I have not forgotten my early promise to keep friends and interested parties up to date on my yearly ride on the Bi-Polar Mood Disorder Roller Coaster, but somehow pen and ink felt a safer space to allow my thoughts to wander where-ever they took me than here in Cyberspace.
I am now catching everyone up on what has been a unique and interesting period of my life. If there is one thing I can say it is that PhD studies, it is that creative writing and generally living in a twenty-first century world still seem highly incompatible.
I refer to the fact that I would consider myself as one of the most feminist women I know... yet the gender stereotype thing is so ingrained I cannot shake the usual female maladies.
You know the ones?
- Getting yourself between spouse/partner/ex and child to save male on male all out war zone (which others can screen out by not a BMD person susceptible to the slightest atmospheric changes and charges).
- Trying to absorb mood swings of adolescence/young adulthood, at the same time as dealing rationally with the frustrations of aging, hearing loss, hair loss, fragility and arrogance that "there is nothing wring with me, I can look after myself" after third return to kitchen from car, before driving off on short shopping/ medical trip. Hence increased anxiety (of the normal variety); my constant fear that in either mood neither males should be behind the wheel of a car, yet fearful of if they were at home, just how much worse life would be for me.
- Add to this my increasing less patient/pleasant dealings with so many debt collectors at the door and on the phone, plus filing all types of fiscally related legal documents gathered throughout a prolonged period of offspring deviant behaviour, whilst offspring still remains incapable of 'owning most' of the responsibility despite the fights of TOUGH LOVE! I still walk on eggshells fearing violence and prefer (for my own safety and sanity) the apathy, and avoidance through either laziness, ignorance, or reliance upon parent to fix... or simply a lack of development in the frontal brain cortex... Anyway, Mum does her best as if she were a 1950s prototype compliant little homebody.
- Did I really just confess that self-image?
- OMG... I can almost see myself in starched petticoats, full skirts, neatly hair-rollered and brushed out, complete with white frilly-pinny at picket fence... after having indulged in a afternoon sherry or two, a bex (or modern equivalent) and a 'good lie down' (Nanna nap thanks Barry Humphries!)
- Putting self last (especially indulging in the small pleasurable things that others see as being work-avoidance, or financially wasteful, or even malingering).
- Putting everybody's else's wellness/happiness/calmness/emotional stability first.
- Try getting a telephone message through when one householder is wearing noise reduction headphones and gaming solidly for the best part of forty-eight hours straight, attending class the next forty-eight, then golfing and sleeping the remainder of the week, whilst choosing cooking and house movement times between 2am and 6am!
- Add to this the older one takes the messages, doesn't write them down, or ignores the phone because a horse race is on. The' state of the art' phone having had the message listened to, then gives no audible hint that there is actually a 'saved' message. Thank goodness for email and txt or I would never hear from or about anybody.
- Finally add to this a tendency on the part of said BMD woman, to conflate global crises with local ones, mount political crusades against all forms of injustice and simply see significance everywhere others see none.I am tired and emotional, in the true sense of the phrase!
But not for me the Peninsula Hot Springs and Massage, the Ella Bache full beauty regime, and the constant desire for copious good quality wines, champagne, new jewellery, shoes and clothes or the boxes upon boxes of Belgium dark chocolate... not even the wild manic rampant sexuality of full blown mania, my drugs and body image has shattered that little stress reliever.
No, it is sedate walks along Patterson Lakes with a good friend, a gallery visit or two, a Wheeler's Centre talk (free) but on DSP week to afford the train ticket, a wander through the Coolart Bird hide, and furtive out of control paperback book buying instead of paying pressing bills. (Even my meds can't seem to curtail that one). It's as if I am not alive unless I own and hold copies of women writers work from around the world. It's as if I am not truly a lover of literature and reading unless I at least accumulate a bedside stack for future indulgence.
My wellness regime... great. Let me just catch you up on that little saga. September, birthday month, Footy Grand Final and of course ageing, plus the inevitable plateau of weight loss on the lap band diet.... More exercise they cry.... more wine I crave... and a little cheese and bickies with that also... savoury of course.
Then comes Spring Racing Carnival.... no I didn't go or watch... but my dress size had gone up so even thinking of going to the Mornington Cup socially became a disaster in the clothes shops! Oh well let's just have a few more nightly 'non-nutritional fluids' and eat less real food just lots of Greek Yoghurt (good call that one... up goes weight further)....
DOWN SLIDES SELF ESTEEM.... straight to near-rock bottom depression at the very time I am supposed to be gearing up to return to study, whilst barely making ends meet on my own financial commitments (all of car, health insurance, funeral plan, home and car insurance.... you know all those little luxuries!).
Lifestyle tip for thinner people, it's cheaper to buy $2.99 bottles of Aldi wine than nutritious food! Bang there goes November and it's time for the usual Conference attendance that usually tilts my mood scales back upwards... but not this time... as there was no TAX REFUND TO SPEND GUILT FREE!
Despite the heaps of praise and encouragement and feeling accepted by coleagues from most Unis (except mine), I am drawn back to the world of the night people... in Wellington of all places! I told you about touching base with Richard O'Brien and my mind regressed to the exciting seventies in London, broke but happy and carefree (and most likely fully blown manic).
The theatre feels like home. I feel at home. I do not feel like an outsider or imposter as I do in the Uni... but unfortunately I must return home and face the accusations of money wasting, selfishness and malingering on my studies. the inner voice is screaming... just write the creative...get the novel finished, whilst the other voices are saying why bother, it's no fun anymore. I am not doing it for me anymore. I am doing it for a bloody bit of paper that for me might just prove useless in the current employment climate at my age.
Down and down I go... then wham!
Christmas in all it's dysfunctional glory. Why even try?
Because I have to stay out of a psychiatric ward as that would confirm negative professional opinion of my academic capabilities and personal lack of self determination. . Add to this tourist season, enforced hibernation and a mild case of agraphobia... well I held on with doctors propping me up despite a false accusation resounding in my ears.... "You know you always fall in a heap after Conferences"... implying that I am manic at Conferences, not simply stimulates and energetically charged with my mind in overdrive of thoughts and ideas... no I am thus abnormal, dysfunctional and downright certifiable. If this one voice only knew me when I was manic, the suggestion would not be thrown around in such a cavalier manner.
Luckily for me in February at the very end of a fraught beginning to the academic year along comes the timely onset of chronic and recurrent blood disorder, requiring medical attention, another hangover from an earlier era 'pernicious anaemia'... I assume it is similar to having a shorter bout of Chronic Fatigue Synnrome, one cannot even summon energy to do normal daily activity.
Beware the ides of March!
You see once you declare yourself publically as BP then watch out... do not be "too happy", or "too enthusiastic" as it could be concealing ideas of grandieur... yeah, sure get like Charlie Sheen don't I? Me with my Tiger Blood! Oh and don't get "too quiet or introverted"... that's not allowed either. One must not be sad for any reason (deaths, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, senseless road trauma.... you are NOT TO RESPOND TO THIS IN AN OUTWARD MANNER)
Can someone tell me how I measure the 'normal' emotions on an outside world scale?
Or can I only measure it on my own scale?
My own scale says time off, more yoga, more excercise, positive diet, alcohol cut down (severely), more art classes and more serene walks.
Bugger PhD timelines... I need to re-discover the joy of surviving to the age of 55 with BMD and enjoying who I am, warts and all. So F*** you world.
This time of year is mine, poverty or not... there's more to life than just getting by.