Micah December 30th

Absorb Life Holistically

One of the side effects of being bipolar is that many of your senses are heightened. For example, there are times when I will smell gas on fire, when there is none, or a knock at the door when no one is there. As a kid, seeing flashes of people out of the corner of my eye made me believe my house was haunted (and kept me scared of the dark for most of my life). Even feeling hands on my leg or as if someone was in the bed with me freaked me out.

Of course, being me, I swore I had super powers. I knew I could see, hear, smell and feel better than anyone. (Taste was one I never spent much time with, dunno why) I remember things in images. When I used to take tests, I could see the specific page the answer was on, and I would imagine myself reading that page. Even now, I can remember weird facts and places, even as I forget the most mundane things (I have no idea where my keys are).

I know I had super powers.

I spent time looking in the mirror at each millimeter of my face and body. When I see people in photos I will absorb the photo, memorizing the crease under the right eye, or the slight dimple that only appears when the person is half-smiling. I note the curve of the forehead and the shape of the nose. The nape of the neck. The slope of the shoulder.

Its not just people.

I will notice the smallest spot on my dogs snout, where hair doesnt seem to grow, or the change in her skin tone depending on her level of activity. When I go to movies I spend time looking at the entire screen, trying to understand where the characters were coming from, why the set was built in the way it was. Where the story was going. Could I see the monster before it jumped out of the tree?

Over the years its has become not just visual. I try to observe emotion and body language where I can. Sighed just a little too long? IM responses are really short? Perhaps you are talking excitedly, but your eyes are tired.

Often I mis cues (especially in terms of relationships and romantic interest. Man, do I miss that stuff), but many times I am right. Which in many ways, is awesome.

But there is the opposite side. I see all my negatives. I see all the negatives of people around me. Friends will tell me how a particular woman that I am hanging out with is super hot, and I will see the white hairs and the standoffishness. People will show me what they are working on, and I can see the holes, and why something cant work before I spend time worrying about if it can.

Growing up, I used to joke that if I brought home a report card full of A’s with a single A minus, the conversation at home would be about the A minus. My parents spent more time discussing the things I could improve on, than the things I doing well.

In my first couple of positions, and certainly at my company, that was the standard. You are expected to do a great job. Not a good job. Because you are expected to excel, lets spend our time on correcting the errors. Ive never much believed in bonuses or commission plans, after all your motivation should be perfection, not hitting some (semi)arbitrary numbers or goals.

In the past year or so, I have started to change how I look at things. I still see everything. I try to use that to understand the holes and the positive directions we are moving in. I have stopped spending time in the mirror looking at me (although, on occasion, I still do it), and when I do, I try and force myself to look at the positives. At work, I have started to do the same. In all situations, there are positive elements and negative elements and spending time on any specific element is not holistic. It is not a complete approach. It is a failure waiting to happen.

Now as a bit of a tangent (I promise to come back to center), each year, it seems that I am inspired in a large way by a single individual. In 2008 it was Jeffrey Kalmikoff, and in this past year (as a whole), as I think about, it kinda surprised me, but it was Michael Galpert. Neither of these guys said or did anything specific TO me, it was more how they conducted their lives, the struggles they dealt with, etc. In fact, I have a pretty good idea who might be my inspiration/muse for 2010, but I will wait a year to see if I am right.

Last year, one of the things that MSG did that I really liked is that he recorded his interactions with the world. Either a quick video or a photo.

I dont do that. I see nothing but negative in photos of me. There is a reason that about 15 pictures of me exist in the world. (BTW, I used to say that one day I would be rich and famous, so less pictures meant they would be more valuable. Always squeezing a dollar out of 15 cents…)

So, as I start to try and see myself holistically, I am going to start recording my interactions (and allowing others to record my interactions) with the world. I am going to try this coming year to take a photo of myself every day. I have started to play with DailyBooth, which is wonderful (except I want an RSS feed of my own photos *AHEM*).

I might spend a bit more time in front of the video camera. After all, I do have a lot of things to talk about with the launch of a new company, and other cool stuff that I will talk about later… (that, my friends, is an admission that I have nothing else interesting to talk about. Yet.)

Its all about absorbing life holistically. Let the absorption begin.

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Micah March 31st

Stuck in the Next Step

Its been awhile since I have written something about me on my blog. Not sure why, just seems that there has been no big changes or revelations lately.Which, it seems, is kinda the issue.

Tomorrow is April 1, day for most that is reserved for hijinks and hilarity. For me, April 1 means something different entirely. On April 1, 2006, I decided it was time to be sober. Big decision. Took a lot of mindshare and time. Willpower and focus. Something I am pretty proud of, but ashamed I had to do it in the first place.

On April 1, 2008, I learned I had Bipolar II. Talk about a mixed emotion day. Here I finally figured out the basis for many of my actions; learned it was treatable, and started to take action. (On a side note, I feel so different here a year later. I am calmer, more able to focus, better at getting things done. Its been amazing.)

So with tomorrow being April 1, what will it bring?

The other day, I was on a man date with Jeffrey (we had just seen the bromance movie I Love You, Man, so Im all up on the lingo) where we were discussing speaking at events and other profile raising activities.

“You know,” I said, “I wonder if my persona, theatrics and past scare people off. After all, most people, once they get to know me realize that I am actually a decent dude.”

Jeffrey paused for a moment. “Dude, I was listening to Dr. Drew on Howard Stern this morning, and he said something that reminded me of you.”

Which, as you can imagine, were just the words I have been waiting to hear for my entire life.

“Dr. Drew was talking about how Artie [Lang] always talks about drugs and his wild times while being on them. Dr. Drew said that Artie was addicited to not being addicted. That through shear force of will Artie had stopped doing drugs, but that he had never overcome his addiction, and until he had treated his addiction, he would never really be able to move forward in his life, because he would be working so hard at not doing drugs.”

“Interesting,” I replied, and changed the subject.

But, I didnt stop thinking about it.

It continued to sit in my head and I continued to chew on it. After all, it was something I thought about a lot. That while I had decided to be sober, and that I figured out the biploar thing, I was still feeling that I wasnt being all that I could be. That success was alluding me not because I was not fighting for it or because I was working towards it, but because I was my own worst enemy. Failure was overwhelming me. Failure was no longer a process; it was a rut.

A couple of days later, I had this IM discussion with a friend:

Me: ok, so here is the deal with me
Me: want to hear it?
Him: yes
Me: jeffrey made a comment to me the other day
Me: about how he was listening to dr. drew on howard stern
Me: and dr. drew said the reason artie talks about being a drug addict all the time
Me: is that he overcame doing drugs, but not the addiction
Me: that he is addicted to not being addicted
Me: for some reason that rang really true for me
Me: there has been a block for me since I got sober
Me: and I dont know what it was
Me: I thought it was the bipolar
Me: but thats not it
Me: so dr. drew said that artie should get treatment for his addiction
Me: which I think I am going to do
Me: I think if I stop working so hard to not be addicted, I can spend time on the things that matter to me. that I can stop feeling so overwhelmed all the time
Me: so thats it
Me: now I have to take a shit. brb
Him: i agree with that
Him: a lot
Me: really?
Him: totally
Him: because when i first met you it dove me fucking crazy that you talked about coke all the time
Him: cuz i know both sides
Him: i have been around addiction most of my life
Him: a LOT of my friends are coke heads
Him: so its like.  wtf. i don’t care. i understand.
Him: but i felt like it was a part of you that needed to peak
Him: speak
Him: yea know
Him: and you needed to get it out
Him: i felt almost as an atonement
Me: yeah – it makes total sense to me now

So, that it. The big April 1 thing. I have not fixed the things that made me make bad decisions in the past, I am just avoiding them, and its time to stop. Stop talking about them, stop making self deprecating jokes. Just stop being stuck in the next step.

And with that, I grow a little bit more…

Photo Credit: dearsomeone

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Micah January 21st

Being Micah Being Bipolar

I apparently am beginning to really enjoy this video thing. Every time I do it, I learn a bit more about what to do, and not to do. This time I added some light, and some personality. Let me know what you think. And as always, bring on the comments! Good, bad, indifferent, doesnt matter. I want to know what you think about the quality of the video as well as the content. I cant get better unless you tell me how!

Episode 3 of LearnToDuckTV: In episode 3 of LearnToDuckTV, I talk about what its like to live a day with the mood swings of being bipolar, and how I deal with them.

Being Micah Being Bipolar