Escape the Darkness

Who are the bad guys? That is a very complicated question. I don’t believe there are evil or bad people, just people who have made bad decisions. Evil is inside of all of us, whether you believe in nature vs. nurture – either way you have to acknowledge we all have bad and scary “demons” inside us. If all people are good we wouldn’t have had such mass scale atrocities like the Holocaust. A friend recently suggested that we are born evil and that we learn to be good and fit in with society. There is evidence to suggest that we are not born with the ability to share or show compassion, those things are learned. But, what if you have a bad teacher? Or you grow up surrounded by people who make bad decisions. What then? What will become of you? Are you destined to be a bad person?

If people who grow up around “bad people” are destined to be bad, we have a serious problem with criminal justice system and the treatment of “minorities.”  If you grow up in a bad neighborhood, with parents that are apathetic and you have no good role models are you destined for a life of crime? When the only way out of your life situation is money, you will do just about anything for money, including turning to crime. That’s not hard to understand.

So, the real question is: how do you show people a way out of the darkness that seems achievable and realistic? You can’t just sit around waiting to win the lottery or robbing banks, you need to see the light and to see a way out. I don’t have the answers, I’m merely posing questions.

Give a Damn

Mania feels amazing and chaotic. I never bothered to give mania a label – I just considered it to be my second gear. overdrive. I can accomplish more than most people in half the time, if I want to. More often though, I procrastinate and do a half-assed job. When I care, when I’m interested, that’s when mania comes in. It is my muse, my inspiration, my creative energy. I can find that energy by focusing intensely on a topic or project, and then I can’t stop at will. Often times it lasts a day or so. My “episode” lasted nearly a month though. Now that is intense! I didn’t sleep or eat for nearly a week and I couldn’t get outside of my head, of my thoughts.

Mania happened when I was blogging. I couldn’t control myself, I’d write four blog posts a day, and I loved it. It just kept flowing, it was unstoppable. I have done the same thing at work, with creative insights and amazing energy behind them. I was called tenacious, driven, ambitious…and mean. I would fight for my vision with such conviction that people feared saying no to me. Passion fuels the world, and when you have so much passion that you can’t even hear “no” people can get intimidated. Think about it though – all great leaders had that kind of vision and passion. It seems necessary when you have brilliant ideas and big agendas. You have to think big and you have to be willing to fight for it. I have long fought for creative ideas in the workplace, but for the first time I am willing to fight for me. For my heart. For my words.

I think it is so important to have free speech and open discussion around things that matter. Ironically, politics and religion are far too often not discussed. People are actually told NOT to talk about the very issues that matter. It would be rude they say. Don’t offend anyone. Be polite.

Well, I say – stop being polite. Discuss the shit that matters because if we don’t, we will stay stagnant. No new ideas. No questioning authority. No rocking the boat. Fuck that.

We need to discuss important issues like religion, god, politics, mental health. The very things people fear discussing, those are the issues I want to discuss. It matters. It matters an awful lot. If we don’t talk about what is in our heart, we are doing a disservice to humanity and to human history. People died for the right to speak freely. So do it! Offend someone today. Start an impolite conversation. Speak you mind and your heart. Say what matters. Go! Do!

Creativity at What Cost?

Is mental illness a curse or a blessing? I often notice that it is the smart people who are diagnosed with mental disease. The very people that have the high IQ, the most creativity, the freshest and brightest ideas – they are a little mad. Some of them just seem quiet and keep to themselves, but in their spare time they are developing math theories and building robots. The brilliant artist who can’t engage in basic conversation for more than 5 minutes – he seems a little “off” too. The marketing professional who keeps coming up with fresh ideas and unique perspectives – they can’t sleep at night and the have ADHD. And yet, they are productive people who push through and create a lasting impact on society.

Why is it that the best and the brightest seem to have such a weak grasp on their mental health? In truth – I think it is our society that has such a little grasp, it’s just the smart ones who push the boundaries. We are also sitting on the edge between “normal”  and “sick.” Just ask around and see how many people are taking medication for any number of aliments : depression, anxiety, mood disorders, sleeping pills, pain medication. We are a society full of people on drugs. WHY? Do you really believe that everyone needs all of these pills or are we just so uncomfortable with being uncomfortable for a moment that we think there is something wrong with us? Sadness is normal. I’ve seen many friends seek antidepressants when all they really needed was to face an issue in front of their face. You feel SAD because you are getting a DIVORCE, which is a sad occasion. Does it require medication or patience? As a society we need to learn that discomfort is part of life and you don’t need drugs, you need to work through feelings.

I’m currently on medication for my manic episode and all I can think about is how badly I want to manage things on my own, without medication. It will be journey, and I’ll keep you posted. I hope to try more holistic techniques to battle my condition, herbs, exercise, mindfulness. Those are good things. Drugs are bad things in my mind, so it is hard for me right now. Drugs have side effects, and no one likes to talk about them. They are also addictive, which scares me. I just want to be me. Free of drugs and full of life 🙂

Setting Goals

Where do we go from here? I thought I was on a quest for enlightenment, but a major road block just got in the way. Roadblocks always seem to appear when you are on the road towards your goals and dreams. Some people see a roadblock and throw in the towel. Good. Those people didn’t really want what they thought they wanted. If they did, a roadblock would be nothing more than a simple problem to work through.

You see – when you love something, you are willing to fight for it, to work extra hard, and you don’t let simple roadblocks get in the way. So, ask yourself – do you really want what you are working towards? Or, are your goals meaningless and impersonal. Maybe someone told you that you should do something, and so it becomes your goal even though you don’t care about it as much as you would if it was a goal you set for yourself.

I just realized that my 5 year goals are really important to me. I realize that in order to get my slice of heaven I need to put more time in on the corporate path. That will help my husband and I live out our dream in a small town where we can relax and enjoy life. I have side goals too – like to develop this blog more and explore important topics like mental health and spirituality, but it will be a hobby for now – an important hobby, but a hobby no less.

Do you let roadblocks get in the way?

Voicing Your Voice

What is a writer’s “voice”? Hemingway said it best – you just sit there and bleed. Do you bleed when you write? By that I mean, are you just exposing yourself and your soul, or are you writing for someone who you seek approval from? If you are seeking approval, you are probably editing the shit out of your writing. Or- you are sitting there with nothing to write because what you want to write doesn’t seem acceptable to you. Or you fear criticism.

The best writers write from the soul – their soul is their “voice”. They just sit there and type away, much like a teenager with a diary. At least – that is how I write. I try to ooze onto the keyboard, to say things others fear saying. It can be scary to expose yourself so completely, and yet it is totally liberating.

As children we have this beautiful ability to be comfortable in our skin, without a sense of self-consciousness. As adults we become entirely too critical of ourselves and of others, leaving us with the same boring art and the same boring writing. We only write about “comfortable” topics, and we only say things we think people want to hear. BORING. You have to break the mold, and the only way to be authentically unique is to be YOU. That’s it. Just type the words that are in your heart. No one else can write what is in YOUR heart – it is yours alone.

When you write from your heart, what is exposed is a beautiful soul, with a voice all its own. You may not follow all the grammar rules, you may use slang, or…*gasp* you may cuss. I swear quite a bit. In my writing, and in my life. But what is exposed is real – which is a funny word and a weak description of what I’m talking about. Because if I label something “real” that means there are some things that are “fake” and I hate to label things fake. It is a judgement after all and I try to avoid judgment.

How did you find your voice?

Managing Your Muse

What does happiness look like? I thought I knew what happiness was, but what appeared to be happiness and serendipitous, led to a mental breakdown where I no longer could make sense of basic things. I deprived my body of food and sleep, because I thought I was having a religious experience and could go without basic human necessities. It was a scary place to be and required several weeks of inpatient care.

Have you battled mental disease? This was my first encounter and I must say it left me feelings very vulnerable and confused. I thoroughly enjoy writing, but my manic episode seems very linked to writing. I don’t believe writing caused the breakdown, but when you tap into divine inspiration – it can take over you a bit. For me, creativity is linked to mania and that concerns me – although I’m sure that is a common place to be. Passion and inspiration are intense experiences, and mania is just around the corner from those feelings and emotions. I’ll have to monitor myself to make sure I don’t have a relapse, and at the same token I don’t want to lose my writing voice. I like my voice – though I understand it is not for everyone 😉

Where does your inspiration come from and how do you keep sane while being completely open to and inviting creative energy into your life?

Foolishly Courageous

If you’re wondering where I have been, I’ll tell you. I was in the mental health wing of the hospital – I was there for nearly a month. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you I had an insane manic episode where I believed I no longer needed food or sleep to survive. I guess I’m bipolar. I’ve never been depressed, but my mania was enough to warrant that diagnosis.

As you may know, I’m not a fan of prescription drugs and how over medicated our society has become. I tried to take a stand and not go the drug route, but they took it to court and now I HAVE TO take medication. This is an instance where I have to let go, to just be. In truth – there is nothing I can do to change my situation besides go along with the program. I was acting cRaZy and I was being unusually stubborn.

I’ve been trying to determine what triggered this episode, but it can’t be  any one thing and I don’t want to give up what I enjoy. I can’t risk a relapse though. I need to be happy and stable. This is all new territory to me. I may blog less now. I may take a break even. I just wanted to let you know where I’ve been. It was a scary journey – nightmares you cannot imagine. I thought I died 3 times – it was intense. I scared my family. I scared my husband.  I wouldn’t recommend it. If you feel TOO high on life – you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself.