I’ve decided to be overly honest about my negative feelings and how Bipolar ii plays the lead role in that frustrating movie AND how I try my best to embody my Bare Minimum Babe self during these depressive episodes by leaning into the roles that I value in my life. This episode is for you if you also struggle with any negative mental and emotional issues even if only sometimes because maybe you’ll feel less alone or crazy.
What I wrote these notes on (AlphaSmart 3000 that I got on eBay for $40)
Bipolar ii symptoms lately….😒
I’ve recently been in a weird headspace and I think I’m in a down cycle of Bipolar ii, aka I'm in a depressive episode. If you Google the symptoms of a “depressive episode” I ring true with a lot of the symptoms.
My general symptoms right now are:
Feeling disconnected to things and people, and generally my life or…
Dissociation in interactions and places. Dissociation means that I’m physically at a location and interacting with others, but I'm not mentally there.
For example, I can hear the words coming out of my mouth and feel my lips moving and watch the other person for reactions but I don’t truly have a connection or grounding to them being there and it’s like I’m watching a TV screen of my life. We all do this for innocent seconds of time like when we’re thinking about dinner plans when a friend is talking, but full disassociation with mental health issues is much more severe and impactful on their general wellbeing.
Disinterest in doing anything so even forcing myself to sit down and write these notes was a struggle
Mentally and emotionally tired—or general lack of energy. I don’t care what I do each day and don’t feel like thinking to make a decision or even come up with options.
Clinically watching myself 🧐
I'm not sharing this with you isn’t so you’re like “oh poor Amanda and her mental health issues” and hopefully, you don’t think I’m whining because I don’t think I am. I’m looking at my symptoms now in a clinical way. Before I was diagnosed almost a year ago with Bipolar ii I would get so upset and annoyed with myself that I was seemingly crazy and feel worse about myself constantly asking why can't I just be normal, why is being happy so hard.
But now I'm much more accepting of these cycles because they’re expected and I can’t control them. I still get frustrated when I'm in these down cycles don’t get me wrong, but there's no point in getting upset or mad for what I can't control. This is just who I am and it’s not a phase that I'll grow out of, there is no cure, just management for the rest of my life.
My brain, and others like it, make different amounts of chemicals that create an off-balance and lots of mood struggles— and that's just what it is.
Yes, there are pills available but they're a combination of pricy, make me feel overall "grey," and come with negative side effects that I don’t want to deal with. So for the most part I'm on my own chemically trying to make use of tools and methods that previous therapists have given and leaning into my friends and family (mainly my husband) as a safety net.
Hustle culture reinforcing that I’m going to be a crazy failure ❌
I’m sharing this because it's true to how I'm feeling today and these last few weeks. I realized as I was writing these notes that it was one of the reasons I started Bare Minimum Babe™ in the first place.
My mental health issues make me constantly feel disconnected and apathetic toward most things. So much so that when I look at the goals I wrote when I wasn’t in these down cycles and try to execute on them I can only muster the absolute bare minimum possible and often feel resentment while doing it.
These depressive episodes create a struggle to decide multiple times each year: should I just pause on this for a minute OR begrudgingly push my way through?
Previously it’s always been pushing my way through because my goals were more obvious and on a path that created easy completion if I just stuck it out. Think graduating college, getting a marketing job and a pay increase with a promotion, etc. But with being my own boss and having lots of random income streams there’s no one path and success is NOT guaranteed success.
I could pursue my current path for years and years and nothing ever happen. And I suppose that’s okay if you absolutely love the process…but I don’t think I do. Not enough to struggle for possibly decades not making any real money to enjoy my life and constantly feeling stressed never knowing if I’ll “succeed.”
How do I keep caring while in these cycles and force myself to reconnect so that I’m able to hustle?
And that’s where it brings me today….
Confused on where to even hustle? 🤷🏼♀️
When I’m in these moods and my motivation is dead and there is no prescribed path and I feel inadequate in so many ways pursuing this path... I sometimes can’t bring myself to do it.
Because what “it” is doesn’t even have a clear definition. As a musician I’m on my own blindly figuring out a path to “success” each day. Am I working on marketing today, writing a song, producing a song, practicing piano, reaching out to network, reaching out to venues to book shows and make money, researching playlists to submit to, etc?
Even if I force myself to do the work, I don’t feel fully committed and like it’s time well spent because I’m not even sure that what I’m doing is worth it and the right direction…
Finding energy in the roles I value playing 💙
When I'm in a depressive cycle and feel like I’m just existing, I do the bare minimum. I try to focus on the roles in my life that I actually value—mother and wife. I try to focus on being a present mom and wife for my daughter and husband so I at least don’t impact them in unintended ways.
I focus on making sure I do the laundry, wash the dishes, schedule her orthodontist appointments, ask her about her day, do an activity or watch a show together, hang up my husbands suit, ask about his day, give out hugs since they’re both very touch oriented in how they want to be shown love, etc.
If I don’t have the motivation to attempt and guess how to invest in myself, I know I can at least do a bare minimum investment in my child and husband so there will be minimal negative impact.
Focusing on the roles that I play in my everyday life and placing priority in the ones I value has been a helpful way to redirect my energy towards positivity instead of focusing on helping myself. It helps me get out of the negative headspace quicker so that I’m just in a general blank headspace. Blank is better than negative, at least for me.
Challenge for You! 🥳
Take 2 minutes to think about the roles you play in your life and how you value each of them. 1-3 roles will pop out most important. Those roles will be the ones that you should probably always try to do at least bare minimum for even when you’re not in a good headspace. Do what you can when you can for the roles that you value <3
Cliff Notes 🧗🏻♂️
Being crazy is hard lol no but really mental health issues suck. And being understanding of that for yourself, just as you would for others, is important. Build a support system the best you can, and try to set yourself up for, if not success, at least not failure during the rough patches by connecting the dots on where you struggle and creating a hodgepodge of solutions that can at least keep things from falling apart until you can get yourself right again.
Discussed in this episode:
understanding Bipolar ii symptoms and how to not be hard on yourself when they surface
struggling to invest in yourself
showing up for the roles that we place value on in our lives
how to maintain equilibrium in your life if you’re unable to move positively forward
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