Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waterfalls and Mental Health

 Here's another "today's view from our mobile office."  Have you noticed I like to park and work near water -- particularly moving water and more particularly waterfalls?  I find water very calming to see and even more so if I can hear it. It also helps me work productively on something that requires significant attention and focus, like writing. Today I was triggered  into an angry, hypomanic mood. The event that triggered me would have made anyone mad, but I got the anger with truly racing thoughts about what I should have said or done, what I will say or do,and all the incidents in both recent and ancient history where this person has treated me and others in a similar way --  not to mention crushing pressure in my chest.

 You can't eliminate all bipolar symptoms, but you can learn to deal with them. Here's what I did:
  1. I asked the other person involved whether their intention was truly as I perceived it. (It was.)
  2.  I calmly left the scene to avoid unnecessary escalation
  3.  I did a quick inventory of my functioning and realized I was very distracted, had racing thoughts, and my anger was escalating rather than subsiding.
  4.  I fought against the racing angry thoughts and worked on breathing.
  5.  I did a  mental search for things under my control that might help.
  6.  I decided to pick up some reasonably healthy snack food and drive to a nearby waterfall.
  7.  I spoke to my therapist briefly about how to handle the situation when I go back into it tomorrow. That helped me control the thoughts since I was able to decide what I will do.
  8.  I did a few quick things from  my minivan (my mobile office) that might help others, including writing this post.
 Not only am I feeling much better, but also, as your can see  above,  I got the bonus of having a Great Blue Heron join me after I calmed down. Better than a gold star!

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