Minimizing the Damage

I woke up this morning deep in depression.  This is one of the mysteries of my bipolar disorder—sometimes sleep acts as a transition.  I can go to bed feeling fine and wake up either manic or depressed, or go to sleep in the throes of an episode and wake up stable.  Something gets reset, some sticky switch gets thrown, some chemical process does or doesn’t happen.  If it wasn’t so deadly, it would be fascinating.

My whole focus today became doing the least amount of damage.  I was supposed to volunteer at the Animal Rescue League again this afternoon.  Instead of bolting completely, I rescheduled for Wednesday.  Canceling altogether felt too much like failure, which was the depression twisting my thoughts, but I needed to give myself a chance to succeed later, if I could.  Writing this helps me see how contorted my thinking is.  Boy, I’m deep in it alright.

I recently added a bunch of books to sell on my account.  Three orders came through over the weekend, and I needed to get them shipped.  This task felt enormous and impossible.  Driving to Staples filled me with anxiety, especially when they didn’t have the right size box.  All I wanted to do was load up on my favorite junk food and hide in my apartment.  But I went to the UPS store instead.  I let the nice folks there find the right box, the right mailers, then I stood at the counter and packed everything up.  Carefully.  It’s very easy to make mistakes—wad up tape, mis-print the address, mix up the orders.  I double checked, then checked the double-check.

I still planned on buying binge food when I dropped the packages off at Hy-Vee.  I knew there was no denying the compulsion, so the best I could do was read the nutrition labels and try to make better choices in junk—a smaller sized frozen pizza, Haagen Das instead of Ben and Jerry’s, baked Cheetos instead of regular.  At the Redbox, I got three movies instead of my usual depression fare of five or six.  I couldn’t stop the compulsions, but I could temper them a little.  Today, that felt like a huge victory.

After sleeping most of the afternoon, I feel like I can sit at my table and make a few cards.  The Eagles are crooning on my stereo.  Emmett is tucked into my big chair, sleeping his kitty dreams.  The traffic keeps the beat of evening coming on.  I’ve survived another day in Bipolar Paradise with a minimum of scars.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kalima123
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 17:34:32

    I’m so proud of you for what you did accomplish today! You got a ton more done than I did, sitting rooted here on the couch in bp land. Wasn’t able to blog, ate crappy food, sat and sewed and watched Farscape reruns. You did good – be proud!!! Sending you hugs of support!


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 06, 2012 @ 17:58:38

      Hey! We do what we can do. You provide incredible inspiration on your site. To know you deal with the episodes, too, just makes you human and, bygod, bipolar. I’m sending lots of love from my side of the illness.


  2. Bonni
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 20:03:17

    There is that place in me, maybe not as deep or as wide, however it is there and it is touched with your words and it seems a lot less lonely because you shared…….
    With much appreciation and amazement for the strength in us all, strength in opening the heavy door of isolation and brushing away the cobweb of judgement that caught us in the trap of thinking anything is wrong in the first place.


  3. Fiddle gal
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 22:58:00

    Blessings as you ride the waves, may the low spot be brief without a lot of undertow.


  4. pompeii
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 02:14:12

    “Today, that felt like a huge victory.”

    I think that sounds like a definite victory. Leaving the house when you’re depressed can be incredibly difficult and you managed to accomplish a fair bit when you were out and about.

    I admire you’re ability to not just give in completely to the compulsion. Awareness of our compulsive habits is one thing, but to temper our behaviour when in that state is another.


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 07, 2012 @ 06:03:22

      I’ve learned that fighting the compulsions don’t work. But, there’s something in saying yes to them, maybe joining with the momentum, that provides some energy toward steering them a little bit.


  5. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 05:22:27

    Interestingly, I have nearly an identical experience with sleep. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it before, but the transitioning/resetting impact of sleep may be the most predictable thing about my very unpredictable emotional life. Thanks so much for mentioning it.

    And congrats on doing what you did–making as many small decisions as possible that were compromises in the direction of health. Eventually those add up!

    Hang in there, my friend!



  6. Sheryl Mae
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 12:03:36

    I think that all you accomplished yesterday was a lot even for someone who is not BP. And tempering those food cravings was immense – way to go Sissy Bad-Ass. May your sleep tonight reset the reset and you come out on the other side.


  7. bipolarmuse
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 16:08:36

    Oh my, I can so relate. I can do fine for days and then I roll out of bed crying. Every task is unbearable. I wish you didn’t have to suffer such an illness too.


  8. Kitty
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 09:41:47

    Who knew Haagen Das was a healthier choice than Ben and Jerry’s? Thanks for that bit of information. Congrats on choosing NOT to feel like you failed. That is big.

    This entry reminds me of what we talked about a few weeks ago… We feel like we accomplish nothing when we’re depressed, but in fact, we’re working our asses off on a different level. What is it the Buddhists say in Gratitude… ‘The Universe keeps giving me opportunities to grow.’ I don’t know about you, but some days I could use a few less opportunities! TeeHee.

    Love you! Keep up the good work.


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