One difficult aspect of living with bipolar disorder, especially when it is new, is that our ever changing moods make it difficult to keep up a regular and normal social life. After all, If you can’t get out of bed for 3 weeks on account of acute depression, it’s pretty hard to make new or keep existing commitments. In my case, I found myself doing far less socializing overtime, which isn’t great for obvious reasons.
When I did get little pockets of time where I had energy for life, I had no plans. So I came up with the following system for filling in these sporadic time/energy gaps in ways that uplifted my spirit and helped me keep a sense of balance in an otherwise thoroughly off-balanced time.
I made a grid broken down into these segments: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, Half Day, Full Day. Under each category I listed activities I enjoyed, and I kept this list taped to my front door. If I had, for example, 15 minutes worth of energy, I could choose to walk my dog around the block, or sit on the bench out front with my ipod listening to happy music (pre selected sound track) and soak up the sun. If I had an hour I could go pamper myself with a pedicure or start a new book, and if I had a full day I could pull out craft supplies, turn the music up loud and make something with my hands.
All of this may not seem like a big deal, but I found that I often couldn’t think of how to best use my time when I suddenly had energy, and having a pre-made list of activities to choose from helped a great deal.
It’s like taking yourself on a little date, and that’s good for the soul!
Lyndsey is a bipolar writer who is sharing her ideas and discoveries with us in a series of posts. These are her thoughtful perspectives. Readers are encouraged to post comments about these (and, of course, other posts).