Category Archives: work

the key is to schedule

I have truly reached the stage of effectiveness. I’m writing more than one post in one go, because I have so many thoughts about the matter, meaning that I have more than one post ready for posting. It also means that I’ve gotten things done, and finally started on the projects that I’ve been thinking about during the so called “resting period” and I’ve scheduled in how I’m going to have time for these. Pity that I know that this period won’t last, so in a few weeks I’ll either just dismiss the plans and blame it on how bored I am of the routine, or just feel like there’s no point. Who know what the reason will be, but I’m being effective now, and just like all the other times, I feel like this time I’ve figured out a way to make it all work. If nothing else, I’ve at least gotten a little further along all my plans before the next dip. I just hope it takes a little more than a week until then (lately it seems I have one week of effectivity and a few weeks ineffectively, so they’re not really balancing each other out, but one can always hope!

The things that’ve been going on in the background and which I now can actually put some of my attention towards: starting a refugee home with a couple of friends, attempting to build on a concept that exists in San Francisco (possibly trying to franchise it, we’ll see what the maker of the concept says about it), continuing with my book, doing an online course on public speaking, start reading something (alternating between fiction with non fiction as I finish them. at least that’s the plan), finding out if I can finish up my masters, and researching the possibilities of starting my own company as a consultant.

I think I’m manic.

Good thing I’ve made a routine, or I’d get really stressed out and attempt to do all of this at once (man I wish I didn’t have a job I have to go to during these periods).

Motivation

I started writing this four days ago and have been struggling with it since. Because of motivation…

As is typical for me, I have an idea I think has potential only to loose interest after awhile, meaning that I also loose the motivation to actually follow through on it. I can’t really say that I don’t have anything to write about because I’ve listed a few ideas for the days when I happen to lack creativity. I guess it’s because I know that I’m a bit flaky thanks to my moods. I guess everyone has such periods, but it seems to me that truly everything becomes a long term project for me. It’s typical for bipolars isn’t it? Lots of ideas, difficult to follow through.

Funny how my boss (whom will no longer be my boss when I come back from vacation), just yesterday, was praising me for a job well done and mentioned that seeing my projects through was one of my strengths. I guess it’s all about using ones “issues” to ones advantage. Basically bipolar enough to come with ideas and projects (and with a boss that lets me do so), combined with just enough outer pressure to get it done.

In regards to the book, I guess I I should let it take it’s time, and then ones I’ve written a few chapters see if anyone would be interested in taking it on? That way I get some outer pressure. Don’t know if that’s even a possibility. It’s an idea anyway, like most of them are.

Yes I’m strange

I’m bored of the turn this blog has taken. It’s become an open diary rather than an honest reflection of what’s it’s like to be bipolar. I need to step back and figure out how to move forward before I write more. Maybe I should do something like my hubby; have specific subjects for specific days. Another idea is to have specific days for sitting down and doing a little writing on the book, which might in turn effect what I wrote here. Or maybe a mix of both.

Planning has for as long as I can remember been a very big part of my being in the past. As a kid I found summer vacations so boring that I would sit and plan how I was going to spend my days when school started again. It would become something like
7.00 wake up
7.15 shower
7.45 get dressed
8.00 breakfast
etc

If there was one thing I loved about boarding school, it was the routines they’d set up for us. Maybe a reaction to my very free-thinking parents who never punished me and never made me do anything. They never just left me to fend for myself, always made sure I was going ok, and did their best to be there for me when I wanted to talk (I knew when to take my chances as well; when my mum was taking a bath, and when my dad was driving), but I had a lot of freedom, which ironically (hope I’m using that word right now), made me structure my days even more.

Growing my need for structure showed itself in lists. My husband would tease me and say I’d make lists about making lists. When I have too much freedom I make lists so I don’t get passive, and when I have a lot of things I find interesting going on, I schedule.

Probably a good quality to have as a bipolar person.

Since getting the job though, my lists and schedules are basically non-existent. I send myself an e-mail sometimes when I realise there’s something I really shouldn’t forget so each time I go through my personal inbox (about 2x/week) I get reminded.

But now, because there’s a lot of things I want to do again, it may be time I start making a list again so that I can schedule it all out.

Glazed

For the past few days I’ve been feeling very unimpressed by my life… Hmm that’s probably the wrong way to put it. I mean that I’m not liking the person I’ve been the past few days. I’m eating too much, I’ve lost good habits, I’m not spontaneous enough, I’m uninvolved at work, I’m tired, I’m bored.

I guess the correct sentence is that I’m unimpressed by me.

Hmm.. Maybe that’s not quite true either…

Something in my environment is making me feel like I’m not good enough as is, as well as me not treating my body quite well enough.

Anyway, I’m having motivational issues because I just can’t seem to gather enough “fun-happy-joy” feelings to actually do something productive. Just the thought of it makes me tired, making me inactive, making me sleepy.

Bad circle that.

Oh bed, where art thou?

Today is not a good day. Was supposed to run in the morning before work (I really need to get started with this if I’m to the Malmö mile in two weeks) but I just couldn’t get up. I just kept snoozing for as long as possible to finally get out of bed two hours and that was just thanks to my boss and I having a meeting. Then I thought, maybe I can go home after that meeting, but looked at the calendar and realised I’ve got two other things I need to be at work for.

Gods am I tired today. Have been for the past few days. I thought at first that it was stress, but more and more I’m thinking that it’s all in my head. Having to go to work isn’t in itself what stresses me out. In some ways it’s good because it gets me out of bed and gives me routine to my days which is so important for people like me, but today I really want a day off from all my responsibilities, and I really regret signing up for the Malmö mile, feels like it took the fun out of running because now it’s “have to” which I don’t like because I’m nowhere close to feeling like I’m physically ready for it.

So tired.

A home to love

My gosh, my legs are killing me today. We’re almost done packing though, and I’m loving this place. B has his own office space (we used to share a space, despite me not using my space since I finished college), which is awesome for him because he works from home and having a room that is solely for his work makes it possible for him to focus (at least, that’s the idea). We also have a proper door to the bedroom (instead of some drapery that separated the bedroom from the living room), which is awesome for me seeing as I’m super sensitive to sounds when I want to fall asleep. Goodness all around!

Although we’ve moved from a two-room apartment to a three-room apartment, we have less storage space, which means that we have to use the storage space very effectively (to clarify by the way, we Swedes include the living room into the room count. I.e. a bedroom and a living room is a two-room apartment). The building’s also from the 50’s, meaning that the kitchen spaces are spread out in a way that we’re really unused to, forcing us to rethink the way we organise our “stuff”. Situations that make us think though, also make one reflect on things we otherwise would just be taking for granted, so I would say that’s just positive.

Ok, so onto the things I really love about the place; The kitchen, bathroom, and balcony are smaller (which I actually enjoy), and the bedroom, living room, and closet space are bigger (which I absolutely love). Since B and I don’t like to gather stuff that just gather dust and don’t have any practical use (not counting paintings and photos), it feels like we have great open spaces, and because the windows are placed to catch both sun up and sun down (and is on the 5th floor), the apartment catches the light in all the right ways.

So anyway, today I’ve gotten up 15 minutes later, but getting to work about 45 min earlier, and will be back home about 2 hours earlier (thanks to starting earlier, and a 25 min ride home, instead of a 45 min one).

The weekend passed too quickly for me to want to go to work, but the way to work I will love, thanks to it being the first time I’ll be able to enjoy all these wonderful changes to my daily routine!

Honesty

Ok, so a few posts ago I mentioned how I, before finally turning to medication, tried to control my mood swings with a few preventive steps. Granted, in the end these actions by themselves just didn’t cut it anymore, but I’m glad I waited so long before I did, because it gave me the time I needed to get to know myself, and my triggers. That is not to say that I think that everyone should wait before taking their medication, but I do think it’s important to reflect and be honest about what ones personal needs are instead of turning to medical help all too quickly. Partially because ones environment or the people around you can do so much damage that medical just by itself, probably won’t have the “cure” one hopes for. Partially it’s also because if one continues to live according to the norms and preconceptions of how one should live, despite it not correlating to ones own needs, one will constantly be attempting to be live up some kind of standard that isn’t even realistic, or trying to achieve something that just doesn’t coincide with ones own being. All of this is of course applies to everyone, but I think this especially rings true in the case of people like me who are hypomanic, and so very are (often irrationally) affected by our surroundings. Basically, honesty to oneself and honesty to oneself about ones environment.

This, I admit was second nature to me, because I both moved around a lot, to various countries, and had parents coming from two culturally very different countries. The consequence was that I never really grew up with the idea that there was just one correct way of behaving or being. I also had parents that never tried to conform to societal conceptions of what is correct and true. This in turn made it easier for me (with a lot of support from them) to be able to find my own path through the winding roads of being depressed, and at a later stage, becoming bipolar.

Which takes me to the part about being honest that is probably the hardest, because of our innate fear of not being accepted, loved, and/or valued. Maybe it was thanks to all the things mentioned in the former paragraph that this was even a possibility for me. I’ve never been secretive about the fact that I’m bipolar, and I honestly think its because I don’t really make a deal of it, that people don’t really think of it as an issue. I’ve normalised it, so the people around don’t think it’s a big deal. I remember a man I once met telling me later in the evening after we’d been talking for a few hours that he had never mentioned to anyone that he suspected that he himself was bipolar until he mentioned it to me earlier in the evening. He barely realised that he had done it either because, he said, “you told me about you being bipolar as if it was the most natural thing ever, that it just didn’t feel like a strange thing to mention”.

In truth (we are, after all speaking about honesty in this post), I’ve noticed this several times; by mentioning like as if it’s the most natural thing in the world (I mean, everybody has dome quirk or other) people just take it in as any other piece of information. I truly believe that words like bipolar (and in fact most other words) only hold as much power as we give it. I give them this piece of information about myself just like I would anything else, and just like with everything else it’s up to the receiver to receive it in the way that is most natural for them, meaning that we, the giver of that information also can’t have any preconception regarding how that person is supposed to react to the information given.

This has been vital for me, because all that energy it would have taken for me to hold up a facade, is energy that I need for myself. I have never quite heard or read a better description of this situation than the story told by Christine Miserandino’s “Spoon Theory”. Christine may be speaking about a chronic illness of the physical kind, but as being bipolar is a chronic illness of its own kind, it and hit the mark.

Actually, honesty has been so important to me, that I knew when taking the job I have today, that I would at some point have to tell my boss about my situation as well. However, because the position I got was just a temp, and I wanted to show my best sides so that I could get a long term agreement once it was done, I told myself that I would wait with telling him until the d-day came as by then he would know what I went for and hopefully not get scared off by it.

What I thought would be 7-month job however, got extended with another 8, and my emotional roller coaster just kept getting worse. In my attempt to keep trying to give off the perception that I was just like any other happy-go-lucky girl, I in turn of course got even worse. I’d never experienced such tangible proof of how important honesty was for my own mental health, because frankly, it became a downward spiral from hell. At this point my even my manias weren’t enjoyable. I just felt like a crazy person. My weekdays took so much of my energy that I wound myself into a state of mania, and come weekend I would crash, with the consequence that I didn’t have the energy to do anything other than “curate” myself. I didn’t have the energy to make an effort to meet or make friends, or anything else that meant having to deal with other human beings.

Finally I broke down, told my boss while in tears that I was bipolar, what it meant, and how it was effecting my job (remember what I said about normalising it? Breaking down in tears just wasn’t the way I wanted to do it, obviously). It was the scariest thing I’ve done in a while, I think I scared the hell out of my poor boss and it took about 3 months to get back to the care-free relationship that we had before my breakdown. Now that he knows about it though, we can joke about it a little, making it much easier to continue doing my best, without having to also think about keeping up the facade with him, which in turn gives me the possibility to slowly open up to my colleagues without me worrying about my boss finding out.

In short, it’s not a need to tell everyone, it’s a need to be able to be honest about it, instead of hiding in the closet. Now a days I joke about being an out of the closet bipolar.