Looking for Evidence

One of the hardest things about living in Bi-Polar Land is the need to be self-observant without becoming self-obsessed. The other hardest thing (!) is to define what you are supposed to observe in the first place. Take today for example: I feel a bit of a mess - simple as that. And yet, I don't mind too much ....

Ever since I first woke up this morning, I have felt bombarded with a series of messages from my body:

  1. My back hurts like hell
  2. My balance is very poor and I'd better watch out when going downstairs
  3. My head feels stuffed full of cotton wadding
  4. My stomach is cramping
  5. My stomach is NOT in a mood to accept breakfast - no food then
  6. My legs want to go for a walk
  7. My overall energy indicates that walking is not an attractive proposition
  8. My solar plexus feels tight
  9. My lower chest feels 'nauseated'
  10. My whole body feels heavier than usual.

OK - so there's a list of observations. What the heck could I do with that lot?  I suppose I could have just retreated behind the general 'I don't feel well' and gone back to bed. But I didn't. In fact, I walked into town and back again to get a few things done. So why bother observing all that body stuff if I ignore it?

The interesting thing here is how I define 'ignore'. I used to ignore what my body told me until it screamed at me to be heard. I continually pushed past discomfort and even constant pain. I no longer do that. The fact that I could even draw up my ten point list shows that I now listen to what my body is telling me. Listening however doesn't necessarily mean giving in or giving up. This is something I am learning to truly understand and master.

I attended to the various parts of my body that needed attending to (pain killers, deep breathing, stretching, drinking, walking around the house barefoot while relaxing my shoulders, etc.) and waited to see what would happen. I was ready to accept going back to bed as much as I was ready to accept going for a walk. I listened and waited to be told what to do. I allowed myself to make my body up before I attempted to make my mind up about what to do next.

When I think of making my body up, I imagine bronzing make-up or shaping underwear or even tattoos. Yet I have come to believe that making our body up should become has widely used and understood as making our mind up.

Our body gives us physical evidence we can interpret with our mind - very much like Sherlock Holmes whose powers of observation were the foundation for his powers of deduction. Like our famous detective, we too need to observe ourselves before taking decisions, lest our decisions be based on assumptions rather than information.

Just before I sat down to write this, my body felt cumbersome, my brain felt woolly, and yet my mind was firing up like a Formula One racing car. I thought "what could I do now that would entail leaving my body at rest while giving my mind a work out?". Writing was the answer that felt right and so here I am.

This might not be the most brilliant piece of deduction but it did the trick: my body now wants to move and my mind is quietening down. Now that's a balancing act even the great Sherlock would be proud of!  :D

taking care of mind and body

That was a wonderful blog. Sure wish I didn't listen to my body quite so much. Leaves me quite lazy and if possible... asleep. If in awake mode for a week I still do nothing because I feel so dead. Man, I FINALLY got off that Trazodone yesterday and you would not believe the difference. I am still recovering but I truly believe if I had taken that for another week I would have been in a coma with mush for a brain. I love you and your relentless pursit to help all of us. Truly I do.. guess I put that on every post.... sorry... A

Thank you Alissa

I am glad you finally got off the medication that was making you feel so bad. I bet you feel like a new person!

Thank you for your unfailing encouragement: it means a great deal to me and it keeps me going  :D

Gabrielle xxxx


Gabrielle I hope you are


I hope you are feeling well and to thank you again for my personal e-mail.  Today I have sent for your book 'Bi-Polar Girl'.

Our daughter is still in hospital but is coming out on 'leave' to her flat for a few hours a day.  She has a long road to travel e.g. to accept her illness (I wonder if this time she might accept it?), to learn what it is like to live on her own, that she cannot earn money to support herself as an artist, to be kind to herself and take one day at a time, etc, etc.

I will read your book and who knows maybe I can pass it on to her.

Primrose xxx

Thank you Primrose

I am glad to hear your daughter is coming home soon. Thank you for buying my little book. It is very easy to read, and totally non-threatening. I sincerely hope it will help your daughter make peace with her condition.

My son is an artist too (musician, song-writer, singer, graphic artist) and having reached the grand old age of 35 he now earns his iving as an artist and is enjoying his life with his little family.

Accepting her illness doesn't mean that your daughter needs to give up her life. In fact, the reverse is true. The more we exhaust ourselves fighting windmills the less we have to invest in building a happy life for ourselves.

I wish her and you all the best.

Gabrielle xxx

I just wanted to update you.

I just wanted to update you. Our daughter is still managing in her flat. Now has a psychiatrist she seems to trust, talking therapy all medication changed and is enjoying life. She is involved in many art groups and has been working in a mental health charity shop one day a week.

The most amazing part for us as parents she talks on the phone to us with enthusiasm and talks about her Bi-Polar. NOW - we think our fears of being in London were in one way realistic BUT what we missed was the more professional help she could get if she sought it out and she did. Also she can travel around looking in Art Galleries, etc all within her reach. She also gets 'lost' in the crowd and she has met so many more people with mental health issues.

So living in a village and being looked at when you come out of hospital, the cost of getting to see art galleries and enrol on courses being made out of the question because you cannot walk to them or get on a bus. The village life for her may have meant in a crisis we were close at hand and this helped when her two boys were small - but now she is her own person.

We are so proud of her because living with mental health issues means sometimes you have to find 110% energy to tackle what is thrown at you.

She phoned me yesterday - 'I have had a great day been outside painting with my group by the Thames. My tutor is brilliant - you can look him up, etc, etc.'

Wonderful!!! My best wishes to all you on your personal journey.

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