Despite having an outward appearance of positivity and being a generally congenial person I have a bad habit that I must confess. It’s one that can make it hard to be happy and easily spiral into panicked headspace if I’m not careful. It’s not uncommon in the bipolar world so I figured I’d write about it a bit.
I worry. A lot. About big and little things. I obsess over them sometimes and often drive my friends batty with my need to endlessly chat about the concerns bouncing around my head. Seriously. You can ask them, I’ve often called to share about some small issue and will repeatedly talk around the same problem despite reassurances that everything will be fine. It’s a bit ridiculous. Or at least it would be if I was “normal” but for those of us with bipolar it’s not so unusual. It’s called “perseverating” which means worrying about the same thing over and over for an extended period of time.
Kids being screwed up by my sometimes flawed parenting attempts? Check. Boss unhappy with my work despite compliments? Check. Bills going unpaid regardless of the fact that I have always had enough? Check. Did I get everything at the grocery store I was supposed to? Check. Did I remember to take my meds or did I take them on time? Check. Does that person really mean what they just said or are they just saying it to make me feel better? Check. Did I hurt their feelings or say something wrong? Easy check for me.
See? There are any number of things that I can worry about if I let myself and all too often I do. It’s not my best trait.
I can get pretty worked up over things sometimes and it sometimes (more often than my wife would like to put up with I’m sure) takes up way too much space in my head. It makes it hard to think positively and be comfortably present in whatever is going on. I can end up being upset in the midst of what is supposed to be a pleasant moment all because I’m worried about the “next shoe dropping” rather than just enjoying the experience I’m having.
So what do I do about all of this? Well, it’s difficult. I’ve discovered I need to unlearn how to think my thoughts. That I have to push back the negative ones and replace them with positive ones. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. There are only so many times I can reassure myself and believe it when all my head wants to do is spin on some stupid issue that probably isn’t that big of a deal in the first place. My brain and my mind are often at odds when it comes to stuff like this. I am nearly constantly having to “put out fires” in my head because I know in my mind that I’m being absurd.
I have learned to challenge my thoughts and though I haven’t mastered it yet (if ever) I am getting better at it. I’ve gotten to where I can enjoy the happy for a bit before the worry kicks in and I’m grateful for even that small gift. One of these days I’ll learn how to just sit back and delight in the moment but for now I’m just going to keep doing my thing and get through each moment with as much joy as I can.
Wishing you all love, light & happiness. (Oh and air conditioning! It’s hot as hell out these days!)