You know when you feel accomplished honoring commitments to yourself? Yesterday was one of those days for me: I wrote for a few hours in my local coffee shop; I did some grocery shopping and cooking; and I called by therapist and my psychiatrist for appointments. I was most pleased by making plans with my treatment team because I’d fallen off for a while and the calls made me feel like I was getting back on track. I’d also stopped going outside to write, so getting out of the house for a period of time was an accomplishment in itself. You may wonder, to what do I owe this burst of self-care energy and why did I honor these commitments to myself. Well, I did it for a man. (What?)
Others Can Help You With Bipolar and Honoring Commitments to Yourself
I’ve been struggling with a rough bipolar depression for a long time, think years. Most of that time has been bad, some of that time has been spent in a psychiatric hospital, and only a handful of moments have been legitimately good. One of those moments was meeting my new friend, Ken.
Ken and I talk every day and, during a recent conversation, Ken made mention of an organization that he works with for people with disabilities. Since I’ve seen him in person, I knew that he didn’t have a physical one, so I figured that he had a psychological disability and I was thrilled. Not that he has a mental illness, but that I could feel comfortable sharing about my bipolar disorder. I all but said, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
Turns out that Ken has an anxiety disorder which affects him on a day-to-day basis. I told him that my bipolar tends more towards depression but that I’m good and healthy now. And as soon as I said it, I knew that I was lying. I hadn’t been in therapy for months. I’d had two days of depressed teariness and I hadn’t contacted my psychiatrist. Basically, I’d called my treatment team not because I felt bad, but because I felt bad about fibbing to Ken and I wanted to be able to tell him good things about my prognosis.
Honoring Commitments to Yourself with Bipolar Is Sometimes Difficult
Getting yourself to take care of yourself can be a struggle, especially if you have bipolar depression. Even being in mental health recovery, I still have breakthrough symptoms and general malaise. Those are times when I’m not doing all I should to help myself recover. In those moments, sometimes I get tired of trying, tired of taking care of myself, tired of walking around being tired. And in those moments, I sometimes need external motivation to get well.
Sometimes motivation comes from an event to anticipate. Sometimes it comes from the need to take care of a pet. And at other times it comes from a man who’s a friend who you’d like to have as more than a friend. I’m not terribly ashamed that I’m trying to get healthy for a man, or for a relationship with a man. I’m glad that I have something in my life that makes me happy. And I know that any positive step I take with my mental health will eventually make me better, and when I’m better I can remember to be good to myself for myself.