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Bi-Polar Gratitude Disorder

February 21, 2009

Gratitude is a hot topic these days. If I want good things to come to me, then I must practice an attitude of gratitude with deliberate intent. I am all about this topic, because I have plenty about which to be grateful, and I certainly want more good things to flow my way.

However, it is so much easier for me to find things to gripe about than to overflow with gratitude.  This presents quite a dilema, and I have developed a few strategies to cope with this disorder.

In my most unscientific opinionated research (that means this sentence should have started with “I think…”), there are several factors that play into this battle of the will. The first one is the constant negative bombardment from our surroundings: newsmedia, co-workers, the billboard selling vasectomy reversals, disgruntled parents, even well-meaning friends and family who think they have my best interest at heart. You know exactly what I am talking about. It’s like a hot tub of negativity, so easy to just sit there and soak in it, absorbing its negativity molecule by molecule as our pores enlarge in the rising heat to let in bigger and bigger chunks. <SHUDDER>

Then there is the genetic factor. There simply has to be a genetic component, again, because……I say there is. It’s an inborn trait that is passed from a parent or a grandparent and lands….well….apparently in my jeans…er uh…genes. I know my family history, and even though that source of family negativity passed from physical life so long ago I barely remember, I know it was there. Since my growing up years were fairly positive, I am convinced my natural tendancy toward negativity must have been hard-coded.

Now comes the tough fun part. (See? I remain a work in progress.) I have to figure out daily, hourly, and even moment by moment who will win. Will it be gratefulness carrying the torch today? Will negativity stand triumphant as I rip some poor soul  for their stupidity and ignorance? Will the “Doing what I love will lead me down a path to success” mantra lead me through my day, or will the “How could you possibly be thinking about quitting your job in this economy” mantra guide my decisions? It’s a very bizarre form of being bi-polar, if you ask me. (My apologies to those who deal with the real form of this disorder, yet it makes for a good analogy.)

When a person struggles with managing a disease or disorder, they learn what their triggers are, they take appropriate meds when necessary, and they nourish their body with those things that support health and wellness. Bi-polar Gratitude Disorder is no different.  

I know what my triggers for negativity are. They are the very things I described above including watching or listening to news and politics (geez that stuff is depressing), hanging around people who ooze anger, hostility, and resentment that just seems to smear all over me and suck me in like quicksand, and family who are hyperfocused on that first item (what the media is saying about our economy) and insist on making sure I don’t do something they think is stupid and irresponsible. Just like an allergy, I do my best to stay far away from these. When I do have an unavoidable encounter, I have to reach for the “meds”.

I make a daily conscious effort to “take my medicine” both on schedule and in emergency rescue situations. I read daily affirmations that appear on my web browser’s homepage or pop up in Twitter (see this website  for a dose of good thought). I am not one to glue and tape pieces of paper on the bathroom mirror, but I totally enjoy the random digital messages that appear for me on screen. They are as if God picks out just the right dosage for me at the exact moment I am gasping for positive air and need my rescue affirmation.

Finally, there is the health and wellness component. It is simply easier to be positive and grateful when my body feels amazing. That’s not always an easy task at 40 as a full time working (outside of the home)mom going to massage school and having four incredibly involved kids and an awesome husband . Fortunately, my first method of treatment makes this third method of treatment much easier. Since I don’t spend much time participating in negative media, that leaves much more time for taking walks, feeding my chickens, working on my farm, soaking up sunshine, listening to inspirational works, preparing healthy foods, and of course therapeutic writing.

Thank goodness bi-polar gratitude disorder isn’t fatal. I’m not convinced it is curable, but it is manageable.

How do you control bi-polar gratitude disorder flareups?

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 9:20 AM

    Oh My Gosh Angie!!!! You know how to make people smile and make sense of the challenges of life with such a sense of humor!!!! You ARE so real, and you have been real ever since I met you, yet your REALNESS keeps evolving into more of who you truly are. If it was fun to be with you before, it’s only going to keep getting better!!! So I can’t wait to be with you again!!!!! You can print this and my name and whatever else you want to print!! I love the authenticeness of you!!!!!!

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