Tigger Mania

I came up with a new term I’ll share with my pdoc. I now can be depressed, manic or “Tigger manic”. If I had a tail I would have been bouncing around the apartment yesterday. I’m surprised I was able to type yesterdays post, which I’m glad I did. Based on emails and comments, there are a lot of peanut butter lovers out there.

When manic, like yesterday, I take on a dozen tasks. The problem is I can multi task, but what I can’t do is “multi finish”. I’ve mentioned washing clothes here several times. It’s one of my big challenges. So yesterday I had this great ambition. I promised myself all the clothes would be washed, dried and folded before Maurice got home.

Please hold on, as you ride Bradley’s Monday Brain Ride:

fold two pairs of socks.
Read one blog
wash three dishes
send an email
return a phone call
read an email
read a blog
fold two pairs of socks
fold two towels
write an email
fold two pairs of socks
read a blog
and so on, and so on, and so on

I hope you enjoyed your tour on “Tigger’s Manic Ride”. When the safety bar rises, please exit to your right.

None of these are conscious decisions. That would be insanity. Surprisingly I have not been deemed insane. I’m bipolar, therefore, the actions are unconscious. While folding socks, there’s no thought that says, “Oh, I should go wash some dishes”. Instead, I’ll be folding socks and suddenly I find my self washing dishes. I may then think “Wait. I was folding socks.” So I walk back toward the socks, but I don’t reach my destination. Suddenly It’s imperative I respond to an urgent email I received three days ago. By the time I’m done with that both the socks and the dishes have been forgotten and I’m on to something else.

I love the elation I can feel on these days. I want to stand on the edge of the bathtub and shout “I’m the king of the world!!!” I am so proud of myself at how much I’m getting accomplished only to find at the end of the day that not a damn thing was done.

When Maurice got home the shirts and pants were waiting for him to finish the job. Having socks and towels folded within 9 hours is good for me. That’s one positive of being bipolar, I can set my goals low. I only have to do what’s on my short list. What’s a short list? It’s a short list (as if you hadn’t figured that part out) and it has all the things I must do in a day no matter what. Others have them too, but everyones may be different. If I’ve accomplished them all at the end of the day, then it was a good day. When I say short, I mean short. Here’s the one that’s posted on the bulletin board above my desk:

1. make bed
2. shower
3. get dressed
4. go outside (even if only to mailbox)

That’s it! And what’s better is if I can’t accomplish the entire list then it’s determine my list is too long and it’s made shorter. The point is to have some, ANY, type of consistency. I think back before my condition worsened. I had meetings, reports, conference calls, contracts signed and they all had to be done by a deadline. Now, it’s considered a good day if I get dressed? Wow! Wonderful concept.

Wonderful concept? Here’s the serious part. It’s not wonderful at all. I’m sure it’s easier to understand these may be hard for the depressed to accomplish, but it can be just as hard when manic. I didn’t complete my short list yesterday. I didn’t shower or dress other than a dirty t-shirt and shorts I wear in case i have to answer the door. The reasons I don’t complete tasks when I’m manic are usually because I forget in all my mania or, most likely, I keep saying I’m too busy and I’ll do later. My head literally feels pain when I try to slow down for simpler tasks. At the same time, complicated tasks or too much stimulation can make me confused and disoriented.

For me the worst part is many people still don’t understand. There’s a lot of ignorance out there. Too many perceive mental illness as personal defect and not a disease. When you’re depressed you’re told to just pull yourself out of it. That’s what they did when they had the blues. The blues, my ass. When you’re manic you’re told how good you look and that their glad you’re doing better. They see you running around getting things done and think all is well, without understanding the insanity that is going on in your mind. You may look a bit edgy but other than that you look good. Of course mania is not fine. They also haven’t noticed you haven’t been around in a week or two or more, when you were depressed. These are things that may cause shame when you have a mood disorder. I wish could say I was above it all.

  7 comments for “Tigger Mania

  1. May 16, 2008 at 17:15

    Your blog is awesome! So honest and thanks for bringing Bi-Polar out of the closet, it’s dark and scary in there. Keep up the great work.

  2. May 16, 2008 at 14:34

    Wow – Multi-task vs Multi-complete… what a paradigm shift and a new thing for me to think about. I am the ultimate multi-tasker and often feel as you describe Bradley. I have often wondered if I have adult ADD. I have to really really force myself to concentrate and feel some sort of deadline pressure to be successful in getting something done completely. Maybe I have some sort of mania underneath it all – or is it just human-ness that everyone has but some have more of it? Your insights are fascinating Bradley. I hope I just don’t take to over-disecting my own life as a result 🙂 Cheers Tigger! Hoo-hoo-hoo bouncy, bouncy, bouncy (not that I have kids or have watched a few too many winnie-the-pooh episodes)*hugs the bouncing Bradley*Kim

  3. Bipolar Wellness Writer
    May 15, 2008 at 03:13

    Dear Bradley,I love the list. Given that my husband is neat and I’m not, I decided years ago that in order for my marriage to survive, I needed to stop multi-tasking what I couldn’t multi-finish. But your post makes me smile (or cry, I’m not sure which) when I think of all the tasks I used to leave unfinished. Thank God for my husband and it sounds like, “Thank God for Maurice!”Susan

  4. May 14, 2008 at 21:56

    I quote,”…any progress is good”. Seems we run our lives so often by what others think of us. I know that’s simple but it is true as most simple stuff is.By the way will the minister ever come on?

  5. MChevalier
    May 14, 2008 at 09:27

    And since you didn’t post it Bradley, I’m pretty sure you were at least a 7 on the Mood Meter yesterday. 🙂 At least you were able to get the laundry washed on Monday. I say any progress is good! I love you!!

  6. Shiv
    May 14, 2008 at 09:03

    Tigger rocks!!”I can multi task, but what I can’t do is “multi finish””SO TRUE!! I get that all the time, walking from one room to the next and getting distracted en-route by something. It’s so hard to get any one thing done, just a lot of things started. I’m like that more generally in my life too, fads and interests appear suddenly and intensely but then disappear before they are “complete” (like trying to learn a language, or a new song on guitar or something).I’m so glad it’s not just me who has this wierd kinda adult ADD thing going on!~Shiv

  7. May 14, 2008 at 14:32

    Thank you. I agree that it was a 7 and changed it.

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