Bipolar – Pleasing Personality

As I look back over the last week I see several days where I had less than a pleasing personality. I wasn’t fun to be around. I guess getting ready to move and all the packing and coordinating is weighing heavily on me and I’m letting it change how I interact with people. I’m allowing it to change me in negative ways. I wasn’t keeping an eye on myself. I should have known that I needed to be careful.

I’ve worked so hard over the years to become someone I like. I like myself a whole lot more now than I did even a year ago, but it’s easy to slide back into the familiar crappy personality I the whole time my bipolar symptoms had free reign with me I wasn’t someone people wanted to know.

I should get a tattoo that says, “Daily, proceed with caution.” That way I’ll remember not to take myself for granted and let a mood swing, even a small one, affect my personality and turn me into a person no one wants to be around.

Twice I took the bipolar bait and let potential negative situations explode into fights with family members. I was surprised with how easily I started becoming the person I was for most of my life. I don’t want to lose the better “me”.

Let me give you an example. I didn’t just argue with my Mom, I fought with her. Neither of us was listening to the other and both were convinced the other was wrong.

My Mom and I fought over money. She supports me financially because I can’t work. I get some money from SSI because I’m officially disabled, but it doesn’t even cover my rent so I really shouldn’t fight with her. Morally, I should show her respect. Etiquette dictates that I be respectful to my mother.

I need to work especially hard to have my mood swings well away from my Mom. We lost my Dad just over a year ago and she’s still grieving. She doesn’t need me coming in and making her feel the way she does when we fight. I know it hurts her. She doesn’t explain things well so when she says something and I react to it as though that’s what she really meant to communicate to me we almost always fight.

I should really be asking her what she means. As I told my kids growing up, “ask good questions.” I will start asking her good questions to make sure I really understand what she means. I’ve been saving money since last September because I figured I’d be moving sometime in the near future. Now it’s July the next year and I’m moving. I’ve got enough money saved to buy a piece of furniture, new towels, flatware, a book case and things like that. Oh and I got a new toaster. She freaked out because although I reassure her I have enough money to buy these things she worries and expects that she’ll end up paying for them because that’s the way things have always been in the past.

I’ve always relied on her to bail me out financially. I didn’t go out and buy things I didn’t need, but she couldn’t see that. She just saw $$$ and doesn’t really trust me yet. I don’t blame her.

I’ve kept how much money I have saved private because I didn’t want her trying to make me spend it on paying for the movers or house cleaners. Maybe I should pay for them, but I’m not going to and I’ve explained why to her. I want my own things when I move into my own house. Everything I have is from her. She uses things, gets tired of them, and gives them to me. I don’t even have bath towels that I bought for myself. I’m 53 and I’m still getting hand-me-downs.

Yes, I’m thankful she’s taking care of my needs, but just this once I want to buy somethings for myself. She says she understands that, but I think she still thinks I’ll spend recklessly because that’s what I’ve always done in the past. I’m not going to do that. I’m paying for things as I go so I won’t overspend. I hope I’ll earn her trust as we go through this situation.

I’ve probably told you more than you want to know about the situation, but I have a good reason for that. As painful as it is to admit to anyone but myself that I let myself out of control and let my swinging moods overrun me, I’m admitting it now. I wasn’t careful and I let my mood change who I was.

I was acting like I used to act when we fought all the time. I really don’t want to blow all the hard work I’ve done or our relationship just because of some stress over moving. It was stupid really. I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to tell her how much money I have. To me it’s the only thing that’s really mine, I felt that she didn’t need to know how much money I’ve saved. I believed it wasn’t her business.

I finally reassured her things would be fine, but I did have to tell her how much money I’ve saved up. I told her I have enough to buy the things I’d showed her I was buying.

You know I did try to not fight about it. I sent her links to what I wanted to buy and asked her what she thought. I don’t know that she saw anything but the price. I think we’ve come to an understanding. I feel like my personality is intact again. There are so many things that affect our personalities. I think we all want people to like us. The way I was behaving wasn’t doing that.

Today I have been reflecting on losing my temper during the week. I think I’ve spotted what the triggers were. Now I’m more prepared for the next time my moods poke me and try to make me behave badly. I’m committed to having a pleasing personality. After all, I figure I’m more likely to be successful if people like me, and don’t try to avoid my bitchy ass.

My quest for reaching my goals and following my passions are back on track. Everything impacts these things. I’m not going to give up my dreams because my moods are swinging. I respect my moods and their swings, but I’m determined to live my life with positive passion.

Having a pleasing personality will move me towards my objectives. I’m committed to developing it.

A Visit From Etiquette of Madness

fear poster
I’ve not been able to post for a little while so I’d like to share with you a post from my other blog  The Etiquette of Madness. It’s similar to this, only different. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s one thing to recognize the madness, it’s another thing to fix it.

Wait. I forgot. It can’t be fixed. We need to learn how to live with it.

Have hope. It can be managed so that we can live rich and meaningful lives.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between “manners” and “etiquette”. When I say “The etiquette of madness” I mean living with the illness and interacting with our world in appropriate ways. I realize this is not always an easy thing to do. I have a few things that I do to help me get on or stay on track interacting with the world around me. It is a pretty short “to do” list, but every element is essential to my wellbeing.

Steps to Proper Etiquette
Take medications as prescribed and do not forget to take them
See counselor regularly and do not skip appointments
Regularly see personal physician
Have support system in place to reach out to (even one person counts)
Exercise and eat well to be healthy physically
Have a purpose in life
______________________ fill in with your own idea

Purpose
The first five things on the list are things you’ve probably heard before. Having a purpose for your life might be something you’ve not thought about in dealing with living with Bipolar Disorder. If you are a religious person your purpose is probably something along the lines of serving your God. If you’re not religious you’ll have to think about it and decide what your purpose for being here is. This is especially important when you’re feeling depressed and like there is no reason for you to keep living. Having a purpose can give you something to hold on to when part of your brain says, “Why am I alive? I can’t do this anymore. I want to die.” Another part of your brain can answer and say, “I have a reason to live. No matter how I feel right now, I still have a reason to be alive. I will fight and not quit because the world needs me.”

When to determine your purpose in life
If you are depressed right now this will probably be more difficult for you to do. Ideally being in a state that hovers between depression and mania is the best time to nail down your life purpose. If you’re manic and trying to do this, use common sense to balance out your manic state. When you’re really high you might think you can change the world, but that isn’t logical and probably isn’t going to happen. Be realistic, but aim high. You are not an ordinary person. You are extraordinary and have unlimited possibilities.

People with Bipolar Disorder Who Achieved Great Things
Just a very small list of people you may have heard of who were diagnosed or are recognized as having had or have Bipolar Disorder (You could be a member of this list one day):
Patricia Cornwell – One of the most successful crime novelists of all time
Kay Redfield Jamison – Author and doctor
Patty Duke – Actress and author
Carrie Fisher – Actress and author
Vincent von Gogh – Painter
Demi Lovato – Actress, singer, author
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Actress
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Actor
Jim Carrey – Actor and comedian
Kurt Cobain – Musician
Ernest Hemingway – Author
Robin Williams – Comedian and actor
Virginia Woolf – Author
Frank Sinatra – Singer and actor
Sidney Sheldon – Producer and author
Ted Turner – American media businessman. Founder of CNN

(This list is compiled primarily from Wikipedia and by Kay Redfield Jamison in her book Touched with Fire”