Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

I Thought I could Not – Then I Did

Is there something you want done but are sure you can not do? You might be surprised if you decided to do it yourself. I have been many times. When I was forty, I was sure I could not buy a Christmas tree, unload it, saw off the bottom, bring it into the house, and get it into a stand relatively straight. Tonight at seventy-five, I did all the above. I am not advocating you become self-reliant – just do not be quick to think you can not do what you want. Perhaps you can not, but perhaps you can.

It is no wonder I did not realize all the things I can do. I have a sister three years older than I and a brother a year and a half older. Of course, they could do more things than I could because they were older, but I did not consider that when I was growing up. I just thought I could not do anything. My mother was impatient and often told me to just get out of the way and she would do it. Then at eighteen I married a man who did everything.

In the twenty-five years I have been alone, I have done many things I thought I could not. Some were out of stubborness. My ex-husband is a pipefitter. When I needed a new faucet I was determined to do it myself without his help. I accomplished it with the help of a very kind plumber who answered his phone late in the evening and talked me though it. Some were because I did not have the money to hire it done. My brother believed in my abilities before I did. Often when I had no money to hire help, he convinced me I could do it myself. He has talked me through many DYI projects.The more I did, the more confidence I gained.

I no longer think of myself as someone who always needs help. Before I say I can not do something, I think it through. I do not just assume I can not. Now because I am older and not as broke, I usually call someone, even for some projects I know I can do. I have learned to ask myself even if I could, why would I. The things I did tonight I did because I am self-isolated so did not want anyone else in my house. I feel good knowing instead of agonizing over how I would get a tree up, I just did it.

If this inspires you, use some common sense. Do not try to do things physically harder than you can handle. The importatnt thing is do not let voices from the past or present limit you.

Disclaimer: I do not always use common sense. Do not try this at home.

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

If Struggle I Must

Struggle I will. Being dramatic helps me during hard bipolar times like now. So if struggle I must, struggle I will. I laugh and say I am the poster child for  bipolar disorder. Twenty-five years after being diagnosed, I faithfully take meds, sleep, and eat. I am healthy; I am happy; I have a good life. I am  too old to be a poster child but old enough to be a voice. Each person’s journey is different. One thing we all share is we struggle. Others either think we could help ourselves if we tried, or that they can help us. Both have a bit of truth. 

I share my journey because bipolar disorder is still an awkward discussion. Some people are not informed at all; some are misinformed. That is not the main reason I share. I share not as a poster child but as an example of one who has bipolar disorder and a good life. I want people to know that is possible. I share for the ones who are affected. That includes the ones who have bipolar disorder and the ones who love them. I share my struggle so bipolar disorder will not be minimized.

Last month I was on a natural high of beginning this blog and beginning a book. I was getting up early and going to bed early. I had energy. I felt good.I Zoomed two or three times a week with my cowriters. My input was creative. I thought all the songs were wonderful.

This month, not so much. I will share a journal entry. My handwriting is better on good days

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I do not want to go to bed at night. I do not want to to get up in the morning. I know I can breath, but it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I work my strategies. I make myself get up. I make sure I take my meds, that I eat, that I sleep enough. I go outside some every day. I journal. I work in the yard. I am still Zooming. In fact, when I am with people, I seem fine. Some days my best strategy is to be still. I consider that I am maintaining. I am not too low or too high. I am operating on top of. I will keep eating, sleeping, taking meds and working every strategy I can. The overwhelming clutter in my house as I sit still is another part of the struggle as is feeling incredibly sad like I am hurting for the whole world. I told you – thinking dramatically is part of it, too. This is not too extreme. Mostly I am frustrated. Coming back to low energy after a long period of positive, productive energy is discouraging. I know a slump is not failure, but it feels like it is.

One morning I will wake up feeling like a burden has been lifted. I will be okay. did not know that years ago. If you have bipolar disorder and do not have that assurance, get professional help. Even if you do have that assurance, get professional help. Your friends can not help you. You can not help yourself by yourself. If someone you love has bipolar disorder, do not tell them they could do better if they tried. Do not think you can be their savior. Help them get professional help. See them as a person not as a bipolar person. Forgive them for the mistakes they have made. If they are bipolar, I can almost promise you they have done things that hurt them and/or others. Love them. My family and friends love and accept me. They are my safety net. We all need one.

If you read this and worry about me, don’t. Trust me like I trust myself. If you do not know me, think of my other posts. If you know me, look at my life.

Please, educate yourself. Go to http://Bipolar disorder – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Posted in Journal, Photos

Digging for Spring Beauty

This is how my flower beds begin and how they are reclaimed. I dig on my hands and knees. I do this for several reasons. I can not afford to hire it done. Even if I could afford it, finding someone who will do what I do is hard. This is definitely not work for a landscaper. The main reason I do my own digging is I love it. Beginning with nothing but weeds or heavy unwanted grass and ending with patches of bright flowers is reward enough. I have claimed and then reclaimed enough small spots to know how much impact they can have.

This spot has been difficult because monkey grass was taking over. Nurseries sell it. Many love it. I come close to hating it. It will crowd out everything else. This area had dahlias and gladiolus in the past. I have dug sacks and boxes of monkey grass from this and one other small area.

People pay good money for monkey grass aka as Liriope. The article below heralds it as a great ground cover and border plant. I would pay someone to dig up every clump in my yard – or my neighbors’. Look at those roots!

All the digging will be worth it in the spring and summer when the dahlias, glads, and maybe even hollyhocks are blooming.

Let others sing its praises, and they do. Perhaps it works well in landscaped yards that are well maintained. It has overtaken flower beds and even portions of my yard. If you want any, let me know for I will be perpetually digging. The good news is my daughter wants some to replace the area she got rid of on my advice. She misses it. Her yard was one of my first Master Gardener projects. It was a total fail.

Looking for a low growing, drought tolerant turf replacement? Try growing monkey grass. What is monkey grass? Rather confusingly, monkey grass is actually the common name for two different species. Yes, things could get a little muddled here, so keep reading to learn about the different types of monkey grass and how to use monkey grass in the landscape. What is Monkey Grass? Monkey grass is a groundcover that looks very similar to turf grass. It is the common name for liriope (Liriope muscari), but it is also referred to as border grass. In addition, monkey grass is oftentimes used as the common name for a similar plant, dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus). Are Liriope and monkey grass the same? In so far as ‘monkey grass’ is often the terminology used for liriope, then yes, which is confusing since mondo grass is also called ‘monkey grass’ and yet liriope and mondo grass are not the same at all. In fact, they aren’t even grasses. Both are members of the Lily family.

Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is Monkey Grass: Caring For Money Grass In Lawns And Gardens

Posted in Cowriters, Featured Songs, Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Stephanie C Brown Songs

I updated my song page – I took down songs that were there and added different ones.

Through all my ups and downs, changes and standstills, one thing I do remains constant. I write songs with my cowriters. We Zoom write anywhere from once to three times a week. Before Covid19, we wrote at my house two to four times a week. I have lost count of how many songs I have written since 1975. I started in Muscle Shoals, moved to Nashville, and then returned home. I had some success as a songwriter in Nashville including cowriting “Burning Bridges” which is on Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind album. The songs I love best are not necessary the most commercial ones. In fact, they seldom are. I jokingly say that a song is probably commercial because I do not particularly like it.

I cowrite with several cowriters regularly – Mark Narmore, CoCo O’Conner, Sandy Carroll, Will McFarlane, Mitch Mann, Cindy Richardson Walker, Grant Walden, Alecia Elliott Fisher, andTaylor Grace Longcrier. I am the pimp. I keep everyone booked in one combination. I get available dates from everyone to see who can write on the same days. Then I let everyone know who is writing with whom when. Sometimes I write with only one other person, but if more than one other is available, I might write with two or three others. I have written with as many as four! During Covid19, not only do I write simply because that is what I do but also because Zoom sessions with my cowriters are social interaction, too. We know each other so well, our sessions are personal. All of our songs are not all from my or my cowriters’ experiences, but they all were the song in the room.

Please, listen to some of the songs, and let me know if you have favorites. John Prine once told me I was the most important person sitting in a song circle because I was the audience. As a creative person, I need an audience. I may fear it, but I need it.

Listen to the last one for something totally different and probably unexpected. All of these songs are available with clearance.

Posted in Journal

Tinder Box

I am an American who cares about America. I do not see how I could write a blog post today that did not in some way touch on today’s election results. Joe Biden is president elect. Although almost half of America are not happy about that, I am. Some will not even acknowledge it. I am keenly aware that I am a miniority in Alabama, my state. Barely one-fourth of Alabamians voted for Biden.

I feel like we are in a tinder box. I do not want to contribute to any negative conversations that could ignite a fire. Already I have asked to be dropped from one text group boasting about “our” win and making derogatory remarks about Trump supporters. I am sure I am going to read a lot of derogartory remarks about Biden supporters like me. I am going to be disappointed in some of my friends on both sides. Already there is violence in the streets.

While writing this, someone called to congratulate me because they were sure we are on the same side. In fact, we are. I loved that. We had never discussed the election, but she knows me, so she knew. I am not against talking about the election results with people who are positive. In fact, I need that. I want everyone to know where I stand. Although I am a minority in my home town, my state, and the states around me, I will be active in working with people who believe as I do that Biden is our best choice.

Already I am hearing and seeing so much I disagree with, but I have high and lofty goals. I hope I will walk away from inflamatory conversations on social media and even in person. I am not Ghandi or Mother Teresa, but I want peace.

Years from now I will look back on this blog and be proud I made a stand,

Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

The Secret To Obsessing

How can a person stop being obsessive? I have a one track mind. I do not multi-task well. If you know me, you have seen it. Working in my yard, quilting, building this block (which was a lot easier than maintaining it), writing my book, writing songs, working puzzles, and probably others I am not thinking of right now. Having an obsessive personality is generally viewed as a bad thing. Like a lot of other things, it is all in how you look at.

I am seventy-five and finally comfortable with my obsessive personality. I accept going into a project or coming back to it that I might not stay interested in it and that I might walk away from it. I am okay with that. In the past, I listened when people reminded me I was good at starting something new but not good at finishing anything. That made me doubt myself and ask myself what was the use of starting or going back to something because I was not going to finish it anyway. It certainly took away from that rush of energy starting a project. I do not think that way anymore.

What works for me is having more than one good obsession so when I am bored or discouraged with one or am obsesssing on one that is not good for me, I can switch off to another one. This does not mean that I walk away from a project everytime I am frustrated or stalled. Sometimes I grit my teeth and refuse to give up. I trust myself to stick with or come back to the ones that matter, even the hard ones. That is where I am with the book. I am not to the walking away point. I accept that I am not making leaps and bounds, so I have to keep my feet on the ground and butt in the chair and put the time in. As long as I do that, I allow myself to obsess with another obsession to free my mind. Tonight it is going to be Doctor Who. Next week it might be quilting.

The answer to the question is you do not stop being obsessive. The secret is you have multiple obsessions.