✴ totally random apps that have helped me survive quarantine ✴

I’m so bored. Still. But there’s a lot to be thankful for. Still. And I’m trying to take note of it all. Which should be helpful during this chaotic period in our lives, right? Gotta try to look on the bright side, and since I’m able to, there’s no reason for me not to actually do it.

Technology always makes the list of shit that’s helpful to me. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I was born in a time where I didn’t have access to a phone.

I’ve downloaded lots of apps. That’s partially because I was in the wormhole of YouTube videos where people talk about their favorite quarantine apps, but I have no regrets about watching them and downloading some of them. I’ve even organized and re-ordered my apps all on my phone, and it’s made me feel that much more put-together, for some reason.

Anyway, this isn’t really new for me. I always talk about how apps make my life so much fucking better. Mood tracking ones (Daylio and eMoods, specifically) have been on my phone for a long time now and are so useful in so many ways, and omg, please allow me to geek out about the graphs and charts and data they provide me with (doesn’t it make my insane mood disorder sound cooler to think of my symptoms as “data points” or something?).

You probably guessed where this was going, but (to be trendy as fuck) here are my favorite apps and ones I’ve been using during this endless quarantine:

*Melly

I don’t remember where I heard about this one, but it’s super calming and makes me really enjoy guided breathing. It feels like forever ago that my therapist brought it to my attention that I can go long periods without actually pausing to take a breath haha. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve tried to stop and consciously breathe, and according to my fitbit heart rate thing, when I make an effort, it’s helpful in slowing things down to a more acceptable speed. So I’m really trying to make it a habit to steady my breath. I use Calm for peaceful background noise, and I actually currently have a month-long trial of a full subscription that I can actually meditate with, but I think Melly is more fun in a different way because you get to build a little zen garden thing. Super cute.

*Kitty Collector

Guys. You know when you’ve hit a slump and you’re bored and you want some form of stimulation so you pick up your phone but you wind up just staring at it because you don’t want to read the news and you’re sick of social media and you don’t have the head to play a game or read an article or check your email so then you close it only to open it again and repeat until something just kind of…happens? Yeah. I downloaded this game (would it even be called a game?) where you basically just take pics of cats that come to your yard and play with what you put out for them. It’s a free game with no adds (amazing), and it’s so soothing and calming. It’s great to have on in the background and have something to do when I look at my phone for something to fucking do.

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*Animal Crossing

Honestly, I downloaded this because I had to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone is obsessed with it, and I don’t have a Nintendo switch. When I saw there was an app (called Pocket Camp), I started to play and I have to say, it really is peaceful and relaxing. Mindless but in a way that feels like you’re actually doing something. And it makes me feel included in the craze, whiiiiich makes me happy.

*Unicorn Chef

Oookay. This is a kid’s game. But I downloaded it a while ago when I was big-time anxious, and it helped calm me down and distract me from panicking. It’s colorful. You “cook” unicorn and rainbow themed foods. That’s it. I’m obsessed. It’s an oddly satisfying game, and even though it’s for kids, I have no shame about playing it because it’s fucking helpful as fuck when I get overwhelmed

*#selfcare

The point of this “game” is to make people remember that there’s nothing wrong with not being productive all the damn time. Nothing wrong with just laying in bed and recharging. It’s like you’re in your bed, and there are little activities you can do to ground yourself or slow down or relax. It’s also just really pretty.

*Study Bunny

I use this one to help me get my writing done and focus a little better (since focusing is a constant struggle). It’s this little bunny you get to name and feed and keep happy. And you do that by setting the timer for however long you want, and then doing whatever you have to do. I also use the lo-fi music that comes with it, or if I want different focus-noise, the ticking of a clock sound. Aaaaaand it makes graphs, so I’m obviously a fan of that.

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*I’m just gonna group all of these as one: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+

Necessary, amiright? If binge-watching shows makes the days better, then why not do it? I also stream the news on YouTube and Hulu (although it’s been a while since I felt the need to do that).

*Pinterest

It’s so obvious to say, but like. I have been obsessed with my Pinterest lately. I always enjoyed it, but once I couldn’t leave my fricken house, I sat down and actually organized all my board and pins into categories and whatnot, and it was so satisfying. And now it makes me happy to scroll through it all for inspiration and ideas and honestly just because it’s aesthetically pleasing.

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*Habitica

Trying to be productive isn’t a bad thing. Obsessing over it and beating yourself up if you aren’t is a bad thing, but trying to do good things for yourself isn’t. I found this habit tracking app that turns doing what you want to do each day into sort of a role-playing game. It helps me make my days go how I want, it helps me get things done that I want to get done. And my motivation for completing my to-do list isn’t just “because I have to,” but because the gamification of my list makes it fun.

Special shoutouts to:

*video calling apps for obvious reasons

*my calendar apps and Trello for keeping me organized in an easy, colorful way

So yeah, I’m in no position to write any form of advice on how to be productive, but I think I’m certainly capable and qualified enough to write something on how to survive. I’m good at survival. (Is that something all of us with mental illness are good at?) And even though I’m not feeling like super put-together or on top of my shit, I’m still getting by, and I’m not unhappy or worried about soon becoming unhappy. And for me, after years of fighting with my moods, that’s huge.

I’ve gone through a few different phases during this whole thing, with varying degrees of motivation and frustration and productivity and enjoyment. It’s confusing. But there are small things that make me calmer or help me hold it together during the craziness. There have always been things like that, although I’d like to make a special shoutout to my lithium for being one major thing that’s allowed me to actually succeed in doing so.

I think I wrote this post because I was just overly excited about how much I love my phone???? But either way, I feel good about what I smashed onto this blog post, so have fun reading. Or don’t, no pressure.

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I’m wearing shorts and a tank top, it is SUMMER (sort of), but I can’t leave to gooooo anywhereeeeeee

 

quotes with my “morning” coffee

stronger than you think coffee

Bought this mug at Target yesterday bc reckless spending is how us bipolars cope right? But yeah, “morning vibes” at 3 in the fucking afternoon. Bc I’ve only just pulled it together. Other vibes to get honorable mentions: the “I got 4 hours of sleep last night bc I was sobbing too hard to calm down” vibe, the “should I try for the 4th time to voluntarily commit myself in the hopes that they’ll drug me into a coma until I have some semblance of sanity again” vibe, &the ever popular “I finally stopped crying over the fact that my coffee is medium roast as opposed to light so maybe I’ll have the energy to keep it together for an entire consecutive hour” vibe. I usually write during these episodes. I mean, I’m literally always writing, it’s basically all I do. But when I try to go back and read the last month’s worth of shit, it’s just…it’s just that, it’s just shit. (Not written in a shitty way, I’m fucking talented, it’s just SHIT because this feels like shit). I’m finding it useless to keep writing through this. There’s no use making sense of it. There’s no reason for this suffering. (Cue the positive voice I’ve rang out with so many times before: “well then FIND the meaning, CREATE the meaning!” Shut the fuck up, dumbass positive Laura). I am really grappling with the fact that nothing matters and everything is pointless. And holy shit, writing thing long ass negative post is not helping. I’m just trying to say that it’s 3 in the afternoon, I have a cup of coffee that tastes pretty good, in a mug I think is really adorable, and I have no special way to wrap this bullshit up. I see my doctor tomorrow and if she doesn’t immediately send me somewhere where that “wait it out while in a coma” thing is an actual option, maybe a *significantly* higher dose of *quite a few* more drugs will start to help…eventually. I have people I know IRL who follow me on this account so no one go freaking out yet. This is life. I’m dealing w it. I’m just complaining about it. So writer in me is dyingggg to find a way to tie together all the seemingly unrelated points I’ve made in this cry-for-attention post. Help me out and find one for me. Please.

this round: a summary

I’m hesitant to say this round is over. I won’t say that just yet. The remnants of unbearable fear are still with me, the trauma is still too recent.

Like, fuck. It was (I’ll use the past tense there) like 15 or so days of just. Well, if you’ve read my shit before you know what it was like. Or if you’re unlucky enough to suffer this sinister fucking disorder, you know. You don’t need me reminding you.

It always starts with the violent, aggressive, uncontrollable irritability. It has no actual cause and therefore no clear way to be diffused. It’s terrifying. I notice it in the car the most, driving. No matter who’s in front of me and no matter how they’re driving, I am angry. Intensely. White-hot rage is literally all I know or have ever known.

Then major depression. I noticed that when I was driving during that phase, I was angry as fuck still but literally to weary to respond with anger. It turned inward and tore me apart from the inside. It literally radiates off of me (like my anxiety does). My boyfriend always comments when he feels it radiating off of me.

Sidenote, I love that he senses/sees the changes that happen within me. They’re so sudden and for no reason, and they leave me feeling crazy (I already feel crazy like, generally, but I’m constantly questioning like “did that really just happen, did I really just sob hysterically for an hour?”). 

After that (or along with it) comes anxiety. Fuck the fucking anxiety. Like, physical panic attack symptoms coupled with the racing thoughts, none of which I can fully latch onto, most of them scary, many of them about death. It’s just indescribable to not have a safe place in your brain. No amount of visualization or breathing can fix it. Not even having someone next to me speaking words of comfort. Not even a hug, and I love hugs.

I had family stuff all weekend, and my cousins were visiting from another state. And it was terrible because I spent one day holding back tears and hiding and then actually letting the tears just fuckin’ flow. I couldn’t even bring myself to make eye contact with anyone that day. Yesterday was a little better. I was mopey and uncomfortable and distracted and totally not myself.

Then, of course, I got home and was hysterical for a little over an hour. And not that I wanna put myself back in that terrible, terrible moment (or any of the MANY previous ones I’ve had), but I just remember so vividly wondering how I’d ever be able to function again. I couldn’t fathom how I’d ever been able to function before. There was no escape, nothing else but inward-pointing disgust and depression and fear. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t stop dwelling on the fact that I’m only fucking 28 and that this thing is gonna live with me for the rest of  my ever, and it might get worse and there’s no cure and like. Yeah, the cure thing. I explained to a friend of mine that “cure” is not a thing. Meds are not a cure, therapy is not a cure, doing all the right things is not a cure. They help. They give me better tools to survive the next round. But that’s all it is, most times: survival.

Sounds like a totally negative way to view it. And I feel no guilt for feeling that way. This. Shit. Sucks. I deserve a pity party after every fucking episode. At least grant me that (not that I need or am asking for permission).

Also, could timing possibly have been any worse? Ugh. I missed them all and they were physically here. The guilt I felt made things worse. The longing didn’t help either.

And I’m pretty sure none of them have ever seen me quite that bad. I was afraid I scared or upset them. But honestly, they are all so understanding and helpful and supportive, and the tremendous amount of love I feel for them is mind-blowing. I am so lucky, and I’m at a loss for words. I doubt that in a lifetime of writing and collecting words, I’ll ever get enough to explain how lucky I am or how much all that means to me.

And I have to mention my sister. And brother in law. Not only their actually support, but they were sending pictures of my amazing perfect adorable pure nephew. Immediately puts a smile on my face. Lots of people reminded me that he’s a big WHY. I want to be the aunt he deserves. And I know I can be, although I dread having to explain to my little guy why Aunt Laura loses it every now and again (but there’s a Dr Seuss book about feelings which is actually totally about bipolar disorder that I’m gonna use when he’s old enough). It sometimes hurt that I had to feel so shitty and have that someone be connected to how he was making me feel better. There was some measure of guilt that I can’t explain. But my god is his little face and his little rolls worth it.

Right. So I’m feeling better but not ready to call it being out of the woods yet. If nothing else I think it’ll be less dramatic from here on out, and I think it’ll be less rapid cycling. I think I’ll be at least somewhat less reactive to tiny insignificant bullshit going “wrong.”

Mind you, this is all sheer optimism and positivity. And I do not for a single second take for granted the fact that I am, at this moment, capable of thinking that way. It’s fleeting. All of this is fleeting. I mean, life can be looked at that way by everyone, which might be a helpful push toward “living in the moment.” But bipolar fleeting. Moods are fleeting. Flux is constant and its effects are omnipresent.

I’m just trying to find the silver lining. Wrap this up in a bow, as I tend to do. Actually no, as I need to do. And like, don’t we all? Part of what made this episode suck so bad was that I couldn’t write (even though I had some deadlines) and I couldn’t describe this bullshit in a way that I haven’t already. Each bought of insanity brings with it new…shit. And it is infuriating to not be able to explain it again. Also, I couldn’t move let alone form words. Couldn’t make eye contact let alone summon the energy to talk with other human beings.

I dunno. I guess for now I’m gonna focus (something I’m able to do again!) on finding the beauty in the spaces in between the chaos. Find a way to drill it so deep in my brain that I’ll inherently remember it (or just fucking FEEL it) next depression (well actually this was a mixed episode but whatever).

Until I get around to doing that, peace out, internet.

Find a safe space

You’re having a panic attack, struggling to see straight, calm your racing thoughts, slow your pounding heart, and breathe. You tell yourself you’re okay. You aren’t in actual, physical danger. But something triggered your alarm system, which sent a message to your amygdala, which made all this shit happen in your body in order to keep you safe. Too bad the danger lives more internally than externally. Still, your fight-or-flight instinct has taken over (even though you can’t run from or fight the source of your crippling anxiety), and adrenaline is surging through you, all because we inherited such a response from our ancestors thousands of years ago and our brain systems just haven’t caught the fuck up. So what do you DO?

You can try to force yourself into breathing normally. Inhale slowly, hold it, exhale slowly, hold it. Repeat. Repeat. Or you can try to “ground” yourself, to reconnect with the fact that you’re exactly where you are, here and now, to live in this present moment instead of the impending future. You can try (almost desperately) to distract yourself. Solving math problems is great for that. So are word puzzles. Your brain can’t focus on figuring things out and panicking at the same time. The same is true of experiencing a rapid and drastic change in temperature. Take an icy cold shower if you can. Your brain will stop processing the paralyzing fear you’re experiencing (or so I’m told). The scent of lavender is supposed to be calming, but personally, I open a familiar perfume bottle and breathe in the comfort it carries for me. I always use that perfume before I do happy, relaxing things. So I’ve (almost) effectively trained my brain to associate it with happiness and relaxation.

But something that’s been particularly interesting to me lately is visualization. A kind of intense mental imagery. A purposeful relocation to a safe place.

I have a pretty active imagination. Maybe that’s the writer in me, but I have a particular proclivity for getting myself lost in whatever place I’m thinking of. Like, I force myself there. I picture everything vividly, paying careful attention to detail. I mentally feel the sensations that accompany that place. I let myself experience the feelings that would go along with being there.

Sometimes it’s a made-up place in a random, made-up scenario. Sometimes it’s an actual place in a scenario I wish would happen there. There are the typical escapes. The beach, with sun shining, the waves crashing, the smell of sunblock wafting through the air. And the perhaps less typical cozy cafe, with a good cup of coffee and a book I’m completely absorbed in. A lot of times it’s a memory that, a moment in my past that I’d love to go back to. (Again, that might be the writer in me; I love the quote “we write to taste life twice,” and I think reliving memories is another way to do that)

I haven’t had a full-on, gasping, clutching, gut-wrenching panic attack in about a month. And after being prescribed an as-needed benzodiazepine about two months ago, I definitely feel more in control of those situations. Knowing I have a pill in my bag that can alleviate those sickening physical symptoms is often enough to reduce the unrelenting (and usually unnecessary) fear. And if that isn’t enough, I put the pill in my mouth and swallow.

But I’m still an anxious person. That probably won’t ever change. So I’m trying to get this visualization thing set in my mind so I can get a better handle on my general, day-to-day anxiety. I’m trying to set up predetermined safe places that I can teleport to at a moment’s notice. So here’s my attempt at collecting them and getting them ready for use:

Disney World. The Happiest Place on Earth. In any park, with any loved one, either in memory or projection. Perhaps it’s the Magic Kingdom on Main Street USA in the early morning with my parents and sister. There’s time-appropriate music playing from seemingly nowhere, and we’ve just turned the corner to see Cinderella Castle standing majestically in the distance, and I feel like I’m Home, like nothing else matters because this moment is perfect. The love I feel around me is palpable. The excitement is tangible. All is well.

Driving down Ocean Parkway, looping from one Long Island beach to another, singing loudly to a crazy array of music with the man who’d soon become my boyfriend. It’s late at night and we’ve been driving for hours, alternating between deep conversations and enjoying the fact that our tastes in music are so similar. I’m calm and happy and fulfilled.

The bookstore. Summer 2010, the summer I really came into my own. My best friend just walked in the door and we greet each other by immediately launching into talking about exciting plans and things to try and what’s been going on since we’ve seen each other a day ago. We get matching cups of coffee and sit by the window and we bounce ideas off each other while simultaneously bouncing off the walls. When we’ve exhausted that, we wander the bookstore, admiring the books we hope to buy, feeling the peace that comes with being surrounded by such an awesome amount of written knowledge. Things are good.

Christmas morning. My parent’s living room. The day that we’ve been anticipating for an entire season. Surrounded by my family and presents, the Yule Log on the TV, love and laughter and magic filling the entire room. It feels right.

I’m at a concert venue about to see my favorite band play. My friends and I are standing by the mosh pit, being bumped by someone dancing in circles every now and then, and we’re all screaming the lyrics to the songs we know by heart. The music fills my entire soul and leaves me feeling energetic in the best way. They start playing my favorite song. Then the singer cuts out and he points the mic into the crowd so that the crowd can take over the song. We’re all different but also so similar, most of us with tattoos and dyed hair and checkered vans and band t-shirts and the like. I feel connected and important.

It’s Monday morning and I just sat down in my therapist’s office, on the floor by the window, where we can watch the clouds go by and the wind blow through the trees and the cars driving by. But we’re talking about important things and processing the chaos that is my life, and occasionally veering off topic to easier things, and oftentimes looking at funny memes. I’m wiggly and all over the place, but there’s safety and comfort sitting across from me so it’s okay.

I’m in our room, sitting there on the bed under my weighted blanket, laptop propped up on a pillow, and I’m scrolling tumblr. He’s sitting next to me, and every 10 seconds we stop to show each other something stupid we stumbled across online. We’ve been sitting there for like an hour in relative silence, but it’s the epitome of what love looks like. I don’t have to worry about anything because he’s there and he understands and he loves me.

My favorite places, my favorite moments. There are more, of course. And I’m sure throughout my life I’ll continue finding ones to add to the list. But for now, I’m gonna try to remember that I have these to escape to whenever the need arises.

Different days can take different forms. Rolling with it.

It’s a new day, sunny and bright. The snow that fell quietly but persistently yesterday is melting. I’m off from work again. I was yesterday, too, and it was a “do literally nothing all day” day, where we didn’t leave the house at all, even to shovel. I woke up and changed into sweatpants and a hoodie and put on thick fuzzy socks and made like four cups of tea (after having coffee, obviously). I enjoyed it a lot. Before for the boredom-turned-to-existential-dread feeling kicked in, of course. My mood took a dip, but not in an overly-dramatic bipolar way. I was just “blah” and “off.” It was survivable.

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Right, but as I said, it’s a new day and that’s brought a fresh start and plenty of possibilities (what a cliche but inspiring thought). I can shape this day any way I want to. I don’t have a specific plan for today, other than hopefully bang out the rest of the article I’m writing for that eating disorder magazine, and maybe the other article I’m writing for the psych magazine. And I’m hoping to get a movie in, or maybe a few episodes of whatever funny tv show I feel like binging. Basically, I want to repeat yesterday but with more…pizzaz. Or something similar haha.

For now, though, I’m flipping through my planner and sort of reviewing my 2020 goals #letgetit. It’s almost the end of January (holy shit that went fast). And I haven’t totally forgotten what I wanna do this year. I’ve pretty much followed through. I didn’t include anything completely life-altering on my list of shit to do but having the reminders written down and knocking around in my head definitely help direct me.

Basically: Don’t miss any days of meds, take those vitamins and supplements, drink more water, go for a walk every once in a while and move more in general. There’s obviously shit like “read more” on there, and that goes along with “work on writing more, find more writing jobs, submit some short stories to competitions, and take some writing classes.” And the obvious, save money. The more specific things are to whiten my teeth and make sure my skin isn’t constantly dry. Oh, and I wanna start writing more here (and maybe get people to actually read it? haha).

Anywayyyy, so far, at 10:30 in the morning, today looks like it’s shaping up to be a good one. I’m determined for it to be. To continue with the subtle metaphor I’m going with, I’m gonna be like a fricken sculptor to make sure of it.

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Boom. Happy Sunday, people 🙂

Happy things to appreciate 💙 (updates!)

Random acts of kindness 💕

Cloud watching ☁️

Giving something my all💯

The tippytap of my dog’s paws as he comes to me when I call him 🐾❣️

Family!! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

Fairytales about princesses and castles 🏰👑

Classic Disney movies °O° 📼

Waking up without an alarm ⏰ 🌅

Selfies when I’m really feeling myself 🤳🏻

Coffee ☕️ enjoying that first cup in the morning 🙂

Meeting up with friends 👭

Getting stronger 🏋🏼‍♀️ (physically or mentallyyy)❗️

Proving my resilience ⬇️🆙

Beer with friends after a long week 🗓🍻

Going on a trip ✈️

Pretty bows 🎀 (and other accessories) 💍

Smiling for no particular reason 😃

Roller coasters!🎢 the anticipation at the top!

Fruit salad 🍒🥝🍍🍎🍉🍇🍐🍌

When it all comes together like a puzzle 🧩

Old school video games 🎮

Leaving love notes (or any notes!) 💌

Gettingggg love notes (or any notes!) 📬

Good news in the paper 📰

Enjoying nature 🏔🏕

Karaoke 🎤

Flowers on a spring day 🌷🌻🌺🌿🌸

Cookies and milk 🍪🥛

The smell of rain/ thunderstorms ⛈⚡️

Balloons 🎈

Tea 🍵 with honey 🍯

Binge watching a good show on Netflix/Hulu 🖥

Tropical vacations 🏝

The smell of mom baking apple pie on a fall morning 🍎 🥧

The sun, rising every day 🌅

A fresh notebook waiting to be filled 📓

Cute puppies 🐶

Cute cats 🐱

My favorite music 🎼 🎶🎵

A stack of books waiting to be read 📚

Seeing a rainbow 🌈

Photography that captures feelings 📸

Improving myself 📈

The sun coming out 🌥⛅️🌤☀️

Fireworks 🎆🎇

Cosmic phenomena 🌙💫 -notice the miracles

Getting a good night’s sleep 💤😴

City skylines 🌇 🌃

Office supplies 📎✏️ 📋

Magic✨/ unicorns 🦄 / etc 🌟

Being alive!! 🌎 appreciate that 👈🏻

Shooting for the moon 🚀 🌕

Hot chocolate 🍫 on a cold winter day ❄️

Making someone happy 😃

Deep conversations 🗣 with close friends 👥

My perfect nephew 👶🏼

Learning something new about science 🧬

Comfy pajamas ✔️

Jeans that fit just right 👖

Frantically writing ✍🏻 getting ideas💡 on paper

Pride 🏳️‍🌈 for whatever I am

Connecting w people I love on social media 💻📱

Self-care 🕯 🧼🛁🧖🏻‍♀️

Really appreciating stars 🌟 in the night sky 🌌

Good fortune 🔮

Getting into a video game 🎮 (or watching one)

Shopping sprees! 🛍

Fall 🍁🍂🌾🌼 bonfires 🔥

Achieving something to be proud of 🎓

A big paycheck 💵

Late night car rides🚙 with Andrew🥰 singing🎶

Funny memes 😂

The incredibleee excitement the night before a Disney trip 🔜

Waking up on Christmas morning 🎄🎁

Feeling lucky 🍀

Winning something 🎰

Classical music that brings back memories 🎻

When things fit together perfectly 🔐

Making art 👩🏻‍🎨🖍🖌🖊

Appreciating all the world’s differences 🗺

Becoming the best version of me 🏆

Learning 👩🏻‍🎓

Books 📖 & how so many of them exist📚

Making wishes 🧞‍♀️🧞‍♂️✨

Things that comfort me 🧸 🐘 (my stuffed elly!)

My favorite perfume 🥰

The first snow ⛄️ of the season 🗓 [peaceful!]

Singing in the rain ☔️

Checking something off my to do list ☑️

Tattoos 🌀

Ice cream (size congruent with my mood) 🍦

Parties 🥳

Quiet mornings 🔇

Crocheting someone a hat 🧶

Ska shows 🏁

Facing fears 🕸

My infinite internal power ♾ 💥

The journey 🛤

Climbing into bed feeling accomplished after a long day 🛏

A new haircut (or color!) 🆕👱🏻‍♀️💙

Reliving memories 💭 / looking through keepsakes 🎟🎫

Being the perfect amount of energetic🔋

Finding light in the darkness 🔦

When good things fall apart but better things fall together 💔➡️❤️

Counting down on New Year’s Eve just like the entire rest of the world 🎆🎇

Making someone proud (even if it’s myself)☺️

Late night adventures 🌙

The fact that I kicked the fucking shit out of anorexia once and I can fucking do it again 🍽

Waking up like “how long will it take for the weight of the day ahead to smash me into a bad mood,” and spending time to counteract life’s crap

woke up feeling shitty and anxious and mopey

spent lots of time wondering why i felt that way and thinking about confusing shit about how i have to constantly readjust my moods and how i’m literally just unsure of how to do that at this point

taking my adhd meds helped because now i can at least focus on something distracting or productive

ingesting hella caffeine is making me feel better too

and my favorite band (reel big fish) playing in the background is working to make me not feel shitty

anyway

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and now for a vaguely poetic brain dump

 

Wake up.

It’s comfortable at first, and then the world hits you.

Mind too big in a world too small.

Or perhaps the opposite.

Because there are too many thoughts,

Too much noise at too high a volume,

But there’s too much room for it all to fly free in total chaos

Which means you have to focus,

Use specific, deliberate effort to adjust and readjust.

It requires all of you,

The effort,

The fight, from within and without, against unseen demons.

And as you look around at the confusion

That has nearly turned your mind,

Too big and too small,

Into ruins.

Get it out.

It’s urgent to do so.

Spill it, pour it, put it elsewhere,

Into the ether

Or onto a page that may or may not be read

Or even remembered.

An hour into consciousness and you’re tired and unsure.

Anxious? Depressed? Empty?

(You are continually putting words to the intangible,

But somehow can’t when it comes to emotions, those mercurial things).

Take your meds. Drink some water. Eat something.

What are you even doing,

Sitting there comatose when you have shit to do?

Inhale. Exhale.

How can you hold it together today?

What’s the plan (you’ll be lost without one)?

Put on some music,

Your favorite band,

Turn it up.

The forceful pressure recedes, permitting some sort of flow,

Some influx of something that resembles calm,

Some release.

Your mind shrinks,

Or perhaps grows,

But you’re not analyzing it so you feel better.

Your free-flying thoughts organize into

What is more reminiscent of graduation caps mid-air,

Thrown up in celebration of achievement.

Still messy.

It’ll take time to find your cap, the one you were looking for.

That doesn’t necessarily matter;

The photographer snapped a picture and the frozen moment makes you happy.

Organized.

So maybe, you think, there’s something to strive for

In the potential to turn a day around

(or a month, a year, a life).

Potential for new thoughts,

For finding happiness as opposed to forcing something vaguely similar to it,

For not letting sadness with when all else fails

Because you’re coming at life with full force.

Although survival mode played its role,

It’s in the past for now.

So tomorrow if you have to drag yourself out of bed

As you doubt your ability to get through the day,

Don’t wallow in confusion.

Let it out, find the words, 

Take your meds, drink some water, eat something.

Breathe. Music.

Let your mind shift, take shape, rearrange and reorganize.

Give it time, don’t dwell, stay calm, and fight hard.

After all,

Haven’t you proven your strength to yourself yet?

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.

People will criticize your dreams,

Layer doubt and uncertainty on your consciousness

Because they don’t understand

The intensity and ferocity of your fire,

With its red passion,

Aggressively orange desire,

And burning yellow optimism,

Your fire, your eternal, internal warmth,

With its propensity to spread, to expand.

They’ll approach the ladder you’re steadily climbing

And insist you’ve missed a rung or two,

As if you haven’t reached a higher altitude already.

They’ll warn of the dangers that lay above you

Without regarding the successful resilience of your past

Or the Houdini-style escapes you’ve scraped your way through.

“You can’t marry the mood,” they’ll chime,

Thinking they’re ringing out like virtuous bells of truth.

But if I can’t marry the moon,

Explain to me why I’ve been bathed gloriously in its light

Why it’s soothed my dubiety,

Quelled my ever-questioning mind.

Explain why it’s kissed me goodnight

After I’ve collapsed into a cocoon of blankets and pillows,

Exhausted from the efforts I’ve left behind,

Whispering in my ear that the sun is going to rise again soon,

Powering the winds of renewal

Like my perfectly-paced, everlasting forward motion.