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My Secret to Writing: A Manic Mind

Updated on October 24, 2013

It's not what you'd expect

My secret to writing great articles is something not many people can replicate. It's something I can't control and it's something I would gladly get rid of if I could. Don't get me wrong, when this secret tool rears it's ugly head I gladly take advantage of it.

I just wish there were another way.

Squids telling Secrets

So What's My Secret?

My secret to building great squidoo lenses is having Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD). In case you're wondering, BPD is a mental condition. That's why you can't replicate it. That's why it's unpredictable and why I can't control it. That's why I don't want it.

But I have it and I've accepted that fact. I even try to see the glass as half full by using my symptoms to better my life.

Symptoms of BPD

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  • Pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation (generally called splitting).
  • Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
  • Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.
  • Transient, stress, related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

People with borderline personality disorder are always in a state of uncertainty; one minute they are upbeat and happy, the next they become sulky and highly irritable.

How BPD Helps Me

On Squidoo

The upbeat and happy part helps me. It's called mania. When I'm manic, my mind starts racing and I come up with all sorts of ideas for articles and great content. All I can think is "How can I make it better?".

So I add-add-add more content.

18 of my 'manic' articles have even

been awarded purple stars!

Mania Isn't Always Helpful

In real life, being manic sucks! Anything can trigger it.

~Going to the store.

~Having my husbands friends come over.

~Job hunting or, god forbid, having a job interview

~Just being happy or getting excited

~Knowing a special event is coming up

~Getting some good news

~Talking on the phone

When people see me being manic in person, they tell me I act like I'm on Meth. I talk really fast (so fast I trip over my words). I'm shaky. My mind races so fast, sometimes I can't even form a functional sentence. It really affects my personal life.

For instance, during a recent job interview, I was being asked questions about certain past job experience. It went something like this:

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about a time when you had a poor performance review. How did you react?

ME: (talking super-fast) Ummm. Ok. 3 years ago when I was working construction I would always ask my boss how to do things if I was well I didn't know what I was doing when I started I always do what the boss tells me to do I'd ask how to do certain things and he would show me and I'd do them I even got a bunch of raises because I kept learning new things and I'm usually good at whatever I try to learn so even if I don't do something right at first I always learn the right way. (takes a deep breath. looks like a deer caught in headlights) I'm sorry. I'm really nervous.

Notice how my answer had nothing to do with the question? I was so manic, I couldn't think straight. Thankfully, the interviewer realized I was nervous and small-talked until I calmed down a little. So I was able to finish the interview with a little more decorum.

How BPD Hurts Me

On Squidoo

It's the sulky and highly irritable part that hurts me. It's called depression. If I'm depressed, I have trouble thinking up ideas for articles. Plus, what little content I come up with isn't written very well. If I ask myself

"How can I make this article better?"

the answer is

"I don't know".

All my 'depressed' articles rank low.

Getting Help

This book has been a life saver (and probably a marriage saver too). Through the book I was able to understand more about my symptoms and why I'm like this. Completing the exercises is giving me the skills needed to understand my triggers, spot the warning signs and prevent certain episodes from even happening. In fact one of the biggest struggles I dealt with is all but gone now.

Why Is This Article Black and White?

A borderline tends to see everything in black and white.

Things are either wrong or right.

Something is either good or it's bad.

People are either angels or devils.

There's no gray area, no in-between.

And our opinions on what's wrong or right, good or bad and angelic or devilish

can change in an instant.

Photos and text; © 2010-2013 Catherine Taylor. All Rights Reserved

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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    • profile image

      TanjaWanderlust 4 years ago

      Well done! REally! You give a ful explanation and make it visible also by the way you present the lens (black and white!) wow! As you say, borderliners are VERY VERY creative and smart

    • NorthernDad profile image

      NorthernDad 5 years ago

      Ha! Great lens. I'm the same way, but direct it to coding rather than writing. It's a curse, but it has its uses

    • anaisfraiche profile image

      anaisfraiche 5 years ago

      I love reading your lenses. Thank you for sharing about BPD. I can't imagine how you feel but it must be tough for you.

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 5 years ago

      You made me laugh when you said how 8 of your manic lenses won purple stars! This is another terrific lens.

    • katlovestrouble profile image

      katlovestrouble 5 years ago

      Your name is what first caught my interest, so I checked out your stuff. After reading this lens I must give you serious credit for your candor. I have dissociative identity disorder and also recently had a job interview. I almost blew it. Thanks for your hard work. It just goes to show that mental issues don't mean that people like us can't contribute to the world.

    • Kysaan LM profile image

      Kysaan LM 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! keep going with your work angel :)

    • XxSadieLadyxX profile image

      XxSadieLadyxX 5 years ago

      I have BPD is a battle each and everyday

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I think I tend to be more obsessive-compulsive, but haven't ever had it checked on. Anyway I'm very goal-oriented which comes in handy when creating/writing for a site like Squidoo. Best of luck with your writing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautifully written :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have always found fascinating the way mental illnesses symptoms overlap. Reading your lens I recognized the similarity between Bipolar II and BPD. I am currently writing a lens about my personal and lifelong struggle with severe mental illness. And I am so glad there are other people talking about this! I continuously feel ostracized and alone in my struggle :(

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      I just had to come back and read this awesome lens again! I've also linked it on my lens about hypomania:

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 6 years ago

      @Iismeandme: If you feel like you can relate to some of this, I would suggest that you read my other lens that explains all the symptoms in detail. Most Borderlines experience nearly exactly the same things, so if you read my other lens and still feel like you can relate, it's time to get some help.

    • MarianaFargasch profile image

      MarianaFargasch 6 years ago

      Loved reading about it! Thanks for sharing! I can so relate to you and know how you feel most of the times. Great job!

    • profile image

      Iismeandme 6 years ago

      WOW! I loved reading this lens. I have never been diagnosed with anything. Partly because of our financial situation, and partly because everyone around me insists that it's all in my head. I can relate to some of the things that you stated here, but probably not to the same degree. I have suspected for some time that there is something different about me compared to family and friends, but I don't really know what it is. I keep trying to tell my husband that I think differently than he does, but he doesn't get it. I don't know if what I experience is what you have described above, but it makes me feel good to know that there are other people out there who might understand me and see the world a little more like I do. Thank You!

    • fashionality lm profile image

      fashionality lm 6 years ago

      haha glad it's working for you!

    • ionee251 profile image

      ionee251 6 years ago

      I have learned so much from this lens. Your honesty truly inspires me.Thank you.

    • snazzify lm profile image

      Katie Harp 6 years ago

      I think you have so much courage to write openly about yourself. I have so much respect for you and your lenses. :)

    • profile image

      grannysage 6 years ago

      I so admire you for speaking up about your disorder. I worked with people with different kinds of mental disorders, and the one's with BPD were the most challenging, mainly because they couldn't admit they had a problem. You defined it so well here, and the black and white color is perfect for what you are expressing. Thank you for sharing your story. Blessed and featured on Granny's FairyAngel Blessing lens.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      I think you are a wonderful person, Catherine. I'm very glad to know you. You are so strong and you will do very well in life. We all have things in life to overcome and you are doing just fine.

    • rlivermore profile image

      rlivermore 7 years ago

      You really drew me in with this. Thanks for writing on a personal and important topic.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 7 years ago

      I love the honest quality of your lenses, Othercat. You offer more than you know to your readers. Thanks.

    • profile image

      SquidooDirectory 7 years ago

      It is good to channel your mania (or focus it is a better word for it) in your Squidoo lens building. The Squidoo Directory was built in 3 days for example... I woke up one day and had the perfect picture of the Directory, just into the manic phase, created new account with Squidoo, created 10 lenses a day and started promoting...

      I guess the point I'm trying to make is, take the condition as a gift, rather than an affliction. I know I can get hyper at times and whatever I verbalize comes out wrong (but it makes sense in my mind).

      Great lens!

    • fbaum818 profile image

      fbaum818 7 years ago

      Good lens. Sounds a little like my tendencies. At least with Squidoo.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      My secret to Squidoo success is somewhat different from yours. My sister tells me that I'm obsessive-compulsive. I've never checked it out with a doctor, but it might explain my productivity with online sites like eHow and Squidoo.

      Really interesting!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      Cathrine I visited this the other day and must have moved on to something elses ~blessed by an Angel~ and thankyou for this wonderful lens.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 7 years ago

      Hi yo Angel's Blessing!!

    • ICanCook profile image

      ICanCook 7 years ago

      Wow. You totally sucked me in with your title. Great Job.

    • kimmie1967 profile image

      kimmie1967 7 years ago

      This is a very interesting Lens and well done. I have to agree with momsbusy247 that you do know yourself and your disorder very well. Many people (myself included) with disorders of one kind or another do not have the great glass half full attitude, especially concerning their illnesses. Some people never acknowledge that they may possibly even have a disorder. Thanks for sharing with us and I wish you all the good things in the world.

    • Nightowl John profile image

      Nightowl John 7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. You have amazing courage. I appreciate you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow, you seem to understand yourself and all that world holds for you. Congrats. Great lens and lot so fun too.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 7 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Great lens idea! Very fun to read. I wasn't aware that Borderline Personality Disorder also involved mania.... Always something new to learn!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 7 years ago

      I cam back to angel bless and to feature on November Blessings. Many blessings and keep smiling :)

    • Bookmama2 profile image

      Bookmama2 7 years ago

      Great lens. I wish my unstable best friend was capable of objectively looking at his own behavior and would read a book on how to best handle it. But I'm still wondering... what are Rocket Moms? Not moms who blast off into outer space with little warning???!! ha ha.... pretty sure that's not it.

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 7 years ago

      @Lisa-Marie-Mary: Actually, I think you just came up with a great idea for a new lens!

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 7 years ago

      I really appreciate this lens, as it helps me understand someone in my life. And I can relate to some of it, too - as I'm bipolar. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side chart of the differences between the two, huh?

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      lol As a mental health professional, I must say that this is an accurate portrayal and done in an entertaining way! thumbs up

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 7 years ago

      @darciefrench lm: I actually started Squidoo two years ago. I built a couple lenses and then left. I just recently came back and started building again.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 7 years ago

      Great lens and topic, I can relate! (I have indeed been manic enough on squidoo to go from fresh squid to giant squid to dead squid in 6 weeks). I am back- seeking balance this time. All my best to you and I look forward to reading more of your lenses.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      Well... if Squidoing helps you, I'm all for it...I also have a million things racing through my mind usually after a strong cup of coffee, then it wears off and I'm too lazy to initiate at least one of the million things...that's my problem it's too overwhelming my many thoughts in my head and all the "to do things" is short, just enjoy each day, once the day is gone, it's gone...but you can always look for tomorrows ;)

    • profile image

      Versatigon 7 years ago

      My secret? Uuhmm... Maybe give comments and answer the questions in the SquidU forum...:)...

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      Hey Othercat,

      I followed your SquidCast here. You do indeed have an interesting secret to Squidoo. As far as ideas for Squidoo, I went through a time when nothing would come to me. Nothing sounded interesting. Right now, thankfully, I'm so full of ideas I'm bubbling over. I have a few secrets that help me, but I haven't shared them yet. Like you I don't know if they would help anyone else :-).