Titrating Stimulation

imageAs BlogHer16 approaches, my anxiety increases. I know the conference will overstimulate me. To not be overwhelmed, I must revisit a topic I touched on briefly when I starred blogging in September 2016 – my need to titrate stimulation, carefully balancing just the right amount of social interaction with breaks for solitude and relaxation.

Find I must titrate exposure to stimulation. Need enough to prevent depression, but not so much as to trigger hypomania. Enough, but not too much sun. Have to be very careful with social stimulation. Easily get on edge when spend too much time with too many people. And, not able to limit myself, to set boundaries, to keep myself on an even keel. Fear losing myself, jumping in too deep too soon, taking on more than I can handle. All a very careful balancing act.

Source: Titrating Stimulation

Maybe I’m Just a Loner

THE WORLD NEEDS LONERS, TOO

What’s so bad about being a loner? Why is “social isolation” always referred to negatively? Can’t individuals have different needs? Some of us cannot tolerate social stimulation. Some of us do better alone, with a small family, with a close partner. Some of us do not do well in groups.

I Give Up (Again)

I Give Up (Again). I Admit Defeat. I Surrender. I Let Go.

Here is where I must admit defeat or acknowledge my limitations and sensitivity to social stimulation. I’ve been hypomanic since I began coming into the NAMI Orange County office to volunteer, and since I offered to help with social media. Apparently, both overstimulate me. I love everyone at the NAMI office and so want to help, but I must acknowledge my own limitations and slow down.

I still very much look forward to participating in my local NAMI Walks (please consider walking with or sponsoring me) & raising as much money as possible. I still very much look forward to being an Ending the Silence presenter in local high schools and a Provider Education panelist.

Of course, I will continue to shout out for NAMI and good mental health as myself and as a NAMI volunteer.

Sorry to my friends at the NAMI Orange County office. I always do this – take something on that I cannot handle & then back off.

In one of the coloring books my sister gave me for my birthday to help me with my ramping hypomania, I found this apt quote:

Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress. — Melody Beattie

My problem is that I want to help everyone, rescue all, offer of myself what I really cannot spare.

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.