Bipolar Blog 11: Conflicting Thoughts
Good Moaning Halloween Fans,
There I was struck by a rather unpleasant bout of insomnia when a stream of largely conflicting ideas hit me. Remember I said previously that Bipolar is tinged with a heap of ideas, well what I meant to depict was a shower of thoughts where every drop of rain is an individual idea. I presume people without bipolar have maybe 2 or 3 thoughts at a time, which is nice and comfortable. Bipolar survivors can have an absolute monsoon of wondrous ideas ranging from bizarre interior design schemes to obscure art projects. On occasion the pre-dominant ideas may happen to be binary opposites and therefore create great mental conflict, this is somewhat less comforting.
Let me explain my meaning through an example, John (an entirely fictitious person hence the unimaginative name) decides after leaving school that he wants to be an electrical engineer. John equally decides that he des not want to be an electrical engineer instead he would rather take up animal care. Two full time course are offered locally and the time-tabling means that he can only take one. John wants to take both, but this is not an option. On a simpler level Jane (yes a false name again) wants to go to the Chinese for dinner at 6pm, she also wants to go to the pub with her friends at 6pm. Now, these are very simple decisions and I have made them this way for the purpose of understanding my meaning. In reality the bipolar survivor often deals with much more complex ideas.
How should John and Jane proceed? Well a multi-faceted, multi-tasking and manic survivor would usually find a way to fulfil both options; dinner early, pub after or combining part-time and full time courses. This is grand right up to the moment they reach complete burn out. The more complex conflicting ideas often require a decision or result in stagnation, not progressing on either front. This leads to obsessive thoughts and the consequent anxiety and the question remains, how can two conflicting ideas or intentions be solved?
In the first instance the rapid stream of changing thoughts can result in both ideas being eliminated in the face of a third option, however the bipolar mind does like to bounce backwards and forwards so it may return to obsessing over the initial ideas at a later date. My first suggestion would be not to act impulsively on either idea, impulsiveness is a symptom of the illness because of these rapid fire ideas. Resist the urge to act impulsively and sleep on the ideas, take time to mull them over. Further, create a pros and cons table and way up the outcomes of any conflicting choices to see which is more suitable.
It is also worth speaking to those within your inner circle, gain some objective input from a number of people who are happy to speak honestly and candidly. Consider taking a general consensus, what statistically appears to be the better choice to onlookers. Their insight may not be shrouded in bipolar fogginess. Compare this to the pros and cons list and then make a decision. Again sleep on it as an alternative solution may present itself. Remember to research ideas as research may also present additional solutions that may not have sprung to mind. Consider also whether either of the ideas are realistic in the current circumstances. Sometimes the bipolar mind likes to take a walk off of the proverbial map and float off into unchartered territories. In the bipolar world, on a particularly imaginative day the mind may be conflicted about retiring on the moon or in Antarctica. Neither are really a viable option, so perhaps a realignment in thinking is in order. Remember that pros and cons list, these two choices will be weighed down in favour of the cons.
The same constant flux of ideas also interferes with existing projects, leaving an unfinished trail of debris behind the survivor. In order to be successful the survivor must try to complete one project before allowing that storm of brilliant ideas to bog down the brain. There is no harm in jotting down realistic ideas and returning to them at a later date, this helps keep those ideas alive and gives the mind time to plan whilst completing existing projects. It will be hard to resist those ideas, so lay down a rule that a new project cannot be started until the current one is complete. This in itself can provide motivation to bring jobs to completion.