And then there are the days that I knew would come…

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The days when I curl up in my recliner with the pugs tucked in around me and hold onto my latté with a death grip.

The days when both sides of the kitchen sink are piled so high with dirty dishes that every time I go in to do them I feel so overwhelmed and forlorn I shrug and slink out of the kitchen and just let them keep piling up. I’m going to get it done though. I will have to use the 1-2-3-4 method which will likely take at least 2 days.

1. When I have to get up to go to the bathroom or anything that takes me through the kitchen I have to open the dishwasher and unload one rack.

2. Next time I go through I unload the other rack.

3. Next time I load the dishes and start the dishwasher.

4. The last time I hand-wash the things that either wouldn’t fit or can’t go in the dishwasher and wipe down and straighten the counters.

Nothing makes me happier than a really clean kitchen. It’s getting from here to there that’s the problem. You see it is, well, perhaps I can sing it to you. It goes to the tune of Bad Moon Rising by Credence Clearwater Revival, one of my favorite groups back in the 70’s. Good God I’m old. I put the youtube link in the title for those of you who are — flinching — too young to remember this song. I can’t actually sing it to you because of fear of copyright infringement, but you get the drift. Here are my lyrics, based on theirs, but theirs aren’t so bipolary…

“I see the Bi-i-polar rising
I see there’s trouble on the way
I feel the anxiety and I’m frightened
It’s been a damned hard day.

Don’t come round tonight
I’m bound to take your li-ife
Bad bipolar’s on the rise…”

I will spare you the rest.

Right now I am on the couch with my posse beside me. My pug posse that is. They see me through thick and thin and are just the right size, like soft, warm, furry little teddy bears, to pick up and squeeze and kiss and hold onto when I need to steady myself.

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 They’ve been squeezed a lot these last few days. As you can see they are plumb worn out.

Okay I’ve been beating around the bush but here’s the deal. I knew that despite my commitment to writing this book — and I am deeply committed and GOING to write the book and nothing will stop me, even if I stumble along the way — that being bipolar and writing this book was going to have it’s ups and downs, but I’ve been terrified because more than once I’ve been knocked off my horse, so to speak, and couldn’t make myself get back up in the saddle. But this time I’m prepared. I know that it not only can, but will happen. Also I started a new medication a week or so ago and sometimes it makes me fuzzy headed or headachey or more tired than usual at which point the pugs and I curl up and take a nap. This being the case I had to come up with a strategy that would keep me moving forward even if I had to go so slow at times that inchworms would pass me on the path. But, well, where am I going? I’m going to be right here, and if it takes me 2 or 3 or 5 years what does it matter? It won’t take that long but the point is why beat myself up when I have hard days. No, I just have to dip a toe in and keep on going.

So my strategy is this. I have 3 notebooks. 2 I have torn the covers off of because, well, one tore off accidentally and with my compulsive sense of symmetry I couldn’t stand for the other one to have a cover. These are some of my favorite little sketch books in the whole wide world by Global Arts. I have their sketchbooks in all kinds of sizes. Bought them a couple of years ago when I fell in love with them and could get them in batches wholesale. These are little 6×6 inch books and they have wonderful orange covers with flaps. I love the covers, but what with the accidental mishap and the symmetry issue and all I had to take the other one off. But the paper is very crisp and white and wonderful to write on with a fountain pen. Then there’s my Moleskine. I have these too in different sizes and whatnot, some with soft covers and some with hard, but when I am going to be seriously banging about with one I like a hardcover and I like the reporter style that flips open from the top. Here, you can see them when I was writing last night…

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One of the Global Arts notebooks I use for research notes, one I use to sketch out the chapters, and the Moleskine goes everywhere with me, from room to room or in my huge turquoise purse if I have to go out. That Moleskine holds me up if I have to leave the house to go out into the scary world. I use it for everything from notes, short ideas on the fly so I don’t forget them to run with later, and even whole chapters are sometimes written in the Moleskine. This is going to be a book with a lot of very short chapters so it is perfect to write them out by hand first. I love writing by hand and have always written first drafts by hand. Now I do write first drafts on a computer but not whole drafts. I am always writing part of it by hand. The hand to heart connection is very powerful and gives the book some oomph it wouldn’t have if I did it all on the computer. Or that’s how it works for me in any case.

So I have my system and my little notebooks and they are always beside me with my kindle or current book and lots of pens of every type and color in case I need to doodly-doo to unwind my brain a little. And on these hard days if I can’t write a whole chapter or be that organized in my thinking I do some research and makes notes on that notebook or jot down ideas for chapters on the other one, maybe outline a little or shuffle things around. I am a very visual person and the way the paragraphs sit on the page is really important to me. And sometimes if I have been very gentle with myself and not knocked myself all around and beat myself up because I wasn’t doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing the little bits that I am able to do might inspire me to grab the Moleskine and GO! The gentler you are with yourself the easier it all goes. At least that is my experience.

So now it is just past midnight on Friday night. (I know that it is technically Saturday morning now but with the odd hours I keep until I go to sleep it is still “Friday Night.” Going to bed on the next day messes with my head a little.)

I have made notes, and done research, and a bit of doodly-dooing, so it has been productive for a day when my bipolary bits are acting up. I feel good about that. I was going to try to work on the book but while I will be up for some time yet my head hurts and I feel a little fuzzyfied so I will sign off here and put on a movie or a documentary and chill with the snoring pugs. They are just so cute, my little bundles of joy. So much love here even on the hard days.

Warm Regards & Deepest Blessings to all…

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Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Comments

  1. Whoa, you have a (working) dishwasher! Well my step by step process is for those who wash the dishes by hand.
    Whenever I have to go to the kitchen (to make coffee, to microwave something) I try to do one step.
    – Put away the dishes in the drainer.
    – Organize the dirty dishes if there are a lot of them.
    – Fill the dishpan with water and a low number of items to wash. Wash them.
    – Continue above step ^^ until all dishes are done.
    – Wipe off counter.
    – Look for one additional thing to clean like wiping off one appliance.

    Cheers!

    • Ha ha ha, yes, one of the benefits of having your house burn down is that when they rebuild they put a new one in. Of course the old one was working before all of the flooding and frozen pipes that ended up leading up to the fire. But I swear a dishwasher can be more work than washing by hand when you really let them pile up.

      And, uhm, additional things? Huh-uh, I don’t think so…. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping in honey… <3

      • You’re welcome, I love coming to see you!

        I grapple with mental health issues also and have little time, energy or interest left for housecleaning after working 40+ hours at the paycheck job. If I do have a burst of energy I’ll go up to my studio or even work in the yard (SPRING IS COMING SOON! Can’t wait to see your FLOWERS this year!)

        Brain wave this week, the One Paper Towel Plan: grab a bottle of spray cleaner, spray just an area big enough to clean with one paper towel, clean that one spot, wash your hands and move on!

        My thoughts are with you and the pugs on your creative journey. Keep those notebooks flowing!

        • Thank you so much Jennifer! I LOVE the one paper towel idea. Now if I could just teach the pugs to use the paper towels and cleaner! 😀

  2. I think you manage your bi-polar depression brilliantly, Maitri. You have your strategies, medication and experience–and best of all you have your pugs!

  3. I think you’re doing a great job! Its’s so important not to be too hard on yourself, especially when you’re involved in a creative endeavour-your book needs to be written in the way that’s best for you, and pug-hugging breaks will only add to the warmth of your writing! Super idea to keep all your notebooks handy-nothing worse than having a stroke of brilliance, not writing it down right away and then forgetting it-ugh! have a great day 🙂

    • Thank you so much Lynne. My notebooks are my security blankets. They have been since I was a little girl. As long as I have a notebook of some sort and a pen I’m good to go! 😀

  4. I am glad that you don’t let yourself be discouraged by your condition anymore.
    I too have to learn that I don’t have to be perfect (isn’t there a Mary Oliver poem?), that I just have to keep going and accept that there will be days which will be far below optimal. But that is ok. If I continue with the thing I want to do when I feel better it still will get done but when I stop because of some strange sense of procedural perfectionism it won’t. It is a tough learning for me to see the grace in failing and picking myself up again and again.
    Sending you lots of love, Corinna

  5. You have a dishwasher! I’m envious. Though they don’t magically clean the kitchen either. It’s just that things look greener over on that other side of the fence!

    Dishes pile up at my house too, and I don’t like cooking when the kitchen isn’t clean, so if I want to eat well, I have to stay on top of the cleanup. But I don’t. I try, but never seem to succeed for long.

    My approach (taught by my mother): clean the table and countertops and stove first, and stack the dishes. Then I have a nice, organized place to work, and washing dishes is much more pleasant. Often I find this stage is as far as I get the first time, and then I go back for stage two later: wash the silverware and glasses, and maybe just a couple more things, and then drain the sink and come back later to do the rest. It helps to have clean sudsy water all the way through, rather than the sludge I end up with if I try to do all the dishes in one go.

    The other part essential to my mental dish-doing health is getting into and staying in the right frame of mind while doing dishes. I used to be so impatient, hurrying through, thinking about all the other things I’d rather be doing, needed to be doing, would do — as soon as these damn dishes were finished. Now when I catch myself doing that, I’m reminded how it turns dishes into drudgery for me, simply because I’m not managing to stay in the present. So I look out the window and try to enjoy the moment; I put on some music to sing along to, or a CBC Radio broadcast that will engage my brain. Those things make a huge difference.

    And I talk myself into thinking of washing dishes as a kind of meditation on my great good fortune: I have lovely dishes, a kitchen with hot and cold running water (as so many women of this world do not), a safe home. It does seem I’m playing mind games with myself; but if I don’t, I can get quite resentful about being the person in my household who does all the dishes, when there is another adult who should be doing his share and isn’t.

    And I look at my little dog Ducky, a deer-faced chihuahua, adored, and think, “If only you could be trained to help with this chore!”

    All that said, I haven’t washed any dishes since Wednesday morning. Meant to get at them yesterday, my first day off out of four, but … life gets in the way, doesn’t it? They’ll always wait. This morning I used my last clean coffee mug; today I’ll take a run at the dishes. They are neverending anyway; you just get ’em done, and you start dirtying them again!

    I am glad you’re committed to writing your book. You’re a fine writer.

  6. did i miss something? what IS your book?????

    you have so many books within you, alot of them part written too. you are a walking legacy of books. and all put together they would be some book!!!!! xo ka

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