Training Checklist: Secure Down Time

The thing about warriors is that they never look very happy.  Saving the world from imminent destruction can make a girl cranky.  Being in constant Fight or Flight status will sap the adrenals and keep a Bad-Ass from staying frosty.  Smart warriors know how to play in between battles.

So, while training to be a Bipolar Bad-Ass, I also need to use this time between episodes to relax and nurture myself.  I need to take time to enjoy feeling good again.  I need to laugh loud and hard, weak bladder be damned.

My body takes a beating during bipolar episodes—insomnia, lack of exercise, poor diet, and physical damage the sense of loneliness can cause (more on that in my next post).  As a person living alone, I miss being touched and touching others.  I’m a natural hugger, but there are social edicts about that.  Getting a massage is the next best thing.  Not only does massage work the toxins out of my soft tissues, untie the knots in my muscles and increase circulation, it also gives me a socially acceptable way to feel the warmth and caring in another human being’s touch. When it has been too long since my last massage, you can find me window shopping for services on sites like all night long, I then go to bed too late and the cycle continues.

Money being the constant monkey on my back, I can seldom afford a massage.  But my friend, Nancy, has offered to exchange a massage for artwork, which is a glorious gift in so many ways.  I’m so grateful that during this breather between episodes I’ll be able to nurture my body this way.

I also fill my spiritual well.  Most media Bad-Asses don’t worry much about this, but the real life ones do  (Tell me the Dalai Lama doesn’t kick serious butt!).  Depending on my cash flow, I try to get to my weekly meditation group or to the Unitarian Universalist Church a half hour away.  I reach out to my fellow seekers and my spiritual teacher.

Spending time with the people I love, when I’m not scary-crazy, is also required.  But, I’ll do a whole post on that soon.

Then, there are those other people I love.

It may seem contradictory to advocate watching my favorite TV shows when I know TV can liquefy my brain and encourage me eat everything in the apartment.  I could be in deep denial here.  But, there are a couple of shows on TV that simply make my heart sing.  I love the characters.  I love the writing.  I love the camera work and special effects.  These shows make me happy, a rare and precious commodity, so I’m including them (and only them) in my downtime.

It’s easy to get caught up in too many shows.  I can feel the straw reaching out from my set, trying to suck up my gray matter (a red straw, matter of fact, just like Walter’s in the picture above).  I’ve figured out that following three TV shows is my limit, the maximum I can watch without my viewing turning into clinical distraction.  My current three are Fringe, Criminal Minds and the various Star Trek reruns on the SyFy channel.

I’ve discovered that training to be a Bipolar Bad-Ass is as challenging as the illness itself.  I don’t know where the dedication, focus and determination are coming from.  No warrior does, I suppose.  Circumstances conspire to shove those qualities to the forefront.  Sarah Connor was just a perky waitress before the Governator blew her world apart.  Ripley just pushed cargo around outer space.  Once Life brings out the Bad-Ass, there’s no turning back, no unknowing what is now known.  But the constant rigors of training, sandwiched between battles with the Bipolar Bad Guys can wear a girl down.  And even though a warrior can’t go back to being a mere bystander, sometimes a little R and R is in order.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Josh
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 10:49:16

    This is a very inspiring and interesting post. It’s great that you acknowledge your need for downtime and actually do something about it. I wish you nothing but the best on your quest to be a “Bipolar Bad-Ass.”

    Josh… 🙂


  2. Ashley Erin Almon
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 18:14:51

    I’ve just barely started watching T.V. again. When I was in D.C. I stopped because my favorite shows came on after bedtime on the east coast and I had to keep up with the news…..blah! News shows ruined me. I’ve just bought a season of Bones and started ordering Netflix movies again, they have been making money off me like gyms used to, non-attendance. I’m liking your blog, thanks, for voicing yourself on mine, I love it! You have a great attitude!


    • Sandy Sue
      Apr 24, 2011 @ 05:42:21

      TV really is my drug of choice. I just have to be careful not to spend all day, all night glued to the set. I love Bones, too. The whole “they love each other/they don’t love each other is wearing thin on me though.


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