Hey beautiful reader-listeners,
In case the title isn’t clear this one is about mental unwellness and how I get through it. This is the product of the difficult bunch of weeks I've been having processing grief and stressing way too hard about getting From The Piano released on time - 68 days: 9 hours: 13 minutes to go at time of writing. There were a few different post ideas that I've been working on but this one seems most fitting for where I'm currently at. If my own personal recipe for sanity isn’t your cup of tea right now please,
SKIP TO THE MUSIC
Fuck... It’s happening again. That weird headspace is back and things don’t feel right. Stuck feeling, perpetual déjà vu, anxiety nonsense. The old 'brilliant mind' is preoccupied with a constant stream of self-critical intrusive thinking. Shut the fuck up brain.
First rule is the most important: Don’t die. If any of the following steps are leading you towards that then forget them until a later time when they might be helpful again.
Your journey for the next little while is going to be figuring out why the feeling came back but for now just get to safety. Being alone can be really helpful unless you have the option of including someone you love and trust with this shit.
When it is safe, ask the question: what has been going lately that made this come up again? Meds not right? Too much stress? Unprocessed grief or trauma? Usually it is a combination.
You’re going to have to strike the right balance between getting the help that you need vs advocating for what you want. Many professionals are garbage human beings and don’t have a clue what is right for you. Many are angels in disguise and can help you steer yourself where you need to go. Decide who you trust, know why you made that decision and stick with it at least for the medium term.
Bring an advocate whenever you can.
Take your meds.
Fuck psychiatry but fuck going crazy even more.
When things are really bad and life is feeling artificial you can apply some fake-it-til-you-make-it but be careful with this. Usually when you explore the root causes of what is making you feel so bad, you will run into some big emotions and things will go from feeling artificial to feeling way too real.
This is good. Feel that shit. Let yourself be as sad and fucked up about it as you need to be.
If the faking it strategy isn’t leading you to these real places then you’re not digging at the right causes.
Try and be consistant. It wont be easy. Using a calendar and planner can be really helpful with this.
Implement the damage control plan:
Stop intermittent fasting and/or any other crash dieting. Three meals every day.
Exercise even if it’s just a dog walk. Don’t overdo workouts because you can be prone to injury while your meds are rebalancing. Cut out booze and recreational drugs entirely and cut back on caffeine. It’s only for a while and being a #boringpartyguy is better than losing your damn mind.
Try to do at least one or two uncomfortable things each day. Doctor visits, work, government bureaucracy, things like that. Do many more things that feel comfortable and safe. Tea, snacks, cuddles. If your anxiety allows you to, take a risk but not a big one. It could be trying something new or breaking a rule - avoid jail.
As you go about your day it’s okay to feel confused but try to find the reason you’re feeling that way. Hungry? Tired? Those are easy to fix. Too many meds or not enough? This require a bit more time to figure out and ideally a good professional to help you. Be gentle with your confusion.
Pro Tip: At night put your phone on silent and put your pills on top of your phone. This way you have to take your meds before you get to check your phone in the morning.
Sleep. This is a tough one I know because sleep can feel like losing a struggle. It can make you worry that you’re not doing enough to stay alive. That is a trap. Sleep heals your brain by letting it process everything that has happened while you were awake. When things are really bad this might only have been one or two hours. It won’t stay that way. You will find your way through this.
GET IT OUT OF YOU!
What your are going through is beautiful and miraculous. It feels like absolute hell but it will come to be right again. Get your pain out by smashing on the piano keys and crying with loved ones.
Now is the perfect time to compose some new music.
This is a segment from one of my improvisation sessions. I'm playing around with the theme I have chosen for my first orchestration project. You can hear the main theme come out at 1:50. The clip is taken from the much longer video I uploaded for my Patrons. Please note and smile at the hands camera as it steadily pans to the left from the piano's vibrations. I have figured out a much sturdier setup for future videos.
Here it is.