Category Archives: Coping Skills

Broke Lady of Leisure

I can’t find anywhere to volunteer that floats my boat, so to speak. One I’m still waiting for the background check. The rest? Who knows. I RSVP’d to another postcard-writing event for one of the political candidates I’m supporting. I have a blood drive to attend next weekend.

Not a whole lot to do except Wait, and Self-Improvement. So I’m basically a Lady of Leisure right now. I read. I watch HBO shows I’ve recorded or funny late night  shows the day after they aired. I watch streaming shows like Orange Is the New Black’s new season. I read a lot more. I exercise. I go to spiritual direction, NAMI, and my therapist. Oh, and I have no money to spend, so it’s not like I’m at Starbucks (my ONLY local coffee place in 15 miles, WTF Texas!) or going shopping or ordering up meals from GrubHub to try some new places.

I guess I’m taking care of bipolar by self-improvement? The days run together though. I try to get outside the house everyday, but a day like today is a fail. I watched shows and read all day, except for the hour I exercised and took a shower. Oh, boy! The highlight of my day tomorrow is the color and cut at my new salon – waaaay cheaper than my last salon. I suppose that would be the highlight for most women though. Getting a fresh ‘do is always good self-care.

I would have thought spending my time in meaningful pursuits was a better way to use my time as a disabled person than simply doing things for myself. My mood is stable again, thank goodness! It would be a good time to make the world a better place, I thought. Instead I’m stymied in that department. So I’m stuck with leisure, and I’m making the best of it by exercising my brain with challenging subjects to read – nonfiction and controversial-contemporary fiction. And appointments that give insight to my current struggles.

I’m trying not to be bored – another reason to volunteer. But good grief! Without money to spend, I’m not liking the lady of leisure lifestyle very much. And even with money, how could I be so selfish as to spend so much on me? I’m a little ashamed that I have so much free time and not a lot worthwhile to say I did with the time. I know I can’t hold a job. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to hold volunteer jobs and failed miserably too. It’s hard when my moods have been so variable and hospitalizations have been so frequent. I hate calling in to say I can’t be there just because of a mental health reason that crops up more than a cold or flu might.

How I spend my time troubles me. That so much depends on my mood troubles me more.


Just Another Blog Post

I’m blogging because my therapist expects me to keep writing. It’s helping my anxiety to put in writing what I’m thinking. So, just another blog post about … nothing.

I’ve been doing some spiritual seeking this week with a new book from a friend of mine, Meredith Gould. It’s Desperately Seeking Spirituality: A Field Guide to Practice. Each chapter has questions at the end to delve deeper into each topic or practice. I’ve been journaling the answers instead of just answering them in my head. I’m not sure I’ll go back to the answers, but writing them out is helping me be more specific and targeted for getting at where I’m at spiritually these days. You’ve read about my struggles, and I feel I just have to start over. Hence, this book and its title were very on point.

I didn’t work out at all last week. I felt guilty at the time, yet now I’m glad for the break. I’m starting back up, and hope to get into the pool now that it’s closer to 90 than over 100 this week. Maybe that will help the water feel less like a bacteria-infested bathtub. Ugh. I’m not sure knowing the salt water keeps it clean is enough for me if the water is so warm. Might as well be a warm hot tub instead of a hot hot tub, if you know what I mean.

I tried yet another place to volunteer today, this time a place that gives mental health services for the community. Sounds perfect, right? Not only is there nothing available right now to volunteer to do, both email addresses I was given to contact the volunteer coordinator didn’t work. Good grief, can I get any other doors blocking my way to give back to the community and to do something meaningful with my time! I don’t really like/can’t do food service, standing on my feet for longer than a few minutes, or schlepping things from place to place. So soup kitchens and thrift stores and construction are out. My heart just isn’t in it, especially if my back can’t be in it either.

I feel like I’m getting compassion fatigue and I’m not even doing anything but staying aware of all the issues plaguing our state, nation and world right now. I don’t know how to help anything other than stay aware and I guess ready to act once one of the volunteer places opens up. I’m still politically active, if that’s a thing. I wrote up postcards for a candidate on Friday night. So that’s something.

Reflections #13

Last day of writing to see what I’m thinking! I’m sure you’re bored of my drivel every day… I would be!

My mood is still stable though I’m feeling irritable today. Could be a shift in mood, or just an off day with normal fluctuations of feelings. I think the irritability has been slowly growing, mostly because I’m not doing enough to satisfy my values. I would be volunteering more, yet I can’t seem to get a call back from any of the 3 places I called. Hmmm.

What I’ve learned from two weeks of daily blogging: my mind might be empty instead of racing; I can string a thought into a paragraph with enough effort; and I’m searching for ways to fill my time that fit with my values. I could say that I have jumbled thoughts since I go from random topic to random topic. I think I am prompting thoughts though. The thoughts are more about things that happened in the day because I’m prompting myself with a probe about what I did in the last 24 hours.

I’ve got a NAMI meeting tonight. I don’t have anything to talk about since my mood is so stable right now. So glad for that!

Reflections #12

Almost there! Just today and tomorrow in the quest to see what I’m thinking in this either very full, racing brain, or a very-empty-until-I-put-in-a-prompt brain.

My mood is still stable, thank goodness. I’m loving my new cocktail! I’m actually happy most of the time. I’m pretty sure that one of my meds is overkill though. I hope the next psychiatrist nixes it.

I drove on a lot of unfamiliar roads today to get my parents’ cat to an imaging center for a radioactive thyroid scan. The scan is a precursor to next week’s radioactive treatment to cure hyperthyroidism. He doesn’t take the medicine well, chasing him all over just to rub his ear for 10 seconds, twice a day, even with a reward of fresh baked chicken each time. So my family is paying a lot to get the treatment. He’s old at 14, but in ok health. Might have an inflamed bowel that is causing his vomiting instead of the thyroid. Treatment for that??? You guessed it! Daily medicine. Sigh. I hate being recruited to help grab him, since my family can’t give my cat another hoot. And that cat doesn’t like me anyway.

I finally called again at the refugee agency where I want to volunteer. I had to leave another message. I hope this time I get a call back.

I did some art therapy today. This time it was a picture of my inner and outer life. My inner life is full of desire and want – a busy life, meaningful activities, a relationship. My outer life is like calm waters – a calm demeanor, the appearance of nothing going on – compared to the large, rough waves of my inner life. I think it’s an accurate depiction. How do you draw desire though? I tried.

I finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World And Me. Very excellent book. So much about how black people’s bodies are so vulnerable because of people who like to think of themselves as white’s culture that is built on the bodies of black Americans – ghettos, redlined housing districts, police brutality, just to name a few. I knew about this, and Coates explained in a clear way. This racist’s eyes are more open again. How can I help change the culture?

The Handmaid’s Tale is also finished, with a good cliffhanger at the end. I won’t spoil the ending in case you are watching it. The last episode dropped today, and now there won’t be any until when? Anybody know? Is it a summer series?

Reflections #11

Another day of trying to see in print what I’m thinking. Mood is still stable at happy, a midpoint where my emotions go up and down in a usual fashion. I’m still uncertain whether my thoughts are racing so fast I can’t tell what I’m thinking, or if I have no thoughts until I prod.

The grocery store had my favorite OPI nail color, “I’m Not Really a Waitress.” So I did my toenails today while watching “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I’m all caught up in time for the season finale to drop tomorrow. I’ll be sad to see it go for possibly another year.

I forgot to call about volunteering with Refugee Services of Texas. I was going to leave another message that I was interested, since I’m guessing I’ll get voicemail again. I’ll put in my calendar to call again. Doing it right now… Ok, done.

Shark week is coming! I’m so excited to see underwater again. It’s like a little vacation. I’d be afraid, but I would totally get in a cage.

Reflections #10

Another day in the two week quest to see what I’m thinking. I haven’t decided if my thoughts are racing so fast I can’t tell what I’m thinking, or that I have so few thoughts that I don’t have anything I’m thinking about. If the latter it’s the first time possibly ever! When I stop to try to form a thought, there is a song going through my head at any given time. Just a couple lines, of course, just to give me an earworm. But not much else. I listen, and the thoughts are non-existent or racing so fast I can’t tell what they are doing. I’m almost thinking they are non-existent.

I saw my psychiatrist today just to get refills. I would have waited to see the new one except that I would need refills before I saw him. So I gritted my teeth and bore it. I just don’t get that she sympathizes with me at all. And I need someone who is compassionate at the very least. I don’t get that from her. Oh well. I tried. On to the next one!

I’m doing well with exercising 5x/week, half hour at a time. I vary what I’m doing between the pool, the treadmill and the recumbent exercise bike. I’m not getting in any strength training though. I could use the fitness center, but I’m doing things with the least amount of fuss possible. I’m going to the pool which takes more fuss than it’s worth, including that I have to wait until at least 6:15 to go so the sun is lower. By then the pool is bath water, which feels gross. Pool water should be a little cool when you get in…

People have been giving me suggestions for churches in my denomination to try. I appreciate the leads! Based on the websites and the distance I don’t think they are good fits though. There’s something about staying in my area so I can do things with a local emphasis. I could try the church near me again. It’s website makes me think it’s a different spirituality than I have. Torn again between two spiritualities.

Reflections #9

Welp. I forgot to blog yesterday. But it’s a new day, and I’m blogging to see in print what I’m thinking. My thoughts are racing so much that I don’t know what I’m thinking – still. It’s been weeks. I went from thinking nothing when I was severely depressed to thinking way, way too much now that my mood is so much better – happy even. Mood is still stable at happy. My emotions are fluctuating normally, a little higher, a little lower, all in response to stimuli and less based on how my mood is.

Today I’m feeling down or bored or reflective. It’s a Sunday and that makes me more reflective. In church today it felt like too many words and too much non-helpful music. The silence was nice, though my thoughts tried to drown out the sound of silence. (Cue earworm…) I tried to stay in the moment during the silence, and even during the words. Mindfulness in the moment. Only the silence felt right, though I get enough alone time at home. Intentional silence in community is different. I don’t feel alone. I feel surrounded by others’ thoughts and bodies. I can find that place of stillness in the communal silence. Even today with racing thoughts I found it for maybe 10 seconds, but it was delicious! Maybe I should try more meditation and find the stillness when I’m alone too. Usually I find the stillness more when I’m in a group of people though.

Yesterday I did some volunteering for a local politician’s campaign. It was a phone bank training followed by some calling. I didn’t realize there would be calling in a group, and I didn’t feel in the right space to do that. So I went home and thought I’d do some calling, but I haven’t yet. I did meet some good people though. Baby steps?

I’m feeling lonely today. I wish I had more friends – ok, any friends – to hang out with here. I have people I see at church, and people I see at NAMI, and people I interact with on Facebook. I don’t have people to hang out with. I’m hoping with some engagement in political things I’ll develop some relationships. And I hope that will happen also with volunteering at other places. I’d like to get out of the house more too. Although I’m liking my room better, I can still feel isolated.

I just didn’t feel up to making art today. I think it went with feeling lonely. I didn’t think I could be more introspective than I was already with church. I guess. Maybe the directive for art therapy was not on point today, and I didn’t feel like coloring.

I talked with someone at church today about how I feel caught in between loyalties. I’m a minister in one denomination and attending a church of a very different denomination. Even though I feel at home with the new worship and focus on different kinds of spirituality, I still feel a call from my home denomination. I don’t know if I should be going to both, or pick one. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the new one, I think because of feeling torn. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the home denomination because it’s so far behind where I am spiritually in most of the congregations. And this is Texas. Do you think I’d be able to find a liberal church in my denomination? I’m guessing no. But I may be underestimating my home denomination.