Four Facts That May Help You on Your Journey Towards Mental Wellness.

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These are four facts that may help you on your journey towards mental wellness.

The first fact is that our bipolar disorder is inside us. That looking outside of ourselves for something that will fix everything is a fantasy. Our illness tells us if I had, or was, something different (a different life, a different job, a different relationship, whatever) life would be great.  We falsely believe that if these external things would change so would our lives. Whatever we envision as the external thing that will save our lives we must come to realize it is a fantasy. We must stop thinking that way. It is delusional insanity.  If your computer crashes you do not go reformat your neighbor’s computer. That would be insane, right? Well it is just as insane to think what you are experiencing in this illness is anywhere but inside of yourself and the mental wellness you seek can only be found there as well.

Yes, we need outside help, medications and a good support system, but it is only a help towards fixing ourselves. The outside assistance is only that, assistance. It is not the fix.

The second fact we must embrace is that our thoughts and feelings are separate from ourselves. That the mind is not you, you are separate from all the things in your mind.

Your thoughts are the substance of what you have been told, what has been modeled to you and what you have experienced. In our illness our experiences, are our greatest enemy as so many of the things we think we have experienced may, or may not, have been as we thought in the light of reality.  I am not discounting anyone’s abuse, trauma, loss or any other bad experiences, they are real and did happen.

It has also been proven that bipolar disorder can in some cases blow some events out of proportion compared to the reality of those events.  Conversely, some events are downplayed to avoid the pain they caused. Our mind can and does enlarge or diminish, events of its own accord in our illness to protect us. If there is an “us” to protect then that “us” must be separate from the mind. Grasping the fact that you and your mind are separate is essential.

The third fact is, you can train your mind to think, feel and respond differently. Those thoughts, feelings and reactions are changeable because they are not you.  You can change your thoughts to positive thoughts. You can change that angry tyrannical voice in your head to a loving, encouraging voice. You can gain control of your feelings and expand them to include many more feelings of joy and happiness. You can change your automatic reactions to controlled responses. You can do all of this because your mind is not you.

There is a fourth fact, your mind will rebel like an angry child at the first hint that you are trying to grow and change how you are doing things. Those first steps towards mental wellness are met with real resistance. Your mind will throw everything at you to make you stop, every bad thing, every traumatic thing that has happened will haunt you. Your mind will shout “You Can’t” and give a thousand reasons why. Your mind may engage your body in this resistance and make you feel physically ill. I have had all the above happen to me as I moved towards my goal of mental wellness. Do not give up because like training any fierce beast, once you show that you are boss the mind will begin to respond in a more mannerly fashion.

It takes time and effort to retrain your mind. Today there are many resources on the internet that can aid in this process I have attached two links to PDF’s that I found helpful.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Seven-Steps-Preview.pdf

http://vitalcoaching.com/files/a2/positive_thinking.pdf

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.

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.

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another authors work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Hillary Jacobs Hendel :

https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/single-post/2017/05/15/How-To-Tell-if-Youre-Normal

 

 

 

 

A Talk On Antidepressants And The Word “Addictive”

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I seldom enter discussions about drugs used in the treatment of mental health conditions for two very specific reasons: 1: I am not a doctor. 2: In the case of my own illness, bipolar disorder, I believe bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. This means what works for me may not work for you. This applies to meds, the tools I have developed to control my own illness and even how my illness affects me day to day compared to you.

That said, there has been a lot in the media, both regular and social, lately regarding the “Addictive” nature of antidepressants. To such a level it even encroached on my personal life. Which is why I have chosen to write this blog post.

I believe words are incredibly important in our lives, especially around what we tell ourselves, what we say to others that boomerang back into our own mind and what people we feel are authorities tell us.

Since this topic of the “Addictive” nature antidepressants came to affect someone I really care about, causing them to question if they should be taking a medication that seems to be helping them. I want to share what I told this person.

First, I want to state clearly, I am a recovered addict and I take an antidepressant. This gives me the only credentials required to take on this subject.

When the media and even the book learned professionals within the mental health community sensationalize this issue by using the word “Addictive” along with the word antidepressants they are causing a problem for people they have never met. The problem they create is causing people to question “IF.”

“If this medication is “Addictive” maybe I should not take it, even if the medication maybe helping/or could help/ me.

All this doubt based on this one word, “Addictive.”

Let us look at antidepressants and how they are handled. No one is ever prescribed an antidepressant without there being a need. Now I am the first to admit there may be pill pushing doctors out there but these are a rarity not the norm. In normal circumstances, there must be a need for any medication to be prescribed. The key word is prescribed. It is regulated by dose and by the amount taken. Antidepressants are to be taken as directed. Do people abuse prescription drugs? Of course, a small percentage does because of their own issues. Again, this it out of the norm, most people take their medications as prescribed.

The other issue is the word ““Addictive”” which scares people and causes regular ordinary people to imagine they will become one of those people in back alleys with brown paper bags and/or shooting drugs in their veins. This is the image conjured up in the mind of the person I care about after being told that the antidepressants they had been prescribed were “Addictive.”

Having been an addict, I can tell you if you are sincerely trying to overcome your problems and need meds to help, that won’t happen.

In my opinion and in the opinion of professionals I respect this word ““Addictive”” must go because it is not the correct word to use. “Addictive” means there are no controls beyond self-control and if you are an addict you have no self-control.

This is not to say that long term antidepressant use is not without possible side effects. One of the main side effects is dependency. You can become dependent on the medication to get you through the day.

Isn’t dependency and addicted the same thing? No, it is not. Firstly, to become dependent you must be on an antidepressant for a long time. The rules in most of the western world are that to renew a prescription after so many refills you must see your doctor first. A form of control, “Addictive” means there are no controls

To say you “may become dependent on a medication if taken over a long period.” is very different than saying “this medication is “Addictive”.” One way lets a person know there are risks. The other makes the person feel they are personally at risk. One is fact based, the other plays on your emotions, mostly creating fear.

The word “Addictive” must go from our discussions about antidepressants and be replaced with the word “Dependent.”  There has been enough damage done.

 

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.

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.

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

How to Become a Mental Health Advocate

 

 

Creativity, Meaning and Bipolar

 

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Like a tide our bipolar moods rise and ebb no matter how good our management system. That is the nature of moods, this effects our motivation and creativity. Having just gone through a period of an ebb tide in the mood area, I found my ability to create non existent. It is still difficult to put thoughts on paper. Knowing this ebb tide of emotion and loss of creativity is temporary, that all moods change in time, makes it a little easier for me to deal with these feelings today. Knowing that in the spring I tend to soar with the eagles and in the gloom of fall I crash like a balloon out of air. This does not change that these mood swings happen. It changes what how I react to them and how I employ my management tools. In the spring I need to tether my feet to the ground, not allowing myself to be task driven or the need to get things done will run my life. In the winter I need to force myself to get up and be productive.

In my stable state I am always slightly elevated, with creative solutions, ideas and thoughts popping in my head at all times.  It is frustrating when that creative part of my brain shuts off even for a short while. In the last month of cloudy gloom, four days of sun out of twenty-two, even with all my management tools I have struggled. Struggling is alright if we know there is a meaning for why we are struggling. That fact that I struggle like this, every year is knowledge, it is not meaning. That knowledge that this is part of the cycle of my bipolar does make it easier. The fact that I have built an arsenal of things to battle depression or mania is also helpful, but these things are not meaning either. I have to build that meaning into my life in the good times and learn to hold on tight in the bad.

I do not currently have a secret formula for building meaning into any one’s life. It was hard to find meaning in my own, I am still learning to articulate that to myself and the world. All I can pass on today is that there is meaning to all our lives, the foundation of which is gratitude. Forgiveness of ourselves and others gives us wings to fly. Self care and self knowledge give us the power to continue.

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.

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Mental wellness is all about knowledge. It is about taking that knowledge we learn and applying it to ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be.

Make Lists Of Positive Aspects

Questioning What is Behind Our Thoughts

 

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Bipolar causes us to believe things that are flatly untrue about ourselves, others and the world around us. Bipolar distorts our thoughts which are driven by our current needs and our past experiences. What we believe to be our current needs and our past experiences are tainted by the false beliefs we have accumulated, the perceived slights we have received and the resentments that we hold. This in turn gives us overboard emotional responses causing absurd actions and leaves us with bad results.

Our thinking drives the wheel that leads to our results, if our thinking is wrong we have no choice but to have bad results. But our thoughts must be based on something and that something is all our past encounters, either through what we have heard, what we have seen or what we have felt. We have allowed these encounters to collect in ourselves without ever questioning their validity. We have not put our lives through the true or false test. We have just lived our lives without posting a guard on our subconscious, the place where all this information is stored and used, for and against ourselves.

We also have a design flaw that makes fixing this false thinking even harder to correct because all our data collection (our five senses) that our past experiences and on which we base our needs bring everything from the outside inwards. Yet what we need to fix is inside and it is an entire paradigm shift to turn your data collection inwards to make your senses a garbage removal detail and then do guard duty to keep you in reality. Yet that is what we must do, look inside, hear ourselves, smell our fears, touch our own hearts and learn what hope tastes like.

First, we must understand what our shared illness does to us. How our disorder twists and makes sick what we think is our current need. How our disorder distorts our experiences to isolate ourselves from everything good. In coming to that understanding we quickly realize that although medication can and will stabilize us, it will never fix us

My experience with my own disorder and in my discussions with others who have worked hard to overcome their own bipolar disorder, has led to a belief that bipolar takes one or more of our normal human needs and blows it all out proportion

Human needs can be broken down into a few broad categories, those needs that connect us to others, those that are for our physical well being, those that keep us honest with ourselves, those that allow us to play, those that give us peace and personal autonomy and those that give our lives meaning.

In most cases what happens is our bipolar disorder usually takes some of our normal needs to connect with others and blows them up so badly that that need can never be satisfied. In my case it was my needs for acceptance, appreciation and belonging. Causing me to feel that I was never accepted, appreciated or that I never belonged, even when I was accepted and appreciated and worse when I was included but pushed everyone away. This caused all sorts of bizarre reactions in my life to the point of almost destroying it.  For another person that I know well, it was the need for safety, security and support. This unfulfillable need for safety and security and support caused this person all kinds of grief in their life, they could never have enough money saved and could never spend any, they horded things and sucked the life out of everyone they met.

It is by recognizing what our bipolar disorder does to what are supposed to be normal needs and the unbelievable, unreasonable expectations that these unfillable needs cause in our lives that makes our lives so out of control. It is by bringing those needs back to reality that we can gain control of our disorder. It is only then that load of garbage, the false beliefs, the resentment, that created our thoughts can be removed and we can have real peace and serenity.

I have linked The Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Needs Inventory to this blog for anyone who wants to look at this idea of out of proportion needs for themselves.

https://www.cnvc.org/sites/default/files/needs_inventory_0.pdf

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.

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.

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

#positiverolemodel