Seeking Balance

Seeking Balance
Generally speaking I’m not a fan of astrology. I guess I’m too cynical. Despite my disbelief, I have to admit my sign describes me with amazing accuracy. I’m a Libra and the symbol for Libras is the scale. Primarily the scale represents our sign because we are always seeking balance and are not very good at it. Bipolar and trying to seeking balance? I wonder what percentage of those who are bipolar are Libras. It’s a natural combination.

A few weeks back I posted an article titled “Time Mismanagement” where I lamented my inability to manage my time effectively and the impact it’s having on my life. My current obligations are my Philosophy class, my Political Science class, some volunteer work, maintaining my blog and keeping it up to date, study time for school and much more. It’s not going well.

I’ve cut way back on the volunteer work, but I’m still struggling. My grades in both of my classes are hurting badly and this blog is being negatively impacted. I know, I know, I should have listened to both my pdoc and my therapist and only taken one class, but now I’m stuck with the two I chose. Unfortunately, withdrawing from one of them is not an option because I have too many class withdrawals on my record. As a result I am on academic probation. If I withdraw from one of them, I will be suspended. For now, I’ll have to keep plugging away and hopefully turn things around. Both professors are difficult so this semester is going to be a struggle.

As for this blog, it’s being negatively impacted too. I try to post an article at least three times a week and lately I’m struggling to even get two out. I waver between having writer’s block and having anxiety attacks when I try to write. Oh sure, I could put the blog on the shelf right now and focus more on schooling, but the problem with that is blogging is my oasis. It’s my time with myself to focus on something I love to do and I believe no matter how busy we humans get, we must allow ourselves play time. By the way, for those of you who have blogs I read on a regular basis, I apologize for not stopping in lately. It’s nothing personal. I currently am having a difficult time reading so I haven’t been reading anyone’s blog in a while. I hope that changes to. I miss them, and will get back to enjoying other blogs as soon as possible.

I’m not exactly sure what to do at this point. More meditation may help. I could focus on mindfulness as well. I will be interviewing a mindfulness trainer later this week for an upcoming article. Maybe I can get some pointers from her. Whatever I do this has to change, I refuse to accept that I can’t take two classes and write a blog without killing myself in the process. I’m seeking balance in my life and I just haven’t figured it out yet. Any suggestions?

  28 comments for “Seeking Balance

  1. Cat
    September 27, 2014 at 10:30

    Hi Bradley… My first gut feeling when reading this post is that you seem to attempt to take on so much, almost like setting yourself challenges. You have 2 classes to commit to, 3 blog posts per week, a certain amount of weight to lose, housework and other little things to get through. It seems when you fall short on any, it really plays on your mind and adds even more anxiety to the already heavy load.

    For someone living with Bipolar, being able to achieve all of them all of the time can often be a tall order. I imagine the classes entail loads of study and your blog posts are evidently done with care and probably even considerable research.
    I had to learn to lower my expectations. It’s hard to accept that we sometimes need to accept less of ourselves. Less is sometimes okay.

    • Bradley
      September 27, 2014 at 12:26

      I agree with everything you said, Cat. I’ve already cut way, way back on the volunteerism. If I could, I would drop one of my classes. Actually, if I could, I would drop both classes and go back to focusing on my blog as my job. Not because I think the blog is most important, but because I think I keep convincing myself that I can go back to school when the reality is that it’s still too soon. I do spend a lot of time researching and working on the blog, but it doesn’t have the pressure or create the anxiety that school does. Focusing it as a job makes me schedule items and provides structure in my day.

      For now I’ll grin and bear school, cut even further back on the volunteer work with the hopes they can find a permanent replacement for me, and I’ll post when I can (though its hard for me to think of cutting back more than three times a week.)

      Maurice pointed out this morning that every time I start feeling better, and more balanced, I jump into a bunch of things and set myself up for failure. As you basically said, I need to learn to accept I have limitations and that may never change.

      • Cat
        September 28, 2014 at 05:55

        I’d have to agree with Maurice, although know only too well how difficult this is. We spend so much time and energy striving to get better. When the good days come around, we’re hopping and skipping and clicking our heels. It’s a bit like living with chronic pain. Pain management clinics encourage us to pace ourselves, even on the better days. It’s a challenge to accept life has changed permanently. If we continue to take on too much too soon, how can we expect to get any better? It will always be two steps forward, one back

  2. September 25, 2014 at 13:36

    Hi Bradley. Perhaps you should cut back to one post a week. When you have a school break you can write more often. The same with your volunteer work — suspend your schedule with them for the semester — two classes are a lot of work. You can go back when your load is lighter. When I was in college and had a hard time focusing I would read the material we covered in the book we used for homework and studying. As I read, I would type (or handwrite) the sentences that were most relevant to class and what I thought might be covered in class quizzes and tests. Doing that seemed to drive the most important details into my memory and seal them their. It helped a lot. I guess its just a matter of deciding what is most important to you. If its finishing your studies with good grades so you can become a chaplain then cutting back on other activities for awhile is a no brainer. Go for your dreams Bradley. My regret is that I didn’t. I let everything and everyone else be my priority and I missed my calling. I don’t want to see that happen to you. I wish you all the best. J

  3. September 24, 2014 at 20:35

    You sound quite busy to me. Be easy on yourself. There is no need to apologize for setting limits. Prioritize. Focus. Reduce your workload where you can.

    • Bradley
      September 24, 2014 at 20:58

      Prioritize is the step I’m working on right now and some things will have to give even though there’s nothing I want to let go.

      • September 25, 2014 at 13:39

        It’s hard to let go. I had to let go of a career at one point in my life. But now I’m feeling good about my recovery, and I have achievable goals. Feels good.

        • Bradley
          September 29, 2014 at 09:09

          I think I feel good about my recovery, but I’m having problems accepting my limitations. One should strengthen the other, which likely means I’m not as comfortable as I think I am. I’ll need to work on that

          • September 29, 2014 at 10:24

            Humans, by our nature, have limitations. All of us, whether or not we live with a mental illness.

            By the way, I grew up in Hermosa Beach, where my parents still live.

  4. September 24, 2014 at 12:37

    Hey my friend! No great advice from me other than suggesting you do work on mindfulness and meditation, as you keep going along with your daily activities. I think your commenters have some good ideas, especially about making lists and also about seeing exactly what you can drop from your schedule (as in blog posts or volunteering). Keep in mind as you are going through this, that this is a struggle, not a failure, and you will persevere, one way or another, in the end. Sending you ((hugs))!

    • Bradley
      September 24, 2014 at 14:32

      Thank you for the hugs, Rose. It’s good to hear from you. I hate the idea of cutting back on blogging. It’s too much a part of me, but, I’ve got some potentially good things coming down the road, which I’ll discuss when they come to fruition.

  5. September 23, 2014 at 13:27

    I also make lists. It keeps me on track, and I have one small notebook for each list so they do not get jumbled with other stuff. I also have Adult ADD (inattentive type) on top of the Bipolar so lists help.

    You may want to consider cutting the volunteer activities for a while, or cutting down the blog articles. You may have to decide which of those activities keeps you more sane and stable.

    Also, next semester, check and see if your school has an office designed to help students with disabilities. They can offer different services such as having a class mate tape a lecture if you miss a class due to a mood issue, for example. Then you can take notes from the tape. It will also serve the purpose of alerting the professor that you are a “special needs” student, and they will have to adjust accordingly.

    I know “special needs” sounds really bad, but I have found it helpful to have it official and on record that I may need accommodations from time to time.

    BTW, try being a Gemini Bipolar 🙂

    • Bradley
      September 23, 2014 at 17:36

      Ha! I can see how Gemini bipolar would be a tough balance.

      At school I do work with the Special Services department and they are wonderful. In addition, both of my professors have gone out of their way to offer additional accommodations to help. They problem is that they can’t force me to study or teach me how to study. Keep me focused. I did get a tutor last semester and it didn’t help much, but I probably should see if I can give someone else a try this time around.

      • September 24, 2014 at 05:34

        You have a very good point. No professor can make you study. That’s something you have to want to do. There are study methods that can be learned, check online & see if you find anything.

        Do you study Buddhist material? It could be that the material you are supposed to study is not lighting you up with curiosity (I had that problem with some classes during my 12 year plan to get my degree)…..what degree are you going for?

    • September 24, 2014 at 05:56

      hahaha! I was gonna say the same. Gemini Bipolar FML!

      • September 24, 2014 at 06:15

        Yep, there are four of me…… 🙂

        • Bradley
          September 24, 2014 at 08:46

          Four of you. lol. Thank God I’m not a Gemini. I don’t think the world can handle four of me.

          • September 24, 2014 at 09:01

            I don’t think the world can handle one of me 😀

            • Bradley
              September 24, 2014 at 09:08

              lol. Very funny. You asked earlier about my major. I’m majoring in Religious Studies and longer range goal is Masters of Divinity. I want to be a chaplain.

              • September 24, 2014 at 10:52

                I majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology. I took many religious studies classes during the course of my time at college. i found it to be one of the most fascinating and vital social contructs. I am a Functionalist by way of theoretical orientation so I am fascinated by those institutions people build to serve themselves and their societies.

                You have chosen a pretty complicated path. Religion is (or can be) quite convoluted both currently and historically. Which denomination would you be going into as a chaplain?

            • Bradley
              September 24, 2014 at 14:29

              Unsure of the denomination. I am a Unitarian Universalist, but they require more hoops to jump through than probably all other religions combined.

              We do have some schools out here to become a multi-faith minister, but have heard some not so good things.

              Any suggestions?

              • September 24, 2014 at 14:56

                I wouldn’t know. The only even slightly religious philosophy I have ever embraced has been Buddhism.

                What exactly is a Unitarian Universalist? I couldn’t even type that 🙂

            • Bradley
              September 24, 2014 at 15:09

              Yeah, Unitarianism and Universalism started as two separate religions. With time the basic tenants of each became virtually identical so they merged around 1962. That’s why the name is so long. Here’s a link to a post I did 8 years ago:

              http://www.insightsbipolarbear.com/why-im-a-uu-2/

              • September 24, 2014 at 15:17

                Wow, you have been blogging for 8 years?!?! That’s definitely a labor of love, and we thank you for it 🙂

                • Bradley
                  September 24, 2014 at 15:21

                  At one point I took a break for what I planned to be a month or so and it wound up lasting a couple of years. I’m glad I did come back, I truly do love it. Its made me love writing altogether.

                  • September 24, 2014 at 15:34

                    I just love to write. If it isn’t in my blog, it is in my journal, the margins of school notes, it is everywhere…….Blogging brings a sense of satisfaction that something I write may cause someone to stop and go Hmmm, and that becomes an “aha” moment, and they awaken to a truth or an understanding previously unknown. It’s a lot to hope for, but it could happen 😉

  6. September 23, 2014 at 11:04

    I stay focused when I make lists. To Do, To Buy etc

    • Bradley
      September 23, 2014 at 17:26

      I’ve had great luck with lists in the past also. I don’t know why this time is so much more of a struggle. I’ve been in a very defeatist mode lately.

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