Friday, 7 June 2013

Have I Got Hobbies?!?!

Even though I have been dealing with this illness for over 25 years, I find I still learn new things everyday about how it affects me. These things are generally disguised as normal things that most people deal with, but since I'm not exactly normal, they all affect me differently. For example, my never ending rotating list of hobbies. Even though I recently wrote about how I have trouble focusing on one hobby at a time, I didn't completely see how that has affected me my whole life.

Yesterday, I had a consultation with a nurse at my new family doctor's office. Since medical records aren't shared across international lines, it fell on my shoulders to provide as much history as possible. When the nurse hit the multiple entries regarding my mental health, the inquiries began. I choose to manage my illness without medication with the exception of the occasional anti-anxiety as needed. She was a little surprised by this considering my lengthy history. She asked me if I had any hobbies. Actually, it was more of a statement. My husband and I looked at each other and kind of laughed and simultaneously answered "billions". 

Suddenly it occurred to me that I'm not just a flighty person who bounces from hobby to hobby. It's all part of my illness. I suppose it's possible that "flightiness" is actually directly related to mental illness.

I've always been embarrassed and ashamed of this part of my personality. I've laughed it off, but deep inside it has always hurt. I've always just tried to will myself into having one activity going on at a time, but that actually causes me more stress. I always have doubts about my talent regarding my numerous creative outlets, so I tend to start then stop projects half way through. If I never complete a project, I can't fail at creating something great. Right?

Now don't get me wrong, I have completed projects, and when I do I feel epic. Sometimes inspiration hits me and I paint (or whatever) until I'm done. I actually become so immersed at these times that ten hours can pass and it will seem like ten minutes. But more likely I will have dozens of projects going on at once. I've never thought about it much, but I actually like it. One day I may paint, then go on a drawing spree, then switch to writing. It helps to have a little guidance, but I like that I have my little area of the house dedicated to my many projects (thanks hubby for that). So when inspiration strikes, I'm ready to go!

Thinking back, it's probably this part of me that allowed me to multi-task so efficiently back in my corporate robot days. My brain could bounce so easily from task to task and remember exactly where I left off. So strange to reflect on this and realise what I used to be able to do. But I had totally suppressed all emotion back then. Today my memory is such an unreliable thing. I can remember song lyrics, movie lines, worthless trivia, etc. but I have huge gaping holes in other frankly more important areas.

However, since "embracing the crazy", multi-tasking is not my strong suit. Oh I do it all the time. I just don't actually get anything done! But that's okay. My husband is learning how to gently nudge me in directions so I complete small tasks one at a time. I will probably always bounce around, but with his love and support maybe I can keep my billions of hobbies and occasionally complete a project and be proud of my accomplishment.