A New Year’s Strategy — Selective Silence: Is it Crazy to be Sane in this World?

Since the summer – I have been immersed in a new stage of personal inquiry/growth/exploration – and I needed to take time off from writing.  I spent the bulk of 2015 working on two different blogs – one Survival in the 21st century – a spiritual/self-help memoir blog and Rip Roarin Rants –  I took a long pause this past fall – to pull back and consider what direction I want to take in my writing.  And I have decided that I need to share my experiences in a more formalized way. Possibly a memoir, a collection of essays, a mixed media ebook – I have not settled into the what of it, but this means that I will be writing “in the background,” and sharing bits and bobs of my writing, and every once in a while a blog entry.

The following was inspired by the following blog entry from Everyday Aspies- Self-Improvement List where the concept of self-improvement is taken to task when we use it in a negative way, as a result of self-hatred, rather than self-love.  I responded at length in the comments, because that is the way I roll.


Essentially I believe that as humans – our mission is to evolve – and this isn’t a judgmental thing but rather the mission of humanity.

It is not the necessity of change and growth that is WRONG, but rather what is fueling that change and growth – the intention, if you will. I am both Asperger’s and bipolar – the first diagnosed, the second self-diagnosed.  After 40 plus years of intensive study/research/exploration into human behavior –  my own on my own, with others, others, others with others, public phenomena, etc … in my mission to “cure” myself – I have earned the right to say what I am and how I perceive life.

I don’t need an academic or a doctor to inform me of less than I already know. I do not like to identify with either label, because both names have very negative contextual cultural associations. I almost prefer Crazy for BPD and Weird/Eccentric for Asperger’s – Why because it allows for ambiguity and fluidity of one’s reality and experience. I have seen so many people forced into a victim status when they have accepted the medical establishment’s diagnosis and treatments … which approaches one as a freak whose behavior and experience needs to be controlled and monitored. These days I am looking at both diagnoses dispassionately, as a tools for self-understanding and compassionate management which runs counter to the cultural stigmatization of thinking and experiencing life differently than whatever is culturally agreed upon as normal.

New you next exit, sign depicting a new change in life

If one is coming from either the Western medical approach of dealing with mental health, or reading the wrong sort of personal growth books that are very judgmental and critical of one’s essential being  paths of personal growth can be psychically damaging and victimizing. But we should never forget that we are part of the natural world that is constantly changing – what makes us special as human beings – is that we can consciously change our external circumstances and our internal perspective, and this is a natural and beautiful thing that we can be truly thankful for .

We are not driven by blind instinct, we have flexible neural pathways-

And as long as we aren’t self-destructively moralizing the why of our necessary growth as human beings,  then we are merely doing what humans are meant to do – USE our consciousness to evolve. Like computers we are garbage in and garbage out. If we have a consciousness that is corrupted, we will get corrupted results no matter what kinds of data or software we are taking in. So it is up to us compassionately investigate and explore our thinking and being systems, neutrally observing whether the results are productive and progressive, or whether they are destructive and regressive or a mixture. This is simply part of being a human being. We need to strip the morality out of it … in the sense that we are bad people or abnormal people if we think or do things differently or rebel against the status quo ….

I have lived a life dedicated to personal growth, that has resulted in an incredible life – but unless I was in a very dark depressive place – my personal growth mission was primarily fired by improving my experience of life, as an act of love, a way to save myself from myself at times.

I proved to myself that I was and am BOTH my best friend and my worst enemy at times,but mostly it is this struggle and dedication to live the best life for ME, for MY pleasure, and Legacy, to help those I love … that made me love myself even more.

You end up loving the things and people, you make a deep commitment to and that you dedicate your efforts and evolving self toward – whether it be career, creativity, family, etc. I made a mission to live a better life through personal growth practices because I KNEW that I needed to untangle the mysteries in my being that were crushing my spirit, soul, body, heart, mind.

Ernest-Hemingway-On-Personal-Growth-

We pursue personal growth because we love ourselves … it is the Cultural crap that tells us we shouldn’t love ourselves if we aren’t part of the mythological status quo. Over the years, I have to say, from my own serious commitment to personal growth and building healthy relationships – friends, family, community – that I look saner, and saner, and the “normal” world looks crazier every day. This is not said from a point of superiority, mind you, but a grim recognition that society prefers to pigeonhole people in order to control the way they feel about themselves in relation to the sick systems that this culture promotes – everything from valuing the rights of gun-owners over public safety; valuing political leaders who are cruel, callous and hotheaded over leaders that are thoughtful, diplomatic and considered; valuing a medical system that prioritizes profits to shareholders over actual maintenance of Health and PREVENTION of health; prioritizes agribusiness profits over public safety hazards such as pesticides poisoning ground water, killing the bee population; prioritizing trillions of dollars in the decimation of other countries and cultures so we can have free flowing low-cost energy from fossil fuels that will run out in a decade or two – rather than investing in trillions of dollars into our domestic economy via education, building up infrastructure which would include the GREENING of our Energy supply to sustainable and renewable energy technologies …. and this is just the TIP of the iceberg.

Those of us who are “crazy” or “Weird” are just intelligent or sensitive enough to be FREAKED out living during these times where we are being told every second that the Naked psychotic emperor is the next best thing in fashion. I believe we see the truth – Aspergers folks are typically very logical people, and it is really difficult to pull the wool over our eyes and have our brains go along with it. This creates cognitive dissonance, which is one of the greatest stressors that any human can experience. And for myself, growing up witnessing the betrayal of the Government time and time again (Reagan) against the people of this country, and being told at the same time that is was “Morning in America.” – and KNOWING that all of this was a lie! This depressed the hell out of me, and there was no one to talk to about it in that pre-internet age. Even, if one has the perfect family, living in wealthy circumstances, and so on and so forth – we still live in this crazy world.

Peas in a Pod
Peas in a Pod

So it behooves us – to evolve in a way that we become stronger, more resilient and savvy in dealing with the external environmental psychosis in which we are immersed …it is just what we need to do as humans to thrive and survive this twisted age of too much dis-information.

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Zen Painting and Other Practices

Paint 2 strokes , up and down.  Take a breath. Step back and observe the strokes. Reflect upon your life.

I have been painting my last room of childhood (from age 15 to 18), and the trim of several rooms of my family house for two weeks now.  I know that it shouldn’t take this long.  But the real work that is occurring here, is not the painting, but the final touches on the “inner-work” of the past two years.

In the last two years, I had to –

  1. Figure out a new meaning for my life, after
    • dropping out of grad school due to a health crisis ( or rather to avert a mental health crisis)
    • turning 50
    • coming to terms that I would never have children
  2. Balance my imbalanced system that
    • had gained 30 pounds in 3 years
    • was anxious and nearly manic
    • was fearful and tired of a life I didn’t know how to manage
  3. Grieve the losses
    • of the dreams that I had dreamed that hadn’t come true in 50 years
    • of my father – still alive but from whom I will be  forever estranged due to his mental illness
    • of my cousin Lewis, who was the older brother I never had, who died of a heart attack
    • the many loves, that never were, and never will be
  4. Heal and Forgive
    • my past self
  5. Build
    • my confidence
    • my sense of peace
    • my love for myself
  6. Transform
    • my experience
    • my relationships
    • my life into something I love living

So if it takes 2 weeks to paint a room while processing what brings us to peace, or 2 years to heal a life … it is well worth it.

My accomplishment after 50 years of living?

I love my life more than I ever had … and I am ready for 50 more years, please : )

Sept 5 2015 - Me in Vallejo by the garage - goofy and pretty in pink - soft edit

 

The Merry Go-Round Slows Down as Fall Approaches

This summer has been a bit of a ride.

For nearly 2 months (July and August) I was spinning in and out of extremely high energy states, that veered close to chaos.  But since I recognized that I was experiencing something quite extreme, I was able to steer entirely clear of any dangerously excessive behaviors.  It also helps to have 51 years of life and wisdom gained to use as guidelines.  It is thrilling and also scary when one’s brain is on a wild and expansive ride at full throttle.  I didn’t know where I was heading, and I was hanging on with every bit of my consciousness.  And I trusted that I had the tools to manage these energy states.

What kept me stable and upright were the following:

  1. My daily routines that incorporated Yoga and Meditation and extra physical activity if needed.
  2. Outlets for expression – 2 blogs and a number of friends with whom I spoke to at rat-a-tat speeds.
  3. Mental vigilance with a compassionate and accepting attitude – this meant, I was noticing that my mind was thinking, thinking, thinking and thinking some more; that I was sleeping between 4 and 6 hours of  sleep at night; that my hunger decreased; that I was captivated by all my ideas; that my senses were acutely sensitive and that this could lead to agitation, paranoia, or other uncomfortable states of being.
  4. I discovered that a very effective way of calming my energies was to do a grounding activities like housework; or yard work.
  5. I found that what was most important was to keep the energy flowing, and to steer clear of thoughts that would lead me into a strange direction, where I could lose total grasp of reality.

This last statement sounds ominous, but it needn’t be.

We all have our “flights of fancy or fear.”  For instance, you get to know anybody for any length of time, and you will encounter some of their weird belief systems or behaviors that interfere with their rational analysis of everyday reality as it presents itself.  My mother, for instance, if she went to a restaurant, 10 years ago and had bad service, she will assume that she can expect bad service from that restaurant in the present.

Hunh?  My mother is very scientifically minded, but when it comes to memories of bad experiences, she has the mental retention of an elephant.  And the only way to “convince” her to have an open mind, at the very least, I have to sneak her into the experience before she develops any objections or reservations.

What triggers me into a High Energy State?

I have noticed that if I am engaged in any prolonged and intensive creative activity that it tends to speed up my mind.  And if this occurs during the summer, then my mind is further stimulated.  This stimulation can prime my mind to be even more productive and creative.  And my body is also primed to be moving and on the go operating on a diminished diet of sleep and food.  It is interesting that I am experiencing these states more often as I grow older, and that my depressive states are more of a memory than anything else.

Years ago, I associated depression to a state of concentrated and stagnant energy (mental/emotional/spiritual) and that once released, the body goes into hyper-mode.  And it only makes sense to me that once I basically freed myself from chronic depression, that I would now have to deal with energy states that range from hypo-manic to manic.  What was different this summer, as opposed to other summers – is that I had already set up systems of mind-body-spirit management earlier in the year, that allowed me to successfully navigate through my near-mania to my present calm-normal state.

My breakthrough epiphany for handling my depressive states was “allowing” rather than fighting my experience.  If one accepts oneself and one’s experience with a self-loving attitude, one is not only able to gain wisdom but also nurture one’s self toward more sustainable balance.  I have found that the most crucial factor involved in managing extreme energy states is that you endeavor to have both a clear heart and mind. This clarity is an ongoing process, like keeping a clean house or keeping a clean ANYTHING, and my personal clarity is not only a result of this regular maintenance, but also a product of decades of inner-work.  I wouldn’t say it is necessary, that everyone take decades upon decades to wipe one’s mind and heart of debilitating mental and emotional habits, but this was my particular life’s journey.  I had to pack in a lot of soul experience into one lifetime, it seems.

Back to the Present

It was just last week that I saw that things were definitely returning to a state of calm.  This present state of hush … feels almost somnambulant in comparison.  I do miss the creative high I felt.  Writing now for me, doesn’t feel as pleasurable or as inspired.  It isn’t so much a wild ride of expression, but thoughtful and deliberate.  And a voice within says —- borrrrIng.  Not nice : /

In the past couple of months where my moods and energy were heightened … even the simplest observations/events had a certain kind of intensity, and while this can be fascinating and exciting – too much of anything can be tedious, especially for me.  So I have to remind myself, how much I longed for “tranquillo”, to return to a state of being that doesn’t demand such “high maintenance.”  It almost feels as if I have returned to the comfort of “home” after a prolonged trip through my own mind.

 

Living Between Fact and Fantasy

As an exemplification of the extreme differences between my calm and manic self – that I experienced this summer, I am including a link to a private post I wrote.

Below is a link to a post that I originally wrote for Quora – on what do Genius’s want to do with their lives.  The first section is sustainable “tranquillo” me, the other part reads more like what it is like to be in manic mode (light) – I say light because, all the time, I was aware of what I was doing … yet, at the same time I didn’t censor myself or my behavior as long as it was harmless.  I did decide to delete the post on Quora because it wasn’t truly an adequate answer to the question and was more of a bit of experimental writing.

Mental Acrobatics – On the Razor’s Edge of Sanity

 

 

 

Mental Acrobatics – On the Razor’s Edge of Sanity

Living Between Fact and Fantasy

As an exemplification of the extreme differences between my calm and manic self – that I experienced this summer, here are two pieces of writing on the same subject.  What is interesting to me, is the dramatic contrast of writing style and voice … as if each were written by different people, but no, they were both written by me, myself, and I (at least three versions of me : ) … just playing around.  What I have found time and time again, while navigating through dramatically different experiences, is that as long as I have a strong core of self-respect and compassion for myself, I can weather the storms of my inner life.

These two posts were originally written for Quora – on what do Genius’s want to do with their lives.  The first section is sustainable “tranquillo” me, the other part reads more like what it is like to be in manic mode (light) – I say light because, all the time, I was aware of what I was doing … yet, at the same time I didn’t censor myself or my behavior as long as it was harmless.  I did decide to delete the post on Quora because it wasn’t truly an adequate answer to the question and was more of a bit of experimental writing.

Philosophy First – Working Backwards

Edit – For the Past week, I have been trying to Delete this message, realizing that I wrote it, in a “non-typical” frame of mind.  This is due to the fact that it most likely is not “helpful” to those seeking guidance on “geniuses” – although I suspect that there are many genius’s that may have the same challenges that I have had through my life.  But for Some reason, even after three times, the deletes were not taking.  I just sent out a request for Quora to delete it on their side, since there seems to be a “bug.” So I decided to add to my response – with a Preface
So — I promised to continue to answer this question about 10 days ago. – My prior response to this question was – If I were a genius – what do I like to do with my life.  In a nutshell, whatever I want, as long as I am doing no harm to myself or others. Whether you want to follow through on my (inside the head of most-probably-not a genius) post below, which actually is only representative of one day in hypomanic mode – then go ahead.  It is experiential writing, more than informative writing.
The reason I answered this question was because, I was invited to.  I am not precocious enough to presume genius.  Too much pressure to put on myself, even if I were.  The thing is, people – you either ARE or you AREN’T a Genius … at least I think that is how it works.  Some professional runs you through an IQ test, and then you are determined to be a genius, or not.  I say “whatever” to that.
I think those who may be Geniuses, or may just be really smart – just need to live their lives, as THEY need to live their lives.  They aren’t interested in other people’s rules.  Why, because rules are limitations, and being a genius means that certain mental limitations do not apply to you.  I suppose certain geniuses, are “evil” ones and could really go to market on this idea of “rules do not apply” as if they think that the rules of being human do not apply to them as well.  This is ridiculous.  We are all human.  We all share the same biology.  And this biology is what humbles us entirely.  The problem with the qualification of “genius” – the standard IQ test is that it is extremely limited in it’s assessment of one’s total being.  We all know that human beings are MORE than simply the mind.  They are body, spirit, heart, and mind, and possibly the soul.  Spirit to me, is the energetic presence of a person.  And this is a pragmatic explanation that even an atheist could agree upon. (FYI, I will forever end sentences with prepositions – get used to it!)
So, I basically disagree with the extremely limited standard of the IQ test –
Consider these folks, who may or may not have tested 150+, and may or may not ALSO be IQ Geniuses.
Bruce Jenner – Genius physically
Mother Theresa – Genius of Heart and Spirit
Oprah – Genius of Heart and Spirit
The present Dalai lama – Genius of Heart and Spirit
Pretty much every Olympic Record Breaker – Genius physically
Jimi Hendrix – Creative Genius (Combo of Heart, Spirit, Physical)
Michaelangelo – Creative Genius
Robin Williams – Creative Genius
Gandhi – Genius of Heart and Spirit, Body,
None of the above would be considered the eggheads or brainiacs that society would consider the “status quo” genius.  And as you can see this designation is EXTREMELY limited, and I believe harmful.  Why, because we exalt the production of the “mind” above all other accomplishments in humanity.  Which is actually quite STUPID.  And I say this with NO irony what-so-ever.
And with this — those who are JUST IQ level Genius, and lack the Genius of heart, spirit, and or mind – they imagine themselves to be superior over person’s that actually could easily be superior to them.

Give me a Genius of the Heart, Body, or Spirit over a Genius of the Mind ANY DAY.

Because when it comes down to it, a Genius of the prior three is much less likely to cause destruction or harm to the planet or human being, because they want to test out an interesting MENTAL hypothesis, the world be damned.
I imagine that many of the men and a sprinkling of women in history that have worked to create the most advanced weapons systems in the world were IQ geniuses.  So they thought themselves all clever, when they were creating weapons of mass destruction – which was actually, in the long run, quite stupid.  Something that anyone, even on a basic smart level of body, spirit and heart intelligence could have seen wasn’t the smartest evolutionary choice for mankind.
Now let’s wrap back to the basic question –

What do geniuses want to do with their lives?

They want to make a difference.  Just like EVERYONE else on this planet.  The difference is that POSSIBLY, not necessarily probably, they can make a more significant difference.  And this is where things can go magnificently right or terribly wrong.  Especially, since I said that generally geniuses are more interested in creating new rules, rather than following old ones.
But there are certain rules, that those who have a Genius of the heart alone or in combination with other G-characteristics that are best not broken.
And that is – Do No Harm – Primum NonNocere.  This is the Hippocratic oath that licensed physicians must take.  Now we can get into debates about the value of this oath, when dealing with issues such as assisted suicide and when and if someone should be taken off life support when they are determined brain-dead, but the INTENT of “do no harm” is sound.
And for myself, I may not consider myself a Mental Genius, but perhaps I could qualify as a genius of the heart/spirit — but the only tests of those are by viewing one’s productivity in life.  A genius of the mind, could be a person that tests smart, but doesn’t need to actually produce anything.  This is why many smart people, don’t actually do anything – they are content to talk big ideas, but not follow through with them.  Because actualizing an idea successfully and sustainably, without brute force – which is entirely unimaginative, merely relying on animal skills, rather than human reasoning skills – involves MORE than the mind.  It involves the whole being!
And unfortunately, to the detriment of the health and happiness of the people on this whole planet, the intelligence of the whole being has been disparaged to preferentially EXALT the limited gifts of the IQ genius.
The era of the IQ Genius being the Smartest guys or girls in the room is ending, and this does NOT make them very happy at all.
So they are presently endeavoring to make MORE of a difference than ever these days, whether it is actually STUPID in the basic levels of Heart, Body, or Spirit intelligence.  Look at those “brilliant” entrepreneurs that deny climate change for instance.  Or the “brilliant” industrialists who can make a billion in a year, by trashing whole economies worldwide.
And this dear reader, is your advantage.  Because IQ genius’s are often like the guy at the gym who is so muscle-bound they look like a monkey man, and their muscles are so hard they can barely move their bodies.  Sure they can pick up a car, but who cares? How helpful a skill is that, unless you want a valet with superpowers?
These folks devalue the value of all other intelligences while the average person who has a balance of intelligence in more than one area could actually spin circles around the IQ genius in everyday life.
I believe that the American trend of ANTI-Intellectualism is the extreme rejection of the idea that only people with high IQs are intelligent.  Americans were always a very smart people, ready to make and break rules of tyranny, but they weren’t all intellectuals.  And in rebellion from the aristocratic intellectualism of England that mandated the colonization of the US, Americans broke free with their own brands of genius.
These brands of genius belong to ALL humanity, and I personally believe, that if you recognize any type of incipient genius within you, whether it be of the spirit, heart, mind, or body, or a combination of those – GO for it!
Because you are no different than any IQ genius in your desire to MAKE a difference with your life.
But always consider, the universal truth of Primum NonNocere – Do no harm!  Because at the end of the day, you are NOT an island, and you share the planet with billions of other human beings.
Like the Heart and Spirit Genius Mr. Rogers said – Be a good neighbor!
Time Stamp – August 26th, 12:37 pm (afternoon) – No time to edit – it is standing as it is.
The following commenced on August the 13th sometime after midnight
and was completed with basic editing on August the 13th- 7:29 am in 2015

So — I promised to continue to answer this question about 10 days ago. – My prior response to this question was answered as IF – I were a genius – what would I like to do with my life.

Edit (later in the evening on the 26th)
This is then – a hypothetical response, and you being a Quora reader should understand the nuanced value of hypothetical. I respond as if I were hypothetically a genius in the IQ version. Yet, because this a site that is meant to give “definitive” answers, this is why I was considering and still considering having the post deleted.  In fact, it may disappear and I may not seek to re-post it.

Resuming …
In a nutshell, whatever I want, as long as I am doing no harm to myself or others. Whether you want to follow through on my (inside the head of most-probably-not a genius) post below, which actually is only representative of one day in hypomanic mode – then go ahead.  It is experiential writing, more than informative writing.

In retrospect – I would call this –
Inside the Head of Liza One Special Mind-Whizzing Night

Spoiler alert – I do not consider myself, nor have I been tested to determine whether I am “technically” a genius, nor have I  that I can remember having a desire to be tested, (due to my trusty inferiority complex shadow _ I have been trying to shake for years now : )  But a questioner asked me to answer this – bless her heart : ) and I am a nobody-newbie … to Quora this month.

Spoiler alert to the 2nd power –
Answer Construction still In Progress not fully edited: (

Spoiler alert to the 3rd Power  –  Crazy Ass- Sign Your Life away long … so be forewarned — skip it and live your life, or pull up a chair and set aside a drink for yourself and peruse as long as you can stand it.  No SOUNDBITES here folks — moving ON Moving ON!

And on to my answer –
So I am not quite sure whether she is asking me because

  1. she thinks I am in the G category … and wants me to describe my daily activities – catering to her delusion of my G powers.
  2. she thinks I can recognize a G if they slapped me in the face or hit me on the head, or whatever the term of phrase is ….
  3. She thinks I happen to share daily company with Gs – or know their daily habits in person or via the GREAT Webmind, or libraries (old school).
  4. or possibly all of the above?
  5. The answer will address the prior categories

The befuddled Liza now speaks … preferring to speak on at least her own version of authority, however, fantasy-based … but what the hell – I was invited.

1) Okay … hardest first – If my dear questioner … actually thinks I am a genius … and maybe SHE is a G that recognizes a fellow undiscovered, even by herself, G …then well … uh …. oh Gawd I am going in analytical circles here.

First of all – this isn’t false humility.  I very well KNOW I am damn smart, and so are a whole hell of a LOT of people, damn smart – many millions out there, possibly a billion or more.  And being damn smart – there is NO shame in it at all — But there are far fewer Gs than this planet needs, but maybe a few too many Evil Gs –

Anyhoo — just supposing I am an undiscovered by myself – but have been discovered by this dear questioner … then ( ha-ha joke here – if a true genius can’t recognize herself/himself in the mirror are they still a genius? -)

Okay – so supposing – I were/am a genius – My day –

  • Seriously, I can’t tell you about my day.  Because every day is different.
  • But sychronistically before I laid eyes on Quora ( I have been ignoring Quora since last week … since it inspires writing benders in me) I actually wrote an email to a long-lost friend about today – or to be specific, referencing Tuesday night through Wednesday early evening.  By the way, I KNOW she will understand since she is a writer — and will probably be thrilled that a personal letter inspired by her got any attention at all.  And NO I am not going to include salacious details of her life!  I am not that KIND of writer that sucks the life dry around her for dirt or scandal (by the way, I love to read this stuff … but don’t have the heart to do this to friends or family.  I am stupid that way – commercially)
  • Anyway — you think I am not answering the question here – but I am just being – Full ON me … (which in answer number one presumes me to be a G — I promise I WILL get to the more realistic answers  ….. eventually.
  • But this #1 – is so much FUN … Whee, I could be a G, maybe, but possibly, but more probably – improbably!!!!
  • And — so  back to the matter at hand – you don’t mind me double-dipping into my writing life to provide you an answer to question 1 – here goes – And if you think this is a clever promotional ploy — F you – I have NEVER made a single dollar from writing in my life … so I am NOT motivated by being inauthentic for a buck!
  • So here goes – clippings from a letter from a woman possibly presumed to be a G –  Quora edits will be in italics

It starts –
So my dear long-lost friend …. although I KNOW you are not Lost – you ALWAYS knew where you were ….

It is a term of phrase … so I shouldn’t have to get literal, Aspergian style.

When you have a moment from your hectic life … I would love to hear from you!

To give you a glimpse of  me, of whom you are not acquainted.  I will give you a run-down of my day so far – Pardon the ADHD aspects –

Details about the two places I live –  then a daily breakdown

  • Okay – so I woke up two times in the morning
    • 4:30 am – with my solution to my WTF conundrum of the previous night – I had a plan that tanked to go to Italy in a couple of months (after two years of longing to return and see friends and Florence) – not happening – the details of why are too complicated to go into here.  But needless to say — the particular disappointment sent me into a whirlwind of needless and brutal life assessment.  Perhaps you have encountered these assessments in your middle age thus far … if not, stay tuned my dear for the wild and crazy mental mind-fuck …. OH Lordy
      • I went into the kitchen to eat something and enjoy feeling alive … the WTF conundrum situation having passed.  I was starving.  I haven’t been eating much …. I have never had an anorexic streak … but just not feeling a lot of hunger lately.  I gorged if one can do that on cottage cheese and fruit.
      • I am not the only one eating light these days – Say HELLOOO to Mr. Beastie — Remember Luv Bucket in ——  he is a Black furry tuxedo wearing Version, (much slimmed down recently and it is freaking me out) of the LB.  He used to be a pig, and super fluffy fur and flab – but still healthy, and now he doesn’t seem to enjoy eating like he used to … and I don’t even want to go into my concerns about this! So I take every opportunity to feed him.  He prefers to stay outside, which is also out of character, so sometimes I am coaxing him inside to come in to eat.
      • (Quora note – this is a healthy version of my cat in the good old days – NOT the photo of him presently – this was done to protect his identity!

After feeding this guy, and trying to coax him to chill out with me – sleep beside me, again, another thing he used to enjoy, and having to suffer him cat-scramble away …

  • I went back to sleep until 9:30 am.
  • After breakfast, I looked at my email – the first email from my supervisor  from  progressive Nonprofit.  I am a volunteer leader with the organization with a major team.
  •   Can’t tell you much more than that – or I would have to kill you.  Not really, but it is a long conversation.
  • Did my volunteer leader tasks for the day and some information I came across got me RILED UP  enough to write a couple of blogs one for
  1. Spoiler Alert – In spite of my Feisty speech – it is more a written persona (which is Authentic – but not exactly the best for everyday company) – to get people thinking and riled up … more than my everyday demeanor. It is my politicized persona.
  2. Rip Roarin Rants Rip Roarin Rants – The Art of Argument
  3. And Daily Kos Daily Kos – Will the Real US Criminals Please stand up?
  4. My more personal writing persona can be viewed here Survival Tips for the 21st Century: A Renaissance Woman Finding Her Place in the World  Like you, I am a complex woman, so if you are interested in really reacquainting yourself with me — read more than the latest blog … there is a big story to tell — of course, I don’t EXPECT you to read anything, some or all of what I have written … just saying the stuff is there if you are curious.
  • So I have been writing on these blogs for about a year now … and even though I have been writing things forever … but not publicly before this last year … I never thought of myself as a writer.  You know, not published, not professional, blah, blah, blah.  Nor did I give myself the permission to devote myself primarily to writing.
  • If you see what I am writing – and my small following … although my Quora participation may help – it is very unlikely that I am ever going to make any money doing this.  And this ISN’T the point.  I am perfectly content to make honest money other ways, just as long as I have enough time to write and enough money to buy things and pay my credit card bills and school loan.  (– I do realize that if I had intentionally written this WITH the question in mind to answer later in the day etc … Gosh, how brilliantly Machiavellian — but no this is the GD truth. )
  • I am happy to write what I write not for personal … oh I am fabulous recognition … but just to get certain messages out effectively, and I would never want to be in the position of having to count on my words being palatable for a particular public or publisher – and thus compromise my writing.

So … after writing those two blogs – which took up most of the day – I checked out facebook, not a regular thing, mind you … and saw it was your birthday, and HERE I Am!

And yes, as every freelancer will tell you, at some point in their day – I have been procrastinating.  Tonight, I really have to get to some serious work on a website I am designing for a friend of mine, —–, who is the sister of —- – my business partner.  He just graduated from a Master’s Program in Architecture … and I am his Interior Designer, 2nd hand Jacqueline of all trades. He has been building a painting/general contracting business steadily — with an eye to starting a Build and Design Firm.  He is 37 now, and wildly ambitious.  I have known him for about 10 years now … He and his family have treated me like family – they are —–, by the way, and the Spanish flies all around my head.  I basically understand what they all are saying, but my Italian studies have messed up my ability to speak anything but Italian or Spitalian … so I answer in English.  I don’t work full-time with him because I don’t want to …. I want to write and pursue other interests – Italian travel … eventually next year; accordion playing, returning to playing the piano, hiking … etc.  Loving life, but still managing to be poor.

Editing notes –  damn I thought I deleted the .. more current picture of Mr. Beastie —  I got this red message from Quora saying that it wouldn’t accept certain images ( so sue me I am a newbie!) … and since I letterboxed the guy, to give some him some cinematic glam to his scruffo self … poor dude, I thought this message about no new images was related to my cursory Picasa edits. My camera phone took a lame over-exposed photo. And yes, I KNOW Photoshop – but it was just a silly edit with deepening the shadows and letterbox … too silly to break out Photoshop.   

Will he ever forgive me for outing his true identity.  So far I am counting 9 views … who probably haven’t slogged through this far in this blog epic answer … So should I delete?  Or will I still be forever haunted by the fears of blackmail – threatening me with illegally gotten centerfolds of him on Catster: (  or worse.

so — the letter included up till 5:30 pm. 

  • Not strictly accounted time:
  1. Answered the text of  “how are you” from dear and brilliant/damn smart, certainly, Angel friend who was checking in on me – he was front row and center to my WTF crisis of Tuesday!  Truly – he knows how to talk me off any ledge.  I texted him – GREAT – knowing that he understands my moods better than anybody!  And asked him if he could talk.
  2. Talking to uncle who was staring at a computer site showing hazardous conditions in national weather, asked him to explain the hot pink areas – and yes in each place that I live, I live with family – not ashamed to tell you – It is a mutually supportive for all concerned : )
  3. doing dishes
  4. wandering around in the yard looking for cat
  5. feeding cat – which included figuring out new strategies for making him want to eat – he is picky, picky eater, after being such a lovable glutton in the past.
  6. Relayed the new feeding strategies to my uncle
  7. Fed myself – a salad – that I improvised today from the idea of a Waldorf salad – green leaf lettuce, brie slices, apples, walnuts, and an olive oil/ balsamic vinaigrette with garlic salt
  • At 8:00 pm – I called Biz partner and asked if he could talk Design.  He says sure but was going to use his GPS on his phone for a moment … Could I call him back.  I told him – You call me back.
  • Got a text from Angel friend previously mentioned, he texts – will text you in five minutes – I text back – gotta talk with Biz Partner, can I call in an hour he says sure.
  • 8:15 pm Biz partner calls, we talk
  • 8:30 pm – call Angel friend early – he answers sounds like he is on another planet – bad reception.  He explains he is on commute – can he call me back
  • 9 pm – Angel friend is tired, but not without advising me to work on the website.  We hang up and …
  • I ignore his good advice  and continue on with this atypical – all-day writing bender. I look at Quora for the first time in a week
  • 9:15 I start answering this question – Liza Davis’ answer to Are there any tricks to maintaining intense focus for long periods of time without drugs?
  • Then who knows at time I started to do back and forth edits  on the Quora post and  on the previously mentioned Survival tips blog – You don’t have to Take Drugs – to have a steady, calm mind —- Hmm… Why don’t our Psychiatrists tell us this?  And yes I know I misspelled Psychiatrist – but the actual title was corrected but the link text stuck … ugh!
  • I have lost track of time entirely editing and re-editing the previous Quora answer comparing the blog vs. Quora answer — fixing inaccuracies, polishing words, adding images to the blog, formatting it for better reading… you know – what bloggers are supposed to do after the first draft.
  • So I get this done to the point that my brain gets distracted and I imagine that I have published it ( … I didn’t … until a few minutes ago around 5:30 am – Thursday when I was providing the link to Survival Tips)  so I … I don’t know – I am finally getting tired.
  • Oh yeah, I started writing this thing – some time after midnight (probably around 1 pm? …
  • and here I am – 5:44 in the am — and I am exhausted … and really need to go to bed. I am too tired to do a full editing, of #1 tonight – and will get to it … in a  couple of days – whatever. I NEED to spend some major time on that website!
  • And answers 2-4, I will get to them, adding them in the comments … probably have at them again this weekend, along with fixing the egregious spelling errors, grammatical inaccuracies, missed words, and random WTF’s … I will get to it –
  • Editing improvement – Spoiler Alert – Defensive writer’s rant below
  • Remember mysterious Quora viewers and staff of Quora that will never know I exist – You aren’t effing paying me … I am giving free advice … and I do it for the passion and love for writing and thinking about life and its challenges and sharing my insights. Use them, however, you will or will not.  Seriously there are BAZILLION people out there with advice …. find your Guru or Gurah!
  • Editing change – SA – You know the drill – Spoiler Alert – The twist you may have suspected coming — although believe me in this free-for-all riff of a writing frenzy – it was not pre-ordained mentally … see my mini rant about my personal authenticity — uh fucking somewhere above — too tired to go through on the first edit, maybe a fellow viewer can point it out to you in the comments … maybe not figure it out – brilliant one : )  you got this far slogging away through great swaths of wordage.
  • If it works for you to think I am a G – well, great … whatever floats your boat.  The way I see myself is presently I am HIGH Energy – or the pejorative term is hypomanic (for those who must pathologize energy states – and don’t know how optimize their energetic experience by surfing their moods)  I have been in this alternating state of calm and self-assured to High Productive energy for weeks now, with just ONE day of WTF (well earned by the way – but no tragic result beyond  a bunch of bellyachings on the phone with an Angel friend of 10 years seeing me through it).  And NO, animals, humans, plant life – have been harmed or institutionalized in all of this – nor will there be.
  • If I AM a G – it is because I have figured out how to Surf my Moods, and manage my energy states without meds and without intensive therapy over the years.  But if you care, you can read THAT on the ST blog  And possibly many Gs are undiscovered bipolars?
  • But whatever the case is … I confidently say I am Damn smart : )  And a good Epitaph for me could be – –

She strived for Genius – but never quite made it.

See yah in the comments …. um … though not watching this for a couple of days —- got to make money with that website and I have a deadline to meet … she’ll love it – I am not worried and it will mean at least one or two all-nighters finish it up.  This part shows you my Lack of genius in marketing my website skills … doesn’t provoke Uber confidence in potential clients … and visually, my blogs look okay for a blog – but they were less than a day … slap-togethers on WP … anybody could do it.

Christ, I need to go to sleep!

Shit – I lied, about putting off the editing …. I will be editing it as people read this — Underwears OUT folks — enjoy it while you can … and feel free to point out mistakes … saves me the trouble of slogging through this whole mess early in the AM, and not getting any sleep before working on the website.  ugh!

Finished first fucking edit — I know it isn’t perfect.  But it is perfect enough for the net.  I see errors all the time on PROFESSIONAL famous sites ALL the time.  And NO I am not naming names!  I obviously reserve the right to make certain errors by accident as well … or by result of pure reality — just fucking need to sleep folks – Excuse me for being human and winding up my manic ride for the day …

Editing – Any further error catching is on you …in the comments.  My comments on those promised 2 through 4 later —- sigh, I have foolishly given myself a LongAss indeterminate writing chore for the love of all invisible – my audience?

Timestamp – August the 13th – 7:29 am in 2015

You don’t have to Take Drugs – to have a steady, calm mind —- Hmm… Why don’t our Psychiatrists tell us this ?

Again, I wrote another answer on Quora, an amazing place to go for Free answers on Fricking everything!!!  – anonymous asked –

Are there any tricks to maintaining intense focus for long periods of time without drugs?

And once again I was inspired to spend a good chunk of my  evening writing free advice. I am stupid like that. If I were a life-coach/therapist I could charge $300 + session for this type of advice … that can be found anywhere on the internet or library if you are looking, Hello!  Why do people pay for old school advice that can be found in books in the library, the internet, with a wise friend or family member?  Shit – I don’t know.  Do we JUST trust people who will rip us off?  * Important message below related to me Loving certain Lifecoaches, Self-help experts, but wondering about the fad that has taken over this country.

My answer – Original can be seen here –Original answer on Quora

I have made new edits of the answer on this blog below— it is the designer in me – always iterating, improving, revising … oops, writers do that as well. : )  Gosh .. I am both … I guess. (Note – false humility with a touch of irony)


The question again Anonymous Asked –

Are there any tricks to maintaining intense focus for long periods of time without drugs?

Yes absolutely, and I use certain ancient tricks known to billions  throughout history all the time … and am able to focus for hours on end on a topic writing,  doing design projects, reading, talking business strategy with biz partners, what have you.

This is NOT to say that I don’t have ADHD tendencies, I do, I have had WORSE than ADHD tendencies, I was diagnosed with bi-polar – but I learned to surf my energies, the highs and the lows — and coast on the in-betweens.

When you are scatter-brained and edgy, can’t sit down, you are on HIGH Energy

This is good and bad – you have the energy to do a particular task, but you don’t have the concentration to do so.  What you need is to ground that energy.

And there are plenty of ways to do this — pay attention to the type of foods you are eating –

  • Ayurvedic medicine goes into detail about this.
    Ayurveda
  • It is general knowledge among vegetarians, and people who scrutinize their diet/body connection – that meat and grains and starches – sort of ground you at best, and slow you wayyyy down to depression level at worst.
  • And it is general knowledge caffeine cranks  up the cortisone levels, and can make one anxious and edgy, if you weren’t dead tired previously.
  • While a fruit and veggie based diet  — you could be flying around and you often need some body centered grounding.

Now to the body and mind

Ever wonder why so many vegetarians, vegans, veggie dominant eaters etc – are so into meditation and such body-centered practices such as yoga, and Tai chi, etc.

Because all these practices have worked for millenia with millions upon billions of people throughout history who have had mainly a vegetarian or very light on meat diet. Basically the majority of Asia.

  • Hinduism (yoga) predates Christianity by 2000 years –  Primarily practiced in India
  • Taoism (tai-chi) – 55o years prior to Christianity. – Primarily practiced in China
  • Buddhism (6th century BC) incorporates meditation as well. India and numerous other Asian countries, including Japan. For body practices in these regions – you have Yoga again – you don’t have to be hindu to practice it; and in Japan – martial arts are a long-standing tradition.

(Spoiler Alert – Political – skip following paragraph in parentheses if you can’t stomach mixing self-help stuff and spirituality with politics —-

If you study ancient Eastern History before Christ came along – THOSE people were PRODUCTIVE!  But with our Western cultural bias … it is the BIG DUMB DOWN in the U.S. educational system, in particular, about the greatness of the East and how much these cultures brought to the world.  And seriously – look it up! – There is a REASON, India and China are taking off  seemingly miraculously— they had it inherent in their traditional culture all along … it has been in their genetics since forever – it isn’t just the Western money and jobs. )

Anyhoo – back to body/mind practice tandem of meditation and eastern body practices ….

Meditation clears a busy and energetic mind and I DEFINITELY suffer if I don’t incorporate it into my life.

 And with yoga … it chills me the F out!

Why cat yoga classes don't work

So long story short – since the start of this year, with a mini yoga routine – maybe 15 min to a half hour – my own routine at home,  I figured out for myself after practicing always in classes.  And a mini meditation routine, that takes as little as 12 minutes – I am able to clear my mind of the millions of thoughts that come through my sometimes manic mind … high speed/high volume ALL the time channel!

Concentration without meds blog 2
Meditation teaches you how to say – STAY to your Mind, with your Mind – in the most compassionate and accepting way possible. Who knew? Only billions of people throughout history. A bunch of somebodies weren’t paying attention …. ooooh!

Yes, I did a lot of spiritual inquiry, etc  for years prior to this … BUT, I had so much resistance to incorporating these practices into a daily routine .. that I didn’t consistently incorporate the practices to start seeing the real benefit … Also I thought it had to be harder … an hour of meditation every day and an hour of yoga everyday.  Ugh that just made me tired.  So I made it easier for myself, except for the fact that I insisted that it be a daily practice – until it became a habit that I didn’t want to break … and if I did, I started FEELING the loss and witnessing myself lose my progress!

A couple of Tips that could work for me, others and possibly you –

  • The best combo for me, and others I have spoken to …is Yoga first and Meditation second.  And it can be any time of the day that works for you — but the effects are the most dramatic — and needed when you are feeling the craziest.
  • I would advise yoga and meditation as separate practices if you are having crazy-times, lack of concentration, stress, etc – throughout the day.
  • You could do a mini meditation on your way to or from work on public transpo.
  • And a mini yoga break during lunch … find a park, find an empty office … whatever ….
  • If anybody gives me a shout out of interest in the comments, I will eventually reference this post in the future to give details with actual photos showing precious details etc about my routines.  Silent viewers …. um – I can’t read your minds.

Concentration without meds blog

Life is fucking difficult – but there are easy ways to make it less so!

*Um … ONE thing – I know  the above is a blanket statement.  If you follow my blog, you will see me mention some brilliant life coaches and wise people that give great free/low-cost advice and low cost programs where anybody, including myself ON an extreme budget have gotten great value.  YET, the trend is to charge lots of money for advice … if those people have low cost programs for EVERYBODY not just the millionaires that can pay their outrageous one-to-one fees then I trust them.  Otherwise — I don’t care what certification, degree, etc.  If they haven’t actually LIVED it out in the real world?  What is a book gonna tell them?  And at the end of the day, I have received my best, most accurate, heart-felt advice from certain wise friends and family members my whole life. And it never cost me anything, except a bit of pride twinging every now and then, which was good for my character. 

*

A Love Letter to those Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

This morning – I visited Quora, which is a crowd-source forum for asking and answering questions of ALL kind. And this was the question anonymous asked me, as well as a few other individuals to answer –

I have been recently diagnosed as bipolar after an intense manic episode. Do things get better? Is there such a thing as going back to normal?

       This question tore at my heart. And I started writing and writing, because I have had over 16 years of experience answering this question for myself over and over.  And the words kept flowing from my fingertips till it got to the point that the length of my post crashed the editing software of Quora …and it evolved into the following blog.

Spoiler Alert – I don’t Agree with the Consensus –

Let me say something ENTIRELY controversial that is written from –

  1. 41 years of experiencing symptoms and 15 years of being diagnosed as bi-polar
  2. A Heartfelt place – unlike the Doctors, Family, Friends, or anyone else NOT experiencing Bi-polar symptoms, I know where you are coming from – and it is a dark and desperate place
  3. The knowledge that I will probably get more grief than grace from writing this – hence I have very little to gain from the time and effort I took to write this.  The best worst-case scenario, is that no-one will pay attention to the “mad” lady in the corner, that being me.  I say Mad, but I have MADE it work for me : )

If you do not believe in Practical miracles then move on to reading elsewhere – this isn’t for you.  No sense frustrating yourself. 

       I am 51 now, and have been living a good life off of meds since 35.  Meds were NEVER the answer to my Bi-polar.  Am I 1 or 2?  Well, I was diagnosed with Bi-polar 1 at age 35.  I was on a short stint of meds, and things got WORSE, and I was only taking Lamictal.  In fact that was the first and last medication I ever took.  And the few months I was on it were what led me to my first manic-breakdown. Because it was so alien to my previous experience, I believe was a drug-induced breakdown.  So was I upgraded to Bi-polar 2?  I didn’t hang out in the psychiatrist’s office long enough to find out.  I did NOT take the proffered cocktail of lithium, etc.

       First assumption that may come to your mind is – Well, of COURSE, you must have been misdiagnosed.  Possibly, but since age 10 to my 40’s I had depressive spells, interspersed with hypo-mania steadily throughout my life. I had the same sort of experience that other rapid-cycling Bi-polar folks have when they were on the depressive side of the spectrum, and my psychiatrist agreed.  In addition to my experience, my father also had extreme mood swings, and his life was for the most part, was out of control. The difference between him and myself, and as it turns out, many other Bi-polar folks, is that I have never really took to drinking or drugs.  It isn’t from a moral standpoint that I have had this perspective, but rather from the awareness that I thought to myself –

 “HOLY MOLY my system is erratic, adding uncontrolled substances, including prescription meds, is like adding a bull to a china shop in an earthquake. “

       So I made the challenging choice to find ways to manage my symptoms, whether they were truly Bi-polar or not.  You can read my story of coming to this decision here:
Sharing my Experience – Refusing the Victim Paradigm in Mental Health
But since making that decision – to stay off meds, and accept that I would have to take responsibility for managing my mood-shifts, no matter what:   I have never, for a moment, regretted my decision.  

       HOW did I do this? Well, it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.  Because today, I can say that I am probably happier (and no, not from manic Euphoria) but truly happier/content/at peace than most people, whether they are considered “normal” or not.  I will let you in on an observable in the world secret, you know those SUPER-PRODUCTIVE, CREATIVE people you see all over the internet, the way they approach life is uniquely passionate and intense.  And whether they have been diagnosed with bi-polar or not, their productivity, passion, intensity – is extreme. And it is difficult to imagine that all of that creative energy doesn’t come with extreme mood swings … or as I like to neutrally call it energy swings.

       Like Jason da Silva, for instance —    Existential Bummer  He is a great thinker/creator/performer that has a manic sort of intensity to the way he approaches life.  And he has mentioned in interviews, a tendency to get depressed as well.  When I see these passionate individuals in the world living their lives successfully – I have to wonder –

 What if there are thousands of other people out there who have the same mood/energy extremes but have found a way to manage them successfully so that they never had to set foot in a psychiatrist’s office?  Or at the very least, don’t rely on medication to navigate through their lives successfully.

I know I am one of those people who has found a multitude of ways of managing my energy, but I didn’t escape from being diagnosed as bi-polar .  The first 5 years following my decision to never rely on prescription medication EVER AGAIN, I had to figure out how to manage my depressive spells.  And this wasn’t a walk in the park.  Trying to convince a desperately depressed brain NOT to kill itself, along with the rest of my body was not a fun-filled task, but it WAS a compelling one.  And I succeeded many times to tell the tale.  I went head-first into the school of hardknocks.  But, knowing what I know now, I could have shortened the time dramatically to possibly a year or less.

       These last couple of years the challenge has been more of how to reign myself from reeling toward the manic edge of the spectrum.  And I will tell you, that I THANK GOD, I have never been one to drink or drug.  Because if I am ever feeling particularly – high energy, to the point of wanting to zing around mindlessly in the world –  the absolute LAST thing I should do is take any sort of substance that gives me more physical, emotional, or mental energy.  I am not saying I have never “done” anything, or “do” anything.  This is not the case.  What I am saying is that “doing” things has not, nor ever will be a big-time feature in my life. I prefer to have a certain amount of control over my being, and there is so much random excitement that I can take in a lifetime. I even get a big high, just from caffeine, for instance, so I have to be wary of all types of stimulants.

       After dealing with decades of extreme UPS and DOWNS, I understand the subtleties of my energetic experience.  I recognize now, that since I am feeling particularly buzzy due to writing about a subject that is a part of my passionate existence. I can literally feel the energy buzzing in my arms.  Now, if I keep writing at this pace, for more than a few hours, the energy will probably dissipate.  But if I am feeling uncomfortably buzzy I will use one of my basic strategies for calming down that energy:

Recipe for Grounding High Energy
  1. Prepare a grounding meal of oatmeal/nuts/seeds on the stove or in the microwave and eat with dairy milk, nutmilk, or juice.
  2. Eat slowly, concentrating on the tastes and textures.  Chew each bite thoroughly.
  3. Listen to calming music if this helpful.
  4. Clean bowl and spoon, and any mess you might have made preparing food.
  5. Read from an inspirational source or meditate.
  6. Do a short yoga flow. I have developed one that can take as little as 15 minutes.
  7. If I didn’t meditate prior to yoga – I do 12 minutes of meditation while listening to soothing music.
  8. All of this probably taking an hour.  This will bring me to a strong but calm state.  But while I am writing, I am taking full advantage of this high energy, it is serving me well in this particular activity : )
       Over the years, I have developed all sorts of strategies for dealing with extreme energetic states, as well as deftly shifting into calmer states.  If you have ever cared for young children, this is a skill something that many mothers/caregivers do naturally and instinctively.  Look at kids, they are all over the map emotionally.  One moment they are screaming that they can’t have a particular toy, and the next they have calmed down and drinking something in their sippy cup.  And the next moment they may be bouncing around uncontrollably with joy.  There is no doubt, children act like miniturized text-book cases of bipolar. And some in the medical establishment seem to agree and have come to the tragic conclusion of diagnosing children as young as three with bipolar.  ARGH!!!!

       What if Bi-polar adults are the people who never learned how to handle their extreme emotions while growing up?  ‘
What if somehow their childhoods/lives were so chaotic; or their diets were so unhealthy; or their thinking patterns became so destructive – that they didn’t have a moment of peace  in order  calm down enough to figure out strategies for balancing their emotions?  The reality is, most children are little dramatic divas, prone to crazy mood swings. But at some point, most kids chill out naturally.  So, how did this happen?  This is the kind of question that the medical establishment would be asking, if they actually believed in a CURE for bi-polar.  But instead, the medical establishment is content to believe that Bipolar is either incurable or unmanageable ….. outside of people signing up for a lifetime of expensive prescription medications and costly therapy.  Hmmm ….

       I am capable of experiencing extreme ups and downs – but I decided years ago, that it is my job to figure out how to manage my experience.  It isn’t up to a doctor or a therapist or my family or my friends how to live my life. It is up to me!  I have learned that dealing with my energetic experience is something that can be an adventure rather than a chore or a tragedy.  At first, it is like having your own built-in amusement park – full of roller-coasters and fun-houses and haunted houses – but you can expand that experience to include bucolic parks that go for miles and miles … however long you want.  And once your experience is under NEW MANAGEMENT, you can start tearing down those horror houses, and those death-defying thrill rides.

       If you really want to manage your experience without medication, you need to make a solid commitment to yourself – to make your life a quality life worth living, that ANYBODY would be proud of.  And then start figuring out what is out of balance.  And start from there.
  1. Typically for depressives – their energy is stagnant and they need to exercise and eat healthier.
  2. For people with manic issues – be mindful about your use of substances. They are NOT a way to manage your moods responsibly. Notice when you get over-stimulated.  Start to implement practices that can ground you and calm your body – yoga, tai-chi, martial arts, hiking … are good for this.
  3. In both cases meditation, cognitive therapy, NLP, etc – are good for addressing unhealthy thinking patterns, that can push energy states into a depressive or manic state.
  4. There are tons of natural supplements that help to either energize or calm your system … get to googling!
  5. Self-calming techniques such as deep-breathing practices, praying, quiet time in nature, swimming, taking a bath/shower, petting your pets … are all good strategies for crisis moments.
  6. And you know what, between the internet and the library ALL of this information is available to the majority of you that take time to read this – for free!
       Maybe this seems like woo-woo, fantastical, BS to you.  And if it does, you aren’t ready for this type of wellness approach.  Stick with your meds and doctors.  But if you ARE wanting to live a life of self-empowerment free of medication and a lifetime of being a victim of your energetic extremes … then open your eyes to what things are unbalanced in your self and your environment.  Remember YOU are the one living your life! Not your doctors, parents, family, friends, or anyone else.  Listen to the truth that resonates in your heart!

       But be aware that by not going down the path of consensus means taking up the challenge of discovering how to live a quality life from inside-out.  And it also means giving yourself the permission to take care of yourself by increasing your awareness of your triggers, your states of energy balance and imbalance; and learning how to manage these energies.  Lastly it means learning to be strong enough to go against the tide of the “well-meaning” folks who are not, and never will be living your life.  This may include: doctors, family members, friends, other bi-polar folks, general opinion.

       Join the rest of the human race! Figuring out how to be “happy” in a world that can make us all extremely unhappy  is what everyone is doing these days – not just the “mentally ill.”

Online Epiphanies – Deconstructing the Modern Dating Scene

About a year ago, after over a decade of being “basically single” I started online dating.  I gave it a couple of weeks, before I was reminded that –

I hate online dating with a PASSION!

It is so artificial and contrived and sets people up for an abnormal amount of failure. People start out with the premise that if this or that person doesn’t turn out to be the ONE, the whole experiment is a failure. But seriously, how can you assume a person is worthy of being the ONE unless you are both willing to be friends first? Online dating doesn’t really allow for this option, because if two individuals are online for the GOAL of either hooking up or finding the ONE – then acquiring another platonic buddy is …. oh no, not again!

online-dating-stats

But when you look at relationships, our personal relationships from romantic, to familial, to platonic – often the healthiest, most mutually accepting, enduring, and growth filled relationships are those we have with our friends.  So WHY on earth – do we devalue friendship to the degree we do?  I don’t know.  But I do know that this belief is what is probably the fundamental reason why so many Americans are emotionally unbalanced, with an epidemic growth in rates of depression.  They lack the support of true friendship in their daily lives, because somewhere along the way they didn’t prioritize the pursuit and/or maintainence of important friendships.

So what does this have to do with dating in the modern age?

Friendship, I believe, is the gateway relationship, to a significant romantic relationship.  If one can’t maintain a healthy friendship with a potential partner, and vice versa – there is no point going for anything beyond this.  Starting the other way around – knocking boots before you are knocking mugs in a toast to your friendship – creates relationships that are based upon fantasy, rather than upon the foundation of TRULY knowing a person cares for you whether they are getting the goodies under-cover or not.

This is vitally important for women, because they essentially need to feel “safe” with men.  We don’t want to be on the other end of a “hump-and-dump.”  Women are biologically primed to bond with whomever they have sex.  The hormone oxytocin – often called the bonding hormone is pumped through our system as soon as things get hot and heavy.  And before we know it, the guy we are bedding with, whether he is the president or a psychopath, we are bonded to via biochemistry. This is why strong independent women who are on the top of their game everywhere else in their life, can turn to useless mush when it comes to their abusive partner.

Manshit
Manshit

We are, ladies – addicted to love – at this point.  And because of this predeliction to get “hooked” on the guys we sleep with … we need to put on the brakes on the way to the bedroom.  And we need to honor ourselves and the potential relationship, and try out friendship first.

For nearly 15 years now, I have been cultivating the practice of making friendships with men.  And the surprising result is that even though no I have not found the ONE in this time — with every year I feel more and more loved, by myself and by the people in my life, many of them dear men.

I also have come to terms with the reality that the main reason I have been out of a traditional relationship for so long, is that I have chosen to be. Not out of neuroses or fear, but out of the realization that I REALLY want to be the person I LOVE the most before I bring a partner into the picture. And as the years go on, and I become happier with who I am, I also noticed that I am attracted to fewer and fewer men. While on the one hand, my general understanding and compassion for men has grown exponentially, I LOVE MEN … let me shout it from the rooftops!!! On the other hand, I realize that — I am so content with how I am single, that it would take a very special, uniquely tailored to complement me – guy to be able to offer an equivalent but different kind of happiness in partnership. So it has become a treasure hunt … a journey of discovery … but I am not really looking. I am just putting myself out in the world, and if someone comes along fine, and if not fine. Over the years, I have developed beautiful friendships with a number of men, and much of what I had yearned for in male companionship, has been provided in these friendships. I believe we all have to be patient with ourselves and each other … and understand that loving our lives starts NOW, not when and if we find a romantic partner.

Make your Perfectionism Weep for Mercy! – Strategies for Stopping this Mindfuck in its tracks!

I was recently thinking about starting a collection of “mindfucks” ( pardon my French, but in this case the F word is entirely appropriate)  that we humans do to ourselves and start creating logical quick-response strategies for dismantling them and thereby empowering ourselves to get out of our own way when we are making positive changes in our life.

I am starting with – Perfectionism
which is one of the favorite MFs of intelligent people.

I say “intelligent” people because I have yet to have witnessed a stupid person that restricts themselves from doing things because they are afraid they will do it badly.  Why? Because stupid people do one of two things –

  1. Ignorantly imagine that everything they do is the right thing to do, no matter what.  Consider this – Do you think Donald Trump is a perfectionist? Sure, he may have high standards for OTHER people, but no one sets lower standards for their own behavior than the King of Bad Hair.
  2. Don’t care whether they do things well or not.

So Perfectionism remains in the realm of people who are intelligent enough to actually care about the quality of their work and how that work reflects their personal brand as a human being.

So if you find yourself being a victim of Perfectionism, take comfort at least, that you are in the company of millions of very intelligent people who are also in the habit of doing something cognitively idiotic with their brains!

WHAT?  Intelligent people, being stupid, how is this possible?

Well, even intelligent people have fears, and those fears come from our amygdala – which sends out alarm bells to the Hippocampus-  “Our Human is doing something NEW and DIFFERENT and UNFAMILIAR!  Do Something quick before we are caught in a NEW and DIFFERENT SITUATION where we have NO IDEA what to do next! Do whatever you can to STOP them, I don’t CARE HOW YOU DO IT – STOP THEM from venturing any further from OUR comfort zone!!!!!

This is the way we control our own brains so that we avoid doing things that our brain is fearful of – which is basically any sort of striving out of our comfort zone – which is more often than not BETTER for us than staying put in putt-putt no-go-ville, not doing much to change ourselves.

The reality is Perfectionism is an ENTIRELY imaginary construct and is ENTIRELY relative.  One person’s perfection is another person’s flop and vice versa.  I have seen time and time again, that my idea of Perfection was tyrannical and impossible to reach for the very reason that my BRAIN was doing EVERYTHING in its power to throw cognitive roadblocks to prevent me from taking on life challenges that made it fearful.

If you recognize the tendency for your brain to throw up cognitive alarm-bells NO MATTER WHAT KIND of CHANGE you want in your life, including the Perfectionism Paranoia … then you will be able to blast past your cognitive roadblocks.

Next time you have a Perfectionism attack – question yourself – Does this Perfectionism Paranoia serve my highest good, my striving to evolve into a stronger healthier person in body, spirit and mind or does it keep me in the same boring, stifling and aggravating place of NO-GROWTH?

That goes for all fears – We should demand that each fear justify its existence in your psyche – if it can’t give a logical and verifiable reason for existing in our consciousness – then if our fears fail the tests, we need to inform them fears that we won’t be needing their services any longer, and show them the door OUT of our psyche. Be forewarned they will put up a helluvah fight, so you may have to argue with them IN YOUR BRAIN for a moment or two.

Just because our brain THINKS a thing, doesn’t mean that thought is correct 

I wish this was taught in schools, but then if people were handed this truth in school, there would be no stopping them questioning authority, God Forbid!

The ability to discern what are productive and unproductive ideas, only comes with regular practice of discernment and judgement – not something that many people practice or know how to do.  Hence all sorts of stupidity goes prancing around the world as information or knowledge.

I am looking forward to using my Mental Jujitsu against Perfectionism Paranoia let me know if you have any luck with battling your Perfectionism Paranoia with this approach!

Sharing my Experience – Refusing the Victim Paradigm in Mental Health

These days, I have been contemplating my life own experience, from age 10 to my present age of 51, of being in and out of balance mentally and emotionally.  I have a complicated relationship with my own mental health.  A soundbite version of my “story” could be –

Woman struggles with chronic depression for 30 years.  She is misdiagnosed as Bi-polar II.  Gets worse on Medication. Radically changes her lifestyle to a health style. Cures herself.  She discovers in retrospect that her health challenges were tied to extreme hormonal imbalance.

There is a mental health crisis in this nation –

– because so many people need assistance concerning mental/emotional health problems and they are not receiving any guidance or care addressing their suffering.The mainstream wisdom says in order to solve this crisis there needs to be an increase in funding of the traditional methods of care made accessible to people of all incomes.  But I would say, before we start throwing money toward hiring more psychiatrists, and setting up more clinics offering traditional mental health care, perhaps we should consider other options of care.  We need a health care system that addresses how to maintain a WHOLE health system, where the body, mind, heart is maintained at optimum levels.

Ironically, it is my lack of access to low-cost mental health clinics that led me to my ultimate freedom from mood disorder symptoms.  Why?  Because if I had been diagnosed as a teenager, I most likely would have received a diagnosis and subsequent treatment for Depression then later Bipolar II, and that would be the end of my story. It is generally believed that Bipolar Disorder is INCURABLE.  And the mainstream approach to treating it is to be continually prescribed different “cocktails” of medications.

What is a “cocktail”?
It is an unspecified quantity and assortment of a s**t-load of drugs to be taken daily for an indeterminate amount of time

Here is what  the author Marya Hornbacher who was first diagnosed as Bi-polar 2 and then later as Bi-polar 1 – wrote in memoir Madness: A Bipolar Life .  In this scene she is in her mid 20’s, and has been institutionalized for a manic breakdown, her psychiatrist informs her of the future a Bipolar individual can expect.

Dr. Lentz tells me that once I’ve had a major manic break, I’m likely to have one again, and the more I have, the more I will have.  He tells me the bipolar has already progressed quite a ways.  No, it’s not going to go away. No there’s no cure.  Yes, you’ll always have to take the meds.  Yes, always. Yes.

Now I am crying.  What will happen to me? I ask.

He raises his eyebrows and shrugs.  That depends, he says. It’s up to you.  You can treat the illness and you can arrest the progression, and your outcome will be better. It’s possible, though, unlikely, that  you’ll never have another complete break.  You’ll have fewer of them, though, if you are vigilant with your medication, and if you start living in a much healthier manner than you are right now…. You’ve got to stop trying to do everything, you’ve got to learn how to rest. You’ve got to get some balance in your life.

I don’t know about you, but that gives me effing chills.  Marya is 6 years younger than me, and about five years later I too, was diagnosed with Bipolar 2.  The difference is that I partnered in this diagnosis with my psychiatrist.  I had been suffering for years with extreme depression interspersed with hypomanic periods which allowed me to accomplish whatever I let slide during my blue periods.  I didn’t associate them with my menstrual cycles, which they were hormonally tied to because I wasn’t asking the right questions.   And my lack of health insurance, had me missing years of gynecological check-ups in a row.

But in my own way I was taking ownership of my mood disorder via self-help books – learning everything I could about managing my depression via psychological methods, spiritual practices, as well as diet and exercise.  I was always skeptical about getting on medication, so I only considered it as a last resort.  My skepticism grew out of the knowledge that I knew my body was essentially very healthy, so why did I want to put toxic substances in it forever, that could potentially harm my body, for a condition that wasn’t permanent.  I knew I had regular periods of calm/normal moods and periods of high-functioning hypo-mania.  It seemed illogical for me, therefore to follow a permanent prescription for a condition that wasn’t permanent.  I think this is why, many people with mood-disorders drink and take illicit drugs.  They are self-medicating as needed, rather than signing up for a life-sentence prescription.

I, on the other hand, knew intuitively that illegal drugs and drinking were not solutions to my problem, and could make things worse.  Oddly, Marya, and other authors who have written similar mental health memoirs are typically alcoholics or drug addicts at some point in their life.  For me, I knew that my mind could be wild and unpredictable, so I really valued control of my consciousness.  And the last thing that I savored was adding substances to my system which guaranteed that I would lose control.  It just seemed reckless and stupid, and also scary.  On the infrequent times I “indulged” it was always only to the point that I knew I could still maintain some reasonable control over my body, mind, and particularly emotions. I was hyper-sensitive how any substance affecting my mental and emotional performance. Even caffeine, I recognize can give me a “high” that seems almost medicinal in strength, so I approach coffee like an “upper” taken as needed, more than as a daily regimen.

So, at age 35, having managed my mood disorder for 25 years, I was reaching a critical mass of despair which would have sent even “normal” folks over the edge:

  • Living in Post 9-11 Manhattan
  • Recently fired from a job – first time in life
  • On the verge of bankruptcy
  • Single and still suffering from the failure of a marriage – 1-year anniversary of divorce
  • Lacking a plan for my future
  • Family, thousands of miles away

During this period, I came across Lynn Redfield Jamieson’s An Unquiet Mind.  Like Marya, she too had a drinking problem, but her story and her mood disorder symptoms were so resonant with my experience that I set up an appointment with a psychiatrist.  And in discussing my case history, and the fact that my father had similar mood disorders, undiagnosed as well, that my psychiatrist was convinced that yes, Bi-Polar 2 was a reasonable diagnosis.  From that point on – for about 4 months, I took Lamictal.  But I didn’t really notice any improvement or change until I started speeding up into a psychotic drug-induced break.  I say drug-induced because I had never in my life experienced the lack of control of my mind, as I did during that period.  It felt entirely unnatural and alien.  During my depression – I felt despairing, but my brain still worked.  I knew how to do things. I just didn’t want to do them.  During my high-energy (hypo-mania) periods, I was super competent.  Sometimes I felt edgy and nervous, but I was fully capable of accomplishing things.  This drug-induced break was my brain truly malfunctioning in a way that was entirely unique.  The closest experience I could match it to was the way it might feel if I drank too much or took an illegal substance that entirely disabled my ability to reason or plan, or to think something through.  My brain felt broken.

I remember the afternoon this happened, I felt this inner rumbling of panic.  I had my journal in my hand, and my mind was racing, and I started to write down –

I am going crazy. I am going crazy.

And as I wrote this sentence repeatedly in my journal, I saw my lettering become more dramatic and erratic, transforming from my well-considered curlicue feminine script into this sweeping spiky and jagged scribble-scrabble raging across the page.  I knew the only thing I could do was call my mother.  She was at work in California, and her grown daughter was telling her –

Ma, I need help I am going crazy.
No, dear, you will be fine.
No, Ma, I won’t.  I can see myself losing it.  And this is something that has NEVER happened before!
What’s wrong?  What can I do?
I don’t know what you can do.  I don’t know what I can do.  I don’t know if I can do ANYTHING to stop it. I just need you to know I am losing it.  I am losing it, and I am so scared.  I just needed to hear your voice.

My mother knew that I had my depressions, but she also knew that I was essentially a responsible person.  This was the first time in all of my 35 years of life that I had made a call where I stated I was going crazy.  It was so out of my character, that she flew from California to New York within hours of that call.  And she nursed me back to sanity in the following weeks.

When I shared this story with my cousin Lewis who, has since passed, he told me it sounded like I had a stroke.  He had suffered a stroke a year prior, at 49.  I had never considered that.  And it is possible that the combination of my hormonal imbalance with the Lamictal could have short-circuited my brain in such a way that I suffered something equivalent to a stroke.  But without this hormonal imbalance/Lamictal combo my stroke condition was a TOTAL anomaly, for I was in excellent health.  I was eating healthy, exercising for an average of 12 hours a week, and leading a calm lifestyle.

I literally lost the weeks following my psychotic break. And to this day, I am not sure whether it was 2 weeks or 6 weeks I lost.  It was as if my brain snapped, and I was left like a helpless rag doll, not quite sure how to function in life.  Time became meaningless, stretching outward ambiguously into space. The part of my brain that told me what to do and when to do it – the planner, was malfunctioning.  I remember getting up in the morning, and asking my mother which order I should get dressed.  Was it the socks, first?  Could she find something for me to wear?

I didn’t know how to get dressed.  I didn’t know what I supposed to do with the day.

I had stopped taking the medication, cold-turkey, without even knowing what the side-effects of withdrawal might be.  And I told my mother, that at some point, we needed to visit with the Doctor and tell him what had happened. This appointment occurred toward the end of my convalescence when I was fairly confident that I could argue that this medication was harmful to me.  My psychiatrist’s response was to give me a prescription “cocktail” of Xanax, and lithium and a sleeping pill.  He advised that I take the Xanax first and I did, there in the office. Within a half hour after the visit, I was acting like a wild woman – one second I was weeping, the other I was raging, another I was running down the street in my bare feet, then returning to my mother in a panic weeping that I didn’t know what was wrong with me and that it was the drug that was making me so crazy.

After that crazy spell, I told her, NEVER AGAIN, would I take another prescription drug for my mental health

Because I would rather deal with the devil I knew – my depression, than the devil I didn’t, the random and terrifying experiential side effects of prescription medication.

Personally, I don’t know how millions of men and women literally give up their psyche to the management and control of strangers, who literally have NO CLUE as to how these drugs will actually work or malfunction in their bodies.  Recently I came upon this article  – Hormonal Imbalance, not Bipolar disorder where Dr. Jory F. Goodman states that he has come across patient after patient, both women and men who had been misdiagnosed with Bipolar disorder. He found that these patients actually suffered from an extreme imbalance of hormones.  And that once he was able to help these patients balance their hormones, their symptoms DISAPPEARED.

Life sentence of Bipolar Disorder Presto-Chango GONE!

Another Doctor, Sarah Gottfried, writes extensively on the significance of balancing hormones, and how to do so in order to restore women’s bodies to optimum health in her wonderful book The Hormone Cure .

Now mind you, I read this material in retrospect, after I figured out how to create a balanced lifestyle that worked for me. And it was Lynn Redfield Jamieson’s book that headed me toward the direction of balance.  Balance became my life riddle.  I started to see myself as a system out of balance – that there was too much despair that was weighing my existence down.  And I made it my mission to create that balance, so that the energies of dark and light would settle into a more predictable and productive hum within me.  Had I known that it was my hormonal system that was out of wack, and that it would only take some simple supplement additions to my diet and starting a regular exercise regime to manage the bulk of the imbalance on a PERMANENT basis, I could have save myself 30 years of suffering.

Yet, I am still grateful!

I had the faith in the little voice inside me that believed that the solution to my suffering was NOT offering myself up as a medical victim sacrifice to a lifetime of Psychiatric care.  I wouldn’t have to suffer the willful ignorance of a profession that finds it easier to just hand out prescriptions than ACTUALLY find a cure to mood disorders that they have diagnosed with a mental disease that is a LIFE SENTENCE and INCURABLE.  Once someone is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia, both of which have symptoms which can be explained by extreme hormonal imbalance – the medical practitioners who “care” for them are off the hook for EVER curing them.  The psychiatrists then become pill-dispensers, incurious about WHY these people are actually suffering.

There are millions of women and men out there, who will never know the true freedom of a future

  • that is free of their own fears of personal mental and mood dysfunction,
  • that is free of the medical side effects that poison their bodies and further disorient their consciousness.

They are simply branded as mentally ill, with no second chance at a life of normal.

And this is the Best that our traditional mental health care system has to offer us.