The mental weather finally cleared. Time once again to take stock and adjust accordingly. This time the task seems even bigger, but here goes.
The pattern of my life over the past several years has been one of survival, doing whatever I needed to get from one crisis to the next. When disaster struck, I slapped on a band-aid and crossed my fingers. I worked with my compulsions, hoping I could loosen their grip, but only managed spotty success. Compulsive eating and spending still sabotaged any effort to make lasting changes in my life.
But, I have to keep trying.
Living in crisis mode and learning to live in the Now blocks thoughts of the future. Most of the time, this is a good thing. To survive, one needs to focus on the immediate threat, not on planning the post-battle celebration feast. Living in the Now keeps fear at bay and allows for gratitude in what’s happening in the moment. Moving with the flow of life and recognizing synchronisity are spiritual tools I need in order to dance with the wild swings of my bipolar disorder. But, I think I need to do more than dance in a circle.
My friend, Rob, who visits here sometimes, said something a while back that stuck with me. He and a friend were talking, and his friend said, “It’s kinda foolish to set goals but makes sense to head off in a direction and see where it goes.” I love this gentle approach. And I think it’s time for me to point myself in a direction.
I drive my dad’s 15-year-old Ford truck—a huge, sturdy, gas-inhaler. It won’t be long now before it’s old innards start needing more resuscitation than I (or my family) can afford. It’s still spry and agile, but the last time I got the oil changed, my mechanic mentioned gaskets and seals in an off-hand, “not-to-worry” way. I immediately shoved the information aside. I’d slap a band-aid on that when the time came.
But, what I’d really like to do is get a new car—a small, inexpensive, fuel-efficient one. I’d like a car that didn’t cost me $70 every time I visited the gas station or was ready for the four-wheel nursing home. Specifically, I want a Smart Car.
For someone who lives from Disability check to Disability check and relies on regular hand-outs from family and friends, this seems like a true fantasy. I tried living without a vehicle for one summer, and I did all right while I was stable. But as soon as I started to cycle and the walls closed in around me, I needed a way to escape. Running down the street didn’t seem to work. I know I need a vehicle of some kind to keep the heebies from jeebying off the charts.
So, how do I do this? How do I save money when my illness can push me to spend every cent I have?
Yesterday, I sat down to map out a plan, knowing full well that in a day or two or three, said plan might as well be written on toilet paper. Bad-Ass Training gave me a little hope, though. I’ll do the best I can wherever I am on my mental spectrum, try to put some structure in place that can carry over to the crazy times, and take a few definitive steps now.
The first thing I did was cancel my cable and telephone land line service. This will give me $70 to put in my car fund each month (once I pay off the termination fee). I’ll go back to walking as much as possible (spring is bound to come soon, right?) to save on gas. But, most importantly, I’ll focus my awareness on my compulsive spending and the impulse to bolt. Not that I haven’t tried this before. But, in order to save money, I have to try not to spend it. And where I spend most of my money is on those rabbitty bolts out of town. I’m hoping that having a goal to focus on will help. And maybe coming up with some other options. I will see my therapist on Wednesday, and we’ll brainstorm.
I have no idea if this will work. But, I have to try. Like Rob’s friend said, I’ll head off in this direction and see where it goes. Maybe I’ll find some synchronisity and flow along the way. I’ll let you know, because really…
I’m on an Adventure.