This Bipolar Life: The Coin Toss

Making decisions is not my strength, yet. I’m working on it but the whole finality of the choices gets me. Like, what if I’m wrong? What if it goes sideways? What if? What if? What if? Increasingly I am also making sure to wonder if I’m right too and that’s helping!

Fortunately I have tools to use. I use techniques like remembering to go through pros/cons and asking those around me to help play out the scenario over coffee/zoom. Their feedback is invaluable as I don’t quite trust my gut just yet (another thing I’m working on) because although my mind is on point my brain chemicals can get whacky occasionally and cloud my ability to clearly see options.

Seriously though, I’m a grown-ass woman who often get’s stuck and can’t figure out what to watch on tv, which craft to pick up, which project to start, business to launch, relationships to end/start, meals to make, jobs to choose, careers, empty nest decoration…just all of it. Talk about ridiculous, right? Well I have a tool that works really well, here goes:

My solution – AND IT WORKS 100% FOR ME – has been to rely on a coin-toss. After becoming fully aware of my choices, benefits and consequences I figure out my top two options and throw a coin up. While it’s in the air I instinctively know which one I want. Heads or tails, each representing a commitment to seeing something through, and I know. Instantly. Before it hits the ground, which choice I want.

ALWAYS. Then, no matter how the coin lands, I’ve finally made my decision and I can move on.

Just one tool that works for me. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too!

This Bipolar Life: The Dance

Better to dance with the devil you know than the one you don’t, right?

If I had known how things were going to turn out there are some choices I might make differently. What I’ve discovered though is that mistakes are lessons to learn. These might be painful to recall and process (with or without therapy) but the truth is just that. Facts can’t be discarded based on what I hope was different. What’s happened has done so and cannot be changed. However, improvement is always available and even a small step forward is sometimes the tiny bit of “oomph!” to give me what I need to keep going. 

I have chosen to see my bipolar disorder as something I treat and effectively work with while pursuing a successful career and relationships. To me it is a dance. One step forward and sometimes a step or two back, but always dancing forward regardless, just not always sure of the tempo.

It’s not something I would like to do and it’s cost me a metric ton of losses over the years but I’m getting better and managing the fancy footwork. Bipolar wants to twist my steps, pull me down or skyrocket me up and I refuse to let it, at least as much as is possible, because I want a stable life. As my therapist and psych dr. both say, I’m pretty stable and my bipolar is being treated successfully. Apparently this means I’m now strong enough to get my shit together, grow up, get a backbone where a wishbone once was and start contributing more intentionally and frequently.

I was resistant at first because I’ve been dancing with my demons for at least 15 years and didn’t think I would ever get out of my entrenched patterns. The truth is I still have a hard time and although I’m working diligently to improve it’s not always forward progress. Due to an excellent therapist and self-knowledge efforts, I know where I’m going but sometimes it feels like I’m just going ‘round and ‘round in circles, you know?

When someone brings a character or behavioral issue to me I try to keep an open mind and be receptive to respectful critique. That’s generally not what happens though. Usually I get immediately defensive and stand my ground regardless of whether I’m right. I tend to think whatever my opinion or version of something is the truth. I forget that my memory is not what I would like and sometimes (ok, lots of times) I need to be reminded to accurately recall something or realize I don’t truly “get it” and finally defer to other people’s memories. As I’m sure you can appreciate this is extremely frustrating, but it is a reality of my disorder.

I survive it. I will continue to do so. As above, it’s better to dance with the devil you know than the one you don’t. At this point I am intimately aware of all the ups and downs of bipolar and ready to two-step anytime. I’m the boss of my bipolar.

This Bipolar Life: Be Your Own Boss?

So it’s been said (a lot) the people with severe mental illnesses, like bipolar or schizophrenia, don’t know how or can’t keep a job and they become a drain on society. My story, and those of many others, takes a different turn. I do keep myself employed most of the time. I have switched companies a few times and there have been some fairly large gaps in time but I have always come back to working, at least part-time.

However, what seems to work best for a lot of people with mental illness is to be your own boss. To that end I have started and ended at least four businesses. They all failed. I failed. But then something happened, I got back up again and kept trying. After working for myself once before as a real estate agent (a good one too) I returned to that experience as the basis for my ultimate goal: the ability to earn income no matter where I was in the world. I want to travel and I needed a business that would allow it. I’ve loved grant writing for years and now I’m turning it into my full-time business – finally!

I believe firmly that really making a solid effort to reach a goal can make all the difference and although it can be difficult for me to stay on top of all the moving parts, it is worth it. I prefer to answer to myself (and my clients of course) for my hours, my effort, my outcomes. All of it. I like to be my own boss. I still need accountability. That’s where the challenge comes in and not just for me or people with bipolar but for many solo business owners. Fortunately technology is amazing these days and I can virtual sticky notes for nearly everything and an calendar item for every commitment. I’m getting better and better each time. This much I know.

Clearly I have struggled with this for years but finally have the “oomph” to move forward and combine my passion to create positive change with my writing and research expertise. I have finally launched my grant writing business and I feel relieved. It’s coming into fruition. Now I just need a few clients…lol!

So (shameless plug ahead) with that in mind, if you need funding for a project you’re working on…check out my company: www.mobilegrants.com. You’ll be surprised by what I can find if I just put my (occasionally addled) mind to it!