A quick update on sleep, writing, and volunteering

So, I’m not getting much sleep again. Anywhere from 3-5 hours. A lot of mentally ill people have trouble sleeping. But this not sleeping streak has been going on for over a month now, and I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy. For people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, not sleeping isn’t good and could trigger a manic episode. Idk if I’m manic or just being super creative. I don’t feel manic. I’m not exhibiting rapid, pressured speech, and an exceptionally high mood. But I’ve been more active than usual, thinking too much, and being real project-oriented. It could be because Election 2016 has fired me up. Or it could be because I started taking an antidepressant, Abilify, which has an activating effect. Or it could just be that I needed some changes in my life. Whatever the case, I’m writing, playing WoW, being less irritated with my parents, socializing irl, updating my book blog, and blogging here. I even started to revise my MFA thesis into something publishable. I haven’t worked on it in about ten years! I hope with this attempt I finally finish revising it.

One of my activities this month include the women’s volunteer group meeting I attended. My friend had asked me to do the Inspiration, which could be a quote, a prayer, an inspiring anecdote, anything that inspired you to volunteer. So, I read a couple paragraphs from Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir of “moods and madness,” An Unquiet Mind. I talked about how Jamison realized when writing her book that love, not only Lithium, saved her, and how volunteering is a way I can save myself. Because volunteering, giving, is a form of love. And it also shows that I’m capable of self-love, which is pretty much essential if you want to survive your mental illness. By wanting to save myself it shows that I like and value myself enough to believe that my life is worth living. For my volunteer service this month I did a couple hours repainting a room at a transitional housing center for the homeless.

Because I Am Not Relaxed

I went to my doctor because my shoulder and back pain was getting worse. She prescribed me prescription strength ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant, which makes me very groggy and helps with sleep. Now, I feel rather over-medicated and the pain hasn’t exactly gone away. Not fun.

My doctor also said that I could do physical therapy or see a chiropractor but since I’ve done PT three times already in the past four years I decided to try out a chiropractor this time. He told me I could have hip degeneration. That sounded bad, so I didn’t ask him what it meant. Instead, I googled it and found out that it could mean osteoarthritis in my hips. Awesome. The verdict is: too much sitting, not enough exercise, and I need to watch my weight. I am gonna have to talk to this chiropractor to make sure what he meant, and should I get an x-ray?

For my mental health all this means that I am not relaxed. I am worrying again, and I dislike being in pain. I think I might have made it a little worse because I did some painting on Saturday for my volunteer service and my arms were sore.

Not to mention I did a few marathon mythic + dungeons in WoW, which is definitely not helping my back pain. I will have to moderate my gaming time, and only play a couple of my toons. I will play my hunter for sure, and probably play my alt horde druid in my women’s guild, whose guild chat is more social than my raiding guild’s. It has more members, since it was organized on Facebook and probably also because women tend to be better organizers and community builders.

Take the U.S. Congress for example. Predominantly men kicking 20 million people off health insurance without even having a plan to replace the ACA. Before the ACA, health insurers could deny coverage to anyone who had a pre-existing condition and charge women higher premiums as if their gender itself is a pre-existing condition.

It’s like this whole election was about keeping men in power. If the Russian conspiracy is valid and it’s true that Putin had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, and since Americans voted for Trump despite his history of sexual assault, at the very least harassment, against women, then it all seems to point to this election outcome resulting from outright misogyny. Let’s not forget GOP wants to take down Planned Parenthood as well. 2016 was just the beginning.

I am not planning to watch Trump’s inaguration. There are a bunch of groups organizing women’s marches across the country in solidarity and non-violent resistance on Saturday. I would be marching too if it weren’t for my back.

Volunteering

After the election, I decided to do something to make me feel better and more empowered. I felt that I had failed because the wrong person won the election and as a result a lot of people will suffer. I felt that I had to do more, to take action in my own way that will make America better. Hillary said not to give up the fight and get involved in the community, that America is good because we are stronger together.

So, I joined a women’s club that does volunteer work in the community. I heard about it from my friend, who is the president of the club and involved in many community organizations in town. So far, I’ve only attended two meetings and done one service event. It’s truly been a learning experience. I hope to become more involved and do a service event once a week. On Thursday I spent a couple hours wrapping gifts that are going to homeless families.

gnowithcharHere’s a selfie with my friend who has been encouraging me to go out more and get involved. She’s a wonderful, positive, super social, compassionate, self-reliant, and strong woman, and I’m grateful to have her in my life. A couple Saturdays ago, I was supposed to help out with a tree building made out of canned food for a FoodShare, but by the time I got there they had already built the tree (because I was late!). So my friend decided to take me along with her plans that day. She was on a mission to keep me out of the house for as long as she could. At the end of the night, she bought me a glass of wine at a bar in downtown. I have developed a liking for Cabernet. It was one of the best days in my life this year.
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