Welcome to HW And thank you for your reply to my post earlier regarding my depression. You said wonderful, meaninful things that were a comfort.
Being alone is one of the most risky things for me; especially during high times of stress. When things in my life are okay and I am stable, being alone for a day is fine with me. But I do not like being alone longer than that. And in times of crisis (like I am in now), it is a must that I am around someone. The depression just feeds off it. So what I am trying to say is first of all, I understand what you are going through, and I am sorry to hear it.
I am wondering about the work situation. I know you worked before, is there a reason you don't work now? I work full time and there are days where I don't know how I'm doing it, but it helps to be out of the house and to see people. My job is really quiet, so I don't always have a lot to do....which can make me depressed....But I think work is one way to combat the lonliness, IF that is something that is possible for yourself.
You are lucky to spend time with friends. I cannot do that with mine because they are all too busy all the time. But I understand, you can still feel lonley then too. I feel that way with my one friend who has it all; house, kids....spouse, and even though I am with someone, I wish to get on to that next stage of my life, So when I am around her, I feel lonley because she has all that I want? I don't know if that makes sense.
All in all, since I am rambling, I would maybe seek other counselling; and look into any support groups in your area for bipolar. I was in one for I think 10 weeks and it changed my life. It just helped me gain the skills to deal with these things.
Anyway, take care, surround yourself with people etc. even if it doesn't help every time....
havana - I know you can handle it - I wish you had the same confidence in yourself. :)
When I feel completely useless and out-of-control my life-falling-apart, I make a mental to-do list. Then I break down one thing into a lot of little manageable pieces.
If my kitchen is a mess, I might be thinking "I am so lazy, useless, broken, I can't even take care of washing the dishes. [SO] is going to be annoyed with me when he gets home ..." And it goes on and on.
When I noticed that, I can grab my notebook and write:
I may not even wash the dishes, but I gain confidence in myself and a sense of accomplishment. Feeling like you DID something can soothe that empty lonely feeling. I usually end up feeling a lot better and doing more than what I put on my list. But sometimes, I'll have a total meltdown and spend the rest of the day in bed.*
*correction: before I got on a healthy diet, I haven't had anxiety or mood problems when eating well and taking care of myself.
Some advice I've given on this board before, but in case you haven't read it...
Stress is a conflict between two thoughts, a want and a need, or between an ideal and a situation. (There are others.)
If you think of stress that way, you can get rid of a vague bad/anxious feeling. You can IDENTIFY what is stressing you out (you might be surprised) and then do something about it.
I just did this today. It took me about 2 hours to get my stress resolved. But if I didn't do it, I would have felt bad, sat at the computer, felt lonely, not accomplished anything, SO would be annoyed, I would feel guilty, I would skip lunch to avoid being with SO and feeling the guilt, my blood sugar would drop, I'd fall into a depression ... see where this is going? Using this technique gave me a good day.
So here it is:
"I am stressed out because I want ______ , but I need to _______."
Here are a couple I wrote this morning. Mine have gotten long, specific and don't necessarily follow the fill-in=the-blank above.
I am excited, yet stressed out, about going to [dog training field] to train [the dog] this afternoon. I am stressed because I don't have a training plan or a clear direction, and know that feeling frustrated with lack of direction tends to yield a long, stressful, and unproductive training session. I am thankful that it gives me an "anchor" to schedule around.
I am stressed out about going to the post office because feeling guilty about not having done it already. I am stressed out thinking about it constantly and not having a plan to get it done.
Here are a few ideas for you - not sure if any of these are true for you. :)
I feel stressed out because I have an overwhelming sensation of loneliness, even while I am with other people.
I feel stressed out because I feel obligated to attend graduate school, yet I am not comfortable with the technology that is required.
I feel stressed out because I feel obligated to attend graduate school, but I have not been healthy enough to succeed in graduate school.
I feel stressed out because I feel that I have a deadline to become well, and I don't believe I can be healthy by that time.
I feel stressed out because I am feeling unwanted side effects of a medication, and I am hestitant to try more medications because of potential side effects.
My advice - write it out. Everything! From family, employment, health, "little" stressors, schedule, meds, cleaning, self-image. Write it all out. I bet you will find a couple things you CAN fix.
Many times I will discover that I am hungry and tired. I was to emotionally unstable to feel it. Once I started writing, using the left (logical) part of my brain, and taking emotion out of it, I was able to identify those physical needs.
Those are usually easy things to resolve and build your confidence to conquer those stressors.
DON'T be afraid of major life changes. I didn't sit around and wait for stress to go away. I ACTED. (Can you say hypomania? lol) I withdrew from school, moved an hour from home and family to live with my SO, took my son out of daycare, placed a dog that was stressing me out, chose not to get a job (I was laid-off previously). My stress level is finally very low, for the first time in years.
This is part of my self-care, that along with major changes in my diet and keeping a strict diet, I am able to be well (remission?) without medication. But as soon as I slip up on my diet and/or self-care, I'm in the same BPII cycle all over again. It takes me about a month to get out of it and be well again!