One way of looking at bi polar is how balanced one is in life.
I have realised, looking back at my life, that I have been out of balance my whole life. This has been through sleep, eating and cooking habits, planning and not planning, etc.
In this blog I am going to go through these various examples.
I have always slept very little in life, but accidently I have had the recovery time to catch up on sleep.
For example when I was at University in London, I slept 4 hours every night Monday to Friday, but on weekends, I went to a family home, I relaxed and caught up on sleep there.
When I was working in London, I got by on 6 hours sleep each night. There was a period where I went home for Christmas and I remember sleeping 12 hours solid every day for 2 weeks, and then I went back to London, and went back to sleeping half the amount I slept over Christmas - 6 hours!
Even when I went travelling for 6 months, I hardly slept, I slept 4 hours or had no sleep on some nights. But on every plane journey, I just slept, I literally closed my eyes and was up in the air and then I opened my eyes and we had landed. This is also how I survived on a 2 week holiday to Oz; I slept 4 hours daily in Oz for 12 days, travelling up the east coast. I literally slept on my whole plane journey home! I have done this countless times on every holiday I have been on, including staying up all night before almost every early morning flight I’ve had, whether going to my destination or returning home. The most extreme and recent was going to Dublin for 36 hours (arrived 9am Saturday, left 9pm Sunday), and I only slept 2 hours and I was absolutely fine going to work the next day, despite the fact my flight got delayed coming home too! I just did what I usually do, solider through the day and sleep really well the next evening.
Whilst at school, I can recall weeks on end where I slept early, like 9/10pm, being in bed by then. I can also recall times where for weeks on end I slept very late. I used to listen to the radio station until 1/2am in the morning, whilst studying each day and then still made it to school every single day on time and wide awake.
Even for work now, there have been countless days I can recall where I have only had 3 or 4 hours sleep, and the next day I just carried on my day as usual. In fact I found I was more productive on these days as I was just focused on doing what needed to be done, and then I just went home and went straight to sleep and I slept really well on these nights.
This is how I survive Glastonbury Festival each year. I work 4 shifts litter picking, 6am – 12 noon, Friday to Monday. I slept 3 or 4 hours each night either before or after my shift or broken sleep and I never missed much of the Festival from Thursday to Sunday night. On my whole train journey home I am sleeping, to the point I hold on to my belongings so tightly and set an alarm to wake me up 10 minutes before each interchange and I have 4/5 changes on my journey from home to Glastonbury Festival on public transport! This year would have been my 6th year there.
I have always had an intention to sleep 7.5/8 hours a day but for some reason by time I finally got to bed, my average hours of sleep per night was 6 hours and I’ve always survived just fine on it.
2. Cooking & Eating Meals
I either cook really fast or really slow.
When I cook most times, I am really slow, so slow to the point my family take over and don’t even give me a chance to participate.
Recently in lockdown, I have realised, I can make meals so quickly, cook, eat and wash up within 45 minutes. I actually did this when I lived alone in London too, the very few times I decided to cook for myself!
Even with eating my meals I can be the most slowest eater but I have realised I can also eat my meal so fast, it blows my family away on how earth I have eaten my meal so fast, when I’m usually so slow at eating!
3. Planning vs. Spontaneously
Many know me as a planner, my family call me the robot as everything I do is so rigid and I follow plans all to the letter. But there has been the odd weekend in life where I have been very random.
For example, I have had a whole weekend planned in London and that weekend I randomly decided to cancel all my plans and go back home. Of course I confirmed with those I made plans with that it was fine to cancel as I don’t like to let others down, ever.
Another time, I did the complete opposite, I had a whole weekend planned at home and that weekend I randomly decided to cancel all my plans and stay in London. Again I confirmed with my family that it was fine to cancel as I don’t like to let others down, ever.
I used to believe I was both because my dad is spontaneous and my mum is a planner, but I realised my mum also doesn't like to plan at times too and now I believe it is more to do with me being out of balance in general.
4. Doing vs. Being
At University, I remember that I was always doing so much in the week, and come the weekend, weekends when I did stay in London, sometimes I would literally do nothing, and end up wasting my weekend, especially in my 1st year of University. This made me think I was being really lazy, so I ended up trying to put some structure into my weekends too, so that they also became busy, so the only way I ended up having a break was by literally going home.
I also realised the same once I was working, that I literally did so much in the week and had no time to chill as my weekends were all crazy planned. I started to try not to plan Sunday’s, but my Sunday’s kept getting planned somehow, so I just carried on as usual. My Sunday’s kept getting planned as I kept filling my weekends up when others wanted plans, or I wanted to make plans to the point I had every weekend booked up for months on end always!
Before lockdown I was always doing, doing everything I could think to be possible. During lockdown, it forced me to slow down, to the point where I am just being and chilling more than I ever thought I could and would be.
Right now I am happy to stay at home, working from home indefinitely, and relaxing. I have no desire to leave home and socialise all hours as I did before. Although I wouldn’t mind it, as I do love socialising but I also enjoy being home now too. This is something I never realised as I never was home before.
The point is how I am living my life now is completely the opposite from before lockdown.
What I have realised is that there is nothing wrong with being out of balance, as long as it is consciously managed.
So if I know I won’t be sleeping much for a few days or weeks on end, give myself that recovery time after.
If I am learning to cook something new, slow down to learn it, then after if I am cooking, there is nothing wrong in cooking it quickly if I choose to do so, as long as the food tastes good. Others who are teaching me need to learn to be patient, or I can learn from the Internet instead of asking others.
If I know I am doing a lot for weeks on end, give myself a week or day off to relax, do nothing and just be, something I never did before.
I also learnt that there is no need to plan my whole life out. I can plan a few activities, and let the rest of the day fill itself up, which is what usually happens, but as long as I have done the priority things first, then I don’t see why it matters how I spend the rest of my time, as long as it is doing things I enjoy in life and is in line with what I want in life.