Thursday, December 10, 2009

What do you like to do?

I've been keeping a list of the things I do lately that give me that warm, fuzzy feeling, or that excited accomplished feeling, or that content I-could-do-this-all-day feeling.

I've never kept track before, but since I'd like to find my life passion someday, I thought keeping a list was a good start. I ignore the “but I'm not really good at that” thoughts that pop up in my brain and just plow onwards.

This is a good activity, because it is thought provoking, and generally positive thing to be thinking about.  It's also a small step in the process of finding my life calling, which is really a huge thing that can seem overwhelming.

It is possible to cope with some of those crazy bipolar moods and down depressive thoughts by working on changing oneself.   I've worked on it quite a bit.  Now, when I have a thought that I don't want, I recognize it as a thought that is wrong, and I don't act on it.  Instead, I divert that negative or positive energy into something that I can do.

For example, if you have the desire to do something illegal or unethical (or something that will cause problems for you or your family), and you can recognize that you are having these desires because they are driven by your Bipolar disorder, then you can decide not to act on it, but instead, put that energy into doing something that is 'right.'

It's going to be different for every person, but you have to want to do the right thing out of a deep driven desire to do the right thing, not because it is simply right.  You might find that desire in a relationship with a spouse or a child, or with God, or in your desire not to repeat the past.. But you have to want the change for youself.

I didn't always understand this, and I did things without understanding what kind of person I wanted to be.  Now, I don't do things that aren't “right” because I want to be truthful to myself about what kind of person I am.  I think it does help if you have someone like a partner that you love who you don't want to hurt or disappoint.

This process of doing one thing instead of something else is called sublimation.  I didn't know it was called sublimation until I read this squidoo page, which quotes this definition for sublimate: “To divert the energy associated with (an unacceptable impulse or drive) into a personally and socially acceptable activity.”

Here's my example that I just made up:
Perhaps you liked to steal things from stores.   Perhaps, you decide that you don't want to steal anymore, because you are a really kind, good-hearted person and you want to do good things, not bad things. So you decide that you won't act on those feelings. But instead, you decide you will take that desire to do something and do something positive.  Perhaps instead of stealing, you spend your energy and enthusiasm buying toys to donate to needy children...

I think you have to find something that you really like doing to replace that thing that isn't so good.

If you're depressed, doing something that focuses on another person might be easiest because it takes you away from wallowing in your negative feelings about yourself.  I've found that helping others is one of the things that really makes me happiest.

Or you may find that expressing yourself through art might be the way to cope with your moods.  Or perhaps by excelling in the business or political world.  Staying busy is a good way of coping....

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. I use redirecting of activity and energy all of the time with my son and it really works. I know my husband used to struggle with depression and I suggested (as someone had suggested to me many years ago) that he get out of focusing on himself and start actively doing things to help people less fortunate than himself. It really worked. Now he uses it as his go-to every time he starts to feel down and it works every time.