...and then

Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Restless Quill has a new home.

It's been ten years since I've been blogging. And now I've moved. Blogger's been great for me but WordPress offers better things.  And so, I'll be at https://therestlessquillblog.wordpress.com/ now on.

I am especially excited about the pages I've had the time to create. One for my poetry and one for things I don't know how to categorise except by calling them rumination.

This blog remains open so please feel free to look around if you're coming here for the first time.

Once again, looking forward to seeing you, now on. here

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Do you know what a person who wants to commit suicide looks like?

Ok, Mrs Hema Malini, first thing: Not everyone exists to be admired by the world. Some of us exist, even live, because we want to do fun things and experience life in the forms that we can. Some of us live because we have reasons to live; they may not be great ones but they give us enough motivation.
In this really dreary business of living our lives and being adult about it, some times we fall ill. Because honestly, no person wants to actively kill themselves unless their life becomes too much to bear. 
What, then, is too much to bear? Who decides what is too much? You survived a broken heart or a bad business decision or a crippling tragedy. But the person next door may not have the same skills as you to cope. How did you survive? So many answers: you are dead inside, you are cold, you were hugged a lot when you were a child, you had help from a professional, you had a family (or friends) to cushion your crash,  you acquired skills, along the way, to become mentally “tough”. So many explanations. Any of this could make you a “winner”.  What doesn’t make you a winner is calling someone else who possibly had different setbacks from yours, and who may not have had the same support system as yours, a loser. You didn’t win on your own, Hemaji. Just like Pratyusha Bannerjee didn’t lose on her own. 
Do you have friends whose parents committed suicide? Lovers? Siblings? I do. The vocabulary of the act of suicide is inherently violent and judgemental. It provides no relief to the ones who were left behind. But worse, it renders the person who died infinitely small, incapable of dignity, and with no compassionate memory of them. That must stop. Every time you use the words “succumbed” and “weak” to describe someone who killed themselves, you’re negating, insulting and condemning every single person who has already made that choice. And that person may have been someone you love. That person might be someone who someone you love loves. 
What does a person who is about to commit suicide look like, Hemaji? Don’t know? Or maybe you do. But let me tell you anyway. I should know, I’ve been that person. More than once. A person who is about to commit suicide is first and foremost deranged. Think about that word. To have moved from a certain place, to have lost balance or a semblance of it. It is a person in the deepest, darkest pit of despair. It is a person who thinks the world will get by without them. That her own parents, children, partner don’t need her and there is nothing to look forward to tomorrow. It is a person so angry with herself at “failing” that tomorrow is a terrifying black thing that pulls, sucks and leeches so all-encompassingly that she doesn’t want to wake up. 
A person about to commit suicide is like a person functioning with a brain that is quickly spinning out of control. A person who commits suicide has a brain that is constantly lying to her. It’s like looking at life upside down for a long time till you start believe that the world is wrong and your point of view is right. A person who commits suicide does not have the ability to distinguish between the truth (whatever that is) and the lies that her brain is telling her. A person who commits suicide is, more or less, ill. Either for a long time or for a while, temporarily. Ill because she believes all the lies her brain tells her. Her challenges seem so big to her that it seems someone is crushing her heart physically. Like she can’t breathe. To her the pain is unbearable. It’s not just a feeling. It is intense, deep, real pain, because her brain has spun out of control so long back that she can’t see that there might be help at hand. That someone just might be able to hold her for a bit till she gains equilibrium. That the truth is, at the end of everything, with love and help, we may not have to kill ourselves.
And this is the difference between a person who wants to commit suicide and a person who thinks it is about... what was it that you said? ...  learning “to overcome all odds and emerge successful, not succumb under pressure and give up easily. The world admires a fighter not a loser.” 
What a thing to say about a woman who killed herself not too long ago. What a thing to say about a woman whose family cannot stop grieving. My experience of growing old has been that the more life throws at you, the better equipped you are to see that not everything is clear as day, not everyone has easy lives, and not everyone gives up easily. How dare you insinuate, Mrs Hema Malini, that Pratyusha gave up easily? How much do you know about her life or her struggles?
I know nothing of that girl’s life. I hadn’t heard of her before her death. But I know one thing: for a person who decides to give up their life and dismisses the fact that there might be people who care for them, there is nothing left. Absolutely nothing. And unless she had it in her to trust someone, to turn to someone, she died believing there was nothing left. That she meant nothing to anyone. And that place is an unbearably sad place. An unbearably lonely, sorrowful, depriving space that strips you of any sense of reality, any sense of self, any sense of purpose.
Am I saying suicide is okay? I am conflicted, honestly. If it ends your misery, then it should be your call to make. But there’s the paradox no? When you choose to commit suicide, almost always your mind isn’t well enough to make that decision. Then how is that a rational decision that I can stand by? How can I say that everyone who finds their misery unbearable should have the choice to end their lives?
Finally, suicide takes courage. It takes a person who can find it in themselves to hurt endlessly, permanently, their entire family and everyone who loves them. It takes making that insane, deranged decision to leave people you love fend for themselves emotionally, physically, and sometimes financially. Suicide isn’t for the cowardly, it isn’t for the faint of heart. And it isn’t for the sane. The next time you call someone who killed themselves weak, think about it. And if you still feel like calling them weak, wait till their bodies grow cold. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Can someone find me a decent pair of panties?

Disclaimer: If you're going to hate for me having panties and tell me about the women who don't, you should stop reading now. I realise I am lucky to afford panties. I realise there are women who can't. I will write about them, too, one day. 

The other morning, two friends and I discussed underwear. "Dudes, what chuddies do you guys wear," asked one, like close friends do, often and offhand, bang in the middle of a conversation about taxes, weekend getaways, and hot, bald men who make you giggly. One of us said she doesn't wear any very often, and the other said La Senza, You can see why the three of us get along.

But what a great topic to open up. Because all of a sudden, here were three women of three fairly differing sizes and shapes -- and, therefore, needs -- diving right in and admitting it was so fucking difficult to find a decent pair of pants that you can just grab in the morning and wear, so you can deal with all the world is going to throw at you. And none of us could find a perfectly decent pair, that we could stick to. Brand names were exchanged, styles and preferences too. Period panties found their mention.

And here, for the first time, I understood the meaning of misery loving company. Because, you see, every time I say something, and someone tries to console me saying, "You are not alone," I keep thinking, "Why does that help me?" Solidarity has never made me feel better. So, for the first time, when someone else said they can't find a pair of pants that are just right, I was thrilled. It wasn't just me. It wasn't my imperfect. mum-of-two kids, chocolate-eating body that couldn't find a decent, solid pair. It was two other women who looked completely different from me who had the same problem.

I asked around. It's easy for me to do. Friends are used to me asking questions that are never explained. Out of the nine women I asked, one said they found reasonably comfortable panties every time she shopped. The rest had the same complaint as me. For the same reasons as well. No decent pants to be bloody found. And please, why should I find them? Because the women's underwear market was only Rs 11,000 crore big according to an Economic Times report* from last year.

What I want (top left) as opposed to what I get (rest of page) 

How do I  know this? Because internet. So your question should be, "Why do you know this odd fact, Sandhya?" I'll tell you why. Because when I started asking around, I saw that a lot more women were saying the same things that I was saying. Which is basically this: I want a pair of cotton pants that I can grab first thing after my shower in the morning, yank on and not worry about for the rest of the day. That and have them come in fun colours. So I did some armchair research.

What a fascinating world the world of undergarments for women in India is. For instance, DYK, that we export panties all the way from Korea, Turkey and Malaysia? Do they fit well, though? Ah. Also, DYK, you have charts available online that tell you exactly which port containers from which country carrying panties come at? I found this immensely valuable. When I am done going through all the brands that offer cotton panties and pinning them up on my soft board, marking them for all that's wrong with them, I will hijack one of those containers and go through an entire container-ful of panties to find that one perfect pair. Then I will find the manufacturer and have his babies and hold him hostage for the rest of his life so he never stops making them.

But back to my dipstick research. Although my sample size is minuscule -- I am aware of the fact -- it is an intrepid and adventurous one. These are women who have tried everything from Rs 35 for a pair to Rs 245 a piece. (They've gone higher but felt like that's all they should wear because paying Rs 685 for a pair of cotton panties made them treasure their rears and vulva so dearly that they couldn't care less what they wore to work.) To make my sample size bigger, I am going to ask each of you reading this, assuming you are women, to tell me how easy or difficult it is to find a comfortable, affordable and perfectly fitting pair of cotton panties in India.

I found another very interesting market research document** that tells me many things. But mostly it tells me three things, on first read.
1. The underwear industry continued thriving when the whole world saw an economic meltdown. AND STILL NO ONE IS MAKING COMFORTABLE CHUDDIES.

2. India has actual designers dedicated to researching and designing underwear. Could have fooled me. AND STILL NO ONE IS MAKING COMFORTABLE CHUDDIES.

3. Super-premium underwear for women is nearly THRICE as expensive as men's super-premium underwear (it's a thing). AND STILL NO ONE IS MAKING COMFORTABLE CHUDDIES.

I don't get it. Is it just women with regular bodies that can't find everyday panties? Do the model-ish, statuesque women all find perfect cotton panties to wear to work everyday? Do they go through the day with their derriere wrapped perfectly in a pair and their mindspace devoted to conquering the world, while the rest of us struggle with wedgies?

As the ET report clearly suggests, more women in India are buying more panties and bras. "They are buying more, too. An Indian woman now keeps about eight brassiere compared with 5-6 pieces in the past, a report by consultancy firm Wazir Advisors said. The number of panties in her wardrobe has almost doubled to 10, it said," one para says. (Who says brassiere any more?) Are all these women buying pants that they're just making do with?

Speaking of wedgies, why am I complaining about the lack of a basic pair of panties? Here's why. Actually, let me give you the entire list. Here's the do-and-don't list for comfortable women's panties that won't cost me a clitoris.

1. They shouldn't give you a wedgie. For women who dare to step out into the world with unsure panties, this is highly uncomfortable. Much productive time is spent training the mind to get used to the sensation of a wedgie if not dedicating it to find a place you can pull it free.

2. They shouldn't pinch your skin. I don't want to be sitting through meetings with the skin on my lower abdomen and my hips on fire because the elastic sucks big time. I certainly don't want to come home and nurse fat, angry welts till they calm down.

3. This might be because of the generous proportions on me but panties shouldn't be rolling down and settling anywhere they feel like. Panties are not adventurers.

These are basic rules of comfort. But why is this so difficult to find, you ask?


1. They don't make them free of above said crimes.

2. If they do that, they make them in polyester.

3. And in neons.

4. And with lace on the sides.

5. And with ruffles in the front.

6. And bows at the rear.

7. Or in brown, maroon, forest green.

8. And with elastic that unravels and makes you and the pants look like a reject from the factory.

9. And without a crotch.

10. And with a price tag of Rs 456 for cotton panties.

This is why a regular woman, with a regular job -- or not -- with regular ambitions of keeping her mind on the day's tasks instead of worrying about her panties, cannot find a decent pair to wear.

And in the miraculously rare event that I find panties that have none of these flaws, the name makes me want to gag myself with one of them. Men's underwear -- which is way less expensive in all categories  -- is named in pure spirit of idiocy. I mean what does VIP, MacroMan, Sand Beach and Lux even mean?! This time around, I feel your pain, men.

But women's underwear names are right up there on the patriarchy bandwagon. Lure Wear, Enamor, Lovable, Lusty Gal (I kid you not). Everything's just a step away from you feeling like a gift that's going to be unwrapped in a roomful of spectators. You'd think at least that would be enough reason for them to make the damn thing comfortable. Nope.

Left to me, I'd just name them: Fit, Stay, Non-wedge, etc. But hey, I don't make panties.


*The ET story I quoted from: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-07-06/news/64142828_1_premium-brands-lingerie-intimate-wear

**The market research thingy: http://italiaindia.com/images/uploads/pdf/market-research-on-undergarments-sector-in-india.pdf

Saturday, 26 March 2016

A poem to my madness (1)

My therapist has asked me,
Rather categorically,
To sit with my Emptiness
My lows and my melancholy.

It is easier than it sounds,
Let me assure you.
Emptiness is ephemeral
Diaphanous, see-through.

Were my Emptiness a box of paints
Were it a clear cup of tea
Were it a dense book of poems
Or a selfish lover, thinking up an exit strategy

I'd sit with it quietly
And take a sip or three
Of the tea, the book, the colour
And let the lovers leave

Meds would keep me in check
He says, and I have to agree,
So I don't burn down the world
And set my mad insides free.

They'll help you deal, he tells me.
Just sit with it, just sit, just sit.
Ignore your paints, tea, your lovers
Just sit, just sit, just sit with it .

But Emptiness, you know, isn't good company,
Even with the quitiapine mellowing me.
It grows and fills, swells and blows
A bubble, a vice, a prison you see.

I could fill it with cake,
A wank, cigarettes or heavy sleep.
But all I am to do is just sit, just sit, just sit with it
If, a big if, I am my mind to keep.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Why I post about my sick days.

Last month, I was tired. This month, I'm just tired of being sick. When I get sick, I don't get sick like a lot of you do. (And yet, maybe I get sick like some of you do.) There are no waiting periods studded with medicines, a promise of popular science that will tell me this is how long it'll take for me to get better. It takes it's own time: the mood swings, the insomnia, the physically incapacitating anxiety, the emptiness, the inability to get up and do the things I need to do, the out of control temper, the impulsiveness. One day, I'm entirely and completely useless and suddenly, after struggling for weeks, I'm entirely free of everything and life is back on track. And all I can do is practice the things I've been taught and hope that I can stay well.
I've asked myself often - and been asked more frequently - why I post about being sick, or low, or depressed. I thought about it. After all, we are taught to be positive all the time, present to the world your best face, tell everyone everything is peachy keen. And any "negative" presenting is such a drag on others, such a sucking of their positive energy. Fuck that shit.
Why do you do it, I've been asked and rebuked. Why do I do it, I've wondered.
I'll tell you why. Two reasons. The first one is entirely selfish. I have about five good friends in this city, two of whom will drop everything and come to me if I'm in need. But on here, I have many people who will wish me well, who will send me a hug (please feel free to laugh at virtual hugs, oh you of no imagination), who will text me with their concern, who will do something to brighten my day. I have people here, women mostly, who will prop me up, and encourage me to just be. To go put on a dress and get out if I can. Who will tell me they haven't gotten out of bed all day either, or haven't showered over the weekend and that's okay. You get the picture. I have a support system online that I do not have offline. (I refuse to differentiate them as online and IRL.) They are my safety nets in times of a low. They let me be. They send me love. That they take time to send me a word - even if it's two minutes - makes me feel loved. And when I'm not well, all I need most times is to know I am loved.
Reason #2. On an average, I get one person a week asking me for some kind of help with mental illness. Imagine: One person a week (average) for the last 1.5 years asking for help with mental illness. Either for themselves, or their family, or their friends. "What do I do, Sandhya? How can I help, Sandhya? I don't want to talk to anyone else, but you've been through this so I feel okay reaching out." Can you imagine how much it must hurt these people if they reach out to a stranger?
And that is why I write about my being sick. Why I write about‪#‎mentalhealth‬. Don't ask me any more. Let me feel free to post what I want on my social media.
And for those of you who love me from near and far, thank you for all the times you've excused me, sent me love, offered to help. I genuinely love you.
How am I today? On the drive to work, I saw sprinklers on in the lawn. Each blade of grass, an explosion of summer green had cuttingly brilliant, self-contained, tiny universes that were water drops. All I want is to be that dazzling drop. And I feel I'm far, far away.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

How to: Not feel. Part 1

If I were one for easy ways,
I'd tell you 
Mundane things, real things
That are of this world. 
I'd urge you to watch dervishes of your blood
Whirl in slomo
Till there was nothing to whirl in
Till your eyes close and couldn't 

But I fancy myself a poet. 
So I'll tell you stories
Of trembling taupe tails 
Writhing without context, 
Of rabbit-foot returns. 
I'd recommend grand things, 
Dramatic things that happen
Contained in the burst of a moment.

I'd tell you
Let go of a hand you want to hold,
Watch its perfection die
I'd say 
Plunder a little, tear something: 
A painting, a mouth, a silent wish. 
I could teach you
To write in a book with no lines

Word after word after word;
Black ink sculpting paper to life.
If I were kind, I'd warn you
There's nowhere to run after that:
Can you not hear mocking laughter
Of pages you've birthed?
Can you not hear the pangs
Of those you haven't?

Once you're done writing,
Pick up a carnation,
A jasmine, if you wish
Or a sunflower 
If you are particular about colour
(You're done for already, if you are.)
Destroy it gently 
In a poem, a story, a painting, a book.

There you've done two things:
1. Worn time like a pearl necklace
Unmoving, near-perfect, disorienting
2. Crucified a flower
In eternity, on a page, between words
Or brushstrokes
I dare you to feel after this. 
I dare you to not. 


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Let me string flowers and other poems.

Let me string flowers,
a wreath of regret and light
for your foolish head,
and make a crown of thorns
that hold promises on their points.
let me place them upon your head.
The flowers of trying again,
and again and again,
the thorns to remind you
of the things you left behind.
Let me lay you down
on a pasture of faith,
let me water you 
with shining understanding,
let me dig around you 
a moat of assumptions
and let me drown you
in the thing we call

Will you survive, then,
as you watch the endless blue,
as the sun burns your irises,
and you lie still
being watered, 
cared for
made sacrifices for, 
sacrifices you never
asked for
to begin with? 
Will you, after the moat is filled,
after the watering is done,
become a single, dying rose
of joy?

In a dream last night, 
awash with watercolour purple
a fading blue and the firm hand of gold spots, 
a face I love, a name I do not know
Asked me if I would make him my muse. 
Long hair the colour of a tinted evening, 
Straight as the lies he was made of, 
Hands that found a thousand ways to smoke me, 
To show me a mirror.
He asked again. 
Can I be your muse?

What good is a muse, I ask.
And I tell him a story from long ago where
I was singed by a muse,
a shimmering muse
with wings of eternity, a firefly spirit, 
and a sailing ship for a totem,
that he left on my shoulder. 
A shoulder he claimed as his.

Then, my silver-fingered one, I ask,
As poetry fills me tonight, 
how shall I carry the burden of you
on the one shoulder I have left?

Dawns don't stay.

Dawns go away
Dawns play
As a mere interlude 
Before unleashing the harsh light of day, 
Where the sun leaps over everything 
Where daylight is harsh, real, flat
Because dawns don't stay.

Dawns don't stay
How can they? 
The day brings with it
Light and movement, predator and prey
Where music drowns, and art fades. 
Because eyes don't don't have time to watch the sky be perfect.
Dawns don't stay.

Monday, 11 January 2016

For David Bowie. I write because...

David Bowie has died. And with that, it feels like a star system with a fair amount of presence in the universe has collapsed. I rarely mourn the loss of an artiste. But to me, this feels like a personal loss. Apart from the incredibly cool persona, and I suppose personality, he had -- and I hate to use the word cool here but how else do you describe a man who explored extremes of the gender borders we set for ourselves, who travelled to the stars and beyond and wrote about them in a language that would proceed to move your spirit -- his music and lyricism spoke to me. Hell, even his name stood out for me. But, more than anything else, his acceptance of weird not being weird, of strange only being an idea in the head of those who lived outside of him, those who weren't on his side, is what spoke to me from the start. And, for me, the most splendid thing was that his entire life reflected the quality of his music. Or maybe his music reflected his life. And that kind of oneness, that kind lack of dissonance in his creative and public life is, for me, the mark of a true artiste. Don't you think? When how you are creative is how you live, when your choices and loves show in the depth of your art, when your limits and your lack of them reflect in the work you do -- and all of it happens unconsciously. 

And so I feel Bowie's death isn't just a loss to music, or lovers of music, but a huge loss to all those who sought creative authenticity and integrity. It is a massive hole in the universe where those who don't fit in our given moulds seek to express ourselves in the way we know. It is the death of that place in the sun that' s made of brave, nonchalant loners who allowed the rest of us -- who were weird in our quiet way -- to explore and understand and wear our uniqueness. There's a Bowie-size hole in that place, now. And it's a huge fucking hole. It is funny that the death of a man and an artiste I love so much that I write to you about him is making me reflect on not death and life but on what creativity means. What creative integrity means, what it means to be authentic in your art and what it means to allow your life to reflect in your work. Those roads that this is taking me down are beautiful and perilous. I can see why insanity would ensue in the pursuit of creative integrity. But what's one more step further down the insanity path, I say. :)

What happens to these places that these giants among us -- in this case, this god among us -- leave behind? Are there enough eulogies, enough YouTube plays, enough quoting, enough tweets and enough newspaper obit space to fill the exact shape of David Bowie? How does one fill the crook of his finger, what do you put in the space of his imperturbable face? How do you fill his eyes that saw, and his throat that went around the world and came back? How do you fill spaces that dead giants leave? And if you don't fit them, what happens to those spaces? Do we walk around them, gingerly sidestepping their blazing, iridescent, too-fucking-bright-that-i-need-shades outlines? Do we walk in fear of being burnt by that iridescence if we walk too close and claim to even be inspired by these giants? What is being truly inspired, then? That something you're good at follows in the style, tone and timbre of these giants? Or is it to completely become one with your giant and have nothing of you left, but then, when you make your art, you're producing something that is entirely new, like alchemy? Are we willing to be that swallowed up by this brilliant, star-bright space that our giants leave us in order to produce true art? Or are we willing to sit far away from their glow and be a moon? 

I am sorry for rambling. But I write from grief. In as much one can feel for someone one has loved from far away. But also from the closeness of sleep where you fall asleep to Starman, Rebel Rebel and Oh! You Pretty Thing taking you across to a dream where you are much more than you are. 

I will stop now or I'll never be done. I feel better now. I would never have had the courage to say this to the world in general,  but for you. Because, hey, in the face of all those experts on Bowie's music, I am just going to sound stupid, because I say nothing about his music. 

(For Surekha Pillai)

Friday, 8 January 2016

On Sleep

A dear friend recently mentioned she had been blogging 10 years. I checked my own blog and there it was: 2006, two posts. Ten years of writing whatever it is that I wanted to and find kind people to read it. This year, then, I feel should be the year I revive my blog. What better way to battle this sleepless night I am having, currently.

Speaking of, sleep and I have had a very contentious relationship for years. I've considered a sleep complete waste of time (as opposed to spending time on Twitter or whatsapp) and sleep has considered me unworthy of bestowing the restorative blessing that she seems to grant many others with. I have struggled with sleep since I can remember, which is about nine years old. Gloomy, terrifying sunny afternoons where the household would be asleep and I would dread being the only one in the house who couldn't claim a break in time like that.

As I grew older, nights became a complete waste of time because there was so much to be done, so much time spent reading, writing, thinking of boyfriends; just so much to be done and night had a way of putting an end to those plans. Most my 20s were sleepless, unless I was so exhausted that nothing could keep me away. Phone conversations till late in the night, books I couldn't put down, friends who stayed over. I rejected sleep.

It's payback time. I barely get four hours of sleep every night. Which is better than one hour of sleep that I used to get about three years ago. I wake up in four hours, do something I like doing and in an hour I am back in bed. It truly isn't ideal because the next day I am scarcely rested. Upside though, I get to do all the things I wouldn't have gotten to do if I had normal sleeping patterns. So, if I want to make an entry in my art journal, I can do that. Or write a letter for my #100letters. Or read the books I keep buying endlessly. Or write this blog post, even. So much to do when you can't sleep.

And yet, that's exactly the problem. When a bipolar person is in the manic phase, sleep is the first thing to take a hit. (Depressive phase in me induces excessive sleeping but that can differ from person to person.) I've been trying to sleep since 10 p.m. tonight. It's 1.45 a,m now. I've had a big day. And it tired me out. And yet, my mind is alive and my body, awake. I thought it was just tonight but I looked back the last four nights and I realised all those nights, I had slept little or very badly.

You'd think I'd be used to this now and would be catching signs of mania early. But I still haven't. I still think my body will behave, so will my mind. It's well into mania that I realise I'm there and then the irritability, the immense confidence, the rash driving, the snapping and losing of temper and the general invincibility I feel starts to make sense. And so does the sleep. Waking up every two hours, or not sleeping at all some nights.

Why sleep is important: This might seem like a stupid thing to bring into focus but it's as necessary for me in terms of reiteration as it is for those who might be seeking personal experience with lack of sleep and bipolar disorder. Lack of sleep makes me moody: You might think it does that to everyone but it's a challenge to me because I am then governed by my moods for the next few days. I make decisions based on how I feel and not by calm, rational thought.

Lack of sleep  makes me continuously irritable. This is tragic because everyone from a complete nincompoop on the road to my little kids bear the brunt of it. I snap regularly and I snap at complete non-issues.

Lack of sleep also perpetuates a no-sleep cycle where I cannot sleep for a few more days. It starts with one and suddenly, I've found so much extra time that the excitement of doing the things I love is so great that I forget to sleep. Suddenly, my mind is abuzz with ideas of all the things I can do if I don't sleep. This adds to the frenzied activity already in my mind and then I head to a complete collapse, at the end of which I am tired, mildly disoriented, irritable, unable to work or have a fair, pleasant day, and most of all, unable to make decisions: this goes for instant decisions when I drive, more deliberate ones when I am at work and even more important ones when I have to decide for the children.

This really crisp and informative article tells you more about sleep and bipolar. It also tells you why you need to sleep, how to get adequate sleep and how you need to address the problem of bad sleeping. I found it very helpful.

What I do when I am manic and don't sleep:
I wake up early even if I don't want to. 
I try and eat little for dinner. 
I listen to music on headphones.
I read Anna Karenina. Or Crime and Punishment. (Sorry Tolstoy, Dostoyevski) 
Some nights, I take evil glee in the extra time and do the things I love doing. 

The last one is a bad idea because while sleep is important to everyone's well being, it is particularly crucial to those who are bipolar. They are triggers for a very bad manic (or even depressive) episode and if you've been there, or know anyone who has, you know you don't want to go there.

It's far too late now and I have made one sketch, written two poems and one more blog post from a prompt that I will post tomorrow. For now, sheer exhaustion and sleep are claiming me for themselves, finally. And I go with the disappearing stars of dawn.

Be well. 

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Monday, 26 October 2015


There is no breeze tonight
And the moonlight, diffused by a heaving, rhinestone city
Brings me taut remnants of your skin.
I flip open a book, its hard cover rapping me on the knee,
A new level of distraction.
I toss three words in the air, to hear their sounds
Because in this silence, even my own voice will do.
"Apple", "simultaneity", "ruse."
I wait.
Nothing stirs; not the words, not the evening
Not even my fluidly disintegrating heart.
A lizard loses its tail,
My dog looks up at me adoringly,
Brown eyes full of questions of love
No one has ever asked me.
I stare back, wanting to smack her snout
So hard that I break her jaw.
I want to tell her her love is misplaced,
That her adoration is fees.
I want to tell her to become me
And see
That sometimes, I am her.