It has been about two years since I last wrote, and I have to say that I have been relatively stable. I have something I like to call the three-month challenge. I reach stability for up to three months and then I have some sort of depressive or manic episode before I can break my 90-day record. The episodes usually last from a couple of days to several months, but I usually return to my typical stable self for three months etc. One of my top goals for the last few years is to keep stable for longer than three months. It is really hard to have any long-term engagements when you are flipping out so often. I really want to go back to school and finish my bachelors in anything at this point because I don’t like the idea of not finishing something I started. So, with the help of a very frustrated psychiatrist, we came to a new strategy for tackling this problem. He told me bipolar disorder is cyclical so my life also should follow patterns to reenforce stability. He also told me to find a therapist that could help me with some better coping strategies, but that is another tale for another time.
So, here I am, Mr. Scatterbrain trying to tackle forming habits, attempting time management, fighting inertia, because who likes to do things they don’t want to do, or in my case doing things at times that I don’t want to. I first tried a planner. I tried using digital planners like google calendar, but quickly discovered that since I work with computers a lot, I don’t take digital anything seriously, so I was left with trying the paper version. I tried a couple of pre-printed planners like the panda planner and the clever fox planner, and they worked well but couldn’t satisfy all of my needs. So desperate to find some sort of life organization tool I came across bullet journaling on YouTube. Bullet journaling is a system that converts a blank gridded page notebook into a planner and journal to keep track of life. The cool thing about this concept is that the journal/planner can be adapted and changed over time to accommodate anything you want to record or keep track of. I use mine as a planner, habit tracker, mood tracker, notebook for therapy, log and notes for therapy homework, and just a general medium to track my thoughts and emotions through writing and doodling.
Here is a resource for the basics of bullet journaling. Though, a quick search on YouTube will quickly expand upon the basics and show you the potential of this great tool.
Now with my bullet journal I keep track of the basics (like exercising, food intake, and mood), hobbies (like learning Spanish, and reading), and I track my daily studying (like math, computers, and spirituality). Seeing what I’m missing in a day really helps get me motivated to keep at those activities. I haven’t become more efficient, because I’m still Mr. Scatterbrain, but at least I’m getting all the things done that I want to get done in a day. Getting organized helps me try my best to do my best. Being less lost in my life has helped me clear my head so that I have less worries and more opportunities to deal with the type of things that destabilize me. I’m three weeks in stability. Please wish me good luck!
I should write something about living with a mental illness through the COVID-19 pandemic, but I need more time to write that entry. I just wanted to write a short entry to get the writing cogs going again.