It's been a tough January, hasn't it? Barely enough snow for a cuddle-in-bed kind of day, a few teasing days of spring-like weather, and somehow FIVE Wednesdays! Five hump days that have somehow gotten steeper and steeper, at least for me.
I spent the first week and a half of my New Year's resolution claiming that I would not drink during the month of January. Then I spent the next three and a half weeks drinking during the month of January. I blame it on the inconsistent weather, but also on having bipolar disorder and an idle mind. I'm a college teacher and did not have a course over the short winter semester to distract my mind from worrying. So, instead of working, I watched Netflix, walked a few dogs, drank wine, and worried about literally every single thing in my life. For example:
- Money - I have none
- Fitness - I have none
- The Future - I have none
- Money, again
- Relationships - I have none
- Career path - I have none
- Money, again
- Success - I'll have none
- How does my success compare to my friends'?
- How does my success compare to my to husbands'?
- How does my success compare to my family's?
Alas, today, the last day of January 2018, I find myself once again attempting to separate myself from my worries. Tonight's stemless glass of Sauvignon blanc has "be your BEST" stamped on it in the latest hipster script. Okay, glass of a $16 bottle of wine, how? How can I be my best when I have a mind that's drawn to obsessive thinking and negative thoughts? And how can I be my best when, even on medicine and the ability to acknowledge my triggers, I still have little control of when my brain decides to fall into depression, mixed states, or mania?
I'm almost always blaming my bipolar disorder... And I'm always second-guessing how I feel about something. How do I know if it's a real feeling or just an imbalance? Like, let's parallel it to PMSing. Am I in a bad mood because I'm about to get my period, or does that person coming into the elevator before I can get out of the elevator really piss me off this much?
As I take another gulp, and taste the subtle hints of lime and guava, I challenge myself to re-frame how I see myself as a victim of bipolar disorder. I challenge myself to stop comparing my "best" to how I think others are being their best. When am I proud of who I am? How does bipolar disorder allow me to shine? Because, in truth, my mind sometimes has obsessive POSITIVE thoughts -- albeit oftentimes grandiose thoughts. For example:
- Money - I'm fortunate to have my husband's financial support while I enjoy walking dogs
- Fitness - I can't do a pull-up, but I often walk close to 6 miles a day when combining walks with my dog and other dogs
- The Future - OMG so many ideas. My creativity and openness will get me there.
- Money, again - I'm going to be famous and rich!
- Kids - Adopt and foster every child!
- Travel - GO EVERYWHERE
- House - HAVE A FARM AND AN AIR BNB AND A FAMOUS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
- Goats - SO MANY F'N GOATS!!
- Relationships - I have amazing friends who understand that sometimes I forget I have friends
- Career path - Again, I'm going to be rich and famous when my book gets picked up
- Money, again - Again, see above
- Success - I just have to wait. One of these Instagram accounts will pick up.
- How does my success compare to my friends'? - Stop comparing.
- How does my success compare to my to husbands'? - OMG, stop comparing.
- How does my success compare to my family's? - Seriously?! STOP!
And thus I realize that my best is dependent on where my mood stands at that very moment. When feeling low, my best is my ability to get through the day and the night, whether I need a glass of wine to help or not. When feeling high, my best is my ability to envision my many possibilities and actually start working toward them.
Right now I'm feeling pretty low, and yet, with this glass of wine and forced reflection, I've managed to finally revamp my blog to reach the crazy, grandiose ideas that make me what I see as my very best.