Friday, February 1, 2008

Bipolar Wellness Activity

When I'm feeling depressed, I try and think of accomplishments--big and small. Just one a day will suffice. Since I've had a rapid cycling depression for months, this exercise currently requires fairly low standards and a high level of creativity. But last night, I came up with a big winner: kickball. Yes, kickball. When I was in elementary school, I was probably the best, if not one of the best, kickball players in my class.

As a sort of a baby boomer visualization exercise, I lay on top of my bed, closed my eyes, and visualized the blacktop diamond at my elementary school. As I remembered my childhood friends with whom I used to play, I felt a smile beginning to form...the first one in days. As I visualized what it felt like to stand at the plate looking for holes in the outfield as I waited for the pitcher to release the ball, I felt a small surge of happiness.

As I saw myself standing at the plate and waiting for the ball to come towards me, I could feel a slight increase in my heart rate. When I visualized my left foot solidly connecting with the ball, and kicking it so hard and high that it sailed through the air beyond our diamond, I unintentionally clinched my fist with pride. Finally, as I saw myself running so fast around the bases that I felt like I was flying, I was jubilant--if only for a moment.

When I opened my eyes, I sighed deeply, and felt like part of the darkness was lifting. Moreover, for the first time in weeks, I came up with a plan of action. I decided that if this depressive episode doesn't end within one week, I'm going to return to my elementary school, which is only five blocks away, and see if I can find a "pick-up" game of kickball. While I'm not sure that beating ten-year-old kids will make me feel better, it certainly couldn't make me feel worse.

P.S. I just read that kickball is a popular retro sport. So, perhaps I can join a team of adults.


Merelyme said...

wow i haven't played kickball in years. this would not make me feel better to think about because i always sucked at sports. :>) well...maybe i was good at dodge ball as in dodging the ball.

i am having a discussion over at my place about depression and medication. would love to hear your thoughts.

JayPeeFreely said...

I loved kicked ball! (And a lefty too!) I think I was pretty darn good too. I liked getting in rundowns and avoided the tag out between bases.

I also remember we had an interesting round robin tournament in my early years.

3rd vs. 4th graders
5th vs. 6th graders
those winners versus the teachers.

When I was in 5th grade, we hammered the 6th graders, and played the teachers, and won! It was the first time at Clark Memorial elementary school that happened!!!

Thanks for the memories!!!

Good Show! (As the Brits say.)

mylifewithbipolardisorder said...

Hi Susan, I am new to your blog. I am amazed to read in your profile that you have survived 120 bipolar depressive episodes. I survived 10 or so episodes and I thought that was an accomplishment :-) but yours is surely record breaking. I am glad you write on wellness rather than illness. I am still learning to look at my bipolar in a more positive light as I do see many advantages and blessings in it though the pain is awful beyond words. Will return to read more of your posts. Best regards, Nancie

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancie,
It's not that I feel so positive all of the time. In fact, I am often angry and so very sad about the treatment, the lies, the lack of concern, and the impact this illness has had on the people I love most.

But, I did learn that being angry doesn't make me feel better. And reading blogs about how awful other people feel never made me feel better either.

So, I try to post in a positive way. I know that the only real hope is to try and achieve wellness rather than dwelling on all the pain and suffering. But it's not always easy.

Thanks for your comment.


mylifewithbipolardisorder said...

Dear Susan,

I can identify with your anger and sadness over the treatment, the lies, the lack of concern, and the impact this illness has had on the people we love most. I have several friends still undergoing tremendous sufferings because of this.

It is for this reason too that I decided to start my blog to help them and others to find hope and also to educate their carers and friends. I thank God that now my family and friends are more understanding and supportive.

I suffered much in the past too especially before my diagnosis. After my diagnosis in March 2007, it was a relief to me to know that my confusing pasts were due to bipolar. And my recurrent black and suicidal depression and my strange highs will be manageable with medication, counsellings, exercise, etc in the longer run. I am still learning to manage my condition, but I am so much better than before my diagnosis as I didn't receive any help at all then.

Hope you will feel better soon. Remembering you in prayers. Take care.

Kind regards,