Bipolar – Self-Motivation

“Personal initiative” are two of the least meaningful words to me as a person with Bipolar Disorder that I can think of. Let’s call it “self-motivation” instead. Depression and sometimes anger take up a lot of my emotional energy and emotional intelligence and derail the best of my intensions.

Daily I face stresses which make it harder to manage my bipolar. Right now immediate issues include putting my cat to sleep today (three hours ago) and three days later beginning moving into town. That’s just this week. After that on August 7th I’ll fly to Tampa, FL so I can drive with my eldest daughter from there to here (near Seattle).

I have to remember that I am striving to break the old patterns of behavior that come from years of my illnesses running unchecked and creating all manner of bad habits. One of those habits is being “self” orientated and completely unmotivated.

Often all I can think about is myself and how to make it through the day. Sometimes it takes all my energy to taking one breath after another, eat regular meals, take my meds, and take care of my animals.

Bipolar Disorder is all about sever mood swings. Swinging sometimes swinging slowly, sometimes quickly from the far left to the far right. I live in a state of movement and flux. Some days, I celebrate stability and forge ahead on the path to my future and my successes: chasing my passions.

I’ve had trouble blogging recently. I’m moving and finding the time and energy to do it has been a challenge. Nevertheless, I still think of my goals and am mindful of how everything I do either moves me towards them or away from them. I’ve been letting the television suck my brain out again. There are endless hours’ reruns of home improvement shows on HGTV and DYI. They’re great channels, but come on, watching a rerun for the fourth time of Flip or Flop? Seriously? I need to get my head out of limbo and start being mentally active.

So look, I’m starting moving Friday unless something goes askew. The movers will be here Monday. I could waste all that time I’m not actively moving because it won’t be convenient to write then, but writing is what I’m trying to do. I feel like chaos has taken up residence in my brain and my thinking processes are all mucked up.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to do anything connected with my definite major purpose, my major goal, my passion, without the deliberate intention of doing it better than I have done it before. I need to always reach further than I have ever done. If I can’t do that I might as well not waste my time because that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be going through empty motions and I don’t have the time or energy for that silliness.

Personal initiative, or self-motivation, is an important part of striving to reach my goals. Using it I learn to act as soon as I can, not later when it is convenient, but now, when it matters. When I use it I will want to get started on my work with eagerness knowing it is bringing me closer to my chief aim in life. It is not just about doing my best working for other people, it’s very valuable in pursuing my own passions.

Dreaming big dreams doesn’t make them happen. Getting off my butt and taking the steps towards completing them does. That’s what “personal initiative” is all about. Getting up and making things happen yourself, on your own, without anyone goading you on and trying to get you to strive to go the extra mile. It’s being self-motivated.

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.

Bipolar and Adaptation

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From today through about August 18th I need to be able to be my best self. That means I will have to be super vigilant and sensitive towards my Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Theoretically, that’s how I’m supposed to be all the time, but right now it’s really evident that I have to pay attention. The stress of looking for a house has rolled over to moving and that will roll over into flying out to Florida to meet my daughter and driving across the country with her two cats to bring her home.

I must prepare myself physically, mentally for what’s next. I tend to react to situations and my moods swing without my even being aware of what’s happening, that is, until I’m done reacting.

This is going to be a good experience for me to practice adapting myself quickly to changing situations and emergencies without losing my temper like I’ve done in the past. My usual reactions are an abrupt swinging of mood, or panic and then the mood swing.

This skill, the skill of flexibility and adaptability, is an important skill to have while coping with our mental illness. Each new skill I learn builds upon the base of my positive mental attitude, my chief definite aim, or my passion in life. (I tend to think of the three things as different ways of saying the same thing.)

Having a flexible disposition means I must be able to quickly adapt to my environment. When I say “environment” I mean not only the physical situation, but also dealing with the people involved in the situation. It means that I can harmonize with my environment in a flexible way.

I’m not suggesting that I ignore my principles or altering my goals. I’m simply suggesting that I recognize my mental attitude towards the situation and determine if the situation is a disaster or a windfall. If it is a disaster I have the opportunity to change things and make them better. Because I use positive mental attitude, I have an even better opportunity to change the disaster into a boon.

I think that part of being adaptable means that in every situation with every person I try to understand their needs and demands. An example would be my Mother calling me a couple times a day and telling me something else I need to do to prepare to move. Yesterday it was that I should go to the Loews and Home Depot on Meridian to purchase boxes, start packing, have the kids (my son, 21 and youngest daughter, 19) come over and help me go through things, and to get rid of the piano. Being sensitive to her and to protective of myself I suggested that she make a list. We’ll see if she can do it. I eventually did go to those stores and bought boxes, but not the ones on Meridian. I hate driving on that street. It’s too busy and too long and too slow.

My plan includes to getting up at the same time every day, feed the animals and take my meds, eat healthy foods, exercise (I walk down the highway with Bailey), give my brain a break by reading or watching TV or listening to an audio book while walking, planning and making lists, keeping appointments or doing errands, spending time learning about how to be successful, spend time doing reactional activities, and so on. I need to keep things fairly structured. When I just watch TV all day it usually takes me another day or more to get back on track.

I’m going choosing to daily be flexible, adaptable, and let me just add: I’m going to be kind to others. (Ellen DeGeneres)

Bipolar – Indecision and Moving Forward

house

My new home.

To be successful in dealing with Bipolar Disorder or acquiring wealth I have to be able to make decisions and then right away put them into action. Despite my lack of inspiration recently, my goals and dreams, my passions are still the same. Now that I’ve realized that I was sitting still and not moving towards or away from my goals I know that I have to decide to do something to move me towards my goals and then do it right away.

Oh look, my Mother and I just went out with our broker looking for my first house to buy.

This is one way I can help get my enthusiasm back. Action.

We found THE house!

Having my definite main purpose is the first step on my road to success. In the past success was a stranger to me. While my illness was running wild even if I could decide on my purpose I couldn’t take action on it. Or at least it felt that way and this disorder is all about feelings isn’t it.

My Mother decided to make an offer on it. She’s buying it for me because I have no credit because I am on disability and don’t work. I’ll be making the payments (essentially buying it from her).

Then life pops in and loudly declares that things are not cut and dried. Things are messy and take time and are full of surprises. Such as…

My Mother added a letter with the offer explaining that the house is for her adult daughter who is disabled and asked them to take that into consideration. There were higher offers, but we won the house!

My anxiety tinged mind is making popcorn now.

On Aug. 7th, just after I move, I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive cross country to bring my daughter home from the Air Force. I’ll have just been in my new house a few days. My kids will take turns living in my new house for me with my dog and two cats. How ironic. I feel jealous. I’ll have to work fast to unpack everything. The house is so much bigger than anything else we looked at. It’s beautiful. I wanted a yellow house. It’s yellow. It’s on a quiet street and has a fenced in back yard to keep Bailey safe.

What was I going to decide? Right, I need to decide where to buy moving boxes from. I’ll do that Monday. There, I’ve made a decision.

No, that’s wrong, I was going to make a decision to move me towards my main life goals.

Well now my goals include moving and all that entails.

I’ve just taken half a chill pill. My right leg is bouncing like crazy. Bouncing/tapping legs is a symptom of my anxiety.

Focus. Okay, I’ve written this blog. Time to work on another project before things get moving too fast. I have a lot of work to do to meet the goal of my life’s passion. My newest goal is to keep working on my chief aim (main goal), my passion, even as I prepare to move. I start back to school in the fall and I won’t have as much time as I do now. I can’t waste time being paralyzed by excitement and fear of the unknown.

Control. I need to control myself. Yesterday I walked up and down the highway with my heeler Bailey for an hour. After I got the news we went for another walk. I had to put the energy someplace productive. Today my knee is stiff, which is funny because it’s my new knee. I’ve had it replaced twice.

I’m going to put the joy I feel now into my Enthusiasm book. I’m going to make it more an encouragement notebook. I’m using one of those school test books.

If I crash later today, I’m going to look in my book and remember how I feel now.

Oh lord, I’m going to have to deal with my Mother. She’s wonderful but she micro-manages everything. I mean everything, like she’ll call and ask me if I’ve been packing every day. Patience isn’t my strong suit. But, it’s one of the parts of having a pleasing personality, which I want to have, so I need to work on it. I don’t want to scare people away with my moodiness. But a pleasing personality, that’s a post for another day.

Find something wonderful to think about today even if it’s a frog hopping across the yard or your dog finally sitting down when you tell them to. Anything will work. But do try to find something positive to think about.

It’s the trying that counts.

Bipolar – Loosing Inspiration

Some days I don’t have a problem getting up… those days are rare. I’m so tired in the morning I feel like I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night and told I can’t go back to bed. I can’t sleep past 10 because my dog would explode. She likes to go out at 9. Sometimes I can’t even get her off the sofa to get her to go outside. I wonder if I affect her sometimes. She’s supposed to be my therapy dog. I’m not supposed to be her downer human.

I’ve done allot of things that have distracted me from my goals this last week or so (I’ve been watching a lot of TV). I feel like I need a nudge, a shot in the butt to get going. I wonder if my goals are really worth fighting for and if I can even reach them. I feel the hand of doubt around my heart.

It’s time to reset myself. I need to get my passion back.

What was it I was striving for? What was the mission of my life? What was the passion that urged me on every moment? I need to pause for a moment and consider things. Is my passion big enough to keep me in motion and motivated to work for it every day?

Today I’m working without enthusiasm. I’m going about my work with words supported by unshakable faith in their message, but without my heart slamming in my chest demanding that I drive forward with great energy.

I’m searching back in my mind. I’m realizing I should have made the Enthusiasm notebook I had thought about making. I think I’ll do that next time I’m really enthusiastic. I’ll make a notebook with my definite purpose (my passion and goal) and the things that really make me enthusiastic. That way the next time I’m feeling like this, I can reference it and not be stuck mired in the place I’m in today… in neutral with no forward inertia.

Remember.

Remember what I’ve been fighting for.

Having goals and ambitions and having an illness like Bipolar Disorder makes my days hard. The illness whispers to me to blink a few times and let my guard down, to let the illness have its way with me. But I don’t want to do that.

I won’t do that.

(Previously published in The Etiquette of Madness)