Let’s get a little deep this week, shall we? Being bipolar, I can tell you with confidence, I am all too familiar with having complete melt downs. A blessing and a curse all wrapped into one! Of course, since it’s something I’ve had a lot of experience with, I’ve figured out how to recognize it and work through it – living with bipolar un-medicated, you kind of have to. But I would say, it’s still something I deal with at least once or twice a month.
Everyone has with their own set of triggers and ways that they’ll react. How we bounce back and handle the aftermath can make all the difference.
The past couple days have been ramping me up for a serious mental melt down. Between a sassy toddler, being 8 months pregnant, exhausted from my work load (my business and keeping up with the house), and my husband working a lot more than usual, my stress bar has been in the red. I’ll start to get short tempered, loud, and distant. I can always see it coming, and I do my best to counteract it (which sometimes I do), but other times I just need to go through the full spectrum.
Well, today I finally reached that breaking point. A toddler tantrum paired with a dog tripping me and falling into a wall did me in. I was fuming. I couldn’t even answer my husband when he asked what happened. I headed straight for the shower, closed the door, and cried my eyes out while I washed my hair. I don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. I always want to be open and honest.
Sometimes, crying it out for a bit, is the best thing you can do for yourself.
The tricky part with the “crying it out” stage is letting yourself get stuck in it (which is especially true for those of us who deal with bipolar or depression). This is where you can get stuck in a repetitive cycle of negativity or self-pity. My number one method to breaking that cycle before it’s starts, is to immediately change up little things in my routine – not necessarily permanently, but at least until I feel like my head is screwed back on right!
Here are some examples of things I noticed were becoming constants the past couple of days and what I did to shake them up:
-Crappy eating habits: Normally I eat fairly healthy, and lately I have been popping Hershey Kisses throughout the day, snacking on chips, not eating full meals, and indulging in late night greasy foods. -----> I started avoiding the sweets all together, focused on making decent meals that weren’t so heavy and much healthier, snacking more on fruit.
-Staying in the house: Being a stay at home mom, some days the kiddo and I just don’t leave the house if I have a lot of work to get done. -----> Today I made it a point to go out for a walk and take her to the park. We both felt a lot better having some time where we weren’t cooped up and getting short with each other.
-Being dead tired: I was working myself so hard and not getting the right amount of sleep at night. Typically, I’m excellent at constantly running on a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wind – so you won’t find me napping often. But, a tired Olivia makes for a cranky Olivia. -----> When my eyes started that amazing burning sensation after our trip to the park, I made sure to force myself to close my eyes and take a nap on the couch for a bit.
-Bumming around the house: Specifically talking about clothes & make up. I wear very minimal make up, and working from home, I still make it a point to put on make-up at least to make me feel a ready for the day. I hadn’t been doing that (and being pregnant, I pretty much wear the same clothes all the time). -----> So after my cry-fest in the shower, I made sure to throw on some make up.
I used to think deep breathing exercises were a joke…until I started utilizing them.
The most important thing I could ever suggest to you though really, is to breathe. Focus your energy on picking yourself back up. Times get tough, and sometimes we feel incredibly defeated. Heck, I even have times where I want to stay stubborn, and not apologize to my husband for being so cold and hard to deal with while I go through all of this. But I always make myself breath, reassure myself out loud and internally that it will be okay, and express to whomever is closest to me that I was going through a stressful period, but I’m bouncing back now. We’ve all been there, and we all possess sympathy and compassion.
The best way to recover is to admit that there was a struggle.