Live from Emo Dojo
Live from Emo Dojo

Episode · 4 years ago

Mental Health Holiday Survival Guide, Bipolar Style


John Emotions reveals a few of the things that help keep him balanced through the holidays; routines, volunteering, and healthy distractions. Join us on Twitter @BipolarStyle #bipolarstyle for mental health chats throughout the season.

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Welcome back to bipolar style, thepodcast for bipolar people and those who love them. Join US online at bipolar stylecom Johnny motion. All Right, thanks and welcome back to bipolar style. I'm johnny emotions. I'll be your host for the next fifteen or twentyminutes. This particular episode I've called the Mental Health Holiday Survival Guide bipolar style. So today we're going to talk about the three main things that helped methrough the holidays, and those would be routines, volunteerism and things that aredistractions, basically like recreation and entertainment. Ideas for the bipolar person. Andwhat makes a bipolar person any different than a regular person? Well, obviouslyit's the reins of emotions, in the intensity and the sensitivity of our moods. Okay, cool, good enough, but that also means we have otherthings built into our schedule, like medication and doctor appointments and things like that. Before I get too far into this episode, I just want to sayI am out on the road today. I figured it would be fun tocome out record a podcast out in public. So I'm down near the waterfront ina town called Martinez, California. It's along the San Francisco Bay.So you hear that there's some trains in the background and lots of shore birdsand waterfowl and whatnot, lots of people roaming around and even some crazy drunkpeople now and then. If there are any interruptions, and it's because I'mout in public, but sound sounds pretty good anyhow. So this is whatwe're going to focus on for today, the Mental Health Holiday Survival Guide bipolarstyle. And if you haven't been tuning in, I just want to thankthe past three guests we've had for really helping boost the downloads of the show. Their appearances, I think, hopefully help what they're working on. So, within the case of Jason, he's promoting his movie Donovan, and inthe case of Diane, she's got her book the birth of a new brain, on bipolar depression for, I'm sorry, for Postpartum Bipolar Depression. And lastweek we had becky from that B word podcast which focuses on borderline andbipolar disorder, among lots of other interesting things. So those three folks allhave bipolar disorder. Thanks. Thanks. That's really great. I have thetimer on my computer telling what time things is, so it's A. It'sfive o'clock, Great Soun's going down. It's beautiful anyway. Point being,the last three high functioning bipolar people, I guess I should call them,were excellent. I appreciate having them on the show and I look forward tohaving other guests with bipolar disorder on in the future because I think it's reallyinspiring when you're really down and on the depressive side of bipolar and you justcan't get out of bed and don't know what you're going to do with yourselfforever, like anymore for any other day in life, it's kind of Niceto hear that that people are doing it sometimes. I know sometimes it mightfeel like that's rubbing salt into your wounds, but for most folks, when you'redown, it is nice to know that even these are even those ofus that are kind of doing stuff right now, we have down moments thatare equally as low as yours might being out. I know it doesn't feelthat way, but it happens. Well,...

...let's get to the kind of threegeneral ideas I have. I guess it's kind of an outline for howI have learned how to get through the holidays. I'm not saying these willwork for everybody. Not share any of them will work for you, butthey do work for me and if they are new to you, maybe worthtrying out. Some of the s are going to be really obvious. Someof them might just be good reminders. Okay, so the First Section.One of the more important things to a person with bipolar disorder are the routines. So it's it's kind of hard bad because when we change the clock backsand then we get hit with Thanksgiving and then all the religious holidays in December, it's kind of overwhelming. Society is really busy focused on these things thatare intended to throw routine off with tradition. It's like tradition in some ways competeswith routine, especially for people that don't necessarily have many traditions. Andmost importantly on these routines would be your medication. So right now, goover, get in your bag, pull out your meds, get out yourlittle Pale divider thing and start doing the math. Do you have enough medsto get through the upcoming holidays? So I guess in this case this ismid November. Do you have enough meds to get through Thanksgiving and then throughthe December holidays, whichever one your family or friends celebrate. The issue hereisn't so much you forgetting as maybe it just runs out and either the nurseor the administrator, the assistant or the doctor are now on vacation, becauseeverybody has their own life and those folks all need a break as well andthey're out doing their own things. So sometimes, if you hadn't thought ahead and you didn't get enough meds to get through the holiday, you mightget unduly stressed out. So please, if you hear this and you takemedication, go double check and make sure you've got enough meds to get throughthe holidays or and have a plan to get through, you know, therest of the year, because it's just holiday stacked on top of holiday,and that's one of the routines that I think helps keep you balanced and functional. So if you're taking medication, lock that down. In addition to MED'sthe next most important thing doctors always hit you with this too, is sleep. How is your sleep? What's your sleep schedule like? Are you gettingeight hours of sleep? Yes? No, okay. Well, all these Christmasparties, eating lots of sugar, drinking alcohol late at night, allthese things are out to destroy your sleeping routine and you got to kind ofwatch for that. So protect your sleep schedule to the best you can.Use a calendar. If people invite you to parties and events throughout the holidaysthat conflict with your ability to get home and get to sleep on time,just say no. Tell them you've got a previous engagement. You don't haveto tell them it's bed, you just tell them you've got a previous engagement. I'm sorry, thanks for inviting me. That's so lovely. If I cando anything to help, let me know, but I've got something todo. I've got to crawl into my dark room under my weighted blanket andrelax. So that's okay. That's your schedule. You don't have to committo other people's parties. You'll get pulled in every direction. I know youwant to be nice. You're a kind person, right. You want tosay yes. You want to be the most social person you can be giventhe situation. So like, Oh,...

...yeah, cool, okay, Ithink I can go to that person's party. But look, look at the calendar. If it starts at thirty at night, it's going to be late. You're going to get home, it's going to be midnight before you're inbed. The next day is going to be whack. So just consider allthese things, okay, and then obviously that leads to your diets. Youknow, kind of keep that in mind. I'm not a huge, like regimenteddiet kind of Guy Myself, but sold on the fact that a healthydiet is good for your brain and that sugar in pretty much every form isbad for us. I love sugar. I love chocolate, jelly beans,but I mean what, any kind of sugar? Just give me sugar,I love it. But as I've grown up, I've learned that most thingsalready have sugar in it, carbohydrates and whatnot. So I tried to eatas little direct sugar as possible, as little refine sugar, and when Ido I try to appreciate it a lot. I sit and savor it. Idon't rush through a whole bag. Usually. Sometimes it happens whatever,but point being, I'm not a teetotaler on the sweets, because I don'twant to be that freak, and neither do I superindulge all the time,every day, all day. I guess I'm just saying eat bad food andmoderation if you must, but keep in mind that you had a diet beforethe holiday and you have a schedule, so, you know, try tostick to it. These aren't your holidays. Sure you would like to participate inthe tradition, but I would say one of your main goals is toremain balanced throughout these, you know, quote unquote, turbulent times. Sostick into your keeping your meds on schedule, keeping your sleep on schedule and yourdiet on schedule are three great ways to stay ahead of the game.Another thing that you should remember to do is to exercise, especially if youare already exercising, keep doing it. I know it's darker now. Thatreally sucks because I ride my bicycle to and from work pretty often and nowit's a lot more dangerous and it's colder and it's kind of miserable. Butonce I finish the ride, I feel like I really accomplish something, andin fact I did. I burned off a bunch of calories and kept myjoints from from stiffening and becoming old and all that. You know, justkeep the body moving. I'm not gonna, you know, say go start learnhow to run a marathon just because you ain't Thanksgiving dinner. That doesn'tmake any sense to me. What does make sense is if that you alreadywalk a few blocks each evening as part of your schedule, don't stop thatbecause the family and the friends are visiting from out of town. And ifyou're out of town yourself, if you're the one that's visiting somewhere else,then you know, get a map or use your google maps or something onyour phone and go take an adventurous walk in a new neighborhood. If you'renormal routine is walking, you get the example, if you normally ride abike, you know find a way to do that. Keep up the exercise. It's a great part of your routine. Wholeheartedly encourage that piece. And thenthe last routine, it's kind of the big picture routine, would bethese annual traditions. If you are so fortunate to have family or friends thatare close by and are able to get together over extra days off where nobodyhas to focus on school or work, then you're blessed. You Know,count and counter your blessings. You're fortunate to have that and embrace those traditions. Make sure you fit that routine into the other parts of your routine,kind of like a big clock with all the different gears and different sizes ofthings moved around back there. But so you've got some kind of Daytoday,routines you need to keep up. But now, if you've got those lockedin and you feel comfortable about it, focus on the big scale traditions,because I think those are really what make life matter, being able to gettogether with your family and friends that you...

...hadn't seen in a while and reminisce, I mean whatever. The capitalist bit about giving the gifts, I guess, is Nice, especially if you're a child and you like open presents andthings like that. All good, not going to bag on that too much. But you know, I think the reality is what people really love aboutthe holidays is that one it's one more opportunity to be with your loved ones, to be with your friends. Whether or not you're able to make thingswork and leave that that occasion with a perfect memory, who knows, butit is nice to have that opportunity once a year and it's great to bondwith fellow humans, and so one of those annual traditions that I kind ofgot into. It's a lot of fun is volunteering. There have been manytimes at the holidays where I found myself without anybody close to hang out withduring Thanksgiving or Christmas, and the one I like to do was go toSt Anthony's dining all in San Francisco and help serve food to people even lessfortunate than I was. So while I had no people, those folks hadno people and no shelter. So just kind of I don't know how toexplain that, but it feels just rewarding. And the reason I said don howto explain it because it sounds weird like, HMM, you volunteer andyou help people worse off than you. Does that make you feel better?Because it makes you feel bigger. I never really thought of it, butyeah, I don't know it, but it does feel good to help peopleand people are genuinely grateful when you're handing them food because it's good food andI don't know, it just worked out, but they're that's one way to doit. Right about now, you're probably a little late if you livein a big city and you're trying to hook up with one of the maincharities, because they have lots of volunteers kind of sign it up starting aboutAugust. But if you live in a main city, look up the localcharity and see if they need help delivering food, serving food cleaning up.They always need help cleaning up. Nobody likes that part because there's no gloryin it, right, but they definitely need help. It's one of theUNSUNG hero jobs of the Christmas holidays. And the NEAT thing is when youvolunteer like that you just doing it without any expectation. You just you haveto do it with the best intention and with no expectation of giving, Imean of getting anything in return, and that's what makes it feel so good, because you actually do get a lot in return and you never know,you there's no way to know what that will be. It's unexpected and youdo get something in return, but you just cannot go in expecting anything.That's the whole nature of voluntary and right is just going out and giving thatyourself and see what happens. So it's kind of neat in the KARMIC wayof the universe. Some of the other things I like to do deliver foodfor the local food bank. Oh here, here's something really cool too. I'vedone this both in school and as an adult out of school, isreading two old people or my favorite, reading two kids that are locked upin juvenile hall. So a lot of times you can go to the localjuvenile hall and ask if you're able to read to them. I used toread to the kids in the local Juven a hall through the loudspeaker at nighttime, after lights would go out and they would be locked in their cages.I would read them stories and I thought it was great because I remembered itwhen I was a kid locked up in the cage once and I'm like yeah, I'll just give back a little bit. So that's a really neat thing.A lot of people don't realize. If you like to read, alot of times you have pretty good leeway on what kind of stories you getto pick to read to these folks and just go for it. So that'sanother fun thing. Or even something as direct as just, you know,wrapping gifts at the local toy drive. They always need help with things likethat. If you're handy, if you're crafty, go down and wrap somegifts. So those are just some things that I've done in the past.There's a tons of things. There's a...

...volunteer organization called tap root, taproot tap root dot org, I believe, and if you're a creative type likegraphic designer, layout artists, web illustrator or whatnot, they will matchyou with nonprofits that could use your volunteer skills. So that's another way togo if you're more into that route. So anyway, volunteer. So keepyour routines, maybe add some volunteerism. And then the last bit is kindof obvious, but I'll just give you some of my ideas that have workedfor me, and that's just distractions. Honestly, their distractions recreation, entertainment. Now I've tried to cover a range of things here because I've been poorand I've had money, and I know people with bipolar disorder run the gamut, you know, we're across the spectrum. Some of US have zero money inthe bank and Oh money to people, and some of us have a bunchof money. So I've kind of try to keep these low costs asmuch as possible, just because who wants to spend money if you don't haveto write? Hey, so here's a read through my notes here. Okay, laugh. That's a good one yet watch live comedy. If you livein a any kind of, you know, medium to large city, there's comedyclubs. They do a fairly good job, if you're able to getout of the house, that is, you know if you're locked in thebedroom that you know this isn't going to work for you. But if you'reable to get out, comedy clubs a pretty good risk. The reasonably cheap. Unfortunately, they usually charge mandatory like drink tickets at the door, soyou have to buy water for ten dollars a bottle or something ridiculous, oror alcohol. If you don't drink. It's I don't it's kind of whack. Anyway, if you like live comedy, go see a major comic that you'veseen on TV come perform in your local town. That's fun. It'salso on neat because a lot of local I'm sorry, it's also neat becausea lot of touring comics also have podcast. So since you're listening to this podcast, there's a good chance a local or national or international comic that mightcome to a local club by you has a podcast and then you can starteasily listening to that person through podcast. So yeah, live comedies great.I've beene watch Netflix. They're pretty good about putting up a new comic everyFriday. Usually they got a new stand up, one hour stand up.That's great. And of course, my favorite kind of series on Netflix iscalled lady dynamite. Of course it's about a lady with bipolar disorder and Ithink it depicts the mania, the mannic side of bipolar in awesome, likeaccurate way, kind of Feliny, kind of just wag super energetic, wayover the top, what did I just see? Kind of thing, butwhen you live inside of a bipolar mind, that is kind of how life is. By the end of the episode you're like what it is you see? That's kind of Howiday in a bipolar person's life is, you know,it's what, what was that day all about? Crazy, all right.So yeah, definitely check out Netflix. They've got some cool stuff, strangerthings. Is Really Fun. If you haven't seen that. If you don'thave Netflix, that's like you can get a free trial and I think it'smaybe less than ten dollars a month. Find Somebody with the credit card,borrow somebody's password, you know, get on there, turn it on,put it on your your IPAD, or your TV wherever, just to checkthat out. It's a good way to spend a few hours. You mightnot be the best way, but again, remember, these are distractions, notthis isn't like a learning time or anything. This is just something tokeep your mind off of the severe, deep dark tsunami that might envelope youif you realize that you're in the holidays and you're detached from society. Soagain, these are distractions. Netflix binging...

...not bad distraction. Then there's,of course, live music. Live music can be really expensive, but itcan also be free. So around the holidays look for town squares. Yourlocal city center will often have free musical fairs. Again, if you're ableto get out of the house, that's a free, safe way to getamongst people. You can kind of walk around and leave when you feel uncomfortable. You know it might only be five or ten minutes, but hey,at least you got out and you did something and in a way you cankind of prove to yourself like, oh, yeah, that's why I don't participatein the holidays, or yeah, this is why I love the holidays. Either way, getting out and checking out some live music can all.It's always a great thing. We just went to a fire victims benefit concert. That was great. saw some bands I had never seen before and somebands that I had loved, so that was excellent. Love that. Anotherfavorite of mine are nature documentaries, because there's no judgment going on there.I don't have to think about anything. The animals don't judge anybody, theyjust eat each other or not. That's us. So lots of nature documentaries, dysfunctional holiday comedy movies. Those make me laugh. slapstick. I thinkthe dysfunctional part makes me laugh because it's nice to know that other people's livesare more screwed up than mine, especially when framed in the comedy context.So I always look for those dysfunctional like, you know, Christmas vacation or whatnot, stuff like that. Sports events, tons of sports. Is always happeningin America over the holidays. Again, kind of expensive, but that definitelytake your mind off of things if that's your team, man, becauseit's like three hours of just going Gaga. So if you're into sports and youhave a way to get to a game in person, I've got afriend with tickets or a box seats something. Let them take you if they asksay yes or even put it on social media. Just say, Hey, I've never been to a sports game. Does anybody have tickets you want totake? Me See see if anybody does. It's pretty fun and Idefinitely recommended at least once if you haven't done it at all. A littlecloser to home, you might try board games. Those are awesome. Iget a lot of card games to player Card Games, so I can alwaysplay with if I have one other person, I can always pull out a gameand hey, you want to play? So I'm really into all kinds ofdifferent games that come and go. Some are super simple beginner types andsome are really complex. That my game goobru friend turns beyond to twitter chats. We will, with my little bipolar cabal, put together twitter chat Hashtag. So if you're feeling lost or lonely through any of the holidays, hopefullyone of us will be online, because we're around the world and all timezones. That would be nice to be able to help each other through theholidays through a twitter chat. Stay tuned for that Hashtag. And I'm notsure if you know about what they call warm lines. They're not hot lines, like not like. I'm about to jump off the bridge kind of hotline. These are warm lines. Like I'm confused with my life. I'mnot sure if anybody likes me. What the Hell's going on? There's there'swarm lines, so look up warm lines on the Internet in your area andfind somebody to talk to. That's that's a really cool way to spend sometime and it's a great distraction. Another time well spent is any DBSA meeting. That stands for depression bipolar support alliance. You got to check that out.Highly encouraged. You can find them at DB s Alliance Dot Org.Again, that stands forward depression bipolar support alliance. DB Essay, is whatthey're called. Depression bipolar support alliance. To get that all out. InDBS ALLIANCE DOT Org they've got meetings, real life meetings, meetups like meetupdot Org, but with actually people, and they'll meet in your area andit'll make you feel a lot better.

It was one of the things thatmade me finally embrace the bipolarness of our condition was finding other people that hadthe same feelings, same situation, same reactions. Like I really was notalone. It wasn't just the thing I read about it wasn't just a diagnosisI heard from a doctor or symptoms I read about on a, you know, medication website and nothing like that. These were really humans that some wereon meds, some were not, but I could relate to all of them. So I really credit the DBSA meetings to my survival in many ways.So if you're really stuck and you need a place to go, a lotof them have meetings, you know, twice a week, even so,check that out. The last few things I could think about were like takinga quick trip. If you live near a train line, near a busline, just leave the driving to somebody else. Just go a few hoursoutside of your normal area, see the countryside, see new people, eatfood at a different restaurant you never been to. Just, you know,just disconnect from your area. You get tweet about it or whatever, butI mean the point is just getting away from your geography, just getting outof your place and seeing the sun from a different angle, I guess,is the best way to put it. So highly recommend taking the quick tripanyway. You know, car, bus, train, bicycle, we are playingwhatever you can do. And then the last few things on the distractionsand kind of a little more big picture. But you know, if you needa distraction really start a blog, make a podcast. These will suckup a lot of your time, keep you focused and keep you from slidingtoo deep into depression, because it starts to feel like others rely on you. And with others rely on you, you kind of step up and likeokay, I'll go record a podcast, I'll do it. HMM, nowI don't feel quite so bad. So having the thing really is important.You can start a social media group if you don't like the ones out there. Start Your own focus on exactly your thing. You know, if it'snot exactly bipolar disorder, maybe it's a bipolar disorder and borderline personality plus Ptsd, plus anxiety, plus this, plus that. You know, it couldbe a lot of different things. But you know, do your own things, start your own thing and have your own project is I guess what I'msaying. Have a project to work on is a great distraction. So Ithink you know. I don't want to get too carried away in any ofthese areas and we're kind of pushing up against the time limit. I justjust want to say you're not alone through the holidays. There are other waysand other different things that we you could explore without just feeling mired in thein the darkness, alone in your room. Nobody cares. Nobody invited me anywhere. Da Dada, I get it. I totally get that. So Ijust think back, remember your routines, go get your meds taken care of, think about volunteering somewhere, and also plan for some cool distractions,you know, some recreation and some entertainment. That's the Best I've got, youknow, I don't know else how to put it today. I hopethat helps you and hope you find me on twitter at bipolar style. Iwill share all my best resources with you, including my favorite followers and, youknow, the cool websites and the things we talked about as well.Thanks for listening and I look forward hearing from you next week. Thanks,take care. Bye. Bye. If you liked what you've heard, subscribeon Apple Podcast by Itunes and join us at my color stylecom. Thanks Bill. It's.

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