For the past 3 years I have been tracking a lot of personal data.
No not my online data, but my offline data.
I’ve been tracking various aspects of my life using a journal.
Honestly... because I enjoyed the concept of habit tracking but also because of my Bipolar disorder.
It is always recommended that people with bipolar keep a close eye on their moods via a mood log/tracker. So that was the first thing on my list.
Within a month I could seen how my patterns were showing a bigger picture.
I started tracking other things I wanted to improve... like my weight, body fat, muscle mass, and my diet because I had also started on a fitness journey.
After a few months of tracking that I had already lost over a stone and I could attribute my new habits to the fact I was checking in on those goals daily.
This was so powerful I started tracking yet more things.
I started logging what I spent my time doing.
I logged the things I was thankful for each day.
I logged the things that were troubling me each day.
Soon I had so much data and when I looked through my journals I could see very clear patterns emerging. I could even start to predict when my moods were likely to change.
Today I noticed a small turn in my moods, one I might have discounted in the past, but this time because of all the other data I had I could see that I was tilting towards hypomania. This can be problematic because it causes very scattered thoughts, very strong impulses and unpredictability amongst other things when it is allowed to go on for too long. It can last weeks and a lot of damage can be done if someone is unaware. Thankfully I am now fully aware of my body and my mind and their rhythms and tendencies and so instead of feeling like I was being swept away on a wave of high mood I pulled on the brakes and made extra time to relax. Made sure I didn’t make any big decisions. Made sure I calmed my mind at every opportunity and now I’m heading to bed to get a good nights sleep!
Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal and it’s all because of my new found vigilance.
How could tracking more of your personal data help you?
In a long term relationship?
Wish you could fall in love all over again, and refresh your relationship?
I'm coming up to my 12th year of being married to my husband, Andy, and this last year has been the best yet.
If you'd have asked me 5 years ago I couldn't have said the same thing.
Like so many relationships, we have had some
really rough patches and it was around that time when we really hit make or break. We had just spent christmas day together and we argued all day and in the end I packed my bag and went back to my mums.
I was seriously wondering if we could continue.
We seemed to have grown apart in what we wanted from our lives together. I had chosen a career that took me away from
home. I was going through long periods of depression and Andy's anxiety levels were through the roof. We had moved house but still weren't happy.
We had stopped communicating effectively. We had forgotten why we were together in the first place.
Something had to change.
It was around this time that I really started doing some thought work. I had not long since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I had realised that though medications really helped, most of the work I was going to have to do to re-balance my life and emotions was related to my lifestyle and, most importantly, my thought patterns.
I knew that my relationship was something that needed urgent attention and so I set about trying to find out how to fix what seemed so broken.
What would it take to fix this relationship?
There were so many things I wanted to change.
I wanted Andy to be less anxious. I saw him suffering and I was also feeling all the effects of living with it.
I wanted to feel more loved and appreciated.
I wanted him to support my career.
I wanted thim to not see me as a financial burden.
The dynamic of our relationship seemed more like one of duty than a friendship.
But was I asking too much?
I saw that Andy had always been predisposed to anxiety (just as I had issues with depression).
I saw it just wasn't in his nature to be particularly demonstrative/showy when it came to love and affection, it's not like he had been like that in the begining so why did I expect it now?
He didn't like my career choices, not because he didn't want me to be happy but because of the impact it would have on us (and he was right about that at this point).
I was a financial burden at the time because bringing in enough work consistantly was tough.
So trying to match my WANTS to reality was just not going to work.
I would be trying to change him at a fundamental level and it wasn't fair.
It slowly dawned on me that problem was mine.
I was fighting mentally to change some things that just weren't mine to change.
And maybe, just maybe, some of these things didn't need changing at all.
So now what? Do we just throw 10 years down the pan?
At this point in my journey a piece of advice changed EVERYTHING for me, and ultimately for my relationship and that advice was this.
If you buy a dog or a cat as a pet, you don't buy it so that it will fulfil your needs for you. You buy it to love!
So why is it any different for choosing a life partner?
When you choose someone to spend the rest of your life with, you choose them to be in your life for you to love and that is ALL!
If you have needs going unfilled are those needs actually something you should be fulfilling for yourself!
Let go of all your expectations and just focus on your partner being there to love and then love them. Go all in!
I did this by learning how to fulfill my own needs. I let go of trying to change Andy, which was taking up so much mental energy.
I started to practice serious self care which took care of my needs for love and affection.
I found work that covered my financial needs.
I gave myself permission to support myself in whatever line of work I chose to do.
Then I found I was free to just enjoy having my husband there as my best friend and that is what he was always there for!
This last year we have both reaped the benefits of learning to take care of ourselves better and then getting to spend our free time together laughing and joking, making exciting future plans together, like we should all be doing.
So what about you? Are you willing to let go of the baggage and just decide to love your partner again?
What is YOUR type?
The Enneagram has been the most powerful personal development tool that I have learnt in my coaching journey.
WHAT IS THE ENNEAGRAM?
The enneagram is a personality typology system which looks in to our core motivations.
The system says there are 9 different core motivations that we all fit in to, but the system is not there to put us in to boxes, it’s there to show us what boxes we are already in and HOW we can learn to move past the fixations of our type.
OUR TYPE IS THE LENSE WE SEE THE WORLD THROUGH.
I use this system with all the people I Coach because it gives you a really great roadmap towards self improvement.
WHAT THE ENNEAGRAM HAS DONE FOR ME:
- It's shown me that I’m not alone in some of my life views. I often felt like I was broken because I saw things differently to many people in my life and I realised that was because I have a different underlying motivation. No one type is better than another, they are just different.
- It’s changed my relationships to friends and family because knowing their type means I can understand them better. Imagine if you could learn to literally see the world in the way say your partner does? My husband is a type 6 and 6’s have a primary focus on Safety and Security. I used to think that my husbands ocd like attention to certain things around the house were ridiculous and frustrating but now I can see why he sees certain things the way he does and I have more empathy for his point of view.
- It’s allowed me to let go of some of the issues I’d often get fixated over and which caused me much frustration. I have always been obsessed with freedom and not feeling fenced in. My type helped me see why. I now know what to do when those feelings come up.
I would love to chat type with any of you that are interested. I am an Enneagram coach so can explain the system and I have work sheets I can send out if you want to know more.
FOLLOW THIS LINK TO TAKE THE TEST!
Screen shot your test results as there is a lot of info in there
You can read about your type and all the other types here on the Enneagram Institute website:
Comment your Type below!