Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Honoring my Mind and Body

The last couple weeks, I have been trying to force my body and mind to conform to the way I want to be during the winter - the woman who is there for everyone, on top of all the "to-do's," working regularly, cooking fresh dinners, having a clean house, and still participating in all the events of the season.  Essentially, I have been pushing myself to be perfect.

This morning, I realized I have not been honoring who I am.  I am NOT perfect, and in reality, do I really want to be perfect?  I think of perfect and I see no room for fun or spontaneous actions.  I see stiff, prudish, and boring.  I don't see the crazy fun antics I like to incorporate into my life.  No, I am not perfect, but I keep punishing myself for not being perfect.  I chastise myself when I cannot fall asleep at a decent enough time to work the next morning.  I think poorly of myself when I can't bring myself to run the dozens of errands that need to be completed.  I wonder what is wrong with me when I simply don't have the energy to cook or clean house.  I mentally abuse myself with my negative self-talk.

Today, I am going to try a new approach.  I am going to practice being perfectly me.  If I do not get everything done, so be it.  As long as it isn't going to literally kill anyone and we have the necessities, it isn't the end of the world.  Lately, I have been exhausted during the day, but wide awake at night.  I will honor that by resting when I am tired, and being productive when I am awake.  Housework can be done at any time of day or night (except vacuuming when others are sleeping).  Bills, emails, warranty registrations, even grocery shopping can be done in the middle of the night.

I will honor my body cycle.  I haven't been able to wake up before 10am lately without being a zombie all day.  This means I haven't been taking any substitute jobs because I want the full day of work which starts at 7:30am.  I will change that.  Instead of trying to force myself to work "like a normal person," I will start taking half day jobs that start at 11:00/11:30am or I will take on more tutoring clients, scheduling appointments when I know I will be functional, and discontinue substituting until spring.

I will honor my mind.  If I just can't focus or concentrate, then I will give my mind the break it wants and play games, visit with friends, exercise, or cook.  When my mind is a little less turbulent, I will focus on the "serious" stuff, like studying, building my tutoring website, adoption paperwork, etc.

I have bipolar disorder.  I have anxiety.  In the winter, I can become severely depressed.  I thought I had fully accepted it a long time ago, but last week, my therapist asked a very pertinent question:  "Have you really accepted your disorder?"  Now, I am not so sure.  Yes, I admit I have it and I will always fight against the negative stigma of bipolar disorder, but I have always expected myself to "find a way" to prevent the winter depression.  I expect myself to find a way to "fix" it, like I am a toy that just needs some super glue or batteries, but I am realizing it is not that simple.  There is no cure.  There is only management of the disease.  My mind and body has needs unique to the time of year, and it is high time I give myself what I need.