Motivational Monday – Staying Motivated With a Behavioral Disorder

Staying motivated is hard, and it’s made even harder with a behavioral disorder.

I think in absolutes. I feel strongly, I love hard, and I believe in what I do when I’m doing it. My mind also changes regularly. My husband struggled with this when we first started dating, and I never understood why. It’s just always been the way I am. My boss recently said to me that I change my mind like the seasons, and I told him it’s a lot more frequent than that.

About ten years ago I was diagnosed with something called cyclothemia. Most people haven’t heard of this, so whenever I talk about it I say it’s essentially bipolar light.

Understanding cyclothemia

Cylothemia is a behavioral disorder that causes rapid mood changes that range from hypomania to mild depression. When I described this to my mom, we both reveled in the fact that it was so spot on to the symptoms that I’d been struggling with since adolescence.

Although the depression is hard, hypomania has its upsides as well as its downsides. The upside is that it can lead to productivity, creativity, and enjoyment. The downside is that it can lead to bad choices due to a lack of clear judgement. After having lived with this disorder for so long, I can better navigate the impulses.

Interestingly enough, my mom thought she was suffering from depression most of her life until one day she spent three hours maniacally cleaning her hot tub. When she told her doctor about it, and after they explored it more, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This article more clearly defines the differences between cyclothemia and bipolar disorder.

Staying Motivated with a Behavioral Disorder

The longer you read my blog, or know me, the more you’ll see an ebb and flow to my content and creativity. There are days when I am motivated, on top of the world, creating content, reading content, sharing on social media, and enjoying every part of the process. Then there are days that are completely opposite. I don’t want to write anything, interact with anything, and nothing creative is in my head. I know everyone goes through this type of thing, but the difference is in the absolute.

When I am in a hypomanic state the creativity is one that I feel will last forever. One day I’m thinking, I am going to start a blog, and start a business, and be able to quit my job in two years. The next day, I’m thinking about how I’m going to shut the blog down, what is the point of it anyway, I’m not going to get anywhere with it. Honestly if I don’t stay on top of it, the cycle can be exhausting. If I am taking care of myself, and staying attentive to my moods and outside factors that affect them, I can turn it all around.

How I’m Trying to Stay Afloat

After having kids, my anxiety worsened, as well as my depression. Now, two and a half years after having my daughter Lorelai I am feeling more like myself than I have in six years. I am getting more in touch with my creativity, I am in better shape, eating better, and really feeling like I can make sustainable change. One of the things that I’m using to keep myself on track is my bullet journal.

[clickToTweet tweet=”People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar” quote=”People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar”]

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  1. Reply

    Hi Ani,
    Thanks for linking up! I really enjoyed your post and appreciate how open you are. I hope that all is well!

      • Ani
      • November 21, 2017

      Thanks Janice! It’s taken me a while to get to a point where I can be honest in such a public forum. But I am using my blog to work through things, and I know the only way to do that is to be honest with myself. Thanks for reading!

  2. Reply

    Hi Ani, your posts are so real and relatable. I’ve been missing you lately and wondered if you were ok. Writing this provides an understanding which I appreciate. I can relate on so many levels. I told my mom years ago that I felt depressed – that was one of the hardest confessions I have ever attempted. She told me that I wasn’t and that I needed to just get over it. I’ve spent years just trying to get over it. Then she told me in passing that she was on anti-depressants a couple years ago. My anger towards her was so intense – how could she tell me to just get over it and yet…she could go and take care of her problems? So many years of undoing are still in my future. It’s great that you have found tools to help manage your day-to-day. All the love and hugs for you and your journey.
    p.s. I have felt like I should just throw in the towel so many times on my endeavors as well. I learned long ago that I should never make decisions when I am feeling ‘extreme’ in either direction. That has been one of the greatest realizations of my life.
    Tricia Murdock recently posted…November Mid-Month Habit and Mood Tracker CheckMy Profile

      • Ani
      • November 27, 2017

      Thank you Tricia! I laughed when you asked about my absence, because I was in the process of writing this post 🙂

      And wow, that is intense. I wonder why she wouldn’t connect her issues with what you were going through, to help you through it. It has definitely helped me to understand my mother’s mental issues when I try to come to terms with my own. I am learning to balance as well, and not do too much when I’m feeling extreme. Though sometimes I realize a little too late that what I thought was motivation was actually hypomania.

      Do you find that your art helps you work through the depression? I am finding now that it really helps with my anxiety, and getting me out of my own head and repetitive thoughts.

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