Way more than 750 Words…

This entry today is a strange one.

(It is also long overdue).

I have wanted to check back in since my last Post on March 28 2014.

I would have had a shwack load of posts added by this time.

I should also be in a wonderful and creative frame of mind that matched that very fact.

And perhaps while  not  100% true, I am much  better than I have been in a very long time. :)

feeling-good

Why I have even  I  started to write  at 750 Words and some of these words have been cut and pasted from my entry there today.

I went there to try and jump-start my writing again.

It is my third entry in a row and I am at 12 points.

I also have received a Turkey “Sticker” for my trouble and while it is cute I do not find it particularly motivating.

For it seems 750 Words lacks the “alive” feeling I get writing from on my Blog.

There is always a slight chance someone will read me over here.

And that fact still counts to me.

Very much.

It keeps me in check

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After my many months of absence I have been toying with the idea of starting to post again.

I used to post regularly but during my illness I decided it would be best not to push things.

I really hoped the return to blogging would be effortless.

But try to  write here after having been away for  like eons is tough.

It sure is the strangest feeling to come here and be completely wordless.

there-are-no-words

I get frustrated when I become aware of the things that I lost during my “away” time.

My Time Out.

Blogging was very important to me.

In fact it was one of my best accomplishments to date.

I committed to it and tried to use my blog to communicate with the wider World.

A simple and disciplined writing practice.

A worthwhile thing to do.

But much to my dismay,

I simply could not hold onto the rudder of my own life,.

so I had to let it all go.

Or I would be lost too.

Artist Overboard!

Rudder

I cannot tell you exactly when I started to slip into a manic phase although it seems was the fall of 2012.

These matters are very complex.

I apparently have an amazing ability to cope and that did not hold me in good stead.

I went a long way on an empty tank!

My Dad’s situation was very tenuous and his descent into Dementia was overwhelming to me.

It was like watching a great leader lose command.

Someone who I had great love and respect for was literally losing his mind.

I was livid.

My paintings were becoming very aggressive and they were masking the powerless feelings I was beginning to experience.

I was working too hard. Eating nothing. Drinking gallons of coffee and basically burning out.

You cannot have him…damn you!

I am what I am. Different things to different people :)

I would not give my father over without a fight.

What  I can say is that is that I worked harder than I ever have  in my entire life.

And as a mother of five daughters…believe me I can work.

I isolated myself.

Completely cutting out my husband and daughters.

I was a workaholic.

Withdrew from connecting with family and friends.

I craved my own company and that was all I needed.

Alone

I did manage to produce some very strong pieces during this time.

So as the tendrils of mania started to spread in my overworked, unfed and care worn soul…I just kept working and went over the falls

And that was that.

I was admitted and began the road back to health.

A long and winding one at that.

But a way to go and a path to follow.

Unfortunately  I can’t seem to allow myself the permission to have been ill in the first place.

There is strong stigma attached to being bipolar.

Sometimes I  feel and do the very things I hate other people doing to those who suffer metal health issues.

Avoidance behavior.

Keep away and say nothing.

The best approach is to not talk about this.

Not share about what happened.

Keep it under wraps and hidden

And never let anyone “IN” on what really went down in your world…

while you were away.

Or where you actually “WERE”.

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Today I am living with a much more reasonable outlook and I feel very well most days.

For I not only survived I actually improved the quality of my life.

But it is a work in progress and I do not rest on anything as a certainty.

I have had to overcome the feeling of being completely helpless.

Of having lost control.

Now I am a much more tentative individual.

I don’t favour any  risky ideas.

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If something I want to do, begins to feel “too” stressful or it isn’t coming easily after reasonable efforts have been put out…

I usually decided to abandon the prospect or idea.

If something is supposed to happen…it will.

I don’t try and force the issue the way I did when my father died.

When you are mentally ill you can become rather helpless and you start to rely heavily on others for validation and support.

It is a learned behavior.

You doubt yourself.

You can’t trust yourself.

And after you are “recovered” you  live in fear that you may again revert to the way you are when you were manic.

And believe me, you do not want that life again.

There are no set boundaries or rules or guidelines.

empty-canvas
There is just existence and minutes of your foolish, ruined life mindlessly ticking off into an hour.
And the hours go very slowly when you are “IN” the “System”

Small things like showers and scented body wash become high points in your daily schedule on a ward that allows for no perfume or bright color.

Life on the ward for me was the 3 weeks needed to remove a medication safely from my regular regime.
Seems I had been put on Zoloft but had never required it.

Taking an unnecessary antidepressants  can actually cause a Manic episode under extreme stress so I really was a walking time bomb.
It is really no surprise this happened.
None at all.
Completely understandable considering  all that was going on that I spun out into oblivion.
After my Dad died I picked up the pace of my already frantic and frenetic work life.
As an wanna-be Indie designer and artist I devoted long and misguided hour upon hour creating paintings and wearable artworks .

At alarming speed.
It was not a balanced endeavour and it led to a very definitive fall.
Like I fell from a great height into a full and complete stop.
Everything in my life stopped.

Stop-Sign
I was admitted to hospital and stayed there for 24 days.
It was hell and I cannot recall much of it but I do remember many isolated events that left a very permanent mark.
I try not to dwell on those days as that always ends up with some negative event or story and leaves me feeling all the worse for it.
It is really bad enough that I don’t accept what happened to me.
I don’t like it.
I hate it in fact.
And to top it all off, I actually blame myself for it happening at all.
I see myself as the entire reason this whole damn episode happened.

Had I only been stronger.
More in control and apprised I could have not only prevented it but I likely could have transformed all that manic energy into “Good” works…
At this point you should sit back and sadly nod.
This is the marker I need to watch for.
Those grand designs that a creative person starts to expound upon.
There is a quick quiz to see if you may be entering into a manic phase.
One of the questions asks if you are experiencing feelings of grandeur or thoughts of greatness.
I always thought that one was odd for as a full-time artist for I see the need to every now and then, to evaluate the quality of my work.

What if my work is actually pretty good”?

Am I improving in any way? 

“What if I just do not understand enough to make that type of assessment”?

There is the rub.

I now that an awful lot of Bipolar people are also very creative and very accomplished.

It is a disease with alarmingly massive pendulum like swings from Joy to abject terror that if you are not properly medicated, rested and lead a balanced life,

you will likely need help at some time.

Helping Hands Card Front

You may have the most amazing surges of great wonder and capability. You in your innocence may THINK you see things so clearly that you swear you will never want anything more than the Joy you feel…

until you fall.

You fall into the darkest of moods,

in the depths of a despair you cannot comprehend and are completed overcome by its blackness.

Which causes you go and hide away…until it passes over.

To go alone.

For that is what you will feel

There is no doubt in my mind about that.

Do not suffer alone.
Please get help.

Help is there and you will be okay.

I promise you.

But you must call out…

PLEASE.

And then one day,

you too will return.

Just like I did.

Today.

:)

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Pushing PLAY.

When I was a much younger woman…

back when our 5 daughters were navigating things like

preschool TV,

fairness,

reading

and how to show a boy in your class you like him

all the while,

as you are no older than 12,

still maintaining

your

grade 7 aloofness…

I used to push play.

A lot.

As a result of this

a lot

consequentially

transpired.

Like I lost inches off my waist and hips.

Big time.

Just like those fitness gurus said I would…if I faithfully did my workouts.

Magic?

NOPE.

Discipline.

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By the time #5

was

finally

and

fully

free wheeling through trying out being 5 herself,

most of my gaggle was gone.

The other four were out the door

and it was

finally

GO Time for MOM!

Having just a single charge to tend to after almost 11 years of more then 1 at home all day

I found myself with some FREE  time on my hands.

#5 was perfectly able to make her way through her morning till #4 got home from morning Kindergarten.

Free-Time

For I was beginning to carve out actual blocks of time to fill with activity!

Like why not?

I lived and worked there 24/7.

Time to begin  to pursue some of my other interests

I  began an earnest fitness regime.

I loved to do home work-outs.

In fact I started this way back when Susan Powter came out with her

“Stop the Insanity”

series of fitness programs.

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Also Leslie Sansone Home walking, a personal favorite of mine.

I like a fast pace.

I had several tapes and a step bench my father built for me.

I believe I had 5 separate work-outs and I loved the step routines.

I went to town for 45 minutes to and hour every morning, 5 days a week.

I also did Yoga and Pilates in the evenings.

I worked out from to 10:00 a.m. till 11:30 shower time!

Then it was time to make lunch for any one who was home or coming home.

Check on the laundry and get back to painting or writing or whatever it was I was doing…

(likely not gardening).

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I was in great shape and  a healthy mother and wife.

I could keep up with my family and my life.

I look back on these years with great fondness and huge disbelief.

I do not recall how many years I did this but it was several.

My regime broke away in 2008.

I changed jobs or something changed and my firm resolve…evaporated.

What the hell is wrong with me.I barely move a titch.

I once was big-time committed. And now I am like…meh!

Some one else can do that.””

lazy

When I was admitted to hospital last year my weight was 239 pounds.

OBESE!

Yikes!

As a blogger and writer and an abstract painter I used to sit all the time.

Why every single thing I did required me to sit.

I gained weight and lost tons of upper body strength and mobility.

I thank God I lost so much weight after going off Zoloft as it was not the correct medication for me.

This does NOT mean you should go off your medication to lose weight.

It means I was on a medication to control depression that I did not suffer from.

The weight gain is a side effect of Sertraline but you cannot just take yourself off meds.

Today I am 164.8 pounds.

So that is 75 pounds to date.

I have to lose inches now.

(more on this later)!

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I was a stay at home mom for 5 girls ages 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12.

We had two dogs 3 cats and a full life.

There was no point driving into the city to a gym so I created own regime and I was happy.

My love of exercises DVD’s  has a lot to do with my love of routine.

For although I am an abstract painter who throws paint around with wild abandon,

I am also a singer and musician

who practices singing from 2 to 3 hours a day.

The musician in me,

(35 years and counting)

craves

order,

calm,

routine

and

repetition.

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So for the past month I have been completely cleaning The Anchorman and my shared space.

We have a bed sitting room with a small office and a bathroom complete with jetted tub :)!

I have hauled out years of junk, washed floors and walls of all that oldpaint.

Tidied numerous stacks and piles of odds and sods and generally reclaimed our space,

The Anchorman  had to live with a whirligig of a bohemian for 2.5 years.

In my studio/garret and I was acting ever so much like The Oncler from Dr. Suess’ The Lorax…

all holed up in my own world.

I was drawing further and further into exploring life as a full-time artist all the while

s caring less and less about everything except the paint and my never-ending need to cover white canvas!

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There was a time back before my father died that I would paint for 10 to 12 hours and not take a  break.

Suffice it to say I caved in.

I paid a huge price.

I am 100% better than I have been in a long time.

I am still recovering today from some of the ill effects of my manic episode but I am well on my way to a brighter future.

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But last Friday we went to the Millennium Library and took out some fitness DVD’s. For some reason I decided I might just walk a bit.

But we still have so much snow and the sidewalks are covered with ice that is impossible to safely transverse.

Why yesterday The Anchorman fell twice on his way home. :(

We live in an urban suburb so he walks to work everyday.

NO bargain at the moment .

Our streets are treacherous

We need more sunshine and that will take care of it once and for all.

I like indoor walking so I started this week and I have 2 new  Leslie Sansone workouts and an Ease in Pilates DVD.

Believe it our not I walked 11 miles and did 4 hours of yoga/Pilates work

plus 10 minutes of Bicycles

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It turns out, all that singing has got me into prime shape, the aerobic aspect of my belting it out since August has also had a massively positive effect on my health.

Sweet!

I absolutely love to sing and the fact that it contributed to my weight loss this far is a real bonus!

I know it did.

Aerobic means with air and as we all know fats burns in oxygen.

Plus,

I put in the miles and I felt it but I kept up and was also challenged.

What a pleasure to walk and get a good work out.

I actually walked 3 miles on Wednesday at a 5 mile an hour clip!

That was boffo

which means Ace!

I must admit I do feel quiet proud of my accomplishment to date.

Returning to even a committed mile a day would be a great start.

I intend to journal my walking and  work my flabby arms and abs away over time.

I have thinner but not toned.

I want to try for sleek

I have time.

I think I can do it!

Only nine more pounds and the rest of my life :)

This time I just accept that I need this.

I will not lose it again.

(The weight can go…not the commitment)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun is speaking of SPRING…:)

Where I live it is “fantastically Cold”

It gets crazy, crazy, crazy cold here and you really wonder if the massive banks of snow

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that line the roads will ever melt away.

Whether the frozen grip Winter has on us will ever release.

when will the bitter cold end?

It is always a wonder to me.

I hear this mostly from grown adults and it never ceases to amaze me.

When has Spring not come?

When have we sat and said;

Why, it is already May and no sign of a break from this…what of this foolery?

Plus our foolish hearts actually YEARN of it.

Please,please come

and to break the frigid spine of Winter.

It is too cold to try and hold

for it is so cold it is ICE HOT.

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We need to push it off,

crash it over the rail ,

Off cold thing down and die.

Here’s to our Sun

to

bring in warmth and power to reduce the snow.

As always, evermore

to water that flows away.

Off to the sea.

For all our seasons swirl around us

Held forever

suspended

in the waters that surround the earth.

All our winters of discontent.

All our snowy winter’s night’s sitting by a warm hearth…

All that we are,

will be

and once were,

melted and gently floated down streams,

rivers

and

tiny tributaries.

While this same water crests its way

rushing towards the  freedom of the Sea.

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Let this Spring release you from Winter’s bitter cold bond.

Don’t fight Winter…

just be in it and of it and it will walk its way.

Away.

And we will rise again!

Feel the increased warmth and watch and see.

Look and listen for a Chick o Dee the true harbinger of Spring.

His call, for a new beginning sounds like he is saying

“Cheeseburger….Cheeseburger”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSOBW4K1VgI

“Like, hello. I was wanting to say

I sure think you are swell.

Would you like to go for a cheeseburger?”

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