RESET DAYS

RESET DAYS ~ 4.4.18

Here’s a thing. Well, here are a few things.

There are a few things I notice when I’m starting to tank. Tank, as in, I’m so overwhelmed, it’s a danger to myself.

1. Everything I read on social media infuriates me, even when it’s perfectly nice. It makes no sense, but unfortunately, despite BP being a brain chemistry problem, it affects my emotions. Skews my perception. When my best of friends are saying things that plum piss me off, I finally notice I’m tanking. And by the way, I say piss me off because that’s the truth. Saying it makes me angry doesn’t cut it because “piss” relays that dirty, mean-spirited, nasty factor.

2. I don’t want to get out of bed. Okay, so most days I don’t wanna get outta bed. Like 95% of days. But when it’s so bad I’m afraid to move, even to use the restroom, or feed the cat who we all know I love dearly, then I recognize that, “Houston, we have a problem!”

3. I hurt more everywhere. Physically, I’m discussing here.

So, what do I do now?

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First, I try to maintain a low profile on social media. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes I fail at this.

Next, I do extra stretches, extra walking outside in the backyard.

I pray and read devotionals.

I listen to my “Peppy Make Me Wanna Move” playlist.

Finally, I call a RESET DAY.

During said reset day, I get lost in a book, as of late an audiobook, and color while listening.

And my loving, supportive family here in the home respects that I need to take the day as I need it. I love them for that.

Then, start over tomorrow. Reset.

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18

I’m not doing the whole resolution thing, but I am taking the opportunity to do a bit of self-reflection. I’m going to try to work on small, attainable goals that promote growth. If I don’t achieve all of these quickly and/or every single day, I am not failing. These are just guidelines to help improve myself and help others.

First and foremost, try to dedicate myself even more to Jesus, my Savior. That’s something I should always be doing, and help my family and friends in any way I can and should. Witness when and where I can. This is not part of the eighteen. This should be every day, every month, every year.

Eighteen Goals – dedicate myself and give my best efforts as I’m able. Don’t be hard on myself if I don’t nail all eighteen immediately, fully and completely. Any effort is good. Any effort is helpful and beneficial. Any effort is progress.

1. Begin setting goals and outline a plan to start attending sociology classes again in order to ultimately be involved in juvenile criminal justice.

2. Research and try vitamins, supplements and foods that help protect nerves, and decrease joint inflammation and fibromyalgia pain.

3. Cook more often, while utilizing crock pots, pressure cookers and meal wrap storage.

4. Use coupons and the like to help with finances.

5. Researching ways to build a craft-making and selling small business in order to help with finances and to have an outlet for creativity.

6. Join the local town gym that offers classes and indoor warm pool for arthritis and fibromyalgia. Also sign up for the massages and nutritionist offered at the gym. Endorphin release will also help mental health issues too, of course.

7. Go to the one flat park in this town that is full of hills and walk with Richard Parker.

8. Visit my special hideaway at the river more often. Relaxation and a nice place for photos, writing, drawing, coloring and/or listening to music or books.

9. Follow bird trails in town and nearby towns and do more of the birdwatching journaling.

10. Get more bird feeders, birdhouses, and bird baths for the yard.

11. Plant a few plants in front walkway to add a splash of color to the house.

12. Start growing a few of my own herbs, as well as food such as tomatoes.

13. At least one 4-day weekend family trip in 2018.

14. Save money for a longer, more activity filled family vacation in 2019.

15. Find ways to have time to myself and maintain balance. Do not isolate, but do have some time alone for quiet time, free thoughts flowing, creativity, etc.

16. Work with new ideas listed above and doctors to find some sort of normal, consistent sleeping pattern.

17. Volunteer more often.

18. Laugh, sing and dance (privately, like a fool!) a little more often!

And ALWAYS encourage others. Pray for others!

Yo! Read the Letter!

It’s hard for anyone to sit and wait for the opportune outcome during times of crisis.

For me, suffering with Bipolar Disorder, I have heightened and amplified feelings of anxiety, fear, paranoia, depression, hyomania and mania. When there is uncertainty, these feelings kick into overdrive.

Major overdrive.

My personal BP experience is largely affected by anxiety. Recently, something happened concerning someone in my immediate family. We were, and still are, awaiting news about a serious, possibly life-altering, decision that could change the course of our lives. We have a fair idea at this point that things are going to be okay. Difficult, but okay. Not as earth-shattering as it could have been. My sincere hope is an important lesson was learned.

So, how do I wade through the oppressive tide of worry and fear while awaiting happy endings?

First, I have to rely on God. He really is the bottom line. However, with my mind firing an array of bad ideas, possibilities and potential unwanted outcomes, my feelings tell me that I have to fix this. I must fix it!!

It is exceptionally hard, I’d argue impossible at times, to quiet the random and racing thoughts, or break away from the obsessive thinking.

So, next thing, I must try to follow logical steps that I set for myself when I am feeling well and at peace. Basically, the sane and rational Jen has left a letter for the chaotic, frightened, fracture-minded Jen. It’s a letter I must follow when things aren’t making sense, when I’m hyperventilating and when all I see is absolute worst case scenarios unfolding.

The letter mentions grounding techniques. Move to a different environment, such as a new room, or the back porch. Then, the idea is to engage all senses. Smell the air – fragrant like a candle, or freshly cut grass? See the ceiling fan whirl or various shades of green in the trees. You get the idea. Feel. Hear. Taste, but only if it’s okay to taste it. Let’s not test out the freshly painted walls or bite into a shrub recently fertilized. You get the point, though. Be present in the moment. Focus on something other than the big problem.

Distraction can be a good thing, as long as you are not flying a plane, or something important like that. I shake up my routine and instead of catching a tv show I usually watch Tuesday night at 8:00, I listen to a book and color.

Art therapy. Possibly sounds like it might require too much effort or talent? I’m not saying I paint a piece ready to instantly grace the walls of a museum. You can journal with finger paints. There are Bibles now that have images to color with favorite scripture and columns of free space so that you might draw or doodle what you feel reading a particular scripture. Paint by number with watercolors, like we did in Kindergarten. Working out feelings with sidewalk chalk.

Music. Definitely art. Music is art. Definitely distraction. Definitely release. Definitely a huge help. Listening to music. Singing. Dancing. Music can light you up, or help calm.

Light exercise and stretches. It serves as a healthy distraction, and endorphins are released, which cause a feeling of well-being, and you can begin to concentrate more on your breathing.

Guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation help as well.

These are only a few things I use, a few suggestions. Another thing you might wonder, yep, sometimes PRN (as needed) anti-anxiety meds do help.

What I mentioned earlier that might be most key is this. Will frazzled, frightened Jen listen to the wisdom of non-present, rational Jen?

I’d like to say that because I’ve fought this for…well forever, that I’ve found a good medication combo (with my doctor’s help) and have been in therapy, again, forever, and therefore I have it licked. Or at least well under control. Or hey, at least half the time, no doubt. Surely?

Nope.

Turmoil and bedlam are, more often than not, nearly impossible to overcome. There is such an energy-zapping effort to work my way through a frenzied mind with numerous demanding voices because I’m not doing something fast enough to hasten the desired outcome.

I’m going to be generous and say 15% of the time, I nail it. I beat it. I remember the letter from the experienced and wise Jen. Cue the song of angels and light of Heaven.

That said, 85% of the time, I can almost smell skin burning, scorched from the flames of what can only be described as hell.

Heaven or hell…

Bipolar Disorder battle.

72 Hours

Day Three of Depression, worsening, sinking fast. Aching to find stability. What will I do?

First, I won’t stay down. I will get up, no matter how painful. I always have, no matter the emotional and physical toll. No matter the length of time. No matter how t.i.r.e.d.

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So, right now, this is what I’m doing. Please note, I am not doing these things because I feel like they will help. Depression is deceitful. It is a liar. I feel like shrugging shoulders and curling into a ball to sleep.

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Here’s what’s key for me. I “feel” these emotions. However, I have to rely on my memory, logic and rationale. Must do the things I know will help me work through the depression. That requires a lot of strength. I’m fighting what the depression is telling me, while I agree and believe what it’s saying. That’s tricky, folks! I do believe, however, people with Bipolar Disorder are strong, intelligent and fighters.

So, I go outside. I notice the various green shades of trees, hear the birds sing, πŸ¦†πŸ¦πŸ€ watch the squirrels run for their lives (previously mentioned birds chasing them from nesting areas), and take in floral smells. 🌻🌹 Basically, a grounding-type walk. Staying in the present. Noticing beauty. Involving all of my senses, much like cooking, or creating art. I snuggle with my cat. I watch an episode of Chrisley Knows Best – can’t watch it without laughing. I listen to audiobooks, a different voice reading to me instead of hearing my voice. I listen to music. 🎡🎧🎢 I do some stretches and PT. I pray, often, in fact, during those walks that I mentioned. πŸ™πŸ™ I use my diffuser with essential oils – orange, citrus, cinnamon and peppermint are my favs for depressed bouts. Colouring, I do some. Super important, I reach out to family and friends. Support is key. Interaction of any kind gets you outside your head, gets you out of your own way.

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What happens is simple. I occupy myself until the winter in my head becomes spring. I distract myself while rain gives way to sunshine. I learn while seeds in mud blossom into flowers. Β Sometimes, these techniques, and many more, simply hang out with me until I feel better. More often than not, they not only help me in the immediate moment, they actually bring about smiles and beauty, all the while helping climb out of depression’s black hole. Is it as simple as – do steps 1, 2, 3 and poof! I’m better? No. But it helps me make it one day at a time.

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What helps You? Would you care to share? ✌✌✌