I have Bi-Polar

 

 

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When we have a proper diagnosis it explains a lot of things, the biggest being why we were unable to handle life. Today, I look at this as the greatest gift I ever received. It was a gift that answered a number of questions, the two biggest answers being that there was something wrong with “me.” It was actually a relief to find out the problem was not with the world I was living in.  The second answer was that something could be done about the problem and being told exactly where I had to do that something to get better.

Learning to (what ever word, or words, you want to insert in here that means get better to you please use them) this mental illness of Bi-Polar, of what ever variety, is not easy. It is down right hard work. Where the gift part comes in for me, and what I want to impart to you, is that with our diagnosis we have been given a clear understanding of what is wrong with us and what we have to fix. We have a confirmed mental illness; meaning we have to fix our minds.  People search for years to find out what needs to be fixed to make their lives better. You have had the secret handed to you in the form of a diagnosis. That diagnosis clearly explains what has been wrong with your life, your mind, it is ill. Specifically, it is your thinking and the beliefs you hold that made you think that way, that is wrong. What a gift!

Clearly stated, “You are the problem in your life so you better concentrate on fixing you.”

There is a saying that fits in pretty good right here.

“What ever we concentrate on expands.”

Why is this principal so important? Because by keeping this simple principal in mind we know we must concentrate on our mental wellness to have that wellness expand so we can shrink our mental illness. We will concentrate from this day forward on our mental wellness. That is the path we are getting on and staying on, the hard path of mental wellness.

Learning to live with and conquer our Bi-Polar means we have to do something and it can no longer remain what we have been doing. This clearly doesn’t work or you would not be seeking help.

The first thing we need to do is find medication that will help stabilize our minds, this usually starts right when you get your diagnosis.  This process, to find the right medications, is no automatic thing. This illness is as individual in you as you are in this world. Do not build up that false expectation that this will be an easy process. In my own case it took a few years and three scribblers of tried and failed meds before the magic combination was found.

I am not a doctor so I do not get into the specifics of medication. All I can relay is my personal experience and extend the hope, that although difficult, it will work out in the end, if you work at it yourself and cooperate with your health professionals. When it comes to this phase of our treatment the best friend you can make is with a journal of some kind and one of the best practices is learning to mood chart. In a journal you can record the effects and results of tried medications. Actually journaling and mood charting are one of the best habits we can get into right at the start of this journey. We can make a record of our progress right from the start. One of the uses of my early journals was to point out the lies I consistently told myself about life. Journaling and mood charting will be a topic of a future blog.

Finding proper meds to stabilize our minds does not fix us. Having a stable mind allows us a stable platform on which to fix ourselves. Without that stable platform we have no hope of ever finding out what really is the root of our problems.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

My Life’s Mission Part 2

 

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The second part of my life’s mission is to help and encourage others to understand that mental wellness is really a possibility in their lives. I can only do this through sharing my experience and what I have learned, and lived, in regards to this illness.  I am a BP sufferer writing and talking about my experiences. We share an illness that has one quality that makes Bi-Polar stand out from all other illnesses – “Bi-Polar is as individual as the people that suffer from it.”

This individuality makes Bi-Polar a difficult illness to diagnosis, treat and manage. I said difficult, I did not say impossible. Every success story of someone who has learned to live with, and successfully manage their Bi-Polar, including my own, contains these words, “Learning to manage Bi-Polar is really hard work, but it is worth it.”  What is learning to manage your Bi-Polar worth? It is absolutely “Priceless”, to quote MasterCard. Learning to manage this illness on a day to day basis through any storm life can throw at us is the greatest gift you can give yourself.  I want to encourage you that mental wellness is a real possibility for each of us.  From the success stories of many others, including my own, learning to manage this illness leads to a personal sense of accomplishment that is indescribable.

Once we have a proper diagnosis, by this I mean that we have a certificate we can hang on the wall that tells us we have an illness that is not going to go away.  Not some made up thing that you cannot back up. I never even thought it was possible, or that anyone would want, to make up a Bi-Polar diagnosis but in my conversations with therapists and counselors, I was told that there are many who “think” they are BP sufferers. A proper diagnosis is essential to getting proper help.

Personally, in 2011, I hung my diagnosis on the wall so that I could see it and come to accept that I had this illness and it was not going away. Today, I have accepted that Bi-Polar haunts my life at all times and always will. Why I did I do this? I was tired of being able to lie to myself that I was all right and then have my world fall apart in short order. I needed to convince myself that I would never be alright unless I worked at it constantly. I recommend any practice that keeps your diagnosis prominently before you to allow you to come to the place of admittance and acceptance that you have this illness and it is not going away. If your diagnosis is kept secret in your doctor’s office and you do not have that regular reminder, your mind can down play and out right deny the severity of the situation. This is not something you want to keep secret from yourself and in the beginning a few close people; it is the explanation for why you were not handling life! And you can actually do something about it. The fact that we have a proper diagnosis means we have something that can give us hope! Hope that maybe, just maybe, we can be all right.

The next step, after our diagnosis, is to learn to manage our illness. The first critical step in that management process is to find the proper medication that will stabilize our minds.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember, our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”  I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

My Life’s Mission

 

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“Bi-Polar is a recognized mental illness that can be diagnosed and treated with medication.”

I read that earlier this week in a brochure about BP they had out at a doctor’s office. This statement perpetuates a myth that I have made it my life mission to dispel. The statement has some truth; BP is an illness that can be diagnosed. Where the statement perpetuates the myth that needs busting, is that it fails to say that  only the “symptoms” of BP can be treated with medication. Without the word “symptoms” this statement perpetually makes people believe that medication alone can make them mentally well. Medication alone does not, and can not, make you mentally well. All medication does is deal with the “symptoms” of BP that make it impossible for you to become mentally well. Medication alone gives you a fighting chance to change and grow, nothing more. A proper diagnosis and proper medication offers just a chance for you to become the person you want to be. A chance at a new path.

This expectation that medication will make me something different than who I am is the myth that needs dispelling. Since all the literature and many of the medical profession do nothing to dispel this myth, I have made it my life mission to help BP sufferers realize that a proper diagnosis and medication, although critical in dealing with the symptoms of BP, do nothing to deal with our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

As a BP sufferer you can either be a victim of this illness or you can use your illness as a shield to protect yourself from others, most of us flip from the victim role to using our illness as a shield as the situation dictates. A proper diagnosis and proper medication make a third option possible, the option of becoming mentally well where there is no need to be a victim of this illness, we can become a victor. Where there is no need to use our illness to protect ourselves from the world and we can live free of our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

Many of us feel our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is imposed on us by others. We are this way because other people made us this way, is another part of the same myth that is perpetuated by thinking that a diagnosis and medication will repair us. It is easy to see why this is so, a diagnosis and medication are external things that should cure an external problem. I want to convince those that share this illness our problems are internal. All a proper diagnosis and proper medication does is give us a stable mind that allows us to shine a steady light on those internal problems. Our illness made us the way we are, an internal thing. Our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is our way of dealing with this illness within ourselves. Our illness made us sick and as sick people we dealt with our illness in sick ways, there can be no other result.

It is in realizing that a proper diagnosis and proper medication is only a chance to find that new path to mental wellness, as always I urge you:

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

The Path, The Hard One

 

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I end every blog with the same line, “keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does go anywhere.” I do this because I know there is a part of everyone of us, including myself, that wants to take the easy way. The easy way is never the way that benefits us in the end. If something does not seem hard in the beginning, it usually does not benefit us much further down the road of time. Managing this illness that we all share is not easy, it is down right hard. The easy thing is always to let this illness run our lives. To let our lives, reflect the symptoms of BP.

Personally I never want my life to reflect the symptoms of BP again. I like having friends I can call and want me around, rather than living in isolation. I like participating in reality rather than being delusional. I like being rid of my mental anguish and my emotional turmoil. I like living mostly free of the symptoms of BP in my day to day existence. Is it easy to live this way? Never, it is damn hard work. It involves constant checking on myself and my life. Keeping track of my moods and my motives, constant acceptance of life as it is, not as I would like it to be. It is a life of constant learning, testing and incorporating better ways of thinking, speaking and acting. Why, because living is in reality the ability to get along with others. We can be as ill as we want in a cave alone.

Am I successful at this? Most of the time now. Do I have problems? Of course but then problems are a part of living.  It is by dealing with our problems that we grow and mature.

I end every blog with this line to encourage everyone, including myself, to take this idea that the hard path to mental wellness is the one we need to be on and run with it.

Feed yourself positive things every day. Look for the positive in everything and everybody. But most of all….

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