I manage Bipolar Disorder. At least, I try to manage it.
Like everyone, some of my days are great and some are not so great. Regardless of how my emotional pendulum swings, I strive daily to keep moving. However, this is not always easy for me.
Somedays I am unable to move from my bed. Other days, I feel like an overmedicated zombie or like that Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going and going. It’s pretty safe to say that I can have a lot of my hands if I’m in the midst of an episode.
During these moments, it becomes beyond important that I remember self-care. The funny thing is that during these moments, I don’t always care. At times, I am either trying to forget that the world exists or conquer it like a character from Game of Thrones.
Seriously, the tough times are when I need self-care the most but I really don’t care anything about it.
I am sure that I am not alone in this as this can be a major dilemma for some of us. We know that we need to do something but the motivation or the ability to care at the moment is lacking. It’s one of those catch 22’s of life.
When I have found myself in this space in the past, nothing happened. I mean absolutely nothing happened. I either stayed completely still or moved so fast that nothing I did had any substance.
Finally, I decided to ground myself.
I needed to hear from the one person who truly knew me. I needed to listen to the words of someone who understood my story and my life. I needed ME.
Allow me to explain. I needed a way to support whenever I didn’t want to or couldn’t. When no one else could reach me internally, it was necessary for me to know that I had my back. If you are wondering how I made this happen, well I wrote myself a letter.
I’m more than sure you’ve read something somewhere about writing a letter to yourself a time or two. Generally, they are the letters written after breakups or maybe to your younger self. In this instance, I am referring to a group of letters to yourself that reflect what you go through when times are not so great.
The letters can focus on any area that you feel you need added support.
Maybe it’s a letter that helps you get out of bed in the morning. Maybe the letter serves as a reminder about how great taking that morning walk is. It’s completely up to you.
Regardless of how you feel about yourself this moment, you are the expert on you. You know yourself better than anyone else. This means that your words may be the best first line of defense when you don’t give a flying flip about self-care.
The best way to get started is simply to grab your phone, notebook, or laptop. First, make a list of 1 to 3 concerns you have during the not so great moments. As I’ve said in other articles, avoid overthinking it. A simple list would do just fine.
Now, envision the things that help you move forward when faced with one of your concerns. Once you have those things in mind, list them then write your letter to yourself. Include any motivational words or reminder lists as needed.
To help, I will share a letter I’ve written to myself which is placed on my headboard.
Let’s make today a better day. It won’t be perfect, but it might be better than yesterday. REMEMBER, a better day does not mean that every negative thing will go away. However, It can mean you have found an easier way to make it through your day.
Here is today’s list. If you can get through it great! If not, that okay. Do what you can.
1. Take a shower, please. I know you might not feel like it, but it keeps your other condition from flaring up.
2. Eat something. Remember, there is always peanut butter and jelly in the house.
3. Take care of the babies.
4. Talk to at least one person today.
5. Finally, meditate and take your medicine. Sorry, these are not optional.
It does not matter if your letter is detailed or a simple reminder. Encouraging words from yourself can really aid in improving any day. They don’t have to feel scripted or done all at once. I would suggest writing them whenever you have a nice moment.
Take your time and do not worry about getting them right or wrong. You control the when, where and how. Focus on getting them written when you have time.
There is no rush.
Remember, the letters are meant to encourage you and serve as gentle reminder yourself to practice self-care today. So give writing a note to yourself a try because you care.