"Learn to be lonely," Minni Driver sings after we have watched the opera house burn down, seemingly engulfing and killing the the ghost of a man we kind of came to like. "Learn to be your one companion..."
This is not meant to be a depressing post though it might feel that way, especially if you stop and think about it. When you stop to think, that's when the darkness begins to creep in, right? So we stay busy. Distracted.
There is a wonderful children's book by Kobi Yamada called "What Do you Do With A Problem?" In this book the character, a little boy, has a problem and he tries to ignore it. When he ignores it, it just gets bigger. This is what happens with your loneliness when you ignore it. Because you are going to run into a quiet time and it's going to be a bigger, darker, scarier monster by then and it will overwhelm you.
Writers have a stereotype for being lonely. Really we just like to work in peace and it takes alone time to create worlds and delve into 8+ characters' emotions. That's exhausting and best done alone. But other people are lonely too. I want to tell you today: Do not be afraid to be alone. And the way to do that is to be still and listen. So stop being busy and listen. Here is what I mean (according to me, I know a lot of people do not see things the way I do, but I am going to give it a shot because it might help someone).
I know myself really well. I am aware of most of the tricks my broken brain plays on me. I can sense when a spell is coming on. I had professional help to identify some of these issues, did home work (like written out on papers!), read, studied myself, and made records of my reactions. I spent a lot of time with myself. And I mean it: MYSELF. When a harmful mania hit, I would look back on my feelings, thoughts, things I said--all leading up to it. Did the same for my lows. This helped me see what I did when the winds of change were blowing. Or when I was about to feel lonely. This is what listening to yourself and spending time with yourself means. It does NOT mean shutting yourself up in your room with Netflix and your phone. The internet is a horrible, toxic, evil place and you know that. It feeds my anger and fear so I try to stay away from it.
Knowing when to do healthy things like stay away from the internet is another step. I keep my phone (so my family can get a hold of me. We've had too many family emergencies in the past 2 years to not have it) but I don't know use it for facebook, instagram, or other toxic grounds. You get nothing from these, I promise you.
Try these two steps. This blog is getting too long so I'm going to stop there. I will continue on with this as it's a very important topic for me. But for now, talk to yourself, write down what you are doing and look for things in your behavior that lead up to episodes. Stay safe, pirates.