Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Always spend a little time on yourself...

Here's the deal, I love my husband. A lot. And that doesn't even come close to touching the depth of feeling that resides within me. He's funny, smart, caring, motivated and just in general a great guy. (You can stop gagging now, I am about to tell you some faults.)

The other night I was in a FOUL mood. Like, beyond foul. Of course, it was one of the only nights that my normally "sensitive and in tune with my needs" husband felt like I was having some sort of a bipolar episode and needed to be around people. If the people in question were at my apartment I may have been more receptive to the idea, however, it wasn't at my apartment and I was really in the mood to be a complete bitch. In order to not ruin everyone else's night, which turned out to ruin at least Terry's night, I opted to stay home and keep my wretchedness to myself.

When I went and picked him up from hanging out with his friends the ride home was extremely tense and when we got home the tension just rose. The actual conversation ended up being pretty ugly at the beginning, but as usual it was not an argument but a conversation. In addition, as usual, there were some very helpful points that were brought up:

1) Terry spent a long time telling me that I hide behind my bipolar and that we need to figure out when I am bipolar and when I'm not. This was huge because it tells me that I am doing a few things wrong. Like communicating my needs, releasing my emotions properly, among a few other things. It was an important discovery, even though every time he opened his mouth I was deeply offended (mostly due to my foul mood).

2) He asked "do you ever just sit and do nothing?" The answer to that, of course, is no. I am always doing something. I am actually the definition of Benjamin Hoff's Busy Backson version of rabbit. Meditating is one of the most painful activities for me to do. Which means that I should be focusing on that more than anything else.

As the next few days went by I realized that I do actually sometimes sit and do nothing. There are very specific activities where I allow myself the time to just relax. Anything involving pampering of any kind is a huge release for me. It must be the girl in me that one of my favorite things to do is get my hair done, my nails done, my eyebrows waxed...When I do those things I release everything and immerse myself in the feeling of being renewed and rejuvenated. When I'm shopping for clothes, new makeup,  nail polish, books, cd's, movies...I let go then too. The problem is all of those activities can cost a lot of money. Money I don't really have right now because I am in school.

I thought about it some more and I realized the one thing I do that is a stress release that doesn't actually cost money is clean. Well, clean and organize. If my space around me is organized and everything has a place my brain acts the same way. Every thought has a location and those unnecessary destructive thoughts no longer have a place to hide. When that happens I am a much calmer person and others emotions are much less likely to affect my personal emotions. It doesn't get rid of the foul moods and bad days, but it does control them a bit. I can allow myself to indulge in that bad mood without actually panicking because I can do something to be done with it.

So, as of yesterday my entire filing cabinet is cleaned out, the computer area is clean, the table where I keep my backpack is almost clean, the living room has been picked up, and this morning I vacuumed and cleaned the kitchen from last nights dinner. My physical world is getting more ordered and as a result my brain is following suit.

Now I just have to regularly get back into my exercises to relieve some of my back pain and relax my brain even further...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A little on my favorite topic.

First let me say something in defense of myself. The reason I have not really said any of the following except in the confines of my own home and my therapists office is because I am well aware it can be taken the wrong way, I know it may sound racist and bigoted and that is not my intention at all. Hopefully my choice of words will make it sound less so.

There is a major issue happening in our country right now surrounding diversity. Not some diversity, not simply different skin colors, different sexual orientations, different religions, but also different brain chemistry. ALL diversity is being threatened in the great melting pot currently. By all kinds of people. This is an appalling occurrence. Those poor kids who have committed  suicide over the bullying they have experienced SHOULD NOT HAPPEN in this day and age. End. Of. Story. We should be beyond that as a country. I want to make that very clear, I understand the horror the country is feeling, I understand where that is coming from because I feel it too.

I want to ask a question though. If these kids that are being bullied and committing suicide weren't gay, if they were, for instance, mentally ill...would there be the same outrage? Would their parents be as willing to share that information with the world? That man at Rutgers who was filmed (which, by the way, is awful to do to anyone, gay or straight), if his roommate filmed him having an anxiety attack or a manic episode, would we as a country be appalled or would we laugh?

I understand that there are differing levels of comfort with the topic of diversity and I also know that we have to fight for each and every person to be accepted for who they are. The problem for me is, while I do see the need for all races to be accepted and all sexual orientations to be accepted I see something being done about those issues. At my school there is a "Diversity" office where diversity is defined as racial diversity. There is a LGBT office where students who identify as such and students who are supportive of the issues can go. Why do these offices need to be separate?

Also, the only offer of support for mentally ill students on campus is through a "therapy center" on campus. To be honest I haven't looked into how that therapy center works, mostly because I go to the center that is supported by the college for the community at large in my city. Students would be able to attend sessions there also, but that information isn't provided anywhere. The information about testing accommodations has to be requested, it isn't readily available. In my city the only groups I have found for people with bipolar are for people who cannot hold a job or go to school. What am I going to be able to relate to there? I am highly functioning bipolar, I attend school and do extremely well, I have a full time job that I have had for over 2 years, I maintain a very successful marriage...and because of that the community at large does not allow me the support I need. I am shushed when I discuss mood issues because "people talk" and it makes people uncomfortable. How can we expect people to become comfortable with new ideas if we hide them all the time? How are people supposed to continue being success stories with mental illness if there is no support or guidance?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Semester one of a long haul

I am a very driven personality. I have big dreams and I am insistent on accomplishing those goals at any cost, monetarily, physically, mentally, romantically, anything is at risk for being shoved to the side to accomplish what I have decided is important at any given time in my life. I graduated with an associates degree in biotechnology in May of 2008 and I had decided very early on that this was not enough for me.

Skipping forward to the present day...since my last voyage into school I have a new relationship, in fact, I am married to the most amazing person I've ever met. I've also started really delving into my mental illness and figuring out the best way to balance that illness with having a "normal" life. (I do know that "normal" is a relative term, in my little world it means holding a steady job, maintaining a healthy relationship with friends and family, and taking care of myself by healthy eating and exercise.) This process has been a long and arduous one. I take medications daily for asthma, ulcers and bipolar and I resent every pill in my doctors arsenal. I have (like many people) an aversion to both exercise and healthy eating. I enjoy the feeling after a workout but my lazy nature makes me not want to push myself the way I should. I also enjoy the taste of foods that are good for me, but my desire for "convenience" leads me to eat fast food, fried foods and processed foods way more than I should. Forget trying to eat local and organic, I'm still fighting the urge to eat Taco John's and McDonald's every meal! The only things I really seem to be able to do right is maintain my marriage at a healthy and loving level and keep a steady job.

This fall, on top of the marriage, full-time job, and full-time mental illness I have decided that an associates degree is not where I want to be. As a result I am attending a 4 year institution of higher education to acquire multiple bachelor's degrees (French, Chemistry and Biology) to continue towards my goal of a master's degree in Nutritional Chemistry and being able to be the sole breadwinner for my future family. This blog is *hopefully* going to be my journey through life trying to balance all of the life goals I have decided to juggle. It will probably contain days where I'm not doing so well and why, days that are a little better, thoughts that I feel like sharing with the world about current events and life, as well as ways I relax and work on meeting my goals. Topics I am going to stay away from (I have had a blog previously and I do know the dangers...I wish more people did.) work stories involving specific people/companies/products for many reasons including confidentiality needs, relationship issues I have not yet discussed with my husband, any negative information about ANYONE in my life (be it at work, my friends, my family...) that I feel would hurt feelings or I wouldn't say/haven't already said to them directly. This does not include good natured jests that people are aware is  teasing. That's still fair game, as is inane things on TV and silly things I hear celebrities do in their lives.