Okay, so here’s what I did last week. My son & I got sick with the flu. The flu forced me to stop, to hesitate, to slow down my ramping hypomania. Instead of volunteering my time at NAMI and getting overstimulated by doing so, the flu forced me to stay at home.
Honestly, I believe it just may be where I belong. I can handle small amounts of social interaction, but my mind starts spinning when I’m exposed to others’ needs. I start offering to fix everything. I overextend myself. I overwork.
Before my hospitalization a decade ago, I was a major workaholic. I seem unable to work for or with others without overextending myself, without depleting myself.
Writing and even social media I experience differently, though. Yes, social media can be overstimulating, too, but not nearly so much so, for it is my work, my time, my (lack of) deadlines.
I honestly do not think I am made for the workplace. I can do occasional special events. I can speak publicly. I can be charming.
But then, I must retreat and recuperate. I must keep my distance. I must protect myself.
I do not have social anxiety so much as I have no boundaries. I’m raw. I immerse myself in a social system and then flee.
Anyway, instead of volunteering last week, I colored. Here is a slide-show of my creations. I found coloring and doodling grounding, doing so occupied my hands and focused my mind on something other than thoughts. My sister gave me two coloring books and colored pencils as an early birthday present. (Wednesday I turn 52!)
My mind I silenced with marathon television viewing. When immersed in blogging, reading others’ posts, and networking over social media, I cannot watch TV. My work occupies my mind. But as I wanted to quiet my mind, the dialogue drowned out any remaining noise in my head, pushing away speeding thoughts, giving me some needed rest.
This week will be busy for me. Since my son & I were sick last week, I had to reschedule all our appointments. This week we have five appointments: two physical therapy for my son, two doctors for my son, and one psychotherapy for me. Wednesday morning (on my 52nd birthday) we register my son for school. Finally, NAMI California conference on Friday & Saturday, at which I’m volunteering. Wish me well. I hope I make it through this week.
To top it off, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I cannot perform. That I ramp up when in social situations and must then retreat. Header image and last two paragraphs mention my guilt, yet I hardly touch on the topic in the most of this post. But there it is, underneath and behind it all, seething, aching. I do not feel guilty blogging, for I know that I’m being productive. I do feel guilty when I offer to help and then must back off.
Better to renege than to fall dangerously ill, though. My primary objective is to maintain my own stability and mental health. If that means minimum social interaction, so be it. The workaholic hypomanic overachiever of my younger years I can no longer be. Now I must be well, for myself and for my family.