I don't get offended easily. I am the first person to call myself crazy or nuts, and I know a lot of people would push against that, especially people with diagnosed mental health disorders, like myself.
But I am mentally ill and sometimes I think and do things that are beyond abnormal, yes, even crazy. I laugh at myself so that I don't beat myself up. Yes, it's that kind of thing. Because I spend a lot of time feeling frustrated that my brain sucks.
I feel guilty when I overreact in situations that don't call for a huge reaction, and I do it often because I'm bi-polar and no matter how hard I try to manage sometimes I fail. But I didn't realize how equally bad I feel when I'm not enraged for my highs (rare, I'm usually angry when I'm manic), but am, instead, very energetic and, yes, super productive. Yes, I even feel guilty about productivity. It's pretty unproductive to do so.
It was Nanowrimo this month and I won. I usually do. For whatever reason, I'm often manic during this time of year, a time of year when many other people with mood disorders are depressed. And when I'm manic, I write so much my joints in my fingers hurt and my eyes strain to read the words that fly from my head. I can write four stories at once, all open at different points, and switch between them when I get bored of one. And please believe me, at this point, when I say I am not bragging. I feel like I can't stop when I start, and if I am interrupted I have to physically keep myself from lashing out.
It changes things at home, too. My house gets cleaned, my children are entertained, I can go running without easily tiring, and I can stay up until 2 a.m. editing photos. My son and daughter will want me to sit and play, but it is painful for me to sit instead of stand or type or clean or update my websites.
I have a lot of writer friends who've said they wished they had my manic stamina. And I'm not offended by that. It happens to help me write, submit and repeat quite a lot. I understand the urge to want to get more out of the time we have. And I'm not unhappy that I get stuff out.
But I was actually really relieved when one of my writer friends looked at me and said, "That sounds rough. You get a lot done, but I don't think I'd want that." It meant a lot to me that he empathized with the bags under my eyes, the way I couldn't stop pacing, the nervous energy I couldn't contain.
It's not the worst problem in the world, but it's not paradise. I don't sleep much, my metabolism is all mesed up and I'm pretty irritable at that time. There are other uncomfortable side effects I won't get into, too, that makes life for a couple weeks near unbearable.
However, I made it through Nano again. I'm coming on another deadline for a different book, which I am almost done with, and a short story that I'm making headway on. But I'm starting to feel the decline of my energy and it's a relief. I might not finish one of the things I'm working on, but at least I'll sleep.
So I refuse to feel bad, this time, about writing enough to get me a neat little certificate and graphics, plus a few writerly perks. I decided to be fine with it. I did something cool. I almost finished an entire book in one month. It's not done, and, because I'm still manic, that really bothers me.
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.