Solitude

I wish I could tell you I feel great right now, but I can’t. That would be a lie. I’m feeling lonely and afraid. There are several reasons.

The first is completely out of my control. My computer broke. I should say that my desktop computer that I really like died. It needs a new hard drive. Thankfully, it’s still under warranty, and I don’t have to send it anywhere. A technician will come to me with the new part and do the repairs here at my home. I’m also grateful that I have everything backed up to an external hard drive.

Another reason I’m not feeling good right now is that I’m 30 to 40 pounds overweight due to one of my medications. Depakote is known to cause weight gain and to make it very difficult to lose it. It’s a mood stabilizer that has some other nice side effects helping with concentration, which is something I’ve complained about for a long time.

At my last visit with my regular doctor, he mentioned that he would like to see me lose weight. He knows all about my mental health issues, and I explained the problems with Depakote. He said no more. He’s a good doctor and leaves what he doesn’t fully understand to other doctors.

I did something that I preach against in this blog and in my daily life. I stopped taking the Depakote. I took it on myself to stop one of my medications, because I’m fat. I don’t like being fat. None of my clothes fit, and I certainly can’t afford to go out and buy new ones.

Writing this information makes me realize I’m not taking my own advice. Do I want to be fat and stable or thin and moody?

I’ll choose stable and also get back into walking regularly. You read that correctly. I’ve stopped walking. I moved a year and a half ago away from the park where I used to walk and got out of the habit.

I went walking yesterday back at that old park, and it felt wonderful. I’m going to ease back into walking. It was really a joy.

I need more joy. I’ll give myself a daily dose of joy, and I’ll start taking my Depakote again right away.

Action is the keyword

When I’m feeling down, I find that physical activity lifts my spirits. It can be as simple as brushing my teeth. It can be washing the dishes (see my post on this blog about “Meditative Dishwashing”). A walk does wonders, even if it’s just to the end of the driveway to check the mailbox. Taking action on my own behalf always helps me.

I recently found the wherewithal to start exercising again. It’s simple stuff I do at home, but I can tell you that the act of moving muscles stretches my brain, too. I put up a Christmas tree with some help, and the socialization and the act of beautifying my little house profoundly affected my mood.

No matter how small try moving around when you feel blue. It helps me.

Woot!

Sound the trumpets. Blow the horn. Dr. Seuss would say to blat your snarzle. I’m feeling better.

I needed a good day in the sun to start feeling better, and I got it today. I got out of my bed and volunteered with a local charity that I dearly love. I was in a park all day long. I forgot to put sunscreen on my  legs, so those are beet red now, and I love the pain. It’s glorious.

I’m going to hang onto this feeling for at least 2 more days, because our project lasts that long.

Getting out into the sun was a godsend for me. It broke the cycle of endless sleep that I was trapped in. It shattered the cobwebs that had formed in my head.

I moved house a month ago, and I’ve been feeling blue ever since. When I look at it, one of the reasons is because I can’t get to my favorite park as easily to do my daily walk. Well, I’m just going to have to figure out how to get to that park or a new place to walk, because I feel great. I’m getting back into the exercise game, and I’m not quitting.

If you’re feeling blue, sit in the sun. Try it. Just try it.

I Walk

Exercise is probably one of the best medicines we have to combat bipolar. I walk. To be more precise, I powerwalk, meaning that I walk at a fast pace and I pump my arms parallel to the ground. I also carry weights to help strengthen my arms, and it adds resistance giving my heart just one more thing to work at. They’re not extremely heavy. For about 2 years, I carried weights that were only about 1.5 pounds, but I doubled that about 2 months ago.

I’m very fortunate to live about 1.5 miles from a beautiful park that is half a mile around. I circle it 3 times, and it takes me about 30 minutes to complete. The park has a variety of plants: palms, pines, bamboo, and many flowering trees that I don’t know the names of. There is a pond with some resident ducks.

The walk is often a bit crowded, and I have to vary my pace to pass people. But everyone there is very friendly, and we give each other a nod or a hello or an excuse me when necessary. Some days this is almost the only human interaction I get since I go home and then don’t leave. My isolation is another story for another time.

Lately, my walking has taken on a meditative quality. I practice a form of guided visualization for meditation, and I’ve found that on stretches of the walk where I can see there are no people coming at me that I need to pay attention to, I can slip into a bit of the visualization. I imagine a red line extending from the Earth up to outer space anchoring me, and then I feel a line of light descending from the heavens connecting me to something higher. These two serve to awaken my chakras, and I feel totally open and free and energized. I love it.

Now it’s time for me to go walk.