Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Month: October, 2012

sneak attack

i’ve been going about my days quite nicely lately.

i get up at a reasonable hour, sometime between my first and third alarms (out of four).  i respond to emails, get ready for any meetings or appointments, and make them on time.  i come home, do some grading or other work-related tasks, and in the evening i take the boys out for a jog and hit the gym.

most of the time, i feel pretty damn good.

so tell me.  how is it that i spend all this time being productive, feeling good, and feeling over my ex, that as soon as i’m asked to talk about him i start to cry?

i can’t stop it and it catches me off guard.  i spend so much time distracting myself from thinking of him that it feels like i’m over it.  clearly i am not.

so knowing this, i try to venture into “deal with it” territory but i find i’m still too tender and it’s still too painful to think about.

i feel like one of those jenga towers and the subject of my ex is one of the blocks near the base.  well, i suppose it is not strictly my ex.  as one friend put it, all of my emotional response is not just about him.  i also struggle with a number of internal demons.  relationships appear to be a convenient vehicle for them to rise to the surface.

my seroquel just kicked in, and now i’m too tired to continue my line of thinking.  au revoir!

non-theist 12 steps

a friend sent this to me a few days or so ago and i just got the chance to look at it.

i like it, so i’m going to share.  🙂

A Buddhist’s Non-Theist 12 Steps

  1. We admitted our addictive craving over alcohol, and recognized its consequences in our lives.
  2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
  3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to ourselves and another human being the exact moral nature of our past.
  6. Became entirely ready to work at transforming ourselves.
  7. With the assistance of others and our own firm resolve, we transformed unskillful aspects of ourselves and cultivated positive ones.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed.
  9. Made direct amends to such people where possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. In addition, made a conscientious effort to forgive all those who harmed us.
  10. Continue to maintain awareness of our actions and motives, and when we acted unskillfully promptly admitted it.
  11. Engaged through the practice of meditation to improve our conscious contact with our true selves, and seeking that beyond self. Also used prayer as a means to cultivate positive attitudes and states of mind.
  12. Having gained spiritual insight as a result of these steps, we practice these principles in all areas of our lives, and make this message available to others in need of recovery.

checking in with myself

my house is so clean. in fact, i don’t think i’ve ever lived in a cleaner house.

somewhere along the line, i figured out that cleaning is ah-MAY-ziiiing therapy.  i just flip on Law & Order and let it play while i get to work.  before i know it, my laundry is done, folded, and put away; my dishes are clean and/or put away; counters scrubbed, floors swept, furniture dusted, papers organized, food prepped, cooked, and frozen…you get the idea.

there are two motivations running parallel here.

one, my home is my sanctuary.  i walk into my home and it makes me feel happy and comfortable.  i feel at peace and i can think when i don’t have a big mess.

two, cleaning is great distraction.  i’m even looking for things to clean.  like today, i cleaned the lids on my trash and recycling bins.  the lids.

a clean house.  regular exercise.  keeping up with work.  connecting with friends.

is it just me, or am i getting my life back?  🙂

hear ye, hear ye

i have made a decision.

the realization that a decision needed to be made hit me during my warm-up jog in the construction site where i take my boys for some off-leash time.

let me back up.

this morning, i had breakfast with a friend.  she was confiding in me about some atrocious behavior she has experienced in previous relationships.  i won’t lie; i could identify with most of it.  it sounded to me like she’d crossed paths with some major douche bags, but she didn’t suspect that the behavior might have been intentional until i suggested the possibility.  i could also commiserate with many of the dick behaviors she brought up.

i let the conversation percolate a bit.  i felt compassion and pain for my friend, and morbid curiosity about how amazing women end up in such situations.

and as i jogged, i reflected on my relationship with XBF and on the negging, backhanded compliments, and undermining confidence that made semi-regular appearances in our relationship.  i kept flipping back and forth, as i have many times before, on whether he was an asshole or just an idiot.

an asshole.  or an idiot.  those were the two options i came up with to explain his less-than-desirable behavior.  and this isn’t the first time i’ve oscillated between these prize-winning descriptions of a partner.  oh no.

so. my decision is this:  no more passive evaluation if i face this choice again.  i need to clear it up, quick style, so i can decide whether to stick around or not.

that decision entails not getting involved with anyone until i have the emotional fortitude to do so.  because let’s face it: i suck at confrontations to begin with.  mood fluctuations and depression aren’t going to do me any favors.

reverse psychology

i am cracking myself up.

i had the bright idea to hook up the computer and high-end speaker to my sweet tv.  mind you, these are XBF’s things and he is leaving them here indefinitely.

and as i started using the computer on a 60-inch screen and listening to my favorite music on that high-quality speaker…i realized i didn’t want XBF to come get his stuff.  the longer i don’t hear from him, the better.

how’s that for beating me at my own game?

i’m already planning to throw some kind of social get together next month with all this stuff hooked up.  if i’m ready, that is.  a coming-out party.  coming out of hibernation.  i’ve decided my party favors will be…wait for it…med bottles labeled “happy pills”.

now my only problem is getting myself to work instead of listening to music and dancing.  🙂

watch me go

second weigh-in here.  3.5 el-bees lighter, simply by eliminating sugar and flour from my diet.  haha!  it’s so easy it hurts.  i’ve also added in some exercise this time around, mostly to deal with stress.  but last time i didn’t increase my activity levels at all and i got wonderful results.  i’m fortunate that my body type responds to this type of diet so well.

i noticed that i’ve moved down a notch on my belt.  last year when i lost weight i actually had to poke two additional holes in the belt to make it work.  :-O  then i gained weight, and went back up to the 3rd notch (out of 7).  now i’m at notch 4 and suspect that notch 5 won’t be too far away.

i also had the best day i’ve had in a LONG time on Friday.  nothing in particular had happened.  i just felt well above neutral.  my therapist asked if i thought i was manic, but i don’t think so.  she brought it up after i had listed some of my recent accomplishments.  if i had done them all in a matter of a few days, i would probably change my tune!  but the things i’ve done around the house, with my jeep, and with others have spanned over several weeks…so i think i’m good.

saturday wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  i was mostly just tired, which i attribute to working out 4 days in a row.  i took it easy, accomplished what i wanted to accomplish, and called it a day.

sunday has just started.  i’m not feeling especially inspired, but i feel well.  especially after observing the decrease in weight.  skinny jeans, here i come.  🙂

the bulge

i just weighed myself.

big mistake.  the only time i want to see those digits is on a check, payable to moi.

good thing one of my new hobbies is going to the gym.  yeah, i went last night, instead of watching L&O or playing a puzzle game on my ps vita.  little did i know, that while i was doing squats and stretching, everyone behind me could see my fucking UNDERWEAR.  because i didn’t notice before i put them on that big dog A had chewed a nice doily pattern through the crotch.

lovely.

in any case, i did a shopping trip today, finally.  i emailed myself my old low carb grocery list and went to town.  if all works as before, i can lose at least 15 of these nuisances in a month or two.  last year i did the same.  in one month, i lost 12 lbs.  or 16.  i can’t remember.  all i remember is looking fucking fantastic in an itty-bitty bikini.

a friend of mine told me that “people” said they thought i was anorexic back in february of this year, when i did this diet again before a trip to the Playboy mansion.  she told me, i look much healthier now…

yeah, if i want to be served up at thanksgiving dinner.

(<3)

so ronery

self-exploration

i need some new fucking hobbies.

i never thought i’d say this, but i’m actually starting to get a little sick of law & order.  nevermind the fact that i have it on any time i am home and my work doesn’t require serious concentration.  my l&o binges serve a purpose: they give me something to focus on.  in moments of silence, sadness creeps in.  as do memories and regret.

i’ve been keeping as busy as possible to avoid those moments.  i did some work on my jeep.  i cleaned out my house.  i redecorated a few areas.  put up curtains.  eradicated dirt and germs.  lots of laundry, and i even folded it and put it away right after it was done.  checked my mail on time, instead of letting it pile up and get sent back to the post office.

i’ve been getting academic work done too.  submitted things on time (!).  made and kept appointments.  been on top of email (mostly).  relatively on time with grading and things related to my classes.  i’ve started preparing for my upcoming classes.

i’ve also been more social than i have in…a very long time.  i had dinner with a couple girlfriends friday.  al-anon meeting saturday morning with another friend.  concert and bar hopping with a crew saturday night.  i spent sunday recovering, but then i had a colleague come over monday to work on some statistics stuff.

but those things aren’t really hobbies, per se.  despite doing all of that, somehow i still have time to fill.  for the past year, i’ve played video games as a new hobby.  it was one of those things i picked up to bond with XBF.  and he was a gaming fanatic so even the mention of gaming things makes my stomach sink.  i tried to play uncharted, and i got through about 5 minutes before i felt too sick to continue.

speaking of which, i would like to state for the record that god hates me.  that sob thinks it’s funny to drop reminders of XBF everywhere.  i mean, it’s relentless.  like the harder i try to ignore it, the more i hear things that remind me of him.

so, i need to generate a list of new hobbies to pursue.  here goes nothing.

  1. painting
  2. hiking
  3. camping
  4. cooking/baking
  5. blogging (check) 🙂
  6. vlogging
  7. knitting
  8. jogging
  9. photography
  10. yoga
  11. leaf collecting and pressing
  12. reading
  13. geocaching
  14. urban exploring
  15. building an agility course for my dogs
  16. gardening
  17. playing pool
  18. model building

for the record, i had to look up hobbies on wikipedia to come up with ideas.  ha!

step one

I found a resource online to help work through step one of the 12 steps of al-anon.  this is going to be a long, long road.  i am going to jot down some initial thoughts about each question here.

this is like one of those chain letter quizzes, except way cooler because, you know, it actually does have a consequence

and it’s not that i won’t find love for 7 years

(although that’s possible too)

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Working Step One:

Do I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking? Another person’s behavior?

  • i have had to face this realization before and have done so successfully.  however, it isn’t out of habit yet.
  • i wrote down some examples of things i need to accept that i cannot control, e.g.,
  • i cannot control my mother’s need for validation by men, nor her denial
  • i cannot control my sister’s refusal to get adequate treatment, nor any of her self-destructive behavior
  • i cannot control my grandmother’s learned helplessness
  • i cannot control my aunt’s need to control those around her
  • i cannot control my advisor’s refusal to hear my side of things
  • i cannot control my ex-advisor’s using my bipolar as a scapegoat for his actions
  • i cannot control the addictions nor the behavior of my father or my sister’s father
  • i cannot control XBF’s rejection of me

How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?

  • in a previous relationship with an alcoholic, i had to realize that he was truly ill and that his personal hell was killing him.  also, there was nothing i could do about it.
  • this question extends beyond the alcoholic for me.  i have trouble with conflict, and one of my biggest challenges is accepting that the person with whom i have conflict simply isn’t going to see my way all the time.

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?

  • yes, it is certainly a disease.
  • i don’t know if that changes how i deal with a drinker at all.

How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?

  • what is the difference between change and compromise?
  • i have observed individuals changing their behavior at my request.
  • i have also expected change where none may be possible
  • or where my expectation was unrealistic
  • consequences include wearing myself out “waiting” or being the best “support” for that change; i end up angry and resentful, or defeated
  • specific examples to come

What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?

  • i have feigned inferiority to avoid aggression
  • i have played dumb to get information i want
  • i have used seduction or flirting to get things i want
  • i have debased myself to fulfill a need for pain and shame
  • i’m not sure i know what my needs are, so figuring that out is probably a solid first step

How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?

  • haha, that reminds me.  i don’t know how many times i have thought to myself, “if you would just do what i want, everything would be FINE!”
  • i feel defeated
  • i feel like it is my failure

What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?

  • they would keep doing what they are doing

How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?

  • stop equating empathy with a need to act
  • figure out a way to be supportive without taking on a burden*
  • turn inward to reflect on what role i should have, if any

Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?

  • no, and probably not

In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?

  • anything regarding my sister
  • romantic relationships

In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?

  • when my alcoholic ex peed himself on my friend’s friend’s carpet.  super awkward.
  • when XBF would tell stories about high school around my friends.  they would look at him kinda funny and then me.  ugh.  it made him look so young and unexperienced.
  • when others go through a shameful or embarrassing situation, i also feel shame and embarrassment, both on their behalf and because i was there to observe it.

What brought me into Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?

  • i went with and for a friend who asked me to accompany her for moral support.
  • however, i knew i needed to go for my own reasons too, such as needing to reflect on myself, find my own voice, and build a support network

Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples.

  • a range of people have expressed concern about my risky behavior
  • ex-boyfriends, for one
  • my aunt
  • probably some friends

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

  • i start to crumble
  • i am unable to keep appointments or plans
  • i can’t keep up with my responsibilities
  • i can’t see which way is up
  • i feel like i’m skating on the surface of my life, without any deeper interaction with the experiences that compose it

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

  • i am the poster child for “approval-seeking”
  • interestingly i am also extremely stubborn and rebellious against authority
  • you tell me

Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?

  • i have often done this, but i am getting better
  • life can get pretty out of hand otherwise

Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?

  • bingo

How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?

  • i wait for the other shoe to drop
  • i worry and fear whatever problems have been “building up” during my period of respite
  • i feel more capable during crisis and i also get a lot of satisfaction out of surviving crises

How well do I take care of myself?

  • moderately.  you could really go either way.

How do I feel when I am alone?

  • at peace.
  • able to be myself fully
  • able to pursue my own interests without worrying about anyone else

What is the difference between pity and love?

  • i had to look this one up
  • according to dictionary.com
  • pity: sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy
  • love: 1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
  • i’m going to have to think about this one a little more

Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?

  • i think the answer is probably yes, but that is not what is coming to mind
  • what is coming to mind is that i feel more comfortable around other people who have faced problems and need fixing
  • because i have faced problems and need fixing too
  • so i feel safer around them
  • i do not understand people who do not have those characteristics

Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?

  • when i am not overwhelmed i can trust my feelings
  • when i am overwhelmed, i cannot tell which way is up
  • i cannot sort out my feelings and figure out what to do until i have time and space to reflect and think about them
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