I have heard, from some source or another, that Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" is the most popular choice of song for funerals; especially those funerals not held in church. Apparently, it beats, by a short head, Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
But this is not a blog about funerals, but about life and how to make it better.
We were all sitting around the table, as we do every first Wednesday of the month; the bipolar group to which I belong.
We had just finished a spirited discussion on medication. As most of us hold to the opinion that bipolar disorder is a physical condition with mental symptoms, most of us are on medication of one sort or another.
"But we cannot rely just on medication, can we?" said the leader of our group, in his velvety and deliciously accented voice (I could listen to that man talk all day, I tell you). "What do we do on those days when we wake up but do not want to get up and face the day? What do we do to help us stay healthy?"
Of course, there were as many answers as folk around the table, multiplied many times. Some of our answers were duplicated and no doubt we just touched the tip of the possible answers out there.
"I write a list," said Shelley. "When I've done anything – even just had a shower – I tick it off my list, and draw little flowers around it. That makes me feel I have achieved something."
"I go out into the garden," said Peter. "I walk round and see what's growing. I do some weeding and make it tidy. That makes me feel better."
"I sing," said Lynne. "I sing with a choir when I am well enough. But when I am not well enough to go and join my choir, then I sing in my living room. I turn the music up loud and I dance and I sing – and to hell with the neighbours!"
"I like my 80's rock music," said Ash, in that voice. "The louder the better."
"And Wagner for me," I said, in my turn. "I agree, loud is good."
"I make birdboxes in my shed."
"I go for long walks, whatever the weather."
What was clear is that there is no one size fits all method of coping with the black dog. Each of us responds differently to his presence and each of us has a different method of coping. But each of us gained much from listening to the ideas of others.
So, my invitation to you today, is please, even if you do not normally comment, click through with your suggestions or experiences. What works for you, if anything? Because sometimes we know it gets so bad that all you can do is to hang on.
But if you can water your hanging baskets while there, that's great.
A Moodscope member.
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