Penny Positive #20

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

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Penny Positive #19

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

Penny Positive #18

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

Out-Out Patient

Triggered by a traumatic event a few weeks ago, bipolar depression brought its bags and settled in for a long visit.  This past week I started going to my therapists’ clinic every morning to break up depression’s momentum and build my own form of Out-Patient Care.  I arranged the little alcove they set aside for me—a folding screen and white noise machine to make the patients in neighboring offices feel safe in their privacy plus the high table and chairs.  I brought in my art supplies and a large cushion to sit on the floor, and went about filling the tall, gray walls with words and colors that I needed.  But that wasn’t enough.

Yesterday, my therapist and I discussed how to create a real program that would help me tolerate this depression without resorting to hospital out-patient care.  I find the hospital programs themselves to be helpful, but interacting in the large group model difficult to the point of undoing any good done there.  So here’s what we’re trying first:

My daily schedule will be from 8:30-1:30, five days a week.  Daily, I will work on DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) worksheets dealing with tolerating distress, read one of Megan’s many children’s books and journal about it, and make art—either for the space or in my journal.

I feel a lot of dread and the usual suicidal litany gallops through my mind.  I’m uncomfortable and scattered.  My calendar empties out as I can’t tolerate most people or the pressure of going somewhere at a designated time.  But I did ask a friend to lunch yesterday, even though I phased out after twenty minutes.  Concentration doesn’t last long.

At home, I’ve put my TV in the bedroom, so the cats and I camp out on the bed as I try to work on my Solstice cards while half-listening to my go-to depression binge, Fringe (I just started Season Three).

I’ve also returned to Pinterest, where I can look at pretty pictures and hoard new photos of my Pretend Boyfriends.

Later today, I hope to go see the new Murder on the Orient Express and do my laundry.  That feels like a lot in my current condition, but I’ll try.  It’s really all I can ever do, keep trying, keep looking for new ways to get through the worst of the illness while waiting for the shift to come.

Some days it doesn’t seem like much of a life.  The distorted thinking makes that view darker and more hopeless.  Even then, I can see my courage at work, even when the list of obstacles grows like a Bugs Bunny nightmare.

This is my life.  Mine.  For better or worse.

Penny Positive #17

From An Optimist’s Calendar

More Chickens

 

Penny Positive #16

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

Penny Positive #15

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

Penny Positive #14

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

The Proust Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Vanity Fair

My fellow-blogger, David Kanigan, posted his responses to this questionnaire.  He’s a very level, non-exhibitionist type, so I was intrigued by what kind of questions would tempt him.  Of course, this list offers a depth of navel-gazing seldom seen on Facebook or Twitter.  And, I could NOT pass it up.  So, here are my Proust answers.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  The moment of release when my bipolar symptoms lift.  The Relief.  The Clarity.   The Gratitude.

2. What is your greatest fear?  One by one, I’ve experienced all of them (except being eaten by a shark), and carried on.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  The inability to follow through.  However, as I work on accepting it, I find small ways I can follow through.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Acting out from their fear and hatred.

5. Which living person do you most admire?  Jimmy Carter

6. What is your greatest extravagance?  Art Supplies

7. What is your current state of mind?  Cautious.  I’ve been going through big mood swings as of late, and I wake up on guard.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?  Hope.  It is full of expectation.

9. On what occasion do you lie?  I used to lie when people asked, “How are you?”  Now I answer, “That’s a loaded question.”  Mostly, I lie with silence.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?  Being obese.

11. Which living person do you most despise?  No-one.  I don’t understand a lot of people.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man? The ability to take action.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?  Self-confidence.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  All versions and permutations of “fuck.”

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  My grandmother

16. When and where were you happiest?  In my childhood room, drawing.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?  To play the guitar well.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  To be at a healthy weight.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  This blog and the short fiction posted in it.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?  Someone with loving and genetically healthy parents.

21. Where would you most like to live?  At this moment, Des Moines.

22. What is your most treasured possession?  My grandmothers’ photo albums.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Someone unable to alter their perspective.

24. What is your favorite occupation?  Arting

25. What is your most marked characteristic?  Others say my laugh is unique.

26. What do you most value in your friends?  Availability.

27. Who are your favorite writers?  Stephen King, Wally Lamb, Tana French

28. Who is your hero of fiction?  Stu Redman in The Stand by Stephen King

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?  Virginia Woolf

30. Who are your heroes in real life?  I have lots of heroes.  The most flesh and blood one is Barak Obama.

31. What are your favorite names?  Rachel, Declan, Wyatt

32. What is it that you most dislike?  Noise—auditory or visual

33. What is your greatest regret?  My PTSD makes regret into a terror.  I regret many things I did when I was very ill.

34. How would you like to die?  Quickly, by my own hand.

35. What is your motto?  No matter where you go, there you are.

 

Penny Positive #13

From An Optimist’s Calendar

 

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