Ever gone to the ATM, put in your card, punched in your number, made your selection, entered the required amount you wish to withdraw, hit the enter button and then waited only to receive a message flash up that says, “Sorry, You have insufficient funds available”?
Perhaps your bank and ATM’s use a different but similar kind of message? But I am sure you know the kind of message I am talking about and I am pretty sure most of us have experienced this at one time or another. Either because we have over-spent – perhaps as a result of a sudden unexpected bill, forgotten about something we paid out of our account, or because the bank or the ATM have messed up?
Well today my body is flashing up that message. Only the type of funds I am trying to access isn’t cash, its energy and the plain simple truth of the matter is that it is not a bank error! It is accurate and I have most definitely overspent when it comes to how much energy I have been using lately.
Over the past few days I have been doing a lot of work redesigning websites as well as; catching up on paperwork and filing and housework that ‘fell by the wayside’ during my last spell of poor physical and mental health and I blogged a great deal also. I have without doubt worked way too long into the night/early mornings and am simply tapped out.
You see much like we are meant to manage our bank accounts and personal finances, so too should we manage our bodies. But of course managing our bank account or personal finances is a lot easier when we have sufficient funds coming in to cover the essential expenditures going out. Likewise, of course, managing our bodies is also fairly simple when we have enough energy coming in to cover the energy expenditure going out.
But poor physical or mental health can have a very direct impact on our body’s and our mind’s energy funds can’t they? They make additional sometimes excessive demands on us and very often sudden and unanticipated demands.
Bipolar sufferers will often experience a series of high and lows. Periods of mania or hypomania in some cases, and periods of depression. Of course each person’s experience of this is unique to them but there are often some shared commonalities.
I have friends who, when manic, go on major shopping trips – spending widely and recklessly and at rates that far exceed their finances.
Other friends of mine would, when manic, completely blitz their homes, cleaning and rearranging rooms and furniture, cupboards, bookshelves, wardrobes. Often without warning, commonly relentlessly and frequently at the oddest of times of night or early morning.
Of course then come the periods of depression which all too often are exasperated or aggravated by the results of the periods of mania. Guilt concerning the over or reckless spending. Worry over how to pay for it all or how to cover normal bills, feed the kids etc. Dread over how to explain it to a partner, family, friends or the bank manager. Frustration over the fact that the house is now spotlessly clean and yet somehow isn’t enjoyable and still isn’t how we wanted it in the first place. Long periods of self-blame, and so the list goes on.
In my personal situation I have to confess that I have experienced both of these.
Trust me, I have done the whole reckless spending thing. In fact giving me an unsupervised bank or store-based credit card is like giving a loaded machine gun with no safety lock to an epileptic ape with a twitchy trigger finger.
Fortunately I have learned from those painful early lessons in respect of this and now steer very clear of all credit cards and rely on debit cards only. Although even now I have to be very careful. Debit Cards and ATM’s don’t understand manic behavior but at least they have a balance limit based safety net.
But when it comes to matters other than finances, such as energy levels I am, it seems, just as bad as I always have been. And of course living alone as I do, there is no one here to calm me down or to help me control my behavior in this respect.
And I think that is a very important point. Isn’t it? Yesterday I posted a piece about self-harming and my personal battle with it, Some of the comments that I received made mention of the fact that this is very often hidden and not discussed by folk who either self-harm or by the friends and family of folk who self-harm.
Personally it has been my experience and understanding that this often happens in respect of a lot of mental illness and behavior and also experiences that are related to mental illness.
Because of the stigma or the shame or the guilt all to often implied, applied and/or misapplied to it, we keep quiet about it when we suffer or do things that are reckless or harmful or detrimental don’t we?
But it is that silence, that secrecy, whether taken upon ourselves or forced upon us by the responses and/or reactions of others that very often removes us from the very help that we so desperately need.
There are no two ways about it. Mental illness can have a devastating effect on the lives of those who suffer it and those who care for those who suffer it. Finding and being offered the right kind of support is essential.
I am tired and I need to rest. I know it, accept it, and acknowledge it. I am going to rest today and I know that by including it here in this blog, my family and those who care about me will, on reading this post, respond by contacting me and checking up on me. That kind of support is invaluable and one of the most precious things in my life. And let me be totally honest here and I exaggerate not when I say this. It is that kind of support that has saved my life on more than one occasion.
So if you are someone who does experience metal illness, or who self-harms, or who is experiencing something that is harmful or debilitating or detrimental to your welfare, or your health please, please consider finding the help you need.
If you are someone who knows or cares for someone who does or who you expect may suffer from mental illness, poor mental health or something similar, and have not already offered to help, why not carefully and compassionately talk to them about it and hey why not offer to help where possible and ask what help they need.
We all, when it comes to energy, the ability to cope, the motivation to work through things, etc., have limited resources in this life. So when extra demands are placed upon them through; poor-health, mental illness or difficult times, having shared resources can not only help in very real and essential ways but can also be a life-saver.