Commitments, Intentions, and the Bipolar Guilt Dance

Commitments, Intentions, and the Bipolar Guilt Dance

First, I need to thank everyone who is still following this barren blog. So many times I intended to recover from this 6 month hiatus. That desire manifested into way too many thoughts questioning what I could actually handle.

Those thoughts led to guilt for ignoring this site for so long. Then I became overwhelmed. So I avoided logging in altogether. Which made me more overwhelmed. Then I became angry with myself for the avoidance.

The 3 year anniversary of Nectar Madness came and went. I renewed my domain but decided I wasn’t ready to continue on with this commitment. And all of this is so silly because I really do enjoy being here! I’ve always felt connected to others in the blogging, as well as the mental health, communities.

I just feel like I have let down my regular readers. (Who might not be regulars anymore.) I feel bad for ignoring all of the notifications I received these past 6 months from readers with questions or looking for guidance on important matters.

Today
What I’ve Been Consumed With

What have I been doing? I don’t know if it actually matters since I’m rejuvenating the flow of this blog for present day, but here’s a synopsis.

June-August: Manic! Manic! Manic! Wonderful, addicting, dangerous bipolar mania. Things evened out & I continued treatment. I’m also still employed at my job. My biggest accomplishment this summer was cracking down on my writing, specifically poetry & fiction. It’s kept me very busy.

September: My baby boy started the toddler Montessori program. I’ve been a busy mom.

November: My second airplane ride ever. (Side note: my first was in 2009 from Michigan to California and it set me off into the most manic, anxious, erratic episode imaginable.) I was nervous, especially since I’d have to keep composure for my toddler, whose 1st flight this was. Obsessive organization is all I’ll say. And actually I will put together a bipolar travel post.

December: Seasonal depression. Yay. It helps that I’m a seasonal worker and get to stay home with my son for four months before returning in April.

Despite whatever reasons I had for not doing what I love on here, I am back. Today is the day! Now here’s a little bit about the thinking processes of people with bipolar.

Bipolar Thinking: The Shoulds, The Obsessions, The Remorse

Those who live with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychiatric disorders experience thought processes differently than folks who are not suffering from a mental illness. Of course everybody experiences guilt, obsessive thoughts or worry, and remorse. It’s part of the human condition. A person with a mental illness might develop a thought based on something somebody said to them. Whether positive or negative, the thought will play over and over and over and over again until it has infested its way into every other thought that person has.

Here’s an example:
Tammy mentions to Paul that Aunt Beverly said he never calls her. Paul automatically feels guilty for not keeping in touch with Aunt Beverly. He goes home & can’t get it out of his head. Especially the fact that Aunt Beverly said something to Tammy. Paul now thinks he should call Aunt Beverly. But then she would think he is only calling her because Tammy told him to, not because he genuinely wants to. His anxiety is rising. Paul has now let this go on for three days. Each day he feels more and more guilty for not picking up the phone. He actively avoids making time for a phone call and makes excuses of why it’s not a good time to call.

From a bipolar standpoint, a few different things could happen here:

Depression: The stress and guilt Paul is feeling could trigger him into a depression. If this is the case, he might sleep or isolate to avoid the developing symptoms. He may never call Aunt Beverly, or speak to Tammy either.

Mania/Hypomania: The anxiety and escalating obsessions could trigger mania or hypomania in Paul. He could be restless and experiencing insomnia from the symptoms that have developed. He could either continue to avoid Aunt Beverly, or present her with a grand gesture, such as buying her an extravagant gift.

Of course this isn’t a real situation, but bipolar thoughts are real. Thinking obsessively can really wear a person down. In that moment, there is no escape. Feelings of guilt tend to snowball once they start. Depending on where someone is in their illness, whether they are depressed or manic, or rapid-cycling, for instance, plays a major role in the receptiveness of any toxic thinking.

What You Can Do

It is tough, but there are ways to alleviate these thoughts. As always, I stress that keeping in contact with your doctor is imperative. Please take your medication! I know- I have been there. And every single time I am med non-compliant, I become a hot mess. Another great tool is practicing meditation. It forces you to clear your mind. Try relaxation music and deep breathing. Select a mantra to focus on, such as a key phrase or positive affirmation. Continuous mantra meditation will slow the obsessive thoughts down and begin to eliminate how often they pop into your mind.  Staying busy helps you forget the feelings of guilt or remorse. Spending time with people who are positive and make you feel good helps as well. Lastly, I will quote my mother, “Do the thing you dread the most and have a better day.” Basically, stop the excuses and call Aunt Beverly. Just do it.

 

 

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My Not So Mental Health Day

Maybe it’s because I went to bed at 2 AM, maybe it’s the 4 mind-numbing hours of Tegan and Sara videos I watched, maybe it was the weed, the six cups of coffee, the humidity, or the moon. I don’t fucking know. All I know is when I woke up this morning, my first thought was to take a personal day. I never do that. But all I could think was that I had laundry to do. And vacuuming. And scripts to call in, mail to sort, and whatever busy thing I could think of. Not to mention the gnawing fact I really need to start jogging to work off this pseudo baby weight I’ve acquired since my wife became pregnant. Clearly I had a full day ahead of me. Mostly I woke up excited to listen to the music I added to my iPod around 1 in the morning. I’m lying. I woke up utterly obsessed with the songs on my iPod. In fact that’s what I really wanted to do today. It’s embarrassing, but I get extremely lost in my head sometimes when it comes to certain music. I try to hide when I go into obsessive phases. I also know obsessions coincide with hypomania with me, sometimes triggering full blown mania. At this time I am fine. As long as my ears don’t have to go without the syrupy melody of what I love most.

I have a hard time admitting when I’m being obsessive because my father was an obsessive individual, he also was compulsive with his obsessions, resulting in compromised living situations in his latter years, when it was most out of control. I think his problem has created a weariness in my own self-monitoring. I don’t want to fall into his footsteps. As of now, I secretly listen to the same song several times throughout the day. Music gives me permission to get lost in my head. Getting carried away by that kind of mental liberation is like crack. I love the feeling, I crave it, I need it. When I remove myself from myself, and enter my mind, it produces a sort of euphoric effect. No joke. This may sound crazy, but it’s really quite beautiful.

Anyway, my wife reminded me of the fact we need money, so I went to work, and attempted to have a normal day. Okay- normal didn’t happen. Thankfully I work in an office alone, so my music accompanies me on a daily basis. This helps me remain in a good mood and keeps my energy flowing. However, my biggest problem today was severe distraction. As busy as my mind was when I woke up, it only worsened as the morning progressed. I got fucking nothing done today! I did, however, play the same 22 songs incessantly for 8 hours. I kind of feel like I’m floating a little bit, and I’m blissfully unaware of anything going on around me.