Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


Leave a comment

Sheltering in Place

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 days since I last posted. I mean, I guess, so little is going on in my life right now that the last post, which I think was the last time I was out around people, seems like it just happened. The days are blurring together.

So, situation report. Dallas County has gone to sheltering in place. Nobody can leave the house without a reason. You need to have documents from your boss to go to work. You can go to the grocery store or the pharmacy. And that’s about it. Now I don’t know how they’re going to enforce the work documents. And if I’m driving to the grocer’s, well, how do I prove that? Current guideline is, if you don’t have the paperwork, you can get up to 180 days in jail. What do I get for going to the pharmacy? I mean, I need my meds.

I was supposed to have a third interview for Shepherd Inn this evening, but we cancelled it. It was mostly a meet and greet with the board, not a final decision. So we are still planning a move-in date of April 4. This should be okay, assuming the shelter-in-place orders are lifted on April 3, as anticipated at this time. I sure hope so, because I need help moving my stuff so I need people to have a certain amount of mobility.

I did have group today. We met on Zoom. There were about 10 of us altogether which is really pretty good for online.

I also heard that people need to be checked on. We are stressed and we are already less than optimum, so I must remember to check on people over the weekend when we don’t meet.

It’s so easy for us to fall into the doldrums. I nap a lot now. I am both energized and dragging, waiting for something to happen. I need to pack but I’m not sure how fast. I mean, I want to leave stuff out so I can amuse myself, but it’s not like I do anything right now. I kind of can’t focus but I need to do something to make the time pass. I don’t feel like I can make art right now. It seems frivolous somehow. Not to mention that I don’t really have the space for it. I don’t have any work space right now.

I went to check the mail today. I talked to my daughter while I took the walk. It was good to hear her voice. There wasn’t anything good in the mail, just a magazine that I can’t read because there isn’t enough light in this room and the print is so small, and some junk mail. I need to generate mail so that fun mail comes back to me.

I read an article about Covid19 today, and what the end stages look like. Pretty much you drown in your own body fluids. The care provider said he expected to see yellows and greens because that’s what infections look like, but with this he is seeing pinks. The capillaries in the lungs are leaking red blood cells into the lungs. Also, between delirium from the fever and the inability to draw a deep breath, patients are struggling and flailing in their beds. Some of them have even pulled out the breathing tube because it feels like they are being suffocated. So often they are being restrained. Clearly for their own good, but it looks and sounds horrible. Not to mention, even if you get through the crisis, there can be terrible damage to the lungs. However, Europe is doing drug trials for a, well, I’m not sure it would actually be a cure, so I guess that makes it a treatment. They are looking at a small handful of drugs: a malaria drug, an ebola drug, and two AIDS drugs, if I recall correctly.

So that’s about it. That’s my life right now. I miss getting out and getting around people. I need to remember to keep taking showers and getting dressed because it helps me feel better. Normalcy is a long way away and I don’t know how long this will continue. Trying to be more optimistic. Might even succeed.


Leave a comment

Metrocare

I went to Metrocare today. It was an interesting experience.

On February 8th, I got an email that as of January 18, I had 15 days of health insurance left. That was February 2nd. My insurance ended 6 days before I was notified.

In the meantime, I ran out of Metformin and Abilify. I can’t afford to pick up either one of them because full price is too much for me right now.

I’m not too upset about the Metformin. I was put on it because my A1c was elevated to 6.1. Now if you watch TV, you’ve seen the commercial where the man is happy his A1c is below 7. Last time I checked, 6.1 is below 7. So maybe 6.1 isn’t so bad. On top of that, I’ve been taking it for 9 months and my A1c hasn’t budged. Apparently it’s not working for me, and I was going to talk to the doctor about stopping it. I think I can live without it.

The Abilify, now, is a mood stabilizer and the past few days I’ve been out of it, I’ve been emotional. An online friend posted about a homeless person in her neighborhood who apparently passed away, and it made me cry. Then I responded a little heartlessly to her, because that is how I am with myself. I”m just all over the place. I continued to be weepy about the man for several hours. Now I am fine. I think the fancy word is labile. I feel like I need the Abilify for stability.

I tried to go to the pharmacy. Prices are a little high. To be honest, even with the insurance copay, I wouldn’t have been able to afford both of them. I needed to figure out an alternative. The only option I know is public health so I went to Metrocare.

I am not so bad off, all things considered. I am not so impaired. I am not suicidal or psychotic. I am, at the moment, pretty well controlled with my meds. Many of the people at Metrocare are not doing as well as I am. It’s said, but hopeful.

I waited to apply for assistance. The process was pretty quick. I don’t know how I’m going to prove income, but they saw me the first time without that information. I guess I’ll bring my W-2’s to prove my annual income. Except that I’m not making that money at the moment. Anyway, the application process was rapid.

Then I waited for hours to be seen. I’m sure that’s because I was a walk-in. I saw a nurse practitioner named Charles who I think was from Africa. I didn’t ask. He had an accent that wasn’t Australian or Caribbean so I think it was African. I could be wrong. He criticized my drugs a little. He seemed to think my does of Prozac was too high, and that if it was lower, I probably wouldn’t need the Abilify. I told him, the meds were working, I didn’t see a reason to change them. He wrote me the same prescrptions and said to come back in 6 weeks.

I went back out front, and talked to the pharmacy. They were able to verify that I was accepted into the program, and they filled the prescriptions for me for $16, which is about 1/3 of what I was paying with insurance. I had a moment of uncertainty when I went to pay it though. I wasn’t sure I had $16 in my bank account. I still don’t know how much I have, and I’m afraid to look.

Whole process only took 3 1/2 hours. All afternoon. I suppose it could have been worse.

Oh, my friend’s issue with the homeless man. His name is Franklin. She is quite distraught, even though she didn’t speak to him ever. I asked, what is she inspired to do? Other people are also in dire straits. My friend got quite upset with me. But for me, that is how I handle grief. I do something about it. My way isn’t better, and I do allow myself time to feel it, but I feel better if there’s a plan. So I wept for Franklin, and for my friend, and I will make some art about it later. I think, the fence where his community set up a memorial altar for him, with some flowers and candles. I have the image in my mind, I just need to put it together.

I filed my taxes this year. I still get a refund, but it’s only about 1/3 the amount I got last year. This administration is not good for me. Not just the tax money, but supposedly there was a tax cut. All I can say is, my refund was sure cut.


Leave a comment

Selfish or Lazy

I had a run-in with one of my roommates today. She is frustrated by something I don’t do, which is mostly because it just doesn’t occur to me.

“I know you like to blame it on your bipolar, but I can’t tell if you’re being selfish or lazy,” she said.

Now I try very hard not to blame character flaws on being bipolar. Taking on too many projects, shopping too much, yeah those are bipolar. Not watering the pets, well, that’s just not thinking of it. Since my roommate handles it most of the time, it just hasn’t been on my radar.

So that brings us down to selfish or lazy. I don’t think it’s selfish. I’m not thinking of myself ahead of others, I’m just not thinking. It’s not a case of “that task is beneath me” so much as “oh, is that something people do?” Although I will own that there are a few times I feel like, that really isn’t my problem. But if I am asked to handle it, I generally do.

Like vacuuming. I don’t think the carpet looks bad but my roommate sometimes does. He won’t ask the other roommate to do it, but he’ll ask me. He asked me the other day with her in the room, and they were both so gleeful. “You have to learn to vacuum,” he said. “You have opposable thumbs, you should be able to work a lighter and run the vacuum.” (My inability to work a lighter is an on-going source of amusement. To me as well.) I know how to vacuum. The sound of the vacuum cleaner is very difficult for me. I grit my teeth the whole time it’s running. But it has been decided for me that this is my chore, and I don’t want to be responsible for it. Someone must vacuum while I am deployed for work. Let that person continue doing it.

Anyway. I’m not mad, just saying.

So my roommate is irritated that I don’t change out the pet water, more so because my cat dips her paws in it and that tracks in cat litter. I don’t blame it on my bipolar or on being selfish. I can’t even say I’m lazy about it, because it isn’t a decision to not do it. I simply don’t think of it. It doesn’t occur to me to water the pets. Now it has been brought to my attention. So my solution is, I will change out the water while I am making breakfast. The toaster takes 5 minutes and I am standing there with nothing to do, I can change the water.

I said as much to my roommate. It defused her anger. She seemed surprised. I suspect she is ascribing motives to me that just don’t exist. I am oblivious in this matter more than intentionally avoidant. It’s not that big a deal to me and it’s huge to her, so I can just add it to my list of morning tasks. Like scooping out the cat box every time I go to the bathroom. If I lived alone, it would be scooped maybe daily, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. But one of the roommates kept complaining about the smell so I scoop it more often. I don’t understand why cat poop in a cat box smells and cat poop in a trash can doesn’t, but whatever.

So we’re down to lazy and I don’t think I can even own that. Lazy to me is an intentional decision to do nothing. I am very seldom doing nothing. I am often doing things that don’t look important to the people around me — like writing this blog instead of emptying my suitcases — but that’s a matter of personal priorities, not laziness. Yes, I am comfortable in my bed with the suitcase on part of it, I don’t know why that’s a problem for my roommate, but it is.

The biggest thing that looks lazy I think is the state of my bedroom. It’s bad, I know it’s bad, but I don’t even know where to start. I get in there and look at it, and get overwhelmed and walk away. Lazy isn’t the word for that. I know it needs to happen, I just can’t seem to find a plan of attack. Though emptying the suitcases will make a difference, I’m sure. This is an example of me being avoidant. But I am doing other tasks, so it’s not lazy.

In other news, I joined a gym today. I will start tomorrow. I had to buy new sneakers because the inner soles are pulling up in my old pair. I guess I need to throw away the old pair, come to think of it. But yeah, I needed sneakers and a lock for the locker. I’ll pack up a bag in the morning and go before group.

I need to get out some of my received mail and take a picture of it for This Zine Has Issues. I wrote a piece for the second issue and the editor asked for the picture. I’m published in the first issue, woot woot! Now I need to reply to the letters.

I should hear by the end of the week about the 911 operator job. I kind of hope I don’t get it, because I want to do other things. But if they offer it, I will take it. I might just make it through the training and decide it’s not for me.

I am still owed a check from the job at Michael’s. I got the first check and the last check, but I am missing the one in the middle. I need to call them about getting a copy of my pay stub anyway, so I’ll just ask about getting another check.

Ah, the 10,000 things that shape daily life. Tomorrow is Monday, a new week with new things. And I will do them. I have a list and I will stay on track. Happy Monday.


Leave a comment

Feeling Productive

I called Michael’s today because I had no idea what my hours are. This week I am working Thursday and Saturday. The 2 days I was hoping not to work are Thursday and Saturday. Oh well. Thursday I asked M to facilitate the group. I need to remember to tell him what page we are on so he can prepare. I’m a pantser, I fly by the seat of my pants. Saturday I had plans with my daughter, so we moved them to Sunday.

I finished the fingerless gloves and matching hat. I’ll post a picture later. I’m working on another bucket hat. I love the yarn colors so much, I am wondering about doing a blanket. But the yarn is a little stiff, craft yarn more than garment yarn, so maybe not. Or maybe a car blanket.

I watched a documentary on microdosing with psychedelics. I’m thinking, if I could find a drug trial for LSD, I’d apply in a hot minute. I could use getting some gunk kicked loose in my brain.

I viewed the video of Marney Makridakis‘ class “The Muse vs. Monster Mash”. Enjoyed it. I admit, I did not do the art activities in the real world, but I did imagine them and think about them. The Monster of course is the thing that holds you back and the Muse is the impetus to be creative. My Monster told me he wants me to be traditional. My Muse said to follow my dreams. She says the purpose of life is not to be safe, but to be fully myself.

I went to group today. We talked about creativity. I have so much to learn about being creative. The biggest thing for me is, don’t quit on projects. Keep going to the end.

It’s already November 5 and I haven’t started my NaNoWriMo yet, so I think I’ll just let it go for this year. November is a hard month for me to do this, August would be better. I might just try it in August, actually, the only real difference would be that there is no community doing it with me. I can live with that.

I took out 5 bags of trash today. I got the bathroom, kitchen and F’s trash. Then L asked me if I was taking the trash out of the other bathroom. I hadn’t planned to but that sounded more like instructions than an actual question so I got that one. And F asked me to get the confetti bits out of the shredder bin. So 5 bags. Hopefully back to 3 next Monday.

Tomorrow I am hoping to go to morning group then come home and make art. There is a possibility of being in an art show and I need some art to show. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an exhibition before.

Oh, it’s my birthday on Wednesday. If you’re just dying to give me a present, I have a wish list on Amazon and one on Yozocraft. Not that I expect you want to buy me stuff. I’ll settle for a donation to Heifer International.

Looks like a good week, all things told.


Leave a comment

I Got the Vest

I work at Michael’s now. It’s official. I even have the red vest. It’s a very busy store so I work registers and get no minute to breathe but that’s good. The job would be boring if I wasn’t busy, just standing at a register waiting. I am still very slow at checking people out but I can do it. I’ll get speedy with practice. Or at least speedier.

It has rained twice tonight, just sudden downpour out of nowhere. I am cold and sitting in my jeans with a blanket across my lap. I will sleep with 2 blankets in bed tonight.

I need to tell work that I’m not available on Thursdays. I am facilitating group the next 3 weeks, and I have DBSA meetings on alternate Thursday nights. It’s easier to just request the day off than to have them try to keep track of it.

I want to write a letter to my friend Fishspit. I owe him a letter. I owe lots of people letters. I have been particularly unmotivated to write lately. I haven’t even journalled in months. I miss journalling.

I am thinking of NaNoWriMo this month (November) but I have no idea how I’ll manage all that writing with my current slackerly attitude.

I need to work on my ecourse. I paid for the course for that so I really should take advantage.

Speaking of courses I’ve paid for, there is my Japanese course on Rosetta Stone and my life coach courses on Udemy. I really need to get on with it.

I mean, I get up in the morning and fall asleep because I just can’t find anything to stay awake for. Well, there are 3 things right there. Not to mention my new shopping club.

I want dessert. I want amazing dessert, not just some cookies. I want hot pecan pie with ice cream. Or chocolate mousse or creme brulee. Rice pudding. Chocolate lava cake. Fried ice cream. I don’t know, just something. I would probably be happy with rice krispie treats or those yogurt covered pretzels. But here I am, drinking my water, eating some mixed nuts in a single serving package.

I left my meds box in Longview on the road trip. I thought T was gonna bring it by tonight, but I guess not. Weather is too icky for me to want to drive up there. I figure I’ll get it tomorrow or the next day.

I am almost out of meds at the moment, I’ll have to call the pharmacy. I have to call the doctor too. I got an automated call to remind me of an appointment on Friday, but I can’t make it so I chose the “reschedule” option. The system said, “Your appointment has been rescheduled” and hung up on me. I’m like, rescheduled for when? Because I’m thinking that’s something else I have to move to Thursday. I tried to call back but the outgoing message said the office was closed.

I am feeling my singleness very keenly lately. I want a companion. I wouldn’t mind a little sex but a warm body to sleep next to would be perfect. Someone to share adventures. But I am somehow not right. I don’t know if I’m not pretty enough or if it’s because I have no sense of humor or if they can smell the bipolar on me. I wish I could figure it out because then I could fix it. Or choose not to, but at least it would be a choice, not just the way things are.

Well, off to take my meds. Good night.


Leave a comment

I May Be Doing Too Much

I am playing with my mood stabilizer and I’m not sure how I’m doing.

I mean, I feel good. Mood is good. Energy level is meh. Sleep is a little on the too much side.

I am trying new things this month.

I tried a new supplement regimen. First is colloidal silver, which is controversial because you can overdose and actually turn yourself blue. It’s called Argyria. It’s supposed to do 2 things in my situation. First it is an antibiotic which clears out the gut. Second it is a conductive metal so it helps to rewire the brain. Not entirely sure how it’s supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier so that could be some hocus-pocus there. Not sure if it has had any effect at all for me. I will finish up the bottle we have but probably not order another bottle at this time. See what changes, and avoid over dosing.

I also added an antioxidant and a probiotic. The antioxidant should support brain health as well as general health with regard to aging. The probiotic is the one I can say is helpful. At the risk of TMI (fair warning: poop discussion ahead) . . . I have had a soft stool for some time now but when I started Metformin, it had the expected side effect, and we are talking some shapeless cow-pie type waste. Like, not quite soupy, but definitely mushy. Since starting the probiotic, things are much more solid and log-like. So I would say the probiotic has been very helpful in keeping gut health improving.

I am also trying some dietary changes. I’m supposed to be fasting every other day, per the diet my doctor gave me. He said not to worry about being strict with that, just take home the advice that intermittent fasting is good for you. I have ordered some additional supplements like protein bars and shakes from a new online shopping club. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Ask me about the shopping club! It’s only $20 per year and the products are so pure and natural. Next month I’m going to try the laundry supplies and shampoo, but I wanted to try the healthy snacks first.

I start a new job at Michael’s craft stores, hopefully this week. I filled out the background check information on Friday and they said it will take 24 to 48 hours for it to be returned. In a perfect work, 48 hours was Sunday, but in the business world it could easily be Tuesday. So as soon as they get that back, they can schedule me. It’s just a seasonal job, but it’s something.

I am working on writing an e-course on managing bipolar. Or at least, my experience of managing bipolar. Too many people see this diagnosis as a sort of death sentence and I refuse to let that be the case. I mean, we’re all going to die someday, but there’s no reason to live a life that is any less fulfilling just because you have a mental health diagnosis.

I am applying to a different department at my government job. I work with individuals, helping disaster victims get grant money to rebuild their homes. However, there is more work for public assistance which works with the infrastructure like the fire department or road damage. Because my job is federal, it requires the state to ask for assistance. States determine what type of assistance they need, and more states ask for public assistance more often. So I am sending my resume over to the public assistance side.

I am debating joining NaNoWriMo this year. I have no real plan in terms of an outline, so that makes me a “pantser” as in, writing by the seat of my pants. November is a hard month for me to be consistent. There is Halloween at the beginning of the month with Day of the Dead and all that stuff. Then there is my birthday and voting day. Thanksgiving which seems to take up a whole week. So being disciplined seems to fall by the wayside. I feel like August would be a better month, but oh well.

So here I am trying all this stuff, and I’m wondering if I’m a little hypomanic. Now for me, Samhain is the new year so this is a little like making New Year’s resolutions. And there is something that happens for me around the changing of the clocks. I don’t know if it’s related to natural timing that just happens around that time, or if resetting the clocks somehow confuses me. And this is all near my birthday. I am unclear what it is that causes this burst of energy at this time of year, but I experience it regularly.

On the other hand, I am sleeping an awful lot. Like 12 hours a day plus maybe a nap. Well, make that 12 hours including the nap. I sleep, say, midnight to 8, then doze until 9:30, then go out to the living room and doze on the sofa until 11 or 12. Too much sleeping, Not enough getting stuff done. And you can tell from my list, I have stuff to do.

I am wondering if this is what the mood stabilizer helps me manage. Because my mood is generally good but the behavior is a little off. And it’s mixed: taking on too much and shopping like I’m hypomanic but also sleeping too much like I’m depressed. Is this a mixed state? Or is it just lack of self control over behavior? Which I pretty much suck at.

I see the doctor tomorrow. If I remember, I’ll ask him. Because I have brought my mood stabilizer down to the lowest possible dose, and maybe I just need to kick the dose up a notch.

I’ll keep you posted.


Leave a comment

Just Do the Thing

It’s a simple concept, and I even wrote a whole post about it, but somehow I keep forgetting.

I have been avoiding writing for a while now, no cards, no journaling, no blogging, no working on my book. No writing.

And it got to the place where writing just seemed like the biggest hurdle ever. Getting out the pens or opening the laptop seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

Of course it’s not.

I went to an artists’ group today and the first part was some guided free writing. Just doing the writing got the juices flowing.

Then we worked on personal projects and I got out my notecards. I wrote about 10 of them during the meeting, with stamps and everything. I mailed them already.

Now I am blogging for the second time in 24 hours.

Do the thing. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t wait for the right moment. Just do it. (Thanks, Nike.) Start. Because once you start, you gain momentum. The law of inertia says that once something is in motion, it will tend to stay in motion until another force acts on it. And you thought inertia was just for objects at rest!

I’ve been blowing off the morning pages that Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way. And now I see, for me, even when there’s nothing to say, I need to discipline of daily writing. It primes the pump. It gets things flowing.

Wow, maybe the expert really does know what she’s talking about, fancy that!

So I will finish this entry and go write the rest of the current box of cards, and then we’ll see what happens. I might even work on my book tonight.


Leave a comment

Downswing?

It’s been a while since I posted, but then I’m not writing much at all.

I haven’t journaled.

I haven’t written letters.

I haven’t worked on my book.

Now the question is . . . Is this just a normal swing of mood that will shift in the future? Or is this because we have cut back on my mood stabilizer?

I don’t feel any different mood-wise, but I am behaving a little different, so I have to ask what’s going on?

That’s one of the things about being medicated for my bipolar: the drugs keep my mood fairly stable but my behavior still fluctuates. I have a kind of cycle still, I just don’t feel it.

The height of summer, which it is right now, is not a high point in life for me. I don’t like summer, mostly because I don’t like heat. I don’t have a beach body so I don’t feel comfortable running around in shorts and a tank top. Summer is not fun for me.

It took me getting diagnosed to realize that I do have a seasonal mood cycle. I just thought I was one of those kids that loved school. Now I think my cycle says fall is better.

It is also August 19. The 19th in and of itself isn’t a bad day, but Mom died August 21 so there is another reason for me to feel a bit down. I don’t feel actually sad about it any more — I mean, I was 19 when she died and that was 35 years ago, I’ve been without her longer than I had her — but I do feel a bit, I don’t know, nostalgic? melancholy? wistful? The word in French is triste but it is only translated as “sad” which seems so prosaic. It’s a more delicate feeling than simply sad.

So since my feelings are pretty steady, I have to look at my behavior to know what’s going on. I am sleeping a bit too much. I might be eating too much. I am dragging getting going in the morning (that’s a lot of “ing”). I am not writing letters or making hats. I did do some shopping, some books and some stationery. I ordered the stationery supplies online, it should take a couple weeks to get here. I observe that my behaviors look like depression for me.

I also have a job interview tomorrow. I am not sure I want the job. It sounds like a home health aide job with peer specialist requirements. They want someone who can drive clients around, which I don’t feel good committing to with no air conditioning in my car. I don’t really want another home health aide type job. Plus it pays $7 an hour less than the government job does, that’s a loss of $14,000 a year. Not a hit I’m willing to take on a permanent basis. On the other hand, it’s in the field I’m interested in pursuing and they require the peer specialist certification, which I want to get. It would be one route to getting it. I don’t like feeling like I’m using people, but they’re just using me to make money, so I also think I shouldn’t feel that bad about it.

I think it is really the cycle and the season. Not so much the meds, at least I’m not willing to say that yet. So the working theory is to hold on for now and see what happens. Expect this to pass in about a month. Maybe less. But expect it to pass is the important part.

Everything shifts with time, in my world.


2 Comments

Online Mentoring

I belong to a group on Facebook that is run by an author named SARK. Every couple of weeks she does a live online mentoring session and this evening was one of those days.

One of the exercises was to listen to 10 statements and decide which ones made your heart race, in either the scared way or the excited way.

I picked these statements:

  • See with fresh eyes
  • Invest in yourself
  • Give yourself fully

As a writer, and I am calling myself a writer these days, I always want to see things in a way they haven’t been seen before. I am looking for new words and new ways to describe things. There aren’t really any new things in the world, well a few but not in the area I am writing, so it’s all about saying things in new ways. The best way to do that is to see with fresh eyes.

Oh, investing in myself! This is so hard to do! It feels selfish to spend time and energy on me. But I do things like support groups for myself, so it’s about how I frame it I guess. Support groups are part of my wellness plan. Wellness is important to me for balancing my life. But self care is part of wellness, and self care is more than bubble baths and mani/pedi spa days.

As a creative, investing in myself is also investing in my creativity. It’s going to museums and reading good books. It’s journaling over coffee and meeting with artistic friends. It’s working through my resistance and doing the creative work I feel called to do. Pampering is fine, but part of investing is doing the work, making the emotional investment in the project.

Giving myself fully is a little scary. It involves being whole-hearted in my chosen involvements. So much safer to just dip a toe in and when things tank there is no real commitment. But so much richer to risk full involvement. And if I’m looking for fresh eyes, being all in is a good way to find them.

It’s all about building a life that is more alive, I think. It feels like it’s different aspects of the same trait. Enthusiasm, maybe? What my cousin calls eating the world. Although the world is a buffet and I would want to fill myself with different things than she does. Which is fine, perfectly acceptable.

There was also a guest speaker, Brian Andreas. Brian had a great metaphor about going to the store and buying milk. What is the thing you need to do? Buy milk. You might also get cookies or fruit, but milk is the goal. Do the thing, buy the milk. Whatever else happens, do the thing.

I’ve also been reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about different kinds of resistance and how some of them even look like doing important work, but it if distracts you from doing your creative work, it’s acting as resistance. So thinking of the milk metaphor, don’t worry about balancing your checkbook or putting gas in the car or what you’ll do when you run out of milk in the future. Just buy the milk. Stop worrying about self-improvement or getting the perfect work space or what if you run out of ideas. Right now, jump in, do the thing.

So I am now a writer. I am writing a book on wellness. Not that I have anything particularly new to say, but I have a unique perspective as a person living with bipolar. And if it works for me, it might help someone else out.


Leave a comment

Vision Board Presentation

I did my first vision board workshop today. It went very well.

So, vision boards. In simple terms, it’s a sort of affirmation meets arts and crafts proposition, but it actually works.

When you think a thought often, you strengthen that pathway through your brain. It becomes easier to think that thought again. So if you are thinking something negative, it becomes easier to keep thinking it. That’s why we get caught in thought loops about being, say, ugly or worthless or stupid.

But the reverse is true too: If we get into the habit of thinking positive thoughts, those also become easier to think. That’s why affirmations work. You spend more time thinking a positive thought, it becomes easier to think it, and eventually it becomes second nature. I am a good person replaces I’m worthless.

Now the left side of the brain contains the language centers. Working with words like affirmations activates the left side of the brain. But there is another side of the brain, one that does not think in words but in pictures. You are familiar with its way of thinking, you call it intuition. It’s the things you know that you don’t have the words to express, because you don’t know it in words. In order to make changes, you want to activate the whole brain. So how do we activate the non-verbal righthand side?

Turns out, art and imagery are a good way to engage the right side. So if we want to fully activate the entire brain, working with words and images together is one good way. So if we combine the words of an affirmation with pictures, we get vision boards.

There are several benefits to creating one yourself. First of all it causes you to think about the topic. In my presentation, the topic was “live your best life” so people had to think about what their best life would be like. Then they had to find words and images that spoke to those ideas. Now some magazines have content that fits exactly, but lots of time it’s just a case of symbolism. You might, for example, find the word “relaxation” or you might find a picture of a hammock. They speak to different parts of the brain.

People find that once they go through these exercises, the ideas really do stick. And because they stick, we act on them. Maybe not consciously, but we open ourselves to possibilities and take actions in line with the new way of thinking. Both halves of the brain work together to bring about a change.

So my little group of people, they are going to find themselves experiencing some changes in the future. They have developed an idea of what their best life looks like and feels like, and they have worked it into both sides of their brains. The non-verbal side will influence their behaviors even if the verbal side still provides negative messages.

People had fun with the activity. One of the ladies found an image that clearly depicted the kind of confidence she wanted to have. One of the men found wonderful words that spoke to his self-described zen self. Several people asked for another piece of paper to do another one at home.

The only complaint was that there weren’t enough male images. Now that’s no surprise. I get mostly women’s magazines, and for some reason I didn’t have any Wired or Fast Company in my stack. I did have some National Geographics. But it’s a valid concern, so I will have to hit up Half Price Books and see if I can find some Sports Illustrated or GQ. Maybe Men’s Health.

So I would say this was very successful, and I’m excited to be doing it another several times. After this, I start to monetize it. Because I need something I can do when I’m not working for the government.