Hitting a Wall: When Bipolar Disorder Affects Productivity
I’m angry with myself right now.
The kind of anger where you want to look at that person in the mirror and just tell them every nasty thing you think of them!
Maybe, you can relate.
Perhaps, you can’t.
The reason I’m angry is because I’ve sat here looking at this screen for 20 minutes, have started writing numbers of pieces, and have been unable to come up with a damn thing.
It’s frustrating and disheartening when you have so much to say but nothing will come out.
I won’t say it’s writer’s block rather something else.
I’ve hit a wall.
The worst part of having Bipolar Disorder is not the ups and downs with moods, at least for me, rather the ups and downs in energy and cognitive functioning.
Maybe you can relate.
It really is maddening especially considering what usually comes before the wall.
Before the Wall
The last few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been riding a wave of excitement, joy, and passion!
I had an opportunity to speak in a church, share my story and heart while encouraging others to do the same!
Some of my photos were recently featured on an Instagram account and received more likes than I could have ever dreamed on my own.
I’ve had a wonderful few weeks interacting with my mom and encouraging her despite her continued battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s and an increase in confusion.
I’ve been able to be there for my uncle as he’s dealt with a huge scare-we almost lost my aunt but thank God for emergency surgery.
Needless to say, I’ve felt strong and empowered to help others while life was being anything but kind to them.
That is until yesterday.
Yesterday, it all caught up with me and my mood and energy came crashing down.
I hit the proverbial wall and I feel like I hit it going 120mph! (About a 193km)
After the Wall
Today, I feel pretty bad.
I’m fatigued, achy, and my mind feels as if it’s moving through sludge as I try to grasp at thoughts that seem fleeting, distant, and disconnected.
I have a scowl on my face that screams “Stay away!” or “Speak to at your own risk.”
I HATE when I feel like this because it feels so inauthentic to who I really am.
When I’m like this, I’m grumpy, short with people, agitated, pace a lot, sad, angry, etc.
I think you get the picture.
But when this “other guy” is not here, I’m not these things!
I’m kind, loving, compassionate, caring, friendly, excited about life and my future, etc.
However, today, the “other guy” is here and he seems to want to stay, but I know he’s only passing through.
He’ll never be here to stay forever and, frankly, his visits are becoming shorter and shorter. Thank God.
How about you? Do you have a less-than-desirable part of yourself that comes to visit and tries to tell you “I’m here to stay!”
If you do, then you’ll probably be able to relate to feeling like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.
I hate when my darker version comes but I also realize that getting mad at myself is never the answer and is extremely unhelpful.
So what can you do when you’ve hit a wall and it causes you to transform into your less-than-desirable self?
- Remember that no dark day lasts forever. It’s cliche but it will pass. Just because you’re having a bad day does not mean you will have a bad life. This is so important to remember because I think we often get trapped into thinking “I’ll be like this forever” when the reality is, the quicker we own what’s going on, the faster we’ll recover.
- Make self-care a top priority for that day. Remember how important it is to your body, mind, and spirit to care for yourself. Ideally, this should be an everyday thing but if you’re anything like me, you often take a backseat to everyone and everything else around you. At least on these dark days, make caring for yourself a priority: eat well, shower, exercise, journal, take a nap, read a good book, watch a movie, etc. Do those things that make you smile.
- Remind yourself that you are not your illness, your symptoms, or your bad days. You’re so much more than your angry outbursts, jumbled thoughts, excessive fatigue, foggy thinking, depressed moods, etc. You are never your illness. It is something you have not something you are.
- Rest. It’s so important in these days. I don’t mean just sit around all day but find those things that help you (and your mind) rest. Maybe it’s a moment of meditation, eating lunch in the car just to consume the quiet, listening to your favorite relaxing song, a long hot shower or bubble bath, etc. Find something to do that helps you RELAX!
- Be willing to adapt to your energy and live in a guilt-free zone! I keep coming across a statement “Your worth is not tied to your productivity”. That one’s a hard one to swallow because I often feel consumed with guilt when I experience extreme fatigue, brain fog, psychomotor agitation, and slowness. It’s hard for me to be easy with myself but I’ve found that adapting my pace on these days is crucial. I often think of my workout instructor, “No matter how slow you’re moving, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch!” It’s true even with productivity. I may be moving slowly and have to adapt, but I’m still moving. I encourage you to not let guilt have the say on your bad days and, if you need to, scale back and slow your pace while you keep moving towards your goals.
I’ve hit the wall and I’m OK in saying that.
I’m no longer trying to hide the bad days.
I’ll adapt and recover.
How about you?
What do you do when you hit your wall?
You’re not alone, reader.
We’ve got this.
, . (2018). Hitting a Wall: When Bipolar Disorder Affects Productivity. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 27, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/desk-couch/2018/03/hitting-a-wall-when-bipolar-disorder-affects-productivity/