Bipolar – Mental Jello

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Mental Jello. I think that might be a good way to describe how I am when I’m not well medicated and am generally not doing well. You know how it is, when I’m in hell. my brain jiggles around a lot and never can grab onto anything.

I was reminded today that, as they say, “I am largely responsible for how I feel.” If I were a Normal person I would completely agree, but I’m not a Normal person. I’m a Bipolar person and controlling my feelings and thoughts are the very problem that I deal with on a day to day basis. I would reword that statement something like this, “I would be largely responsible for my thoughts and feelings, but I have a mental illness and that is often not possible.” What do you think?

As I say normally, I’m responsible for how I feel and acknowledge it is “empowering” to know this. However… I must also acknowledge the FACT that when my mental illness overwhelms me, I’m NOT entirely responsible for what I think. And, if what I think determines how I feel I’m Jello.

One of the biggest problems I have to deal with that indicate whether I’m doing well or not is way overspending. I might go into the grocery store and come out with two bags more than the one or two things I went in for and always one of them is a book or magazine. I deal with this by not going into the grocery store. And how do I manage not to grocery shop considering the difficulties presented with this since I’m single? Simple. My kids that still live at home are 17 and 20. I send them in. They only get what’s on the list. Nothing more. (Usually)

I’ve been learning that my “fix” to my overspending problem isn’t really helping me. The anxiety I’m feeling sitting in the parking lot about shopping leads to avoidance, not coping. Avoidance then leads to more anxiety and around we go in a Jello bowl. (Sorry that was really bad.)

According to this book I’m reading (Unless I’m doing very poorly I’m always reading. In fact, not reading is one of the first danger signals my brain throws at me when I’ve crashed.) negative self-talk, what I’m thinking concerning myself, is a series of bad habits. These bad habits are not something I’m born with. I learn them.

This is helpful to know and not so helpful. When I’m doing very badly I rage against this kind of thing. What thing? Being told I’ve learned to think the way I do. The truth for my Bipolar self is that I was born with a mental illness that at it’s core is negative self-talk.

My new plan, while I’m doing well, is to stop sitting in the car telling myself I’ll just blow it again and spend money we need for other things and go in and shop. But first I’m going to work on this negative Jello like self-talk and replace it with positive thoughts. I realize that pulling a spoon out of Jello is usually messy, but I can learn right now to deal with myself better. Dealing with things like grocery shopping now, in a “doing well” period, is very important. It gives me a chance, no matter how small, of not crashing as bad next time.

But hello hell. Soon the kids will both move out and it will just be me and Bailey (my service dog in training) and I’ll have to do it myself. God that just terrifies me. Living alone without my support team… My anxiety Jello is already jiggling.

Be well Friend.

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