THINGS and SITUATIONS: How to Have Healthy Relationships

This has been a difficult post to write, since most of my post are spastic and spur-of-the-moment, but this topic is very important to me.

What is your relationship with exercise? With food? With alcohol? With TV? With shopping? I doubt most people have willingly reflected on these questions.

What do you mean “what is my relationship”? I mean what are your emotional associations and habits that go with this activity or thing?

For example, I will share about my relationship with exercise. Exercise has never been a constant in my life until recently. I ran cross country and played softball in high school, but just barely tolerated the vigorous running schedule and the sprinting drills. I got to college and I did not work out. Ever. Luckily I have a fast metabolism and danced (a LOT) every time I went out. The rest of college pretty much went the same way. I felt a lot of pressure to be fit, but I could never commit to a lifestyle change or even a steady schedule. This was due to my relationship with exercise.

My relationship before August: I felt a lot of guilt whenever I thought I should be more fit or exercising. I though it was something that people forced themselves to do. I thought it would be a huge adjustment to make my life more active. Every time I went I thought I was not doing enough, or that people in the gym who were regulars were judging me. Therefore I had a terrible abusive relationship with exercise.

My progression towards a healthy relationship with exercise started when I  moved to Washington in August and was surrounded by my housemates who were all active people. We would go to the gym together, and there was no pressure from them. I also did not know anyone in my gym (it is really important for me to remain anonymous in that place because it’s a vulnerable place for me), so did not feel judged. Hell, for all they knew I was already a marathon runner :P. I adopted a new attitude. Simply showing up at the gym for me was enough. The act of going to the gym was where I derived my satisfaction, not based on how much I accomplished. BUT surprisingly, whenever I would go to they gym I really would try hard and accomplish more than I expected. This is because the only expectations I had was that I would go there and do something. I did not expect to run 20 miles a week or go to the gym everyday.

My relationship now: Tada! My relationship has evolved. I have accepted that being active is something my body needs (just like your dog needs to be taken on walks…my legs need to be taken to run/bike!). I hold myself to low standards, and my only expectation is that my life continues to be an active one. I love going to the gym….it’s a place where my mind has no place and my body takes over (which is a very welcome relief). I feel like I belong there.

Now that I have moved the relationship to a positive one; Where do I think my relationship can take me next? I think that the longer my life is an active one, the more I can elevate my standards. I can start to train for a half-marathon and be confident I will not let myself down. Even if I miss a day of training, I will be kind to myself, and be more ready to get back at it the next day.

F*CK the Diagnosis; I’m still the same person. I’m tired of being hopeless.

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I’m SICK of the way I’ve been acting lately! Like it’s not bad enough to have to deal with taking meds for mental illness and the side effects. On TOP of it, I’ve abandoned myself! Every moment of the day I’m thinking about how the meds are affecting me or trying to pinpoint exactly where I am on the mood spectrum. I’m not able to help myself, and I’m the only one who can! An example is when I’m in a hypomanic spending spree. I try to stop myself, but in the end I don’t really try very hard. I end up telling myself it’s just because I’m hypomanic… “it’ll end soon, just try to spend money on inexpensive things.” This is NOT helping. I’m just laying down in front of the f*cking bulldozer! I’m passively riding it out instead of at least trying to steer a little bit.

Since I’ve been diagnosed officially, I’ve been feeling helpless. It feels like it’s a new disease I’ve just acquired and I don’t know how to deal with it. BUT I’ve been dealing with this for years! It’s not new to me. The diagnosis doesn’t change that I already know how to survive this.

On top of it, I’m forgetting to live my life! I’ve put my hobbies of cooking and running on the sidelines while I “figure out” this bipolar thing. I’m ready to admit that it’s going to take a lifetime to figure out (if ever) and my diagnosis cannot be the forerunner in my life until then. As long as I’m taking my meds and being conscious of my “crutches,” I don’t see why I should waste any more time using all of my obsessive thoughts towards what it means to be bipolar.

I will still be introspective (as always), but I need to spend more brainpower on other things.