On the page Ideas for Remaining Stable, I mention that I rigidly organise my morning and afternoon activities. I've listed the items I have to remind myself about on mornings in the table below.
The lists look reasonable enough until you notice there are items like wash dishes on it. You would think that I would remember something like that. But in fact I often don't. Far less for watering the plants.
I often have difficulty remembering the things I have to do, and mornings are particularly difficult. If I didn't have a list reminding me of what to do on a morning, I'd wander around in a daze for quite a while. I've done that before.
So my schedule puts some order into my mornings. If I vary from it on good days, things will be left undone. On bad days it completely throws me off and leaves me out of sorts for the whole day.
When I'm manic, the list provided me with the anchor point of the things I have to do rather than doing a set of completely odd things each morning. I've done that too.
The list has a second function. When I'm feeling depressed, it provides me with an unyielding set of things I must do. Whether I want to do them or not.
I have spent some mornings groaning and muttering and hating the items on the list, but still managing to do them anyway. I know that I'm pretty far gone into depression when I can't do the items any more.
And finally, after I come off a manic or depressive episode and I am trying to knit my life together again, the list provides me with a list of things that I should do. It jump starts me in thinking about how to order my life again. Provides continuity.
I keep the list prominently displayed - taped to a wall in my kitchen. When people ask me about it, depending on the person, I either tell them the truth or I shrug and answer vaguely.
Oh, I have a Saturday and Sunday schedule as well as a morning and afternoon schedule. This all takes a bit of wall space. But it's my survival at stake here.
My morning schedule is below.
Make up Bed
Open back door (to garden)
Put on quiet relaxing music
Breakfast - coffee, bagel
What Time are You Going to Office?
Get Needed Items and put in Bag
Check Wallet - Have money, cheques?
Pack Gym Bag
Shave [I usually remember to brush teeth]
Shower / Change
Before Leaving House, Did You
Plot Daily Feeling
Have Cell Phone
Have List of Things to Do for Day
Have Medication for Evenings
Close Back Door
Turn off Stereo
I can forget to take medication. It does not come naturally.