Just Keep Swimming

The phrase made famous by Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) in Finding Nemo seems to be my mantra at the moment when it comes to…well, everything.

In regards to my sleep I decided to just run with it. All part of me finally accepting there is not going to be some miraculous cure for bipolar. Instead of stressing myself out that I wasn’t sleeping at night and then trying to keep myself up all day to try to force my body back into sleeping, which would usually just trigger a minor manic period which would see me awake for days at a time…I decided to be awake when I was awake and sleep when I got tired enough to lie down. At the start I was sleeping 3am – 3pm, a few days later it was 7am – 7pm and then it was Midday – Midnight and eventually it righted itself. I then spent 2 full days keeping myself busy through the day so I could sleep and it worked a treat. The only problem was when I discovered a new blog last night just as I was getting sleepy and had to keep reading. Then I pushed past where I was sleepy and didn’t sleep well at all. Grrr. But today I made a point of going out and getting some exercise and I plan to sleep as soon as I am sleepy…whenever that is.

With me being awake through the day it is time to get back to the Dr. She isn’t in again til Tomorrow (but was booked out) so Wednesday afternoon it is. Hopefully she will agree that my sleep is not being helped by taking my seroquel and will agree to at least discuss the possibility of either some sort of sleeping pill or maybe other options I haven’t heard about. I am also in desperate need of a new psych, but honestly with the reverse sleep cycles I have done nothing except cancel my appointments over and over again. Then they were only there Sunday and Sundays require all hands on deck as we have two girls in soccer and so far their games haven’t been held at the same place. I am also starting to look into talking to other health professionals to see what other options I have. I am looking to visit a Dr. who also specialises in Chinese medicine who works a lot with mentally ill patients and possibly a naturopath as well. May seem a bit out there but I am hoping that if I can start to heal my body, maybe my mind will catch up a little. At this stage whatever the budget allows, I am willing to try.

12WBT is going along as well as can be expected. I have started moving more. Even if that means getting up to fill my own water bottle which some days I can’t even manage. The last of the warm up challenges was making a meal plan and an eating schedule. I ignored it for the first few days as I was getting a bit crazy with my upside down sleeping. Then I got cranky knowing I couldn’t keep a schedule with me sleeping whenever I could. Then I decided really all I needed to do was decide on a frequency of eating. So when I wake up and then every 3 hours after that (breakfast, snack, then lunch, snack, then dinner even if dinner is atΒ  6am). I felt much better after that. Again I was just reminded of my fatalistic attitude, all or nothing. I have always been like that, but since my bipolar came on it definitely got worse. I kept waiting to do anything until I could be the person that got up at 6am and worked out before their day started. No more waiting. Just keep doing whatever I can, whenever I can.

Today the pre-season started. A 20 minute video from Michelle talking about three different factors that can stop you from working out/eating right. First – the internal. You know the internal monologues everyone seems to have with themselves. I’m not good enough. I’ll Fail. I’m too fat. I’m not good enough. I’m not fit enough. The nagging voice that tells you that an extra hour in bed is much preferable to a workout. Second The External. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s raining. Those things you can control, at least according to Michelle. You can over come them and our task was to write out all these things and then find solutions for them.

When I first watched the video I admit I got mad. I was hurt and upset and felt like yet again mental illness was somehow a “choice”. Apparently these external factors that you can’t control are emergencies that pop up once in a blue moon. She mentioned that not working out because it were tired was as silly as saying you weren’t going to have a shower that day because you were tired. She said you wouldn’t miss a shower everyday, so why working out. It should become a part of your day.

It was there that I got upset. I cried. I paused the video and tried to collect myself. In the case of my bipolar, mainly in a depressive phase, I can’t shower most days. I struggle to brush my teeth. To get dressed. To see anyone except my husband (read to the end if you want to find out what is going on there) and kids (and even then on really bad days I hide in my room). On those days, I have to struggle just to keep my head above water. I have to struggle to make sure my suicidal thoughts don’t come back (I have been hospitalised for attempted suicide three or four times now). I then realised what I realised a little while ago. My bipolar can’t be cured. It might be able to be well managed, and I am not at that point yet, but it will never be better. It is my external factor I can’t control. Yes I can control whether or not I exercise when I am functioning closer to a “normal” person, but when I am manic or depressed all bets are off.

I want to say that I don’t believe this is Michelle’s fault. She did the video to address most people with “normal” issues. People crippled with mental illness probably didn’t enter her mind.

So with that in mind I am just going to keep doing the best I can. I have decided that it isn’t as important that I do 6 workouts a week. What is important is that when I can, I get up and do some exercise. I have read enough about bipolar to know that regular exercise can work wonders for it. I know that being fit and healthy will help me in many ways. But in my case I have to be just as concious of what is going on mentally, if not more so. If I set my goal at six workouts a week and fail, then the negative self talk comes in (like I imagine it would for most people) but in my case that can lead to a spiral that would see me suicidal. It;s not an excuse…it’s a fact. Other people may agree or disagree, that’s ok. I just have to keep doing what I think is best for me and today, given I felt relatively normal (as in I was whining about it being cold and me being tired like a normal person, not huddling in a corner like a crazy person). I went over to the gym and did 30 minutes on the bike with my own little spin on interval training (I peddle faster during the choruses of my favourite work out songs) and managed to knock out 11.56km in that time.

In regards to homeschooling the girls father has taken over that for me while I concentrate on trying to get my sleep sorted. I miss it though. I love watching them learn new things and be an active part in their education. I have learnt so much about my girls and how they learn since starting our homeschooling journey (which was almost two years ago now – crazy how time flies). They have been reading a lot and learning to draw manga. We are allowing a bit more tv time at the moment as they like to put on their cartoons and pause them to draw…I can’t really argue with that. They have all also taken up knitting again and dolls and scarves are being churned out daily. Lots more cooking is happening with Miss 12 getting into the “Nigella Kitchen” series I downloaded for her. Excursions have been coming out the wazoo with the girls all having a visit to the Endeavour replica that was touring which has lead to a lot of talk about colonisation (and how it wasn’t necessarily a great thing) and discovery and the book “The Goat Who Sailed the World” (thank you Jackie French…our girls absolutely devour your jrn. historical fiction). Whenever I call the book by name all four girls chime in with “thrice” afterwards as apparently the goat was so great on her travels (they used her for milk) Captain Cook took her out three more times. We also borrowed what might be the local libraries entire collection of books related to ANZAC day and have been reading lots about that. Miss 12 & Miss 10 are also currently in negotiations with the local library to volunteer – all on their own. They haven’t even let me proof read their correspondence. I love initiative and seeing my girls take charge is fantastic. I just need to let the library know that our HEN membership should cover their insurance as normally the school they come from would have the insurance needed for work experience. The twins have also caught up to their big sisters and have learnt how to use the libraries online system to search for books and request them so they are ready to pick up when we next visit. This came in handy when the two of them were struck down pretty hard with the flu this week 😦

Relationship stuff….well after the girls father moved out things went along fine for awhile then they kind of went downhill. He showed up at 2am and confessed his love and begged me to take him back. I agreed. We are going back into counselling together as soon as we can a) find somewhere locally that has openings for couples therapy and b) can find a babysitter at the same time. I didn’t say anything for a long time as really I didn’t want any external input. I wanted to see what would happen on my own. I felt bad for upsetting the kids for nothing (even though it wasn’t nothing…it needed to be done). I felt everyone would think I was an idiot for taking him back. I didn’t want to make another huge public mistake. So I didn’t mention anything. Then I told a friend via msn who always understands no matter what and literally offers no input into my decisions (which is something I sometimes so desperately need). Then I announced it on twitter and the lovely Aly supported me, but wanted to make sure I didn’t get hurt again – I really do adore you Missy). Then I meant to mention it on the blog and I just plum forgot. By that point I was no longer thinking about trying to hide it, I wasn’t thinking about it at all. He was just here and life was mostly back to normal. But I feel guilty. I have tried to blog so honestly and here I was hiding something for fear of comments….I had forgotten that while it is fantastic that people love to read my little blog, I blog for me.Β  He sleeps in the bedroom with me every night…which hasn’t happens in about 8 years and was one of the major issues we had. He is trying hard to rebuild my trust and I am not making it easy on him. He is trying really hard and some days I really don’t know why he tries so hard when I just keep being nasty. I have a lot of fear in our relationship. I hope we can work through it. Even if we can’t at least we are giving it a good old go. We have even been out on two dates since then. Yesterday we went to see the Avengers (yes another comic book movie he wanted to see) and a few weeks back we went to see Sondenheim’s musical “Company” which was being broadcast at selected cinemas and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it! We are also hoping to find a regular sitter so we can take up swing dancing, which I have always wanted to do. The money to do the activities is one thing, babysitters are a whole other kettle of fish. A lovely friend pointed out that we should qualify for the local councils respite program which should give us a few hours of free care a week…so we are going to look into that as well.

Lastly there is still a few days left to enter my 100 competition. Win a bunch of my favourite beauty products just by commenting on that blog post. How easy is that? Also cold cream rocks…but you already knew that if you read this blog.

now I am off to watch some “Call The Midwife” (1950’s period drama about midwives) and then, fingers crossed, some sleep!



10 thoughts on “Just Keep Swimming

  1. I think it’s great that you’re attempting the 12WBT – and there’s no rules that say you need to do it their way, just go at your own pace! I’m sure I would burn out trying to do six workouts per week. I don’t know how people find the time.

    Don’t feel like you need to hide things about your life on your blog! I (and I’m sure all your readers) are going to support you no matter what, and it sounds like this is a step in the right direction for your family.

    I think Dory’s motto is a great one for this post. You can do it! πŸ™‚

    Call The Midwife sounds awesome, I will have to look into it! xx

    • Awww thanks lovely. I felt so silly afterwards and then literally forgot about it like I do everything!

  2. oh, this is all just so wonderful and inspiring and I am so stoked for you. Really. So much that I’m going to turn the computer off now and have a cup of tea to celebrate and just think about how awesome you are and what a fabulous post this is.

    • YAY! Thanks for all the support – I know I owe you an email….but I might be heading down your way in a few weeks for an appointment, once I have that confirmed will let you know πŸ™‚ and hopefully we can meet/opshop afterwards?

      • Sounds great! Let me know. By the way, it was a lovely cup of tea. And also by the way, my motto was ‘steady goes the horse with the cart of apples.’ Not as catchy perhaps, but that was before Nemo.

  3. This makes me so happy for you that everything is working out – I know I don’t know you super dell, but it’s crazy how far you seem to have come since our date (of which another is sorely needed!)!

    I hope I didn’t upset you when I said all that on twitter – I probably overstepped the line!

    Love you happy, its so great!

    • No you didn’t over step the line at all. My whole family think I am so lucky to have him and think I am crazy if I feel otherwise, you were the first person to make sure I was ok. I appreciate that more than you can imagine. Yes another catch up is definately overdue. I will email you πŸ™‚

  4. Hey, I meant to write on here the other day but I wanted to say that I think that doing that extra bit that you can manage is definitely the way to go and the program definitely needs to adapt to different circumstances, and I’m glad to be following your journey and doing this alongside you!

  5. Wow- there’s so much in this post. I read it at work today but didn’t have time to reply, so here I am now.

    I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to weight loss – everyone has different physical and mental issues that will restrict them. I think that the 12 week challenge can still work for you as long as you make a conscious decision to make what are big changes for *you*, and not necessarily exactly what Michelle would want (lol).

    Re being back with the kid’s Dad, I don’t think anyone can judge. No one else really knows what it’s like to be you in your situation, and you have to do what is right for you at the end. It sounds like you guys are making great progress, good luck and I hope it continues!

    Apologies for not being very articulate, I feel a little brain dead after a stressful week. Happy weekend!

    • Thanks lovely…you seem perfectly articulate to me. Hope the weekend makes up for the stressful week.

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