Category Archives: writing

Running In Place

My bipolar disorder causes me to experience something called racing thoughts.  Actually, racing doesn’t even begin to define what my brain is doing every waking moment of every day of my life.  Even when I say I’m going to lie down for a bit and rest or take a nap my mind is still racing.  I have racing thoughts while I’m showering, while I’m cleaning, when I’m feeding the dogs even when I’m talking on the phone.  My mind and thoughts are always racing and it gets to be pretty damned exhausting.

My racing thoughts make it hard for me to complete tasks despite how sincere my intentions are to finish them.  I can’t even begin to count the number of projects and personal commitments I have on my plate right now that are only half done because of my racing thoughts.  It doesn’t help that there are some things that I must do every day no matter what; record blood glucose readings, record what I eat, complete DBT diary cards, take my medication, I could go on but that’s enough to get an idea of what my day is like and to see how all of this contributes to my racing thought issues.  Just having to do these things daily is enough to send me into a tailspin of racing thoughts and it would seem that this would be enough for me but it never is.  In addition to the things I do daily I am always taking on more and more tasks to do, sadly many of them go unfinished.   Right now I have a half-finished blanket I’ve crocheted, I have my first novel that I started editing sitting unfinished, without finishing my first novel I’ve already started on my second one, I’ve been working on a book of short stories that consists of two undone novellas, and so on and so on.  I really do want to finish all of these things unfortunately my racing thoughts and mind only let me get to a certain point and then it seems that I just run out of steam.

It’s funny; you would think that a racing mind would be conducive to finishing things but, quite the opposite.  My mind races so much and so often that when I try to do something the myriad of musings that bombard me constantly has me throwing up my hands in frustration rather than crossing the finish line over and over on a regular basis.  Sometimes I just sit looking around in a stupor because I don’t know where to begin trying to tame and satisfy the constant buzzing in my brain.  Now everyone gets a little overwhelmed from time to time having things to do but nothing compares to true racing thoughts.  I have even tried using daily planners, hourly planners and setting alarms on my cell phone to try and make some sense and put some order to my racing thoughts but, often, this tends to have the opposite effect.  I get so worked up trying to stay on task or being on edge knowing that one of my many alarms may be going off at any moment that I find myself abandoning one thing after another out of sheer anxiety.  This just makes my racing thoughts move that much faster.

Racing thoughts are frustrating to me because they make me that much more distracted in general.  Already battling against myself to stay focused, racing thoughts make staying on point a Herculean task.  I have a hard time watching a movie or television program, reading, writing, holding a conversation to name only a few things that my racing thoughts interfere with.  Life is hard enough with all that we are told to like, buy, do, see, acquire, listen to and such but pair this with chronic racing thoughts and the world is a rambling chasm of constant overstimulation.  A lot of the time I wish I could just put my hands over my ears and close my eyes and make it all go away, unfortunately that wouldn’t help to calm my racing mind.  I’ve only found a couple of things to help me with this; medication and working on mindfulness.

Since I take medication for my bipolar disorder I already have a tool available to me to help quell my racing mind.  Another tool that I’ve learned I can have at my disposal, if I work at it, is mindfulness.  Mindfulness includes a lot of different things such as meditation, focusing on the moment, experiencing my feelings without judgement and, most importantly, working with one thought at a time.  This is not something that is a quick fix; I have to constantly work on being mindful so that I can gain some sort of control over my racing thoughts.  Under my breath I’m constantly telling myself to focus, sit still, do one thing at a time, finish this first, stop moving around and the list goes on.  At this moment, I’m trying to write, listen to a program on the National Geographic channel, absorb the smell coming from a fragrant candle, get ready for a visit from a longtime friend, drink a cup of hot chocolate and watch the birds eating bread outside my window; all this going on as a result of my racing thoughts.  Needless to say my focus level is on the negative side right now but I’m pushing on ahead like I do all the time.

It has taken me a matter of hours to write a measly thousand words all because of my racing thoughts and what they do to me.  Popping up and down like a jack-in-the-box and moving from one thing to another several times over these few hours has made getting this done pretty hard.  Though my goal the whole time was to complete this I’ve been unable to just sit in one place and work from start to finish.  Now that I can look back and see the progress I’m capable of it lets me see that even with this handicap I’m still quite a peach!

 

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Perseverance in Doubt

All of a sudden, out of the blue, as a seriously messed up thing I woke up with no desire to write or create.  Really, I woke up yesterday morning and it was like a horrible grey cloud had descended upon me taking all of my artistic vibes and creative juices with it.  I have to admit that more than being frustrated, I was afraid.  For a moment I was scared to death that who I am at the core was fading away.  I thought to myself, this can’t be happening to me, I’m an artist.  I was absolutely distraught and beside myself the entire day well into the night.

At around 10:15PM I was still thinking about my plight and it hit me; WRITE.  Yes, I didn’t feel like writing and it finally hit me that this was the exact opportunity to write.  As I sat watching ‘Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip’ trying to figure out what I had a taste for as a late-night snack, I found my inspiration.  As I wrote I tried to figure out the reason for not wanting to write or do anything creative.  The first thought I had was that my bipolar disorder was getting ready to take me down into a bit of a depression.  I did a quick self-evaluation and realized that my bipolar disorder had nothing to do with it.  As much as I wanted to be able to blame my slump on something, I couldn’t blame it on my mental illness.

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Well, crap, I thought, what the hell is the problem?  I still couldn’t figure it out.  I’d write then pause, write then pause, write then pause; I did this for nearly an hour.  Then it hit me.  My drive hadn’t gone anywhere, I’d just overwhelmed myself.  I realized that I had been overthinking the Blogging 101 assignment for day four as to a target audience for my blog.  I’d never thought about a specific target audience for my blog.  I write because that’s what I do and I enjoy sharing my life and my art and poetry with other people.  Now I may target a specific audience based on a certain blog post but I just consider my target audience anyone who likes poetry, short stories, relating to my struggles with bipolar disorder and the like.

Something else that I realized in the brief time I thought I couldn’t write was that I have an issue with people judging me.  I was worried about what other people might think about me when I talked about my target audience or what they might think of what I do as a whole.  I had to get past this and not worry about what anyone may say about me or think about my blog.  I had to stand up for myself and realize that my blog is my blog and what I do should not be dictated based on what I think someone else might or might not think about it.  I had to realize that I can’t please everyone and if my blog or blog posts are liked by a certain audience; fine, if not that is also okay.  All I’m required to do is write and share.

Once I got around all of this self-doubt and apprehension I was able to go ahead and finish the assignment without a problem.  I’m proud of what came out of this hiccup and if my story helps someone else I’m happy.  If no one reads it that, too, is fine.  Whatever audience I touch through my art is a plus regardless of what audience it may be.  This is who I am and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

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