When a depression ends, one of my first tasks is to write a to do list. I've been doing this for years and I've always wondered if other BIPS (bipolars) do this as well. While the tasks on my list vary, there are always so many things that fall through the cracks when I'm ill that's it's often overwhelming to try and get back on track. Still, I've learned that the process of writing the list is healing because I feel like I'm beginning to regain control of my life.
The following is a typical list and it's just for me. I used to have a list of things to catch up on for my son although now that he's older and my husband is retired, there's not a lot of catch-up work here. Still, I've always had great empathy for women (and men) who have more children and more responsibilities than I do (and whose spouses don't shoulder as much of the responsibility as my husband always has). Because it's too painful, I try not to think back on the days when I had freelance clients and was trying to keep my business afloat as well.
(When I write my fantasy list of bipolar support services that we all truly need, perhaps I should add a "personal assistant" to drive us on errands during our first month of wellness after an intense depressive episode. Wouldn't that be great?)
Here goes, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
1. Call dentist and make an appointment for teeth cleaning. (Tell Rachel you cancelled appointment last December and find out if you need x-rays.)
2. Call gynecologist for appointment for pap smear. (To my male readers, I apologize. Perhaps you have a "like" task. To my female readers, isn't this a drag? I dread making these appointments when I'm well.)
3. Call mother's dentist and make an appointment for her.
4. Find all insurance correspondence. Write insurance company a letter forcing them into arbitration for refusing new policy. Research options. Write a protest letter to Governor Schwarzenegger since he's requiring that all California residents carry health insurance. Ask him if he knows the problems that BIPS have with insurance.
5. Send jury duty notification to psychiatrist's secretary.
6. Update resume.
7. Go through photos for a good picture for jacket cover for new book. Take to lab and have it made into jpeg file.
8. Buy birthday cards and presents for Annie and David.
9. Write thank-you note to WK.
10. Write notes to SM and BK and apologize for not returning their phone calls. Buy new stamps since postal rate has increased. (Find out if they have email addresses.)
11. Get battery for silver watch.
12. Find out what shoe repair man did with sandals he's had for five months. Buy dark brown shoe polish.
13. Call SS and make appointment for hair cut and dye job.
14. Buy toner for printer.
15. File the ton of stuff in back cupboard.
16. Call NK and find out his recommendations for quick freelance writing assignments. Draft letters and get everything out ASAP. (Might consider moving this up to top of list since it's a higher priority than everything else combined.)
17. Go to the library and get books on stress, biofeedback, and hypnosis to research for blog. Find out if anyone is effectively using these methods for treatment. Also, see what's been written on "forgiveness." After yesterday's post, it's going to be quite evident that this is not an area in which you excel.
18. Find Myers-Brigs test results (in a box in the studio I think) so you can tell Jo what personality type you are.
19. Remember to respond to JayPeeFreely's comments on Prayer post.
20. Buy wall calendar for 2007 since you've already missed half of this year!