Hey, Mr. B.D. Fiant,
Will you write a note for me?
Just one word, two words, maybe three?
They want me in therapy.
That is how one of the poems that I read out on Phelps Street last month begins… I don’t feel like writing the whole thing right now. The “art” is a phone doodle on the back of unopened mail addressed to me. Pencils were on the table and I was too lazy to go fetch some paper, just doodling anyway, something to keep my fingers busy while I was on the phone.
So, who is Mr. B.D. Fiant?
You have seen his art here on this blog, last one in Wired, just two posts back. Does he exist? No. He is a play on words, a figment of my imagination created when I worked at Delphi Packard, an ultra ego to credit for minor words of defiance. Yes, B.D. Fiant IS be defiant. Sometimes, I am defiant.
I am still resisting medication as I don’t think I really need “mood stabilizer” pills. I want techniques, handy dandy little tricks, means and methods to unwire myself when I feel too wired. I don’t fly too high anyway, it’s not usually a problem. Lack of sleep is, at times. I need the energy to get things done, got a lot of irons in the fire, a lot of projects going on. I don’t like feeling scattered. I already know how to recognize symptoms and how to ward off downward spirals into “deep dark depressions and excessive misery” (to quote or misquote an old “Hee-Haw” song) and I know there has to be similar things to calm my mind when it gets too frazzled, it’s like trying to think clearly while your brain is out to lunch.
I’m not exactly sure what is going on… I have a shrink talking about brain chemistry, denial, and the dangers of self-medicating so I’m thinking I should document sleep and mood patterns, color coded and shaded for intensity. Add one word here and there if something is going on, say up till 4am writing.
A chart keeps it simple, quick see at a glance if any patterns exist.
I did not have any graph paper, so I drew a chart in OpenOffice Draw. Time span is ye 3 weeks. I have no intention of getting all chart happy, just need to color in squares for hours slept and note moods when obviously up or down… neutral ye normal no problem need not be colored.
Here is a pdf of my printable chart, if you want to see: SleepMoodChart
I might continue to chart between sessions as it will document sleep patterns, &c., and easy see if this therapy and/or trying whatever works or not. Maybe it is too scientific? IDK… I can’t go by assumptions and opinions, vague answers to vague questions… I need evidence, test results, documentation.
Mental health has to be one of the only fields that prescribes medication without proof it is really needed. Try this pill? Try that one? How do you feel? Normal? What’s normal?
Hey… I’m an artist… normal does not apply to creative types. So what if I stayed up all night working on a project, run days on little sleep, crashing only when sheer exhaustion takes over?
Have you ever READ A BOOK you couldn’t put down, had the hours fly by and the next thing you know, it is morning? If just reading a book can do that, imagine the writer being so zoned in that time does not matter. It’s the same thing, maybe a little more intense, but it does not make the author mentally ill.
2 thoughts on “Iron in the Fire”
My sleep schedule and patterns have always been totally whacked compared to what society seems to deem, ‘normal’. My energy levels shift…Periods of being really productive and needing only snatches of sleep…And then, face-plant into the bed for a week or so to recover. More late night work in summer; more overall hibernation in winter.
It’s funny (re:usually irritating) how people assume you are some sort of slacker if you happen to ‘sleep in’ until noon while totally overlooking the fact that you were likely up until 5am busting out work on some creative project. I work best at night when the world goes dead quiet. I do self-medicate by smoking a small bowl of weed when I can get it & I am so wound up I can’t think straight and need to focus on one thing at a time and it helps a LOT. I’ve tried just about everything else from meditation, breathing exercises, going for a walk…they all work at different times but damned if I’ve ever found *that thing* I can count on time after time.
I work with and around my quirks the best I can and figure s’long as I don’t stay on one cycle – up or down – for too long, I’m doing okay.
Thanks Rebecca, I never tried weed for manic symptoms… works great as an alternative to muscle relaxer pills (take those now only in emergency as they do stop killer spasms) and helps so much with my physical disabilities that docs have recommended it; but alas, still illegal in the state of Ohio and lighting a bowl in this building puts tenants at a risk of homelessness.
Shrink asks why is it okay to self med, which (he says) creates dependencies and harms the liver, and not okay to take pills (requiring daily long term use AND harms a long list of body parts, creates other health problems, a.k.a. “side effects” that range from minor irritations to life threatening complications, if reading the fine print on any pills is an indicator). I think it boils down to control. Self meds are “as needed” in doses “as needed” and he says that’s just “masking” instead of fixing the problem. So do pain meds, which I also avoid, not to say that I have a high tolerance for pain… but pain is relative. As long as I’m not screaming involuntarily, I can deal… usually by zoning into projects so actually a bit of “mania” is GOOD for me, makes life tolerable.
Maybe I should just avoid shrinks… I want skills, not pills!
Thing is, a good therapist taught me how to pull out of depressions years ago… they come like riptides. Sometimes, you have to float awhile. Yeah, I have my “down days” probably similar to your face-plant in bed to recover.