Medication for Permanent Disability: med side effects are my current disease.

Alright, I’ve been scanning my archives for a while, tonight: I’ve had too much of school. And I’ve found it hard to do anything except schoolwork, eating, or sleeping. Well — besides reading, here. Records help.

I’ve been asleep for most of the day — it’s a pattern I’m familiar with from when I was not on Prozac. (I began the Prozac to try and fight the lethargy that is a side effect of an antianxiety/antidepressant medication, but the benefit in mood and wakefulness has been accompanied by slow, constant weight gain that I haven’t been able to reverse, so far.) If you haven’t been following the blog, this is my sixth week on a half-dose of Prozac — because I’ve finally said that this is enough.

At the same time I know that the tiredness is at least partially because I’ve been taking sedating medication at midnight instead of three hours earlier. I know this conks me out the entire next day; but it’s hard to take medication that you know will sedate you and may make you nonfunctional, four hours after you finally feel OK enough to get out of bed. From my calculations, it appears that sedation from my anti-anxiety drug starts 1.5 hours after it’s taken, and lasts for 15.5 more hours.

And actually, that looks pretty much…like my pattern.

I’ve been taking medication at midnight or around there, and not feeling wakeful until 4 or 5 PM the next day. That’s a total of 17 hours that are impacted.

I’ll try and take it at 9, though, and just see where it goes from there. If I go to bed at 10:30 PM…that is 1.5 hours before midnight, so I should be fully awake by 2 PM the next day…giving me about 9 hours of quality working time. (For the first 7, I’ll just be tired or asleep.)

Although I know I don’t actually need that much sleep; this is just the amount that my body wants to sleep on 150mg of the sedating medication.

That medication acts against anxiety…which is useful in my line of work, combined with my personal history and the patrons I have to deal with. It also keeps in check, a couple of phobias. There is the possibility of cutting the dose by 1/3, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly great option, at the moment. At least, I need to wait until the holidays are over: I don’t want to add to the yearly load of additional holiday Crisis appointments, if I don’t have to.

On the other hand, when I was on 200mg of this medication a night instead of 150…I missed so many doses that in practicality, I was on 150. And my sleep schedule was almost nonexistent. What I can say is that I was pretty heavily drugged, and not particularly on the right medication (which dates back to a prescribing psychiatrist from high school whom I basically hated — I feel she worked in the Pediatric division because kids didn’t push back).

So yes…taking medication in half an hour (and keeping to the 9 PM schedule) should tell me whether I need to reduce that medication as well, in order to be functional during the day. There is a big difference between 100mg and 150mg; at the same time, I do still have issues with anxiety (which could ramp up into feeling threatened, which could ramp up into hostility, left unchecked. And I do have rage issues…which aren’t entirely the fault of the people who tap into them except they keep tapping).

I wonder if there are other antianxiety medications out there that do not have a side effect of sedation? Do I even still have a diagnosis (as versus a history) of “depression,” at all?

Or maybe I should just consult with my doctor and lower the sedating dose by 25mg, and see how I feel…after confirming or disproving that this stuff takes 17 hours to stop making me tired.

Gah. So I started writing to try and get my mind off school, and got diverted into self-care and mental health…though at least it was productive, a bit.

Right now, in one class all I have left is a presentation and Final Project (which I haven’t started, yet). In another class, I have a relatively simple assignment and a Final Project to work on (which is well underway). In my third class, I have a lecture and two readings which I should have done by now (that is, I’m behind again), and group work to do by tomorrow (which was scheduled for today, but I slept most of the day). Some of that work is already done, and I just need to review some readings to prepare for the morning.

The problem is not having done anything unnecessary, for what feels like the past week, and having to bribe myself to get out of bed with lures like chocolate. I need a break! But then, I feel guilty because I know that if I take a break, there’s probably something on which I’m falling behind.

I haven’t even been able to do reading which isn’t directly related to school, without being too tired to stay up to do it.

I’m also taking an extra unit in Spring semester, and am not sure how I’m going to hold all that together, if I’m having this much trouble with nine units. Then again…the vast majority of my work this semester is coming from ONE CLASS. I guess I’ve just got to hope that I don’t get more classes like that, in Spring; or something is going to have to give…whether it’s classes, work, or medication.

(I generally do not oversleep, off of medication; I’m normally an insomniac and get by with 4-6 hours of sleep a night.)

Yeah, I think…the medication stuff just needs testing and adjustment. And I can’t rely on Psychiatry to empathize on that point for me, because they aren’t the ones experiencing the effects (the best I got from them on the issue of constant sedation was, “fight it.” And I was like DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO EXPERIENCE THIS [though I didn’t say this]. And the answer, obviously, is “no,” because they aren’t on my medications, and they don’t know how hard it is to stay out of bed when every fiber of your being wants to be asleep. And if people tell you you can’t sleep, you just want to sit in the floor and cry to be allowed to sleep.)

Anyway, I should take the ******* medications, now.

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Just because it’s believed, doesn’t mean it’s real.

I know it’s time for me to start preparing for the night, but I’ve actually had some interesting thoughts to share.  One of them, is how much easier it is to talk and define oneself when one isn’t aware of exactly how crazy one sounds.  🙂

I have a tendency — a strong one, on reduced medication (I’ve started to get off of Prozac, which historically has helped clarify my thoughts) — to be creative and define myself in creative manners.  However, what has become clear to me is just how many versions of myself I can have…and that none of them may be entirely accurate.

It’s actually really easy to define (or redefine) oneself (especially if one is delusional; meaning that no matter what evidence is presented to one that the belief is untrue, one will continue to hold the belief despite it).  And it’s easy to believe these definitions of oneself are true:  it’s the brain’s way, to believe itself.

The hard part is sticking to these definitions, because when you’re trying to be anything you can conceptualize, there will inevitably be holes (the true self may be beyond conceptualization).  And after a while you realize that all these outgrowths are symptomatic of a deeper reality, which is that your tendency is to create and that given no creative outlet, you rewrite and re-iterate yourself, as versus your art projects or your crafts or your writing or music…or apps… 😉

(Water has been a strong theme in my life.  It will seek out holes and burst dams.  The more I try to hold it back, the more catastrophic the floodwaters can be.)

As I’ve moved forward in life, as versus paused to ascertain whether and how to just hold steady and avoid despair, I’ve not had time to devote to things like energy work or spiritual topics which may only hold a side-benefit of (supposedly) better health.

When I was a youth, I was drawn to Buddhist philosophies, because having a philosophy which recognized the existence of duhkha (popularly translated as “suffering,” but this is an inexact translation), and was based around relieving it, gave me some comfort.  It meant I wasn’t alone in my pain.

By now, I have integrated parts of Buddhist philosophy which can help:  but I don’t really think it’s…true, anymore.  (Pretty much, nothing classified as, “metaphysics,” “spirituality,” or, “religion,” fall into the “undisputably true” category, with me.  Even the category of “philosophy” is questionable [if you start out with the wrong givens, in philosophy, you can’t hope to follow them to truth] — although I do realize that this post is in essence, philosophical.)

People are creative — is something I’m taking as a given — and many more things can be thought of, than are true.  Buddhism is a creation which has been co-created by many people over more than two millenia, which has likely helped sustain a large number of lives over the years it has been in existence…but its functionality (its usefulness) doesn’t relate to its truth value.

That is, something can be useful, and not be true.  I may have, on this point, come to the realization of what is meant by the Buddhist concept of upaya (usually translated as “skilled means”).  Although all explanations I’ve heard of this concept seem condescending — I’m kind of understanding, at this point, that this is both an admission that doctrine itself may not be founded on truth, and that it is still important to address duhkha in life.

Earlier tonight, I realized one thing:  that people in certain spiritual communities (myself having been included among these at multiple times) have felt relatively free to say things, precisely because they felt those things with such certainty.  However, my experience with mental illness has made at least one thing clear:  a subjective feeling of certainty is not a determinant of truth value.  What do I mean by that?

I mean that just because we think and feel and “know” something is true, that doesn’t mean it is.  It’s the brain’s nature to “believe in” what it tells itself.  Now it is possible to have subjective (or internal) dissonance, and that also needs to be attended to:  oftentimes, it has been feelings like these which have let me know that I didn’t have both feet in reality.  (There does seem to be a spectrum of, “More True”-to-“Less True,” when it comes to seeking out who one is.)

And once you’ve been around long enough, it becomes apparent when others are attempting to manipulate you for their own gain.  (It’s one thing for a person to choose what to believe; it’s another for someone else to try and choose what they believe for them, in a manner that benefits the one doing the choosing and not the disempowered subject.)  Just because I recognize that I cannot fully grasp reality in my mind, doesn’t mean that I think anyone else can, either.

This has been the largest reason I’ve stayed away from spiritual institutions.  Although I do admit that I am now curious about attending Buddhist services.

The priest at my family member’s funeral was from a Pure Land sect:  Jodo Shinshu, to be exact.  But he seemed to have his head on straight, and to know what efficiently and urgently needed to be addressed.

It’s apparent to me that we tell ourselves what we need to tell ourselves in order to simply function and stay alive.  In this sense, creativity in humans functions as a survival mechanism.  And is this why so many creative people deal with mental illness, as well (only the most creative, survived)?  I’m not sure.

It’s apparent to me as well, that religion is an outgrowth of creativity.

I’m not certain exactly what will happen if and when I succeed in entirely kicking Prozac.  What I do expect is that my creative faculties will become less muted.  In turn, I’ll probably become more eccentric than the way you’re used to seeing me behave.  I hate to say I can’t help it, but…it’s just the space I normally inhabit.

I just have to make sure I don’t box myself in too tightly with definitions and proclamations of “truth”…because words don’t matter where it comes to what’s real.

Catching up, and trying to take care of myself at the same time.

I need to manage my time, better.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of my work, this semester, is from one class.  While I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, in effect, it is a lot of work.  It’s also kind of stressful in that it seems, whenever I take some time out for myself, I fall behind.

For instance, now.  I know that writing here doesn’t have much to do with my studies (other than being a warm-up for a written assignment:  it’s hard to start cold), but I don’t think I’ve realistically done much other than study, eat, go to work, and sleep, over the past 5 days.

Oh, wait, no.  I did play around with some beads to make earring focals, but that…that was intentional.  There was one day — Monday or Tuesday — in which I started studying when I woke up, and aside from dinner, did not stop reading for 9.5 hours, until I went back to bed.  But I’ve been catching up on three weeks of work, which went by I-don’t-know-how (other than the fact that the class with the surprise heavy workload was the class with the almost-no-workload earlier in the semester).

I need to change the pattern of not checking the Learning Management System when I need a break, because then I don’t know how much I’m falling behind.  Of course, not thinking about it is kind of the point; but when in other semesters this would have been a viable option because the amount of falling behind was negligible, this semester it is not.  I simply have too much work due too soon.

So…it really does look like my life is again circling around my career choice.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing? but I’m having to use disability accommodations in order to get through it all.  That’s largely because of the sleep issue.

Speaking of which, it’s been working relatively well to take medication at 9 PM, take care of hygiene, fall asleep around 11, and wake up randomly between 6 and 7:30 AM.  The problem is falling back asleep after I wake up, even when my alarms go off.  This happened today, and so even though I woke up at 6 AM (before sunrise), I repeatedly fell back asleep, and didn’t actually get up until 12 PM.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that I didn’t take medication last night until around 11:30 PM.  The later I take it, the more bombed-out I am the next day.  I think it would be best to stick to the 9 PM med time when I can, even though it feels like I’m wasting time in which I’m aware:  9 PM is early enough so that I’m not totally wiped out the next day.  And if I can manage to find a way to stay out of bed after I first wake up, this should be workable (it should be easier as my body gets used to going to bed and waking up at stable hours).

Of course, that means that I’ve got a little less than 8 hours left to get my homework done, today.

I’ll get to work.

Weight gain and strategies to manage sleep without Prozac

It’s been a longstanding thing with me that I’ve wanted to get off of one medication in particular, due to weight gain.  When I began it a number of years ago, it was because I was having great difficulty with wakefulness — a side effect caused by another of my medications.

I realized that weight gain was a likely consequence, but I didn’t bet on constant, steady, highly sensitive weight gain, meaning that I would have to constantly monitor what I was eating and drinking (particularly with sugars; ironically, although I can drop weight with a high-fat, low-sugar diet, one Frappucino will make me gain about a pound), and whether I was moving around enough, just in order to maintain my weight at a relatively steady level.  This is even though I have a metabolism which is normally high, I’ve never before had to manage my weight or my food and drink in my life, and 135 lbs. was heavy for me, at one point (actually, my previous high was 120, but I was 20 years old, so that doesn’t count).

Recently, I unintentionally missed my morning dosage for three days in a row; and realized that the belly bulge I’ve been fighting, significantly flattened.  Although I have been maintaining my weight (just not putting back on the ~4-5 lbs. I lost when I was last sick — which is hard when your body thinks food is scarce and that it’s starving), I have been doing this without the benefit of constant exercise.  If I exercised more, I’m sure I would lose weight — but I’d lose a lot more of it if I stopped the troubling medication, and exercised.

Not to mention that I’ve recently lost the definition in my chin and throat.  The next step is to gain a double chin, and that is not what I want.  And although my blood sugar numbers have been good, I can’t bet on that continuing, if I continue to gain abdominal fat.  And I really, really don’t want to become insulin-resistant or diabetic, both of which can be caused by this medication.

Not to mention that it’s harder to exercise when you’re trying to move around 35 extra pounds and you get winded from walking up a slight grade.  My doctor had wanted me to go down to 135 from 145, last time I saw her.  Right now I’m at 161, to be gentle about it and not include the weight I’m at after I’ve consumed anything.

Against certain advice, I’ve written to my doctor about wanting to titrate off of this (i.e. gradually lessen my dosage until it’s nil), sooner rather than later; and I do admit to being angry about letting her convince me to stay on the medication, when I talked to her about stopping it six months ago.  The reason to talk to her is to gain her assistance in stopping this in a safe way.  I don’t want to relapse, which stopping cold-turkey invites.  I have titrated off of medications before, though.  I’m just not certain that taking it off-and-on (I only have one size caplet) is really the best way to reduce the levels of medication in my bloodstream.

If it is possible, though, it might be useful to take the pill on two days and off one day, and then reduce that to 50/50, then off two days and on one day, then totally off; or something similar.  (I’m just extrapolating this from past experience.)

But what I wanted to write about here, really, was what I’ve learned about managing my sleep, during the time that the medication was ostensibly helping me not be groggy all the time.  I think I’ve been on this medication for at least three years, though I’m not sure of the details.  Over that time, I’ve learned strategies to manage my sleep and wakefulness cycles, which I didn’t know of when I started it:

  1. Take night medication at a scheduled time (9 PM) with the aim of waking up early the next day.  Taking sedating medication at 11 PM or later will ruin the next day by making me groggy until evening (~5 PM), which encourages staying up late (3-4 AM, at times) to try and catch up on all the functionality that was missed in the daytime.  That, in turn, throws off my Circadian rhythm.
  2. Get ready for bed immediately after taking medication.  I don’t have to go to bed directly after this, but getting knocked out by sedating medication (this is not the stimulant medication) often means that I become too tired to wash my face, shower, floss, or brush my teeth before collapsing.
  3. If the prior two things are set in place, I don’t have to worry about getting enough sleep, when to go to sleep, or my personal hygiene.  The medications will knock me out in about 1.5 hours (10:30 PM), most nights.  This also means that by 7:30 AM (the earliest I rise), I’ll have gotten a full 9 hours of rest.
  4. Leave the shades open a bit so that morning light can enter the bedroom as the sun comes up.  This is in lieu of a mood light (full-spectrum/daylight lamp) in Winter, though in the latter situation, I may need a daylight lamp on a timer.  The sunlight aligns my biological clock to help me be wakeful at or before the time my alarm goes off.
  5. Don’t stare at computer/e-reader/smartphone screens too long late at night; either this, or wear anti-blue-light lenses when working here late at night:  the blue light seems to make the brain think that it’s daytime when it isn’t.
  6. Don’t nap in the late afternoon (after ~4 PM), and don’t lay down for “just a rest” at 9 PM (especially without taking care of hygiene):  just go to bed, or try and tough it out until you do.  If I lay down late at night without planning to go to sleep, my body takes it as a power nap and may not fall asleep until 1-3 AM.
  7. Green tea (or oolong, if I’m really tired or want something brisk) is a good, gentle stimulant for me.  Paired with the sedating medications I’m on, it doesn’t stop me from falling asleep at night (or even in the day, sometimes), either.  It helps with energy and wakefulness.
    However, coffee and caffeinated beverages (e.g. cola) aren’t good for me — they can cause heart arrhythmia, palpitations, and nosebleeds.  And when I drink tea as a stimulant, I need to drink real tea, not bottled sweetened iced tea (it saves on calories) — and second-brewing and on is much lower in caffeine.  In addition…there are some teas, like fermented Pu-Erh teas, which are supposed to help avoid weight gain.
    Yes, this means I am using the tea especially for its medicinal/drug-related properties, although as I state above, caffeine alone does not have this effect.  I’m at peace with my use of this, at this point, though I have to remember not to overuse the tea:  it will cause cravings (sometimes at inappropriate times, like late at night/before dawn) and addiction.  To avoid caffeine addiction and keep the tea useful in helping with wakefulness, I need to abstain at times, even if it’s hard.
    A caveat:  it’s good to use a whitening toothpaste after drinking tea, because even green tea will stain one’s teeth (I haven’t tried white tea).
    Another caveat:  Holy Basil (Tulsi) tea also has stimulating properties, though may interact with certain medications.  If I get addicted to camellia sinensis tea, I think Tulsi acts along a different channel.
  8. To be wakeful in the daytime when it is hard to rouse oneself:  give yourself permission to do something other than work or sleep.  I’m surprised how often this one works.  Sometimes it’s not that I’m tired, so much as that I don’t want to face my work out of anxiety (and/or I’m hungry), and I feel bad overtly opting to do something other than work, or sleep.
    But doing something other than work gives me a reason to get out of bed, and may lead to work later on, after I’ve satisfied the drive to live (instead of work).  In any case, it’s better to be active in the daytime and asleep at night, if I can help it:  I don’t work night shift.

I’ll try and tag this in a way so I don’t forget it, or I could add it as a curated post to one of my Pages.

And yes, I do want to make a “Tea” entry now, but I think it’s best that I get ready for bed…

Meditation

The heat still radiated out from the walls, although the sun had ceased to blaze about an hour ago.  Lee could feel the sweat sticking to her, evaporating all too slowly.

But how are you going to do it? she thought.

It amused her:  she worked surrounded by books, with the ability every day to take home a new writing, and yet something had stopped her from even opening anything that wasn’t based in reality.

Nearly every day, she tried to write, and even then found herself avoiding what she had once been happy to resign herself to, as life’s work.

Somewhere, buried under mountains of excuses, fears, and projections, lay the reason why.  But she didn’t know it, couldn’t see it.  There was too much in the way.

I have to open up if I want to be creativeWithout it, my work will suffer.

How many generations of artists had lived through eras of their work being constricted by the pressures of the market?  For how many years had Lee lived with the spectre of her own…shall we say…mental irregularities?

She hesitated to call herself “insane.”  Insanity was a legal term.  It meant a person couldn’t tell right from wrong.  She wasn’t insane in that sense.  But her fear,

if I let them see who I am, I’ll just show the world I am insane,

that stopped her.  Over the years it was possible to learn how to blend in, how not to frighten people by being too friendly, how to avoid glares as a reward for eye contact.

Even the word for it — schizophrenic

The vast majority of people, even educated people…even her professors — didn’t know what it meant.  They had a tendency to link the term with multiple personalities, which was not even close to what she meant when she used the term in a clinical (not pejorative) sense.

So she just didn’t use it.

Due to complications, she couldn’t even say, though, that when people did use the term wrongly, based in 19th-century dogma, that they used it inaccurately.  No one’s mind is wholeSo why am I so scared of opening the door to…that?

I’ve stood here, watching you, every day…writing these things out.  Have you forgotten your primary purpose?  Since you have gained to fortitude to begin to live, your fear has overwhelmed you.

Because now my employment depends on…

depends on appearing “normal?”  That’s why you chose the field you did.  You know it is normal within the arts and within letters not to be “normal.”

But I don’t know if I’ll stay,

You are not trapped.  Believe me when I say that I hear you where you fear becoming another like the ones you try to separate yourself from.  But you are not them.  You have not reached the point of spewing diatribes from upturned cartons on the sidewalk.  And I know a thinner line than you would like, divides you from those you smell before you see.  But you have care.  They don’t.

Then what separates us?

Lee looked over her shoulder at the dimming twilight.

I’ve never been hospitalized.  I’ve never been homeless.  I have access to medication and mental health facilities.

I don’t want to be hospitalized.  I don’t want to be homeless.  I don’t want to lose access to medication and mental health facilities.

This world was not made for me.

But you live here.  And if you want to be an artist — no.  If you want to make an impact on the world, you have got to face the idea that people will come to know you.  I know you’ve been hurt in the past, but you’re no longer a child.

I only live among children.

Listen to me.  Which part of you/I/us are you talking from, now?

STOP BEING CONTROLLED BY FEAR AND DO YOUR DUTY.

can you live fearlessly?

Flowers in the wind

I’ve been noticing a phenomenon recently…this is the fact that, at the very least, I’ve heard about a lot of people dying, this pattern having started about last December.  This includes, of course, my relative, among others.

As I’ve been browsing the Reader tonight, I’ve run across a couple of fairly alarming articles…one about Colony Collapse Disorder, the other about the likelihood of humans driving ourselves to extinction within the century.  (I would not assume these to be essentially separate stories.)  I’d still have to do research on this…and not just in popular articles…to come to an educated opinion, but I’m starting to think that there might be something to this.

So…if you’ve been reading my backposts, you’re probably aware that my relative’s funeral happens not too long from now.  I’m planning on going — I’ve done the requisite hygiene rituals.  My major fear has been that I’m going to be called into a place where I’ll have to get spiritual on people.  What has happened is that my relative died, and then the rest of the family has seemed not to know what to do with this.  On top of that, one of the people who really has no realistic anchor here has been trying to control everything, even to the detriment of the voice of my relative’s son, who knew my relative’s last wishes.

I feel like the funeral should be a celebration of their life.  While I do feel like the situation is sad overall, I also recognize the element of chance.  In my life, that is, when and where there has been spirit intervention, it’s often come through random events (in my mind this may be a reasoning for my own neural systems going on the fritz in the early 2000’s)…so that those random events end up forming a pattern which appears nonrandom.

My relative was severely injured in an accident over 20 years ago which left him quadriplegic — that is, he was largely paralyzed from the neck down (though he did, with practice, regain some functionality in his right arm).  What happened in the accident was a case of randomness plus being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person.  His life from then on out, though, drastically changed.  And although this was sad, I also know that he made a lot of positive change in those later years.  Maybe he helped someone who needed to be helped at some later time…and it was important enough that what did happen had to happen.

I feel like we’re all part of a larger story.  I don’t know if there are any “bad guys” in it.  (Well, maybe if there was a spirit who gave Einstein the Theory of Relativity…)  I may be affected by a mental condition which has made my life vastly more difficult than it needed to be…but I’ve learned a lot from my disadvantages, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.

Anyhow…I seem to be coming to terms with being “psychic”/intuitive.  At first, I feel like my relative was having a hard time adapting to not having a body; then I introduced the question of what he could do now that he could not do before.  The response was, at first, “?”, but I get the feeling that he’s getting the hang of things, now.  In any case, I feel like he’s still with me — and maybe closer to me than he was before.  His physical form is shed, but that doesn’t mean he stopped existing.  The fact that he isn’t directly living in a body in the physical plane right now makes things harder for those left behind — but I don’t get the feeling that he is suffering at this point in time.  The people who are afraid of what has happened to him or will happen to him or will happen to them are the ones who are suffering.

I think I read somewhere that we only understand about 5% of the Universe (scientifically speaking), and for some reason, I find hope in that.  It means that existentialism is just a mode of thinking — not necessarily true.

And…I don’t know if we’re going to go extinct sooner rather than later, but personally…I get the feeling that I need to counteract the destruction.  Unfortunately, I have had visions — or anxieties — of being nuked just because the world doesn’t like us or is afraid of us.  This could be an echo of Hiroshima — most of my clan in Japan was wiped out in that bombing (we were apparently local to the area).  I do not take it lightly that this is how they died.  My largest concern is the effect of radiation on other planes…though now that I mention it, I’m getting a soft, “you don’t have to worry about that.”

I also realize that the levels of pollution in our environment are ever-increasing…

…but all I can do is live my best life.  As transitory as it may be.

This speaks more of illness than of faith.

There are a few things that have happened since last post.  One of them is my wondering whether slipping into a more “masculine space” is just me being a bit manic.  It would explain the increased energy and the somewhat “high” feeling I got when doing that most recent Creative Writing piece…which I was uncertain how to tag, at the time.  It is basically fiction, but it’s fiction with years of gleaned experience behind it (though I would not go so far as to say, “years of research”…looking things up on the web [and, yes, once in a library reference section, but that was one time, out of years] isn’t exactly research).

It’s just that the older I get, the more knowledgeable and experienced I become with regard to my mind, and the more thoroughly I can see my illness’s impact — from a young age.  Things which were with me from the age of 12 are still here, but amplified to the effect of becoming a problem.  (and this is on medication.)

I was planning to stay home from one of my groups in order to attend a webinar, but at this point (after looking over the “mental health” tag on WordPress and seeing the prevalence of “demon” posts), I’m thinking that maybe I should actually prioritize my mental health over career development.  My psychological development doesn’t follow that of a Satanist so much as it follows that of someone dealing with mental illness.

The fields overlap, but I don’t fit in with Satanists, overall.  I checked the Reader tags relating to this, and found exactly the same thing I had left behind and recalled exactly why I had left.  It’s a realization that I came to several times before abandoning hope that I and this enclave would be a clean fit.  Much like Sociology — introduced to me as “the study of groups of people” — the cultural body of Satanism is not accurately referenced by the official definition (or by anti-Satanist propagandists).

(Sociology is, rather, the study of power dynamics within groups of people, and how power constrains and shapes society, and how those living under power find ways — called agency — to negotiate being, granted these systems of power which they cannot directly confront, which grant them some fulfillment [if not, entirely, the freedom they desire].)

Chances are that in the future, Satanism will look appealing to me again; and then, if nothing has changed, I’ll — again — remember why I left.  If, that is, I look back at the community for reference.  If I don’t, I would be in the majority of Theists, as solitary, and also pretty much in the vein of, as I’ve heard, “do anything you want and call it Satanism.”  (One of the reasons I don’t fit in as a Satanist is that I’ve never been Christian.  Because of this, I have no base to start from, other than being negatively blasted by scattershot propaganda in a religious context.)

In fact, if I hadn’t been able to do anything I wanted and still feel included as a fringe Satanist, I probably would have decisively left a long time ago.  Instead, I had a prolonged period of time in which I was able to develop an attachment to some Deity (not Satan as defined by any Abrahamic religion) whose name and larger context I didn’t know, but whom I felt comforted by and grew fond of.  They say that God comes to you in ways that you can accept and deal with, and I think this was an instance of that.  The more I think of it, the more it seems like a polar reversal, with the “bad guy” comforting me, and the “good guys” encouraging hate towards me…for nothing I had done wrong, except exist.

But in reality, I seriously do not blend in among Satanists.  I am actually closer to Neopagan, at least demographically — but I’ve tended to have an “edge” that some do not; and my lack of fear of the “dark” has…not elicited the most helpful responses.  Moreso when I was younger, though the Pagan Reconstructionists were fine with it.  It’s more the New Age types who have tended to focus on, “love and light,” seemingly exclusively…which I find to be dangerous.

When one’s unwanted aspects are ignored, denied, and pushed down, it tends to cause a potential lack of control which isn’t as severe when one is aware of them and knows them, how they work, and one’s own capacity to harm others.  (A while ago, dealing with this — “Shadow work” was the term used — became popular, but I was already deep into my “Shadow” and needed a light that wouldn’t shun me.)

My desire to learn more about creativity and about Deities of creativity…that stems from wanting no longer to be ignorant about things when I reference myself against established religions.  (The only thing that can end ignorance, in this case, is research.)  It also comes from wanting to find who my Deity [or otherwise, the spirit and/or set of spirits I’ve become attached to] is [or are], if they’ve ever been referred to before.

The closest framework I have is the Dukante hierarchy, but…let’s say that I kind of don’t want to deeply enmesh myself in “dark” work (by this I mean Daemonolatry).  Though from what I understand, some African Diasporic religions also tend “dark” in the sense of concentrating on emotions that are hard to tolerate/painful.  Understandable, in context…but my life, most thankfully, isn’t in that context right now.

And…I forgot what the other relevant things I could mention, are.  (I forgot to note them down before I started writing.)

I’ve decided to let the homework for tonight, slide.  And I’m not going to call it in.  It is 1.5 points, but…the grad program is intense, and sometimes it is just better to say “no,” as in, “no, I can’t do this right now.”  And, “no, I don’t want to make it up, later.”  Just to save what there is of my sanity.  I did do 20 pages of reading, in a very difficult text, earlier.  It wouldn’t be an issue if the text weren’t so hard to get through…but there is constant reference in trying to remember what all the acronyms mean, the text is generalized to the point where I actually have to think about what is meant, etc.

I did remember that I had found the fabric dyeing tag on WordPress…I have been looking at printing recently, particularly linoleum and woodblock printing, though.  I’ve also been thinking about what I would do if my creative work was not something I would hope for monetary return on.  In that case, sewing and fabric arts (hand stitching and embroidery, most apparently) come to the fore.  It could also be really interesting, though, to get back into linocuts (linoleum block printing).  I also know how to do stencils, which is a related focus…and then if my attention is still held, I might go on further, to woodblock printing.  There is just a lot of working process that I’m not familiar with and never had to do with painting and drawing, though.  For example, sizing the paper so that the colors do not bleed.

And I have realized that the art is something to keep me alive…not, so much, something to sell.  This is on a much more basic level than that.

With that in mind…I did find a nice image which I may make into an acrylic painting…another ice-plant floral.

And, right:  I mentioned the desire to find Deities of creativity, which got the same parent as before, worked up.  Apparently I’m trying to find too many answers and need to let things just be.  Like it doesn’t matter if I know what gravity is, so long as I know that things fall when they’re dropped.

I can’t say I agree with that (I’m naturally inquisitive), but I suspect the viewpoint comes with age.  That, and I think — to them — it may up the ante too much to get a Deity overtly involved in my life (at this point, I can always tell my mental banter to shut up; I am not on that kind of a relatively fearless playing field with a Deity).

But I’ll get some rest…I can feel myself slowing down, about now…