Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Non-Fiction Writing

I have published LIFE HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS as an eBook on and am working on doing the marketing for that and starting the editing of my new book

The second book is tentatively called “STONE SOUP” and is about feeding and providing for a family when you have very little money. It is another situation with which I am personally familiar and which I have managed to work through for myself.

I feel that the second book is relevant because many families that deal with a bipolar adult, do have financial issues, either because that person isn’t able to maintain employment or because of manic spending sprees. While neither is universal with bipolar, both are common enough.

It seems that I am become a non-fiction author and publisher, something I can’t seem to find a lot of information about, online or at the library. Since I really need to get this figured out efficiently and since I have a habit of sharing the information when I do get things figured out, I have decided to start a Yahoo! email discussion group and a Facebook group to connect with other non-fiction writers to pool whatever information we have.

If you are a writer of self-help or other non-fiction books or articles, consider yourself invited to join us on Facebook at:

or on Yahoo Groups at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fear of Flying

I guess I should be calling this fear of trucking, but that doesn’t have such a nice ring to it. My husband is all signed up for truck driver training. He is going to get some training, get a license, and get a good job so that I can quit my day job and work on writing.

To those who believe that being self-centered is part of the bipolar disorder, take note—it may be part of some episodes, but it is not a constant for people with bipolar. If your partner is always selfish, it’s not the disorder, you’ve hooked up with a jerk.

Ok, so the thing is that he has passed the DOT physical for the license and got the doctor to sign off that his bipolar will not affect his ability to drive safely, but I am worried that potential employers will see that he has been on disability for mental illness for the last several years and decide that they don’t want to hire someone with a serious mental illness on his record.

Of course he doesn’t want to believe that it will be a problem. Neither do I, but I know that stigma and prejudice are out there and with so many people looking for work, employers may find reasons to hire people who are physically and mentally healthy over someone who has been hospitalized within the past year for mental illness. He might not be able to get health insurance through an employer because of his history.

Because between my paycheck and his disability we are earning too much money, he doesn’t qualify for financial aid, so we will be taking out a loan for the full amount of his tuition, fees, books, etc. which means that instead of getting ahead and being able to quit my job, we may be in debt and I may have to continue to work even after I’d be able to retire in order to make up enough money to pay the debt off.

Maybe the books will do well enough that I will be able to use that money to pay the student loans. Maybe I’m crazy to be worried and he will find a job when he finishes his class and he will be able to pay the bills and the student loan and allow me to quit my day job.

Whatever happens, we are trusting God and I’m not going to panic. In case I forget and panic, please remind me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Symptooms The Book Never Told You About

As a member of support groups, I have come to realize that there are some symptoms of bipolar that aren't listed in the DSM but that are so common to people with bipolar as examples of some vague symptoms that are commonly listed that I think they should be listed. I don't write for the DSM people, but I write this BLOG.

These are the symptoms the doctor forgot to warn you about:

The book might mention hypersexuality, but what they don't tell you is that a person with bipolar may not be interested in sex for months, even years at a time when in depression or on certain medications, but will want to do "it" several times a day in every position in every location, sometimes with every person or all alone or with pictures or video or prostitutes name it.

The book might say something about impulsive behavior, but it won't tell you that a person with bipolar can take a perfectly adequate paycheck and buy a gallon of milk, forget to pay the bills, and not have a dime left. The fact that there may also be absolutely nothing at all to show for it is a bonus. Or perhaps there are many things to show for it--and the fact that you have the trappings of a hoarder delivered from ebay on one otherwise beautiful afternoon is one surprise that none of the books will prepare you for. The doctor would never tell you.

The book might tell you that depression involves some slowing of functioning--it doesn't tell you that your depressed loved one might slow to the point of stopping--I worry that my husband is gathering dust when he gets stuck in his chair for days on end and I'm sure the cobwebs coming out of his ear are not MY imagination. I know he is miserable, but if I don't laugh I'm inclined to cry along with him and we might never drag ourselves out from under it.

What the book won't tell you is that depression doesn't necessarily involve sadness. Sometimes it's anger or irritability or stomach aches or head aches or just falling asleep and waking up several weeks later, ala Rip Van Winkle.

And the happy maniac of the book is a rarity, with mania more likely to occur as anger, irritability (see any patterns here), racing thoughts, forced speech,little need for sleep and a sort of feeling like you are wound too tight and if you don't keep running fast enough the spring is going to sproing.(I knew there was a good reason for that fast track.)

Alas, the symptoms in the book, the symptoms that the doctor diagnoses by, are dull, dry, stereotypical and clinical while the truth of the matter is much more interesting and lively and human and scary and real.

Up and Running

My schedule for the bipolar spouse project has everything up and running by now, but the only thing really running is me and I seem to be running in circles. This is a lot more time consuming than I remember. Of course last time around I started with a captive audience at Prodigy and I didn't have Facebook and Twitter and Blogspot to worry about. I just had a simple website with maybe a couple dozen articles, the class, the discussion list and the newsletter.

The good news--or the bad news, depending on how it turns out--is that I am seriously looking for ways to quit my day job. In the past this wouldn't have helped much because I have a husband home on disability who wants my attention every two minutes when I'm at home. But if he's not home to distract me I can actually get some work done.

My husband is getting manic about truck driving again, something he did for a couple years about 15 years ago, and if he can actually get his act together and do it we will have a reliable income that is sufficient to support us, and I will have whole weeks of uninterrupted time.

Not sure I can handle that--been known to sit at the keyboard and work on a book project for days on end when not interrupted by something--but if I set a schedule for myself if just might work.

Thanks to a "social networking for authors" class by Kai Wilson, I will probably have a whole "to-do" list and a marketing plan to work with. I'm not sure I can keep up with the class right now, but I'm doing the assignments on my days off and taking notes. I will probably be tweeting about my blog posts before she's done with me and I don't even know what that means now.

I'm not sure how I feel about the truck driving thing. It is probably a good fit for my husband because he enjoys almost everything about it. He has a good driving record. He is stable on his medication and stir crazy at home. He needs a job where he is pretty much on his own because he doesn't get along well with most people if they spend a lot of time together. That's his big issue with the bipolar disorder--he doesn't play well with others and he's prone to telling the boss exactly what he thinks, which isn't usually complimentary. Not a lot of jobs out there where you don't have to deal with people on a daily basis. He's not prone to road rage--thank goodness, he can tolerate "stupid people" (his term) in other vehicles. He just can't stand to share a room with someone who isn't aware of his opinions.

Still, will he drop out before he he finishes the training? Will he finish the training and be unemployable because of his illness? Will he be employable, but uninsurable because of his illness? Will he quit or get fired a couple months in?

Life is full of risks. This one could pay off big or put us into debt for a long long time. Gotta love that manic energy. We're swinging for the bleachers here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Being a writer is easy, being an author, not so much.

I joined another authors' group today. If I spent as much time and energy being an author as I do talking about being an author... But I'm an advanced beginner and I have to learn somewhere. I joined a social networking class. Maybe it will help me to make better use of my space here.
I'm having some trouble now, wondering where I might be and what I'd be doing if my husband's bipolar disorder hadn't taken over our lives and forced me into full time employment outside my home. I had a good start at one time and might have made something of it, but life got in the way.
But of course that's just a sorry excuse for my own laziness. I could have kept a better hand in all along. I could have continued to build my online presence instead of letting everything fall. I could have; I should have; but I didn't. So here I am without a clue how to use all the pretty toys that are scattered around me.
I have this blog and I have a twitter account with several followers. I have a personal facebook account and can easily make a page for my publishing company, for my epubbed book, for my bipolar spouse project--but I don't even know where to start or how. My website is designed and I just need to fill in the articles and get the forums set up to my liking. Why is something that I could have done in my sleep a few years ago so difficult for me now? Am I really getting that old?
Tonight I need to sleep. Tomorrow I start fresh. Maybe I can make a plan to quit my day job if I can prove to myself that I can work independently. One baby step at a time.