Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Winter Lost: At Last, Spring

My absence from this blog has been equal to my absence from life in general. 

This past winter something inside of me broke, and I just checked out. A shattering exhaustion, the kind that only deep depression can produce, consumed me... I just could not get out of bed.

Add to that the frustration of under treated chronic pain and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

No writing, no painting. Barely present on Twitter and mostly missing from Facebook; and when I’m there it’s usually only to like others’ posts not to post anything new of my own.

Even with several med tweaks and help from my doctors, it just wasn’t enough to shake it and the months of November through February were lost to me.

Then, March came.

There is in March, of course, the promise of spring; but we also had a trip that had been planned a long time in advance that I had to make, for my own good as well as to not let my husband down. 

Somehow (with great encouragement) I managed to drag myself out of bed and through the panic attacks and crying jags was able to push through the stress nightmare that is air travel for me and get to where we were going.

As soon as we landed, I saw the sun and the palm trees and I felt a subtle shift. I was still in incredible pain, still scared of what could possibly go wrong during our trip or at home where my mother was babysitting the cat.

But after a week in an upbeat, vibrant environment I was exhausted in an entirely different way but somehow there was a tiny spark in me; and I knew at home there was another new med waiting to try to help my pain. I was anxious to get home and get started on it.

My new sun hat

My optimism did not last long. 

On day five I had an intolerable reaction to the med and it had to be stopped; it is now in the ‘fail’ column. Meeting with my doctor yesterday we decided to go back to an older med that I used to take but stopped because we felt it might be making the depression worse (quitting it didn’t help the depression get any better, we found in the end) and so I started back on that one again last night. It’s my hope that I can find SOME relief from my pain, even just to take the edge off, so that I can be drawn again back to my blank canvases and the keyboard, too. So that I can be drawn back to life.

While we were gone they had one of the worst wind storms in Michigan history—and it was THE worst power outage event ever. Almost a million people without power and with damage to houses, trees, 1200 pound power poles snapped in half like twigs. We were lucky, we kept checking the phone and the answering machine picked up every time, meaning we were spared from the power loss.

We were also lucky in that we flew in and out on good weather days and missed the airport snarls that happened because of not only the wind storm itself but the blizzards on the east coast that followed our return. We were very fortunate.

It was a good trip. Though the depression dampened my enjoyment and the pain severely limited my ability to do much other than to ride a scooter around and take in the scenery, it was a good trip. We visited relatives one day, catching up and seeing how happy they are since they retired and moved down south. It was nice to see it.

So what now? How often will I feel up to blogging? Is the depression finally beginning to lift a little now that it’s officially spring? I don’t know. It is sunny today, but I can tell it’s still cold outside, and the pounding on my roof tells me that our building was not entirely spared from damage from the high winds a few weeks back. I’m just grateful that they are repairing the damage now before this weekend’s forecast rain.

Such is life with chronic illness, let alone mental illness. You don’t know when improvement will come, if it will come. All you can do is keep trying a little more each day, keep fighting sleep, keep battling to stay out of bed. Work with your doctors and therapist and hope for the best.

I’m hoping that I won’t lose spring the way I lost winter, and I hope that spring returns the sun and a renewed sense of hope to anyone out there who, like me, might desperately be needing it.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Rain

Rain poured from the sky like tears held back too long. -FG

It’s February.

Usually one of my favorite months of the year, because it’s the shortest part of winter and signals a mental turning-of-a-corner for me. But this year I’ve slept the first week of it away, due to Bipolar depression and what was left of that virus I had, whatever it was, at the end of endless January.

I’m ready for March, please and thank you.

It’s pouring rain outside right now, unusual for this time of year, and we’re approaching a record temperature in the low 50’s though it’s too wet to get out and enjoy it. There is no sun to make it feel like a preview of spring, instead it just feels like winter got depressed, too, and doesn’t have the energy to create snow. She just cries instead.

I wish I were in the throes of writing something that truly mattered to me; another book that held my interest long enough for me to invest in the characters, and for them to reveal themselves to me.

I was looking something up last night and realized that in May it’ll be two years since WISHING CROSS STATION was released. Two years since a real book release (I’m not counting the story I posted since then on Wattpad, that was just a lark) so why do I still feel so caught up in the world of publishing when I’m no longer a part of it?

Maybe it’s the wishing I was still a part of it, somewhere deep inside of me. It becomes an addiction, I think, releasing new books; taking them from concept to finished product and sharing them with the world. That’s what I miss. Though I have a perfectly decent story sitting here that I could work with and post eventually to Wattpad as well, I’m just not motivated to do it. It’s a simple love story, it’s not GODSPEED or WISHING CROSS STATION.

Maybe I’ll never get beyond the creation of those books. Maybe I’m not meant to.

Researching and writing Wishing Cross Station was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life as a writer to date. I truly wish more people would read it.

Or maybe I’m just in another depression related block. My brain feels like sludge; I can’t wade through it to find what may be good underneath.

I’m not even writing poetry as much as I’d like right now. I think my feelings are smarting from some comments read not long ago about rhyming poetry, and I wonder again why has everyone got to hate on it so much?

It was good enough for hundreds of years’ worth of classics; it’s good enough for Rap and Hip Hop and the lyrics of just about every song ever written. What are lyrics if not rhyming poetry set to music? Why is it acceptable to write that way in one form but not another? The snobbery (yes, I said it) of poets who refuse to accept rhyming poetry as ‘real’ or ‘serious’ poetry bothers me a lot.

To be honest, I don’t get a lot of non-rhyming poetry. Don't get me wrong, some of my poems don't rhyme. But most of the time non-rhyming poems just look like words thrown up on a page that make up sentences that could be part of a letter, or a meme or microfiction, or even someone’s journal. It feels more like prose than poetry to me, and sometimes it just seems like a jumble of words thrown together in an effort to sound clever. That loses my interest very quickly.

I know it’s a controversial topic (and far be it from me to need more controversy in my life right now) but it’s blocking me poetry-wise and that bothers me. It shouldn’t upset me so much what others think at this point in my life. I can only think again it’s the depression filter that is clogged and not straining out the unhelpful things that people say and letting the helpful through to my brain and heart.

I’m not sure.

My view: there is good rhyming poetry, and good non-rhyming poetry out there (and bad examples of each as well) and we as students of poetry need to be more accepting of each other's chosen forms to support each other's endeavors. My two cents, anyway.

Current events aren’t helping anyone’s creativity lately either, and my hat is off to anyone who can even blog or write to a Twitter prompt or do anything else that’s creative right now. Because the worldwide atmosphere is tense and that tension erodes my creativity. I am trying to find a balance between staying informed and overdosing on too much information.

So that’s where I am.

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago I set out to do a painting a day in February and ended up with more than 60 paintings in the month. I haven’t painted anything in February so far and maybe I need to force myself to change that this afternoon.

The sound of the rain, the glow of my lamp and a candle or two… it’s time to create something, because my other option is giving in again and going back to sleep, and I really, really want to wake up.

Happy Tuesday. xoxo