Excitement or anticipation are things that I think are often overlooked by those in the mental health community, which is a bit of a drag because I find excitement to be one of the biggest motivators of a good mood.
Over the last week, my boyfriend Corey has been out of town. This is something I usually have a lot of trouble with, and beyond the fact that I don’t have him around for his amusing (and helpful) company is something I really hate to admit; I find myself bummed out that he is off on an adventure traveling and working while I am sitting alone with our (rather needy) dog Luna.
His excitement and promise of a fun time away only seems to shed light on the fact that I don’t seem to be doing as much, having as much fun, or that my life has (well, let’s face it, it has a bit) come to something of a screeching halt due to my oh so delightful psyche.
What’s there to do?
The answer actually fell into my lap – memorial day weekend begins tomorrow. Each year there is a camp out held this weekend, a sort of “living history” event where people dress like it is in the span leading up to 1840. It is a family friendly version of a rendezvous, the sort of event where fur trappers would get together once a year in the same place to party and trade and tell stories.
This may sound a little wacky, but my family has been involved in these trips for three generations, I even attended in-womb, and I can’t help but imagine this setting has had something to do with the notion that my psychotic moments generally involve wanting to become a gypsy.
Anyway, I set things up to attend this weekend, and I will be delightfully cut off from technology and living in a canvas tent for three days.
You can not imagine how excited I was when I found out I could make this work and I could attend while Corey is away.
Suddenly my life had purpose! I needed to pack! I needed to find the lantern! I needed to season my cast iron skillets! And the anticipation of this impending fun has kept me busy, distracted, and upbeat almost the entire week.
In the past, this is something I’ve known to be true. I feel much happier having something to look forward to, and even in those times where I feel much less than stellar I can say, “oh, well at least I get to _____ at some point.”
On a much larger scale, I know that many parents have the milestones of their children to look forward to. Starting school. First dance. Graduation. Getting married. I’ve heard some people say that these long-distant events that a parent anticipates (especially a bipolar parent) can keep the proverbial motor running.
Other people travel and have trips to look forward to. Other people eagerly monitor which bands will be in the area to have concerts to look forward to.
In a life that involves constantly moving from point A to point B, excitement is something that gets us to point B feeling hopeful. Knowing there is something fun in our future when it can feel easy to think nothing is coming our way.
What I think is the best part about the excitement that comes with anticipation is that we can create it ourselves. Plan something in the future, something fun! Give yourself something to look forward to, and a reason to trudge from one day to the next -especially if you don’t feel like doing the trudging. You just might notice it can be a boost to your mood and a positive distraction.