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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

While I was volunteering for my old high school, I got into a discussion with one of the teacher’s wives about starting meds and how it sapped my ability to paint. She had a novel suggestion that I thought I’d share with you guys.

She asked me how large my paintings and mixed media pieces were at the height of my ability, and I told her that they were always very large. She said that maybe I could start painting again using small canvases and work my way up to my old size.

It hit me then that the huge blank space that I was trying to fill had intimidated me to the point that I stopped trying. I’m hoping that this simple change in my art may give me my creativity back.

As I was leaving, my teacher’s wife took me aside and hugged me. She whispered in my ear that she has bipolar as well, and wished me luck. I’ve been shown the necessity of finding other bipolar survivors to bounce ideas off of once again.

Do you have other tips and tricks for people on meds who want to be creative again? Do you work in another medium and need some advice? Leave a comment!

-Ashes

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I read about Moodscope in the most recent issue of Newsweek and loved the idea immediately. It’s an online service that asks you to rate your mood based on twenty feelings each day and issues a score to rate your overall happiness that day. It lets you chart your daily mood fluctuations and add notes on the scores to explain what happened in your life that could have caused your mood to increase or decrease that day. You’re supposed to take the test as a part of your morning routine, before your day really begins, so that you can see your mood baseline before your life alters it that day. It helps to weed out results caused by acute situational changes, making the data more useful for the user.

It also lets you choose a “buddy”, a trusted person in your life that gets an email each day of your scores. If your score drops your buddy can contact you to see what’s going on or offer to talk. The site founder discovered that the simple knowledge that someone was informed about your moods led to an increase in mood. The Hawthorne Effect, a phenomenon where people who know that they are being studied change their behavior or the outcome of an experiment, is actually encouraged on the Moodscope site. It also can save someone’s life. Everyone has heard the story of how a man planning to commit suicide one day changed his mind after a stranger showed an interest in his life; Moodscope can do the same thing. If you’re feeling really low and your daily score reflects that, a simple email from a friend can help pull you out of your funk because you know that someone cares about what happens to you.

I’ve been using Moodscope for less than a week, but I can already see a benefit for me. The numeric score takes my confusing feelings and lets me see them logically. It’s easier to think objectively about how I’m feeling when I have a number to focus on. It also makes me aware of where I’m at emotionally before my mood boils over into my life. This morning I received my lowest score yet, a 34% out of 100. Because I knew that my mood wasn’t very good, I did as many errands as I could on my way home from school rather than wait. If I do errands later in the day I become really irritable and grumpy, so I finished what I could early to make my life easier today.

Check it out if you think it could be useful for you! I’m really excited about the possibilities that Moodscope has and look forward to utilizing it to the fullest.

-Ashes

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Thanks to some weird scheduling, I haven’t had to work since Monday night. I work at a big box chain store, in the apparel and jewelry departments. During the holiday season I certainly appreciate some stroke of luck that led to four days off in a row, even if it’s at the expense of my bank account.

Working during the holidays can be a new kind of hell for bipolar people in retail. Working crazy hours that throw off sleep schedules, demanding customers that can tweak guilt complexes, breakneck speed that can leave you feeling manic, and unrealistic expectations for productivity can bring out bipolar triggers like nothing else. I’ve found a few ways to deal with all of these things however.

1. If you do the best work that you can, it’s harder for guilt trips about productivity from management to take hold.

2. Take any and all breaks on time. Knowing that the day will be split up in predictable and routine ways helps me to manage my bipolar triggers by giving me back some control over the day. It lets me say to myself “I only have to hold it together for 20 more minutes! Then it’s time for me to relax”.

3. Don’t take on other people’s work. I’m tempted to try to help my fellow coworkers out by helping them with a task, but during the holidays you have to look out for yourself.

4. Get a note from your psychiatrist of psychologist if you’re scheduled hours that throw off your sleep schedule. Sleep is one of theĀ  most important variables in keeping bipolar under control. Ask for your doctor to write a note explaining that you can’t work past X’oclock if necessary. It’s made my life so much easier. I don’t have to worry about having a breakdown in front of my coworkers because I’m scheduled to work til 11PM.

5. Have a mantra. I normally stay away from advice like this, but ever since my first holiday season in retail I found myself saying “Breathe in, breathe out”. It just helps me let go of irritating customers and coworkers. My mantra has become sort of a motto at my workplace; if we see another worker looking overwhelmed we tell them to breathe in and breathe out.

I hope this list helps you a bit should you also work in retail. Wish me luck as I go back from my mini-vacation!

-Ashes

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