What’s the password?

Having bipolar II, means I’m more often languishing in the lows of depression, than frolicking in the magnificence of mania. Over time, I have learned to adopt certain strange strategies in order to avoid becoming marooned in the sea of sadness. It’s no quick and easy fix, mind you. It takes some work and a level of commitment to pull it off. But here’s what works for me:

I make pacts with myself. Yes I know it sounds childish. And in your mind’s eye you’re probably expecting us to meet in the treehouse at dawn, wearing our father’s old army camoflague, cupping our hands to mimic the owl-call that is the secret password. Hoohoo hoohoooo Hoohoo hoohoooo.

Well, put the cammo gear away, this is far simpler. All I do is I make a pact with myself. I make stipulations, I bargain and negotiate to get the job done, I provide incentive. I make a verbal contract. If I get out of bed this morning, I promise I can get straight back in the moment I get home from work. If I shower tonight, I can skip cooking dinner and just eat cereal. If I wash my hair, I don’t have to clean the flat. If I clean the flat, I don’t have to do laundry. If I do laundry I can have a chocolate and go straight back to bed.

And so goes my internal dialogue. Pushing me on through each hour, each day, each hurdle that seems insurmountable. I am my own cheerleader. I encourage, coerce and bribe my way through these patches. But it works. It begins to build momentum. And over time you realise, you’re getting out of bed without thinking, taking care of domestics because you want a clean home and washing your hair because you have regained your sense of self-respect.

So, here’s to putting the squeeze on, holding yourself to ransom, making an offer you can’t refuse. Put yourself back in control. Be the one calling the shots. And to hell with bipolar’s depression. It’s nothing but a bully. It’s time to fight back.

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25 comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Bipolar Bum and commented:
    I’m not entirely here this weekend – Hence the lack of my own content. I’m really sorry for that. All I can say is – don’t abandon me just yet, regular service will resume!

    In the mean time, check out this great article from PiecesOfBipolar

    All the best,
    H&J

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    1. Thank you so much for the reblog. I am honoured. I hope your followers enjoy the article. And take care of yourself. No one worth their salt would begrudge you a few days (or weeks) of silence 🙂

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      1. They seem to be liking it so far, and the time off is really doing me some good! I’ve crept in for an hour here to just reply to you good people and the e-mails.

        All the best,
        H&J

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    1. lf only I could email you. There is a blog hop going on and l wanted to tag some friends so we could each in our turn hijack the hop to write a little bit about ‘mental illness’ any way we felt. There are four basic questions to write along:
      What am I working on/writing?
      How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?
      Why do I write what I do?
      How does my writing process work?
      If you be interested, please email me at info@marieabanga.com 🙂

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  2. Reblogged this on Paddling for PEACE. and commented:
    “Having bipolar II, means I’m more often languishing in the lows of depression, than frolicking in the magnificence of mania. Over time, I have learned to adopt certain strange strategies in order to avoid becoming marooned in the sea of sadness.” I SO relate!!! I bargain with myself a lot – trying to be better at not beating myself up for not completing the task I told myself to do.

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  3. An interesting way of looking at things. I set my goals small as when I set them large, and I commit to too much, I end up achieving nothing. I did a massive clean of my garage last tear and simply looked at the hoarded mess as I large garden garbage bag at a time. It took a few days but with the 15 large bags of rubbish gone it was a good achievement. I looked at the hoarded mess of things that I have not used for over a decade and decided most of it could go.

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    1. You are absolutely right in setting achievable goals. I always think its better for our state of wellbeing, to be able to say we did one small thing today, than nothing at all. And well done with your garage – that was no doubt an arduous task!

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  4. Last evening, my boyfriend and l had dinner at his parents. We normally do lunch but thanks to the weather and their mood, it was agreed that dinner outdoors was better. Moreover, today is a holiday out here so they felt no rush. But l did, l had to go for sports this morning and l programmed 5.30am. So by the time that dinner started at 8pm and ended at 10pm before we could kiss goodbyes and get home by 11pm, my hairs were ‘red’. l talked with him as he can understand and he tried his best and hinted well l could make an exception and it was for me to decide not always my moods. I talked to myself and said it was ok if we went this once at 7am and that we could louse around thereafter. Guess it worked. I got up at 5am but got back to sleep albeit with persuasion from myself because l know sleep is important too,l got up at 5.30, went back, got up at 6am and gt ready slowly enough to leave at 7am as agreed. It went well and l danced at the end. l think it works and we may actually hold that key more than ‘meds or friends and all’. Just my Penny!

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    1. Thank you, Marie, for all your feedback. So happy you found inspiration in my post. There is nothing better than dancing with joy after an accomplishment. And absolutely, the power of the mind is an incredible tool at our disposal. As for the blog hop, thank you so much for thinking of including me. It will be a case of biting off more than I can chew at this stage. But please do keep me in mind for any future events. I am committed to reducing the stigma of mental illness.

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  5. Don’t think that I’m bipolar, but a lot of us out there use the bargaining method…or, as I bluntly call it, I give myself treats. Let’s face it, our long days of cubicle boredom and responsibilities can be difficult to get through. So…if I work for two hours, I get a chocolate bar…if I get up in the morning, I get to look at my phone on the train…etc etc. And I wag my tail like a good doggie when I give myself the reward 😉

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    1. Thank you so much for reblogging my piece. I’m really honoured and greatly appreciate the validation it provides me on a personal level. Of course the greatest reward, is to have helped inspire someone along the way.

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  6. This makes complete sense to me, especially since it works. I’ve used the get out of bed one in the past. Before church was part of my weekly routine, I got there promising myself an afternoon nap. (The Sunday nap is still part of my routine.). Now I tell myself I can only eat sweets that contain nuts. It doesn’t always work though, maybe because it’s not really a pact. It’s more like a suggestion.

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    1. I am pleased you could relate to this method. It has stood me in good stead for many, many years. Just remember to be gentle with yourself. Setting unrealistic goals only brings disappointment. Enjoy eating your sweets. We live in such emotional pain, something nice along the way is well deserved.

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