Sunday, August 31, 2014

Black wing day

You know those shitty days where you wake up and you just know it's going to suck? You start off by waking up with a headache or covered in sweat or after some crappy dream, then stumble off to the bathroom where you probably drop your toothbrush on the floor and/or have morning diarrhea. Unless you're me and you've been constipated for the last month because your anti-psychotics have made your intestines decide they want to keep all your poop for themselves and never release any of it again, so you have to take laxatives to avoid swelling up from literally being full of shit.

Following that, you weigh yourself and discover that you're fatter than you think you are, swear to never eat again until you're thinner, then promptly develop a craving for coffee and bagels. 

So you go get your damn coffee and bagels, hating yourself the whole way. And on the trip to the bagel place you decide to stop in at this hippie store to buy a yoga mat for the stretching you're trying to talk your poor, long-suffering husband into doing, but of course the effing place doesn't open until noon and it's 11:30.

You stomp off and go back home, then get the mail and discover that it's been three months since you rented the cello you barely play, so now you owe another three months' rent on the damn thing, and you can't decide if you're more an idiot for having rented one like three times already, only to take it back, or if you're dumber for not just having kept it, since the only payments that count toward buying one are consecutive ones, so really you'd have almost owned the thing by now, but since you did it so stupidly and sporadically you don't, and then you spend the next four hours in a tug-of-hate with yourself trying to decide what to do. 

And you can't even expiate your guilt today, because they're closed. And they'll be closed Monday as well, because it's Labor Day. So you have to just sit and stew about what an idiot you've been until Tuesday, when you either accept that you're never going to do anything useful with it or decide to hell with that and you keep it anyway, despite the fact that you could really use that $200 security deposit back. 

Meanwhile, as you're ruminating on this whole situation, you occasionally stare at your latest art and make mental notes on everything that's wrong with it, including smudges, curves that aren't right, flat-out bad decisions, and so forth. Then you feel extra shitty because you bought a digital drawing tablet months ago and are afraid to use it because ??, so you don't, and you stick to traditional media, but you feel like you ought to be using it, since it wasn't cheap. 

And then you get into the whole "I'm not an artist, I'm just a hack who occasionally draws garbage on stuff and hopes it isn't awful." Plus the "I'm not a musician either, since I play like three instruments, none of them in a virtuosic way, because I'm lazy and don't care." And "I'm not a dancer either, in spite of taking a bunch of it, because I'm fat and I don't know what I'm doing, and I'll never be a (fill in the blank with some ludicrously high expectation)."

After all this you're incredibly cross, and so you're cranky about everything, and your poor spouse thinks you're upset with him, so he gets upset, and then you have to reassure him that no, you really just hate yourself, and he needn't worry, although he will probably fret anyway because you're sort of exuding self-hate hormones or whatever like some type of evil brain perfume, so he can't help but be a little neurotic by proxy.

I have three pairs of geode wing-shaped earrings. One is black, one is lavender, and one is white. I use them to indicate my mood. 

Today is definitely a black wing day.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Inverted tree versions, courtesy of Patrick

My dear husband played around with my tree and came up with a couple inverted versions that were pretty cool. Pity it would've been nearly impossible to do these by hand, what with the tiny lines here and there. Enjoy!

Inverted with diffuse glow - makes me think of a tree in heaven

Inverted with embossed effect - kinda neat
I miss you, Rei. I think you would've liked my tree.

This is what multiple straight hours of hypomanic drawing will give you


This project was commissioned by my sister for the master bedroom of the house she and her husband just bought. It's on 20x24" canvas (which is apparently huge), and I think it turned out well. I was originally going to do a negative space tree, but it ended up not working with all the tiny details. I'd have had to draw it all normally, then take a picture, import it into Photoshop, invert the colors, then send the file off to Zazzle or something in order to have it printed on canvas. Giant pain in the rear and expensive. No thank you. Regular tree it is.

Seriously, it's huge. Look at that sucker.
I fell asleep early yesterday and had the dream I wrote about in the previous post, woke up to take down the dream before it faded, then found myself awake and rather hypomanically energetic, so I decided to make the most of my mood and take care of the tree project. I drew for what I think was either 4 or 5 and a half hours straight (time got a little blurry), and ended up going to bed around 3am.

Hypomania can be so useful when correctly directed. Pity I can't call it up on demand.

Feel free to right-click on the picture and download it if you'd like to print it out. All I ask is that you attribute it properly (at least with a link back to this blog) if you decide to post it elsewhere. Thank you!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Excerpt from a dream I had, written up in story form

Helf and Maria stopped by while I was supervising the party room decorations. They looked around in dismay, and I quickly filled in the awkward silence: “Well, the original plan was to have a bunch of contracted workers come by and fix this up really nicely, but they’re all dead.”

They regarded me with some skepticism. “Contractors are known pathological liars.” 

“No, really. I wish I were making it up, but they’re dead. We suspect bird flu. Or possibly a curse. We’re not actually sure, but we’re looking into it. Meanwhile, we have a part-time goon filling in.”

They looked over at the rent-a-thug, who was sullenly slopping grey paint on the walls and occasionally slapping a shitty plastic glow-in-the-dark star on the spaces that seemed relatively dry.

“It looks….nice,” said Helf, somewhat unconvincingly. 

“No it doesn’t. It looks like crap. But I’d like to see you do better with fifty-two dead contractors and a cut-rate minion. Now, that Science Center room? The one with all the fiber optics and glass? THAT is a first class star room. It’s so accurate that everyone gets nauseous when they wander inside it. Perfect. It’s not space unless someone throws up. But they wouldn’t rent it to us. Probably because they had to clean up all the vomit from our last shindig.”

“Why are you still wearing that weird blossom skirt? And, for that matter, why do you still look like Katy Perry?” Helf asked me, quirking an eyebrow.

“Wouldn’t you? It’s made of eternal petals that never go limp or lose their color.” Helf had to admit that yes, he probably would still be wearing it. I flounced over to a chair and then thought better of it, plopping my flowery rear end on the table instead. "I have no idea about the Perry thing, but it might have been something I ate. I've been gastronomically adventurous lately. It should wear off in a week or so."

“What happened with that ancient shrine quest you were on last week?” Maria inquired.

“Oh, that. Yeah. I’d apparently solved the puzzle in an earlier life or while impersonating Kanye West in a drug stupor or something, because I knew exactly how to open the strange little wall safe. We ended up with some immortality-conferring statue or whatever and approximately two hundred and fifty thousand bucks' worth of Royal Tahitian vanilla sugar cubes. I piled them in the kitchen until I could figure out what to do with them, and stopped in a while ago to find Sulu excitedly plunking them into drinks for the party. I told him how much they were worth and he started looking a little green. I think we only lost a pound or so of them, and I crammed the rest into a safety deposit box where I’m sure they’ll go rancid before we can find a buyer. C’est la vie. The students were all very impressed with their drinks, so at least it wasn’t a total loss.” I shrugged.

“Oh, and incidentally, that ziplining thing isn’t really functioning anymore.” They looked confused. “Remember how there was a zipline that led directly into that old teriyaki joint?” Vague nods of recollection followed this memory-churning question. 

I twirled a lock of hair around a finger and gave my minimum-wage ex-con the stink eye for slacking off. He grunted and went back to rage-painting the same section of wall.

“Well, it was all fine and dandy for quite a while. The kids would jump off the zipline right into the revolving booths, while everyone else preferred to sail past the initial landing spot and crash-land into the thoughtfully provided ball pit. Unfortunately, one of the last dudes to do that forgot to let go and splattered himself all over the back wall and most of the ball pit. Even more unfortunately, we discovered that he’d eaten something like five tuna sandwiches before he took the dive, so we ended up spending three or so months bleaching the entire place to get the smell out.

"The locals decided they didn’t really have a taste for rotten fish-smelling ball pits anymore (and something about it being haunted by the guy’s ghost who was still pissed off about there not being a softer landing spot, but those were just unsubstantiated rumors spread by overly credulous teenage girls who notoriously believe everything, no matter how stupid), so the teriyaki joint lost enough business that they gave up and left. Apparently no one wanted to eat there if they had to actually walk through a door instead of crash through the window. The food wasn't that great.

“Now there’s just a For Lease sign propped up against the wall. It was on a window, but the teenagers kept crashing through it. The zipline’s still there, and they still use it, but now they wear stolen Kevlar outfits so they don’t get hacked up by the broken glass. I considered replacing it, but it seemed like a waste of municipal funds. They’d just break it again anyway. Besides, if they’re destroying the same property over and over right here, they’re not wrecking it elsewhere. Silver linings."

“How did the church restoration project go?” Helf was looking more discouraged by the second, but luckily I had an amusing tale of greed run amok prepared for just such an occasion.

“After everything got smashed up in the Fifth Annual Ancient Figurine Challenge, the local cardinal sent our bishop a check for two million to cover the necessary repairs to the cathedral. Entertainingly, the next week our dearly beloved Bishop Aldren received a commendation certificate from the church’s in-house maintenance department for being so selfless and donating every penny of the ten thousand dollars the cardinal had given him to church repairs, without keeping any for himself and the stress he suffered. You just can’t get anything done right these days, what with all the corpses and money laundering. That's religion for you.

“I don’t think anyone else knows about the cash, but I know, and Aldren knows I know, and that’s enough for now. I might need him in the future, and I’ll feel better knowing blackmail is just a phone call away. The maintenance squad got on the smashed up stained glass project with their pitiful ten grand and managed to put in some plexiglass they got on the cheap from the local sports outlet by heavily duct-taping it into place. It mostly keeps the rain out. Granted, having NFL logos all over the side of the cathedral probably wasn’t exactly what God had in mind, but you never know. Maybe He’s a Packers fan. I can’t wait to hear what the cardinal has to say the next time he comes to visit. I think I’ll bring a digital recorder and a martini. Three martinis.

“Anyway, aside from half a hundred guys dead from maybe-cursed-bird-flu or some local nutjob’s latest brouhaha, we’re doing pretty well. This wretched room ought to be finished in a few days, and I should really find a place for that eternal life statue thingy that’s a little more secure than an airport Rent-a-Locker. It’s just such a pain to deal with. It’s bulky and heavy, and it smells like more than one creature of questionable heritage died while hugging it in fruitless desperation. Guess the immortality bit was kind of predicated on still having access to food and water, and since the statue was locked in a magical vault and protected by an assortment of horrifying anti-theft measures including (but not limited to): fire-rivers, a mile-long gauntlet filled with randomly oscillating razor-sharp threshing blades, two rooms full of completely different poisonous gases, and of course the traditional Sphinx, there weren't a lot of refreshment opportunities.”

At this point, Helf and Maria were both looking suspiciously like they wanted to back away slowly. 

“What did you do about the Sphinx? Isn’t she supposed to ask nearly impossible riddles and then kill you if you can’t answer them? You’re fairly bright, but I never really considered you a riddling savant,” Helf said, almost apologetically.

“No, no, you’re quite right. I’m not nearly smart enough to answer anything that Sphinx might have asked me, but she didn’t ask me anything, and that’s why I’m still here. It’s amazing what you can get done with a stolen Maori war club: monster-beating, minion-threatening, lopping off Sphinx heads before potentially troublesome riddles can be asked…”

“You beheaded the Sphinx? Wasn’t she some kind of national treasure or something?” Maria's face was starting to turn the shade of white one sees right before the person decides they can’t take it anymore and starts either scream-laughing or faints from freaked out mental overload.

“Oh don’t worry, it’s FINE. I just glued on a fake one afterward. I had a copy made by this guy I know down by the docks. It looks great. She doesn’t ask riddles anymore, of course, but they can’t exactly blame me for a malfunctioning Sphinx. Those things are supposed to protect themselves because hello, riddles. They don't make Sphinxes like they used to.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Audio: Inside the Mind of Someone With Mental Illness or This Is Why I Can't Sleep Without Drugs

Remember: this is the best I've ever been, in terms of stability. I'm not suicidal or homicidal or anything like that. I'm not even self-harmy. This is just a snapshot of what it's like inside my head. This is normal for me. Imagine this, but with three or four other inner voices layered on top, some talking about the same thing and some talking about completely different subjects. This is why I can't sleep without meds. It just will not shut up.

video

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

City life and sundries

Traffic really sucked yesterday. It was a combination of a Mariners game and Aurora's tunnel (and a bit north of it) being closed for roadwork. This meant that everyone was shunted onto the freeways and downtown streets trying to get to said freeways. Fun! We eventually made it home, but it was really tiresome. Behold:

I took this from Patrick's car as we were slowly making our way down 2nd Ave toward Pike St.
I'm working on my flexibility still, and it's steadily increasing. I love being able to note improvements almost every single day. I had one moment of terror last night when I was working on doing side splits. I was standing upright with my legs as far apart as they would go, and then as I maneuvered them into a deeper stretch I ran out of yoga mat to stand on, which meant my feet were then on the carpet, and that rug is slippery when you're putting a lot of sideways pressure on it! I felt my leg start to slide out from underneath me and into a stretch depth that I was in no way ready for, made sort of an "Aaaauuuugh!" sound, and managed to fall over backward before I tore anything.

It was all very exciting, I assure you.

Tomorrow is my final ballet class for two weeks, until the interim session begins. That will be twice per week, and I am very much looking forward to it. What will I do with myself for two weeks until it begins again?! I need my ballet! UW's Experimental College, which is what the classes are registered through, was supposed to have their fall catalog open for registration on August 24th. That has failed miserably. They're now three days late and no one there will give me a straight answer on when it might actually happen. I am bound and determined to sign up for all the classes I can. The closest they would give me to a release date for fall was "sometime near the end of the week". Thanks, guys. Helpful. I just keep manically checking it every few hours to see if anything has changed. So far nothing has, and I keep getting taunted by that stupid Summer 2014 Registration Now Open! thing on their site. I'm making a rude gesture at that thing right now.

I really want a barre and some springy wood flooring so I can practice at home. You can apparently buy ballet flooring by the square foot or something, and the tiles just snap together, so you can have a little space in your home for practice without having to mess with remodeling and all that crap. I mean, ideally I'd have a little studio that Patrick and I could share (he for trombone practice, I for dance), but alas we do not have that kind of space. Someday, maybe. At any rate, I'm hoping birthday and Christmas money will come through on the barre and floor front. I thought about getting one earlier, but I think I might as well wait until I've gotten all the beginning stuff really solidly in my head so I can make sure to practice correctly at home. It does not do to pick up bad habits.

We've been having these ghastly giant European house spiders wandering through our abode of late. At the tail end of summer they start trekking about houses looking for mates, and I am not a fan. Those things are enormous and creepy as hell. They're also insanely fast. Apparently they held the Guinness Book of World Records spot for fastest spider speed (yes, that's a thing) until they got beaten by something else, but that other thing isn't even really a true spider, so I think they still technically win. The Widget thinks they're hilarious. She just stares at them and holds out a paw, then gently squishes them a little and lifts up her paw again to look and see if they're still there. Worst. Hunter. Ever. Good thing she's lovable and snuggly.

I think today is going to be the last bit of summer heat, as the forecast after today's high of 84F starts dropping off abruptly into the low 70s and then mid to high 60s. I am one happy girl. This hyar gonna be boot weather pretty soon, y'all! Not that I'm not wearing them now anyway, but it will be even better with cooler weather. I'm just too pigheaded to let a little thing like heatstroke keep me from wearing my beloved boots. Heatstroke is for weenies. Now if only it would rain...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Medication, mental stability, and melancholy, oh my!

I think this is the most stable I've ever been in my entire life. These meds seem to really be doing the trick. It's a surprisingly large amount of them, but I feel drastically better. Check this out:

Morning - 100mg Seroquel (anti-psychotic) and 1mg Klonopin (anxiety)
Night - 300mg Seroquel (anti-psychotic), 100mg Lamictal (anti-depressant), 5mg Ambien (fixes insomnia), 10mg Prazosin (anti-nightmares), 2 liquigels NyQuil (sleep aid), 2 pills Benadryl (sleep aid)

The sheer amount of pills I swallow at night is rather impressive. I kind of look like a drug addict. And they're almost all weird colors, so they look like a pile of mutated Skittles.

I was wondering last night if I'd gotten boring since reaching an actual stable place. Like, am I less interesting or less me if I'm this normal? I'd been so accustomed to being sort of psycho that I just figured that's how I was, but with this current drug cocktail I seem to have evolved into a normal sort of human.

Mind you, I don't miss the bad stuff. Or at least not the torturous parts of it. I do sort of miss the hypomanic creativity that occasionally dropped by to pay a visit. And I guess I thought that if I was going to have these problems whether I wanted them or not, I might as well consider them something unique-ish about myself (not to say there aren't other people with my particular flavor of crazy, but I don't personally know any of them).

But that's kind of gone now, smothered under a soothing blanket of meds that are decreasing my horrible anxiety and getting rid of the hearing voices/seeing weird stuff problem, along with allowing me to get a decent amount of sleep that isn't constantly filled with terrifying dreams.

I had an almost panic attack a couple months back that started to gain momentum and then just sort of....dissipated. It just ran out of fuel, like something sucked the gasoline back into the can and doused the spark before it could explode. That was an interesting experience, let me tell you. And I haven't had a panic attack since. It's weird. And nice.

I'd also worn my continued survival and ability to plow through the bad shit as a kind of badge of honor, like "Look at me, I can keep on breathing in spite of this horrible stuff!" But now there is nothing like that to deal with. I still have some low days, and some higher ones, but the amplitude of all the waves has definitely been lowered on both ends of the spectrum.

Don't get me wrong: I'm very pleased that I've finally arrived at a place where I don't want to kill myself every damn day. I still think about it at least once a day, but that's just kind of a habit at this point. I don't regard it as being actively suicidal. And I still have the urge to stab myself in the neck when I feel guilt over doing something I know isn't the best decision I could've made (too many boots, anyone?), but it's completely resistible. I haven't self-harmed in ages. My scars are starting to fade, and that is pretty cool.

I guess I just wonder if there's some part of me that's been lost in the calming currents of this medication cocktail. Is there some flame that's been reduced to a flicker? Am I as interesting a person as I was before this? I'm quieter than I was, and much more able to handle everyday situations. I suppose today is one of those melancholy days. I think for the most part I'm content with how things stand now. I just... I don't know.

It's a strange thing, wondering if you mourn the loss of something that wasn't really very good for you in the first place, and I can't tell whether or not I do. There's no doubt that the way I was before would've ended poorly without medication. Best case scenario, I'd have ended up with scars all over from self-harm. Worst case, I probably wouldn't have made it to 30. So this is definitely preferable to either of those.

When I went to see this hematologist (who also happens to work in an oncological capacity) about my weird bleeding thing (nothing was found, he doesn't know why I bleed, total mystery), I had to fill out the usual medical crap about what all is wrong with you, what meds you're on, etc. Then I got a letter in the mail that said while they usually only counsel people who have active cancer, they'd be available to talk to me if I wanted some help. This is because I bothered to fill out the survey thingy truthfully, including my meds and mental issues.

No, I don't want therapy. I've had it, and it worked for what I needed. Right now I'm doing well just with meds, and I don't really want to hash out my feelings with anyone. I guess I appreciate the gesture they made. It was nice of them. It's just aggravating when you tell people the truth about your mental stuff and they immediately panic. Then you have to spend time reassuring them about your own brain, which is both confusing and rather annoying. "No, really. I promise thinking about killing myself at least once a day is TOTALLY NORMAL." They get this deer-in-the-headlights look and start running on about anti-depressants and lithium and how I need to get a therapist or join a dialectical behavioral therapy group or whatever (insert various Suicide Panic ideas here).

At this point it just makes me sigh and roll my eyes inwardly. I suppose I could just not fill out those things truthfully and avoid the whole business, but then it might raise some awkward questions if I ended up having to talk about them after all and the person was like so why exactly did you not mention these extremely worrisome issues on the survey? SIGH. Because I knew you'd overreact exactly like you are doing.

This post has gone on way longer than I thought it would. I don't know if it made sense to any of you, but I felt like getting my current brain miasma off my chest. So there, world. Enjoy my ramblings.

I wish I had some hot chocolate.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Art

I decided to bang out some art while I was waiting around at work, and here it is:


Kinda mehndi-flavored, and definitely not my best ever, but it was something to pass the time. I think I'll try working out how to do a negative-space tree this weekend. My sister wants one to decorate her new house, and I'll see what I can do.

Peace out, y'all.