HA. I’m not a pro. Just trying to have a “catchy” title.
Are you expecting a sarcasticky satirical piece about how obnoxious helpful advice is?
Well I hate to throw you all off (actually I think that’s fun HA) but this is actually going to be helpful advice.
I know that some of you may feel betrayed as you can always count on me not to give any advice beyond fight for yourself nobody else will and that kind of thing
But I don’t have a lot of other inspiration about what to write at the moment and the truth is that there are things that I do to deal with Bipolar shit and I thought what the hell maybe someone will like it. Who knows.
I will preface by saying that I do not at all think this is the end all be all of advice. I’m also not telling you that if you do these things you will feel “better” or some shit like that.
I’m truly just sharing what works for me. These are things I learned from other Bipolars, from other areas of life, and just from my own experiences.
They don’t all work all of the time. They are just things in my toolbox. They bleed into each other.
Also you will notice that many of them basically totally contradict eachother. Shrug. Sometimes one thing works and sometimes the other.
Yeah imagine that…that you might need different things at different times. Mind blown
Alright let’s do it.
Act opposite the urge:
This is the I want to go out and be crazy but I’m going to sit here and drink tea and watch Mary Poppins.
Or I want to cry alone in my bedroom but I’m going to go to the park with my friends.
Give In to the Urge:
Now I still don’t allow myself to go out and be crazy but in terms of depression sometimes I need to let it go, stop fighting and just lie in the dark alone. For me it is a much needed “rest” from holding it all together.
Don’t fear the Collapse:
This is like Give in the The Urge except for me it is about how we exhaust ourselves holding it all together, pasting smiles, monitoring voices, staying upright, and then when we find ourselves sobbing in the car, or curled up on the floor we start the lashing of “get up! This is Crazy! What’s wrong with You? Some people have it way worse? You are wasting all of our time? Everybody thinks you’re so fuckin strong and amazing and look at you acting totally crazy! Get up get up get up?” and yeah sure we’ve got to get up eventually and look at us…. WE ALL HAVE but in the moment sometimes I need to allow myself the collapse. I could even use the word INDULGE. Indulge in the collapse.
Just the Next 15 Minutes:
I got this one from Therese Borchard. Planning and decision making become near impossible for me. And the farther ahead I try to plan the more paralyzed and spinning everything becomes in my head. So I look around and I think what is the next 15 minutes going to look like… “cheerios” “I’ll move these dishes” “I’m going to lie here”. And then do it again.
How fun is Bipolar!!!
Seriously the shit is amazing
My iPod My Everything:
I rely on my iPod like a Camel on its hump (Dromedary not Bactrian) when I am depressed/off/Bipolar. There have been times that those buds are in my ears all day long (I will probably lose my hearing prematurely but you know, risks benefits etc). I listen to a song on repeat or an album or something. I like to have something ELSE in my head. It doesn’t stop all of the thoughts and swirling but somehow it helps me remember to IGNORE them. My fave for depression is Snatum Kaur. And if you look her up right now you will be like “You are a weird Hippy Freeak” and I will be like yeah I know. But hey she works for me.
Fuck the Shoulds:
I have all of these rules for myself… “We should be outside if it is nice” “We should do something productive if we have the time” “We can’t order pizza twice in one week” “I can’t go back to the coffee shop I went to yesterday because I am wearing the same shirt”.
and a lot of shoulds even come with the depression rules…
I should exercise/not each that sugar/meditate/sit up straight
Depression…like senior year and the third trimester of pregnancy is a great time to tell the shoulds to go fuck themselves.
This is not about how nobody cares about me. This is what I tell myself when I start the guilt lashing hyperventilating about how the bathroom is gross and you have to climb a mountain of dirty laundry to get down the hall and the recycling can has somehow become a recycling heap. I start the feeling horrible about it and then I say (rather rudely) to myself “I’m sorry did you forget to tell me that Kate Middleton is coming over for tea and chit chat??? Oh yeah NO. Nobody Cares what your house looks like!!!!”
Strip It Down and Cancel Shit
This refers to my schedule and my to do list. I used to be SO bad at this. Just Shoulding at myself until I cracked. Now I almost paranoidly and sometimes prematurely start hurling things off my schedule as fast as I can. (I had to be on bed rest for one of my pregnancies so I have learned that I can actually strip my life down pretty darn far when it is needed. Of course it is easier when a doctor tells you your baby’s health depends on it. A little different when it is depression and you feel like a weak needy mess)
Give Yourself the Space to Be Bipolar:
A doc said this to me and it was a revolutionary idea at the time. He was referring to the fact that I didn’t have to be “strong” and “together” and working my ass off to keep everything “normal” all of the time. That is was okay for me to give myself the space and time to cry, to cancel things, to ask for help, to put my health first even if it meant looking weak or ill or flakey.
Batten down the Hatches EARLY and OFTEN:
This is another one I used to be SOOO bad at and now I try to do a ton…anything to protect myself. I try to predict the critical periods and expect and plan… Like I know I can’t plan anything the week after I have company in my house (because I can’t handle company in my house) and I know that after a busy day I need to have an empty day and I know that if I have a friend over and talk all day that I cannot also have a phone date with a friend in the evening (it will make me buzzy and weird. I’m that fragile)
Sometimes I just feel my mind slip…or I hear an off thought or I feel a thud in my chest and I start running around the ship grabbing those tarpaulin hatch things.
To be honest I have sort of changed and structured more of my life to sail with a lot of hatches already battened down.
But you know Life must be Lived As well and sometimes you’ve gotta rush your baby to the ER at 2 a.m. and sometimes your best friend gets married and you’re going to stay up until 1:30 a.m. And then the next day you pull those hatches all the way around you and pray that Bipolar doesn’t find you.
Wow. That was way more than I thought I had to say. I have more (yeah holy crap) but this is long now and I feel at a natural end about it.
This is just a little window into how my brain battles with my Bipolar. Maybe some of it will sound familiar or interesting or doable to you or perhaps you are just sad that this wasn’t a satire. Either way whatevs.
Oh and by the way…
Take a walk
Count your blessings
Look on the bright side
Remember a lot of people in the world have it worse
Get a full 8 hours of sleep
Don’t eat the Red M&Ms
Remember that you can choose to be happy
Do some yoga