Thursday, May 13, 2021

Music Weekly #6: Cherokee Morning Song


After a break for over a month, I'm back with more music. This week brings a beautiful song called Cherokee Morning Song off Robbie Robertson and The Red Road Ensemble's album Music for Native Americans. This is a gorgeous Native American song with also Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge, and Laura Satterfield. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Just sit back and listen. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Update on Jonah of Olympic

Time has been moving slow on Jonah of Olympic, book 2 of the Mercedes Masterson series. But I'm still pushing forward. I have been making progress lately, so that's good. My deadline for the draft 1 to be complete is July 31, and I'm definitely behind. But it is still doable. I'm just gonna have to up my production of chapters each week.

Stay tuned for more updates on Mercedes Masterson news and more blog posts. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Music Weekly #5: Lady Love

This week brings something upbeat and love related. So cozy up, put another log on the fire, cuddle up in a blanket. Listen to the lyrics on this one. Dance too.

The song is Lady Love by Lou Rawls, who had one of the best voices ever. Fight me. Or don't and just enjoy this great song. 

As an aside, I've always felt that the lyric "people are people and they all have their moods" is very relatable. Ain't that truth. Actually, I think a lot of the lyrics in this song are relatable and wonderful.

And hopefully you have someone in your life, whether a friend or partner, that has always been with you through your ups and downs. If not, here's to hoping you find that someone someday. Or better yet, may you strive to be that someone for someone else.

Peace out.

Monday, March 1, 2021

I’m depressed, I’m happy, I’m depressed, I’m hyper… oh, I’m bipolar! Well, that makes sense…

In picture: Heather Jackson overloaded by work and my right hip bearing down in evil boss likeness.


Copy and paste text excerpts you'd like to see highlighted into the comments section and I'll highlight them.

--

I’m depressed, I’m happy, I’m depressed, I’m hyper… oh, I’m bipolar! Well, that makes sense…

Written by Nathan Weaver

Several years ago I noticed a decline in my ability to focus on tasks and concentrate, and consequently to complete tasks. It was really quite frustrating, but I tossed it up to being probably ADD or ADHD. My father had been diagnosed with ADD very late in life (probably around 40, if my memory is remotely accurate). So that I would be experiencing such symptoms in my early 20s, instead of my childhood, didn’t really surprise me.

But, being of a creative nature; a method actor, writer, filmmaker, and lyricist… I create any way my mind will allow me. Where was I? Oh, right… but being of a creative nature, I told myself I WOULD NOT take medications and mess with my brain. I refused to jack with my creativity as I like to refer to it. But to pull this off, it meant I couldn’t tell anyone. So I didn’t tell my wife or any of my friends or family what I was struggling with. I just told myself, “You are now aware of the challenge, so BEAT IT.” Which worked for a few years, in some ways, but reality eventually sank in as my condition worsened and I realized you cannot defeat the brain with the brain.

If your brain is the problem, your brain ain’t gonna fix it.

So, that was a good first step. Recognizing that I was no longer winning the battle with my brain. So, I told my wife that I might have ADD or ADHD, and she said, “No, ya think?!” And I told a close friend, and she said, “No, ya think?!” Apparently, I hadn’t been fooling everyone. (by the way, it’s ridiculous to think you can hide behavior, because by the time you notice your own behavior someone else has been putting up with it for years).

BUT, to my credit, I didn’t really lose the battle with my brain in those years. I still accomplished a great many things; got a promotion at my job, made several films and videos, published books and many other accomplishments I could rant on and on about. The point is, though, that a brain disease isn’t one you beat. It’s not one you cure and it goes away and it never comes back. It’s there. Always present, sometimes dormant mind you, but it’s there. It becomes a part of who you are, whether you like it or not, and you just have to find a way to live with it and manage it in such a way that you aren’t doing crazy stuff.

Now, I am not preaching for medications, or preaching for any one particular method of treatment period. But what you have to come to realize, like I did, is that you can’t manage it by yourself. Get a doctor, get a therapist, get a support group, get medicated or not… but do something. You can’t rely on your own brain to fight this fight. And it’s not that you are incapable, that you have to turn to others for help. It’s just that you have to recognize (tap finger to your temple) that this isn’t working so you can’t really trust it. Find a way to manage it, and that becomes your process. Own that process. Make it yours. Be empowered by your new stronghold over your brain. Don’t let it tell you you’re worthless, or that you’re better off staring at a wall for hours instead of living.

What’s up, Doc?

In 2013, after several frustrating attempts to get help locally (small town), I was able to get a diagnosis. Chronic depression (also known as Dysthymia). It sort of caught me off guard, and in a way I was angry at the diagnosis. Until they explained how they came to that conclusion. It did make a lot of sense, but I was left with a few items on my list that I believed were symptoms which they did not cover or account for in the diagnosis. This left me feeling that maybe these items weren’t symptoms after all, as I’d thought, and I went back to feeling guilty about those things again.

It was suggested I take some medication, an anti-depressant, and do weekly therapy sessions. I continued with that process for a year, and there was some improvements but not everything was lining up the way my therapist and I wanted. She made a suggestion, that I see a specialist, and get reevaluated on my diagnosis. So I did.

Enter the worst April Fool’s Day joke ever…

On April 1, 2014, I was diagnosed Bipolar 2. For those of you unfamiliar with bipolar, there are two variants. The main difference between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 is that folks with Bipolar 1 can and will have psychotic episodes and their manic phases tend to be much more severe. But, if you go anywhere on the net and start looking at symptoms, pretty much any and all symptoms can be traded between each variant, except the psychotic episodes. And not everyone has the same symptoms… example, I know folks who are Bipolar 2 like me, and we are affected in completely different ways. Some folks suffer the mania more, others never suffer mania and primarily suffer with the depression. And by the way, mania and depression barely cover the gambit of symptoms a bipolar person can suffer from.

Announcing you have a mental disease is like coming out of the closet…

Decided to announce this publicly on August 21, 2014.

Was speaking with an old friend of mine (we were both recently diagnosed with bipolar), and she came to the conclusion that announcing you have a mental disease is like coming out of the closet. And sadly, I had to agree.

No, it’s not exactly the same as coming out of the closet, but it is like coming out of the closet. You have this fear of letting people know, because of the stigma that revolves around it. You know some people will begin treating you different, and in some cases people begin treating you worse than ever. Some people mark you off their black book of friends (Facebook), because they don’t wanna be associating with crazy folk.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but by the time someone is diagnosed with a mental illness they’ve likely been living with it for years. Which means, you’ve already been hanging out with them while they were crazy folk… and guess what? It didn’t bother you. It’s really the knowing that bothers you. The knowledge drives you away. Sad.

Roots

For me, I can trace it back as far as high school. I had a lot of depressive episodes in high school, and manic ones as well. I just didn’t know the difference. Just thought that was me being… well, you know… me.

I also had one suicide attempt my senior year in high school, but as quickly as that came on, I quickly quelled it. It was the flash of a dear, close friend that shook me out of the moment.

It’s fascinating and strange all at the same time, looking back on your life and going, “Wow, now I see it. Weird.”

Mood swinging

And I have to say the speed in which moods can swing, especially how quickly I can fly into depression is ridiculous. And how quickly that depression can be like, “Come along with me!” And I can be all like, “Derp, OK!” And before you know it you’re staring death in the face and questioning, “Dude, how did I get here?” And depression be all like, “You came along with me, man!”

Or maybe you’re just staring at the wall, and then glancing to the clock and wondering where all of the time went to.

Since I’m Bipolar 2, my mania phases are also known as hypomania and can be rather helpful sometimes. Basically, a lot of the time for me, it simply means getting super hyperfocused, which can be cool if that hyperfocus is spent on things that need to get done. If it’s spent on something completely trivial, like organizing my Windows 8 Start Screen and smartphone tiles, it can be rather frustrating. Or my always favorite, spending hours organizing my to-do list instead of doing anything on said list.

And, of course, as can often be a trait of bipolar, I have moments of irritation. I consider myself somewhat fortunate in this regard though, because I had made a decision at about 13 or 14 to quell anger and have a great control over temperament, because my mother was not and I didn’t want to turn out like that. That means I developed a pretty keen understanding of anger, what makes people tick, and how to handle difficult situations. That means, now that I struggle more with bipolar than ever before, I can still handle those irritable moments far better than I’ve seen others. If I can feel the irritation building, sometimes I take a step into another room or the bathroom and let it out there. No one needs to know, or be hurt.

Early detection

Which, naturally, brings up another thought… early detection, early treatment. The sooner you know, the quicker you can leap on treating the symptoms of bipolar or any other mental illness for that matter.

DON’T BE LIKE ME, and put it off for years. It is scary, but it’s better knowing and moving forward, than not knowing and taking random pokes in the night at what might help.

And, well, just because…

If you like reading these mental health posts, and suffer with depression/bipolar, and would like to contribute to the Bipanda Collection I welcome you. Head over to the Submissions page to learn more.

Music Weekly #4: Runway

So here we are -- another week has gone by and another song to share. I think thus far I've mostly shared pieces with lyrics, so I wanted to try something totally different today. 

And that totally different comes from a movie called The Neon Demon which is totally different as well. I remember when I watched it, I couldn't recall if I liked it or hated it. But the soundtrack I love for sure and often listen to for writing purposes. 

Today I am sharing a song from the soundtrack called Runway, the music is by Cliff Martinez. As the title suggests, the movie is about models, but not what you are thinking. It primarily follows a runaway teen who tries to find work in modeling in Los Angeles. She manages to live in a seedy motel operated by an even seedier Keanu Reeves. 

Enough said, hope you find this piece of music fascinating -- especially if you are a writer. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Music Weekly #3: Behind Closed Doors

Well, I was calling it "Music Monday", but since I've had trouble with keeping that schedule I've decided to call it "Music Weekly". We've had a lot of snow days and a holiday day, so I've been playing stay-at-home dad a lot lately. 

I would have posted this yesterday, on Monday, except I posted Burning Bridges for Fuel instead. 

This week's song comes from my Jonah of Olympic playlist again and is old school. I like to listen to a lot of old school stuff while writing Mercedes Masterson stories, it helps with the noir mood. The song is Behind Closed Doors by Charlie Rich. I find the song resonates highly with one of the characters in the story. 

I hope you enjoy this old school tune and let me know what you think of it in the comments. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Burning Bridges for Fuel


Originally shared on Medium, here. 

Copy and paste text excerpts you'd like to see highlighted into the comments section and I'll highlight them. 

Alternatively to reading the article, you may listen to it being read in the embedded video. This is something new I'm toying with, as I'd like to provide an alternate way to digest some of my posts. Please let me know if you like it.

Burning Bridges for Fuel

Or why some depressed/bipolar folks burn bridges.

Written by Nathan Weaver

So, I feel like there’s a disconnect between those with mental disorders and “sane” people. I know, right? Well, technically, there’s a lot of disconnect. But one thing I’ve noticed is the disconnect with regard to burning bridges, cutting off contacts, dissolving relationships. Sure in some circumstances burning bridges and ending relationships isn’t the answer, and it’s just the disorder talking. I get that. But there are some circumstances where cutting ties with a person or persons is totally the right thing to do.

I’ve said it before, but as a refresher or for those who don’t know, I put off seeking help and getting a diagnosis for years. Unawares that I was only making my condition worse. By the time I started getting help, I had been going through about 5–6 years of untreated bad bipolar rapid cycling. So, needless to say, when I finally got my first diagnosis (wrongfully diagnosed chronic depression), I was pretty serious about my health. I realized how wrong I was for putting it off for years and trying to fight getting help, dismissing my symptoms as just some ADD or ADHD and easily manageable. But as I began treatment, I had already let myself slip into a pretty bad state. I was spending a lot of time in bed, though still working a 40 hours per week job. Thankfully, my schedule started at noon, otherwise, I don’t think I could have kept it.

So all that being said, there was a group of folks I was close with at that time who began treating me differently, because of my health problems. They were behaving as if I was doing wrong, or lying about my health, and I felt a certain responsibility to keep them in the loop, because I recognized how it looked. So every time they asked, I tried to share what I could, though for the better part of a year I had little to share. When I finally was able to share with them the (wrong) diagnosis of chronic depression, I was shocked to find that nothing in their behavior changed. There was no apology, there was no change in actions. And so I was back to feeling miserable, all the more, and spending a lot of time in bed. One of these individuals informed me that withdrawing from people was standard practice, and that I needed to be spending more time with them. Like that was going to fix it.

Which brings me around full circle to my point… there are times when cutting ties, burning bridges is totally acceptable. In this case, my wife and I were turning a new leaf in our marriage. I was trying to figure out how to be healthy, and treat my condition, she was trying to figure out how to be a support for that. We both could see that this group of people was not helping with the treatment, it was only making my condition worse. We even said that to some of them, it fell on deaf ears.

So, after I felt like I had done all of the work to try and keep the relationships alive, I threw my hands up and burned that bridge. My wife also agreed with the decision. And really, it boiled down to this — being around those people was not healthy, and I needed to be around people that would keep me healthy. Again, my wife agreed.

We burned that bridge and I haven’t regretted an ounce of that decision since.

It’s been years since we burned that bridge, and in that time I was diagnosed with bipolar. Did I call them up, or message them on Facebook? Nope. None of their business, and I don’t care what they think, because I found that there was a bridge and I was the only one trying to keep it up. Once I discovered they weren’t interested in keeping the bridge up, I burned it. And I’d burn it again today.

I hope someday I’ll come across some of them and their attitudes will be different. I’m even still friends with some of them on Facebook, I just try my best to ignore them. I’m a big fan of leaving communication channels open to people you’ve separated with, in the hopes they may want to reconnect someday.

Am I advocating burning bridges? Divorces? Cutting relationships in half? Not necessarily. I think I’m just stating the obvious, something that I think most of us know. There are some people who are just unhealthy to be around, a lot of times because of the stigma. And sometimes it does help to burn a bridge to find another, so you can cross it and get to a better place.

***

What about you? Have you ever had to burn a bridge or two to stay afloat? A relationship that just wasn’t healthy? Someone or a situation that was making your condition worse?

Attached is a song by Nina Persson, a name you may not recognize, but she is the lead singer of The Cardigans who were a band in the 1990s and have made a lot of great music. She has also had a solo career as well, and I’ve always loved her voice. I discovered recently that she has a song about this very thing I just talked about, it’s called Burning Bridges for Fuel. Music is amazing, and it’s always fantastic when you stumble on a song that says something you totally believe in. So, enjoy the song.

 
 
If you like reading these mental health posts, and suffer with depression/bipolar, and would like to contribute to the Bipanda Collection I welcome you. Head over to the Submissions page to learn more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"Was writing a book worth it?"



The other night I had a coworker ask me a very interesting question. At first I wasn't sure I knew the answer, but to my surprise I had a quick response and learned a little about myself in the process.

The young man knew I'd recently published Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he had been thinking himself about possibly writing a book, but he wanted to know if I found writing a book was worth it.

At first, my obvious answer was yes. But I also jokingly said that from a financial point of view "not yet".

He further explained that he was thinking of it from others perspectives. Like, from the readers' response.

To that I had a quick and thorough response. Which surprised me.

I said:

"First and foremost, you write for you. You do it for yourself. Sure yeah, you do it for others too eventually, for your audience sake. But firstly you do it for you. When it comes to creativity and art, you do it because you want to. Because it's who you are. Because you get pleasure from it. You write for other people after that."

But what about you all? If you're an author, how would you respond to this sort of question? I was surprised I seemingly already knew the answer, even though I wasn't sure I had ever really thought about it (or at least not in a while). 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Best content I created with Xbox One Kinect (a video)

This video is easily the best content I made with our Kinect for Xbox One. I made this the day I got my pre-order of The Division game in the mail. It was made using the Kinect and the green screen tech in Upload Studio app on Xbox One. And it was made without a green screen, that was the cool thing. And yes, this is the kinda stuff I do when I'm manic.

Friday Roundup #2

And here we are again, already, at another Friday Roundup. I've learned a bit about myself this week. I don't always read with purpose. A lot of my reading is all over the place. And because of that it made it difficult to roundup stuff for this post. Because I was reading, just not anything worth sharing. 

But all that said, I will do my best for today.

--From the blog--

A gentleman to all people. In this 2-minute read from 2018, I talk a little about something my dad taught me about being a gentleman. 

--From the web--

  • Will Self: 'The novel is absolutely doomed'. This 5-minute read is an interview of author Will Self. In it he answers several questions, and in the process concludes that the novel is doomed. I thought this interview might be good for some discussion in the comments. How do you feel the novel fairs in today's society? Is it in good shape? 
  • A Letter from the Borderline. In this 3-minute read, we get a very personal glimpse into someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It comes in the shape of a well-crafted letter to someone. It's very good, and I highly recommend it even if you don't know someone with BPD. 

Conslusion

And that's the reading links for this week. I hope you get something out of all of them. And be sure to sound off in the comments, join the discussion. What was your favorite selection this week?