Bipolar 2 From Inside and Out

Posts tagged ‘low functioning’

How I Function (When I Do)

I recently was involved in an online discussion. I probably should have been doing something else at the time, but it caught my interest and I jumped in.

It was (or at least became, in part) about getting up, getting dressed, and doing the work (or art or whatever). One person stated that she worked at home, but she needed to get out of her pajamas and get into regular clothes as a signal and reminder to herself that it was time to work.

I work at home too, and when I can make myself do the work, I do it in my pajamas. I reserve getting dressed for when I have to go outside the house – maybe three or four times a month. Pulling myself together that way takes much effort, many spoons, that I need to invest in doing the work.

So am I high-functioning or low-functioning? Yes.

We also discussed Dale Carnegie’s admonition, “ACT enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic.” This advice comes in various forms: Fake it till you make it. You get good at what you practice.

It doesn’t work that way for me. I can pull myself together for a limited time and on the phone, talking to a client, for example. I can fake it for that long. In my pajamas. A few months ago I had to drive to a face-to-face, multi-person business meeting – all together, about a half a day. By the time I got home, I was not just fried, but extra-crispy. Even the next day, I was too exhausted to do much more than get out of bed. It did not result in my being any more pulled-together thereafter.

So I was high-functioning for half a day and low- to non-functioning for a day and a half.

I suspect that most of us go bouncing back and forth between high- and low-functioning, with an occasional pause in the middle. It probably goes with the mood swings.

There are high-functioning activities I can (sometimes) do: earn money and blog, for example. There are also ones that I used to be able to do, but now can’t: cope with taxes, travel abroad or on business, tolerate crowds. And there are things I can do for a limited time or with help: grocery shop, cook a little. Also things I can do, but not as well as I did before my brain broke: solve puzzles, analyze, concentrate.

I suppose you could count napping as something I can do better now. I am a truly high-functioning napper. Not much of an accomplishment, maybe, but it beats the hell out of insomnia!


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