As 2015 winds down I'm reflecting on the past year. Things that happened, things I had planned on that didn't, what I want for the future. Elsewhere I've written about how I have a hard time figuring out what is real and what isn't. Someone I respect recommended a book called Welcome to the Jungle as a resource for more information on bipolar disorder. I was probably manic yesterday, but it's hard for me to argue with a sense of satisfaction regarding productivity. From approximately 8:00 to 2:30 I sorted and organized paperwork. I cut apart a yoga spiral and used an old calendar to frame it. Calendars and time are very difficult for me. I didn't really start out with a plan to create a daily organizer, but once I was done (mostly) I was thrilled with the final project.
I put a pamplet on essential oils in the front both as information and a reminder that I enjoy them. Next to that I added a Thank You note and snapped a thin lightweight bag into my binder to hold stamps. Thank You notes only take several minutes to write. One of my goals for 2016 is to write more physical letters and notes. I love getting them, I love to write, and this is another thing that helps me remember that I have a support system that I can use in times of well being and crisis. I cut apart another calendar that had the months of the year as tabs. At my first job out of college I had a drawer that had two organizing systems. The first one was numbered 1-31, I put A-Z tabs in that and organized what I need to do alphabetically. The months of the year tabs helped me remember future tasks and events.
My daughter had a collection of plastic tabs. I found a binder that had 1-15 tabs in it. Then I used 1-7 to create a days of the week section for myself. I put a sheet of loose leaf ruled paper in each tab along with an envelope for money. When I was part of the outpatient and inpatient programs we had daily check in sheets. The Acute Servcices sheet is pretty basic, write down a daily goal and how that will help your treatment. At the bottom is a list of emotions and a place to rate your mood. We filled out the sheets in the morning, handed them in, and then went through them at night during a group session. I found it helpful to talk and share, others preferred to keep theirs private. It was fun to see how people became more open as the days went by, releasing trapped emotion helps tremendously with healing and recovery which is what a psychiatric facility should be fostering.
Yesterday's sheet was full by the time I went to bed. Today one of my goals is to get into bed earlier. There were two spots in my day where I felt derailed. The first was after I finished my daily and finance binders. That was a full day's work and I wish I would have stopped there. Life includes relaxation and leisure. I was happy that I listened to my relaxation CD and did part of two segments. The autogenic session is my favorite. For some reason it's easier for me to do that than the muscular and diaphragmatic modules. I woke up at four this morning, but made myself stay in bed. Eventually I fell back asleep. Getting up early is fine, but I had trouble falling asleep last night, I'm trying to get myself off of the sleep meds. I fear depending on them. Last night I took melatonin and a Benadryl because I was having some trouble with wheezing.
The girls came home last night. My oldest had sent me a text asking if they could come home later. I feel like that should come from my ex. I asked what time they would be back, she wasn't sure so I didn't respond. I missed a couple of texts and a call from her yesterday when I was laying down. Sleep medication helps, but I don't feel well rested when I wake up regardless of how long I've slept. I have a book on sleep. Avalyn shared some tips with me including a device I'd like to try called the Sleep Shepherd. Another person who has been very supportive is artman2003. Yesterday I was reviewing my safety plan, I put that in my binder where I can see it every day. I would like to redo it, but there's something about the one I did during my inpatient session that I like.
For several weeks I've had stacks of books on my living room floor. Today I put ten of them into a plastic bin that will eventually go into my youngest daughter's bedroom since she has several shelves in her closet. I was thinking about the book and decided to keep 52 of them. That's one per week with supplemental reading from the library. A book I have recommends confining and consolidating items into a defined space or specific quantity. While I could fill the shelves, I prefer to divide up my books this way. Another thing I'm trying to work into each day is game time with the girls. I organized and systematized the art supplies and games I have. Board games stress me out. I have childhood memories that I'll deal with eventually. For now the simple card and dice games are working for me.
I've been trying to write down what I eat and when I eat it on my daily sheets. I'm great at breakfast, sometimes I remember at lunch, supper is also harder for me to remember. I take most of my meds in the morning, I stopped taking one of the antipsychotics since the side effects were unbearable. Since I already have suicidal tendencies a drug that makes me panicky and encourages that thinking is one I can't afford to take. I'd rather be my own brand of psychotic. Fortunately for me things are getting better although Christmas Eve was terrible. A friend told me that everyone would be happier if I woke up the next morning. I was proud of myself for being very honest during the conversation. I value that in others and know that I need to be truthful to the extent that I recognize and understand truth when I'm in that state.
Yesterday I read a Barking Up The Wrong Tree article that suggested writing about five things: what you're looking forward to, your progress, goals, ideas, and anxieties. The article listed reasons why these were effective, I'd encourage anyone who is interested to Google that piece. Today I'm looking forward to going to the chiropractor and seeing my friend Nichole. I'm also looking forward to going out to eat at the Thai restaurant for my birthday. Progress has been made in the mood stabilization category. I resist taking my anxiety medication, for a while I was taking it with every meal. I'm going to go back to that routine since I feel better when I take it and worse when I don't. A goal of mine is to find more and better ways to decrease my anxiety and depression without relying on medication. Compared to many what I take is minimal, but eventually I'd like to be drug free.
An idea I had was to hang my scarves on the wall of my bedroom. A challenge of mine is OOSOOM otherwise known as Out of sight, out of mind. I tend to forget about things unless I can see them. While I'm unlikely to forget about my scarves the visual will be helpful. This will also create texture on my bland and boring blue bedroom wall. I'm pleased with the way my bedroom is coming together. I bought a cheap ironing board and cover that I'm using as a horizontal surface for my essential oil diffuser. It's also sort of a functional decoration and a theme for my room. The other ironing board I have in that room is stable and much nicer, but there's a piece of metal in the top that prevents it from being adjustable which is really annoying, but I like the way that it looks and the cover is fun so I'm keeping it. The actual iron and board that I use is down in the basement. I love it, but it doesn't match my room so it lives down in the basement.
Anxieties are plentiful in my life. It's snowing today. I have errands to run and I need to make a decision about whether I want to head east or west. They both have advantages and disadvantages. The root of this issue is I'm worried about money, gas and fuel economy, and feeling as if whatever I decide is going to be wrong even though there isn't really a right answer here. Being codependent means you have to learn how to think for yourself and not worry about displeasing others. For many years I was criticized for going to Target when I could have gone to Shopko, Wal-Mart, or K-Mart and vice versa. The store wasn't the problem, but it's now lodged in my brain as problematic because of the previous trauma which is something else I'll have to work through, either on my own or in therapy.
I'm trying to appreciate having the girls. I've planned meals that they will like and added the things I need to my grocery list which is another source of anxiety. My youngest woke up with a sore throat this morning, both girls have dark circles under their eyes. They sneak electronics into their rooms at night which frustrates me. Sleep is a huge issue for me so I worry about others staying up too late. Screen addiction is another concern of mine. It's an area where I've made tremendous progress. I'm working on setting limits for writing and computer/phone time. Some is okay, but I'm still figuring out what is enough time for me and what is manic or addictive behavior.
Another thing I'm really looking forward to is my trip to the library and touching base with people in my support system. I'm kind of tired right now, probably because of my long day yesterday and because I didn't sleep very well last night. I'm thinking another goal could be to read or research some area of being bipolar on a Monday through Friday schedule. I hate being paranoid, delusional, having trouble with reality based thinking, manic, depressed, and not sleeping well. But these are all areas where I can make progress, address, and improve. I'm giving myself a pat on the back for avoiding foods that make my anxiety worse. I made squash soup the other day, that's on the agenda for lunch.
When I was organizing I put a stack of papers into a binder I'm going to use for nutrition. I put a bento box sheet into my daily binder with the idea of getting lunch menus together for when the girls are in school. Menus are still something I struggle with. I also feel like we could be better about eating up what we have and we definitely need more variety in our diets, but I want to be careful about taking on too many projects at once. On my daily sheet I write things like organizing my desk and creating future binders to ward off triggering a manic organizing system. The upside of these sessions is they unleash my creative side, the downside is I have trouble knowing when it's time to stop. Breaking larger ideas like make the whole house more efficient into subcategories such as desk and bookshelves helps.
There's healthy risk taking and unhealthy attractions to risk for me. I like a challenge, but sometimes I develop tunnel vision and work obsessively on a single area instead of branching out and completing other tasks. I'm getting better at realizing when I'm ignoring things like eating and sleeping in favor of a project. This is much longer than I anticipated it being, but I feel as if I have a lot I want to get down today so I'm okay with it. A lot of times I feel tired and wired which is confusing for people who have recently met me and don't understand that that you can be productive and depressed which I admit is a bit of a paradox to me too. Part of it is the rapid mood shifts, racing thoughts, and hunger for grander and greater schemes. That can be a benefit, but for me it can lead to some seriously scary places.
Before this past month I hadn't experienced active suicidal thoughts and urges as frequently as I have been. There's usually a trigger or activating event as my outpatient therapist would say. I don't have a fear of death, the majority of the time I feel like this stems from a combination of high stress coupled with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Even though I'm aware that humans have value just by their presence I feel like a societal drain during those times. I almost always have a snap or break from reality that starts the downward spiral, but sometimes just seeing a razor or sleeping pills can take me there. What's really weird is there are times when I recognize the psychosis while it's happening. Then I have these raging internal arguments where one side of me supports keeping me alive while the other is seeking death and bodily destruction.
I realize this isn't a very upbeat way to end this, but the calm times are when I can write about and try to understand the chaos that I feel is eventual. I hope to get to a point where these thoughts and episodes are a thing of the past. I dislike dwelling on them so I try to engage in a lot of sensory activities that help ground me. Reading magazines, touching and feeling things like the ball I roll under my feet, smelling things like lemons or essential oils, sucking on a peppermint or other strong flavored hard candy. A warm shower, a hot mug of tea, running cold water over my hands, hanging up the laundry, rolling dice, shuffling cards, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, can be helpful. I'm going to put a sensory bag/kit together today and keep it in a prominent location. I have a lot on my mind, but it feels mostly managable despite the hyper/sleepy feeling I have today...