On The Beach

I probably should have chosen a better title for this post than “On the Beach.” because there is an excellent 1959 movie by that name, starring Gregory Peck. It’s about the residents of Australia who must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months due to radiation from a global nuclear war.

I decided to stick with the name because it best describes my favorite place to go in the mornings, which I’ve finally started to go more often. So shake your head and forget about the movie I just described and enjoy some pics I took from last weeks outings:

.Hermosa Beach
Of all the beaches in the Los Angeles South Bay, Hermosa Beach is my favorite. The people are all extremely friendly and while most of the homes are elegant, they’re not monstrous mansions or tall apartment buildings that you’ll find at nearby beaches.

Lifeguard station
6:45 a.m. I love the serenity that time of day.

Bradleys foot
I usually walk the paved strand that runs along the beach, but this week I’ve been walking along the surf and it’s a much better experience.

the beach and surf
Love the morning surf.

Bradley by pier
That’s me next to the pier

surfers
Not as many surfers out that day as there usually are.

Surfers memorial
This is a memorial dedicated to a legendary surfer. I’m sorry I can’t remember his name.

seaweed
Fortunately most of the beach isn’t this cluttered with seaweed, but there has been more this year than normal.

Malibu
Looking towards Pacific Palisades and Malibu.

weather report
What’s the weather today?

Hermosa
The town of Hermosa Beach. Taken from the end of the pier.

Good Stuff
My favorite restaurant. Great for people watching.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour. I love talking about the beach almost as much as I love being there.

Ten Days In Lockdown Part V – Throwback

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the fifth and final post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again. If you missed earlier posts, you can go back a few days ago to the first post, which was on May 23

Day seven of being in lockdown arrived and I was fully relaxed and ready to go home. Most of the friends I made had been released. Darryl was an exception. Darryl was from a family of Hollywood icons, but had been the black sheep of the family for most of his life due to his drinking, drug use and violent behavior. His parents came to the psych ward to meet with his doctor and to meet with him. The conversation didn’t go well and Darryl came out of the office yelling. His parents informed him that he was not welcome in their home and that the psychiatric staff had determined he could not leave and he was placed on a 30 day lockdown. He contacted his attorney who told him there was little or nothing he could do.

Fully prepared to leave I was once again called into the psychiatric office assuming I was being discharged. I was wrong. The doctor informed me that they could not release me until they had somewhere to release me to and they had not found a clinic yet that could take me as a client. I informed the doctor that I had been going to the different outpatient county clinics for months and none would admit me because I was too high functioning and they were understaffed. I told him that I didn’t think he was going to have any luck.

Day eight arrived and I met with my psychiatrist again. He informed me that they were going to continue to keep me because they still had not found an outpatient clinic for me. I basically said “I told you so,” and he said, “You know, we hear stories like this, but this is the first time I’ve experienced it. I never realized how hard it was for you guys out there.” I told him that I knew I was in trouble and that’s why I had been trying to get into a clinic for months to avoid the stay in the hospital. I was beginning to get depressed again. It felt as if I was being held hostage. Spending time with Darryl wasn’t helping. He could not let go of his anger and resentment.

It wasn’t until my tenth day that the doctor came back with good news. They had found a clinic for me and they were going to provide a cab to take me home. He handed me prescriptions for my medications and I thanked him, but told him the dollar bill in my wallet was all the money I had. He said he’d see what he could do and left. The extra time gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to Darryl.

Darryl was irreconcilable. I tried to convince him to accept his fate and just roll with it, but he refused. Knowing that I had been in the hotel business he promised me he was going to talk to the owner of the hotel where he lived and would get me a job there. Knowing that he was no longer welcome in most of the hotels in the Los Angeles area, I knew not to get my hopes up. We exchanged numbers and I promised we could get together and hang out as long as he was sober. He assured me that would not be a problem.

After a few hours my doctor came back with pills for me and told me I could go. I hugged Darryl goodbye and we promised again that we would stay in touch. I never saw him again. He called a few times and left messages, but he sounded drunk each time so I did not return his calls. A few years later I stumbled upon an article in the LA Times. He was found dead from an overdose while in a Chicago hotel room.. It took me awhile to get over feeling guilty for never calling him back.
lockdown
I was somewhat sad to leave, but overall ready to get back to my life again and jumped into the cab for my ride home. I had my appointment in hand for the outpatient clinic and couldn’t believe what I saw. The closest clinic they were able to secure for me was in the farthest part of the valley. The bus trip was going to take over two hours each way. I was upset but also grateful. It wasn’t ideal, but I had hope for the first time in a very long time and at

Ten Days In Lockdown Part IV – Throwback

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the fourth post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again. If you missed earlier posts, you can go back a few days ago to the first post, which was on May 23

It was my third day in lockdown in the psych ward and I was scheduled to leave. After breakfast, one of the doctors took me to a private room to talk. He told me that I was not ready to leave, and as he pushed a form and a pen towards me and said that I should extend my stay to seven days. I was stunned. My 72 hour lockdown was almost over and I was being asked to stay? I stared at the form and the doctor proceeded to tell me that I was not leaving whether I signed the form or not. I was not ready and they could not let me go. “If we force you to stay it’s complicated and there’s a lot of forms for us to fill out, so it’s just easier if you’ll go ahead and sign that you agree you should stay.” I continued to stare at the form and thought about all the time I wasted being on the wrong floor with no help to improve my mental health. I agreed I wasn’t ready and I signed the form.

Things were much different on the third floor. We could choose to just stay in our rooms the entire time, and there were many who did so, but most of us hung out together, went to life skills classes together, went to group counseling sessions together, and went to arts and crafts sessions together. My favorite time was when we were allowed to go outside in their highly secured recreation area. My roommate and I went to the basketball court each day to play H-O-R-S-E. Fortunately he sucked as bad at basketball as I did so I never had to be embarrassed. I was taking the medications they provided and I occasionly had private sessions with a psychiatrist, but not the same one each time. Those who were addicted to prescription medications continued to believe they were superior to those of us who’d been addicted to street drugs and a couple of them made sure that we understood that. Eventually it got the best of me and I had a heated argument with one of the other patients. Afterwards it became less of an issue, but I don’t think I changed any hearts and minds.

Lockdown 4In my downtime I would go to my room and color. Of course we weren’t given pencils or pens so all my artwork was made with crayons. One of the patients was an elderly actress who told me she loved frogs. She said she had frog figurines throughout her home so most of the pictures I made were frogs for her. She loved them and placed them throughout her room. She was old and cantankerous and I enjoyed every minute with her. She loved telling me about her acting career and I listened intently. We agreed to stay in touch so that I could go over to her home and watch her movies and then she transferred out of the hospital to go to the Betty Ford Clinic near Palm Springs. Sadly, we never met up again. Casting off friends has gotten to be a norm for me, and it’s something I’ve been working on.

Agreeing to stay the extra days was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had no appointments to worry about, I was fed three meals a day, I could sleep all day, color all day, chat all day…for that one week I didn’t have to think or worry about a thing. It’s one of the few times in my life where I felt truly at ease.

On my fifth day of lockdown I was called to one of the offices and there was an ocean of doctors there. I thought I had done something seriously wrong, but now I know they were all resident doctors in training. The doctor who called me in was friendly and joked around for a few minutes and then got right to business and said “What if I told you you’re going to be on medication for the rest of your life?” I responded that I had assumed that all along. He seemed relieved and proceeded to tell me that based on my family history, my personal history and their observations that I was a textbook case of a person who has chronic depression. I’d been diagnosed with depression twice before, but this was the first time I took it seriously. He also said “It’s critical that you continue with Alcoholics Anonymous to maintain your sobriety, but all the 12 stepping in the world is not going to relieve you of your depression because it is a chemical and biological condition.” Years later I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression.) It is not uncommon to be diagnosed with depression only to have it changed to bipolar later because a psychiatrist typically has to watch your mood and behavior over an extended period of time to diagnose BP, which is a luxury a hospital visit does not have. I was just two days from being released and despite my comfortable stay I was ready to go home.

Tomorrow’s article is the last of this week long series on my experience being in lockdown in the psychiatric ward.

Ten Days In Lockdown Part III – Throwback

lockdown 3

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the third post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again. If you missed earlier posts, you can go back a few days ago to the first post, which was on May 23

After a long nap on the second night of being in lockdown in the psych ward, I needed to get up and move around. I became like the rest of the zombies there and wandered the hallways wearing my hospital gown and a blank face. I did meet a tall drag queen who was reading people’s auras. I chose not to bother and sat near a young woman named Debbie instead. Debbie was also on 72 hour lockdown and she was angry. Very angry. Unlike me, she did not check herself in. She had been drunk the night before and tried to kill herself. She was telling me she was not there of her own free will and “they had no right to keep her.” She kept going to the nurse’s window and demanded to be let go or she was going to sue. I was able to calm her down and we ate dinner together on the couch. It was nice to have someone to talk with.

After dinner, as Debbie and I were chatting, an unscheduled show began. The drag queen and another patient named Scott were playing a game when the accusation of cheating came up. It got ugly and some of the other patients jumped in the middle to stop the fight. The nurses were running towards us all. Scott started shouting a lot of profanity at the drag queen and said, “Look at you. You’re disgusting. I bet you have a bigger dick than I do.” The drag queens response was priceless. She said “I’m sure I got a bigger one than you, Honey, but you see, I’m more of a man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get.” At this point Scott leaped towards her, but was stopped and dragged away never to be seen again. Debbie and I had a good laugh over the entire event and we were glad that Scott was gone. He was pretty scary. When I woke the next morning Debbie was gone. She was too volatile to be sent home so I was sure she was in the hospital somewhere, but I never found out where.

With nothing else to do, I did the zombie walk around the halls for a large portion of the morning. I was far too depressed to walk fast so I just slowly shuffled my feet up and down the halls. I had become one of them. I did not stand apart. I had become as emotionless as the other patients in the low functioning psych ward. As I was heading towards my room I saw my admitting doctor standing at the nurse’s window. He saw me and asked what I was still doing there. I explained that I’d asked about moving and kept being told there was nowhere else to go. He excused himself and went into the nurse’s office and began making calls. I was relieved. I wasn’t supposed to be on that floor after all. The problem wasn’t that I had been duped. The problem was I had been forgotten. I left the ward worse than I arrived.

Being moved from the seventh floor to the third floor was like being in a different world. It was bright and cheery. Beautiful blue carpeting in the halls, hardwood flooring in the rooms, and two fully stocked kitchens open 24 hours a day, and a laundry room. I had a beautiful room large enough for six people, but had only two beds. There were no zombies roaming the halls and the nurses were relaxed and friendly. Just like the seventh floor I was given a list of optional activities. These included group counseling sessions, art activities and outdoor time. OUTDOOR TIME!?!? Woo Hoo! We only got 45 minutes a day to go outside, but it was greatly appreciated. I learned that the third floor was the dual diagnosis floor for those who had some type of mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Though I’d been sober for six months, my doctor thought it was the best place for me.

It wasn’t long before I was relaxing in the living room getting to know some of the other patients when a doctor asked to speak with me privately. He was the first psychiatrist to see me since I was checked in to the hospital. He was a bit grouchy and very old, but I was relieved to finally get some help. We didn’t talk long, but before he left the room he asked me a silly question. He asked me if there are times I cry uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever and I, of course, said yes. He looked at me for what seemed like hours and then nodded his head and said, “Yes, that comes from feeling hopeless.” He then left the room before I had the chance to yell. “No shit, Doc!”

Before heading to bed I hung out awhile longer with the other patients and realized from conversation that there was snobbery in the room. It became obvious that those who were addicted to prescription drugs felt superior to those of us who were addicted to street drugs. I was put off by it, but I shrugged it off because my 72 hours would be over the next day and I’d be out of there. My roommate, Mitch, and I decided to call it a night and went to our room. Mitch did not get up in the middle of the night to find the voices and I had the best night sleep in days.

Tomorrow’s article begins with my third day in the psych ward. The day I was scheduled to leave.

Ten Days In Lockdown Part II – Throwback

lockdown 2

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the second post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again. If you missed earlier posts, you can go back to tomorrow for the first post.

In yesterday’s article I shared a day in which I was suicidal and the process before being admitted in lockdown in the psychiatric ward.

When I was admitted to the psych ward I was given the room closest to the exit doors, directly across from the nurse’s station. I presumed that was because I would be moved soon since my doctor said they’d be moving me to a different floor where I belonged once a room became available. When the nurse showed me my room, she provided a list of classes to attend and told me they were optional, but highly recommended. I moped for a bit, but, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to walk around the ward. It was just like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The walls were painted a very drab green and people (mostly men) were wearing hospital gowns and were either walking up and down the hallways or in circles. All of them had sad looking faces and dark lifeless eyes. The nurses were all wearing frowns.

There was a common area that offered a television, books and board games and it was busy, but seemed volatile. Those playing games were arguing and there were several allegations of cheating. The feeling I got was that most didn’t want to be alone, yet, they wanted to be left alone.

Then I stopped in my tracks. There was someone I knew. I didn’t know him that well. We were acquaintances more than friends, but socialized in the same circles. I always thought he was adorable looking and fun. I backed down from asking him out a couple of times. He was laying in his bed looking out his door and spotted me. He looked like all his life was sucked out of him and I became overwhelmed with sadness. We locked eyes to acknowledge each other’s existence and I turned to go back to my tiny room to get some sleep. I never saw him ever again.

When I got back to my room my roommate, Chuck, was there. He was very friendly and seemed “normal” so we chatted briefly, then I curled up and went to sleep. I was sleeping deeply, but was awakened in the middle of the night. Chuck had the light on and was tearing the room apart. He apologized for waking me and began pulling out the dresser drawers and stacking them on the floor. All I could think was, “Oh my God, he’s crazy.” I was angry that they put me in the room with some psycho.

Chuck continued to ransack the room for a couple more minutes and then sat on his bed and apologized and told me he was looking for the voices. I became scared, but then he opened himself up and explained his situation. He said he was on meds that worked most of the time, but the voices were getting too loud. “I know the voices aren’t real.” He said, “They are not there. However, they are there because they are too loud for me to ignore. I can’t do anything about them, but I must do something about them.” It was the first time, I know of, that I had spoken with someone who was schizophrenic and he put it in a way that I understood. We talked a little bit more before both of us went back to sleep.

The next morning I immediately went to the nurse’s window and asked when I was going to be moved. I was advised that they’d let me know but I felt I was being brushed off. Having only one set of clothing, I switched into a hospital gown and decided to join one of their recommended group sessions. When I first arrived to join the circle it was a bit chaotic, but the counselor eventually got everyone to quiet down to begin the session. It wound up not being much of a group session because one patient, who was also schizophrenic, monopolized the entire time. He was complaining about the people across the street sending signals into his head and would not listen to the counselor who tried to explain it was his schizophrenia talking. He shot her down by telling her that they obviously were sending signals to her head to make her think that way. When group ended I finally connected the dots and realized that I was in the low functioning psych ward. I decided I had been duped and they had no intention of moving me. I knew this is where they felt I belonged. I went to my room, noticed that Chuck was packed up and gone and cried myself to sleep.

Tomorrow I will share more of my experience of my stay on the seventh floor.

Ten Days in Lockdown – Throwback

lockdown

This week I’m doing things a little differently. I’m doing a throwback every day this week. This is the first post of a five part series originally posted in March 2014 regarding the ten days I was in lockdown. I felt the need to post again.

I had six months of sobriety and was frustrated. I was struggling. I was a disaster mentally, physically and spiritually. Old time alcoholics told me that what I was going through was normal. My life was a shambles and since I was sober, I was looking at the disaster I created through clear eyes for the first time. That made sense to me except that my friends from rehab seemed to be doing much better. I can’t say their lives were all that great, but at least they had jobs and were in apartments while I was jobless and living in a sober living home. Because I was jobless I attended a lot of AA meetings…and I mean a lot. Typically about three times a day. I filled out job applications in between meetings.

One evening in the summer of 2003 I was attending an AA meeting and made some comments to a friend. I have no idea what I said, but it deeply concerned him. He left me for a few minutes, came back, took my arm and informed me he was taking me to the hospital. Apparently, when he left me, he went to speak with a psychiatrist who also was attending the meeting. I was being taken to a hospital because of the concern that I was suicidal. I made no effort to stop him. I was scared to be alone and wanted to go.

Once in the car I called my therapist who told me to have them take me to the Thalians Center at Cedars Sinai Hospital. My second call was to my AA sponsor who said he would meet me there. We left from the San Fernando Valley and the hospital is near Beverly Hills so it was a pretty long trip. Most of the drive was silent as I grew more morose by the minute. When I arrived at the Thalians Center, my sponsor was there as promised.
As it turns out, I’d come to the wrong door. Apparently I was supposed to go to the hospital emergency room first, rather than directly to the center. The receptionist had us wait while she could get a doctor to come out of emergency to interview me. It took a while, but finally he showed up. He was strikingly handsome so my sponsor joked that he thought I was going to be very happy there. It was the first time I laughed all day.

The interview was extensive, but I don’t recall hardly any of it except random questions about my mood. Then came the biggie…those of you out there who have spoken with a doctor while seriously depressed know what I’m talking about…He asked, “Do you have a plan?” I told him that I indeed had a plan (to kill myself) and I gave him the full details. That clinched it. It was a done deal, I was being admitted. When a well-armed security officer arrived to escort me to the psych ward my sponsor burst into laughter again. I joined him. It was the absurdity of it all that helped us both release some tension.

Before I was escorted away, the doctor informed me that there were no beds on the third floor where I should be admitted, so they were going to place me on the seventh floor and move me as soon as possible. I had no idea what that meant, but I thanked him. At the entrance to the psych ward I was required to turn nearly everything over. No wallet, no phone, no belt, no shoes. I think we were given the option to either wear the shoes with no laces or wear hospital booties. I chose the booties. Then they opened the double doors and it felt like a Spielberg movie – the whoosh and wisps of smoke as the doors cracked apart and huge rays of light ominously shooting out from within. Of course, that’s not what it was really like, but it felt that way. When I walked in and the doors shut it was like I could hear a dozen deadbolts lock behind me. I was officially on 72 hour lockdown.

In tomorrow’s article I will share what life was like in the psych ward behind those double doors.

I Spell Gooder Now

spell gooder

Today’s Throwback Thursday is from May 6, 2008

I Kant Spell

I won the 5th grade spelling bee. Of course, it’s one of my proudest achievements in life. I continued to be a very good speller up until now. Suddenly over the past couple of months I’m having a strange problem with my spelling. Suddenly I’m spelling words like they sound. Today I caught myself spelling “should” as “shood“, spelling “heard” as “hurd“.

In additon to creating my own words, I’m also experiencing exchanging words that sound alike. Writing such things as “We have a guessed coming over for dinner

The other thing I’m catching myself doing is writing like I have dyslexia. I’ll send instant messages and find that what I typed are almost incoherent. Also when I post on Message Boards I find the same thing has occurred. I’m much more careful on my blog here. I reread it probably a dozen times before I hit post. Even then I find I have to go back and correct things.

Now, I think the English language should be changed so that we write things the way they sound. Such as “cat” should be spelled “kat”. However, I’m well aware that is not what we do today.

I’ve discussed all this briefly with my pdoc but I think I need to bring it up again. It may be because of the meds I’m taking. Who nose?

We had some family drama last night (no not Maurice and I), so I think it’s why I slept so badly. I kept having very vivid dreams that kept waking me up. Today I feel depressed and took a long nap, maybe it is depression, but it could be I’m just exhausted. Let’s just say my mania from last week has calmed down for now.

I used the oven again today. After taking my food out I only left it on for another hour. I admit, though, it’s only because I heard the thermometer clicking and not because I remembered. I may want to reconsider using the oven for now and going back to the microwave only.

It was just declared that my man Barak just won the primary in North Carolina. Indiana is still close but still early to call. I’m going back for more nail biting moments on MSNBC.

Bucket List

bucket list

It’s all the rage. Everyone seems to have them these days. Its time I jump on the band wagon and make mine. Of course, I’m talking about a bucket list. If you’re not sure what a bucket list is, here’s the definition from The Urban Dictionary:

A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term “kicked the bucket”.

Here, in no particular order, is my bucket list:

Speak Spanish fluently

Speak Spanish Fluently

 

Go water skiingGo Water Skiing

 

Buy a homeBuy a Home

 

Visit Monasterio de PiedraVisit Monasterio de Piedra

 

Teach An Adult To ReadTeach An Adult To Read

 

Learn to play tennisLearn to Play Tennis

 

Complete 30 day silent meditationComplete 30 day Silent Meditation

 

Fly in a hot air balloonFly in a Hot Air Balloon

 

Have a backyard officeHave a Backyard Office

 

Publish 3 novelsPublish Three Novels

 

Do a police ride alongDo a Police Ride Along

 

Visit my daughter in England before graduationVisit My Daughter in England Before She Graduates

 

Vacation in AustraliaVacation in Australia

 

Stop nail bitingStop Nail Biting

 

Read 52 books in 1 yearRead Fifty-Two Books in One Year

 

Vacation in AlaskaVacation in Alaska

 

Be debt freeBe Debt Free

 

Own a JeepOwn a Jeep

 

Go llama packingGo Llama Packing

 

Visit the Van Gogh MuseumVisit the Van Gogh Museum

 

Take a cross country train tripTake a Cross Country Train Trip

 

Learn a musical instramentLearn a Musical Instrument

 

Take Yoga LessonsTake Yoga Lessons

 

See Cirque du SoleilSee a Cirque du Soleil Show

 

There’s my bucket list (as of today.) Who knows what it will look like one, five or ten years from now. I just hope I don’t decide to add more to it. It’s a pretty tall order as it stands. Bucket lists are very in. Have you started yours?

 

Weekly Wrap-Up May 16, 2016

weekly wrap-up

Mood

My healthy, balanced state continued. I did deal with some major anxiety a couple of times, but thankfully had no panic attacks. Overall, I’m very pleased with the week.

I’ve felt so good that I’ve been looking into Vocational Rehab again for help training and getting a job. I do this every time I start feeling good again. I will talk with my pdoc and therapist before contacting my case counselor. I’m sure they’ll both tell me that two good weeks does not equal recovery, but I figured it’s time to bring it up again, at least. They’ll tell me to just keep writing.

Weight and Fitness

On Saturday, May 7 I weighed 265.6 lbs.
On Saturday, May 14 I weighed 263.6
Total loss for the week: exactly 2.0 lbs.

Finally, a drop again! It’s about time.
I credit both Weight Watchers and the Lose It website for the loss. Both required tracking my food which made me extra vigilant to ensure I did track everything. Also, my Lose It pal, Dyane, whose excellent blog is Birth of a New Brain, has been a been a tremendous help. Dyane and I send messages of encouragement to each other. Having a specific buddy to be accountable to definitely has its advantages. She started the Lose It group, “Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group.” If you care to join us, just join Lose It, which is FREE and search for the group name.

While I didn’t go to the beach, as I planned, I still got some walking in for several days. This week my goal is to go to the beach at least three mornings.

Writing

I can’t say it’s been bad, but I have had to change things up. I created an outline before I started the novel which has been very helpful, however as I’ve been writing, I’ve veered quite a ways off. I’m not a write by the seat of my pants kind of guy so I’m creating a new outline for the last half of the book. In addition, I’ve received feedback from my critique group that I’ve found puzzling. As a result, I’m seeking out some local mystery writers to get some feedback specifically on the genre.

Synopsis

Two good weeks in a row. I’m happy.

Throwback To Tigger Mania


This weeks Throwback Thursday is from May 2008

I came up with a new term I’ll share with my pdoc. I now can be depressed, manic or “Tigger manic”. If I had a tail I would have been bouncing around the apartment yesterday. I’m surprised I was able to type yesterdays post, which I’m glad I did. Based on emails and comments, there are a lot of peanut butter lovers out there.

When manic, like yesterday, I take on a dozen tasks. The problem is I can multi task, but what I can’t do is “multi finish”. I’ve mentioned washing clothes here several times. It’s one of my big challenges. So yesterday I had this great ambition. I promised myself all the clothes would be washed, dried and folded before Maurice got home.

Please hold on, as you ride Bradley’s Monday Brain Ride:

fold two pairs of socks.
Read one blog
wash three dishes
send an email
return a phone call
read an email
read a blog
fold two pairs of socks
fold two towels
write an email
fold two pairs of socks
read a blog
and so on, and so on, and so on

I hope you enjoyed your tour on “Tigger’s Manic Ride”. When the safety bar rises, please exit to your right.

None of these are conscious decisions. That would be insanity. Surprisingly I have not been deemed insane. I’m bipolar, therefore, the actions are unconscious. While folding socks, there’s no thought that says, “Oh, I should go wash some dishes”. Instead, I’ll be folding socks and suddenly I find my self washing dishes. I may then think “Wait. I was folding socks.” So I walk back toward the socks, but I don’t reach my destination. Suddenly It’s imperative I respond to an urgent email I received three days ago. By the time I’m done with that both the socks and the dishes have been forgotten and I’m on to something else.

I love the elation I can feel on these days. I want to stand on the edge of the bathtub and shout “I’m the king of the world!!!” I am so proud of myself at how much I’m getting accomplished only to find at the end of the day that not a damn thing was done.

When Maurice got home the shirts and pants were waiting for him to finish the job. Having socks and towels folded within 9 hours is good for me. That’s one positive of being bipolar, I can set my goals low. I only have to do what’s on my short list. What’s a short list? It’s a short list (as if you hadn’t figured that part out) and it has all the things I must do in a day no matter what. Others have them too, but everyones may be different. If I’ve accomplished them all at the end of the day, then it was a good day. When I say short, I mean short. Here’s the one that’s posted on the bulletin board above my desk:

1. make bed
2. shower
3. get dressed
4. go outside (even if only to mailbox)

That’s it! And what’s better is if I can’t accomplish the entire list then it’s determine my list is too long and it’s made shorter. The point is to have some, ANY, type of consistency. I think back before my condition worsened. I had meetings, reports, conference calls, contracts signed and they all had to be done by a deadline. Now, it’s considered a good day if I get dressed? Wow! Wonderful concept.

Wonderful concept? Here’s the serious part. It’s not wonderful at all. I’m sure it’s easier to understand these may be hard for the depressed to accomplish, but it can be just as hard when manic. I didn’t complete my short list yesterday. I didn’t shower or dress other than a dirty t-shirt and shorts I wear in case i have to answer the door. The reasons I don’t complete tasks when I’m manic are usually because I forget in all my mania or, most likely, I keep saying I’m too busy and I’ll do later. My head literally feels pain when I try to slow down for simpler tasks. At the same time, complicated tasks or too much stimulation can make me confused and disoriented.

For me the worst part is many people still don’t understand. There’s a lot of ignorance out there. Too many perceive mental illness as personal defect and not a disease. When you’re depressed you’re told to just pull yourself out of it. That’s what they did when they had the blues. The blues, my ass. When you’re manic you’re told how good you look and that their glad you’re doing better. They see you running around getting things done and think all is well, without understanding the insanity that is going on in your mind. You may look a bit edgy but other than that you look good. Of course mania is not fine. They also haven’t noticed you haven’t been around in a week or two or more, when you were depressed. These are things that may cause shame when you have a mood disorder. I wish could say I was above it all.

Insights from a Bipolar Bear: © 2014