Writing My Book and Speaking Out Loud

Writing My Book. Speaking Out Loud. Stock images of laptop with notepad and pens and auditorium with podium.

I’m Writing

This morning I had a productive and encouraging book coaching session with Aaron J. Smith of AaronJSmithWriter.com. With his help, I’m rewriting my previously self-published work, Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health.

The current working title of the revised memoir is Bipolar Thoughts (or My Bipolar Thoughts – which do you prefer?).

Today we worked on my introductory piece, “My Mental Health Journey,” which chronicles my story of living with depression and bipolar disorder from age eighteen to now. This 5300-word narrative combines and expands on my previously written long-form pieces.

Following the narrative, I’ve organized my writing into sections containing short form pieces which convey my thoughts. The section themes are: Bipolar Thoughts, Write with Purpose, Advocate, and Caretake.

Organizing my short form content into these sections overwhelmed me. But, I chipped away at it over time and got it done.

When I first published my book, I cut and pasted content from my blog. Though I knew it was duplicative and needed rewriting, I found the prospect of a major overhaul daunting, overwhelming, paralyzing.

Aaron has been a HUGE help in breaking down the tasks at hand.

My next step (my homework before our next session) is to write a compelling conclusion to “My Mental Health Journey” about why my story matters to me and how it matters to share it with you, my readers.

After that, we will edit the short pieces.

Public Speaking Gig

Writing the conclusion to my “My Mental Health Journey” will have to wait until next week, for this Friday I was invited to speak at a downtown Los Angeles high school mental health assembly.

My first public speaking gig as an individual independent of any major health non-profit!

The speech is scheduled to be 25-minutes long. That’s a LONG speech! I’ve spoken for NAMI Orange County (NAMIOC.org) and for the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF.org), but never by myself in front of an auditorium and never for 25-minutes straight.

Assuming the principal’s approval pending a background check, I’ll be hard at work this week on the speech. My plan is to repurpose “My Mental Health Journey” into speaking points.

Knowing that doing so will be stressful and overstimulating, likely triggering hypomanic symptoms, I made a reservation at a nearby hotel the night before the speech.

At first, I thought of asking a friend if I could stay with her the night before the event, then I realized that doing so would overstimulate and exhaust me even more.

Socializing gets me going in a bad way. I ramp up. I get overexcited, anxious, irritable. I speak faster, filling the air with more and more words. My thoughts race. I can’t concentrate. My mind stops, free falls, unable to find what it’s looking for. It’s exhausting.

The night and early morning before I speak, I need no distractions or stressors. Not only must I avoid social stressors, I must avoid the stress of driving in Los Angeles gridlock. I need peace and quiet.

Wish me luck! I welcome your prayers and positive energy as I prepare for the speech.

Creative Writing Prompt: Rainstorm

Irainstorm

Prompt for first creative writing class: RAINSTORM

Rainstorm

The torrential rain kept her awake. She couldn’t sleep. Wasn’t rain supposed to be relaxing? What was it that disturbed her? Why could she not sleep? The rain didn’t lull her, it irritated her. Reminded her that all was not well. The hills may slide. The mud carrying all away. But she was safe. Wasn’t she?

Was it anxiety? Was it caffeine? Was it simply the din amplified by hypomania? Yes, when in this state any noise irritated her. What the hell did she think she was doing this week? Starting to rewrite her book, take a creative writing class, and work out with a personal trainer on the same week her son began college.

He wasn’t away for college. Oh, no. He was attending the local community college and didn’t yet drive. So, on top of everything else, she remained his chauffeur. Fuck. He was getting better. He was more independent than before, but he still relied on her to drive him to classes and to doctors’ appointments. He still didn’t prepare his own breakfast and lunch. He’d just eat a protein bar and banana. At six feet tall and 125 pounds, he needed to eat more.

Caring for him, worrying about him, wore on her. She had hoped that he’d be eating more by now, that he’d make a sandwich or eat a bowl of cereal. She had hoped that he’d feel ready to take his DMV written test, so he could learn to drive.

Though, really, the time that they spent in the car was their special time. Often he wore his headset and cut her off from him. But, there were times when they talked, when they laughed, when he shared his thoughts with her

Back to the storm. Crap transition, but the rainstorm felt like her life. Stormy, but cleansing.

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.

Our Beloved Dog Thumper Passed Away

Thumper
Our beloved labradoole Thumper as a puppy and full grown.

Our grief deepens with another loss. This time of our beloved labradoodle Thumper. Our newly adult son grew up with him. We got Thumper when our son was six. Thumper would’ve been twelve this month.

Unfortunately, our younger poodle Coco is showing similar symptoms. Our next door neighbor said she found eight dead rats in her backyard. Apparently, someone is poisoning rodents. Not good.

We back up to a hillside filled with rabbits and rats. Predatory animals, including mountain lions, coyotes, pet dogs and domestic cats, eat poisoned rodents and die.

Trap rodents. Don’t poison them.