I’m writing this on New Year’s Day. The day where people usually want to put their resolutions in place. A fresh start after what most people feel was a bad year (according to an Ipsos poll) for a variety of reasons, including health or personal reasons.
I’ve already written about why I hate the holidays and this time of year, but I will share that I don’t think I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution. Past resolutions usually were to lose weight, go to the gym, be more organized, be more productive, have a better sleep schedule, eat better etc. Pretty typical for the most part.
Earlier today, my husband was telling me what his resolutions are, all good ones, which would be great if they are implemented and then asked me about mine. I said I don’t have any. I don’t think he liked that answer or understood why I said it since it probably sounded like me being a pessimist.
Yesterday someone asked me if I had any New Year’s resolutions and I said, “No, I never keep them, so I decided not to have any.” She thought it was a fair answer. I mean, if you’re not going to do something, why promise yourself that you will?
I think these resolutions lead to more disappointment, so I am boycotting them. That’s my resolution!
What I really mean is that I want to lower my expectations of myself, lower the threshold of “perfect”, “organized”, “a good day’s work”, “being more productive”, or “accomplishing a lot”, so I stop feeling disappointed in myself and stop hating myself for not doing better. So in essence, I am going to be nicer to myself. I am going to give myself the ultimate present…
What could that be? I am going to be kind to myself; perhaps a very good example of self-care. After all, “they” (whoever “they” are) say we are our own worst critics.
Maybe my non-resolution resolution will help with my inner critic. Change the dialogue. And if it doesn’t? That’s okay too, because it’s not really a resolution. I’ll think of it as more of a suggestion that I came up with.
As much as my medication works, there are days when I rapid cycle, feel extremely anxious for no reason, or painfully sad. This is okay. I am okay with this because I know it’s all part and parcel of my bipolar experience. I try my strategies to get through the day, sometimes I can help myself, sometimes only Ativan (Lorazepam) or Rivotril (Clonazepam) help, and I must give in. This is when I feel less productive and don’t feel organized. I can’t cook because I am nauseous and don’t want to look at food or am too tired to. The dishwasher is ready to be emptied and I can’t deal with it. The dryer has my clean clothes in it but I don’t want to fold them. I have papers and who knows what else all over the couch and kitchen table, but I can’t clean it up. I think this is what is called the “lack of motivation” component of depression. It is a symptom, and it’s a frustrating one. But don’t confuse it with laziness, because it isn’t. It’s not intentional. And pushing myself into a hypomanic state just to get things done is not worth the exhaustion and horrible depression that follows.
So you see, it is better for me to feel that I don’t have to reach a bar that is too high to touch.
Let me avoid or minimize the amount of times I am going to disappoint myself.
Let me feel what an accomplishment feels like.
Let me soothe my busy brain.
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!