Putting On A Happy Face

A smiley face emoji

A Little Bit Better Now

Sorry for all my downer posts lately. This blog is my dumping ground for all things shitty, which I guess is pretty obvious.

Despite my morose attitude last week, this week is starting off great because of the Biden win. I could go on a litany of things that concern me about the next 70 days or so, and beyond, but not today. Today, like most of the weekend, I celebrate.


I thought my gloomy mood was situational rather than a depressive episode and it looks like I was right. I’m still anxious, which means I’m probably hypomanic. Many people with bipolar take advantage of their hypomanic episodes to get a lot done. That doesn’t work for me. I’m more like a prairie dog bopping out it’s nervous head and looking all around. I don’t have ADHD, but I’d venture a guess that what I experience is much like that.

When I’m hypomanic I have massive bursts of energy, but can’t get a damn thing done because I’m so easily distracted. Instead of doing something and getting a feeling of accomplishment. I start a thousand projects and end up with a thousand projects unfinished. I wind up spending a lot more time on the internet than I’d like because it allows me to fulfill that urge. Instead of focusing on one thing, my eyes dart all over the screen, and I can easily ride the wave for hours on end. Last night I was online until after 3 a.m. I was totally shocked when I looked at the time. I thought I was approaching midnight.

I hate to make excuses, but this is why it takes me so long to get a novel out. When I’m depressed I can barely get out of bed. When I’m hypomanic I can’t focus on one project. I have to be right in the middle in that perfect spot to get something done, and that doesn’t come often. It’s something I should really work with a therapist about, but I don’t have one. I had a great guy for ten years, but he wasn’t on my plan when I changed insurance. I changed my insurance anyway because it was a far better plan in every other way, but I sure do miss him. So far, the other therapists I’ve found are part of the same office as my wacky psychiatrist, and that hasn’t turned out so well. The first guy they sent me to was outstanding. He was easy to talk with, is gay, and specializes with those with addictive backgrounds. Unfortunately, after three months with him, he left there to go to a high end, very expensive office. I don’t blame him, but it sucks for me. So far, I’ve had no luck replacing him.

I took a good look at my insurance plan online and it looks like I’ll have a lot more people to choose from in 2021. I hope I’m right. I just have to hang on until then, which I know I can.

A New Rabbit Hole

Awhile back I got off Twitter. Twitter takes a good while and a lot of work to develop a following. I found there was too much involved for promoting my podcast, so I stopped doing that and put all my effort in to Facebook and Instagram. I did the same thing with my Twitter author account. I have a good number of followers, but I’d guess 90% of them are other authors. I’ve asked numerous times and none could offer suggestions for good hashtags to reach LGBTQ readers. At least not LGBTQ readers of crime fiction. The writer’s groups are great for encouragement and comradery. I’d say this is especially true for new writer’s, but I didn’t see any benefit to use that much of my time to make connections and develop a support system. I’ve been able to do that with many other authors on Facebook. Some have become excellent, not met before, friends.

I never shut down my author Twitter account because it’s my name and I didn’t want to lose that. Well, guess what, I’ve taken down the Twitter banner promoting my books and took off info that I’m a writer in my profile. I wanted to create a separation from my writing life and my personal life. Kind of silly when you consider this blog.

Well, I stayed off Twitter for awhile except to pop in for news. For news junkies, Twitter is a great place to start. I’m not implying to get your news from Twitter. Oh hell no. But, Twitter does get news reports out faster than the major news outlets. I use it to find out what’s going on and then dig deeper into the real news to get the story. That’s fine and good.

Unfortunately, I am now a Twitter junkie. I follow both conservative and liberal accounts and follow the links to their news articles. It wouldn’t be so bad if I stopped there, but I’ve started doing a dangerous thing…I’m engaging. That’s when you get in trouble.

I learned long ago not to engage with a Trump supporter. One would comment on a post I made, or vice-versa. It may have started out as a friendly exchange, but eventually I’d back up my end with facts, which caused them to act like a rat stuck in a corner. They always resulted in me being called many names, some of which I never heard before, and I’d end up blocking them. Now, I’ll respond to known commentator from the news, or something of that order, but once I start getting feedback from a Trumpster, that I know will lead to nothing constructive, I just go ahead and block them right away.

So now I’m checking Twitter throughout the day. I have my list of people I follow and will click one by one to see their latest tweets. Again, it’s perfect for those hypomanic episodes when I can’t focus on one thing. Ugh.

Btw, if you’d like to follow me on Twitter. I’m @BradShreve

A Quickie Update

I’m not going to get too much into the Uruguay situation except to say Maurice and I haven’t discussed it for some time. Right now, I’m in too good of a mood basking in my joy over the election results. I want to let that last as long as I can.

A Horrible, Horrible Show

Sorry to bring up The Walking Dead, but I won’t get too much into it. I may have covered this already. If so, I apologize. I finished all the episodes of The Walking Dead. They are filming the final season now. They’ve tested all the cast members for Covid and they all agreed to quarantine together while filming. I don’t know how that will possibly work. The cast is large, but I’m especially puzzled about the extras. There are a huge number of them. Oh well, they’ll figure it out.

Since I finished the primary show, I haven’t had my fill of Zombies. I could have gone back to watching their first spin-off, which is Fear The Walking Dead. I stopped watching it at the beginning of Season 4, which I barely remember. They are now finishing up Season 6.

So, what’s the horrible show? It’s The Walking Dead’s newest spinoff titled The Walking Dead The World Beyond. I had no plans to watch it, but a friend told me it was good. This time it starts with a group of teenagers in Omaha who leave a protected area to find two of the kids father in New York. I made it up to the third episode and I can’t take it anymore. Boring beyond belief. They’re wandering around, clueless as to what to do, yet nothing happens. I’ve chatted with some folks on Twitter (yes, there’s Twitter again) They told me they watched episode 6 and still nothing happens. They were bailing on the show too. I believe it’s the same producers, so I don’t know what they were thinking, but they dropped the ball on this one. If you’re interested in stereotypical teen angst, I suggest rewatching The Breakfast Club and skip this mess.

Behind Again, Naturally

So, I’ve shot this day again. I hoped to get some writing in, but frittered my time away and only had enough time to get out a blog post. I procrastinated again, so I still have to edit the podcast episode that rolls out tonight. I also have to do some recording that will have to be edited as well. (sigh) The rest of my week is free, free, free. I have committed myself to focus on writing every day. Be ready to scold me if I don’t do it.

5 comments on Putting On A Happy Face

  1. My therapist of 18 years died two years ago. She was amazing, and I’ve found she’s very much alive in my mind. I can almost hear her sharing her point of view – something she did that turned me around many, many times. I tried another therapist right after that was in the same practice. I could tell right away that she wasn’t the therapist for me, but she took my insurance and we met in my old therapist’s office, with all her stuff still in it, so it was like I got to still be connected to her. What was special though was that my old therapist had talked to my new therapist about me before she died. The new therapist shared every week how special Megan thought I was. It was like getting a message from the other side. But she wasn’t a good therapist and I had to leave her.

    Now, two years later, I’m trying a new therapist. She’s the first mental health professional I’ve worked with in 32 years who has told me she has bipolar as well. I’ve only met with her two times and it’s been wonderful. The other cool thing about this relationship is that we have new insurance in January and I’m pretty sure she won’t be in network. At first I thought, why even start, but then I realized that this is a tremendous opportunity. It’s like when you meet a total stranger you know you’ll never see again, and can share stuff you would never say aloud to anyone else. So I’m just straight out telling her the stuff I never ever talk about because it’s too embarrassing or I know I’ll be judged. Our last session was like that and it was terrific. She actually enjoyed it too which was a plus. I’m really looking forward to doing more of this.

    Okay, much too much about me. I’m so glad the gloom lifted when the election results were in!! And it’s nice to see your twinkling blue eyes again. I forget if you’re scheduled to speak at this Sunday’s sermon. If you are, maybe back out. You made a great contribution last week, but I don’t thing it’s not the wobbles in your mood state. Some very verbal people will be up there and will have no trouble filling the time.

    Regarding your writing goal – my philosophy is, if a goal is unreachable or causing emotional pain – and it sure sounds like this daily goal is – change the damn goal. Forgive me for being dogmatic, but don’t engage in things that leave you being disappointed in yourself over and over again. Go for the full Monty when you are feeling better. I’m not saying you shouldn’t participate. It sounds like a terrific event with loads of benefits. Just set a different, more realistic number for yourself. And maybe make it a weekly number to take into account that there are just days you can’t produce. I’ve learned to look at life this way raising a handicapped child. It’s taught me to look at everything in terms of should it/can it be adapted to work in our situation. I’ve applied this to my life with good results. Adapt it dude so it’s challenging, productive, and fun, but not a source of being disappointed in yourself. After all, it’s an arbitrary number, so why not set your own arbitrary number? And why would your adapted number be any less valid? It’ll be way more than millions of writers who aren’t participating are doing.

    Forgive me for being so in your face. It’s just something I feel strongly about.

    Love you!

    1. You aren’t in my face. You’re telling it like it is from your perspective, and I agree with you. I am trying to focus more on a daily goal rather than the monthly one. It’s less daunting. The best part of it is, yes I get frustrated, but overall I’ve been good about not beating myself up when I don’t meet it.

      Your advice reminds me of the short list that Teri taught me years ago. In case I haven’t told you, it’s a list of the things to get done that day. It sometimes has to be as simple as get up, take a shower, get dressed, and get the mail. The beauty of it is that if you can’t do it all you don’t get upset. You acknowledge to yourself the list was to long and you can feel free to shorten it for the next day. In other words, there is no lose. It’s helped me many times.

      I told Rev. Steve I wasn’t going to come this Sunday and he encouraged me to. There’s only a little more I can say, and I probably won’t have to. He just wants me there in case not everyone can do it. I don’t mind. If nothing else, I’ll get to listen to some great stories in the front row.

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