99% percent of the time, I am NOT HERE.
I may be looking you dead in the eyes during a conversation, dancing at a party, laughing at somebody’s bad joke, or in the middle of sex with (who knows, really Lol) at night. But, I am not there. I AM NEVER HERE. My body exists in the moment, while my mind is either tracing back to the past, or driving 900 mph into the future that my life may hold. Problem is, I am aware that I cannot control either, and yet, that is where I spend most of my life, and have been all my life.
Do you ever feel like Bipolar disorder prevents you from enjoying the moment? I actually read a great article about this very topic, which inspired me to write my own, but with my perspective and experiences.
I connected with the author of the article that I read on so many levels. Like them, I have always been a busy body and an overachiever. When I was six, a doctor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Sure enough, my little precocious ass said, “I’m gonna be an “All-Hobby Champion.” (Rhetorical question) What the hell was that?
Who knows. But guess what? The funny thing is, I actually accomplished that goal. I went for it every day of my young life. I excelled both in and outside of school, with academics, extra-curricular activities, community service, writing and publishing my own books, developing a t-shirt business, running a campaign at 19 for a regional seat in Phi Theta Kappa Honor society, creating a merchandising business, while losing almost 60 pounds and becoming an admired fit girl on social media living a healthy life. I also dated in the meantime, and was a part of various social communities. Sounds good for a young person in their early 20’s, doesn’t it?
And IT WAS. And hell, it still is. I am still building, even with Bipolar disorder.
But guess what? As wonderful as all this was/is, I was a wreck. I was a wreck because unbeknownst to me, my mania was stretching me further than I could bear, and yet I kept pulling at my own strings. I kept adding goals on an already tragically long to-do list, setting unrealistic expectations on myself. When I stumbled or failed to achieve them, the pity parties and self-inflicted psychological and emotional bullying/abuse would ensue because I felt like I deserved to tell myself how dumb, stupid and worthless I was for not being perfect. And because I was NEVER perfect, I was always pulling at my own strings, stretching until I finally broke, and telling myself I should just die for not being an all-hobby champion. This was my life, probably from age 6 to age 25 (where I am right now).
I was NEVER PRESENT in the moment. I was always trying to pull at my own strings to either forget about my past (rather than addressing it to heal from it), or looking light years into the future, gaining hours of sleepless nights worrying about bad things that might not ever happen to me. I figured if I kept moving fast, one day, I would finally be able to look at myself and feel satisfied. I would finally look in the mirror, and feel happiness, confidence, joy and peace.
But that day never came. So, now what?
Where do Bipolar people go from here? Clearly, our method of running rat races that lead nowhere hasn’t really ever worked out for us.
Here is a list of THREE WAYS that I am learning to be fully present in the moment and enjoy my life MORE, right now:
- Clear YOUR MIND. YES. CLEAR that Bipolar mind of yours. You know what I mean…when your brain is literally computing 100 ideas, setting 2,000 goals, beating you up about 3,138 mistakes you made this past week and dreaming of 5.4 trillion possibilities of you in the future either as a success or total failure. Yeah, THAT Bipolar Mind. Do WHATEVER you have to do: meditate, pause and take deep breaths, yoga, a walk in the park, or utilizing positive self- talk to relax and center yourself. In the beginning, you may have to do this hundreds of times throughout the day, because Bipolar disorder will fight you to be manic and depressed. KEEP THAT IN MIND. FOCUS ON STAYING CALM AND CENTERED AT ALL TIMES.
- REMEMBER THAT TIME IS PRECIOUS. The time that us Bipolar people spend worrying, rushing, dancing with mania, drowning in depression – could all be spent enjoying our moments that we know we only get once. Remind yourself of the “Y.O.L.O” mentality, and let that motivate you to take action in better valuing your time. You know how the saying goes: Being busy and being productive are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
- Be honest with YOURSELF. Due to living with an invisible illness, I am guilty of constantly committing two crimes: 1) I like to tell myself that I do not have a mental illness during periods when I am feeling fine and 2) I dwell in horribly negative, depressing, bully-like, abusive and suicidal self-talk when I can’t do regular, normal things like focus at work for long periods of time or at all, arrive places on time, remember to pay my bills on time (or at ALL), complete household chores, be in a room full of people without feeling agitated and uncomfortable, be around people at all, or hear loud noises than make my skin crawl and give me raging headaches due to the side-effect of Bipolar that is hypersensitivity, something that is out of my control altogether. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. If you need to leave a party or a function because you can’t stand human contact in that moment, do it. If your anxiety has you scratching and flustered at your desk at work to the point of you hyperventilating or shedding tears, ask your boss for either a few minutes or an hour to gather yourself. If you have an asshole boss, go to the bathroom and take ten minutes to just let it out and GET YOUR HEAD BACK IN THE GAME. If you have a great boss who won’t mind, GO HOME. REST. ***WARNING: Just don’t abuse any privileges upon taking this advice.*** I don’t want you to lose your job, but it’s important to care for yourself before anything else. NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN THAT.
And, MOST IMPORTANTLY: Stop feeling bad about it.
Until the next blog 🙂
R.K.B. is an award winning self-published Author, Poet and Entrepreneur from Detroit, Michigan.
Visit her website to learn more, and stay updated on her upcoming works and events: http://www.intomywoods.com !