Does your life revolve around put it offs, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “I’ll get to that next week.” Well for probably the past 8 months mine has. About 8 months ago I got out of my first relationship in over 5 ½ years. It had only lasted about 6 months. But it was a good 6 months. After it ended I went into a phase of “why bother” for a little while. That only lasted for a little while a week or two, but within a few weeks I began to notice I was putting little things off that didn’t necessarily “have” to be done immediately. First it was the sweeping. I have hard wood floors so you can imagine they get pretty dusty easily. It isn’t uncommon to have to sweep two or maybe three times a week. But I started telling myself “I’ll do it tomorrow, it doesn’t look that bad right now.” And then tomorrow turned into next week, and eventually next week sometimes turned into two weeks. At its worst it even went a month. And you cant mop unless you sweep, so that’s just something else that gets put off too. My biggest failure in this whole mess is laundry. I am a single mom and it is only me and my two young daughters so we don’t have that much laundry. Technically I could only wash once a week and get it all done. I would only have two maybe three loads even then. But the “put it offs” got to me and I began to tell myself “I don’t need to wash this week, we have enough clean close to get us thru another week.” And then one week turned into two and before you know it the laundry is so piled up I can’t keep up with it and I am only washing what we “need” cleaned. When my girls would want to go somewhere, to the park or their favorite kids museum, I would always give them an excuse “We’ll go next week when its prettier.” When they would want to go walking at our favorite track, it was always “Maybe later when I feel better.”
Now let me explain something. My problem is not just good ole fashion procrastination. And yes, we all know that having Bipolar we tend to procrastinate naturally. But I also have Fibromyalgia which means I hurt a lot with little cause or reason. My back and my arms are the main areas where I hurt the most especially on my right side and I am right handed. So doing a bunch of vigorous activities (including housework) is not what I consider to be fun. But then again I don’t guess anyone thinks housework is really fun do they, Back to the story.
Early this month something inside me just snapped or clicked or however you want to phrase it. But I looked around and I couldn’t take anymore. I think it was honestly my daughter. She is on homebound services from school after her last mental breakdown and trip to the hospital so I am spending a lot of time with her right now. She is 11. She has also been going thru in home counseling. One day she told her counselor that she wanted to get involved, volunteer somewhere or something like that. She said she wanted to help people. So we set out to find something she could do. Seeing my 11 yr old daughter get so worked up about getting involved in life made me realize I had taken a backseat in my own life and I was letting it slip right by me by putting everything off waiting for a “better day” to get to it. I had to create my better day. It was up to me. And I had to start at home. So project one, I cleaned my house, top to bottom. All the clutter that had collected put in its place. All the laundry that had built up, washed, dried and most importantly put away. Swept and even mopped. I hurt for the next few days after I completed everything but so worth it to look at everything I had accomplished. And most importantly I have continued to do those things on a regular basis since then. And in my regular life, I have quit putting everything off. For those of you who don’t already know, I am also a write for another website called AskaBipolar. You can find their website here http://www.askabipolar.com/ If you have questions about Bipolar you can ask them on our website and the writers will answer them for you. We also have a facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/askabipolar As part of my “learning to live again” and restructuring of my life, I have taken on more responsibility with this group and became an Admin of the facebook page. My main job and goal is to provide informational links so that people who come to the page will be able to hopefully find the information they seek. It may not seem like much but it a responsibility I do not take lightly. It is part of my job to get the word out not just about our site but also about bipolar, to educate and to end the stigma. My oldest daughter and I have started walking every day. I took her to a local non-profit and we both volunteered. It felt great to be out doing something. Yes, I hurt for a couple of days after but it was so worth it to feel the accomplishment of having done something so worthwhile. We plan on getting more involved with our church as well as it grows with its outreach programs. I am so proud of my daughter for the young lady she is turning out to be and for the person she is teaching me to be.
So if you have a case of the “put it offs” my advice to you is don’t get so wrapped up in what you’re telling yourself that you begin to live your life that way. Life doesn’t wait for anyone. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting in the back seat watching as everyone around you is living and you’re not. I know the old saying is “why do today what you can put off til tomorrow” but really “why wait til tomorrow, when you can live today.”