Routines

My pile of paperwork.
Last week, I wasn't feeling quite right. I wasn't depressed, but I wasn't as spirited or productive as usual. I'm okay now, and I'm grateful that the way I felt was just temporary. I always have a sense of foreboding when I think that I might be getting depressed. Because I have survived quite a few long and terrible depressions, including one last fall and winter, avoiding depression is very important to me.

When I noticed I was slipping, I resolved to make sure I was following all of my routines--something most people who are being treated for bipolar disorder are aware that they should do when they feel that they are heading toward either depression or mania.

I have so many routines! These are the important ones: wake up routine, morning routine, medication routine, work routine, after-work routine, sleep routine (this is not a joke), workout routine, diet/meal preparation routine, cleaning routine, sorting through mail routine, bill paying routine, and, last but not least, the checking and updating my calendar routine.  

Today was a good day. I successfully completed all of my routines, and I feel stable. I was sure of this after dinner. After work, I went grocery shopping and prepared a really good meal using two recipes from Weight Watchers. My boyfriend and I enjoyed pan-fried chicken breasts, a spinach-feta saute, and some potato salad. Kind of a strange choice of side dishes, but my boyfriend is a really picky eater, and I know he likes potato salad. I am thrilled whenever we eat the same food, because if I cook something that doesn't sound good to him, he will eat a Hot Pocket instead of something healthy.

Earlier this month, when we visited our friends out west, they asked my boyfriend if he wanted them to have any particular foods ready for him. He asked for Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew, and he ate that meal whenever whatever they were cooking didn't appeal to him. I'm glad he doesn't only do that when I cook! Anyway, tonight was really nice. I enjoyed cooking, spending time with my boyfriend, sharing a good meal, and realizing that I am definitely not depressed.

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/20/2011

    Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew. A little adorable. A little tragic.

    I never really thought about routines and bipolar before. No wonder I like being in a rut so much. If only my sleep were more routine.
    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/163/6/981

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  2. My boyfriend's habits are 98% adorable and only 2% tragic, so we are evenly matched.

    Focusing on routines has helped me a great deal. Thanks for passing the article along!

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  3. I am glad I found your blog, can't wait to read more. The routines thing... yeah. I am still kicking and bucking at that whole mess. It pisses me off that I can't eat like a real person, or occasionally stay up late, etc.

    Thanks for blogging about this. I have considered it often, but I know I'd only write during the up swings, so the whole picture would be a little imbalanced.

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  4. It is hard to have to pay more attention to almost every aspect of our lives than most people, but at least we can understand each other.

    Before my diagnosis, I happily followed many routines--until I went through my first cycle of serious mood swings. Getting back into healthy routines has always helped me recover from breakdowns, and I feel it has helped me move into a stage of recovery in my life.

    It wouldn't hurt to start writing. I think the more different perspectives that are shared the better. Thanks for reading!

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  5. Hey, just wanted to let you know that I've read all of your blog posts, and it's a wonderful resource for me (a 21 year old college student with bipolar) to be able to read someone older and wiser talking about their life experiences. Thanks so much for writing!

    (and I can't believe your boyfriend would rather eat hot pockets than home cooking - how bizarre!)

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  6. That is great to hear. I hope this blog will help anyone who wants to read it, but I was first inspired to write it by thinking about how lost I was when I was diagnosed in 1989 as a nineteen year old college student. I couldn't find books to read, or people to talk to, and the internet was not being used by most people yet. There is so much more information available today, but I thought I could still contribute by writing about my experiences. Dealing with bipolar disorder definitely takes a lot of discipline and patience and it helps to have information abut how people are coping.

    My boyfriend is great, but I am also baffled by his eating habits.

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