Kiss5Tigers

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.