There is something called a nocebo effect: it happens when someone is convinced that a medication is going to have a negative effect.

I don’t think there is a word for what I have now. I am weaning off the medications and feeling more energetic than the weaning would realistically afford. Maybe it is just hope.

The weather has not improved. No good news coming in my inbox. But still, I seem to have a new perspective on things. I feel something much smaller than ambition, but there are gears turning again, propelling me forward with a sense of identity.

I think I remember being this.

I hear buzzing from a mason wasp’s pot. It resonates in my chest. In a good way – because moving outward from here is a field-full of purple heather, and beyond that the woods, where the songbirds are about to return.

E. has slept in a half-reclining position on the couch for 3 nights now. I am grateful I got a flu shot this winter. Though I’m honestly a little resentful that he can nap during the day.

I also use it as an excuse to feign frustration over not being able to do morning yoga in the living room – ignoring the fact that there is plenty of room in the house to accommodate Warrior 3.

Yeah, I am not doing as well as I would like in terms of my compassion meditation and practice. I’m not doing all that well in terms of my – what? – serenity practice?

Lately I have been getting stuck on words like “practice” when they pop up in my mind. I’m looking for a way to make all the blah blah rhetoric mean something to me personally, when I keep having knee-jerk responses to words like practice and journey again and again. It is a bizarre distraction.

I’ve even looked up the word practice and all that I lay into that word isn’t there in the denotation. When I was a kid I would practice the flute. I would spend afternoons (trying to find ways of getting out of) practicing tap dance routines, and plies. Practice in my mind is inherently connected to expectations of improving, mastering: moving towards an eventual performance of some sort. So part of me still bristles at the phrase yoga practice, meditation practice. It is a personal connotation that is absurdly difficult for me to get past. I feel a pressure that there will be a judgement made by someone sometime in the future.

After a few weeks of after school dance lessons, I wasn’t allowed to go with my friends anymore. I didn’t practice enough, my mother said. At 6 or so, I wasn’t showing enough commitment to justify the expense. I kind of get it. Knowing what I know now about the tripwire of sudden poverty and all that. But I took her at her word then. I believed I’d let her down. I wasn’t the kind of person who could work hard enough to be good at something. Not good enough to justify the effort.

My step-father called me chubs and laughed at me when I tripped over my own feet. We take on identities that are difficult to shed – even knowing what we learn over the years about the fallibility of the people who handed them to us.

When I ran in my twenties, I tripped often: an ankle half-turned on every run. In my forties, I swapped the clunky platform runners to run barefoot. I’ve tripped maybe twice in the past decade. I need to be closer to the earth.

The GP yesterday told me she strongly discourages me from having cortisone shots in my shoulders. The pills have triggered me in the past, and can do so in people who don’t even have a bipolar diagnosis. She fears the shots will do the same. This means my shoulders will continue to hurt in most yoga poses and transitions. It means moving into a table top will continue to make my head want to explode. It means that my current “practice” isn’t about improving my performance.

If yoga means to yoke our consciousness to the universal (in a way that releases us from the matter of our consciousness), then maybe this degeneration of my performance is actually fine. Acknowledging that since there never was an apex of mastery, it is fine. Nothing is incomplete or failed.

This Aristotelian curve we crave to find in the telling of our “journeys” is just part of the matter of consciousness. There is no journey. Not for me, anyway. I find the term too weighty with expectations.

I am wandering.

These mornings are about discipline, not practice as I understand it. I think discipline is more difficult because there is no promise – no potential – no performance.

This morning is all about relishing the perceived gap in praxis between a word like discipline and and a word like wandering.

I can’t remember what I have written before. So I am certain I’m repeating myself. So many things slip through and past me – always have, but the last two years things have been worse. Better and worse. Now there is the tip of a show tune nudging me just behind my ear. “Well, … ” I can hear her voice, the tune, but not the words. Into the Woods.

“Excited and scared.” (I had to look it up.)

Tomorrow I will sit in the doctor’s office and ask to come off the medications. And the thing is, I don’t have to ask. It is my decision entirely. But I want approval. Sometimes I think I should get a male doctor so that I won’t look for approval.

I am oversharing. And really, I am fine with that.

The truth is, I want to get excited about things again. I am not entirely convinced that being numb has given me perspective. It sure as hell hasn’t given me direction.

Nearly three winters have passed and I haven’t noticed. I haven’t heard the lake singing its haunting ice song in the dark mornings. I haven’t seen the first crocuses pushing up in the sheltered places. I haven’t felt present in the world. Which is ironic because I began on medication because I wasn’t seeing the world as it was. Every story I could tell myself was sharply animated. Crocuses like little knives, as metaphors for what it takes to get through the days. Spring as the cruel Dionysus. April as the cruelest month and all that.

But I disagree with Elliot. February is the cruelest month. The trees bud and signal spring, then sleep again. False promises.

This morning the glass table on the deck is covered with ice. We’ll turn the clocks forward again in a few weeks, and the mornings will be dark again. Yeah, I can’t blame nature for that one.

But for all this complaining, I feel indifferent: the flip-side of ambivalent. Because I just can’t summon the passion to give a f**c*. What I wouldn’t give to feel genuinely torn about something. I want to rouse myself from this long nap – shake off the grogginess and this sense of a pause in things.

Because I know damn well the world isn’t really pausing. “Stop the world! I want to get off.” I think I have felt that way, but not now. Now I want back on the merry-go-round but I can’t seem to run fast enough to grab onto a pole.

I miss running in circles, actually. Maybe it is natural to run in circles. A spinning top never wanders far from its point of origin. Crossing the same river again and again, is is never the same river really. Wearing a deep groove, rather than roaming. Like a tree. Ruminating, like a slow cow.

I know that I am repeating myself. Around and around. Even now in this period of what feels like full stop. I have a fear of falling into dementia. Which I imagine is a kind of groundhog day. Waking up and moving through a day, only to have the same realizations and relive the same horrors every evening: “No, he’s been dead for years now, Dear.” It is kind of ironic that the studies show lithium might prevent dementia, when it seems to mimic its brain fog.

I don’t know, are muffled passions like being under a weighted blanket or a suffocating pillow? When I lie for too long, my legs ache and itch, and the restlessness spreads through me like a poison.

When I am tipping into “moodiness”, I can’t even decide what I want for dinner. I think I will choose ambivalence over indifference. There is something to be said for wanting.

Not first thing in the morning. Not the beginning of the week. Not the start of a month. Year. Decade. Watershed of any sort.

Explore, discover, question, create.

Ce n’est pas an inspirational meme.

The doctor says this is my problem. I’m stifled. Yesterday I looked up the dates on my prescriptions to tally up the months – no, the years now. How the past three years have slipped weirdly out of place in my mind, like vinyl over Formica. It all feels unnatural.

I wrote a book. I got excited. I got disappointed. I got slammed and then let loose. And I didn’t pick myself up.

The death that should have meant rebirth. The coming death that shouldn’t be meaningless, shouldn’t be meaningful either because trying to make sense of it, to “learn lessons”, or to put-things-in-perspective feels exploitative and wrong.

I traveled 7 thousand, 7 hundred and 27 kilometers from home and returning, dropped sprouting ideas like seeds across Europe from 42 thousand feet. Nothing remains and it’s unlikely anything took hold falling from that distance. I lack faith. I know that.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t start looking for it now. Faith in perseverance maybe? Everything is a platitude when you need it to be something specific, right?

The snowbells are in bloom now, wedged under the dormant hedge.

There are so many thoughts now that I can’t write here. Not now. Maybe it’s time to start another handwritten practice. I’m not sure what is happening to be honest. I have lost ambition.

I’m not happy about it. But on the other hand, it feels like sleep.

I know I can’t be bothered to stress about typos, or to shape these little posts into proper essays to post elsewhere, to reach a “demographic”. Right now it isn’t about the product at all. It’s the processing.

I’m learning to listen. And to trust that that – in my silence – things are settling into a deeper understanding: more wholly, and more secure with roots taking hold through the time it takes to connect to memory – to experience. I am taking time. Probably because I have to. None of this is by choice. I would much rather slide over everything as though it’s all part of a pop-quiz “close reading” to pin down the meaning of each interaction. But every non-sequitur in a conversation doesn’t need to be a Freudian puzzle or a Cassandrian prophecy. I don’t have to participate in the construction of a distance between moment and mind.

I no longer believe that if I can put words to it, I can handle it better. I can pack it into a carpet bag and carry it with me. Heavily pulling on one shoulder, then the other. I can give someone I love a “truth” wrapped in cellophane and ribbons, but it will always be symbolic: a kind of allusion that takes us both away from ourselves.

I mean, it’s not like we swim in the river then take it home with us, dragging it along like an enormous plastic bag with a single goldfish we want to keep in a bowl in the entrance hall – with blue marbles.

Glass pebbles sorted from the long stretch of beach. I was well into my 30s when we vacationed in Rhodes and I learned that broken glass is rendered harmless by the movement of the tides. Days in, days out.

Nothing truly goes away. But if everything is continually changing, and we are meeting a new world with every blink of our eyes, it’s all past tense and there is no rush to write the story, no singular truth to decipher.

Right now it is about daring to go into the water. About letting the fish go ahead and bite.