A long time ago when I was first diagnosed Manic-depressive Strong man and I sat down and hashed out some basic "rules" to this new "game" we were playing. For years we have worked hard at perfecting the way we play. Below are the rules we came up with.
1. I need to take a big bite of humble pie followed by a gulp of pride and realize I can't fight it alone. You would think that by now I would have this perfected, but honestly it never gets easier. On the contrary it gets harder because I've done this before so I should know what I'm doing.
2. As soon as I notice a change in mood I tell my Strong man and get his opinion. Then we talk everyday about what we each see. When he says I'm doing to much, or I need to get out of the house, or I should leave my wallet in the car, I follow his suggestions even if I don't agree. If he says your doctor needs to know, I call my doctor.
3. I tell the boys that I'm having a hard day. I tell them that I'm having a "sad sickness" day. From day one when they were in diapers they knew Mommy had sad days. I ask for them to show me grace and I work hard to do the same to them. I apologize often.
4. I go back to my lists-cleaning list, meal plans, weekly schedule, daily schedule, shopping lists. I try hard to live by them, never doing to much or to little just what's on the list. Because if I didn't have a list then on those manic days I try and take on the world, while those days full of depression I wouldn't even get out of bed.
5. I tell my friends. This way they won't be offended when I cut them off every 20 seconds, and when we're in the dollar isle at Target and I'm filling my cart with random things they can remind me I probably don't need that or better yet they can lock my wallet in the car so I can't even consider buying the everything in the store.
6. I take time to rest alone. I find the upbeat music my heart needs when its down or the relaxing soul calming music when I'm manic. It's not always the music I want to hear, but it's the music I need to hear. I use the time to read, sometimes its fiction if I need my mind to be calm or informational if I need to keep it moving.
7. I write. I need to record what I'm thinking and doing. I need to be able to look back and see so I can move forward and learn. I need others to see that the battle is stronger then what they see it as, and even more so I need them to see that I fight harder then they think I do.
8. I always fall back on grace (or at least I try.). I allow myself to except that I'm an imperfect human. I try to show others grace when they don't understand the depths of my battle. I pray they show me the same kind of grace.