About My First Book Horizons and How to Order

Introducing My First Poetry Book, "Horizons"

  My first poetry book, Horizons (Atmosphere Press)  AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND AUDIOBOOK NOW!! SEE BELOW TO ORDER!!!! Embark on a captivat...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Depressive Episode in Winter

            It is days like these that, while I sometimes can feel them coming, still surprise me with their weight, their power, their insistence on my immobilization.  Days like these when I can’t question there being something different, something “wrong” with me.  My to-do list overflows, my plans await.  Even if I could feel something the day or two before, I’ve shaken it off because preparing for it doesn’t make sense—there is no preparing.  No predicting.  It’s like planning for a car accident you know is coming but you don’t know when it will come.  Sometimes I’ll get up in the morning early to go to the bathroom—at 3 AM, say, or 4 AM, and not have an inkling it’ll be here in a couple of hours, knocking at the door. 

When it’s not here and I have energy I can’t imagine it any other way.  I can’t imagine being immobile, tired, drained, heavy.  And when it’s here I can’t imagine it any other way.  It feels as if it’s here to stay forever, always has been, always will be.  Moving is something so difficult.  No, difficult isn’t the word.  So beyond the possible that I can’t imagine doing anything.  That I just am I wonder why takes so much energy that I don’t even want to be.  Reading or sleeping seems to take me away from it, the thoughts, the impossibility of moving, the regret and guilt and shame.  The self-stigma and mental beating. 

The nights before I will perhaps have binged on starch and sugar and fat—sensing the lack of energy.  My mind still can’t define and translate the difference between physical exhaustion and this mental or emotional breakdown.  No calories will prevent this.  Will not bridge me over the abyss, will not energize the depression.  That’s why when I’m depressed or semi-normal and “just” rapid cycling, on the verge of almost fine, I’m overweight or fat.  I can’t keep from overeating or emotional eating or evening eating.  I know conceptually that the food won’t solve anything and sometimes the taste isn’t even pleasing.  But my body tricks me—my mind keeps thinking the food will treat the bad brain days, keep me from walking in pudding. 

When I’m manic and have energy it too seems like it will never end.  I get rid of my fat clothes—I’ll never be fat again!  I pull out the skinny clothes I’ve stashed in totes in basement rooms, catalogued by weight—160 pounds, 140 pounds, 120 pounds—gleefully letting time spin by at the same time it seems to creep.  Everything seems too fast and too slow at the same time.  I don’t sleep or eat.  I live on coffee and energy drinks and cigarettes.  I sit on my front porch at 1 AM, 2 AM, and though I am awake more hours I am unable to get more done.  Where has the time gone?  I have started more projects than I can finish, have more ideas than I can write on my lists.  I may have a day every once in a while in my mania where my body crashes and I sleep 12 or 16 hours and I call it catatonia—but it’s my body exhaling in exhaustion for a bit until I take it all up again the next day—the world spinning faster than electricity. 

But today is the opposite of those days.  Mania is a set of skinny photos taped and framed wishfully from years ago as reminders, pleas, admonitions.  Today I can’t imagine showering or going anywhere or calling anyone.  My body is heavy, my brain slow.  No one can help—why talk about it?  It is here to stay.  I’m letting people down—in the way back of my head, guilt and shame shake their paws at me, pointing to responsibilities unfulfilled and things undone.  If my thoughts spin, it is so far away from my consciousness and ability to care or do anything about it.  I am wasting time, this exhaustion is unwanted, uncontrollable, inevitable.  It is taking over and clouding out everything around me. 

I know I need to eat but I stand staring at the cupboards, the refrigerator, confused at the concept of mixing, serving, planning, cooking, or pouring even the simplest of foods.  I can’t even think of showering because then I’d have to think of dressing—of choosing clothes.  I literally cocoon in layers—heavy socks and pj pants: my bed has two quilts, a blanket, my robe, and a sleeping bag over my sheet and I am tucked inside.  It is too cold and too hot at the same time.  The door is closed and blinds are shut—light is too much.  My skin screams at wrinkles in sheets and scratches of clothes.  I pull at my hair and lay lax for hours.  I read and sleep because that is all I can do. 

My hair when I’m manic and energized is in itself energized—it is curly.  I have a photo of my hair cut short (I am growing it out from a “cancer patient look”, as my daughter called it) on a day we are grilling out in September for my son’s birthday, and my hair is so curly and dyed burnt orange, that I call it the “curly fries” look.  Now, my hair is just as short (and those of you with curly hair will tell you that when hair is shorter, it curls more), but it is oily and straight—only slightly wavy enough to look funny as it dries. 

Curly Fry hair, thin--hypomania

Straight hair, overweight--Depression

Finally, later, I entreat myself to shower—promising simple clothes.  I try little things.  I move out to the living room.  I fight the pudding slowly, at last. 

Julie SE Paschold
January 19, 2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Meaning of Consumer

Consumer, to consume:

According to dictionary.com, consumer means the following:

  • ·        to destroy
  • ·        to use up
  • ·        to devour
  • ·        to spend
  • ·        squanderer
  • ·        to absorb
  • ·        to waste away
  • ·        a person that consumes
  • ·        a person that uses a service
  • ·        an organism that feeds on other organisms

 In NAMI, they call us consumers.
Is that what we do?
Do we use up and squander others around us?
Do we feed on other organisms?
Do we spend and destroy?
If I were able, perhaps I could consume my mental illness.
Perhaps I would cause it to waste away,
            to dissolve, to destroy it.
But would that, in turn, change me?
Would I be consuming, in fact,
            an essential part of me?
A part of me that makes me who I am?
What, indeed, are we to consume,
            we consumers?
Can we consume light, hope, energy—
and remit it as well?
Can our consumer waste be helpful,
            be something beautiful?

Julie SE Paschold