I am in the middle of semi-manic type of creative, optimistic, 700 miles an hour RUSH right now so I thought it might be interesting whilst I'm typing at triple speed to try and write down what it's like, why and so forth.
It's very fashionable these days to self-define oneself as "bi-polar" in some way or other, and I wouldn't go as far as that. What I would say though (and any of my regular 12 musketeers will know) is that I've suffered from depression for bloody years. Well, all my life really. The longevity point meaning I have developed some great strategies for overcoming the serious dips. Hey, guess what the best strategy is! Recognising it (that takes a hell of alot of practice) and then announcing it publicly - well, to your mates at the very least, unless you're some kind of nutball idiot who talks about their private life online, that is.
Anyway. So I don't get serious chemical dips, I get those slow burn kind of tidal changes which are very environmentally influenced, as opposed to primarily chemically influenced. Similarly, if I have a "manic" episode, it isn't really manic, it's just kind of - alot more joyous and energetic than usual, but accompanied by distinct physical symptoms. Sadly, because of the nature of the beast, they don't last that long.
What are the physical symptoms. Well, let me give you the environmental structure around today. The cycling's been giving me incredible energy boosts, and is changing my body shape quite rapidly, which of course is making me feel good, so that's a lovely base from which to start. The most important stuff really does focus around self esteem - that physical self esteem button, plus three very, very cool things happening at work that I can't tell you a damn thing about but my involvement is pivotal in them and to an extent, the big fat one relies on my creative visioning (so far anyway). A bunch of meetings in the last week have just been focusing on these things and so I feel very consciously in the centre of a whole bunch of really positive, moving things. Also, importantly, where my visibility is high. That puts me out on a limb, and makes things dangerous, which means my adrenalin is fuelled slightly. This feeds even more in to the slight manic-ness and feels absolutely fucking marvellous, frankly. Plus, the Olympics! I've become gloriously aware of the closeness of 2012, and how that is going to affect not just 2 or 3 weeks in 4 years, but hopefully, inthe run up, it will affect Nora's life at school, and encourage her to be involved in any number of lovely, positive, life affirming projects. Obviously I've put myself down as an Olympic volunteer, and frankly, the whole thing gives me an excitement which is possibly quite out of keeping with what it actually will achieve - but, I feel energised with the belief that it could be something fantastically memorable in the kids' early lives - and in terms of early life events, it's a just brilliant "role model" to be ever present for 4 years of prep, before one amazing, huge explosion of activity *really close* to where Shelagh lives (yay!). Nora's obvious enjoyment at watching all the different sports has been completely lovely. It's a bit daft really, but I wholeheartedly endorse anything that will allow you to access an uncomplicated sense of the joy of being alive. Michael Phelps! I mean if watching that guy doesn't make you tingle with wonder, with your jaw on the floor then what the hell are you on?
I have had more stupid ideas in the last few days as a result of this than I have had for a while. Whilst in this mode, if you put me in a room and fired areas of concern at me, I'd literally be a stupid (ie: slightly oddball usually, but generally speaking, at least 50% of these seem to be pretty good) ideas engine. God I love having ideas. Ideas are like internal validation to me. It's my own brain giving me the biggest self esteem boost I could possibly have. Frankly, you know when people say something stupid like "Oh, that idea is so sexy". That kind of stupid nonsense demeans and reduces the actual explosion of the idea - surrounded by adrenalin, tingling and new. It's fucking glorious when you get a stupid nonsense that pops in to your head and you get to go "Oh my God! What if we do 'this'?". and "this" is like a crazy, ridiculous amalgam of 17 different inputs that nevertheless, if you look at it from a certain angle just makes you want to brain-fuck with joy. So yes, some ideas are actually sexy. Just not usually the ones that get called that by executives in bad marketing agencies.
Ah... hold on, can I just reiterate here - I am in the middle of a bit of a rush here, so I'm trying to put down what it's like, being in one, so that might sound a bit OTT and stupid. I just want to reiterate, it's not really very "normal". It's a bit strange, and you know, slightly weird, frankly, but being in that super adrenalised, idea popping state is just such a fantastic place to be. It can be (it is today) a bit er, well your hearing goes a bit funny and you can hear things more than normal, and my eyesight went all strange earlier on too. I know... I know... you might think Ok, this all sounds a bit too peculiar to me. But if it doesn't actively physically harm you, why not revel in it? The lovely thing is it's not necessarily about you. I mean, it doesn't have to be about your ego, and your ideas. It can come on (and to a degree, has today) as a result of looking at other peoples' wonderful, adorable, glorious, magnificent things and wanting to trumpet them from the rooftops. Feeling reciprocal joy at their endeavors.
Fuck! I wonder if this has been helped by the Wallpaper Project? I wouldn't be surprised, you know. I bloody love that design (see below) that I've got on the desktop just now. I cleared all the crap from the surface this morning so I could look at it with minimal interruption. I was thinking how it would make a great pattern for quilting, actually. How super cool would that be? But it's so inspiring and beautiful, looking at that thing every time I close a bunch of stuff up.
Anyway, so I spent only about 20 minutes this morning rediscovering the joyously perfect Crayon Physics, which sadly is for PC only, and the follow up of which has been delayed for so long, it looks like the impetus that followed this game's creation has been lost somewhat. Anyway, if you haven't experienced the game before do, it allows you to access that part of your brain that just adores creating and problem solving in a beautiful, simple way. It's so good, I sat there after playing it thinking Where could this go? How could we get this to as many people as possible? Surely, something like this is such a pure, happiness inducing experience that it would benefit everyone from Nora to her Grandparents, and from a grumpy kid on the top deck of the bus home to an academic physicist in a lab. At this moment, I'm strongly of the opinion that everyone should play Crayon Physics first thing in the morning to open their minds to possibilities and new creative solutions. Everyone!!!
Anyway, I had what seemed at the time like a raft of other daft ideas this morning, one of which I just love and think might be good. Sadly / gladly (take your pick) nothing to do with work, and also nothing to do with earning a living, which might mean a little bit too much effort and work for it to come off but I've already started digging into it a bit, and if anything comes of it I'll let you know.
Lastly, I don't think I'm alone in this. I hear, read and see echoes of this joy in being alive, in embracing stupid, eregy driven ideas firework moments in many of my friends, regularly. and it's brilliant to see the results of these buzzing lightning flashes.
Right! Normal service will be resumed, but it's nice to write that after writing what is, ultimately a life affirming, if slightly mental post, as opposed to one where I have written about how crap everything currently is.
Seize the fucking day, and all that.