I won’t lie. The past few days have been rough. However, I am bouncing back already. Years ago, this may have triggered a major depressive episode for me lasting who knows how long. I’m reminded of how far I’ve come when I can feel normal after a few days of grieving the loss of my job on top of other triggers that came my way. I’ll be much better after I find a position, but I’m not too worried about it.
I’m sorry I haven’t written too much specifically about bipolar lately. I sense there will be much more on that soon. I decided to put ink into a special journal I’ve wanted to start for a while, now. It is the journal I intend to keep that will be the inspiration for my book about my psychotic breaks, as well as a book telling about my journey to recovery.
Before I can really delve into that, though, I must finish doing my reflections on all my journals to help understand myself and the course of my bipolar much better. Not to mention, I would like to understand my breaks better. Meditation and reflection will help on this. My breaks are part of my experience, and I see great opportunities for growth in understanding them. I want to write these books the right way. No short cuts. I’m in it for the long haul, and it may well take a decade to write the books to my satisfaction, but I’m okay with that.
I’m starving for inspiration, too. It’s so easily to get discouraged in the midst of all this, but I press on…
I have three things going on in my life that are all stressing me out to the max: I’m losing my job tomorrow, my mom, and something personal.
I’m in tears at this point. It sucks. I don’t know what to do. It’s been so long since it’s been this bad. I need to cry. I was doing so good before, and now I’m broken AGAIN! WHY?! What did I fucking do to deserve all of this? Why can’t life just go smoothly? I haven’t stopped crying, bawling my soul out. It’s taken me over 5 minutes to write this paragraph.
After crying so hard, I feel oddly okay. After processing in my journal, things are much better. I think I just needed to do both. More of both lay ahead of me, however. Sometimes, you can’t stand strong or stand tall. Time to meditate.
So today is my birthday. When I was younger, I celebrated being one year older, one year closer to the next thing. After, it was just depressing to hit that next birthday. Now, I look at it as a celebration of making it another year, even more so now that I’m alive and well. A birthday doesn’t have to mean you’re one year older. It depends on how you look at it!
You may expect the typical responses – the problem of pain, organized religion, God doesn’t exist – but that’s not why I try to forget about God (or the higher power if you will).
To me, God encompasses more than any religion cares to touch on, both our universe and beyond its mysterious origins. God manifests deeper than every subatomic particle to beyond every supercluster of galaxies in our universe. The perspective God has is mind-boggling, but not beyond our capacity to always understand more of it. This God has a deeply personal nature as well, and I find at some points in my life, God’s voice is silent while during others it’s very present.
The tendency I had when I thought about God a lot is to try to interpret every little thing that happens as something divine. When I do that, I start to go crazy. Little details here and there begin to form conversations and possible predictions in my head and I start to believe them to be straight from God. Maybe some were, maybe they weren’t at the time, but it’s something I do not live my every day life in. Seeing God in everything has its place, and it’s not in the present.
My advice is to forget about God when you live your every day life. Instead, focus on you and other needs around you. Thank God and experience his voice during that time you set aside in prayer and meditation. If something truly urgent comes up, you will know. Don’t try to force God’s hand in everything like I did.
I went to a group this evening that surrounds the theme of “Love and Forgiveness.” It’s a very open group, and someone shared part of herself that describes many men and women and what they struggle with today. She just got out of a relationship a few weeks ago and *all* she wants is another one. She can’t stand being by herself because she wants the affection and emotional intimacy of a romantic relationship. Everyone has told her and she knows in her mind that she needs to be single for a while and get to know herself, but her heart refuses and seems out of control, in need of a relationship. What do you do about this?
The surface of this proposal is simple: don’t get in a relationship, but stay single! Easier said than done – how exactly can someone DO that? The common saying is in order to change the world (say, your behavior – stop dating for a while), you gotta change yourself first (change in heart). After all, things are how you perceive them, and most of your perceptions come from yourself through your heart and mind. However, the heart and the mind are not yourself, but extensions of yourself.
However, the first step is to change your mind (decide you want to be single) and be aware of the need to change your heart. If you haven’t decided this, then your mind will do whatever it wants to do, with the deception your broken heart to support it, and there will be no change in behavior. Also, perceptions largely determine what things are. Since you perceive things through your mind and heart, changing them can change your world and your behavior.
Practicing meditation gets me in touch with my essence that drives everything else, and helps with the process of a change in heart. While meditating, I recognize what it feels like for my heart to start to run away with something, which pulls on my mind and tries to convince me to do things I don’t truly want to do. Regular meditation leads to greater understanding of the self, mind, heart, and how they feel and relate to each other. It also brings the heart and mind closer to the self, and keeps them from going awry with time.
I’ve learned more about what drives me, what my passions are, and my place in this world after finding myself and getting to know myself. It may sound selfish, but it’s a necessary and beautiful thing to do for the sake of myself and other people.
After a change in heart, be ready to practice civil disobedience with your old ways. Civil disobedience is the idea from Thoreau in that revolutions start with very small, subtle changes. Specifically, an idea in someone’s head that goes completely against the system that needs to happen, which he or she talks about with the next, then spreads till it actually happens.
The idea of needing to remain single, say, has been planted in her mind and it needs nurturing to grow. It may grow in the easier parts of her life (though difficult in and of themselves), such as simply saying, “No,” to guys when they want to start a romantic thing. This requires a small change in heart. As time goes on and the heart becomes stronger, more independent, and healthier, the seed will sprout and grow roots in her heart from the mind. The heart begins to cooperate more with the idea in the mind.
She will start to feel less desperate to be in a relationship, and the seed will begin to grow further and produce fruit in her behavior, thoughts, deeds, and feelings. Hopefully, she will reach the point where she loves who she is, and though perhaps a little sad to be on her own, she will be able to do it on her own and live as a single for a while. This change in heart is traumatic, as is any big change. The first step is always the hardest.
I’m working on a chart purging project, and there are old charts in the downstairs cage that need to be sent to storage, along with sorting through 10+ years’ worth of old billing records. Upstairs, there are newer charts that need to go where the old charts are now downstairs, so they can add something new to the office where the new charts are currently. The cage is an absolute disaster, and change needs to happen. It’s inevitable. I had to take apart everything, and the mess was of epic proportions – there were boxes, papers, shredding bins, charts, boxes everywhere, even in the hallways! I had a hard time figuring out where to put everything when I started this project.
However, slowly but surely, things get sorted out, put away, carted away, and organized and catalogued. Now, it’s looking much more manageable, instead of an insurmountable mess. I believe change in heart is like this, too. Through meditation and exploring your heart, you can find a starting point to work from. After the starting point, a rhythm begins and it’s easier to move forward. You will know what to do from there.
A parting thought: Things will happen the way they should, not the way you want. I believe life has a way of working things out, sometimes in the harshest and most beautiful of ways. It also teaches me lessons I need to learn, when I need them most. Looking back, I am now thankful for the atrocities and their impeccable timing.
This past week, I’ve noticed that my mood has been off a little bit. Other people haven’t picked up on it, which indicates I was not hypomanic or anything, but I noticed things internally.
I’m also aware of what brought this on. I recently learned my current job position is being eliminated, which caused a lot of negative stress. I’ve been staying up too late on my own and that has added fuel to the fire. I haven’t been eating very well, either, and that combined with lack of exercise can cause problems. Also, reducing my Zyprexa about three or four weeks ago may have gradually brought this on. There are other personal reasons as well I will not get into at this point.
There have been positive happenings as a result of being up. I’ve been very creative, and able to ponder my spirituality, myself, and the universe in great depth. I’ve been more witty, spontaneous, and outgoing than usual. I found I could talk much easier with people in person and didn’t think too much about being judged socially. Writing and ideas came easier to me, and my mind was much sharper. I had more energy than normal. I sometimes felt a bit euphoric. My eyes saw colors more vividly, I could notice more details, tastes were much more pronounced, and my sense of smell was better than normal. Meditation came very easily, and I could find the balances and the voice efficiently. Basically, everything was a little magnified.
However, there were negative things as well. I felt a lot more impulsive than normal, I said weird things to people that I normally wouldn’t say, and sometimes wished I could take them back. I became more obsessive about thoughts and sometimes people, concepts, ideas, things, and couldn’t stop the obsessions at will at some points. I tended to overanalyze everything and it started to drive me nuts. One example of this obsessing and analyzing was my manager who broke the news to me about my position. I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the situation at hand, which led to bad conclusions. Fortunately, I was not so “up” that I was hypomanic and didn’t actually act. It all mostly stayed in my head, but not all of it, I’m sure.
My course of action? To start going to bed on time, for one! Also, I am starting to eat healthier again and I am noticing a difference after a few days already. One night, I had to take a prn dose of extra Zyprexa to slow my mind down. Also, I need to come to terms in that this is the beginning of falling off course, so I’m not tempted to just “go with it” and fall way off course. Instead, I am being proactive and preventing the mood swing from turning into a significant one.
Meditation also helped, along with keeping my heart on a very short leash. When my heart gets carried away, the mind goes with it. When the mind gets carried away, the heart wants to skip away. When the mind or heart begin to drift away, that’s a warning sign. It’s hard to recognize, as I largely perceive things through the two.
However, I look from within myself, my center, if you will – the mind and heart are extensions of me. I am getting to know them and learn how to keep them close to me. When they drift off the ground is when other people will begin to notice and not just me, which is a place I don’t want to be. It can lead to doing things, big or small, I’ll regret doing later on.
So, keep your minds and hearts on a short leash! Learn what little nuances show up when you’re about to have an up swing. Don’t be in denial, and do something about it when you have that inkling something’s not right – it could save you from crashing and burning down the road!
If you don’t have a plan for when you’re starting to swing up towards (hypo)mania, talk with your doctors about it and come up with a preemptive strike!