Balancing Level of Engagement when you have Unpredictable Mood Shifts

This is the second time that I will use a video game as a metaphor. The first post is here.

Every match in Battle Bay is different depending on the map, your teammates, the current equipment on your ship, and the strength of the other team. In a similar way, every hour of our life is different depending on our to-do list, our current nutrition and sleep levels, our financial situation, our relationships, and our mood, especially if we are bipolar.

When I play a battle in the game, it is a struggle for me to find the right balance between rushing in and damaging the enemy versus hanging back and staying alive. This is especially difficult because of the unpredictability of the pattern of battle in any given match. Similarly, in life, it is a struggle for me to find the right balance between rushing in and trying to be productive, as my brain ponders the flood of information regarding responsibilities and priorities, versus hanging back (staying in bed or approaching the day more slowly), and trying to preserve my mental health. Sometimes I get caught, because of the unpredictability of my mood.

For example, this morning I woke at 8:30a. I immediately rushed into the day (so full of chores!), not mindful of the context of my shifting mood. I found myself under heavy damage, because I had unwittingly charged into enemy territory too quickly. I was in the thick of battle, but stunned by the exploding mines and torpedoes slamming into my boat. My emotional health was rapidly declining–i was becoming very depressed as I tried to continue the chores I had so eagerly rushed into.

Thankfully, rational thinking got me turned around and driving in the opposite direction: I retreated to my bed and wrote this article. Now I will look at my day plan and determine priorities while decreasing the activity level of the day.

If you survive backing out of making the mistake of rushing into a territory that is within range of a lot of enemy firepower, the shock fades and you ground yourself by looking at the map and at your current health status. You might discover that you barely escaped having your boat utterly sunk.

I am currently in bed feeling overwhelmed, but I’m definitely back in the safety zone. My depression is fading, and I think today might be a good day.

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