2019 Goals

2019 Goals: Revise book, Writing class, Exercise
White Christmas with snow-dusted ponderosa pines

Christmas 2018

Christmas was both beautiful and bittersweet. We spent the holiday among snow covered ponderosa pines with close family, dearly missing our recently departed father.

2019 Goals

Time for me to get up out of bed, take better care of myself, and accomplish some goals.

Revising My Book

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Eliezer Tristan Publishing is publishing my previously self-published collection of blog posts. When I self-published the content in book form, I simply cut and paste my posts in chronological order. Now, I’ve hired book coach Aaron J. Smith to help me organize the content into themes.

Wish me well. I must be sure not to overdo it and trigger hypomania.

Creative Writing Class

Starting Wednesday, I’m taking an Introduction to Creative Writing emeritus class (for older adults like me) at our local community college. I will learn basic elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: audience, structure, voice, description, setting, and manuscript development. Learning these basics elements will help me develop my skills as a writer.

Homework, deadlines, and social stimulation are all potential triggers to hypomania for me. So, I’m both excited and more than a little anxious.

Exercise

Research shows what many have observed — exercise improves mood. I knew that, yet remained sedentary. At my psychologist’s urging, I’ve made a commitment to exercising.

First, I signed up for a class in Qi Gong at my city’s community center. According to the class description:

Qigong is a safe practice that focuses on improving the overall
health and wellness of your mind-body-spirit. It is a sequence of
gentle movements synchronized with the breath to open the body’s
pathways.

This week, I joined a local gym and signed up for personal training. Friday I underwent my initial fitness assessment. I was dying just doing the ten minute warm up. My thighs kill me. I can’t even get up from a sitting position without using my arms to assist me. Obviously, I’m out of shape.

I’ve Been Quiet Lately

Quietly Taking Care. Writing & Doing Less.

I’ve been quiet lately. Out of commission. Taking it easy.

This holiday season brings tough firsts. First Thanksgiving since my father died in April. First Christmas coming up. My sister and I plan to remember him and observe our family Christmas traditions. We need each other. We miss our dad.

Seasonal affective disorder hit hard, too. As the days got shorter, I cocooned, became seasonally and situationally depressed. Seasonal depression, bipolar disorder and now my grief overwhelm me at times.

Taking care of myself….mostly. Seeing my psychiatrist and psychologist. Going to a grief support group at Jewish Federation & Family Services. Reaching out and asking for help, for support, when I need it.

SO IMPORTANT that you ask for and accept help. My insight into my need for help, reaching out for it and accepting it, has KEPT ME ALIVE.

When I was 18 years old and suicidal, realizing I needed help, asking for it and accepting it made all the difference.

Pulled My Book from the Shelf

Pulled from Self-Publication. Kitt O'Malley Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health. Eliezer Tristan Publishing to the Rescue.

So, I pulled my book, Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health, from the market. Shortly after I self-published it, my father died unexpectedly. Didn’t do adequate marketing because I was and still am in mourning.

Hate the original title, which sounds like a self-help book and is way too dry. Yes, I have bipolar and I blog. But, my bipolar diagnosis is not all I write about and my diagnosis is not the only reason I write. I’m a writer. There, I said it. Rather, I wrote it.

The previously self-published book contained four years of blog posts, dating from September 2013 when I started writing this blog to its five-year anniversary September 2017. I debated adding more content to it, bringing it up to the present. But, I’m too overwhelmed right now to do so.

Freelance writer and editor Janet Coburn highly recommended book coach Aaron J Smith, author of Cultural Savage, and Eliezer Tristan Publishing.

After messaging my friend and fellow mental health advocate, Sarah Fader, I unpublished my book and contracted with Eliezer Tristan (Sarah is the founder and CEO).

Aaron will edit, proof, and design the book cover. The book’s title must change. Sarah Fader agreed that it was a terrible title because it doesn’t sound like me. Title must match my writing style.

Wish us luck.

 

Grieving

Grieving -- KittOMalley.com
Geometry art created with iOrnament app.

Grieving, not depressed. No bipolar depression. No depressive thought process. Just grief. Just a deep overwhelming feeling of loss. 

I miss my father. Miss him deeply and dearly.

Going to individual therapy and taking my medications for bipolar disorder, but now may be time for additional support, time for a grief support group, preferrably one led by an excellent licensed mental health professional.

As a licensed clinician, I have a bias. I need a group leader with advanced clinical knowledge of serious mental illness like bipolar disorder, as well as grief. As someone with bipolar disorder and a history of depression, I’m at risk of complicated grief.

Not only did my father recently die, my mother is a stroke survivor living with vascular dementia. She lives in memory care, but wants me to visit more often than I can afford to emotionally.

Squeezed between generations, I cheer my newly adult son as he takes steps to overcome social anxiety and manage his migraines. Until he gets his driver’s license, I chauffeur him to and from specialists appointments.

Rather than spend all my time and energy caring for the needs of others, I must care for myself. My personal boundaries are poor. Groups overwhelm me. I take care of others, not myself. Find myself overstimulated and become mildly hypomanic. Perform, rather than sit, listen and accept help from others.

Always a been performer, love being onstage, enjoy public speaking. Now’s not the time to be the center of attention, to be right, to be smart, to solve problems, to be the hero.

My brain isn’t functioning at its best. Grief-related brain fog. Can’t concentrate. Can’t remember. Simply overwhelmed emotionally. Often, I can’t even come up with a simple word to answer a question my husband asks. Cannot make a yes or no decision.

Today I deleted emails of great content I would usually share as a mental health advocate. I leave that to others for now.

Now, I grieve. Now I cocoon. Now I draw mandalas and patterns using iOrnament. Now I do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. Now I watch TV.

Now, I cry softly, sometimes gently sob, for the father I love and miss.