You know planning a 65 day self-supported running adventure with bipolar has a little more to it than you may realise.
First up is committing to the idea in the first place. If other people’s experiences are anything like mine then you can imagine how easy it would be to lose conviction in any of your idea’s of this scale and simply right them off as more ‘crazy world-changers’ which are probably best left gathering dust on the shelf.
Next up is putting you idea out in to the world and processing the ‘yeah yeah yeah, we’ve heard this all before’s’ that inevitably come your way. Although it’s got to be said that that these reactions have come few & far between as I guess (so I’m told) I’ve steadily built up a track-record that if anyone was going to do something like this it would be me, which I’m quietly a little proud of.
Then it’s the medication. Will I have enough of the right medication to keep me on the level and ensure a solid’s night sleep each night.
Then it’s the sunshine. Too much of this stuff in one hit has lead to issues in the past, so this needs to be factored in as well.
Then it’s the communications with loved ones along the way and them trusting I’ll be checking in with an honest account of ‘how I’m really doing’.
Then it’s the insurance. Will we have to fork out a huge excess to get me home if I ‘lose it’ (my words).
Then above all else you’ve got the overriding concern from those closest to you – not only for the physical and mental exertion you’ll be putting yourself through, but mainly the amount of time spent by yourself along the way. And I don’t blame them either. Over the year’s it’s the times when I’ve tried to do too much too fast by my own accord that has lead to the difficulties, so that level of concern is absolutely fair game.
So, with all that said, what would be my top tips for anyone planning an adventure with Bipolar Disorder?
- Remember that it’s not all about you. This may be your adventure and your ‘art’ which you’re putting out in to the world, but it’s those closest to you who will have to pick up the pieces if all goes wrong. Granted your mood isn’t always in your control with bipolar, but you at least owe it to those closest to you to find that balance between putting in as many safety mechanisms & processes as you can, without detracting from your dream and your vision. You owe it to them and you’ll be pleased you did in the long run.
- Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. You may feel like you can jet off and do this thing tomorrow, and that may be the case physically, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare mentally by visualising what you need to do to maximise your chances of success. I’ve given myself 18 months to prepare for Rome To Home, and even that’s flown by!
- Know your medication and don’t settle. It took me 3 years to find the right medication that works for me, and I spoke up when things weren’t right. I can’t imagine planning an adventure like this alongside dealing with any changes in my medication, and personally I think you’ll have enough to worry about without worrying about the side effects. Your medication is going to be the most important piece of kit you have with you, so get to know it well.
- Take as many pressure’s off as you can. This process for me started in 2012 when I started discovered minimalism and cultivated the time to strip away life’s excess to focus as much of my time, energy & focus on what really matters most (my health, relationships, passions, growth and contributions). When planning an adventure with bipolar, this absolutely has to be the case also. There’s no use over-stretching yourself and agreeing to too many commitments alongside your core planning. You’ll just exhaust yourself before you’ve even started. Learn to say ‘yes’ to the right things and ‘no’ to the wrong things and doing so with a smile along the way. You’re going to get a number of requests when putting an idea like this out there, but just remember what really matters most and keep your priorities, aims & objectives in mind at all time.
- Talk. There’s a lot to process when planning an adventure and if all that information’s stuck up in your head then you’ll be doing yourself no favours in the long run. Remember, it truly is a gift to be asked ‘what do you think’, so gift that gift to others and get your loved ones on board with your plans and your mindset. Adventure-planning after all is a tonne of fun so why wouldn’t you want to share this gift with others. This is what it’s all about.
Oh and one last thing, remember that I’m no expert. I’ve still got 6 months to go before I start this thing and I know it’s not all going to be smooth sailing. But I’m giving myself my best shot and these are absolutely the best nuggets I can give you.