returning

Yes, I have been away from this for some time. Far away, it seems, from thinking and writing and reflecting. I suppose I’ve just been living. There is something to be said for just living—without cataloging experiences. After all, neither Jesus nor Buddha left behind any written record of their experiences.

I have done a lot of living in these past months. Discovering (a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for my daughter), realizing (the likelihood that I too am on the spectrum), laughing (I seem to have developed a strange guffaw that I at least had never noticed before taking lamotrigine). Oh, and working. I mean, outside the home.

Yes, this has been one of the curious developments of transitioning from lithium to lamotrigine. I have more energy and more interest in what’s going on outside my head.

I am working with children with special needs. And learning a lot about myself and my daughter at the same time. My social ineptitude is no better—in fact, it’s probably worse from my being out of practice. And so my relationships with my colleagues are incredibly trying for me (and very likely for them too). I seem to always be relying on the patience, understanding, and forgiveness of others.

But I love the children. I can be silly with them, and they are all really crap at this whole social thing too because they haven’t yet learned the code. I am completely incapable of understanding the code, and so the children and I have much more in common than you might think at first glance.

The unfortunate part of this whole enterprise is that I still have that voice in the back of my head that says I’m not good enough. No, that’s too gentle. It says that I’m bad for the children. Bad for my colleagues. That I don’t belong, and I never will. That everyone is just being polite but would really prefer that I go away. And sometimes it says that everyone hates me and is laughing at me behind my back.

So, yeah, in that climate it’s been hard to make friends. Luckily, I had given up on making and keeping friends a long time ago. (It is a rare and special person who will maintain a relationship with someone who is very bad at being a good friend. There are one or two of these special people in my life. So, I do have a couple of friends by their grace.)

Anyway, just keeping my head above water has taken all the energy I would have used on reflection. Hence, the separation.

But then the Coronavirus situation…

That is an issue deserving of its own space.

Morning harvest

Last year we moved the garden beds to the front yard, where the sun is strongest on our property. There were two things working against me: bad soil and exposure to the neighbors. Both of these factors meant I used more fertilizer than I had ever done before—I was desperately afraid of failing, and so publicly.

My plants struggled. Few tomatoes; no summer or winter squash; climbing beans with no flowers. Only the okra, chard, and sweet potatoes forgave my ineptitude.

This year I returned to my horticultural roots, focusing on improving the soil rather than fertilizing the plant.

Earthworm castings (so, worm shit) rather than expensive organic fertilizers have made all the difference. The plants have been quietly but steadily growing all spring, and are now flowering and fruiting as if they were specimens for a textbook.

I am not completely embracing my budding sense of glory—the summer sun has yet to reach its full force, and that will no doubt exhaust the majority of the plants in my garden. But I do think there is a lovely lesson here. Something along the lines of less is more. It would be cliche if it weren’t true.

Electric miscellany

My mind is a quiet electrical storm today. I’ve been frantically jotting down notes because all things seem so important right now.

It is possible that I’m in a borderline tailspin, since my partner left this morning for a two-week work trip (for folks with borderline personality disorder, absence most certainly does not make the heart grow fonder). It’s just as likely his leaving was simply a psychological call to action, stimulating brain activity to enable me to fulfill functions I don’t normally perform. Such as being a carer, cook, schedule manager, and sensible authority.

I won’t go into too much detail on how his leaving impacts me; perhaps I’ll write a bit about it in a borderline personality disorder post at a later time. Borderline is a bit more difficult for me to come to terms with—the symptoms less sympathetic and arguably less interesting than bipolar symptoms. If I’m honest, I also just don’t understand borderline as well as bipolar. Borderline is like that sassy, booger-eating kid in class that you knew you should be nice to but were really just disgusted by. It also doesn’t help that borderline is the one thing I have in common with Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer.

That’s always a smack in the face. Really can’t go there now.

Instead, I thought I’d review my notes, all taken before 8am this morning, to see if there are any real gems there…anything I can expand on in future musings. Organizing my thoughts…

  • Connection between hormones and cognitive deficiencies associated with bipolar: I am a member of the small subset of folks with bipolar who suffer continual cognitive decline, independent of bipolar episodes. The connection between hormone levels and bipolar symptoms has always been obvious to me, but now I am seeing there might be a link between hormone levels and cognitive dysfunction. Interestingly, I seem to be most clear headed when I am ovulating.
  • On beauty: Have I finally reached a point in which I see beauty only when it is truly represented, and if so, what the hell does that mean—beauty exists independent of the observer? This arose as a result of my animal instinct driving me to confirm that my children were the most beautiful children of all (as determined by looking at their class photos). The twist was, I could not confirm it. I saw that they were all absolutely gorgeous beings of light and star dust. And my heart rejoiced that my baser need for validation was utterly foiled.
  • A mother’s prayer: For the first time, I understand the meaning and value of that powerful meditation. I saw my children walking away from me this morning and I sent my supplication into the infinite universe, and in the process of finding the exact words for my incantation, I realized I protect them every day by loving them. This is a mother’s prayer, since knowing that you are deeply and unconditionally loved is the strongest of protections against harm.
  • A spin-off from the previous: The worst aspect of borderline personality disorder is never feeling truly loved.
  • Self awareness is both a curse and a gift: You see clearly your own failings and are ultimately immune to your own illusions. Which is precisely why self awareness is the vehicle for true healing.
  • Social performance: I am the harshest judge of my social performances. I am probably never as odd or abrasive as I think I am.

And then I meditated and took my medication and the storm died out. End of transmission.