One of my passions is making photos of the birds that come. This year I have been caught up in my songs, blog, and book so have not made photos. I think I will slow down and focus on my birds. All I have to do is sit in my rocker with camera in hand, These photos are October birds on my deck last year.
Have you been following my blog long enough to remember I am writing a book? The original concept was to pull from my and six Muscle Shoals seasoned cowriters experiences to support the title, A Life Well-lived Is Better Than a Song Well-written. I completed an outline. I did the first taped interview of four of the six other songwriters. I started writing. I decided to start with what I thought would be easiest or at least necessary. Since I am one of the seven and the author, my songwriting background needs to be included, right? I thought maybe 1,000 words would be a sufficient summary. Not so.
Recounting my story as a songwriter for forty plus years has taken on a life of its own. I started the saga in 1975 after a few words about before then. I am remembering names, places, and details of experiences I had not thought of in years. Some I do not think I would have ever remembered, at least not in detail. Some I am having to research. I am just now to the moving to Nashville part.
I plan to go with my flow and publish my story as an ebook available on this blog. It will have links to song downloads, interviews, and lyric pages. Who knows? Maybe it will have a link to a free webinar or live Zoom or two?? Then I will write the book I started writing.
Stay tuned. You will be the first to know.
Edited with correct link: 3:36 PM 10/24/2020
I have been struggling with writing this post about the blessing and the curse of having bipolar disorder for over two hours. I have written and deleted, written and deleted. Then I googled and found all of my search words in Inga Stünzner‘s Bipolar disorder ‘a blessing and a curse’: How Ian Higgins sees life through a creative lens. This article is everything I was trying to write. If you want a better understanding of a person with bipolar disorder, read it. If you have bipolar disorder, read it. If someone one you know has bipolar disorder, read it. Please, for me, read it.
Perhaps later I will edit and add more of my own words, but for now someone else’s words say it all.
Indian medicine wheels, Stonehenge, cave drawings, the wheel – when has there not been circles? My own life has come full circle in so many ways. I have named several companies, groups, and events with circle in the name: Circle of Friends, Song Circle, Circle Round.
All humans had to do was look at flowers to know about circles.
Zinnia, Phlox ,Plains Coreopsis, Bachelor Button, Cosmos, New England Aster, Vervain, Five Spot, Larkspur, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Corn Poppy, Marigold, Wild Columbine, Evening Primrose — all grown from seeds except the New England Asters.
Zinnias, coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, daisies, echinacea, larkspur, cleome, sunflowers, four o’clocks, butterfly milkweed, cosmos, asters, marigolds, poppies, phlox, bachelor buttons, amaranth – in abundance in my yard each spring, summer, and fall. I plant seeds; Mother nature does the rest. Nurseries sell these plants in pots ready to put in the ground. I can not afford buying plant at a time. Why would I when I can buy and save seeds resulting in an abundance of plants?
Some years I have hired someone to break sections of my yard with a rotary tiller and then planted seeds. The last two years I have not connected with anyone with a tiller who will work for me, so I have pulled weeds and grass and dug spots with handheld garden tools. I either knell or sit on the ground to accomplish this much harder step. If I could find hired help, I would not do it all by myself. I am seventy-five with some aches and pains. Starting with grass or weeds to get a spot ready is hard but not as hard after a rain.
Look what grew from seeds in the spots I dug. I would say a huge return on the investment of my time and energy. I garden with Mother Nature. I use no marketed insecticides, herbacides, or poisons. I do water on a very limited bases until seedlngs are well established. I use egg shells and coffee grounds as fertilizer plus some marketed ones.
I asked friends what I do well that they would like to know how to do. One answer was growing beautiful flowers. If I offer a four week online course teaching you how, would you be interested? Let me know.
I help people. That’s what I do. I am a catalyst for change. Both of these were easier before Covid19. I have immersed myself in finding ways to help online. This blog and the book I am writing are parts of that. I am taking several online course. Developing my own online courses is next. First, I have to know how I can help. What do I have to offer? What do I well that you would like to know how to do? I have never had so much time available to design online courses.
How can I help you?
Either comment or send me email, or if you had rather, find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/browncsteph/
Help me help you. I need the energy exchange!
Do you know anyone who struggles with bipolar disorder? If so, I promise you they struggle. If the person is close to you, chances are you have tried to help. I can not speak for them because we are all different. I can tell you what helps me as a person with bipolar disorder.
Nothing frustrates me more than someone who thinks they know what I should do unless they are someone close to me, a psychiatrist, or a therapist or counselor who has had some training or experience with bipolar disorder. The good ones have treated me as an individual and not as a stereotyped bipolar person. That distinction deserves a complete post. Do not think of that person as a bipolar person anymore than you would think of someone with cancer as a cancer person. I still work on not letting bipolar disorder define me. That is why I avoid saying I am bipolar.
If you want to support a person with bipolar disorder, educate yourself on bipolar disorder. Understand it as a medical condition. Talk to your friend or family member when they are not in the middle of or edging toward mania or depression. Encourage them to get professional help. This is important. They will not listen any other time. Even when in good place, they are likely to be defensive. They are unlikely to listen to logic. Hopefully your family member or friend will not have to be hospitalized or pose a threat to themselves or others. At that point, you do have to intervene by getting them to professionals. Do not make light of or be unaware of the statistics. Again, that deserves another post.
I have a group of family and friends who have my daughter’s and my brother’s contact numbers. They are my safety net. They are the ones I will likely listen to when I am edging toward a hypo-manic episode although I usually argue with them. I was diagnosed twenty-six years ago. I did not always trust them or anyone. You may ask why manic and even hypo-manic states are dangerous. Those are the times I may make rash decisions with long range effects, spend money impulsively, get into bad relationships, burn bridges I later wish I had not, think I am right about everything, and talk over everyone. I understand when people judge me based on those times and not normal times, but I wish they would not.
I am not ashamed that I got professional help, was hospitalized, am medicated, and still trust only a psychiatrist to prescribe. I am often told meds are not good. I know how wrong they are and how much they are putting their friend or family member in danger if they tell them that, but I do not try to educate them. Sometimes someone tells me they to do not think I have bipolar disorder. I take it as a compliment unless they actually think they know more than my psychiatrist, my family, close friends, and I. I do as well as I do because I stick to meds and take care of myself even when I am in a good place. I never think I no longer have bipolar disorder. I have tried and true strategies that usually work for me. My mantra is eat, sleep, take meds. Sometimes no matter how hard I try I go too high or too low and then rock back and forth between the two until I come back to center. Over so many years of coping I know I will get my balance again. I did not always know that. I am writing this because I am struggling a bit. Lately I have been full of energy and motivated but not so much now.
Do not expect to understand. Just let your friend or family member who is quietly struggling know to you they are an individual not a bipolar person. Do not think they could behave differently if they tired. Do not dismiss them or their disorder. If you are tempted to, research the statistics. Statistics