Friday, October 17, 2014

My Wife and Her One Track Mind

Goal oriented behavior is one the characteristics that can be present in people with bipolar disorder. This can be beneficial in terms of deadlines or responsibilities. In the case of my wife, her focus can become remarkably specific that she becomes one-track minded. This behavior is associated with her manic episodes.

When Jane transitions from a depressive phase into a manic phase she will change from being unenthusiastic about anything to non-stop talking about her new, all important idea. The new project takes over her life. The rest of the family gets sidelined as she becomes obsessed with reaching her goal. For example, when she decides that the laundry needs to be washed she will work around the clock to get it done. As her manic cycle elevates, her need for sleep decreases. Sleep impedes her goal.

Most times I feel like the family is not as important as her project. When she gets heavily involved in her work, she enlists us to complete specific tasks to help her. We do our best to help but she becomes angry when it is not done to her satisfaction. This causes some conflict between the Jane (project manager) and the rest of the family (subordinates).

As she becomes closer to reaching her goal, her desire do things perfectly overwhelms her. When she comes to the realization that she will not meet her goal on schedule she becomes very irritable. Lack of sleep begins to wear her down. More often than not, she will lose interest in many of her projects before she finishes them and becomes obsessed with a new project. Her original project is abandoned. My wife has plenty of unfinished projects around our house. She says that she will get to them eventually. 

This last year, Jane's main focuses was to go to college and earn a degree. After over twenty years of being a stay at home mom, she felt that she needed to accomplish something for herself. Our seven children were at a point in their lives where they were no longer as dependant on her. She became a full time student while trying to be a wife and mother at the same time. Alone, any one of these roles are challenging. During her first quarter in school, we learned that she had bipolar disorder. Dealing with a newly diagnosed mental illness and the list of her already overwhelming tasks, many people may have decided to drop out of school. Jane refused to give up on her dream. She is NOT wired like that. 

Getting her degree quickly may have seemed like it would be an impossible thing to accomplish, but she graduated in record time. She completed four quarters taking difficult courses. The goal oriented nature of her disorder enabled her to succeed when others would have quit. This part of her disorder motivates her to get things done that might appear impossible. Without the goal oriented behavior of someone with bipolar disorder, she would not have had the focus needed to achieve her goal.
Post a Comment