Hypomania Symptoms / Síntomas de hipomania


Hypomania Symptoms image of busy woman

Even without the bipolar condition altering my life, my platter is full.

Unemployment sits at the center, alongside marital issues, with a side of home for sale, and a home country on the brink of a civil war, slathered in the profuse sweat of menopausal heat, all topped with the determination to launch my book before the end of the summer.

I recognize hypomania symptoms. First there is the visual chaos.

I dig out a piece of clean paper from the pile on my desk to write down my to-do list. The list will disappear during the course of the day, leaving me unable to focus on any task. On my kitchen counter, a pile of folded clothes has been sitting for over a week. Three-day old dirty dishes fill the sink. I haven’t done my bed in a while.

Then there is the mile long to do list and the rush to check every item as if there is no tomorrow.

On any given day, I blog, edit my book, talk to a family lawyer, request quotes from three movers, get an offer on the house and then counter, check the images of Venezuela on social media, comment, repost, cook dinner, do my workout, wash clothes, fill out a job application, then another, tidy up the house for potential buyers, rewrite invoices for gigs I’ve done and never received money for, and browse the web for apartments in cities I can afford without a job. I get a lot done, but I don’t feel well. I cry easily. I’m prone to anger.

I know I have to prioritize, but I can’t.

“Mi cabecita va a explotar. No puedo más,” I text my husband. After he comes back from work, dinner gives way to conversation, then to heated discussions. At times loving, at times toxic, my husband struggles to keep up with me, especially when I wake him at nights to talk even more. He recognizes his part in creating the chaos, the noise he has brought into our lives. A good step forward, and yet our relationship shakes. Sometimes a shoe flies out of my hand into a wall.

“I’m losing my shit,” I text a friend.

Spanish Version follows

Aun sin los síntomas de desorden bipolar, mi vida, mi plato está lleno.

El desempleo se encuentra al centro, al lado de los problemas maritales. De acompañante tengo una casa en venta, y mi país natal a punto de una guerra civil. Todo esto esta cubierto de la capa de sudor profuso originado por la menopausia. Y de tope, la determinación de lanzar mi libro antes del final del verano.


Reconozco los síntomas de hipomanía primero en el caos visual.

Excavo un pedazo de papel limpio de la pila de sobre mi escritorio para escribir un lista de cosas por hacer. La lista se desaparece durante el curso del día, y me quedo sin poder enforcarme en nada. Sobre el tope de la cocina hay un montón de ropa doblada desde hace una semana. Y dentro del fregador hay platos sucios de tres días. No he tendido mi cama en cierto tiempo.

Tengo una lista de cosas por hacer de una milla de largo y la urgencia de chequear cada punto como si no existiera la posibilidad de futuro.

En un día cualquiera, escribo mi blog, edito mi libro, hablo con la abogada, pido presupuesto de mudanza, escucho una oferta en la casa y hago una contra oferta, chequeo las imágenes de Venezuela on los medios sociales, comento y comparto, hago la cena, hago ejercicio, lavo la ropa, lleno una aplicación de empleo, después otra, arreglo la casa para que vengan a verla compradores potenciales, re-escribo una factura para un cliente que no me ha pagado, y busco apartamentos en ciudades más económicas. Hago bastante, pero no me siento bien. Lloro fácilmente. Y me dan ataques de rabia.

Se que debo establecer prioridades, pero no puedo.


“Mi cabecita va a explotar. No puedo más,” le digo a mi esposo en un mensaje de texto. Después que el regresa del trabajo, después de cenar, seguimos conversando y luego discutimos. A veces cariñoso, a veces tóxico, mi esposo tiene dificultad en llevarme el paso, especialmente cuando lo despierto de madrugada para seguir hablando. El reconoce su parte en este caos, el ruido que trajo a nuestras vidas. Un buen paso hacia adelante, y sin embargo nuestra relación está débil. A veces un zapato vuela de mi mano y se encaja en la pared.

“Estoy a punto de reventar,” le digo a mi amiga en un mensaje de texto.


Melinda Young and Her MFIT365


MFIT365 Melinda

Melinda Young teaching her bootcamp at Fit For Her, Owasso, Ok.

To stay mentally healthy, I try my best to live a healthy life that includes meditation, contact with nature, good food, dancing, and a regular exercise routine. I workout with Melinda Young in her MFIT365 online group.

Melinda went from the Texas panhandle to Oklahoma when her husband was transferred. Like many corporate wives before her, she found that her education and experience alone wouldn’t take her far after moving to a new place. So she added a new certification to her 23-year career in fitness and started new. This mother of two reinvented herself to find her own footage in the tornado alley.

First Melinda found work in two different gyms in the Tulsa area. One of those gyms was Fit-For-Her, a women-only boutique gym in Owasso, OK. That’s where we met.

I loved Fit-For-Her and its amazing instructors. But when Melinda started teaching on Saturdays, I couldn’t keep up with her and took frequent breaks, sometimes to puke in the bathroom. I secretly admired her strength and hated her for pushing me so hard.

In 2013, my husband was transferred from Oklahoma, and I followed him nine months later to Los Angeles, CA. Obviously, I tried to recreate my routine, but I had grown used to the individualized service of the small gym.

So when Melinda created her own fitness company called MFIT365 to teach her demanding boot camps online, I jumped in. Today, I’m happy to be one of MFIT365’s 60 members, and I join from the LA County in California. For what I believe is a reasonable price, Melinda offers three intense 40-50 minutes workouts a week, in four-week sessions, based on the Metabolic Effect. Her workouts are rest-based, which means work out till you can’t go anymore, rest till you can proceed.

Melinda Young Workouts


Here is a sample routine, which she then explains in the video below

Session 5
Week 3
Workout 3

Down chain from 10- you will do 10 of all the moves and then do 9 of all. Then 8 of all and so on and so on to 1 of all the moves. Set your timer 20-40 minutes.
You will down chain to 1 or until your time runs out. If you know you only have 20-30 minutes then go ahead and start at 7 of all the moves.

  1. Hip thrust (go heavy)
    2. Roll ups
    3. Russian twist sets
    4. Push-up/half burpee (combo)
    5. Plank row/front raise combo (total)
    6. Squat jump/lunges (or low impact)
    7. Power squats (per leg)
    8. Single deadlifts (per leg)
    9. Sumo squat/wide leg dead lift
    10. Burpees




At the end of each workout, the participants’ responsibility is to login to say we finished, and report on any difficulty or modification we made. Sometimes we video-tape our moves to send to Melinda, who checks my form and suggests changes and variations where she sees me struggling.


I stay hydrated during my workout drinking cold water from my insulated ThinkSport bottle.

I honestly never stopped to learn about Metabolic Effect because that’s not what draws me to her classes. Melinda knows about my mental condition and helps me to use exercise effectively to produce the endorphins I need to beat depression, to stay focused, and structure my day. For instance, if I don’t log in when I’m supposed to, she texts or calls to encourage me to exercise, or to offer words of wisdom to help me beat the blues.

It doesn’t mean that Melinda nags me to go to the gym, but twice in five months this year, I have appreciated Melinda’s call when I was too sad to move.

Today, I feel like a sexy old mama showing off my toned biceps and able to lift 20-pound dumbbell with one arm. It might not look like much to others, but it’s a great deal to me. That’s what I love about Melinda’s MFIT365: it accommodates to my life style, personality, and metabolism.

If you are interested in learning about Melinda Young’s MFIT365, please contact her through social media, through Facebook at MFIT365, or Instagram @m_fit_365. 


Un manto protector / A Protective Cloak



Author and husband in Owasso, OK, Spring 2014


En mi breve sueño

Tejía un manto protector

Para que llevaras en tu viaje


En la puerta de despedida,

Cuando te dije adiós

Coloque el manto sobre tus hombros

Para darte calor

Y protegerte durante

La tormenta salvaje


Me quedé aquí

Rezando a través de este poema

Sin oraciones, ni dios ni santamarías

Sólo estas palabras para protegerte,

Para ofrecerte

Para que vuelvas a mi.


Vuela a casa, querido amigo/esposo,

Ve con tu madre

A nuestra hermosa Venezuela

A la guerra contra el tirano

Sobre tu boca, mis besos

Sobre tus hombros, mis lágrimas.


Mientras me quedo aquí

Aferrada a lo que alguna vez fuimos.



English Version

Last night

During my brief slumber

I crocheted a protective cloak for you to take in your journey


At the departure gate,

As I said my goodbyes

I placed the shawl on your shoulders

To keep you warm

To protect you

Against the ravaging storm


I remain here

Praying through this poem

No devotions, no gods or hailmaries

I only have these words to protect you

To offer for you

To come back to me


Go home, dear friend/husband

With your mother

To our beautiful Venezuela

To the war against the tyrant

On your lips, my kisses.

On your shoulders, my tears.


While I remain here

Holding onto what we used to be.

On Mothers Day, a Community Gathers



On Mothers Day, my husband and I drive to the Orange Regional Park to meet our community, a small group of Venezuelans united by the common love for our homeland.

On the lawn, the younger children play with water. The younger women stroll around trying to escape their parents’ watchful eyes, while the adults lounge on mats on the grass.

Nelly calls her mom from the park. We all speak Spanish, but today it the soft cadence of my country’s accent that I hear. She says, “bendición,” the traditional greeting to our elders, the blessings we need to start or end the day, to say hello or goodbye. Nelly wishes her mom a happy mothers day, and answers her mom’s questions about her family and friends.

That’s when cellphone goes from her hands to those of the entire group. One by one , the friends greet Nelly’s mother with the same respect and deference reserved to the older grandmothers.

Nelly’s husband works with my husband, and so do the other three men in the group. They all used to work for the same company in Venezuela. We left long before they did, and took a different route, but their line of work brought us together in California. All of us have raised our children away from our natural environment, but firmly keep our traditions alive.

“Ya falta poco,” somebody tells Nelly’s mom on the phone. At the end of the phone call, Nelly’s mother has blessed the entire group.

Sensitive to the needs of our people back home, we agree early on what pictures we take. We also avoid speaking about what’s hurting us: the horrific images we see on social media, the stories we hear from our families back home, a wealthy country gone wrong, people starving, youth dying on the streets fighting the narco-regime.

Luis says, “I’m grateful we can celebrate, with food and with casi-familia.”

“Not casi. We are family,” somebody protests.

We are indeed. A family, a community, the Venezuelan diaspora that gathers to celebrate life and send words of hope to those we left behind.


Dia de las madres 2

En el Día de las Madres, la comunidad se reúne.


El Día de las Madres, mi esposo y yo nos dirigimos al Parque Regional Orange a encontrarnos con nuestra comunidad, un pequeño grupo de venezolanos unidos por el amor común a nuestra patria.

En la grama, los pequeñitos juegan con agua. Las jovencitas pasean tratando de escapar de la mirada atenta de sus padres, mientras que los adultos nos estiramos sobre mantas en la grama.

Nelly llama a su mamá desde el parque. Todos  hablamos castellano, pero hoy escucho la cadencia del acento de mi país. Nelly saluda a su madre como es nuestra tradición para dirigirnos a nuestros mayores, pidiendo “la bendición” necesaria para comenzar o terminar el día, para saludar o despedirse. Le desea Feliz Día de las Madres a su mamá y responde preguntas sobre su familia y amigos.

Ahi es cuando el celular empieza a pasar de mano en mano por todo el grupo. Uno a uno los amigos saludan a la mamá de Nelly con el mismo respeto y deferencia reservado para las abuelas mayores.

El esposo de Nelly trabaja con mi esposo, y con los otros tres hombres en el grupo. Solían trabajar para la misma compañía en Venezuela. Nosotros salimos mucho antes que ellos y tomamos un rumbo diferente, pero su trabajo nos hizo encontrarnos en California. Todos por igual criamos a nuestros hijos lejos de nuestro ambiente natural, manteniendo con firmeza nuestras tradiciones.

“Ya falta poco,” alguien le dice a la mamá de Nelly. Al final de la llamada, su mamá le ha dado la bendición a todo el grupo.

Sensible a las necesidades de nuestra gente en Venezuela, nos ponemos de acuerdo desde el principio en que tipo de fotos tomar. También evitamos hablar de lo que nos duele: las imágenes horribles que vemos en las redes sociales, las noticias de los familiares que hemos dejado atrás, un país rico destrozado, gente pasando hambre, jóvenes muriendo en las calles combatiendo al narco-régimen.

Luis dice, “estoy agradecido de poder celebrar con comida y con casi-familia.”

“Casi no. Nosotros somos una familia,” alguien protesta.

Es la verdad: una familia, una comunidad, la diáspora venezolana reunida para celebrar la vida y enviar palabras de esperanza a los que dejamos atrás.

Venezuela, no te rindas. Do not submit.


Bailarina protestando

Ballerina protesting the Venezuelan regime. Borrowed from twitter. Lorena Scorzza Photography.

I live in two worlds. In the USA, I am a woman struggling to find a solid ground to set roots. A middle class immigrant woman with a book to publish. I enjoy a good life, but have a on-and-off relationship with the love of my life. Decisions need to be made soon.

The other world sits between my lungs and my rib cage, deep in my heart: Venezuela.

My home country is on the brink of a civil war. It’s a civil war of the people against the tyrant. A brave people who will not submit to lining up for a ratio of split rice when those who broke the country enjoy lavish living in other places across the globe, when a band a criminals abuse human rights on a daily basis.

Devastating images of the struggle of my fellow countrymen and women crowd my social media feeds. I can’t look away. I can’t turn if off.

I join a demonstration in Los Angeles, retweet, and join discussions online to help dissipate myths here about the political crisis there. I want to do more.  But my effort is infinitesimally small compared to the struggle of the “guarimberos,” those who barricade their local neighborhoods to fight the armed forces of the regime.
I call home, asking what can I do to help. I don’t know of a doctor who could write me a prescription for my father’s hypertension, or my mother’s thyroid issues.  Instead, I buy aspirin 81 mg. to send to my father for his health issues, a bandaid to stop a hemorrhage. I learn that my nephews and nieces haven’t been to school in more than ten days. The fight is so intense that schools have closed.

I reach out to offer guarimba/refuge to save those I can. My sister will hold to the end. She doesn’t even stop to listen when I offer to take her son out. Even this atheist learns to pray, “Venezuela, no te rindas, por el amor de dios.”

In my house in LA, I receive a call from my realtor: a showing is scheduled for 3 p.m. I leave the house to the potential buyers. My days go between preparing my house for showings, filling out job applications, blogging, submitting work for publication, editing my book, working on a marketing strategy for self-publishing.

At times, my mind caves in: between Venezuela’s situation, my personal decisions,  and building a career as a writer, my brain has all it can handle.

 Like the guerrera on the picture, I find refuge in dancing.

But I also need words of wisdom, which I find in the book of poetry, Codeswith, Fire from My Corazón, by Los Angeles poet, Iris De Anda


When falling into unrest

do not submit

look up, reach out, & scream

like lightning

under rain

know you’re worth more than

you could ever imagine

when descending into madness

do not resist

fly beyond, ignite suspicion, & dance

like wind

under trees

know your essence is more than

you could ever imagine

CodeSwitch, Fires from Mi Corazón. Iris De Anda, Los Writers Underground Press, 2014

Dance Away Sadness / A sacudirse la tristeza



By Lisbeth Coiman

“Dance me to the end of love” Leonard Cohen


Los Angeles salseros at LACMA’ s Latin Sounds May through September photo by Constantino Badra

Growing up in my native Venezuela, where every family gathering ends with good music, I danced regularly. I danced at house parties on Saturday nights in my hometown of Guarenas, or at bars in Caracas as a grown up woman. Naturally, my feet easily catch any Latin rhythm, from cha cha, merengue, to salsa. My hips sway to the beat of the conga.

Dancing makes me smile broadly, feel sassy, and playful. Maybe it’s the endorphins release when I exercise. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, but dancing helps me come out of the dark hole when I feel depressed. I’m learning to dance away my sadness.

But I don’t dance West Coast salsa. West Coast salsa is the competition level of weekend dancing. Any dance club in the Bay area or in Los Angeles on a Saturday night looks like a scene from “Dancing with the Stars,” sophisticated and flamboyant. Salseros move in lanes, and the women pretend-comb their hair at with their right hand at every turn, while straightening their tiny dresses with the other. I didn’t hold much chance to find dancing partners.

After moving back to Los Angeles late last year, I decided to learn West Coast style. I went to Warehouse in Marina del Rey to dance on a Saturday night and noticed a petite woman dancing with the DJ. Her moves were precise, like a classic ballerina’s, but she had the hip and shoulder swag of the Latina dancer. I was mesmerized.


Carolina Solorio

Later, I asked her, “Where can I learn to dance like you?”

“With me,” she said giving me her phone number.

Soon I was taking private lessons with Carolina Solorio. She showed me how to follow the lead of my partner by sensing his subtle tugs at my hands. She knew how to make the best of my natural rhythm to teach me basic moves like cross-body lead, open break, and the more complicated Cup and Titanic. She also encouraged me to bring the feminine side to make those flirtatious hand moves and to “shine” in the salsero scene of Los Angeles.

Carolina started classic training when she was seven. Since then, she has become a true professional entertainer. Apart from teaching styling, salsa, cha cha, Latin jazz, bachata, and Latin hustle, she also designs elaborate choreographies and produces amazing shows. She is currently teaching an eight-week beginner-intermediate salsa class, focusing on “lead and follow” at Legacy Dance Academy in El Segundo on the first and third Saturdays starting at 7:00 p.m. Classes have already started and will finish in June.


If you want dancing lessons with Carolina Solorio, contact her at linasolc@gmail.com.


Legacy Dance Academy has a solid dance curriculum for all ages. Lisa Diaz, the owner, has over twenty years of experience teaching dancing. She speaks proudly of her programs and states that teenagers in dancing classes are less likely to get in trouble because of the discipline and enthusiasm dancing brings to their lives. She also points out that her 70-year-old mother took salsa dancing and is hitting the clubs regularly. Legacy Academy is located on 730 S Allied Way in El Segundo, CA 90245, and their phone number is 1(310)322-1500.

I’m not an expert in West Coast style, but I try hard. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?


Versión en Español

“Báilame hasta el fin del amor” Leonard Cohen

Cuando era niña en Venezuela, donde cada reunión familiar termina con buena música, yo bailaba regularmente. Bailaba en fiestas privadas los sábados por la noche en mi pueblo Guarenas, o en los bares de Caracas cuando me hice adulta. Naturalmente, mis pies agarran con facilidad cualquier ritmo latino, desde el chachacha, merengue, hasta salsa. Mis caderas se mueven al ritmo de la conga.

Bailar me produce una amplia sonrisa, y me hace sentir desinhibida y juguetona. Quizás sean las endorfinas emitidas durante el ejercicio. Quizás sea el efecto placebo, pero el baile me ayuda a salir del hueco oscuro cuando me siento deprimida. Estoy aprendiendo a sacudirme la tristeza con el baile.

Pero yo no se bailar el estilo de la Costa Oeste. La salsa de la Costa Oeste está a nivel de competencia. Cualquier club del Area de la Bahía, o de Los Angeles en una noche sabatina parece una escena de “Bailando con las Estrellas,” sofisticada y extravagante. Los salseros se mueven en línea, y las mujeres simulan ordenar su cabello con su mano derecha a cada vuelta, mientras se arreglan el vestidito con la izquierda. No tenía mucho chance de encontrar quien bailara conmigo.

Después de mudarme de vuelta a Los Angeles a finales del año pasado, decidí aprender el estilo de la Costa Oeste. Fui al Warehouse en Marina del Rey para bailar un sábado por la noche y me fijé en una chica menudita que bailaba con el DJ. Sus movimientos eran precisos, como una bailarina clásica, pero tiene el sabor en las caderas y en los hombros de las salseras latinas. Me quedé fascinada.

Más tarde le pregunté, “¿Dónde puedo aprender a bailar como tú?

“Conmigo,” me respondió y me dio su teléfono.

En poco tiempo estaba tomando clases con Carolina Solorio. Ella me enseño a seguir a mi compañero sintiendo cómo tira suavemente de mis manos. Supo explotar mi ritmo latino para enseñarme movimientos básicos como cuerpos cruzados, ruptura abierta, y movimientos más complicados como la copa y el Titanic. También me alentó a sacar mi lado más femenino para hacer esas coqueterías con las manos y a “brillar” en la escena salsera de Los Angeles.

Carolina comenzó en ballet clásico a los siete años. Desde entonces, se ha convertido en una verdadera profesional del entretenimiento. Además de enseñar salsa, cha cha, Latin jazz, bachata, y Latin hustle, también diseña coreografías elaboradas y produce shows extraordinarios. Actualmente está enseñando un curso de ocho semanas para principiantes y hasta nivel intermedio, enfocado en “llevar y seguir” en la “Academia de Baile Legacy” en El Segundo los primeros y terceros sábados de cada mes comenzando a las 7 de la noche. Las clases ya comenzaron y terminarán en junio.

Si usted quiere tomar clases con Carolina Solorio, por favor contactarla a linasolc@gmail.com

La Academia de Baile Legacy tiene un pensum de baile sólido tanto para todas las edades. Lisa Díaz es la dueña. Ella tiene más de veinte años de experiencia enseñando baile. Lisa habla con orgullo de sus programas y dice que los adolescentes en clases de baile tienen menos posibilidades de meterse en problemas debido a la disciplina y el entusiasmo que el baile trae a sus vidas. Ella también señala que su mamá de 70 años toma clases de salsa y va a los clubs regularmente. La Academia de Baile Legacy está ubicada en la 730 South Allied Way en El Segundo, CA 90245, y su número de teléfono es 1(310) 322-1500.

No soy una experta en el estilo de la Costa Oeste, pero me defiendo. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?




Pabellón: black beans, shredded beef, white rice, and fried plantain.

Today, I just would like to share with you my latest essay published in Nailed Magazine on March 21, 2017.

In this essay, I talk about food insecurity in Venezuela, and how the events happening in my beloved country keep affecting me emotionally.