeks (manic, some loss of function), with pretty negative summaries of the day's state-of-mind. I did kind of assume that I was tired and insecure because I'd been working really hard trying to start a home-business, and it was triggering confidence issues.  It was just recently realising that my current Scale and daily assessment criteria wasn't working for me anymore, that made me realise that my current stumble wasn't out-of-the-blue.  If I had kept up with checking back over the last few weeks to see if anything obvious jumped out, I would have maybe caught myself a bit earlier, before I totally withdrew.

Sometimes I really do feel this intense HATRED for the binding, black paralysis that attacks me. It's intrinsically bound up in my expectations about everything and my place within it, as well as the aforementioned PunyHuman tendency to forget that change is a constant, and that no state can stay fixed outside of our reality and it's onward pull of Time. But it's like having a circuit-wipe every so often, and I have a keen sense of Time lost and momentum stilled whenever I drag myself out of another one, and there is always a sense of rebuilding, and re-starting that can seem so wasteful and tedious if I let myself think about how inefficient it is. I guess I'm saying it's a hard thing to accept.

I've been psyching up to spring as soon as I peg a gap in the blackness, to seize the first micro-opportunity available and slip it's crushing clutches. This was a pretty bad creative siezure, with even my usually-prolific journal entries dropping dramatically in frequency and length. Usually I can let the private pen roll pretty freely, even when all else is stalled. After having to dial back all commitments to zero (ugh, again!), I've been feeling the approach of this gap in the clouds, and working hard to value myself enough to spring for it as soon as I see that first welcome shaft of Light.

If you're reading this post, it means I really put my legs into the jump, and have made it at least to the lip. I can't promise I do have the required Self-belief to pull off a worthy Lyfe, but I do learn authentic life lessons and take them in as consciously as I can. I am rolling my eyes a bit at myself (OH PUNY HUMAN!) and at the whole merry-go-'round, but I see enough evidence that if I guide my thinking the right way, I'll realise I am better off hanging in there and trying to spread some Love, even if it's a bit Sporadica Stoppy Starticus (+)

So.... Guess who's back? (dah dah duh uhn) Back again ... (rinse and repeat)

#artbySENSE '015

* Watch out for  'My 2Sense about the "rules" of successful blogs' in an upcoming post on my other blog,  iCREATRIX
(+) Sporadicus Stoppy Starticus fake-Latin species name for the Manic-Depressive


the danger of making assumptions you don't know you're making...

"yes, but have you noticed there's no STOP button?"  (c)#artbysense

Ok, I got sent a response to one of my posts that has pulled me up short and got me chastising myself for an arrogant fool. 

I'm kicking myself because without realising it, I have been operating this Blog on the unconscious assumption that anyone reading it has had their Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, and is already at or past a point where they have decided on at least one reason to keep on breathing.  Which is patently stupid, as I know from personal experience it's neither true, nor can I claim to have reached that point myself as a permanent state. 

It's a visceral blow to me tonight as I reflect on the message I've just read.  Not least because I know and respect the person that sent it, but also because I have been writing under the misapprehension that although I take great care in writing & editing these posts, I really didn't think they would have any power or meaning for anyone.  I see so much lightweight faff online posing as helpful or useful info, I had an unconscious belief that people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between superficial information and an attempt to go deeper anyway.

And I apologise most humbly in advance if it seems in the least that I am mining another person's hardship for blog-fodder. I can't emphasise enough this is not the case.  

No, what I'm trying to highlight here is my own arrogance and the utter imprudence of blithely making assumptions, even if they were unconscious. I feel sick at my hypocrisy and slapped in the face. "WAKE UP!!"

Because I know. Every cell in my body knows how it is to need a damn good reason to not just blot out existence and finally be done with it. Moment by endless, aching moment. First searchingly;  a reason, a reason, but there is nothing to latch on to. The heart will take no joy in all the usual dependable, meaningful actions.  Then desperately; why? Why? Still nothing, but then the horrible suspicion there might be nothing, nothing you can touch deeply anymore, that the previous spark in your eyes was there because you were hungry and Lyfe had something of sustenance for you to Eat.  Now stomach is ashes and you could not digest any flavour or nutrition anyway, were it even set before you.

I feel powerless right now; finding One's Self bereft of the will to Lyfe is such a fragile, lonely and utterly precarious place to be, and I am devastated to realise that I have no heartening words of encouragement to offer.  Because truthully, I believe the only point is the one on the end of my finger, and that it actually DOESN'T matter if I am here or not.  But strangely enough, I find a peace and freedom in that, that the pressure to find a reason to live just can't match.  

The need to find a point to one's existence is one of the most fundamental acts of personal free will that one will ever have the chance to discover and put into practice.  But it needs time and space to reach our real breadths.  Our society does not require or even openly recommend that individuals have any training and/or practice in reflecting on the meaning of one's life.  Our society makes a competitive virtue of keeping busy, headlines and advertising throw us from one heightened state to another. We are manipulated & motivated for the most part by vague, nebulous urges to "fill your life" FILL. YOUR. LIFE.  Like empty space and quiet is the enemy; like all the simple melodies that make up moments of your existence should be piled atop one another in a simultaneous set of symphonies.  You are encouraged to play the game, as if there is no other way.  So when trauma or chronic struggle, or ongoing unfulfillment starts to make everything in our life lose all value, we are left floating in a big, empty space with nowhere firm to set our feet.  And who amongst us can look into that abyss and not eventually flinch at what stares back? (If you put your own hand up you are lying, drop the front).

Fuck trying to look for a reason to live.  I really think you come to understand the reason long after you have made the decision, and it can just be overwhelming to go that deep when you're in crisis.  You only need a reason for now. Just one to get you off the roof. 

 My most powerful thought that draws me back is thinking of the mess that my loved ones will have to deal with when they find my body, and I just can't put anyone through that trauma. (Dead bodies are icky and tragic and traumatic). That and I can't leave my dog with no owner.  Whilst I empathise mightily with people that do feel they have to go through with it, on a personal level it eventually makes me feel super selfish, and I lean heavily on that fact time and time again.  I don't know whether that's my politics talking or just my personality, but it has worked so far.  And this is how you start..

Call somebody.  

It sounds a lot simpler than it often is when you're messed up, but if you feel you are being driven to jump and you don't know where to go or how to stop that feeling get on the phone.   
I'm gunna insert part of my reply to my friend, because I can't find a second set of words to explain and encourage:

"I am still here because of two things; one short term for the immediate now, and one straightaway for the time needed. You need to get in the direct company of people that either care, or people whose job it is to look after you. you must not be alone. I have called Lifeline with the packet of pills and water in my hand, when I had noone else. I have called the Crisis Assessment Team (CAT) when i had tried and missed and was looking to try again. They didn't lock me up, like I was scared they, would, they just listened and then helped me. Just DON'T BE ALONE.

You probably don't feel worth saving, that's ok but please don't trust those feelings. the very fact that you wrote me means that some deeper part of you really wants there to be a brighter day, and I promise you that while there might not be some big spotlight shiny forever, or a rainbow-tinted 'other side', there are precious and golden bright moments somewhere ahead of you, if you just take one more breath right now.

do it for the people that love you, do it for your dog
[or your cat/horse/snake], do it to spite every stupid fool that ever disrespected the spark that makes you You.

Now the immediate thing. take one breath.... see if you're still there at the end of it. Now see if you are still there at the end of another breath... still there? try another and see if you are still there when you finish breathing that one out.. keep checking. just one breath, check, repeat. I have gotten through whole hellish nights just trying for one breath at a time. it's not fun, but somehow it often works, and you're not having heaps of fun now, so what's to lose trying it?

I was (am) scared to reply to you, because I don't feel qualified to be of any help, but the thought of not replying, especially just because i was afraid, was much worse to contemplate. Please don't wait for someone to ask if you're ok. If you've stopped functioning, however you define that for yourself, please please try to take that first step in letting people know you don't work any more and you need help. I only know that eventually I couldn't do it alone anymore, and laying that at someone's feet (in my case, a doctor at the health clinic) was instrumental in helping me get to a position where i had my basic needs sorted out (shelter, food, services etc), which then enabled me to start the long road to addressing my fucked mental state.

We really need you on the planet.  Honestly, it's the people who have the hardest time here that we need the most.  Because you will not just exist without a good enough reason, you do not accept this world the way it as (and you shouldn't, look at the place!), you will not just blindly keep doing what everyone else is doing simply because every one is doing it so it must be normal. IT IS NOT NORMAL, IT IS JUST COMMON, and you have every right to feel uncomfortable, and wrong and pissed off and overwhelmed.  You are a product & a reflection of our sick world, and it is actually a sign of mental health that you have trouble making your way here.  Any sensible person would!   The only thing we have to change around, is our need to harm ourselves in the face of it.  We are simultaneously powerful and powerless. Our single voice is lost against the vast wall that is humanity, but person to person we have the power to change our world. I don't totally know how, I'm still working that out as I go, but I do know that we each,  and the personal connections we forge for ourselves, are the most powerful reasons we have for keeping on going.  

I have lost more Loved Ones to suicide than most people have had hot dinners. I don't want any of us to add to that number, or for any of you to read my obituary any day soon, so I promise I will keep looking for reasons to breathe if you will promise also.  I'm not asking you to commit to living, but let's commit to the spirit of the search. I'll think of you when I'm on the ledge, and you think of me when you are on yours.  We are each a strand in the web of life, each assisting all other strands to maintain the whole form. Every strand that snaps makes the whole weaker, makes a light go out and lessens any chance we have to bite back at the world, and shape it a little more to our liking.  

The world is a big place, but your world is as small or large as you need it to be, and it's yours to live how you like, regardless of what any person, law or convention has to say about it. 

 IF YOU DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE CALLING A FRIEND, CALL SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO HELP: You won't just get thrown in a funny farm, you will just get a chance to take the pressure off yourself RIGHT NOW. Stuff the future, it's only now we have to get through. I'm sorry I don't have answers but I do know you are not alone, you only feel like it.  We are out there, help us help you to hang in there, by hanging in there too.  Just for Now.

Suicide line: 1300 651 251
free, professional anonymous help, 24 hrs a day, across Victoria

Lifeline 13 11 14 (these guys have helped me in the past)
https://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Online-Services/crisis-chat - online live chat counselling

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 
24 hour support service 

Alternatively, just visit any doctor or Health Service, plonk yourself down and tell them you don't work properly any more.  Most Health Centres won't charge you, or require an appointment.  I don't know how to end this neatly, but I have a picture in my head of all of us sticking our middle fingers up to the dickheads and yelling "THE BEST REVENGE IS AN INTERESTING LIFE!" Up yours, haters and judgers, life is messy and we are Real. xx



THE TOOLBOX - (and a lil somethin' to put in it)


 Data Collection & "The iCREATRIX Scale of Stability"


 We have previously acknowledged that honest, non-emotional self-reflection is fundamental to building and maintaining the framework of a healthy life. 

Well, that's great and everything, but what the heck does it mean when I'm standing at the precipice of the heaving Volcano that is my mental landscape?  Fine, I committed to holding up to myself the unfiltered mirror, but WHAT DO I ACTUALLY DO ABOUT IT while I'm hotfooting left-to-right on aforesaid oven-y precipice?

Well, what you don't do is lose your balance jumping around like a cricket on a bbq.  That damn lava is HOT, & if you flip yourself over the edge in your panic we will need very special (and imaginary) flameproof rope to haul your over-anxious arse outta that incendiary hellpot.  

What you do do, is reach for your Toolbox.  Now a toolbox has only the potential of the tools it carries, and this post is about gaining a useful new tool to start (or add to) your collection. Why do you need a collection? From my most humble of perspectives, having only one or two methods to de-victimise/heal/deal with yourself is not enough. It might work like magic when you first discover it, but it often eventually becomes clear that it's uses are limited and non-lasting.  It is the nature of both humans and BpDA to evolve and adapt and normalise; I have discovered that Living Well is a dynamic, ongoing negotiation benefiting greatly from  application of the widest range of tools at hand.

So, I have a shiny new tool in my hand, but first I'd like you to imaginate a bit about your Toolbox. Because we need something in which to start collecting your collection, right? For example; mine is based on my RealLife (rl) toolbox. It is a strong, lockable workshop-style red box, covered in skate/moto/snow/music stickers.  It has a swing-up lid with three drawers in the body, big comfy handles on the side and mentally has a battered, reassuring heaviness to remind me I have many tools at my disposal. When I run my imaginary hands over it I can feel dings and flecks of paint, stickers peeling at the edges, and it has a cool trick of being able to appear and disappear in my mind at will (most of the time).

See how realistic my Toolbox is? Regardless of its imaginary status, it is as Real as anything else in the sense that I can use it.  Visualise (or draw, or describe) your own as often and as completely as you can.  Then every time you find a useful new tool, imagine packing it up in the way you would any valuable thing, then putting it away in your Toolbox. (I have a similar rave about different mental Hats for different tasks, but more about that another time). 

You can pack your Toolbox in any manner you chooseWe all learn and reinforce new information differently - you might want to put nice labels on your tools before you put them away; your toolbox might be neat & organised, or messy; you might prefer to mime unpacking/packing away the tools you're using, or sing a little ditty. Discovering which methods work best for you hooks directly into (y)our greater comittment to KNOW THYSELF. Can you see how you're reinforcing a foundational aspect of Living Well whilst learning a new aspect?  In all my experience teaching, this is one of the core principles that has enabled me to give & get the deepest learning on all levels; in a gradually refining progression, every new element builds upon and reinforces all preceding elements.
All things have cycles, or rhythms.  I have noticed that this is very true in the case of BpDA.  Anxiety may be triggered by a particular event, but a larger look at attacks over time may reveal that there are certain recurring periods where susceptibility to anxiety responses do follow some kind of tidal-like ebb and flow.  And now...

The iCREATRIX Scale of Stability
Sorry for the delay, here's the actual Tool..
One long-term exercise has come to prove itself invaluable to me. As well as keeping a journal (musings, ventings, ideas, art, events etc), I also keep a day-to-a-page diary. Sure, I put in the odd important upcoming event, so I don't double book myself, but its main purpose is daily data collection about my state of mind. Unlike the usual practice of using one's diary to plan ahead, it's used to record what i did; the money I spent, on what, phone calls made, any list-ticked stuff etc.  But my most important data set is my DAILY RATING and my WORD OF THE DAY.  This is where I record my state of mind in two quick, simple ways. And I mean quick, and I mean simple.

Initially I found the thought of another daily comittment more than a little offputting. I am not much chop when it comes to daily activities of any kind, but I talk myself into this each night by sternly pointing out that it's 30 seconds or less out of my day, that I know how shirty I get at myself later when the data is not there, and if i do it I cannot go to bed thinking I haven't 'achieved' anything that day. (pfft, achievement. I'll attempt to deal with that little conundrum another time, too).  If that doesn't work, I have a grace period of up to three days in which to get things current. (Frankly, any longer than that and I wouldn't be able to remember anyway.)  I remind you of the small investment=big return rave from the post http://dragonbitesdog.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/thyself-know-heal-accept.html

For blog purposes, I have laughingly called this "the iCREATRIX Scale of Stability" and I want you to understand that it took a while to come up with a personal scoring method that I could use in 'most any mental state without thinking too much, that would garner relevant information. Feel free to use it if my way of scoring is relevant to you, but I encourage you to work out your own.  Mine evolved a bit as I used it, so I think the key is developing a system that is pertinent to each individual, as determined by themselves. 

 Focusing on the reason I wanted the data made a big difference.  I specifically wanted to see what my up-cycles, down-cycles and transitions looked like when graphed out over time.  I figured I might be able to observe cycles, discern whether I have more/longer periods in any one state, how long my transitions were and if there are any patterns there.  You see what I'm getting at? As I thought more about it, I realised I could learn about myself with a simple scoring method, collected over time.

My scale has only 7 possible scores, mainly for simplicity's sake. Zero (0) is stable, no mania or depression (don't get many of those); up to +3, out-of-control mania; down to -3, out-of-control depression. And for the visual learners, I made you a chart:

The iCREATRIX Scale of Stability
I have learned that my baseline (0) does move over time, depending on general long-term states of being. For example, I am a lot more functional these days than I was 18 months ago, and my zero then was a lot different to my zero now, as my expectations and abilities have evolved.There's also a lot of room within each category, so that I don't get all hung up on specifics (that triggers anxiety for me, go figure). Levels of specificity are again, developed by the individual (yeah, that's you!)

I also include a WORD OF THE DAY, which often morphs into "Phrase OTD" or "Words OTD" etc. Whatever blows your hair back; the point is to dig deep for a moment and come up with a summative, overall caption for your predominant state of mind that day. 

Do it at the end of the day, and don't judge (you've got plenty of time to pointlessly play it over and over in your head later, when you should be sleeping).  Just score and describe.  If it takes a while to get it right for you that's OK. Psychs weren't built in a day. It's about being honest and truly desiring some big-picture understanding of yourself on a linear framework. Give it Respect, be real and reap the long-term benefits.

  So, you keep your diary, and then every so often you transcribe the daily info onto a graph. This is the "collation stage", if you like, where we get to see our past days in front of us as if from overhead.  If you like spreadsheets, do it on your computer. If you prefer paper make a graph.  This is another bit where you design your format/presentation based on your own preferences, and perhaps accidentally learn a bit more about yourself (there's that 'know yourself' theme again). Correlate this graphed data with the other info from your diary (events, spending blowouts, periods of inactivity etc) to see events (a bad experience, menstruation, social complications etc) that either precede or coincide with particular curves/points on your graph. 
The moment you see your state of mind graphed out in such a linear fashion, you'll start to come to a greater understanding of your personal cycles.  Spend as much time as you like examining your graph.  This part is about getting to know the information, seeing any possible connections and patterns (our brains like that). It's not yet time to form any conclusions, although hypotheses may start arising the more you delve. If you get the urge to represent anything you discover visually (I dunno, like in a pie graph maybe?), then go for it.  I make note of anything that piques my interest, or pose questions for later reflection.

Which brings me neatly to the final aspect of using this tool, reflection. I do know this is getting long, but I promise it's winding up now. It's important to emphasise that reflection does not (should not) lead to wigouts.  If you have to remind yourself of this beforehand, do it.  I do, and it helps.  I only reflect when in a state of mind that can deal with it, because it is critically critical that you do so from either a detached a-emotional state, or from a state of love and forgiveness.  At least somewhere on this spectrum. We are not here to wind ourselves out, we are approaching ourselves from quite the opposite direction.  Forgive me for getting all stern and headmistress-y, but the truth is we need equal measures of gentleness and discipline if we want to Live Well longterm.

I have won hard the understanding that the better you know yourself, the better you're able to recognise and respond to the cycles and transitional states that characterise BpDA.  Accomplishing any effective precipitative action (having any kind of "win") deepens faith in one's strategy, gives one a little more confidence to continue collecting and using tools that work. Know that your Toolbox is always there when you want it. Know that you can fill it with many fine, quality tools and that you can learn to tune up, patch up or repair any aspect of yourself you have the courage and self-respect to tackle. Remember....WE ARE THE MIND MECHANICS - we may not have the Manual but dayum,  we gots good Tools.





(and you're NOT comin' out from under the blankets, no matter WHAT)

Haha, hilarious.  It finally happened, as I knew it would. It feels like you could rule the world and nothing can hold you back.  You're gettin' things done, even making plans. You're going to have a Life!  And then a certain song starts playing, faintly in the background. It goes a lil somethin' like this. Hum along, you might know the chorus...
  I feel my grip on 'reality' start to slip, and all my lovely progress & sense of "being productive" begins to feel a little desperate. I try to keep the vibe going, but within (*insert timeframe*), I am cancelling all appointments, regretting anything I did/said over the last (*insert time frame*) because it just showed everybody what a complete fraudulent waste of space I am; castigating myself for thinking I have any business believing I could make a success of anything. Like run a blog about 'Living' when I just want to step into the Black and be done with it.  What a Hoax! Slowly sinking into a physical, mental, aethereal ParalySea, so that I even if I try to reach my Toolbox the immobility is so total I can neither reach out to it nor stay afloat.  I see its dark and reassuringly rectangular shadow bob by me on my Black Sea, but I am too busy trying to remember why I want to keep trying to breathe, and I will soon lose all memory that a Toolbox exists, let alone be able to use it.

This wasn't meant to be the next post.  I had a useful, sane and positive draft post that I was enjoying writing until I trip-a-ding-donged (I trust you know the -ve self-dialogue as well as I do). I've had a shitty three weeks (three fkn weeks!) on the Flopside, and I have missed my self-imposed blog schedule (meh, that's normal for mentalFolk, I tell myself, I tell myself). In the meantime, as I start to be able to move again,  I thought I would throw this lil 'mini-post' out there in the name of staying true to the Whoopy-Daisy see-saw of Bipolar, Depression & Anxiety Disorders.
 See? I'm not LivingTheDreamAllYouHaveToDoIsFollowMyMethodToAbsoluteBlissAndWealth, or any of those hashtags.  I'm just a person living with an oft-hellish bunch of disorders that has decided to have a go at having a go. I can't always just put on the HappyCanDo Hat and walk the walk.  Sometimes it's just shut the door, put a cupboard up against it, and turn the phone off.  I no longer have expectations of an end date for being a bit of a wignut, but if I'm gunna be finding myself alive each day that I wake up, I may as well have a bit of a philosophy about how I wanna meet the day that I find. Even if that philosophy wavers like a bamboo building in a Tokyo earthquake. Which it does.  Ugh.
 I dunno... there's still a bit a bit of a swim before I can touch sand and wade ashore; dry my clothes off and turn my eyes upward and onward again, but I'm in shallow waters and in sight of Land now. Barring any unanticipated downturn,  I will probably put the next-intended post up within a few days. It's a nuts-and-bolts, TALKING TACTICS subject that I hope you will find interesting.  Until then, if you're UP, make the most of it; if you're ABLE, put some work in; if you're DOWN, Hold Fast! and we'll see you on the other side.