Monday, August 31, 2009

What am I?

Appropriate answer: I don't care. If you do, I don't have time for the fallout.

There are many labels that would accurately describe aspects of who I am. There was a time I clung to them. They gave me a sold-feeling sense of being Someone. I was Mormon. I was strange. I was a wife. A mother. I was bipolar. An attachment parent. A student. A writer. A...

Naming things can help a person make sense of the world and of their place in it.

Relying on the definitions of those names can also cripple a person. Expectations are developed. Assumptions are made that the thing labeled will - must - live up to its definition. While such assumptions can be useful when applied to objects, in people it too often draws individuals to groups of people who wear labels like laurels... and bond by alienating the Us from the Other. The otherness of the Other gets magnified, pointed out amongst the Us with knowing nods and a comfort that as certainly as there is Other, the Us maintains. If the Other were smarter, they would be Us. If the Other knew what We know, they would turn from their mis-thought ways. Whatever the individuals fear, they apply and magnify in their judgement of the Other.

We all do it. Nations. Religions. Political Parties.

And mothers.

Good grief, but I get pissed off about some of the labels mothers use to divide themselves and align in judgement that harms other women. As if the manufactured Mommy Wars weren't enough, I get sick to death of the sanctimonious clucking. Note to all the cutesy-monikered forms of pregnancy/birthing/baby-feeding/child-rearing activists: Actually help people or shut up. Quit using your energy to judge and mock. Mocking the methods your fellow mothers are using to raise their kids the best they can doesn't help anyone. It doesn't prove your dedication to your beliefs or strengthen those around you. It's toxic and demeaning. Stop it.

Think babies deserve breast milk? Nurse your babies. Be the example. When I was a new mommy, nursing in public was nerve-wracking. Early on I fed my baby bottles when we were out because I felt so alone and unsure. Want to know what helped? Being around relaxed, friendly people nursing their babies.

Think babies deserve to be carried next to a parent? Get active in providing slings to people who can't afford to go to websites with names like poshbaby, let alone debate the merits of six popular baby carriers. Many people have never seen a sling be used, let alone try to wrestle a crying infant into one while worrying the little darling will just fall out the other side.

Don't think kids should be spanked? Raise your kids in a way that demonstrates that your methods work. Very little makes me cringe faster than moms preaching gentle/NVC philosophies while their kids are terrorizing every living thing in a two-mile radius. Nobody's kids are perfect, but when your child is the hitter/biter/etc. at that particular moment, please quit preaching. Save your energy for helping your child navigate this crazy world. If your methods are viable, the people around you will notice and incorporate your methods into their own practices. That's it. People can smell smug a mile away and nothing turns them off faster.

So on and so forth about every damn label. The next time I hear someone disparaging "Main Stream" parenting like it's synonymous with child abuse, I am going to scream.

That is all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We Have Lift-Off

This morning I almost posted this as my status update: should probably post disclaimers now.

But on FB this would probably sound like an attempt at manufactured mystery. It is not. So I took my FB update to its proper place (if, indeed, there is such a place). I meant this blog to orbit around bipolar disorder, and it has probably seemed to do anything but. So, for me, it has actually done a pretty good job of describing what my life with bipolar disorder is like. Most of the time I take my pills and don't think about it all that much.

And then...

A few days ago I started getting productive. Normalish productive. Finally getting around to all those tasks and chores that get put off for whatever mundane reason... Yesterday I was very productive. Organizing everything. Making meal plans for the next year. Scrubbing mineral deposits and other non-crucial stuff. Go me! Meanwhile I noticed smells seemed stronger. I began craving specific music.

On the way home from the gym, I was suddenly startled by the colors. Suddenly the popped into greater focus and more vivid hues... It was like taking off scratched and dirty sunglasses. And then I knew.

The last time that (the colors) suddenly "switched," I was living in New York and had just been put on Zoloft - my first foray into psychotropics. It was also my first known flip into mania.

For years, the doctors and therapists I sought out for help repeatedly suggested that my reaction to the SSRIs was simply what normal people felt, and that I was too used to being depressed to remember what it felt like to be normal. The problem with that was that it didn't take long for things to spin out of control. Really out of control. So, eventually I'd stop taking the meds, crash down into horrific depression and just hang on for dear life (which included some self-medicating) until I could function just enough to seek out help. Again. Zoloft. Paxil. Effexor. I don't even remember, anymore, all the anti-depressants I've tried.

But I remember the colors, driving down a country road near Saratoga Springs. Each changing leaf rustled with a crisp vivid shudder that sent tiny electric shocks up my spine... and the smells of Autumn rushed by, cool in the wind created by rushing past fields in various degrees of harvest with the top down on my red convertible Chrysler LeBaron. Commuting to a job in Albany. Flush with confidence. Ready to take on the world.

This state. This hypomania. This is seduction at its finest. Right now I am standing at a precipice, arms flung out, leaning into the wind. Damn but it feels good. Sleep? Don't need it. Food? Take it or leave it. But the paint. The music. The words. The productivity... and the hope that this could be my new normal. That life will stay this way. That I can feel this way... always. Such a sweet notion. And so I try not to think about the likelihood of a mixed state to come, or a full blown mania that leaves me in terrifying hallucinations. Or even plain old depression that will hit, made so much worse by the mourning of the loss of this moment.

This is bipolar disorder. This is what bipolar people are hunting for when they quit taking their meds (I am still taking mine exactly as prescribed). During the "normal" portions of life, this is what I feel cheated for losing by choosing stability.

Ah. Hypomania. The holy grail of us bipolar nutjobs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I Haven'tBeen Blogging

It's been a long day. Racing around, 3 kids into carseats, out of carseats, errand, back into carseats, out at the next stop... four hours of repetitious stopping, starting and buckling. Finally at home in the afternoon, we made flubber. The baby (now almost 18 months old) would only sleep on me, so I sat rocking her while G-Rex and the Baybster played with their green glittered goo.

And then it was time for my dance class. Almost didn't go. But I did. Then home for frozen pizza... and that brings us to this moment.

Tired. Too tired to fight kids into bed. So they are downstairs. Still awake. Watching their father play World of Warcraft.

Creativity withers and fades into a sense of something I once was... once did... sometime a long time ago.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

:::Crickets Chirping:::

Ah, but silence can be golden.

So, since I deleted a large chunk of this blog, I've been busy with my little life. Working on a novel, preparing for ACE's Personal Trainer certification... thinking... adjusting to new neighbors.

In my last entry, it seemed the neighborhood was emptying. It is no longer empty... but that's not necessarily a good thing. The empty properties have been auctioned - at something around $100k less than what we pre-bubble-implosioners paid. They are now apparently being rented out. Few kids. Many monster trucks and late night parties.

The bird feeder still hangs next door. Empty. The house is populated by three or four couples who park their vehicles haphazardly over the sidewalks and into our driveway and that of their other neighbors. Wheels gleam nakedly, disrobed of their tires - dots on the unmown lawn. There was a collision in front of our home, a few days ago. Apparently the HOA is being sued for something... and they deserve to be... except that I feel for the people trying to fill the HOA positions because I don't know what they're supposed to do to hold up the HOA standards. Continue to deliver citations to renters who don't give a rip?

Meanwhile, our lives go on.

GERD girl needs a new moniker. Bayba takes swimming and gymnastics lessons and only has one more year at home before she can go to school. G-Rex will be going to fourth grade, back to her magnet program, in a few weeks. She was just promoted to the next level in her gymnastics classes, so we're looking at a schedule shake-up. That's always fun in a family of people who don't handle transitions smoothly. Ah, the adventures of the neuro-challenged.