Monday, October 24, 2011

Knitting for the Holidays...and to Avoid a Crash

Since I'm back on the knitting train now, working on my entrelac scarf and another cool zigzag scarf, I was thinking of trying to knit some gifts for Christmas.  Last year I did a couple of scarves for my sister-in-law and for my mom (I'd post the patterns but I have no idea where they are), so I was thinking of doing some cute amigurumi dolls for my kids and for some other small family members.  I got one kit and I'll see how it goes, and how long it takes to make.  I made a cute "Sheldon" turtle a few years ago for one of my girls, and it took FOREVER.  I don't want to be too ambitious.

When I get in phases like this and have about sixty-seven different projects going, I really feel the brunt of my bipolar disorder.  One sign of bipolar disorder is having lots of unfinished projects.  Of course, lots of people have lots of unfinished projects and aren't bipolar, but I think with bipolar disorder, in a manic or hypomanic phase there's a certain urgency to start different things, all at one time.  I know I often start to feel pressured, and want to get lots of things done as soon as I can.  The problem is that after a little while of this kind of behavior (a few days, a week), I crash out and sink into a depressive phase.  This is a pretty common trait of bipolar disorder, too.

I'm trying to avoid that this time by pacing myself, doing a lot of deep breathing, and limiting my caffeine.  One of the most important lessons I learned the last time I had a serious depressive phase is that caffeine is NOT my friend.  I can have maybe one Diet Coke (my Achilles' heel) and a cup of coffee a day, and that's it.  It's better if I have none at all, but when my kids are demanding stuff and the baby is crying, I could do a lot worse coping-wise than grabbing a Diet Coke.

And I'm trying to make my knitting urge work for me, instead of against me.  Instead of getting frantic about finishing all these projects at one time, and starting sixteen new ones for Christmas/birthday/Tuesday gifts, I am trying really hard to focus on one (or two - let's be realistic here) things.  And if I can focus on a few things, maybe I can thwart the pressured thinking and thus thwart the coming depression. 

I guess what I really wonder is:  is the crash unavoidable?  Most of the stuff I look up online seem to just assume that after a manic or hypomanic phase, a bipolar person will inevitably fall into a depressive phase.  How much can I control, and how much does the bipolar disorder control me?  I guess we'll find out.

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