Energy, Where Are You?

Earlier this week I was feeling great, motivated, and ready to kick butt. I lifted weights pretty intensely two nights, then did major stretching on day 3, and then ran 7 miles yesterday. It was pretty cold outside yesterday and I had wanted to run a longer distance, but I was stopping to walk too often to keep going.

My mind is especially racing today and I want to either go to sleep or go do something different than routine. My body is sore, which is something that felt good the first few days this week but now makes me feel like I have the flu. Not good.

I was planning to run in the Atlanta Publix Half Marathon this Sunday, but I haven’t purchased my entry and am feeling overwhelmed physically by what would be a really busy Sunday if I were to run in it anyway. I did register for a half in Knoxville in April, so that will happen soon enough.

There’s a friend’s baby shower Sunday afternoon and another friend whose baby I need to go meet that has stuff for the girl with the baby shower. It should be something to look forward to, but thinking about it makes me feel ragged right now. Anticipating exhaustion is exhausting.

And I’m running a 5K next weekend with friends, which I hope will be easy as it’s less than half the distance of what I run usually. It will be my first 5K where I’ve actually been running a lot before I take to the course. I will be the seasoned runner compared to the old me, who, at age 23, could never run and then still run a 5K in about 30 minutes. I’m trying to decide whether to stay with the group of friends or try to be competitive against myself. I’ve gotten myself down to 8 minute miles a few times.

Oh, but that thought makes me feel tired. Pushing myself seems like the worst thing I could do right now.

I’ve been pretty grumpy today, too. Maybe I need sleep.

Thanks for letting me whine at you. Here’s to hoping for an energetic Friday where I can get stuff done.

Congratulations: You’re Bipolar

Yes, that title is supposed to be in sarcasm font.

“I sometimes feel like I am on a ride, a roller coaster. And I get stuck on the point before the ride actually starts. Like I am anticipating fear of what is to come, so I can’t even get the ride to actually begin,” I said to my therapist last week. It was Wednesday. I’d reached out and she was able to see me the very next day due to a cancellation.

“Tell me more about that,” she said.

“Well, I have all these times where I feel really good about myself and abilities. I make all these great plans and have bursts of ideas of things I want to accomplish. But then my mood shifts and I have set myself up for complete failure. Because when I am in a low mood, I see all these things I had very much wanted to do, and I realize I am frozen by feelings of being overwhelmed and I just can’t even begin to get them all done. And this applies to every single area of my life.”

“Well, this is completely different than what you’ve told me before,” she said, as she headed over to the computer to look at the schedule for the center where I was evaluated for depression and anxiety. “You may have bipolar disorder. We need to get you in ASAP to be evaluated for that so we can change your treatment plan.”

I told her that I think I am finally getting better at naming my emotions and describing them better to her, and this particular description is nothing new to me and in fact has been going on for decades. I seldom finish what I start, I always feel like I’ve set myself up to fail, and it’s exhausting. I told her I’ve wondered if I had bipolar disorder.

So I went in Friday and the nurse practitioner I’ve been seeing there has now started me on mood stabilizing medicines. We’ll see how that goes over the next month as it takes a while for these things to really show whether or not they work.

biopolarcovernihcrop

 

 

 

Adapting to Normal

Or, I should say, adapting to abnormal, as if it’s normal.

A lot of (ahem) interesting images come up on the google search for "normal." This one really made me laugh. Others, that I won't post, made me want to barf.

I was discussing with a friend this past weekend about how the terms “normal” and “fair” just don’t mean a whole lot on their own. They have to be used in comparison to something else, and even then, everyone has their take on what’s normal and what’s fair, whether it comes to the perception of a situation, the way we live our lives, who is right and wrong, our self-image, and the list goes on and on.

In my case, I have adapted to a normal way of life, for me, that tells others that I am scared about my own safety in our home. When our guests visited last week, I saw my actions through their eyes. Locking the front door after they came inside. Reminding them to get any valuables out of the line of sight in their car. Getting electronics packed away when we left the house for an outing. Securing the back door. Double checking to make sure I had set the alarm.

I watched myself take these abnormal actions, and heard myself say over and over to them,  “I have to do this, but we’ve never had any problems here.”

These things are steps I take to myself feel better, even though I know it looks crazy to those who can’t understand my context. Knowing that nothing has ever happened, knowing we’ve not been bothered even when we’ve let our guard down, knowing that if something did ever happen we would ultimately be okay because we have a strong community — it’s still not enough to let my guard down in all areas concerning the security of our house. I know I probably made my guests wonder if they were actually safe in the fortress I had created before their eyes, and I regret that discomfort I probably caused them.

I wonder how this analogy extends to other parts of my or others’ lives. What are the habits I hold that are completely unnecessary-looking to someone else? What actions do I take on a daily basis that baffles others? What are the things that others do that I can’t understand, but that they can’t help but doing? It’s certainly something to consider again, as I have taken the time in the past to reflect on my actions (if you’ve read this blog at all, you know this).

One thing I am trying to make a more normal occurrence in my life is getting back into expressing my creativity. I tried to start a little crafting group, but I got too busy to really get it get it going, so I will aim to start that up after I get back from our upcoming vacation. I’ve been working on a painting that is 3 by 4 feet, and you can see its progress in previous posts.

Here’s today’s update!

I've been filling in all the colors of the buildings. It feels so good to get more done on this painting!

A zoom-out:

Lots of fun warm colors! I love mixing colors to see what happens. 🙂

I’ll take a picture with a real camera once it’s finished. Right now, I’ve been using my phone.

My last thought is about someone else’s “normal.” I really admire people who follow their dreams and find happiness there — doing what they love becomes their normal. I noticed that my neighbor, who is also my friend on Facebook, became a fan of something called k.f.d. design. Curious, I took a look. The woman/girl (I would say girl, because she looks to be around my age, but hey, she might want to be called a woman) who writes this blog shows all the fun she’s having while doing what she loves! It’s fascinating and inspirational! So, I thought I’d give her a little shout out just in case anyone checking out my blog (all 8 of you) wants to see some really neat artwork she’s doing on people’s walls and on furniture she finds. She also has a keen eye for colors that work well in her home. I am feeling inspired to share what I’m working on because she is, and I’m going to keep an eye out for other creatives out there who are blogging. 🙂

The circle of life

Boy, is it ever May. I don’t know why the timing is the way that it is, but this week, in THIS WEEK alone, I have heard of four babies born to friends (none of whom live here) and the deaths of several elderly folks, including an aunt in my family that I hadn’t seen since 8th grade.

Old and New

Before I launch into a rendition of The Circle of Life, trite as is may seem, it really is amazing to me to think about everything that’s happening right now as being part of the, uh, Circle of Life.

The ties that bind the circle of life, though, are not necessarily the ends and beginnings of things, but just the changes. In addition to births and deaths, there are other changes that can fall into beginnings and ends. We’ve even experienced this at work lately,  with the folks who are retiring or moving on. Seems like a big May in terms of the number of people moving on, compared with previous years at this school. And, of course, working in a school, there’s graduation coming up. And, of course, working in the admissions office, there’s the knowledge of all the new students coming aboard. Another year of our youth program at church has come to a close, including, this year, Josef’s and my decision to stop being youth advisers after seven years of spending Sunday nights there.

My house, I have decided, is DISGUSTING. I am so icked out by it currently. I have cleaned and cleaned, and yet, Hunter’s dog hair is forever inflicting itself upon everything, and there are bugs checking out our house all the time these days, since we live under a bunch of trees and are close to a major river.

Hunter tries to keep fur outside, Mommy. But I will instead bring my fur AND some dirt from the yard back inside with me. Yay!

And, given that we’re in Atlanta, that humidity, well, it’s there, keeping all the dust so tired and stagnant like the rest of us that it coats everything. Ugh. Can’t keep the house clean. I had house guests two days ago, and despite cleaning allll weekend, it still felt like our house was gross. I kept apologizing when I’d see some hair I had missed. They claimed to not be offended, but I still felt horribly about it. So, in keeping with this the theme of circle of life and change, it is time to rid the house of gross things that shouldn’t be there and clean where the sun hasn’t shone in while! It is also a good time to purge even more items we don’t need or use frequently enough to think we need. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clothing over the past year, but I think I can probably part with even more. Yes, Spring Cleaning is declared.

Ha ha, yeah, that's just what I look like when I clean house, too. All smiling and thoughtful. 🙂

Technologically-speaking, I’ve been thinking a bit about communication. It’s interesting to see the ways we adapt our communication styles and what trends make it and what trends just don’t. For instance, when at school, I know it’s more likely that students will check their facebook messages than their school email, even though they’ve practically been required by the school to check their school email each day for information from their teachers and coaches, etc. Also, when the amount of email I have been receiving becomes overwhelming for me, I also prefer to use facebook’s email, even though it’s completely redundant to do so — I get a message from facebook telling me that so-and-so has replied to my message. 🙂 I’ve heard a lot of people lamenting about the lowering percentage of newspaper readership, how it’s such a tragedy that no one wants things in print to read.  Even libraries are taking the plunge and going completely Kindle, for instance. For my part, I think it’s great to a certain extent to NOT tear down trees to print books and daily newspapers.  Hypocritically, I do love to read novels, especially a brand new one, that I’ve just paid full price for at Barnes and Noble. And, if I ever write a novel, I would want it to be physically published.

But, the point I was trying to make is even I get my information differently than my counterparts of yesteryear, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. The bad thing, in my opinion, is the massive quantity of information I have access to. I inadvertantly avoid reading much of what gets posted on the news sources I read online, as I don’t have days and days, and instead look at the items that actually interest me. I am not sure what can now be considered “common knowledge” if everyone out there is like me and only wants to read the news that seems pertinent or interesting to them. At the same time, it is quite easy to share articles of interest with one another, so there is some assumed commonality there.

A sampling of social media options out there.

Regarding social media, I have to confess that I find it humorous that so many organizations have facebook pages and twitter accounts. EVERYONE seems to be on that bandwagon. I, too, am on that bandwagon, although I have decided that I am not a fan of tweeting. It’s just not me. What was once MySpace’s domain in my eyes, is really Facebook’s — it won the social media battle by not being so clunky, I think it. It’s a lot more intuitive to use, easier to find friends, and is cleaner looking. But, MySpace is the place to be if you’re in a band. I will give it that. I’m not really a fan of LinkedIn, but can’t really explain why. Classmates has also not done well –Facebook is better at tracking that information, too. I do like blogging, obviously, and have experienced switching from blogger to wordpress, but can’t really explain why I did that.

This says Social Media Landscape. I think it could just say "Overwhelming."

So, I will leave you to ponder the ways that change makes you realize that it’s all just part of life, whether because phases of things-that-have-been are ending or because you’ve just experienced something new. Whatever the case, I take comfort that everything is relatively normal, and though the details are different, this is how life is supposed to be, at least until the new bandwagon comes along. 🙂