What I’ve Done Recently

Hypomania, Self-Care, Success!

Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic

The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.

I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.

How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?

Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.

Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.

Provider Education, Take Two

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.

I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.

Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.

Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.

Self-Care

After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.

How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.

Women in Mental Health

On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature women living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.

I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.

Success!

When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.

BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.

Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.

Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life

This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.

Sunday, we met with:

I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!

Mini-Family Reunion

Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!

I CAN Do It

Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.

Should I Change My Book?

As I’ve grieved my father’s recent death, I’ve thought about updating my book. Not right away. Maybe I’m just trying to get my mind off his passing. Still, please help me decide.

Kitt O'Malley Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health

Here’s the thing: my blog subtitle reads “Love, Learn & Live with Bipolar Disorder,” and my book title is Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health.

Though I consider myself a mental health advocate, I write about what is happening in my life. I don’t just write about living with bipolar disorder. I have it, but it’s not the focus of my daily life.

My blog began when my father-in-law was in sepsis over four years ago. My worries over his health crisis and how it would affect my husband triggered hypomania. So, I wrote. I wrote to cope with hypomanic symptoms. To gain control over racing thoughts. To allay anxiety.

As the years passed, I’ve written about raising my son, my mother’s stroke, and my father’s dementia. Most recently, I’ve been writing about grief.

The grief takes me in waves. I’ve been crying more and more often as time passes. Still, it’s been a healthy grief. My medication, psychotherapy, family and support systems help me stay stable.

Grief can trigger worsening of mental illness and can lead to situational depression. But, so far I’ve been mourning my father’s death well, or so I think (perhaps I’m just well defended).

What you you think? When I feel up to it, should I update my book, adding content written since September 2017? Should I change the title and cover to more accurately reflect the content written? What are your thoughts? Any suggestions?

How I’ve Been Grieving Lately

Sisters Kayaking
My sister and me kayaking at Suttle Lake, OR

Before my father passed away, I planned to attend the Sunriver Writers’ Summit. Unfortunately, the summit followed only a month after his death, and I felt too raw to attend.

Social gatherings overwhelm and exhaust me and can trigger mood cycling, first hypomania as I get overstimulated and later a need to recover which looks like depression.

Now’s not the time. Now’s the time to spend with family. Visiting my mother and taking her out to lunch, which she enjoys. Seeing my sister, for we both deeply miss our father. So, instead of attending the writers’ summit, I visited Oregon with my husband and spent time with my sister and extended family.

We left our almost 18-year old son home alone, forcing him to forage a well-stocked refrigerator and freezer by himself. He managed to stay alive. Step in the right direction. (Got to encourage independent living skills before he goes out on his own.)

Should I Lower the Price of My Book?

Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health by KItt O'Malley (Author). See all 2 formats and editions. Kindle $9.99. Paperback $14.99. Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health offers hope to those living with mental illness and their loved ones, educates the public about mental health, and fights stigma against those living with mental illness by challenging stereotypes. Kitt O'Malley's writing recounts her struggle with bipolar disorder type II, the two decades it took to get a proper diagnosis, and how her journey ultimately gave her purpose -- and at times, a sense of religious calling.

Considering lowering my book prices. Average paperback price is $13.95 to $17.95, so perhaps $14.99 is a reasonable price for a paperback. Yet, the book would get into more hands if I lowered the price.

But, I priced my ebook at $9.99. Now I’m thinking that’s too high. Have not sold many ebooks on Amazon. $3.99 is the most popular price for an ebook.

Haven’t run any promotions, either. Maybe I should start there…

What do you think?

Update — New Lower Book Prices

Ran Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publising (KDP) Pricing Support Beta. Based on historic data for KDP books similar to Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health, a list price of $4.99 (USD) in a 70% royalty plan maximizes author earnings.

Changing my Amazon Kindle ebook price to $4.99 gives me 70% royalty of $3.44. KDP paperback printing cost is $4.26. 60% paperback royalty of $3.51 yields a price of $12.95.

Making the changes now, because I just roll that way. Quickly and off the cuff, but very publicly and with transparency.

Grief and Putting Book Marketing on Hold

I’ve been grieving and neglecting marketing my book. It will remain. I can go back to it.

Part of me wants to experiment with reformatting it, removing indents, left justifying paragraphs, making sure that widow-orphan control is set up properly. Doing so would be tedious. That, too, can wait…