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....



#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