In previous posts, I’ve talked about how much having a set routine for my day-to-day life and taking my medications have helped me. Today I’ll give you a little more info on both, so you can get an idea what a typical day for a high functioning bipolar healthcare worker is like.
0905- the alarm goes off. I turn it off, as another alarm will go off at 0930. I give myself this allotment of 25 minutes to simply wake up without feeling rushed and to just ease into the day. My work day is always hectic, so this gentle start into the day helps me start on the right foot. In addition, I take my medications at night and perform best on 9 hours of sleep. The 25 minute buffer helps me wake up completely, as my medications make me pretty drowsy.
0930-1030 I get out of bed, get dressed and “put on my face”. Wearing scrubs comes in handy in time spent dressing and picking something out. I then pack my lunch and have something small to eat.
1030-1100 commute to work
1100 begin my day at the hospital, in the emergency room. I will see anywhere from 10-20 people in a day and they all get my best. No matter what happens I try to stay positive and be a help to people during their time in the hospital. There is no room for error and time is of the essence. It goes without saying it’s a busy, hectic, noisy day. Oh, and coffee, coffee, coffee.
1530- lunch time. Peace and relative quiet unless I get interrupted with a question. I take this time to eat and then just sit quietly. I usually go to lunch alone just to be able to relax and decompress. If I’m feeling overly jumpy, I’ll find someone to talk to. Again, I find this time to just be still in the middle of the often chaotic day helps sustain me.
1605 back to work. Work picks up at this time, the ambulances continue to bring in the sick and injured. Everyone gets a smile and my problems dissolve into the background. There are heart attacks, strokes, emergency surgeries, assault victims, drug overdoses. Sometimes a family member needs comforting, sometimes they need a laugh. You learn to provide what people need. You learn to deal with the smells and sights. You learn to hold back your own tears when a patient passes away. Emergency department workers are a special breed, each with an odd sense of humor, a great set of skills, endurance and compassion. I feel I work with some of the best, and I can honestly say I love my job.
1945 I begin the drive home.
2015 I’m home. I grab the mail, feed the cat and water my plants. I scrounge up some sort of healthy-ish meal and make a lunch for the following day. Dinnertime is when I finally log on to Facebook and Twitter and catch up on what happened in the outside world. During the summer when it stays light out later, I usually go for a run after work, then have dinner when I get home. After dinner, I talk to my mom and my best friend (yep, every day!) and text my sister. Housework and other miscellaneous things get done around this time, too.
2100 my nightly cup of coffee. It doesn’t affect my sleep and I tend to take my time preparing a nice cup of pour over coffee. In summertime, I drink my evening coffee on my balcony and enjoy the fresh air.
2200 it’s time for meds and a shower. The med list currently is as follows: Risperdal 1 mg, Effexor XR 150mg, Fish Oil 1 gram, Vitamin D 5000 iu, CoQ10 100mg, Vitamin B Complex. The Fish Oil is a new addition after I read a study showing it could have a positive impact on the depression part of bipolar, so I figured it was worth a shot, plus it’s so good for your heart and cholesterol.
2230 time to play fetch with Fluffernutter (yes, my cat plays fetch) and making sure everything is in order for the next day. I might play a game on my phone or read but 9 times out of 10 I just listen to some Bon Iver or other mellow music. As you see, there’s not a lot of time scheduled for “being connected”. I don’t really go through my Bloglovin list as much as I’d like and leave comments There are seemingly a million Tweets I have missed out on. My blog posts are spur of the moment and not really planned ahead of time, save pieces of an idea knocking around that I’d like to tackle here and there. My blog will never be a sponsored, giveaway-hosting, glamorous lifestyle blog. It’s an outlet for me and a place for people to gain a better understanding of bipolar disorder and what it’s like to live with it. I’m really OK with this and I’m really proud of the connections I’ve made as a result of this blog.
Sometime between 2300 and 0000, I go to sleep after saying some prayers.
It’s not an exciting day, written out like this. But routine is key when you have mental illness. Establishing routine, getting enough sleep, eating right, taking my meds and exercising have all helped tremendously. It’s been quite some time (wary of cursing myself here) since I’ve lapsed into a manic episode, and that alone speaks volumes. I also have found that taking the time throughout the day to just be still is a big help. It can often quell an anxiety attack or provide me with clarity regarding whatever I’m worrying about. The last several months following this routine have actually brought about changes in how I live daily life, but also how I approach things. I look back at how I had been and how I am now, and it’s worlds apart. I realize I was a mess and I can’t imagine myself doing some of the awful things I had done (which I once again apologize to those affected for). Now that I’m medicated and living an orderly life, I can look back and take away lessons, rather than beating myself up for things I did that I couldn’t exactly control.
Even if you don’t suffer from bipolar or any other mental illness, I think there’s certainly something to gain for everyone from just taking that time to be still, to disconnect from your phone or computer or tv. Just be still, and listen to your inner voice. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from it!