Fear of Falling and Failing

“…riding this unending wave of…unrealistic optimism…delusions of grandeur…”

I had been manic for over a week after sharing my art in a sexual assault survivors show, and talking to people there. There are times when I forget what lurks just under the surface, because I have been way off center since then. Of all things, I was so high the night of the show that I went next door to this Huge sculpture shop and blabbed about myself and how I want to sculpt (which I do), and introducing myself th the owner. He was very kind and personable, and sent me to talk to his designer, who was also very kind, very charismatic and really got me wanting to work in a shop again.

Flashback #937, mixed media on canvas ©SusanTMartin2017

I got a wee bit off the beam, though. I came home and started writing a grant proposal while simultaneously applying to this famous sculpture artist’s shop, while also offering to be an apprentice, and messaging the director in a crazily familiar manner… Whew! I am mortified when I think about it. Not only was I manic that day, I was on a roll for days and days, seemingly riding this unending wave of optimism. Unrealistic optimism, which I do believe is called delusions of grandeur.

the mirror…

Ah well, I guess I have a lot to be grateful for, I am clean and sober today so I didn’t try to seduce anyone, or get drunk and puke on anyone! Yes, that is a huge thing to be grateful about, because 21 years ago I had serious regrets after a night out. Oh boy. How easy to forget how far I’ve come!

I know now that I never have to go back to being an addict or an alcoholic, but how dare I ever forget this gift of sobriety. I know in the rooms of AA we would talk about keeping it fresh…I’m glad I’m writing to you now or I may not have remembered to be grateful. “Out of the mire and the sediment… You put my feet on a crag…a new song in my mouth…praise to our God!”

hope

I just heaved a great big sigh of relief, that all I have today is a gift, and I have so, so much more than I could ever deserve. To breathe to cool night air, to reflect on a day well lived, with a soft bed to sleep in and warm food in my belly. There was a different time back then- but it’s time to walk away from that wreckage in my mind. Pack it all back up into the little ammo can it lives in, bury it deep in the earth and let it dissolve into nothingness. I know that one day the memories will never hurt me again, and I will keep pushing on until that day comes.

Peace to you, my friends.

ENERGY! GREAT BURST OF ENERGY!

visualizing my goals has been HUGELY beneficail!

AMAZING!! I really have felt exhilarated , even in just this first week of “future me” thinking!

That’s just wonderful, I neeed this;

After all we have been thru this past year, and my isolation, my thinking had become sluggish, self-centered and negative. Too much couch potato activity, not enough oxygen getting into the ole noggin. I needed a jolt, a wake up, a SHAKE UP! And I received just what I needed, just in time.

(as a side note: I am EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL, so I credit God with leading me in the right direction, because I prayed to be able to serve him more fully. I believe the Bible where it says that when we request in our prayers the things that help us do his will, he Always answers us. Not like asking for a car, or a million bucks…)

Suggestions for refocusing have inspired me and are easy for me as an artist, because I am naturally a very visual person. I used my handmade visual prompts to great success when I lost 70 pounds in 2013-2014. I AM MAKING A BUNCH OF LITTLE POSITIVE NOTES, AND POSTING THEM ALL AROUND MY HOUSE! As has been suggested, I write some goals on them, a little doodle of what that looks like to me, and encouragement ; the kind of motivating encouragement I would offer a dear friend, or loved one. Notes like I used to stick everywhere for my Mom to cheer her. NOTES LIKE THESE:

A LITTLE THING LIKE THIS DOES WONDERS FOR MY MOTIVATION!!

This method of visual perks has helped me heal from Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and years of Emotional Abuse! I first was introduced to “ART Therapy” as an adolescent in a Psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. To get at the ‘real’ problem, this method allowed us to let out the pain, albeit subconsciously , by use of color, shape, pressure of marks, etc. The aim wasn’t to create a thing of beauty, it was to allow the anguish(or anger, etc.)to vent.

(For myself, this was insightful, and extremely freeing. I have uses this technique in my art practice to this day, very intense, more focused version of it. )

***I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!!!*** ATTENTION!! IF YOU FEEL LIKE HARMING YOURSELF GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!***

visualizing my goals has been HUGELY beneficial! as someone who had to depend on herself for positive confirmation and encouragement, I feel this small action has been pivotal in my motivation now!

One thing is crucial for me as someone with Bipolar Disorder, I have to constantly gauge my level of Mania when I feel so “UP”. If it is a Manic Episode I must reach out to my doctor before it escalates. For someone with this illness, mania can lead to devestating extremes of behavior. I ALWAYS take my illness seriously, TAKE MY MEDICATION, AND FOLLOW MY WELLNESS PLAN!!

I love my life today, and now that I pried myself away from Poptarts, Ice Cream and endless Film Noir, and my woman-eating Couch, I am feeling that love again!

Here is another therapeutic tool that has been Life Altering for me: Forgiving the Past Me.

I will discuss that in my next post!

wheeeee…it’s Mania Time!!!

Another day, another fifty cents gone from my pocket. I have been feeling rather generous lately, which is funny for someone who doesn’t have the proverbial pot (to pee in…) I have been looking for a way to thank Dad’s caregiver for going above and beyond the call of duty, so I am letting her choose a dress and some sandals from a mail-order dress shop. I am happy to do this, but I have to be careful when I get high handed with money. That is usually a sign that I’m manic, ready to go off on a spree.

Mania is the terrible and strangely wonderful phenomenon that occurs when a person has Bipolar Disorder and is in the “upswing” of the disease. It is the emotional opposite of the deep, dark depression- the other side of the two (Bi) parts of the illness. I become extremely animated and talkative, laugh loudly and joke constantly, and generally act out in unusual ways. People like me can become very promiscuous in a manic phase, doing things sexually that they would never normally do. I get so artistically stimulated that I can stay up all hours painting, drawing, writing, cleaning and washing, plus any other activity that crosses my zooming mind. I can go without food, or eat sweets like mad. I have gone on spending sprees in the past, buying land, and vehicles, and jewelry until I’ve gone bankrupt and in debt. The problem is, even though all this is great fun, it leaves me feeling terrible about myself. I used to go on drugging and drinking binges when I was manic, and do other stuff. I’m so grateful to be free of the compulsion to drink and drug, but the binge spending is still hanging on.

There are tools I learned over the years to deal with my manic spells, relaxation techniques and meditation. Plus I have a therapist I talk to, except I don’t have an appointment right now. The main thing is recognizing I am in a manic phase, and digging deep into my psyche to unveil the real problem, the issue I can’t deal with that brought the mania on.

I know what it is right now, and I’m awfully mad at myself. I had a weak moment last week and called my ex husband’s sister, under the pretense of seeing how she was. She knew I was calling to see how my Ex was, and she obliged me by telling me he’s remarried now. He’s been married 2 years, and I didn’t realize it, but I guess I thought of him as still being mine. Why I would want to call an abuser “my ex-husband” is some kind of Stockholm syndrome I think, and having suffered domestic abuse warped my mind somehow. Because I did call, after these years without him, these years I thought I was forgetting, healing and recovering. Now I am a manic mess, and I am having flashbacks, and nightmares and PTSD symptoms.

Our brains are amazing.

and I am nuts