I’m experiencing two things tonight.
The first is an unusual burst of energy. Unusual, in that having a burst of energy is rarer than I’d like it to be, and unusual in that the way this burst of energy is manifesting is unlike how I usually experience bursts of energy. I’m not bouncy, not talking too fast and crazy-eyed (although I was earlier) – no, now I just have this strange, long-burning intensity, a reluctance to try and sleep despite it being nearly 4am, a kind of wiredness that is like a low electric current constantly thrumming through my muscles, animating my limbs. I can think – it’s sort of a ridiculous way of looking at things, but so often my brain is fogged and concentration and focus is so elusive that just being sharp and alive and awake is its own kind of addictive. I don’t want to try and sleep because I don’t know when I’ll get this feeling again.
Chronic exhaustion has changed my life so much, and sometimes I only realise just how severely when I actually feel energy again.
Oh, the second thing I’m experiencing? A strong urge to blog. So, y’know, hence this entry happening.
There’s some nostalgia here, too, for the days of Bloopdiary and Livejournal – of blogging specifically in a community of friends or strangers, where it felt less like speaking into an empty void and more like conversing with friends or sharing odd snippets of secrets with strangers. There was more of a sense of confiding in that kind of online diary, sharing rather than just listening to the sound of my own voice. Yes, there’s always something a bit self indulgent about writing out your thoughts and feelings and putting them up for public consumption, but that at least felt a little like there was an audience, a reciprocation – not just my ego propping the words up. And even now I feel like I’m walking that fine line between trying to be bluntly honest and sounding kind of like a pretentious prat.
But there is a slow-burning rocket fuel under my skin and I might as well indulge the nostalgia while it’s here.
It might come at cost, of course. (Might, ha, no might, it definitely will come at cost.) Tomorrow I wanted to get up and go to get coffee with Mr. VI and do some writing, and I know with each hour I stay indulging this feeling now, the more likely it is that tomorrow will be vague and cloudy and I’ll spend most of it hiding in bed telling VI how I’m a dragon in a cave hoarding sleep and no I won’t get up, I’m sleepy, and that would be something of a waste of a Tuesday, but then I don’t know if that would be how it goes anyway and at least this isn’t a waste of a four-am-brief-bout-of-madness. Is this the other side of the coin to my depression, to the mental illness that I battle (and win sometimes and lose sometimes), is this a low kind of mania?
Is it because I talked about some of my past, some of my history today? Those memories of dark days can be painful but they also remind me just how lucky I feel now to not be in that place. The constant paranoia, the feeling of self-hatred that just seemed to permeate everything, the way I was so scared it was never going to end, that I would always be that way until I finally had a successful suicide attempt. I sort of want to hug past-Lentil, want to give her the benefit of my hindsight. Can I hug adolescent Lentil while I’m here? If Time-Travel-Advice-To-Self is on the table I wouldn’t mind some time giving Child-Lentil a bit of affection too.
Sometimes I want to write them letters.
Maybe it’s just something in the air right now. Earlier the cat was chasing his tail, and he has now thoroughly murdered and errant receipt, as well as the half-dead scratching post that I don’t throw away even though he has new ones because he seems to love it so much. Seriously, I should take a picture of that scratching post and show you – it’s quite impressive how much he’s taken it apart.
Huh. Now I’m writing, now I’m getting the words and thoughts out, I’m realising just how much this slow-burn energy really is hyperness, really is a mania. Contained beneath the surface, maybe, but these are thoughts that are rushing out the moment I’ve given them the option. I’m cold, that kind of cold that brings just a fine trembling, and that fine trembling feels like it basically encapsulates my entire mood right now.
Feeling: Gently Vibrating. But not like that.
Then there are the thoughts that have been waiting for me to work out how I feel about them – the prospect of father-out-law talking to mother-actual. (And as I write that, I wonder if this entry actually belongs on my recovery blog, but I’m here now, and sticking with it.) Sometimes when I think about my mother, I’ve managed to create such a careful distance between the events of my upbringing and my emotions that I feel oddly empty about the whole thing. I keep it carefully at arm’s length, and yet when I was writing LARP downtime responses I found myself tearing up over family descriptions. Perhaps it’s not as carefully distanced as I’d thought.
(And maybe this intensity is just the aftermath of running VIP. I can’t pretend it doesn’t bring a kind of mania – it’s such a damn intense creative process to go through. Yesterday we wrote downtime responses for 13 hours, writing 24.5k words between us. It is both tiring and yet really energising, especially when you then see the players react to what you’ve thrown at them, see them then talking about it in roleplay, watching a room full of people playing around in a world and plot that’s literally come out of your brain, and I love it, I love it so much, I love all my players and my fellow ref and how crazy and powerful it is to be that creative. Did I mention I love reffing?)
If I wrote a letter to adolescent Lentil right now, I probably would cry, though. Gently vibrating and also hormonal and feeling things a little more intensely than usual.
Sometimes when I read a book or write or roleplay or watch a show I love, I feel like my chest is aching, like my heart might explode I’m so intensely involved in the emotions present there, like that is more real than real life. I don’t think I could ever Not Write.
There’s probably an element of sugar high in this too, though, if I’m honest, as I’ve been dripping little bits of maple syrup into my palm and then licking them up for about forty-five minutes. Maple syrup is amazing.
The Sunshine Pills (TEN THOUSAND UNITS, don’t you know) have been helping, I think. It’s not always easy to tell objectively, but I have had more instances of being able to concentrate and do things, and fewer of that thick suffocating exhaustion that makes my limbs heavy and fills my brain with deja vu and epilepsy. When I get tired like that, it’s not just sleepiness – it’s like its own kind of agony, like I can’t breathe properly or think, like I just want to cry because trying to stay awake feels like torture. I slur my words, I stumble, I’m slow to react… And sometimes how bad my memory has become makes me want to cry in frustration, but then other times I just shrug and keep detailed notes on everything and that’s how I remember what happened one week to the next.
But if I’m not blogging as much as I used to, if I’m not taking the time to record actual Lentil Events as well as writing or roleplay, how will I remember what was when or what? Will I look back and know exactly what my characters in a game were up to and struggle to bring to mind an incident of my own feeling?
But when my concentration is so low so often, finishing a whole blog entry becomes that much harder, and I reach a point where I either have to throw it out without a satisfactory arc and conclusion, or consign it forever to a drafts folder that secretly I know I probably won’t return to (after all, by the time I do I’ve usually lost the context and it no longer feels real to write about).
I don’t actually have an official diagnosis. The closest I’d get a medical professional to commit to was ‘experienced trauma and prone to episodes of major depression’. They checked me for psychosis, too, but I think they concluded that my psychotic-like symptoms were just part of that trauma (hallucinations, being convinced people could read my mind, – oh, and the voices, but those are more part of being a writer than actual trauma, because who doesn’t hear their characters. Certainly that part is less scary than aforementioned extreme paranoia and hallucinations).
This definitely ought to go on my recovery blog, but I’m here now. I feel like I could go on a while, too, like there are a lot of thoughts to record and threads to chase, but my legs are cold and it’s now 4.23am and I really should be going to bed if I want a chance to write properly tomorrow.
Sometimes I think just how fortunate I am to be doing a job that allows me so much freedom to write. I did about 150,000 words in 2014 (original fiction only – let’s not include roleplay-related writing such as downtimes or stories because they’re ultimately not the words I really want to ‘count’, just fun 13-hour-Sundays). Some of them were even good. I’m always a bit surprised when I read back my work and go, oh, that’s cool, I’d like to read more.
My music has gone around in a circle. I’m listening to Ovo by Peter Gabriel, the soundtrack to the performance-thing at the Millennium Dome all those years ago. The Nest That Sailed the Sky is both intensely peaceful, and yet reminds me of A-Level Theatre Studies, when we used it in a piece that we spent the usual 5-hours-every-evening preparing. That was just how much work you had to put into theatre productions, really, but I suppose looking back I’ve always liked to throw myself into creative endeavours with thorough obsession.
The album finishes on ‘Make Tomorrow’. Apt, and a song for one of my LARP characters. Not a bad place to finish the first entry in a long while.
Put back the photo under your window,
Put down the phone that you hold in your hand,
Put away these things that stand in between us
And let us be what we can.
When it seems hopeless
When it seems hopeless
Make tomorrow, today.