ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ ᴏᴜᴛsɪᴅᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡɪɴᴅᴏᴡ ɪɴ ғʀᴏɴᴛ ᴏғ ᴍᴇ ɪs ᴅᴜʟʟ ᴀɴᴅ ɢʀᴀʏ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇs sᴛɪʟʟ ᴀ ʜɪɴᴛ ᴏғ ʙʟᴜᴇ ᴛᴏ ɪᴛ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘɪᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴘᴀᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴏɴ ʀᴀɪɴᴅʀᴏᴘs ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴏᴏғ ɪs ʀᴇʟᴀxɪɴɢ. ɪᴛ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs ᴍᴇ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴄᴀʟᴍ. ᴍʏ ᴄᴏғғᴇᴇ ɪs ʀᴇғʀᴇsʜɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇᴊᴜᴠɪɴᴀᴛɪɴɢ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴀᴛ sᴘᴇᴄɪᴀʟ ᴡᴀʏ ɪᴛ ʀᴇsᴇʀᴠᴇs ғᴏʀ ᴄᴏɴɴᴏɪssᴇᴜʀs, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ᴍʏsᴇʟғ ɴᴏᴡ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ sᴀᴋᴇ ᴏғ ᴍʏ ɪᴍᴀɢᴇʀʏ ᴏʀ ᴇᴍᴏᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜɪs ᴛʜɪɴɢ ɪs. ɪ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ᴅᴀʏ ᴀʜᴇᴀᴅ ᴏғ ᴍᴇ. ᴡᴇ ᴀʟʟ ᴅᴏ, ʜᴇʀᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜɪs ʟɪғᴇ. ғᴏʀ ᴍᴇ, ɪ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ɪᴛs ɪᴍᴘᴏʀᴛᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴀs ᴄʀᴇᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴀs ᴘᴏssɪʙʟᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇsᴇ ᴛᴡᴇɴᴛʏғᴏᴜʀ ʜᴏᴜʀs. ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇ sᴜʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴍʏsᴇʟғ, ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ɪɴ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴅᴏ (ᴛᴏ ᴀᴄᴄᴏᴍᴘᴀɴʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴄᴇ ɪ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴡʜᴏ ɪ ᴀᴍ). ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ғɪɢᴜʀᴇ ᴛʜɪɴɢs ᴏᴜᴛ. ʟᴇᴀʀɴ. ʀᴇᴀᴅ. ᴇɴᴊᴏʏ. ʟᴏᴠᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴅᴇᴇᴘʟʏ, ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍʏ ᴛʀᴀᴅᴇᴍᴀʀᴋ ғᴀʀ-ʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ғɪᴇʀᴄᴇ ʙʀᴀɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴀғғᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. ɪ ɢᴜᴇss ᴛʜɪs ɪs ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ᴀʟʟ ᴛᴏ sᴀʏ: ɢᴏᴏᴅ ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ. ♡

It was dark.

The only light in the room was coming off the clock on the nightstand, which indicated that it was 4:02am by way of a dull blue glow. It was too fucking early. And too fucking dark. And cold. Fuck the cold.

Insomnia ravaged her. Again.

The grunting snores of her boyfriend, fast asleep next to her, sent her temper spiraling but she was comatose despite the succession of jittery shockwaves pulsing through her body. She didn’t get up. She didn’t move. No matter how hard she willed herself to, she didn’t so much as roll over.

Why bother?

She didn’t want to wait til dawn to break. She wanted it to come now. She needed it and needed it now, in this moment, because waiting is the worst and she didn’t have the patience for it. This sucked.

It was her fault, she hated to admit. She’d drugged herself to sleep (thank you sleeping pill, melatonin, and cbd oil) at 6:27 because she couldn’t stand the thought of being awake for a moment longer, staring blankly at the wall. No, her brain was too loud but it wouldn’t allow her to move and her stomach growled angrily but it couldn’t bear the heaviness of food and there were texts to answer but no words were available to her. No, fuck that. Time to fucking sleep.

At two in the morning she’d opened her eyes but forced them shut again. Forced her brain into a quasi sleep mode by having made up conversations in her head, half concentrating on them until she couldn’t any more and the fake attempt at batting away the longing for a friendly voice, a friendly presence, faded into unfulfilling sleep.

Two hour of tossing and turning and it brought her to her present wide-awake state. Fuck.

Get up and do something, she berated herself. Get to your headphones, blast some metal, or open your laptop, do some writing.

No amount of internal urging seemed to be enough to summon the motivation to move.

She was just about to attempt to get another round of restless sleep in, but the thought of doing so was more exhausting than actually doing it. So she finally got up. Cold enveloped her.

She paced. She paused. She stood motionless like a confused zombie trying to get her thoughts together but it was a messy, tangled web up in her mind. Wires were twisted. None of them were plugged into the right connections.

Gravity amazingly pulled her to her desk, where her headphones thankfully sat on a pile of books, which thankfully was next to her laptop. A sweatshirt was thrown over the back of her chair, and she used what little energy she had to pull it over herself. It was a miracle that the setting was now one that allowed for a meager amount of productivity to take place.

A miracle. That’s what’s worth calling a miracle? How stupid. How pathetically stupid. But whatever.

Headphones on. Music loud. Laptop open. Document pulled up. Aaaaand, go!

“Going” took another few minutes of zoned-out staring, but somehow her fingers were brought to the keyboard and somehow they started moving and somehow the movements formed words that appeared on the too-bright screen in front of her.

Why is this happening again? Why did I let this happen again? Why did I make this happen again and why am I continuing to push myself father into it. Again. I’m guilty as charged. I hate myself.

It went on like that for a while. Her words chased themselves in circles. Negativity. Self-hate. Anger. It went on until she began to write fervently and passionately and quickly, so quickly, her fingers barely keeping up with the pace at which her brain threw thoughts into formation.

She shrugged her sweatshirt off. Rolled up her sleeves. Was it getting hotter, or was she becoming overheated like a computer that’s been on for too long? Did it even matter?

Her eyes flicked away from the computer for a fraction of a second.

Bad move. Losing the flow was always a bad move. She lost the momentum and let her thoughts wander and…fuck, no. Why did she let her thoughts wander?

But the tattoo on her left forearm shouted loudly from its type-written font: Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!

Fucking positivity.

Yet there was a pale light in the distance now. It fell through the window as if by accident but it stayed like it was comfortable in the bedroom. Morning had come. She shut her laptop.

She collapsed back into bed, weary from the exertion of being awake and alive.

But at least she got an hour and a half of sleep.

*

“If you have the courage to make it through a lonely night with nothing but your self destructive thoughts to keep you company, darling, you have the courage to make it through anything.”

Morning Routines: why I (try to) stick to mine and how (I think) it helps with the bipolar thing

I’ve been watching YouTube videos a lot lately.  A habit that started out by me using it as background noise (I’d literally search “Disney World area loop music” and just listen to it while working and pretend I’m at the parks, ahhhh).  And then I discovered guided meditations and positive affirmations and all that. The ASMR videos are cool too. But like, YouTubers are a thing now. A huge thing, actually. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly a thing for the youngsters of today’s world, so I feel kinda silly getting sucked into that world at 28 (even though someone literally told me that another group of people she knows asked “why isn’t she in school” and “does she drive herself here” –AKA, they thought I was 18 years old at most, lmao). Buuuuut there are so many interesting videos to watch.  I generally stay in the self-improvement category. And yeah, it’s all these like, put-together looking girls in these minimalistic apartments, and not gonna lie it kinds makes me feel like I’m a shitty adult haha. But the videos fascinate me.

Now, to my actual point: there’s a lot of emphasis on morning routines in that genre of video.  A topic I’ve always found interesting, by the way. I remember having this little notebook in fifth or sixth grade (it had black pages so I wrote on it with a purple glitter gel pen…remember those?) and every night I’d write down what I had to or wanted to do the next morning.  As if a ten-year-old had so much to fucking remember. Also, it’s an interesting memory because I’m pretty sure it’s indicative of the slew of mental illnesses I’d later develop haha. Anyway, I continued to do the routine thing through high school. In my anorexic high school days I had a fairly rigid morning routine (the whole day was routine, actually, scheduled pretty much minute to minute…like I said, hello mental illness!).

I’m rambling. Surprise.  Moving on, though…

Nowadays I try and stick to a specific set of steps after waking up.  Because it’s apparently good for us bipolars, with our disrupted cycles, sleep patterns, body clocks, and circadian rhythms, to keep external things in check.  Makes sense. Keeping everything as routine and structured as possible minimizes external chaos (we have enough internal chaos). Minimizes anxiety. In other words, since we need all the help we can get, might as well help ourselves that way.

Routines are also helpful in that they make us more efficient, saves time (which is such a valuable commodity), allows us to build better habits, and gives us more mental space by reducing how many decisions we have to make (I can’t be the only bipolar person who fuckin’ sucks at making decisions).  Damn, that sentence was so research-papery. Whatever.

Okay, before I continueeee, allow me to reveal to all three of you who might be reading this what my mornings actually look like:

I wake up around 6 or 7.  Like, every day. I just spring awake at that time usually, and even if I have to kinda urge myself out from under the covers, I like getting up early.  So I make myself. Mornings are full of promise and possibility and coffee.  Gotta savor the good shit, amiright?

Then I hafta immediately take my meds, otherwise GUESS WHAT, I ain’t gonna.  Swallow three pills. Boom. Finish the glass of water. Take some more supplements (calcium, fish oil, magnesium, passionflower extract which btw is amazing for anxiety reduction, etc).  And right after all that, I record my sleep, meds and supplements, and moods in some of my many mood-tracking apps (mainly Daylio and eMoods, both of which I suggest you download).

Moving into the bathroom.  Wash my face. Brush my teeth and listerine the shit outta my mouth to remove that chalky disgusting med taste away.  Do my hair. Bedroom. Get dressed in the outfit I laid out last night because I’m anal about that. Put on makeup and earrings if I feel so inclined.

I might stretch or something.  Ya know. Limber up. Try to get all nice and bendy.  And because I’m having a “fun little throwback to the eating disorder of my youth,” I’ve been doing crunches and pushups, because doesn’t that sound fun.

Oh, and I try to take conscious breaths before I throw myself into the land of social media and journaling and all that nonsense.  Inhale and exhale. I struggle with that, dunno if any of you do too?).

Anddddd who could forget coffee.  Gotta get that coffee. And enjoy every damn sip.  I’d love to tell you I do the whole mindful drinking thing, but eh, I can only do so much good for myself hahaha.

Okay, right.  That’s what I do in the morning, and I actually do think it sets me up for success.  All the hip YouTubers say what you do in the morning matters (there are literally tons of videos about it, go find some fun ones if you want).

I dunno why I felt the need to share this information with all of you readers (all three of you…I am not a very popular blog, I should proooobably work on growing this thing if I wanan be the writer I was born to be, huh?), but I had fun writing it, so.  Yeah. Morning routines 🙂

We don’t have curtains on our windows, which is probably dumb for a few reasons, but the upside is that I get to wake up in harmony with the entire stretch of world that exists on the other side of the glass. Sometimes that means there’s a gradual lightening of everything outside that is echoed on my face when I’m starting to open my eyes and sometimes that means night’s darkness simply fades into a dull gray. Sometimes it means waking up to a burgeoning sunrise that paints the sky in broad red and orange strokes. It all depends on the day.

I’ve come to think of the morning sky as a screen on which the quality of my day ahead is projected.  In layman’s terms, the weather has a pretty big effect on the already-tenuous grip I have on my moods. And this isn’t coming from a place of superstition. Weather patterns actually impact mood. The sun can pull people away from the abyss of depression, rain can send gloom through even the happiest of people, and humidity makes people edgy and irritable. It makes sense. Not to mention seasonal affect disorder, whose sufferers’ moods cycle with seasonal changes (and oh hey, as a resident bipolar, I’ve obviously noted that my episodes align with such patterns).

So when the morning sky is a vast expanse of bright blue, chances are I’ll be starting out well-rested, rejuvenated, ready for the day’s adventures to begin. When the early morning is masked with cloudy skies, I’ll likely be starting with a vague ennui that might develop into nagging anxiety if not taken care of. When red and orange clouds linger with the climbing sun, it’s usually wise for me to heed the phrase that sailors have passed down over time and “take warning,” since chaos is surely brewing. Picturesque dawn means the sun is shining from below as inclement weather approaches from the west, scattering light through the present water vapor. And as beautiful as it might be, the calming hues of purple and blue are still chased away as if frightened by the impending storm.

In reality, no known atmospheric condition has power in itself to transcend symbolism and legitimately affect the circumstances of my day. My reaction to certain circumstances is certainly influenced by them; sunshine might make me more inclined to brush aside annoyances, clouds might make that harder to do, and a storm might bring forth my desire to hide away.

But it’s necessary to remember, even if only in the back of my mind, that I have the power to control how my days go. Regardless of the weather, and mood disorder aside, I have more power than I think.

Romanticize the shit out of your life, honestly

Morning Affirmations

The sky woke up with a dull, gray covering this morning. And although I usually prefer when dawn chases the night away, forcing it to retreat while purples become pinks become oranges, I’m trying to view this rainy, stormy day as a potential adventure. The heavens are open, life-giving water is pouring into the earth, and the sound of rolling thunder is somehow calming. I’m at my favorite coffee shop. The meditative, chattering background noise along with the raindrops pitter-pattering against the large window in front of me soothes my mind —which is fairly quiet this morning compared to a typical day in my life. I’m taking slow, full breaths, inhaling the deep aroma of freshly brewed coffee and positivity. Exhaling thoughts of today’s potential chaos. My insides are expanding to allow space for observation; today I will watch my emotions flow back and forth, melting into one another, as an impartial judge. I refuse to contract, to fold into myself. I refuse to decrease in size, to shrivel into fear, to let myself tighten when I needn’t let myself tighten. I am vast and all-encompassing. I greet this day with a curious disposition. And as I sit here in contemplative stillness as the world and I wake up, gaining conscious preparedness, following the tried-and-true routines that keep us safely secured amid the rush of life, I know I can retain the cozy comfort of this rainy, stormy morning.