Maintaining Your Sense of Balance - The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • We’ve all been though it in one way or another. We get over-absorbed, over-focussed. This is a universal trait, but we bipolars excel at it. Case in point: I’m about to self-publish a new book, Raccoons Respect My Piss But Watch Out For Skunks.


    I was planning on getting it out at least two weeks ago, but life is never that simple. This week, for instance, I decided to add illustrations to the book. This wasn’t exactly as easy as scanning old family photos. The illustrations had to amplify the absurdist themes in my book, namely about coping with life on the wrong planet. 


    How, for instance, do I come up with something visual for a concept as abstract as trying to have a conversation with God? Or a world where I would actually fit in? Or something that explains at a glance the ambiguity of being a kid in the 1950s?

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    How do you illustrate a Zen moment? In the end, I decided I couldn’t. But when not to have a Zen moment - that was easy. Getting your tooth pulled without an anesthetic is definitely not the time to be focused in the present. An old engraving did the trick, but only after spending the better part of an hour searching for the perfect image.


    How do you illustrate a sense of coming home, of reaching a state of acceptance? The man looking out into the sunset on the horizon has been done to death. But what if I replaced the sun with a huge jar of peanut butter? Those pics were easy to round up, but now I had to Photoshop them into something coherent.


    Photoshop is fiendishly complex. For years, I have been strenuously avoiding the light version I’d installed years ago. Instead I would opt for a far simpler program that could do maybe three things. Now, I had no choice but to learn by trial-and-error. I now have about 23 finished illustrations, needing only three more to have one for every chapter. Mission almost accomplished. But at what cost?


    Like nearly all my projects, I have a fatal tendency to get over-absorbed to the expense of everything else. This throws my life way out of balance. I eat on the fly, I don’t get in my exercise, I fail to get in my vital down-time, I let things pile up around me.


    Bipolars specialize in over-doing it. We do things that leave the rest of the world for dead. Next thing, we can’t get out of bed.


    Okay, I need to listen to my own advice. I’m headed out the door right now for some fresh air and a conversation with a human being. No more book for right now.


    Good for you, you say. You know exactly what I’m talking about. 


    Question:  When you sense yourself getting over-absorbed - how to you pull out of it?


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Published On: March 24, 2012