Just Another Manic Monday

People seem to think that being off work on a disability leave is like being on a vacation. “Must be nice to sleep in every day.” “You’re so lucky you don’t have to go in to work today.” “Boy, I wish I could stay home and take it easy.” What they don’t seem to get is that when you suffer from a disability, in my case dysthemia* (a form of clinical depression) with anxiety and severe depressive mood,  as well as chronic headaches and migraines, you NEVER get a vacation from it.

Sure, I stay in bed a little later into the morning hours some days, but usually that’s because I’ve either spent half the night awake, tossing and turning, worrying about what I didn’t manage to accomplish the day before or about what I need to try and accomplish to make up for it the next day, and I’m not ‘sleeping in’, I’m laying there, probably red-puffy-eyed-from-crying and zombie-like, staring at the ceiling trying to talk myself into getting up and putting ‘normal’ clothes on for a change instead of staying in my pajamas all day. Then I’ll spend the next couple of hours avoiding the phone, emails, facebook, twitter or any other device that means I have to communicate with the outside world until I can get my emotions under control and feel more human again. When I’ve gotten a hold of myself, I’ll force myself to have a decent meal instead of crackers and orange juice, take my medications, read my encouragement quotes and try to feel positive about myself. If it’s a good day, I can usually get to this stage by noon. Then I can do a little housecleaning, maybe clean the birdcage, spend an hour or two on the laptop writing a bit, play a game,  take a short walk outside in the back yard, as long as it’s not too bright and sunny (because then I’ll get a migraine from the bright light, even if I wear a big hat and dark glasses), play with the cats, or read for a while. I might get about four hours of productive and/or enjoyable activity out of the afternoon before the chronic headaches I live with start to ramp up and I have to retreat to my dark room with an ice pack on my head for a while. So, that about sums up my average ‘good’ day. Let’s not even start to talk about a ‘bad’ day.

Those ‘good’ days might only happen twice or three times out of every seven days. Sometimes less, sometimes more often. Now, I could possibly manage to go into the office and do some work for a couple of hours during any of these days, but I have no way of predicting how the stress of the workplace and interaction with people coming and going in that environment might affect me. I can say, with all honest and purposeful intent, that I would do my best to control my anxiety, I’d take my meds, I’d do deep breathing to stay calm, I’d visualize, and I’d try to be alright, but there’s no guarantee that I wouldn’t totally freak out and end up a hyperventilating mass of tears in the bathroom stall after the first half-hour. Then I’d have to be taken down to the walk-in ER for a shot because I’d have a full-blown killer migraine in no time flat from all the upset.

This is what people don’t seem to understand. I’m not on a vacation, I don’t always enjoy my days at home, most days I’d really like to be at work and feel like I’m part of a team again, to be able to interact with people and feel like a ‘human being’ again, to have control over my mind and my emotions, to be able to function in society once more. Until such time as I am able to work through my social phobias, my psychosomatic symptoms, my neuroses and my other associated problems, I’m not on a cakewalk. I have days of struggle, but they come with little mercies, a few hours in each day when a small thing can make me laugh or smile or giggle for a while, when something I see or hear or feel can bring me peace and serenity for a time.

I’ve gone through the whole spiel of explaining this because it might help some of you to understand where my ‘creativity’ comes from.  It’s this crazy, mixed-up, manic life that breathes fire and ice inside me, that trickles through my bones like mercury and acid some days, and like milk and honey other days. It’s those high highs and low lows that create the raw edges on me. I write when my brain thinks of things; when a word or phrase creates an image in my mind and that image forms words that need to come out and be given life so I can shoo them from of my head where things get a bit crowded pretty fast. Some days the words and images are dark and tormented, and they bloom red and black. Some days they’re full of light and shine bright like laughter. Some days they’re soft and warm like a safe hiding place. They’re always changing.

So, if you find that you’re reading one of my poems one day and think, “Gee, that’s such a sweet, romantic poem!”, and then the next day you read another and are horrified and think I’ve turned into Wednesday Adams, don’t panic or think I’ve gone completely bonkers. It’s only that I must have been on a down swing on the roller coaster that is my crazy life. I’ll be okay, it goes back up again eventually. Just wait a day or two… or three.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysthymia

PS. Two new poetry pages today, much thanks to @ashbaghet and @madqueenstorm for their inspirational prompts.

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Queen Procrastinatia

Ok. I get that a blog should be a kind of a daily sort of thing, right? So I’m a bit slow out of the gate on that I guess. I have a bad.. no, a terrible habit of procrastinating. I should have added it to my ‘New Years’ list: I will stop procrastinating. Well.. no, that would definitely have been an unachievable goal right off the get-go. I will make a better effort to blog more frequently and hopefully it will become a good habit that will turn into a daily one.

In my defense, it’s been a sucky week, I think I can say that.. “sucky”..? Yes, I can say that. It has been. It’s supposed to be Summer, we’re a Zone 6a here for Pete’s sake! A daily high of 15Celcius is just NOT acceptable, especially when combined with cloudy and rainy/misty skies. It was not nice standing out on the deck as I shook my fist at the heavens and complained! I mean, WTH is going on God?!! Did the continental shift sneak up on us while we were watching Ellen? This is getting ridiculous! Bring on the summer already! My lettuce and tomatoes don’t have a clue what to do – they’re half growing, half stunted because they’re afraid to come up out of the semi-insulated earth! Even the cats are still hanging on to their winter fur! And don’t get me started on dear hubs – he’s turning schizophrenic: happy that it’s cool and overcast because he works outdoors mowing lawns, but cranky because it’s cool and overcast and the grass isn’t growing as fast so he isn’t mowing much.   … I think my ulcer is coming back.  Ugh. 😛

All of this combined with the way the crappy weather makes my bones ache has left me in a creative funk so I’ve been slow with the writing, which doesn’t help my goal list. But I managed to get some of my crafted jewelry into a local shop this week (yay!) so that’s a start and I feel good about forcing my feet out of the house, which was uncomfortable and thank goodness the meds helped! Baby steps!

Looking ahead to better days, the sun is coming and I know I’ll feel better. Slumps pass, moods change, like the weather, and I have to remind myself that it’s ok to have low days and even low weeks. I can look back over the past five days and see that I still wrote some, even if it wasn’t as much as I wanted to write, I still did some work around the house, even if it wasn’t as much as I had planned to do, I still spent time visiting family and got out of the house and saw people. Even though I felt like it was a bad week, it was still a good week. As I sit here writing this now even, I can stop…. take a minute… take a deep breath and feel better then I did when I started writing ten minutes ago. See how magical writing is? That’s why I write! It’s magic! (oh, alright, I can hear my hubs – even though he’s already asleep in bed – saying, ‘it’s not magic it’s your talent‘, yeah, whatever) Writing is my therapy and my healing and my Magic. I’m so very thankful to be able to share it with you and I hope it brings a smile and maybe opens a window or a door somewhere for some sunlight to shine into a corner that was waiting to clear out the shadows. The sun will come soon… it’s on the way.

“A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams, and a world in which there is hope.” – Neil Gaiman.

PS. There are a few new poems in the Pages to check out. 🙂