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      Bipolar Depression: When You Are Too Tired To Shower
      Columnist Dave Mowry’s unique sense of humor shines a light on the lesser known ‘positive’ side of bipolar disorder— being environmentally friendly.

      By Dave Mowry

      Apparently bipolar disorder is good for the environment. Who knew?

      This idea came to me after I read a couple of news stories that said most Americans are showering way too often. Apparently we should only shower once a week. More than that and we are wasting water, not to mention washing essential oils off our bodies and out of our hair.

      That made me laugh and think, “Wow! With my bipolar depression, I am way ahead of this trend.” Not everyone will appreciate the humor, but it gave me a whole new way of looking at myself.

      When I get depressed, taking a shower is one of the first things to go. Once a week? Heck, how about once a month? Think of how much water, soap and energy I save.

      I also save on other grooming products. I have no need for hair gel and use very little deodorant. (Toothpaste is a must, however, even at my lowest.)

      I didn’t realize how eco-friendly I am thanks to my severe depressive episodes. And not just because I’m not taking showers.

      When I am depressed, I wear the same clothes day after day. Sometimes I sleep in my clothes because it is easier than taking them off and putting them back on. Smart, right?

      Add to that that I can’t get off the couch to put clothes in the washer, and doing laundry once every month or so becomes a reality. (Luckily, I have lots of pairs of underwear.) Running the washing machine so infrequently saves water and keeps laundry detergent out of the sewers.

      “That made me laugh and think, ‘Wow! With my bipolar depression, I am way ahead of this trend.’”

      But wait, there’s more! When I am depressed, it is all I can do to get something to eat. I don’t have much appetite and when I do eat, it has to be fast and easy. Cereal is my go-to item. It is perfect: No cooking, and it’s easy to reuse the bowl and spoon after a quick rinse. Talk about reducing my carbon footprint!

      When I am in the midst of bipolar depression during the colder months, I spend many of my days on the couch wrapped up in a blanket. I don’t have to turn up the heat, so I save on energy consumption. I’m not getting out of the house to shop, either, so I’m in tune with the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

      This tongue-in-cheek perspective can be applied even to a situation that’s not really a laughing matter: The difficulty that many people with bipolar have earning a decent income because of their mood symptoms.

      If you can’t afford to run a car, you end up walking, biking or using mass transit to get where you need to go. Less driving means fewer emissions, lower gas usage, and less need for motor oil, windshield washer fluid or antifreeze. The tires last longer, too. I’m going to count that as another plus in the “being kind to the environment” column.

      Perhaps this idea struck me because I live in Portland, Oregon, which is a very environmentally conscious city. If there were a contest for the”greenest” person in town, I think I would win. Who else is going to admit that they only shower every other week, do laundry once a month, and eat from the same dish day after day?

      We always need to promote a more positive view of people with bipolar. So in the future, when someone asks you what you do, tell them you are doing your part to save the planet.

      When someone asks why you have disappeared from sight for a while, tell them you are reducing your carbon footprint.

      And when someone says that you are not being very sociable, just tell them, “Yeah, but I’m environmentally friendly.

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