Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mantras for BPSOs

Someone just wrote that one of the lines in a post ought to be her mantra for dealing with the stuff that is going on in her life and it occurred to me that we all go through periods when a little saying or truism that sticks in our minds would really be useful.

If you haven't learned them already, try out some of these lines from a bipolar significant other support list.

I didn't cause it; I can't control it; and I can't cure it.
The truth about mental illness is that it just happens. When you take responsibility for something that you have no power over, you end up feeling guilty and frustrated because you are trying to fix something when it isn't even possible.

Have a great life anyways!
Part of life is the circumstances we live in, but the greater part is in our response to those circumstances. This is the equivalent to the New Testament exhortation to "Rejoice evermore."

I'm not losing my mind, I'm having a perfectly normal response to a totally abnormal situation.
Ok, sometimes you just catch yourself saying or doing something that seems totally off the wall. You've been pushed to your limits and you're pushing back in ways that make you cringe. When dealing with mental illness, you often find yourself in situations that seem a bit surreal: arguments that go in circles, checking up on someone you should be able to trust, struggling to help someone who doesn't seem to want help. Instead of thinking about how ridiculous your behavior has become, consider the cause and you may come to the conclusion that your ridiculous behavior is perfectly normal in that context.

Put on your own oxygen mask before you try to help anyone else.
When you get on an airplane, this line is part of the safety speech before take-off. The natural thing for a parent to do when the oxygen masks come down is to make sure their children are wearing theirs first, but if the parent passes out from lack of oxygen, both parent and child can be lost. Even if the child does pass out while the parent is struggling with the equipment, he will often be resuscitated as soon as the oxygen gets into his lungs. This concept extends to the rest of life when caring for other people. If you allow yourself to get so run down that you can't function, if you don't put your own health and safety first, you may not have the strength to help others.

It's not about you!
When someone tells you that life would be perfect if only you would ______ (fill in the blank), it is easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that all of the trouble in your life is your own fault. While we all want to believe that we have the power to control what happens to us, we have to accept that our power is limited. You may have some self-defeating behaviors, but much of life just isn't about you. There are other factors and other people at work in the world, and in your life, and you may have little or no power to change the situation. If you can see that doing something differently might help, go for it. But if what you are being told to do doesn't make sense or if you really are doing the best you can already--cut yourself some slack. It's not about you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Final Edits Never End

Love Has Its Ups And Downs is finally finished--but I've had trouble with pages printing properly--the page numbers start on the wrong side of the page--so I've had to look through to make sure there aren't any blank pages that don't belong. Simple process, no?

Every time I page through I find something that doesn't seem clear enough, a rough transition, a word that doesn't feel right.

After losing a few blank pages, the book has become two pages longer than it was. When I write articles, they get shorter in editing, but this book has taken on a life of its own.

I do get a lot done while I'm editing. It's not like writing, when I write I get locked in and write for hours on end: I take lots of breaks when I edit. I finished all of the dishes, including pots and pans that have been soaking; I cleaned up the construction zone in the bathroom and marked tiles so my husband can get motivated to finish the floor; I took photos in the backyard to post on my facebook page; I took my son to get his Social Security Card so he can get his drivers license; I will do anything to avoid editing when I'm editing.

Today I am taking the whole day off. I am not going to work on the book at all. I am going to work on press releases and networking for selling the book when it is available. I'm self-publishing with print on demand, so I won't have advance notice that the book will be available on a set date--it will be available when I get a proof copy that I can approve. I can't send out any announcements until I am sure of that date, but I can write them and address them.

I am reviewing a book that was obviously self-published and it has a lot of punctuation errors in it. That makes the English major side of me cringe every time. I am so grateful to have found an editor who helped me straighten out my commas and dashes and colons. I hope I haven't let too many errors creap back in since I started fixing the page problems. I ought to know better, but I write like I talk and nobody talks with good punctuation and grammar all of the time without sounding like they are reading their lines. I do not want this book to scream "vanity press" when educated people read it.

Time to go out and forget about writing books for a while.