One step at a time. Get out more. Socialize more. Isolate less. Do more. Sit less. Read a good novel.

So Thursday I did a lot. Much more than I would usually do. Much more outside our home. Off the couch. In the community. Among colleagues and friends. What did I do, you wonder? Well, to start with I volunteered from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at my local NAMI Orange County.

I assisted their Educational Programs Coordinator by making phone calls and sending emails to register participants in an upcoming Provider Education course. Come January 2016, I will be teaching a Provider Education course for the first time. Both looking forward to it and feel a bit nervous.

While at NAMI, I spoke to their Volunteer Coordinator about helping out with social media and marketing in preparation for the October NAMIWalks for Orange County. As the time approaches, I’ll be begging folks to sponsor me. Please support me. My fundraising page is:

Now, instead of applying for a paid job at NAMI, I offered to volunteer two days a week. That way, I’d ease myself back into the world outside my house and off of my couch. Since my husband works and I receive disability, I do not need to work full-time, and quite frankly, social stimulation triggers hypomania and subsequent exhaustion in me.

After volunteering during the day, I had enough time to come home and quickly check my email and Twitter and Facebook notifications. Then I was off to a fundraising event for a friend of mine who has survived breast cancer and raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Now that I’m at home typing, I realize that I want to write more and read fewer blogs. My mental health requires that I stop overextending myself on social media. I want to use it as a useful tool without feeling obligated to read and share so much content. I simply CANNOT continue at this pace for so many hours a day. I absolutely must write more and read less.

Honestly, I’m at the point where reading autobiographical material detailing bipolar symptoms triggers me. In doing so, I re-experience my highs, my lows, my psychosis, my mixed states, my rapid cycling. I must be more judicious in my choice of reading material. I need an escape from bipolar disorder. I may have to severely curtail my reading of other mental health blogs, and instead enjoy some good novels.

I still want to share great content. I still want to maintain my online friendships. I’m honored to be part of such a mutually supportive online community. I hope that I will not lose my cyber friends by not reading and commenting on their work. Unfortunately, that’s a risk I take in curtailing my reading and commenting.

So many bloggers produce so much great work. I’m just blown away by how many talented writers are out there telling their stories. But, I need to step forward, to move on. Not to stop blogging, for I enjoy doing so. Not to stop sharing great information. Not to stop supporting others. But, to curtail my reading of potentially triggering material. To move past focusing on bipolar disorder and mental illness. To allow my mind a rest. To allow my mind to travel to fictional, fantasy places where it has NOT been. To feel free.

One step at a time. Get out more. Socialize more. Isolate less. Do more. Sit less. Read a good novel.

Sounds like a plan to me.