Today I want to talk about a lesson we can all learn from this quote I read: “Work is more than earning money.” Too many people equate work with having a job. But I want you to see what this quote has to do with bipolar disorder. Let’s replace the word “work” with “productivity.” Now let’s talk about how important productivity is to someone who has bipolar disorder.
Someone who had to leave their job and stay at home because of their bipolar disorder no longer works for money, but they still need to be productive. That’s because if they’re not, they could become bored, or idle, or stay in bed, or sleep too much, or become depressed, and all these things can become triggers to a bipolar episode.
So I think we can agree that productivity is important. Well, that’s work! Only it’s work without getting money for it. Now, I could have said that it’s work without pay, but the pay you get can be more rewarding than money sometimes. For example: If the work your loved one does is to help you around the house, then it’s rewarding, because they’re helping you not to stress out by doing too much by yourself. It can also be rewarding because you’ll have a closer relationship with them by doing things together.
Their work can be their hobbies. Their work can be just taking care of themselves and your family. Another way you can work without getting paid is to volunteer. Your loved one can offer their time, which is worth more than money. If nothing else, they can volunteer to help at their bipolar support group. This could be for you, too, because supporters usually have their own support group. Or your loved one can volunteer for an organization that could use their help.
There are many of these, such as Literacy Volunteers, where you help people to read who can’t read, or others who don’t know English very well and the volunteer helps them to learn it…
Or they can volunteer at your local Animal Shelter if they love animals…Or help with the needy… Or shut-in elderly people…There is so much they can do that is rewarding, just by volunteering their time, that is worth more than money, and they will feel appreciated for whatever they do for a cause.
They can also do things that are productive for themselves. They can keep a To-Do List, for instance, and you can help them with this. Put things on the list that you want them to do for that day. (Don’t make it too long, because you don’t want them to get too overwhelmed.)
Then, at the end of the day, they will feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete the things on their list.
Now, here there’s a difference between work for money and productivity as well, because they’re
doing this for themselves and the management of their bipolar disorder. This will help them to stay stable. And sometimes working at a paying job does just the opposite – sometimes it makes you feel nervous, stressed, and anxious, which isn’t good at all for your loved one’s disorder.
If you have children, being a stay-at-home parent can be work, as you know, and you don’t make money for it. But boy can it be rewarding in other ways! The lesson to be learned from all this is that work means using our time and skills to make things better for ourselves, those we love, and those around us.
Well, I have to go!