This past year my world was filled with quite a few life altering events. Last January I was put on short-term disability at my job because of my bipolar disorder. While trying to get better, I struggled a lot with the decision of leaving my husband, who was in St. Thomas working. In March, he came back home, I left him, moved into my parent’s house and filed for divorce. As if that wasn’t enough, when my short-term disability ran out in April, I was fired from my job. My long-term disability kept me floating and I battled through the summer with no job, my moods all over the charts, and constantly contemplating a voluntary hospitalization. I pushed on until October and then hospitalization was no longer a contemplation, but reality, a 10-day stay reality, that led to a lot of physical complications from the medication changes. The holidays snuck up and I realized that I didn’t want to drag my divorce out any longer. I was working toward a settlement because mentally, this divorce was draining me and making me feel worse and quite frankly, exhausted. This year it’s time to rejuvenate, wipe out all that bad karma from last year, and get myself happy and healthy.
And that’s just what I will do. A new year has begun and it’s time to make that list of resolutions, you know, the resolutions we put on the list that we know we should do, but never end up sticking to, like going to the gym and eating healthier, losing weight, get more organized, etc. What would I put on my list? What COULD I put on my list that is something completely rational and easy to stick to and to perhaps I could build upon and help in keeping me in better shape than last year’s circus. I thought about it for a while and the old “go to gym more and eat better” was just not going to happen, so I was not about to even waste my time putting any of those as options. I tried to come up with some other ideas, like writing more posts for Ask A Bipolar, or make more time to work on my website and blog when suddenly it hit me. Healthier doesn’t necessarily mean physically healthier. It can be mental health! Since I blog for many mental health sites, that should have been a no-brainer for me! Now, making that list of resolutions seems a lot easier.
Having bipolar usually means taking a combination of medications. At my hospitalization in October, I was put on some different medications that have really started to work better for me than the previous ones. My resolution is going to be to making sure that I am taking my medication daily and not waiting until the suicidal ideation becomes so bad that I need to check in to the hospital. I will discuss it with my psychiatrist as soon as I notice any changes. The medications I am currently taking have really improved my mood and helped my stability so I have many more good days than bad (unlike the beginning of last year). I want to keep heading in that direction. I don’t want to be on disability forever!
Speaking of disability, another resolution I made was to continue my stability and work toward being able to get back into the workforce. While I won’t be able to go back on the career path I was previously on, this is an opportunity for me to find something that I really love and enjoy. I might actually thank my former employers for firing me!
My divorce is in the final stages and should be resolved very soon, so until it is, my resolution is to use relaxation techniques when the various events and court hearings occur and I begin to mentally shut down because of what is transpiring. I spent a majority of last year letting every word said by my husband sink into my skin and linger in my brain, which was partly the reason for my mood instability. Now that my medication has helped to stabilize me, I want to remain that way. I was taught some breathing exercises and some muscle tightening and relaxing exercises that really have helped bring me back to even keel when life seems to be luring me to a very dark place. I want to continue those exercises because drama tends to follow me and I don’t want to get sucked in anymore.
This year, overall, I want to develop the “new me.” The mood controlled 32-year old woman who may be divorced, but it hasn’t stopped her from picking herself back up and getting back on her feet. The workforce is calling my name and so is an apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but it’s getting to be that time that I am on my own again. Whatever it takes to achieve those goals, that is what I plan to do. I am becoming stronger every day and it’s because I am following the directions of my doctor, I have cut out drinking (which can greatly affect moods and medications), and begun to cut out the toxic individuals in my life. Those toxic relationships were bringing me down and making me weaker as I was beginning to get stronger, which brings me to another resolution. To not let others bring me down. I don’t want them to get into my head and then suck me into their dark world of lies and manipulations. I want to keep on my track with getting things together, not falling apart.
I know that this year is going to bring me great things. I can feel it already. I noticed already how even the slight enacting of some of the resolutions has begun to make me feel freer and like 150lbs has been lifted off me. I didn’t shed that 150 mental lbs only to regain it this year. So instead of resolutions that are going to make my abs look better and my arms less fatty, I am going to make my brain strong and keep my emotions in check (as much as I am able to). I realize that a lot of times, having bipolar means not being able to control your ups and downs, but I can make myself more resilient by taking my medications, visiting my doctor, curbing my anxiety, etc. And that is what I plan to do. How about you?