Thursday I Did A Lot

One step at a time. Get out more. Socialize more. Isolate less. Do more. Sit less. Read a good novel.

So Thursday I did a lot. Much more than I would usually do. Much more outside our home. Off the couch. In the community. Among colleagues and friends. What did I do, you wonder? Well, to start with I volunteered from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at my local NAMI Orange County.

I assisted their Educational Programs Coordinator by making phone calls and sending emails to register participants in an upcoming Provider Education course. Come January 2016, I will be teaching a Provider Education course for the first time. Both looking forward to it and feel a bit nervous.

While at NAMI, I spoke to their Volunteer Coordinator about helping out with social media and marketing in preparation for the October NAMIWalks for Orange County. As the time approaches, I’ll be begging folks to sponsor me. Please support me. My fundraising page is: namiwalks.nami.org/kittomalley.

Now, instead of applying for a paid job at NAMI, I offered to volunteer two days a week. That way, I’d ease myself back into the world outside my house and off of my couch. Since my husband works and I receive disability, I do not need to work full-time, and quite frankly, social stimulation triggers hypomania and subsequent exhaustion in me.

After volunteering during the day, I had enough time to come home and quickly check my email and Twitter and Facebook notifications. Then I was off to a fundraising event for a friend of mine who has survived breast cancer and raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Now that I’m at home typing, I realize that I want to write more and read fewer blogs. My mental health requires that I stop overextending myself on social media. I want to use it as a useful tool without feeling obligated to read and share so much content. I simply CANNOT continue at this pace for so many hours a day. I absolutely must write more and read less.

Honestly, I’m at the point where reading autobiographical material detailing bipolar symptoms triggers me. In doing so, I re-experience my highs, my lows, my psychosis, my mixed states, my rapid cycling. I must be more judicious in my choice of reading material. I need an escape from bipolar disorder. I may have to severely curtail my reading of other mental health blogs, and instead enjoy some good novels.

I still want to share great content. I still want to maintain my online friendships. I’m honored to be part of such a mutually supportive online community. I hope that I will not lose my cyber friends by not reading and commenting on their work. Unfortunately, that’s a risk I take in curtailing my reading and commenting.

So many bloggers produce so much great work. I’m just blown away by how many talented writers are out there telling their stories. But, I need to step forward, to move on. Not to stop blogging, for I enjoy doing so. Not to stop sharing great information. Not to stop supporting others. But, to curtail my reading of potentially triggering material. To move past focusing on bipolar disorder and mental illness. To allow my mind a rest. To allow my mind to travel to fictional, fantasy places where it has NOT been. To feel free.

One step at a time. Get out more. Socialize more. Isolate less. Do more. Sit less. Read a good novel.

Sounds like a plan to me.

39 thoughts on “Thursday I Did A Lot

  1. Karen Jimmy August 2, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    oh, HOWWWW much I relate to so much of what you share! This bit: “…social stimulation triggers hypomania and subsequent exhaustion in me…”- this is where I’m at today, and I’m coming to realise is also the reason I just can’t do the sort of work I was doing previously. Just way too much people-time and I was constantly between exhausted and off-my-head nuts! I feel ya, sista! xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mihrank August 1, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    Kitt – the example you have mentioned in the very beginning of your post is very essential and important wake up and learn more about our daily steps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 1, 2015 / 2:02 pm

      Thank you. The image came from my conclusion. Just thought I should sum it all up.

      Like

  3. Jackie Cioffa July 31, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    I think it’s a jolly good plan and applaud your efforts. I find when I self impose limits on social media, I pay more attention to others, and free up time to actually write. You are an inspiration with your advocacy and I’m sure you’ll find the right balance. Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. robertmgoldstein July 31, 2015 / 5:16 pm

    Self care is doing what you must in the way you must…I really like your approach to returning to work…Right now my blog is a central tool in my therapy….it allows all of me to talk to my therapist…
    I hope that I can go back to work when this phase is complete.Do it as a volunteer is an excellent strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      I’m fascinated how you are using writing therapeutically. To read what an alter has written must help you to integrate aspects of yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robertmgoldstein July 31, 2015 / 8:21 pm

        Yes…the weird thing about DID is maintaining the awareness that everything I do is done by a single person while treating the separate selves as individuals worthy of respect.

        For instance I didn’t know that the child alter named Robby wrote poetry until this morning. I have a vague memory of watching him write and illustrate a series of poems last night and then my body just gave out from exhaustion…

        I can see that Loleeta was in terrible pain and confusion and yet somehow also funny–

        As the blog matures each of them is using it–

        I started doing this by instinct when I began making pictures for my Flickr blog…But it’s a method of treatment called “narrative therapy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley August 1, 2015 / 12:30 pm

          Robert, I love this statement: “maintaining the awareness that everything I do is done by a single person while treating the separate selves as individuals worthy of respect.” You are both one and many.

          It reminds me metaphorically that we are all one and many. We are all part of some greater whole, just as we are all individuals worthy of respect and love.

          Liked by 1 person

          • robertmgoldstein August 1, 2015 / 3:56 pm

            You make an astute point when you say we are one and many. I don’t want my doctor to treat me the way he treats his wife or partner; I don’t want my lawyer to be in party mode when my freedom is at stake.

            I don’t know if you’re a fan of BBC detective shows.

            One of my Favorites is Lewis. The characters are complex. The assistant is Hathaway who is much younger and very closed about his life.

            In one of the episodes we find out that in his off time Hathaway goes clubbing.

            It’s revealed when he’s called in on an emergency and arrives dressed in club glitter with his hair moussed up in a Mohawk.

            He is an entirely different person in his off hours.

            We take on roles and in so doing create a persona; learning the conventions of professional behavior is part of learning the job.

            The difference with me is that the memory barriers prevent me from forming a coherent sense of self.

            And that, more than anything else is the real hell of DID.

            The inability to weave what I’ve done into a single tapestry of a self.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_%28TV_series%29

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kitt O'Malley August 1, 2015 / 6:21 pm

              Thank you for the introduction to the TV series Lewis. I actually wasn’t speaking to the roles we play in our daily lives. I understand that is FAR different than DID alters.

              What I was alluding to was more spiritual in nature. We separate human beings are part of a larger whole tapestry that goes beyond humanity even. We experience ourselves as separate when we are part and parcel of the same cloth. We are all interwoven, though we are not always aware of that fact.

              I do understand the need to weave your alters into your self. I was taking a metaphorical jump. I did not mean to dismiss your pain or life experience or the work you have done and continue to do to integrate yourself. I respect you tremendously for your openness and honesty and for your compassion.

              Liked by 1 person

              • robertmgoldstein August 1, 2015 / 11:09 pm

                I didn’t feel dismissed at all…your comments were thought provoking and I think that we were dovetailing on the question of the spirit.

                I think that what a pedophile takes from a child is the ability to trust and to have faith in other people. This kind of soul murder also motivates the abuse of racism and homophobia…When you strip a person of faith in goodness and their own worth you also strip them of their humanity.

                I can think of nothing more vicious or cruel.

                It’s you and other mental health advocates here on WordPress who make it possible for me to post…so thank you.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Kitt O'Malley August 1, 2015 / 11:18 pm

                  Without a doubt sexually abusing a child devastates them and undermines their ability to trust, to have faith in others and to have faith in themselves. Crossing that boundary is the ultimate assault on the self.

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. vanbytheriver July 31, 2015 / 2:52 pm

    I understand the triggering, Kitt, it’s sometimes so hard to keep being reminded. It’s important to step outside of that box we put ourselves in and experience joy. Your plan sounds like a healthy one. Volunteering has brought me so many benefits, in many ways, more than paying jobs. Best wishes, hope to see you and your blog around a bit. ☺ Van

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:22 pm

      That’s one of the things I love about your blog. Your storytelling brings us to new and different places. It’s a joy. Truly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • vanbytheriver August 1, 2015 / 2:30 am

        That’s such a special compliment, Kitt, Thanks. ☺ When I started to blog, I was focused on mental health issues, mostly depression, and how it affected me, my birth family, growing up. I needed to address it, but I didn’t want to take up residence there. It will always factor into my personal story, but I was ready to explore all the wonderful things in my life that happened along the way. I’m grateful for the perspective of 63 years. Glad you found some enjoyment. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley August 1, 2015 / 12:32 pm

          Yes, life is complicated, there is good and bad. Part of healing is to move forward.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. e July 31, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    A great plan actually! And that’s one of the things that I really like about you Kitt…. is that you are cognizant, alert, and a proponent of self-care who leads by example!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:21 pm

      I don’t know to what extent I lead by example, honestly. I do not exercise regularly, though I should. I spend far too many hours on social media. I sit on the couch WAY too much. I don’t clean my house. I don’t cook every day. We often eat take-out. Luckily we live somewhere with nearby Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Indian food – all reasonably priced and yummy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • e July 31, 2015 / 3:27 pm

        You lead by example by not only owning your beautiful flawless flaws Kitt but by humbly sharing the human side of being human with your readers & supporters. That in and of itself is quite liberating!

        A million thank yous for that alone!

        e

        Liked by 2 people

  7. stockdalewolfe July 31, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    Oh my God, Kitt, this is exactly what I feel like doing. I just spent hours doing animal activism and now have a gazillion blog posts to keep up with. I don’t write or paint anymore. My attention span is shot and all because I am over extended. I may make a similar decision. Many psych blogs trigger feelings in me and frankly I have enough of my own demons to take on more. Bravo for you, Kitt. I may be writing a similar post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:18 pm

      Exactly. How can we create if we spend all of our time consuming? What happens to us when we consume material that triggers symptoms?

      Liked by 2 people

      • stockdalewolfe July 31, 2015 / 5:24 pm

        You’re right!! 100%. I think your plan is great. I was a bit worried about you taking a full time job. I worked for 30 years and the last 10 were SO hard!!! I just wrote to one guy who writes depressive poetry that is very powerful and told him I couldn’t read it any more. Too powerful and provoking more demons in me. I have plenty as it is.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Anonymous July 31, 2015 / 10:14 am

    I know this is a big step and I am so proud of you! I’ve got some good book recommendations when you are ready for them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:17 pm

      Thanks! I’m on GoodReads, so you can leave me recommendations there and maintain anonymity here.

      Like

  9. Katinka July 31, 2015 / 10:12 am

    I like your plan! I have trouble getting out more and sitting less because if I’m not lying in bed I’m on the computer. But I do read a lot of novels because of my book review blog 🙂 I can’t get away from social media though since I network with other blog reviewers and authors too sometimes. It feels productive though because I’m a writer. Getting out more is like a long-term project for me. LOL. Take care & keep up the good work! And enjoy what you do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      As long as you are reading novels and writing, you are doing well. I spend far more time reading blogs and articles online than reading novels (which I truly enjoy reading) or writing original material. Social isolation has become a problem, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. swtswtsue July 31, 2015 / 10:08 am

    You have the right idea, Kitt. You MUST do what’s best for YOU. I’m proud of you, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  11. dyane July 31, 2015 / 9:44 am

    I loved reading this post and I kept thinking “Amen to that!” I relate to so much of it as well, especially in terms of limiting triggering material. Ever since I got back from Tahoe I’m still no longer interested in Twitter. While it truly was a love affair, I find myself enjoying the time I’ve freed up and not feeling that pressure to keep up, as well as the “FOMO” (fear of missing out) syndrome.

    As with Facebook, I’m not sure how long my Twitter break will be, but it feels really good to stay off it for now.

    I’m so proud of you for branching out and voluteering for NAMI, not to mention teaching the class in January!

    You are sounding very healthy to me, my dear! You’re inspiring me to take better care of myself in terms of not overextending with misc. commitments and recognizing (and respecting) triggers.

    Brava!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. bpnurse July 31, 2015 / 9:33 am

    I’m so happy for you that you’ve reached this healthy time in your life. I’ll miss your comments on my blog but understand why you need to move forward. Hope to see you around once in awhile, and of course I’ll continue to follow your blog to see what’s going on in your life. God bless you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley July 31, 2015 / 3:12 pm

      Thank you. I’m so addicted, I’m not so sure how easily I’ll pry my fingers from the keyboard.

      Liked by 1 person

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