Memory

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Barbra Streisand sang a song called “Memory.” For those of us who suffer from BP, memory is something that can be hit or miss.

It happened this way; I asked my girlfriend who she was listening to on YouTube.

She replied. “Guess.”

She honestly thought I should know this stuff. I cannot guess because I have no idea. There is nothing in the memory banks to guess with.

I used to find this frustrating, then it moved to humorous, then it became the truth. It is the honest truth that there are large chunks of my life of which I have no memory.  I cannot remember a lot of stuff that happened, songs that were popular, supposedly famous people of the screen and other things that went on around me when I was in the deep throws of this illness.

In responding to my girlfriend I did not get angry, a real change for me, I just patiently explained to have a memory of a famous song or person you have to some form of contact with reality when the event occurred and I definitely did not have any grasp of reality at that time so there is nothing to remember.

I explained asking me to guess at something was a quick way to upset me as I had nothing to guess with. Just as asking her to fix most things was beyond her abilities guessing was way beyond mine. Actually, when it comes to fixing things I now have to rely on the manuals or YouTube as the memory banks have been wiped clean on a lot of things. There was a time in the not so distant past that I had trouble attaching a socket to my torque wrench because I could not remember how. I had to look it up on YouTube.

Today my girlfriend no longer asks me to guess, she understands that guessing is not something that I can do.  For some people, they cannot grasp what this illness has done to scramble our brains. We have to be patient with these people and with ourselves, ever reminding ourselves there are people with no understanding of the effects of our illness.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a therapist and a psychologist this article from Betterhelp.com may shed some light on this for you?

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/what-is-the-difference-between-a-therapist-and-a-psychologist/

 

Tenants of Happiness

 

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The Russian writer Count Leo Tolstoy proposed that there were five tenants for happiness which no one can deny. The first of these tenants is a connection with nature. The second tenant is labor, which is better expressed as willing productivity. Third is family life. The fourth is free, friendly communication with others. The fifth tenant is health. Tolstoy wrote that if these five things are present is a person’s life they have no choice but to be happy.

In our illness we were cut off from any or all of these basic ideals. We had no appreciation of nature, even if we were living in the most naturally beautiful place on the planet. We viewed any form of labour or productivity as a hardship. We isolated ourselves from others constructing walls all around us making us unapproachable. We destroyed our connection with family. Both mental and physical health did not exist. We saw only what was wrong with the world and what was wrong with our lives in general.

If we come to understand that we can start today to look for natural beauty, even if it is just a flower on a window sill. To be willing to be productive in any way we are able, even it is just to make our bed and have a shower. To reconnect with family, forgiving the hurts and seeing the real importance of the love you can only receive from family. To put ourselves out there and take down the walls to develop friendships that can grow. We can start today to improve our mental and physical health.

We have to start somewhere and maybe these simple ideas will be a starting point for you.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

 

 

Taking steps out of your comfort zone is pivotal for your own evolution and growth.

 

When you have BP issues that are slow to resolve spell danger.  Long lasting issues, be they physical, financial or people orientated, tax us. Long lasting issues also allow us to practice all the coping skills we have learned in learning to overcome our illness.  This proves they are transferable skills, who knew that in learning to manage our illness we were learning to manage life in general. This last year and half has been like that for me. For most of it I have been able to keep moving, show up for most days and keep the roller coaster of emotions that is going on inside me from taking over my life. Now for some of the past year and half I have to admit my emotions boiled over, depression kicked in and my old thinking tried to take over my mind. In the past I would have folded like a bad poker hand if confronted with an issue like I have faced this last while and not reappeared until the issue had gone away of its own accord.

I am not saying I have learned to face long lasting issues head on but I have practiced hard facing little issues in that way and that practice has seemed to help.

When things do not go the way I think they should I still become an emotional wreck, with anger and resentment leading the pack. I did practice taking a step back and respond instead of reacting in a lot of the dealings I had in the issue. I did not react inappropriately, but I did react sometimes.  This only proved that I have not mastered responding instead of reacting completely yet, much less responding like Buddha or Lord Krishna with non-attachment. I am getting there though.

When it was explained to me that I needed to grow into my problems. In fact I was promised in writing that if I learned to grow beyond my problems; “I would intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle me.”  I did not totally understand those statements at first, but understanding is in the doing. This has in fact proved true in many cases and for the most part in this long lasting issue. Where this has not proved true, it has given me new opportunities for personal growth and knowledge of new coping skills.

I did not realize that my run and hide attitude for handling the simplest conflicts and issues had stunted my growth in becoming the man I wanted to be. As I become more and more that person I find issues big and small that used to appear as unsurmountable all have solutions if you face them directly.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

Nothing can be built without a plan

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Nothing can be built without a plan. In construction they are called blueprints. They are the plans for the building that is to be constructed. Every detail in contained within them and without them no one knows what is going on.

We have blueprints for our lives. These blueprints are made up of our beliefs. Beliefs are made up of the information we have collected in our lives, what we have been told, what we have been shown and what we have experienced. Our core beliefs cause us to think as we think and act as we act. Those beliefs are what rule our lives and make it as it is. The joy of being human is we can examine those beliefs and if need be change them.

I always thought I had the blueprint for a multi- room mansion within me but kept constructing a one room hovel out of my life. BP caused what I was told to be garbled, what I was shown to be misunderstood or exaggerated, what I experienced to be mostly negative. The beliefs that I held were mostly erroneous or fantastical, a blueprint for disaster.

As with a building I took over years ago, someone had miss-read the blueprint.  In that building it was to have a 3 point 5 gallon per hour pump installed to recirculate the hot water, instead they installed a 35 gallon an hour pump. That building had problems, water leaks developed all over the place. In not too long a time the building became uninhabited.

My life ran along similar lines as that building, my life had become uninhabitable and no one wanted to be around me, I did not even want to be around myself.

The first thing I did when I took over that building was to find the blueprints and read them. I then checked to see if what the blue prints said checked with the reality of the building. They didn’t, that pump was pumping water through the pipes at 10 times the speed recommended by the blueprints. Once the pump was replaced and a few other repairs made, the building stopped having problems and was soon re-inhabited. Everyone loved the place.

In my own life, once I quit misreading the blueprint and replaced my erroneous and fantastical beliefs with realistic thinking based in reality. Once that was done my life became inhabitable by myself and others. I am now on my way to constructing the life I was meant to have.

Look to your blueprint if your life is not all you would like. You could be miss-reading it or may have to redraw it.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Why Journal?

 

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James Allen, the 19th Century Philosopher, was more to the point when he said; “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves.”

I say; “if you what to overcome your Bi – Polar work harder on yourself than anything else.”

What does this have to do with journaling? The two men I have quoted from are possibly two of the greatest journal keepers of the last 100 years. They spent as much of their time on this earth examining their own lives on paper in journals as they did improving the lives of others. I, personally, only got a handle on how BP affected my life by a thorough examination of myself on paper in a journal. There are hundreds of others in the BP forums who will attest the same.

I will not tell you how to journal, just that journaling is a great idea. If you want to know how to journal specifically for you, ask yourself, “Why am I writing in this journal?” as your first entry. You can spend the rest of your life answering that question.

The first answer to that question for me was to show the PDoc that I was not lying about the effects of the drugs I was being prescribed. I filled three dollar store notebooks, over two years, as we tried this drug and that drug, alone and in combination, to help manage my BP.

Once stable, I started writing in a journal to find out why, if I am taking my meds, am I still the same asshole I was before?  I have been spending the last half decade finding answers to that question, fixing them and still finding more answers and more things to fix in me. Throughout this exercise of fixing me I have found that my life in relation to the bigger external world has improved as well.

Now with the advent of all the electronic gadgetry, remember I am old enough to remember when aircraft had propellers, you had to crank a phone to use it and most places only had 4 digit phone numbers, journaling can be way more creative. Mood charting on a spread sheet and then converting them to charts and graphs, in the form of an unpublished blog (this is a take on one of the most creative journals I ever saw, where the writer wrote themselves a letter every day) We can add pictures and all sorts of things but with that we can also become unfocused. Our focus has to remain true to our goal, overcoming our BP.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.