A "just" world

This has been on my mind for a while now. There are so many times we are asked to do things or need to do things but the one word "just" gets in the way. I became more aware of this as I was speaking with a friend about her frustrations with her husband. She'd ask him to do something and immediately his response was, "ok, I just need to..." This statement is one that my friend has endured for over 10 years of marriage, still striking a nerve when the phrase is said.

How many times do you "just need to" or "just need" or "just have to" something? There are those occasions when the "justs" of the world are necessary. For example, going on a trip and all ready to go? Yes, but I just need to go to the bathroom before I leave. No problem. Please take that time. No one wants to stop the trip so you can "just use the bathroom" before they can continue when you could have "just used" it before you left.

Often you may be thinking "if I just had money I'd be happier." This is not the case. It can't be. The Notorious B.I.G. wasn't wrong when he said, "mo money, mo problems." My SIL observed recently that when they didn't have money she wanted to spend it like crazy but now that her husband has a good paying, steady job she wants to make sure she's smart with the money and spend only when necessary. What a notion! If only more people would have this idea.

Have you heard this one: "I just have need more time and then I'd be able to get more done"? Guess what? No body gets more time. Except my dad. My dad says he doesn't observe daylight savings time and he's storing up those extra hours for "more time" when he needs it. So everyone, except my dad, gets 24 hours in a day. I am quite the offender of this phrase. In my 33 years of life and more recently my 13 years of professional employment I continue to find new and innovative ways to prioritize. There are times that I use the word "just" to preserve my sanity. "I'll just go home now so I don't go all Office Space on my computer or yell expletives at the next person who calls/talk to me."

Do you really "just" have to do something all the time? I find myself at work loaded with important emails that somehow need to all be responded to at once. I have to constantly set my priorities and then reset them. It is very important to me that I make sure that people feel heard and know that I am working on a solution or a response to the solution at the very least. But somehow I catch myself saying things like, "I'll respond to this person tomorrow because I just need to 'this other task'". Cut to two days later and I haven't even sent the 'I'm working on your email' to a person. That doesn't fly here at the company nor should it. Even more so I am aware that my "justs" need to be checked.

Instead of saying you "just need to" when people ask something of you, before you respond consider that you "just" needing to do something first could potentially be you thinking selfishly. It's putting your needs before others. In some cases I feel that's perfectly acceptable. (Please go to the bathroom!) There are times you need to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. But maybe make sure that its not all cases. When you are asked to pick up the baby, help find a missing puzzle piece, be at a band concert for your brother, or fix something you'd like to fix, stop yourself and think, do I really just need to fulfill my own agenda first? Is my trivial thing more important than the other person's trivial thing? Maybe, just maybe, they are reaching out to you because they know they can rely on you or they are demonstrating trust that you'll follow through.

It's my goal to stop saying the word "just" whenever possible. I've actually found myself reassessing my priorities when I am asked to do something. It's helped me to think of others and their needs too. Quite an eye-opening experience. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it. Sometimes I do "just need to rest" before doing something else. But the rest of the time I remove that "just" word. See if you can too.


Better than the last

This week went better than last week. The life of a person who has bipolar disorder can be so topsy turvy from day to day, or even hour to hour. I continue to experience those high highs and low lows but I'm trying to manage them too.

Poppins by Jenny VorwallerLast week I was sad all the time. I feel tired and completely numb. There wasn't really any event that contributed to these feelings. I'd go to work and put on my brave face. I felt productive and I sleep well. Friday and Saturday I didn't do much of anything. You may call this lazy, but I call this divine. I have spent many a Saturdays in my bed, doing nothing, but feeling guilty, lazy, depressed, and unmotivated. Last Saturday was different. Though I did spend a good portion of the day in bed or around the house in jammies, I was pleased to not have any of those feelings. (Although my dogs still drove me CRAZY!) It was a little freeing. My therapist and I often speak of self-care. I feel like last Saturday was that for me. It was a time in which I didn't feel guilty for taking care of myself. My body and my mind needed it.

Sunday morning I was able to get up for 9 am church with no problem. For many Sunday mornings I feel paralyzed and don't have motivation to get up, get going, and get myself to church. It's not because I don't want to be there. I have very positive experiences each time I go. I find such peace learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel the fellowship of those in my congregation. And although I may complain and feel annoyed for staying one more hour for choir practice, I know that it's a good thing for me to continue to develop the talents that have been given to me by a loving Heavenly Father who knew that playing the piano was one I needed to share.

Sunday evening we celebrated my daddy's 57th birthday. (And P.S. I still can't believe he's 57! He'll always be around 45 to me.) Most of my family was there. I love having so many of them close. It is comforting. We laughed and ate. I played with and kissed my nieces and nephews. They bring me such joy.

Monday was Groundhog Day. Because I had little to no time off during the past four months I decided to take G'hog Day for myself. Just a day to sleep in and doing nothing until our family's celebration. And I really did a whole lot of nothing. And guys, I even showered! Something weird happened in the afternoon that cause a small panic attack. I was able to cope with the loving care of my mother. She has been an amazing support since my diagnosis. She helps me forgive myself and not be so paranoid. I enjoyed the G'hog day festivities with my family again and even convinced my daddy to stop by Goodberry's on the way home from my brother's house. Aww yeah!

Though the work week ahead of me was daunting with all that needed to be done, I was able to wake up good spirits. I was extra peppy at our team's morning huddles too. I did recognize that that was another high high I was experiencing. (We're still trying to find the balance of those with the lows.) I did work a ton this week. I have several projects that had to be completed with no delay. It required lots of brain power because it was so much writing. so.much.writing.

This week I also got myself out of the house after work. It's been really difficult to leave my house after getting home to do anything. Even grocery shopping seems like its too much work. I have turned into such a homebody. And I've also not felt up to leaving my familiar space with my lazy clothes, UGG slippers, and my comfy couch or bed so close. It doesn't mean that I don't want to get out. I like being social. And I've become friends with this fantastic group of people that welcomed me instantaneously. I've missed several gatherings with them because of this lack of desire to leave my house. But this week I was able to go. I didn't feel like I needed to especially "perform" or walk on eggshells (since I'm still getting to know a lot of the group); It all just felt so comfortable. It was great.

It's nice to reflect and recognize that even though sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and pain that I can still have these morsels of goodness in my life. Back in 2005 Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles introduced the concept of tender mercies of the Lord. When I was in the despair of my separation and divorce I found myself easily finding these tender mercies all around me. As my mental capacities decreased I began to forget. But upon reflection of this week I can see where the Lord found ways for me to be able to choose happiness in spite of everything that's going on with me.

I can't promise I'll remember every time to remember this, but I'm glad that I did this week.