Slowed Down My Mind

I Feel Guilty that I Cannot Perform

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.

36 thoughts on “Slowed Down My Mind

  1. dyane August 17, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    Lovely post, so insightful & your coloring is gorgeous.
    WOW – Wednesday is your special day! I proclaim this Kitt Week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just Plain Ol' Vic August 17, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    Perhaps this was a sign that you were feeding too much into your mania? Nothing wrong with slowing down and quieting your mind. Take care.

    BTW – I love the artwork. The geometric look of it appeals to the logical portion of my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zoe August 17, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    Awesome colorings. I stared at them as they looped like five times. Colors. So nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jay August 17, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    It’s great to know your boundaries, even better to actually respect them!
    I hope you’re feeling better. I was down with it too, but your drawings gave me a little strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bipolar1Blog August 17, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Wow Kitt, that hit so close to home. There are so many situations that trigger me and I am just finding out how many. Actually I learnt about triggers from my blogging friends, perhaps even you. You are so amazing for recognizing your triggers and avoiding them. Keeping yourself healthy is nothing to feel guilty about. Xxxooo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 17, 2015 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you, Samina. I bet other high achieving folks with bipolar are similarly stimulated and then triggered.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. lilypup August 17, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    You sound like me. I WANT to do a million things, but my energy is limited. I blame it on taking 5 psych meds at once. Other people would be tired too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 17, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      It’s not a matter of meds for me. It’s a matter of triggering hypomania, speeding thoughts, overwork, and mood cycling. The cycling predated diagnosis, but just resulted in me burning out of job after job after putting in insane hours.


  7. Leslie August 17, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    Kitt I love to color. You’re right about it keeping your hands busy and your mind occupied.

    I had the same exact trouble as you with work. It was like I was trying to always be a one woman company when there were really 11 people working there. There was nothing I would not volunteer for. So stressful. Hubby insists I not work now. He can’t handle another hospitalization.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 17, 2015 / 4:51 pm

      Exactly. Whenever my husband sees that I’m ramping up, not sleeping, overdoing it, he’ll remind me to take it easy. Having me home and well trumps productivity.


  8. choff777 August 17, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    I love that you have found an outlet for quieting your mind. It’s wonderful, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Silver Threading August 17, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    Kitt that is beautiful! You should read my Mindful Monday post this week. It is all about coloring! ❤ Hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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