View Full Version : Not into routines

02-10-08, 04:49 AM
Everything I read talks about setting routines if you have bipolar. I'm bipolar ii and I'm just not down with living a boring blah routine life with no surprises or unpredictability. I just can't do it.

02-10-08, 10:56 PM
I hear what you are saying...however there is a lot truth to that.
This coming from a 37 year old full time worker, with 3 busy ADD boys, a 14 year relationship with their very ADHD dad.....and a very ADD/BPII me!

It also depends on your approach. I think I have plenty of on the fly fun. However, instead of my life being overrun by Bp mood swings that often take me to unscheduled "fun" that leaves me broke, in a daze, and my family floundering in it's's as close to normal as possible these days.

The problem with not having some routines is the fact we tend to flounder around from thing to thing....and not getting a whole heck of a lot done. For me it's compounded by the fact I am also ADD.

The most important thing for me to schedule or be routine about it my sleeping cycle. The biggest enemy to a BP is a random sleeping schedule. Cycles in BP are both random and triggered. Triggers can be from many things. Hormones, sickness, a stressful day, tradegy both large and small, a fight, etc.....

I have found that if I stick to a somewhat normal sleep schedule I have fewer manic cycles. This is not easy for someone like me. I am by nature a night owl, that works days. For the last year I have battled with it. I love to spend my weekend making up for lost time when I am sleeping during the week. Well what i found is that when I screwed up my sleeping cycles, by staying up to 2 or 3 am on weekends, I would cycle up into mania that even with meds...put me back to before meds. Now I begrudgeingly give it up earlier and get up earlier. I had to take meds for awhile which I didn't like to do but couldn't seem to muster the self discipline to shut myself down. Now I do it on my own with a routine and no more extra meds.

The other thing I do routine consists of work weeks. My weekend are not scheduled. AT all. Work days, I have a routine that consists of putting my clothes out the night before, having my kids in order as well, shower, and have everything I need together. I wake up 30 minutes earlier for peace time...get to work 30 minutes earlier for coffee ....and try to stick to a routine at work as much as it allows. I come home have a scheduled 45 minute decompress time. (if i have things to do I always do them before I get home or they are NEVER done, they are scheduled in....) then after I get home I change, do the normal feeding of animals, minor chores, homework, then the rest is freetime...with a stricter bedtime....

It's not about a routine you write in stone. It's about having a somewhat normal routine in a not so normal chemical imbalanced often chaotic brain.
You don't schedule your life down the hour. Just having some normal routines really does help. I think if you get to rigid that can cause as many triggers for stress as not having one at all? Does that make sense?

Meds have taken away a lot of that chaos in my head and made keeping some routines appear normal to what used to be a rebellious nature. There are still plenty of times I just call a friend and jump in the car for a coffee run! Get on the computer to chat at random times, or grab my family to go sledding for no reason at all but just to have fun.

Your attitude about why you are doing it and how you approach it is key.
If you are doing it for the right reasons then it's not as much of a fight, it's a goal.
Having too strict of a routine can be damaging as well. Fighting to maintain rigid unhealthy routines, in the extreme is not going to stop what is going on , on the inside?

The more balanced on meds I have become, the more I have gotten to know the real me, the more I have found my own personal triggers which is key to being healthy in this fight. I try avoid them as much as possible. If setting a schedule to have my clothes ready, get up and ready to go at the same time everyday ( I do allow myself more sleep in time on the weekends though) getting to work the same time, home the same time, even for the 5 days per week I work, what I need to function normally , I am good with that. It has worked wonders for me and for my family.

I think that is what it means by needing some routine or scheduling in your life as a BP or ADD or both. I think we need a good balance of both, routine and spontaneity!

I hope that helps some?

Here are some links that you might find interesting.
They are all from a site I use often

I don't know you of course, so I don't make an assumptions on how long you have been diagnosed BP and what you have tried or not tried, so these are just some things I share with everyone....things I used that have made my life easier.

Charting moods (there is one here in the stickies section, just in case) is very important, it helps you recognize your swings, and often what your triggers are simply from watching the up's and downs and knowing what happened that day, this helps in conjunction with journaling, which I also recommend. I don't do it on paper, I do it in blog form, only since I am on the computer a lot .....can stop and start, and heck I would lose a journal in my house! LOL

Take care!

02-11-08, 01:06 AM
Going to work is my routine. What if knowing what your triggers are aren't enough to deal with them? You can't run from every single trigger because life sometimes forces us to confront and deal with unpleasant things no matter how hard we try to avoid them or run away from them. If you want to hold a job or do other things you are going to have to deal with some triggers.

02-11-08, 01:47 AM
True, avoiding triggers completly is not possible and goes without saying.

I mean I know what some of them are now, that I didn't know about before, by tracking moods, being aware of my I avoid those "avoidable" situations. Knowing when I am hypomanic ....which tends to make me really snippy I stay away from Moderating here or answering posts that aggravate me. I have found I go a little off the deep end with my posts. So I simply don't do it. That is part of a routine for me.

I get my holiday shopping done early or Ebay it. I can't stand large annoying crowds of people they make me go off. So I avoid them if at all possible. They are a trigger. That is part of my Holiday routine.

Getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time. Avoidable trigger for me and a routine.

I go off when I am aggitated in the morning and I will go off if I am running late....scream at everyone while I am mowing them down to get out the door, so I get everything ready the night before. That is a routine to avoid a trigger of mine. Doable.

I am a mother of 3 ADD boys. One of which is also Bipolar. I have been with their very ADHD and unmedicated father for 14 years, and I work at a huge lawfirm as a legal supervisor with 16 employees , with a monthly quota.........I have been there 9 years. I KNOW STRESS !!! Believe me !

All I can tell you is this much, just learning some of the triggers, and learning ways to work around them makes a world of difference. Some of them can be stopped by working in a "normal" routine, therefore instilling some "normal" into the crappy situation. Having some control is better than having none. Bipolar moods don't control me 100% now, I control them and that takes work, discipline, and sacrifice. None of which I am that great at.

There are always going to be things that happen I can't control. The difference is now , I am in control most of the time. Meds are not a cure all, I do everything else I can to make my life easier for myself , mostly for the people who have to live and work with me. That's all.

So whats your story Tweetie? How long have you been diagnosed? Are you on meds? I guess it would help to know more particulars? Unless you are mostly posting this to vent or state a fact rather than actually ask about how to incorperate routines and not lose the feeling of being a free spirit?

02-15-08, 09:50 PM
You likely only need a few routines, not some for your entire day to centre your life around. For me sleep is essential and a good routien for going to be is key, and if I don't I follow it I will feel awful. Taking my pills at dinner is also a routine that is extremely important for me. A routine for meds. is extremely important.

Those are the only 2 ones that I have. You can experiment with some and only implement a routine if the result of not having it reduces your Quality of Life alot.

I too love that I can shop for so much stuff online and don't have to go into stores. In addition to not having all the commotion and long lines is I can read reviews of lots different options quickly, ie at Amazon. It bugs me if I get gifts for someone and they don't like them.

02-24-08, 03:50 AM
I've been diagnosed with adhd for almost 15 years. I have been diagnosed as bipolar ii for almost a year. I am on lithium and adderall xr. I've found that even when I try to have a routine stuff will inevitably happen and my routine will have to frequently be adjusted. I get more frustrated when I thought I was gonna be able to do something one way and have to completely change course cause something unexpected happened. I would have rather not had it planned to do A and then had to switch everything around to do B because that's that only way to do it. I'm WAY BETTER OFF taking a wait and see approach to many things rather then having a routine and planning everything ahead of time because so many things won't go as planned no matter how hard you try to plan.

02-25-08, 05:15 PM
I hear you and believe me most of my routines are related to work, not outside of work. I work a 8-5 Mon-Fri job, so it's ok to have before work routines that help me get here. And for my kids to get to school, chore times, and homework schedules etc.

But as far as the time after work (excluding school and chore stuff ) and on weekends, I usually don't plan anything, especially in advance. Heck I could wake up in a totally diferent frame of mind that day and decide no way am I in the mood to do this. I find that happening less and less now that I am a little more stable. But I have friends who are BP too so we know it's cool if we decide not to go for coffee or shop that day because of a depression etc. I often dread when my husband comes and makes a plan 2 wks away. I hate to be pinned down.
I certainly don't make many plans after work, sometimes work is all the overload and stimuli I can handle. I need down time immediately after work 45 mins to absorb the transition. I think most of BP's and ADD's don't like jolts or changes too much. It's almost an oxymoron. WE don't like change, but we can't stick to a normal routine because we don't want it to change ..LOL

The two places meds have helped is work, where there is never a routine I can keep, client issues, sudden meetings etc always , and with my kids who often have pre-planned functions etc.

So I totally hear what you are saying, so I guess for me it's just a balance. Routine where I have to have it to function, and lax where I don't.