Crazy, creative ideas for bedrest AKA solitary confinement
February 25, 2016 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Week two of horrendous bronchitis during which I decided to go NC (until yesterday) with long-time (ex?)boyfriend/co-dependent partner in dysfunction. Broke NC yesterday after five days straight of MD-ordered bedrest - and after texting and calling everyone I knew, including my grandma - twice. Any practical tangible ideas for how to maintain NC and my sanity, oh and I don't know, my health? Any and all welcome. Thanks.

Priority number one - my health. I'm taking all meds for bipolar, taking all bronchitis meds, on a nebulizer, forcing food, breathing steam, resting. The problem is staying calm. Chest keeps getting reinflamed bc I can't stay calm.

Blocked the number, blocked the email, I was doing well.

Finally got internet hooked up...I'm a magazine editor so my boss has graciously let me work from home...I'm pretty underweight from this prolonged break up so I don't have much weight to lose and suspect my immune system is not as strong as it should be, so I'm dosing with vitamin C and cut out all caffeine.

My friend (the one who smokes) brought me some groceries and my only other close friend who is a guy has been making disappointing hints at being more than platonic which seems insane when I am sick.

Broke NC last night after I just couldn't work anymore, couldn't read anymore, couldn't Internet stalk MeFis anymore, couldn't call or text anyone anymore, couldn't cry anymore.

He said "why can't you just see me like a brother and then I could help you?" And I cried and felt pathetic.

Yes I try to remind myself this is how I will feel before I call him but after days of being stuck in bed I rationalize it and think "maybe I can just be friends" and then I call him for comfort (total nostalgic fantasy) and it all goes to shit.

I've ordered some books from Amazon, tried Netflix, it definitely all works, don't get me wrong - just not for five days straight.

Any crazy ideas? Should I order a clown?

posted by asmith30 to Human Relations (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You are an adult. You need to parent yourself. You need to be the person who tells you that when you are crying over a man, no you cannot be just friends. How long do you think that takes? Because the answer is not five days. It's probably not even five months.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:12 PM on February 25, 2016 [13 favorites]

Ugh, I'm sorry your guy friend is being self-centred and icky. Who hits on a sick person??

As for calling your ex...put a post-it on your phone that says DON'T CALL HIM. You'll have to look at it and take it off the screen before you can make the call. It will give you a moment of pause, at least...
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:26 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

One thing that you should seriously consider is the possibility that your bronchitis meds are making you either anxious or manic (this is a warning on the box of the prescription I just got for an asthma flare-up.) Whatever you're supposed to do when those things happen (call your psych meds provider, emergency therapy appointment, etc.) you may need to do now.

Also, remove him from your contacts, or change the phone number listed to that of a crisis line (or something.) Put up barriers between yourself and contacting him. It may help to tell one or two of your support people about this no contact thing, and ask for permission to call them when you get the intense urge to call him.
posted by SMPA at 7:35 PM on February 25, 2016 [7 favorites]

To calm down, maybe try practicing some guided meditation or visualization exercises. I'm sure that there are plenty online. I've heard good things about MogaMind (but it's not free). I'd also recommend restorative yoga (basically easy stretching), depending on how up-to-it you feel physically.
posted by t-town at 7:37 PM on February 25, 2016

People have the emotional side covered, so here's some practical things you can do instead of calling your ex:

- Sign up for MOOCs on Coursera.
- Download a video game (Steam is great, you can find games in all different styles).
- Learn a new language through Duolingo.
- Do puzzles online.
- Order some crafting or paint-by-numbers kits from amazon.
- Write letters: to a politician about a cause you care about, to a famous person you admire, to your grandma even. You can actually mail them when you feel better.

Being confined to bed is super sucky, even worse during a breakup. So distract your brain by feeding it new things.
posted by Paper rabies at 8:04 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Bed rest is an awful thing that will cause anxiety even when you're not trying to recover from a relationship. Don't call your ex because you're bored. That's why you did it. You're bored, and you're lonely, and it sucks. (I just came off a month of bed rest, so believe me, I know.) But, despite all that, this really might be exactly what you need. Because right now, you need to be strong, you need to focus on yourself and your own well-being, and you literally need to just do it. Rest. Take Vitamin D. Drink a lot of water. Cry, if you need to, then drink more water. Read (my sick rest fave). You can do this, you will do this, because you have to do this.
posted by Ruki at 8:07 PM on February 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Murder She Wrote is on Netflix right now. Knock yourself out with cold medicine and start binge watching. Sorry, sometimes you got to suck it up and treat yourself right...
posted by Toddles at 8:26 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

I feel for you, I really do. You seem to be going through a really hard time right now and my thoughts are with you. You will get through this!

So for the practical crazy and creative part: Start knitting. Or crocheting, or whatever creative thing you like and can do while on bedrest. Knitting seriously got me through some tough times, when I couldn't do anything. I couldn't listen to music, couldn't follow a movie or tv show I could definitely not concentrate on reading anything, but I could knit. There is something weirdly comforting about this boring and repetitive act of knitting and it has the magic ability to empty my brain somehow. For me, it's like meditating. My first depressive period, I just kept knitting scarves and gave them to everyone I knew. The second time, I learned how to read patterns and make sweaters and stuff. The other thing about knitting is I can feel proud after I finish something. Like yesterday I had a shitty day and I did not do anything should have been doing but I did finish a beautiful knitted dress. Now I feel kind of proud instead of feeling guilty about having had an extremely unproductive day. Through knitting I can channel my blah feelings into something nice. So. That's just my experience, but it might work for you too.
posted by leopard-skin pill-box hat at 3:25 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Man, that sounds like a really crappy situation to be in, OP. I'm sorry your guy friend and your ex are both being so shittily self-centered. You sound like you're doing so many things right, even if you had a slip in breaking NC with your ex - you can put that behind you and keep moving forward. As far as things to keep you occupied while you're stuck in bed, do you like computer games at all? I find I can still get sucked into a good rpg for hours or days on end if I'm not careful - there are plenty of good recommendations in previous threads here, if that sounds like a possibility.

Alternatively, if you're looking for novel things on the internet to peruse, how about the 'Fun & Bizarre' category of services and items you could purchase for five bucks on Fiverr? I find it weirdly absorbing to look through some of the things on offer and contemplate which person in my life I'd send something to.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:20 AM on February 26, 2016

Priority number one - my health.

You need to not call this guy, because it's better for your health not to.

This is one of those things you just need to Adult Up and (not) do the thing, because (not) doing the thing is hard and it feels better to give in to temptation. Treat it just like paying your water bill or not telling your boss stuff that will get you fired.

I lost a good friend of mine while I was recovering from an illness. It was really hard having one less person in my support network. I'd made a facebook post before that point where I discussed a little of what was going on, and I went back to that and actually contacted a few of the acquaintances who'd made the usual vague offers of help. Sometimes people are willing to help but just don't know what help to offer.

If you need practical help with picking up groceries or something, people are often willing to help even if you don't know them too well. If you are part of any sort of group like a hobby group that can be a good place to ask, if you aren't comfortable asking individuals. Coworkers can be good to ask, it depends on the culture of your workplace. Spreading things out so that you aren't asking for much from any one person helps here. It's also easiest for those giving in-person help if they live or work somewhere near you, and they can help you at a time that will be convenient for them.

If you just want some sort of social contact, posting to social media that you have been stuck at home sick, are bored, and want to text/talk/message/chat with people may well turn up acquaintances who are interested in doing that. People might even be bored at home sick themselves and wishing for someone to talk with.
posted by yohko at 11:31 AM on February 26, 2016

Best answer: I feel like wanting to break NC can be attributed to a self esteem issue a lot of the time. Was the relationship maybe imbalanced in some way? At least towards the end of it? Did he string you along at all, before you broke up? Ran hot and cold? If so he may have evoked a kind of Intermittent Reinforcement reaction in you. When you looked for love/reassurance he would sometimes give it, sometimes not. That combination is so addictive. The nice words and reassurance were just few and far between enough to have you crave them. You'd reach out obsessively hoping to hit the 'love' button, and when it hit it felt awesome enough that you couldn't stop.

Now you're broken up, there is no reward for hitting that button, but you don't know that. There's a neural pathway there that reeeeally reaaally wants to reach out and hit that button. You know, just in case he's going to say all the right things. Just in case you get a reward. Just in case he suddenly loves you again.

It's not necessarily your fault you have these urges, and they are powerful, so try not to beat yourself up about it. There's a lot of things at play here. Love is addictive. Withdrawal from love is real. Sometimes people lapse. So it was embarrassing and he said some meh things. It sucks, but his opinion of you isn't worth much any more, so don't sweat it so much. Being angry at yourself is really not helping. Just know that next time you feel the need to contact him, remember there's no reward for pushing that button any more. In fact, pushing that button will actually hurt you. And the kicker is, even though you were addicted to it, those beautiful few and far between moments, you weren't even really happy any more. Do you really want to still be friends deep down, because lets be honest, if he says things like that to you, is he really that great a friend? You just are scared of letting go.

And part of reaching out to him is dependent on thinking he's all that, and he isn't. He really really isn't. One day you'll know it for sure, and you'll be "what the hell did I see in that guy," but in the meantime, you have to remind yourself of that fact ALL the time. You just need to focus on the things you couldn't fucking STAND and the reasons why you were a terrible match, every time you want to reach out. You want to call him? Think of that time he really irritated you. You know, the time he did that stupid thing and then just sat there with his stupid face saying that stupid stuff? Ugh. I know, right? And then DON'T CONTACT HIM.

And then go do something else. Get a Steam or Origin account and play computer games or video games. Binge watch TV shows, cook yourself something healthy, read, draw even if you're bad at it...have a bath... any time you feel like you're reaching out, distract distract distract. And then, if you still feel yourself slipping, or if you feel the need to ruminate or stew but you don't wanna bug your friends on the phone for the third time that night because they know the whole story and just kind of tune out every time you bring it up and are only murmuring politely at this point? Write. Write everything you feel and want to say to him. Get it all out. All the pain and disappointment. Futures broken. All the anger. Then don't send it. Delete it. If you really feel the need for an audience, you can always post to Unsent Letters or to a forum like loveshack (they have NC tips too), or heck, free feel to me-mail me and tell me about your relationship if you want to vent anonymously. I won't tell. But don't contact him. Just don't. And once you've got it all out, I find it helpful to meditate and try to let go of the stress, and maybe nap and I usually feel a lot more clear headed. If you find yourself slipping, do it all again. Take it day by day. You only have to get through today. Tell yourself that every day. Eventually it'll get easier and easier. I promise.

As for your friend violating your boundaries in this delicate time? Yeah, not cool. I'd minimize contact, cuz you don't need that on top of everything else right now. It's not helping.

Lastly, you're the shit and you deserve someone that can see that and wants to be there with you and thinks you're awesome. This guy isn't some grand prize, and you're not garbage he discarded. You're not damaged goods. You don't have to feel inferior to anyone just because you're bipolar. They're not doing you a favor. You're a unique, interesting, obviously intelligent human being, who is worthy of being loved and loving in return. You're just as great as him, and you don't need him on your side. You need you on your side. You don't need to define your worth through his eyes any more, ok? And let yourself be proud of yourself a little, you're doing SO great managing your mental health so far. It's tough, and it's baby steps but I can tell by your posts that you're making progress. You're so brave.

Despite it all and despite you missing him, you know that this is for the best, too. Ultimately, breaking up is the best thing for both of you. It's a blessing. And guess what? It means you get to fall in love again one day, and you'll have these life lessons of this failed relationship to help you be guided to a healthy one, and help you become a better person and that's so awesome. I was in a push-pull roller-coaster relationship and it was SO awful. I felt so awful every day. Going from a dysfunctional relationship to a healthy supportive relationship is kinda like a veil being lifted. You deserve that, and now have a chance to find it.

Take care of yourself, and best of luck, ok?
posted by Dimes at 12:47 PM on February 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

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