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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

It’s a New Year.  It’s a time for reflection on the events of the past year, how I handled them and then evaluate how I can improve during this new year.

What are my goals for this year?

I want to keep working at self mastery as far as bipolar disorder is concerned; controlling my thoughts and not allowing myself to ruminate helps to control and/or prevent anxiety’ which is a trigger for me. This is something I’ve already been working on but I want to perfect it.

I want to pursue strengthening friendships with a few people. I find relationships outside of my immediate family difficult so this will take a lot of effort to prevent anxiety from building and being a possible trigger. Some people might say , “Then why try to accomplish this?” Because having friends is important to me and to my husband. Friends enrich our lives and hopefully we do theirs. My disorder doesn’t affect only me. If I say I can’t have people over, my husband doesn’t get to do it either and he thrives on interaction with people. So I’m trying and will make a greater effort this year.

Every year that I work hard at strengthening and expanding my control and capabilities, the more improvement I see in my life.

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It’s been 3-1/2 years since I’ve posted here. During this time I’ve still kept rapid cycling while trying to hone my coping skills. My goal has been to achieve a state where no one would be able to tell whether I was hypomanic or depressed, always remaining highly functional. Hypomania is harder to hide because I’m very much an introvert and suddenly I’ll become more talkative, a just a bit more extroverted and I’m unable to put a lid on that. But its positive and friends and hubby like it. It’s the depressions, the black holes, the despair and pain, the negativity, suicidal thoughts, that I want to hide. I can’t dump my poison on others. They don’t know how to handle it and will back off. So I’ve learned to pretend. I’ve learned, in spite of the fatigue, to get things done and fulfill my responsibilities at home, in my volunteer job, and with our church groups that we work with. I hide as much as I can from my hubby too.

The work that goes into living as normal a life as possible when you rapid cycle and experience mostly depression can be grueling. It’s a constant evaluating, adapting and pulling up the last vestiges of strength in one’s being to always tell yourself, “I can do this one more thing” constantly as you go through a day. Or “I will go to this meeting tonight, engage with people and participate as best I can” and as a result, come home completely spent. It’s a strong discipline that has taken a few years to develop. I learned to distract myself from the mental pain and then hyper-focus on a task at hand. Meditation and prayer is a strong component too and so many more techniques. I have been relentless, a cruel taskmaster to myself, afraid that if I let up, everything will fall apart, that I would slide into the hole and not get out. That’s not acceptable.

Until yesterday.
Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist. Hubby came with me. I’ve been in a suicidal depression for nearly a week and a half. I hung on by telling myself that I would see Dr S. on Wednesday and he would help to fix everything. Instead, he took all my mood charts (I give him one each visit) going back from yesterday to two years ago, and taped them all together so the graphs lined up. He showed me that there has been progress in slowing the cycles a bit, and getting a few more level (normal) times–short, but normal. It’s been a very slow progression, but the evidence is there. He told me it will keep getting better over time, slowly, but it will.

Then my psychiatrist told me something I did not expect to hear.
We’ve known each other for 5-1/2 years–I’ve always been honest with him so he knows me well. He told me I work too hard. I’m relentless and beat myself up to do my very best–perfection. And I beat myself up when I don’t achieve my standard. I work my skills constantly to be as “normal” as possible and don’t give myself a break. Rarely will I even allow myself a 1 hour nap in even the worst of times. He said I have to stop burning myself out and allow myself to rest. Rest is important.

There is no medication change, but a new Rx:
During the worst of times, take 3 or 4 days to do absolutely nothing but rest, eat and sleep as much as I want. During the good times, take a day every week or two to do absolutely nothing.

I expressed my fear of falling in the hole if I let my guard down for 3 or 4 days. He assured me that I’ve so finely tuned myself that I would recognize it and jump back into action — not a worry. Rest is as important to my bipolar health as a good night’s sleep.

I told him that now I have something new to learn. His response: “You will. You’re a good learner. You’ve learned all the rest. You’ll do it, and quickly too.

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It’s day 2 on the road and I sit now in a motel feeling a bit lonely.  Hubby and my dog are both asleep.  I am contemplating the idea that tomorrow we will arrive at our home in Florida.  New York is no longer home for us.  We are now Floridians by choice.  I can’t shake the feeling that we are just on another vacation.  We retired just days ago.  We’ve thrown out and packed up 36 years worth of stuff over the past few weeks preparing for this day.  Now its here and my mind just can’t take it in. 

I’m looking forward to having the time to actually sort through boxes of pictures and putting them in some kind of order.  Creating scrapbook pages for special milestones in our family members lives, sewing curtains, placemats and decorative items for our home.  I also see myself getting involved with a new church when we finally find one to call our church home.  I’d like to find a cause that ignites passion in me and volunteer my time.  I hope to find a new purpose for my life in this chapter of my life.  I know my husband has similar feelings.  My pdoc gave me a homework assignment for when we arrived in our new home–read “The Purpose Driven Life”.  He told me, “You do have a purpose to fulfill now and you will find it.  Spend time in God’s word and in prayer.”  This is my intention and I intend to grow spiritually and do things that will matter for eternity even if no one ever knows about my efforts.  It helps to stay unnoticed–there is less to interfere with one’s focus. 

Right now, I need to focus on getting settled in.  I intend to enjoy this chapter of life full throttle.  I want to get past Social Phobia and truly enjoy people in any type of setting and not care about any criticism or whether or not they think I’m slightly odd.  I am who and what I am and I am learning to like myself with all my quirks.  A cracked pot can unintentionally water the ground surrounding it helping it’s portion of the Earth to grow beautiful flowers and green grass.  I want to be like that.  I have a medical issue that has changed me and I must constantly work hard to overcome it.  I could hate it but yet, because of it, I have learned life lessons that are invaluable.  So I embrace it as a blessing, hard won lessons which have permanently changed me and my outlook.  It has made me more sensitive to people facing serious physical and mental challenges in all areas of life.  I hope and pray that I can serve in some way to ease people’s fears and give them hope that they too can overcome.  I want to inspire and motivate them to work at it because anything worthwhile requires their investment of time and energy–and each of them IS worth it.  I want them to believe in themselves and in their abilities again.  And, if I can help them know God in the process, that would be the greatest gift of all.

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Rev. Shane L. Bishop

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