Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is Hastily Moving Ahead a Bipolar Symptom?

Ever since the medication I took a number of years ago caused hypomanic symptoms, I have found that I rush into things rather than taking my time and thinking them through more carefully.

So...when I decided I was interested in gardening, my first thought was, "I want to write a gardening book and need to find a partner who's a subject matter expert." My second was, "I want to begin writing gardening articles, and need to find someone to partner with me on my first one."

The truth is that in my writing career, partnerships rarely work out. In fact, the only time it really did was when I wrote my first book, Job Search Strategy for College Grads, and ended up partnering with my undergraduate career counselor who had become a good friend.

What's good about this year is that I recognized the problem fairly quickly. I learned that the gardening expert I'd considered for the book doesn't follow through on things. And, the gardening expert for the article isn't as fun to work with as I'd originally thought.

In the past I would have terminated these relationships immediately, because I dislike leaving things hanging, and seeking closure is important to me. But, I've decided to wait awhile and see if I change my mind or let these projects die of their own accord.

I wonder if this rush to hastily move ahead is a bipolar symptom and, if it is, how you deal with it? Any thoughts?


Wendy Love said...

Yes, I think it can be a bipolar symptom (if you are bipolar). I do it. How do I deal with it? Not that well really. But when my husband points out to me that my enthusiasm for a new project might be a manic symptom I try to be compliant and wait for a few days before I rush into anything. I do miss the enthusiasm I used to get over things though... I do miss it. But I do not miss the deep dark depression. Some days I feel that it is worth it, other days I am not so sure.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
I have my husband try to warn me as well although I don't always heed his advice. This time I thought my enthusiasm was predicated on gardening being a new passion. And, my husband did warn me about these possible partnerships.

For me, being more careful doesn't take away the enthusiasm I feel. It just puts it in perspective.


Tamara (TC) Staples said...

Oh, my gosh, I am certain it is a bipolar symptom and I have spent my life rushing headlong into something to quickly decide I didn't want to do it or I was in over my head. It has taken a lot of practice but I am finally learning that I can't do everything that enters my brain.

I have set my goals on writing novels, cooking, studying my theology classes and occasionally painting. That is all that I am allowing myself to do. I still start down the road of I-am-going-to-do-this-or-that but I am learning to catch it within an hour or two (a day, tops) and pull myself back to my intended projects.

I think that it is good that you are stepping back and weighing what you want to do before you end it too soon. Best of luck in deciding what feels most right for you.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
Thanks for sharing. And, yes, I agree that it's all about goal setting.

And, it's also about awareness, and problem-solving. I'm always surprised--although after all this time I shouldn't be--to read about people who make the same mistakes over and over and never realize it or try to change it.

I think, for those of us who are mostly well, what differentiates us from others is the ability to recognize behavioral patterns, and the willingness to change them.


KJ said...

Well I did see that in Joe but his hastiness was in bigger and bigger projects or ideas or jobs, not in ones that could actually be accomplished.

I tend to act hastely though too and I am trying to stop and take time to make sure it is the right way to go first. I think it is my need to control situations though that makes me act hastely. I think I feel like if I don't hurry and do something or make a change it won't happen and instead something terrible will. Like I am always trying to avoid the next shoe to drop. Does that make sense?

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
Yes, it does make sense. I wonder if having so much responsibility and having to do much on your own contributed.



Danielle said...

Although never formally diagnosed with bipolar, as a mental health professional I am always acutely aware that many of my behaviors may fall into the diagnostic criteria for bipolar. I definitely do what you have described here and often not with good results - especially in my youth. Now as an older adult I am able to recognize (as you mentioned here) my tendency to fall into this behavior pattern and I am able to manage it. Although this is a symptom of bipolar I am reluctant to say that a person with this behavior is bipolar. This is based on my personal experience of some individuals becoming what they have been labeled when they were never that "label". Great post.

Wellness Writer said...

I believe that the greatest value of my recent period of therapy was that my therapist believed I had been wrongly diagnosed. And, that most of the behavioral patterns that psychiatrists or authors of bipolar books suggested were bipolar,
were, in fact, within the realm of "normalcy."

Upon hearing that, I realized we all have certain behavioral patterns, that don't need to be labeled as pathological, but just don't work for us. And, once we realize what they are, we can change them.

P.S. Thanks for sharing your personal and professional opinion on this topic. I appreciate it.