I’m a Hamster

Well I survived! 4-12 hour shifts. It amazes me how my body works though. Under normal circumstances working that much would seem impossible. But my body just kicks into overdrive to keep me going. The unfortunate side of that is I have difficulty slowing it down. So I have been waking up 2-3 times at night then I give up the battle at 5:00 AM and get up. So my body is just running on batteries right now. Still this morning…same thing. Up at 5:00 AM and I thought I would be in bed till at least noon. I know how this ends. The day will come soon that my body figures out it does not have to be in Super Woman mode and it is going to drop. You will find me suddenly asleep on the kitchen floor.

I do contacts for the hospital here. Been doing it for a couple of years now. They run this large lotteries and I just work customer service taking orders and dealing with issues. I enjoy it and it keeps me out of trouble. I know I am damn good at my job. It is just my personality to be bubbly on the phones. But none of us are perfect (a concept I have trouble accepting). The other night I took a call where an elderly woman was having an issue. She thought she had been scammed. This was about 10 mins after she had purchased the tickets from one of our people that called her.

I tried to reassure her but did not get far. So I transferred her. My supervisor came over to me afterwards and said there was not a problem with how I handled it but there was  a better way. I do not take offense when I am corrected there because we all are. You would not believe how many rules there are just to work the phones. My response was positive and I told her not a problem I would make sure to correct myself next time. That was the end of it. I knew she never gave it a thought afterwards. I mean she has only said anything to me maybe twice before in 2 years. Now to the average person this would not even be a memory. But me….noooooo!

Everything was good until I got in bed. My brain thinks the best way to relax and fall asleep is to go over every damn detail of what happened that day. That is usually why I play nature music to have something else to focus on because if not I would never sleep. I swear God forgot to give my brain an “off” switch. The “on” one strives to outdo itself. For me the music only really works when I wear headphones. If I just play it in the background my mind has no reason to pay attention. Unless I have it full blast. But if it is loud directly in my ears it is pretty hard for me not to be aware of it.

So…I start to review what transpired during that call. I came up with 10 different scenarios as to how I could have handled it better. Then I realized what I was doing. Same crap that always happens. Taking something the size of a mustard seed and making it elephant size. If I had of let it I could have been stuck on that hamster wheel for days! Over and over the same damn thing. Obsessing the scenario as many times in my mind as the day would allow. Trying to remind myself that it is over and nothing I do is going to change that. No Way! I was not going to get caught in that trap.

In the past my past always resulted in some type of obsessive thinking. If anything negative happened that was it for me. Often the negative was all in my mind. For me there is a difference between gaining some control over where my mind goes and yelling at it. Getting angry because I am thinking exactly what I do not want to be thinking of just causes more anxiety. I just end up putting myself down because I have no control and my mind can easily become my enemy. I have to treat it with kit gloves.

When the thoughts begin I let them come.Then when I have let my mind get the thoughts out…I gently tell it to “piss off” and immediately find something that I have to focus on to do. This is not something that came easily for me. The mind is like any muscle in your body. It needs to be trained to do what you want it to do. Practice makes perfect (unfortunately this works for the bad stuff too). It has taken me awhile to be able to make my bipolar disorder brain listen to that little piece of rational part that sometimes appears. My rational ally has spread its wings over time. What that means is that I can find it more often than not.

I will be honest I can only do this during my stable times. Luckily this is more often than not. If I am depressed I often lose the battle of trying to get my mind to do anything I want it to. I don’t know about yours but my mind is friggin stubborn. It wants to do what it wants to do. Kind of like a puppy. They do not know any different when they are small. They are all over the place driving their owner crazy. You have to train it in order to gain control over their behavior. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. In every training manual you will find one word appear many times. “Consistency.”

If you do not react the same way each time they have unwanted behavior…they get confused. Once they get the hang of it…you only have to give a command and they automatically obey. Well the same procedure has been used on my brain. In the beginning it would not listen to anything I tried to tell it to do. I had to keep interrupting my obsessive thinking. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Now over time I can interject that I am accomplishing nothing but driving myself crazy going over something I can do nothing bout. If it is something I can apologize for…I do. But if it is over and done and forgotten by everyone but me, no I will not let that consume me.

I wish I could say this happens every time. No. That does not stop me from doing the same thing the next time. Eventually things could happen that I did not even give a second thought to which would have driven me mad before. I am not as efficient about things that will happen in the future but I am working on it. Isn’t that all we can expect? There is no “nailed it!” But we are trainable. Like I said just plain stubborn though so it will not be easy. One word I can use and you will probably hear me say it again is peace. I could never use that word in the past in any reference to my thoughts. No matter how hard. No matter how many slip ups. A little bit better is great. Moving forward. As long as we move forward we give ourselves hope. A person is never too far away to find hope. Sometimes that may be all that we have but it is enough to keep us going.

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