Walking Through a Day

I had extremely high stress at work yesterday. That is in addition to sleeping very poorly the night before. My sleep has not been very good since the break up, and that very break up does not make it easy to be stable.

After work, I thought of getting some exercise by going for a speed walk. I also thought about just taking it easy and recognizing the difficulty I’d been going through. The urge to exercise in this one case was a misplaced desire to deny the truth that my body needed rest.

I chose rest.

Not only did I give myself an easy evening, I also decided to take an antianxiety medication at bedtime. As a result, I slept very well. I awoke this morning with good energy, and I went for a long speed walk before work. It felt very good.

Sometimes the right decision is to rest.

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Walking Through the Stuff

My psychiatrist warned me that this break up would likely cause old feelings to resurface. He was right. I’m experiencing a resurgence of negative self-talk that I haven’t had in many years. It feels lousy.

I’m happy to report that a short meditation usually eliminates it, until it resurfaces again, and I have to meditate again to release the negative thoughts.

It’s temporary. This too shall pass, but it’s a pain right now. I’m walking though it. I have good moments and bad ones.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. I have lived through a lot of pain, but the important point to understand is that I lived through it. I lived. I survived.

I survived pain in the past. I can survive this, too.

Walking Through It

In my last post, I wrote about my recent break up. I’m still experiencing varied moods due to the end of that romantic relationship. I have good days and bad ones.

I’m happy to say I’m using the tools I have, and they help a great deal.

My most important tool is meditation. I am able to release a lot of difficult emotions very quickly and thoroughly by doing some simple meditative techniques I’ve learned over the years. I wrote about one technique in that last post.

I’ve used medication, too. I have some medicine I can take for anxiety. I have used them occasionally. I used them daily just after the break up.

I’ve spoken to my therapist often, and that helps give me clarity.

I’ve chatted with my best friend multiple times each day. He’s a rock in this situation, and I’m grateful for his love and support.

I’ve exercised a lot, too. I’ve walked and walked. I enjoy speed walking, so I do it daily these days.

I’ve been careful with what I eat. I allow myself some junk every once in a while, but I’m careful. I eat an almost completely vegetarian diet. It feels like the right thing for me to do.

I’ve been getting good sleep most nights, which is an enormous help. Sleep resets me, so I can start fresh every morning.

Yesterday was a rough day, but I used the tools, and I survived. Today feels better except for the fact I didn’t get enough sleep for some unknown reason. I’ll be fine.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Surviving a Break Up

Yeah. It happened.

He got very angry at me, and I asserted that I was not deserving of his anger, so he left. I’m glad he left. I didn’t feel frightened, but he clearly could not control his anger.

I had decided that I would require couples counseling to move forward with the relationship, but he chose not to contact me again. I was uncomfortable with that lack of closure. It left too much up in the air. It meant I was unsure whether he would choose to contact me at some point in the future. Being unsure was causing me anxiety. So I took control of the part that I was capable of and blocked his number.

That’s the first point I would like to draw attention to. I did not have control of the whole situation, and I think that’s completely normal. There are two people involved, after all. Each participant has some control over some aspects of the situation. I looked at the situation, and I studied what part I could control, and I used it.

It’s quite possible that choosing not to contact me after he stormed out was his way of breaking up. It’s not a clean way of doing it. It leaves too many strings dangling.

The second point I’d like to stress is that I did not avoid the sadness. I allowed it to wash over me. The grief came in waves. There were times I ached. I would meditate and release it. It worked for me.

If you want to try it, find a place to sit comfortably. Begin by stating that you want to work through the highest light for the greatest good for all concerned. This sets a nice intention of keeping things as clear as possible with as little animosity involved as possible. Shut your eyes, and breathe deeply for as many breaths as you can. Simultaneously, relax. Try relaxing from head to toe or vice versa. Do the best you can. Now imagine you have a layer of energy on your body where the bad feelings are located. Call on an angel to remove this layer. Breathe deeply while the angel removes the layer of energy. Just breathe. Give it some time. It may take a few seconds or a few minutes. Let it take however long it takes. If your heart aches tremendously, ask the angel to bathe it in purple light. When you feel like it’s complete, thank the angel, and then breathe and open your eyes.

I had to do this many times over the course of about 3 days, and it worked for me, I felt relief each time. Repeating it after the grief returned is not a sign it’s not working. Grief comes in waves. It’s not a failure. That’s just how it works. Allow the sadness its space each time it comes. Allow and release. There is no limit to how many times you can do this exercise. It’s not finite. It’s limitless.

The third point I’d like to mention is that I always kept in mind that this sadness was temporary. No matter how strong the sadness was, I reminded myself it would pass, and it did each time.

The fourth point is that I reached out for help. I chatted long with my best friend. He’s a rock at times like these, and he listened to me without judgment. He offered virtual hugs, and he reminded me of my own strength.

The fifth point is that I used medication. I live with a mental illness, and I took the antianxiety medicine my psychiatrist gave me just for times like these. It worked to help me sleep well.

The final point is that I used professional tools. I saw my therapist twice in 3 days. The second time I saw him, I was assertive and told him that in his office I sometimes felt like he was suggesting some of the anger that was directed at me by my then boyfriend was my responsibility. We had a frank discussion about these feelings, and I was clear that any assertion his anger was my doing was false. My therapist agreed. What he was trying to direct me to was seeing that all encounters are a two-way street. I am responsible for being clear in my communication and being open to hearing clear words. I agree.

In closing, I’ve got to say that breaking up a romantic relationship is not fun. I went through about 3 days when I honestly did not know what day of the week it was. I had to repeatedly look at my phone to see, and even then it often did not register. My thinking was very disoriented.

Today, I know what day of the week it is. There is a sadness in the background, but I can recognize I’m healing.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am stepping into it one step at a time. I have tickets to see a play this weekend. I bought two, and now I’m wondering whom to invite to go with me…

Interpersonal Relations

Relating to people is the most difficult thing any person does. We maneuver a minefield when we try to convey our thoughts. At best, we can be aware of some of the history the other brings to the communication experience, but we can’t know it all.

We can’t know if the other person is feeling off because they were rushed in the morning. Their personal history may be a factor. Maybe they skipped breakfast and are feeling hungry. It could be a worry about a sick relative.

There are so many variables every time we want to communicate with another person. The best we can do is be sure of what we need to convey and be as careful in how we speak as possible.

I’m taking a long time to set up something that’s simple to say: I had a fight with my boyfriend. I really don’t understand why he appeared so angry. I truly don’t understand it. I tried to keep the conversation light, but it did not work.

In the end, I had to defend myself by stating I did not deserve the anger I was hearing.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’ve talked to my therapist. I’m willing to accept several outcomes. There’s an outcome where we move forward and try to help each other, and there’s an outcome where I move forward without him. That would hurt a great deal, but I’m willing to do it, if it comes to that.

What’s remarkable is I know I’m going to be OK with any outcome.

I am a person who lives with mental illness. I live in recovery from bipolar disorder. To realize I’m going to be OK is huge. I have spent years in therapy building a core that is stable enough to withstand the storms of life. Whatever happens with my boyfriend, my core is still going to be stable.

Obviously, I want to move forward with my boyfriend in my life. I love him. I love me, too. I owe it to myself to be with a man who recognizes and respects my stable core. I’ve worked hard on it. It’s firm.

While all this drama plays itself out, I get to continue living my life. I feel good.

Plot Twist

I started writing this blog 8 years ago. I’ve been through a lot in that time.

I experienced dire pain that I thought would never end. I walked through it.

I lived with the dawning of hope, and I walked through the pain until I got past the dawn to the reality of the hope itself.

I found deep healing.

I am at a turning point that I could not imagine even a few short years ago. As I announced on March 12, 2018, I am dating a man. It has been very exciting. We have had two arguments. We talked each one through to resolution. I have forced myself to walk through the maelstrom of emotions all this new energy has brought up in me.

I’ve been going to my therapist weekly, but I’m back on a normal schedule of every other week. He’s kept me clear.

I do extra grounding visualizations in my morning meditations now. Staying rooted to the ground I walk on keeps me steady.

I’ve started exercising again, and it feels wonderful. I’m back to speed walking 2.5 miles every day. I want to be in top form because it means I’m closer to him.

And I’m at a turning point. It started when I realized I was nervous about the relationship. It has become important, and I don’t want to lose it. I wasn’t able to see him for 4 days, and it seemed like an eternity, and I ached. I think of him, and I get this feeling in my chest right around my heart.

I’m in love.

It’s the most incredible thing in the world. I want to share it, and I want to hide it. I want to tell everyone, and I want to whisper it to just a select few after they promise not to tell another soul. I want to cry. I want to run.

I’m exuberant.

I’m terrified.

Life has many questions, and none of the scare me at all.

More About Dating and Bipolar Disorder

As mentioned a month ago, I’m dating. I didn’t plan it, but I mentioned my diagnosis the first time we met. He heard me, but he didn’t say anything. I think he realizes it has an affect, because I have to be careful with how involved I allow myself to get. I have to be conscious of how much time I’m giving him and how much I’m giving my recovery by keeping the routine that my stability is based on.

(Here’s a well-read post about dating and bipolar I wrote a number of years ago.)

So that I think is the key for me as a person with bipolar disorder when I date. My first priority has to be maintaining my stability. Without it, I’m not a good partner.

My partner has a part to play, too. He gives me the space I need to follow my routine. Encouragement from him means a great deal. Words that tell me he knows I’m working on myself are like gold.

I have certain things that are vital to my recovery: meditation, medication, therapy, exercise, and sleep. He can help me most not by monitoring those activities but by praising me for doing them.

I am devoting more energy to those activities these days. I’m going to therapy weekly, because this relationship is new, and it’s bringing up a lot of stuff that needs to be dealt with. My therapist is a disinterested third party and gives me honest, impartial feedback.

I’m taking my medication as prescribed. I have a problem with my feet, so I’m not exercising. My sleep is not good, so I’m going to make an appointment with a specialist.

Meditation is the most important thing I do without a doubt. I can sit and breathe and release energy that feels like it’s weighing me down. I can clear out so much in a short session. It’s not hard or complex. A friend asked me how to do it yesterday. I explained all you have to do is create a happy place in your mind where you can go and walk around and feel stuff in your body and then release the bad stuff. It’s that simple. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Walk through a door to a place that you create that’s happy for you. In that place, pay attention to your body, and release anything that is uncomfortable. That’s it.

My partner can help me the most by being open and by talking a lot about how he feels about what I’m doing. It doesn’t take much. As long as I know the lines of communication are open, I can walk through almost anything. Once I feel like I’m being dictated to or preached to or not being heard, I have a very different reaction.

Dating works when both parties work on it. I do my part by maintaining my recovery first and being attentive to him second. He does his part in a very similar fashion. He cares for himself and is then attentive to me.