As a New Year, 2013, is just days away there are two things that immediately pop into my mind. First is reflection of the past year and how I would like next year to be different. Second, it starts raining weight loss commercials on the television. For me, having bipolar disorder and the prospect of a new year was always like a ying-yang. Good mixed with bad or dark mixed with light. I tended to focus on all the bad things around this time when designing resolutions for the year. How much I desired to be like “normal” people in every way, figure out a way to have less up and down cycles or better yet avoid them all together, and how all the promises I made in the previous year were now broken promises, were all repeat offenders. It can be a real downer to have this when thinking about the New Year and health. “Health” and “bipolar disorder” never really fit harmoniously together for me.
With an awareness and knowledge of this, my New Year’s resolutions have taken on a new spin for the year 2013. Ironically my resolutions focus on health and the interconnectedness of ways to enhance my mental, emotional, physical, and social health. My outlook toward the New Year is not of achieving promises but, rather hope of open-ended opportunities.
My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013:
Attend at least 2 A.A meetings a week
With my substance abuse issues they are always present, both when I am healthy and sick. I have found immense support and help in the rooms of A.A. I know if I make a resolution to attend at least 2 meetings a week, then I can attend more if I like or need to. But, more importantly I won’t fall into the trap of not paying attention when I am healthy to my actions, thus going to these A.A meetings will help me become healthier and keep me healthy.
Attend my therapy appointments when scheduled
For someone who was a professional at running the other way when someone said therapist or better yet going once only never to be seen again; finding the therapist I have now is a true gift especially after 10 years of many. So, keeping my appointments in addition to being honest, open to suggestions and open to looking honestly at myself I believe will continue to help me each week.
“It takes a giant leap to venture into the unknown. But, it is the tiny baby steps along the way that help you continue the journey and show you things you never imagined.”
Focus on my physical health, not my actual weight
I struggled with an eating disorder during my teen years and I had food/body image issues for what seems like an eternity. So, it is actually hard for me during the beginning of the year when all the weight loss commercials come on. While some people see them as motivation and healthy tools to get back in shape, I have to be consciously aware of where my head is at. My focus has to aim toward overall physical health and steer away from a focus of weight. An added bonus was I found cooking and exercise to be therapeutic during the year 2012.
Learn to let love in
A friend gave me a book, Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. I have never been a big reader, but I like reading things with meaning. This book, so far is amazing. One line in it is: “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” I am really good at extending myself out, even overextending to where I don’t tend to my own needs. But, I am not I keep the door shut to letting love in because of my past. As I began to allow myself to open the door a little to let love in (it takes a lot of pulling) it is a feeling that can’t be described. So, my resolution is to finish the book and open the door more to let love in with a little less pulling. This also includes reaching out to my support system, building it up, and allowing them to help.
As these are four resolutions for the New Year, for me the New Year doesn’t bring promise of anything. It does however bring hope and open opportunity to live the life I want to live, to do what I need to do to be healthy, to be the person I want to be, and work on the things I want to work on. Everything, no matter what it is…faith, employment, dreams, hopes, recovery, and health…all fits into what the New Year and resolutions bring to the table. It is about life, what we want from life, what we want our lives to be, how we want to change lives including our own.
Good luck in the New Year and may it bring you the opportunity to achieve, experience, and enjoy everything you hope to.