On Loving Ourselves

 

What do you really want? Do you want what makes someone else happy with you? That is, nine times out of ten, not what we really want. We buy into so much garbage that the first question gets buried by the second, especially in our illness.  We are taught so early in life that to like ourselves is just plain wrong.  This is what so-called “normal” people experience. Our illness pounces on this idea of self-love is wrong and takes it to the level of pure self-loathing and encourages self-harm. until all we feel is pain.
Eckhart Tolle calls this “the pain body.” I call this “my personal hell on earth.” Having lived in this hell and having found a way out, I never want to go back.
You can find many explanations as to why this may be so, but for me not liking myself and taking all my beliefs from external sources was the cause of all this pain.
The Christian writer, Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are not born with character or with habits both these things need to be developed.”
If my character and my habits do not align with my true nature can there be anything but pain?  Not likely.
The fact is there is no one to ask but ourselves what that true nature may be. This also is a great stumbling block. We are so used to being told all the answers are external that when we come to understand the real answer is within ourselves we have trouble believing it. Even if we do believe it we have no training in how to go about finding the answer.

Finding your true nature, your essential being, is different than finding a purpose, or goals, or anything else. It is digging and finding the bedrock of your being and exposing that to the world. It is not your personality, personalities can change. It is the spirit that came with you when you entered this body and this life. To find this spirit with us requires diligence and a lot of trial and error. However, this is the bedrock on which true character and good habits can be developed.

Mental wellness, of which I speak a lot, is our requirement to start this process of finding our true nature. Our illness buries our essential being deep within us and fights us every time we get close to discovering our true selves. A true deceiver, our illness hides the truth and lies to us every chance it gets. But there is only one place to find your true self and that is within you and you are the only one who can.

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 author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Shannon Cutts

How to Make Friends With the Unknown

 

 

Seasonal Affected Bipolar Disorder 2

Learning to manage any aspect of bipolar disorder on the individual level is going to be by trial and error. Some people find what works quickly, like when their Psychiatrist prescribes a medication that works without side effects right away. These people are quite rare. For most of us learning manage our bipolar is a struggle of trying this or that until we find what works. What I encourage in myself and I also encourage in others is to embrace that struggle. Enjoy learning how your bipolar disorder affects you and how overcoming this illness makes you a better, stronger person. What works for me and helps me manage my bipolar may not work for you. However, what works for me may give you a starting point.

On the subject of seasonally affected bipolar disorder management, this was for me a many year journey. Even today I am tweaking my management system of what I need to do to ward off the winter blues. As I write this I have my sunglasses on and am bathed by the light of my Litebook Edge therapy light. This light was added a year ago when winter set in really early and what usually worked quit working or didn’t have time to work.  Another pitfall of bipolar management is sometimes our management system quits working and we have to develop a new one.

Today my management system for the fall/winter part of the seasonally affected bipolar disorder is very simple. I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D and 50 mg B6 + B12 starting in early August. I introduce 15 minutes of light therapy in early October.  I keep this routine up until the middle of May. Which is about when spring begins to come about where I live.

I want to point out why I take both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 as well as B6. It has been scientifically proven that if you are low on Vitamin D you are more than likely low on Vitamin B12 as well. I take Vitamin B6 because of its scientifically proven link to cognitive function.

When spring has sprung this requires a whole new management system. The first requirement of this portion of the management system is compete honesty with myself. Why? Because no one ever complains about mania. Mania is great, we get stuff done. We are usually happy and excited about life.  I have had a handle on quelling the summer mania for a lot longer than I have the winter depression. For me, when the first urge to buy every garden tool in the Johnny’s seed catalog strikes that is my sign to have a talk with the doctor to decide this year’s course of action. Most years it has meant an increase in meds for a period of time. Some years it has only meant increased diligence on my part to do the tips set out later. This is when I need constant monitoring by my professional and non- professional network. This is my program for managing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. It works for me.

Bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. The treatment of this illness in every aspect, be it medication or seasonal affected bipolar disorder, has to be individual as well. We each have to develop our own ways to manage our particular bipolar disorder.

Last week I promised some tips and techniques for dealing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. The first tip I want to offer is:

  1. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.
  2. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.

I can not stress this point enough. We are not rocks, and we cannot fight this illness alone, despite popular belief. If you have bipolar you inwardly believe you are alone.

We are the ones that have to do the work, but we need the best team we can put together to cheer us on and give us advice when we need it.

Tips for dealing with depression when your meds don’t seem to be. This happened to me last winter until the light therapy started to work.

  1. Take the initiative against depression. Get up and keep moving even though you feel like one of those deep-sea divers in the big suits walking through molasses. Force yourself to eat and wash the dishes. Make a gratitude list of 5 things you are grateful for every evening, try to do 5 different ones every night.
  2. Learn what triggers your depression besides the change of seasons. As a lifetime sufferer of seasonally affected bipolar, when I started to learn to manage seasonal depression I found other triggers that elevated that depression. Anything that I perceived to negatively affect me compounded my depression. When my management system was working if something negative happened I still became depressed. This is what I touched on last week.
  3. Make a commitment and keep on keeping it. I found this one very helpful. I hang out with a bunch of people every Sunday morning for breakfast. No matter how low I am I force myself to attend. Actually, if I am not there they come looking for me.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. This one is hard to get over. I practiced self-encouragement for a long time before I was able to use it effectively when I was deeply depressed.
  5. Do not let your mind convince you that you have to do some great thing or be perfect to beat your depression. It is by doing the simple things, some of them badly, that we overcome depression. Sticking to an already set routine does wonders for beating depression. This is similar to #3 but different. This has to do with a commitment to yourself the first thing that used to go when depression struck was my morning routine of daily reading of inspirational material. Now it doesn’t matter, I go through the motions of coffee and books no matter what. I may not comprehend what I am reading all the time, but I am there in body every day and I do it.
  6. Don’t let your mind create catastrophes that do not exist and thoughts of self-harm. These thoughts of loss, disaster and self-harm are the true dangers of depression. This is when we absolutely have to reach out to others. I also know that when these thoughts happen we most want to isolate. We can, with help, learn to defeat these thoughts but it takes time and effort. What we must quickly learn is to reach out whenever these thoughts appear.

Tips for dealing with Mania.

  1. Learn what triggers your mania. As I said earlier one of mine is wanting to spend.
  2. Monitor your thinking. Our feelings of self-importance start to grow when manic. Our thoughts begin to race. We are bombarded with one idea after the other. We become more mentally creative. These are all signs of mania. Learn yours.
  3. Watch your behaviors. Mania causes us to engage in risky behaviors and behaviors that will threaten our lives and relationships more easily.
  4. Keep your regular sleep/eat schedule. This is not easy. I don’t sleep, and I don’t eat when manic. Forcing your self to bed and to eat can reign in a manic episode.

Unfortunately for most of us, medication is the only way to effectively deal with mania.

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 facebook/365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on twitter @365daysofbipol2.

 

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 author’s 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/2017/09/26/Beyond-Life%E2%80%99s-Disappointments

 

Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder

Studies show that about 20% of bipolar sufferers are affected by seasonal changes. This is a major trigger for many bipolar sufferers. For many to be affected by the seasons usually means moving towards depression as the days shorten into winter and towards mania as the days lengthen in the spring and summer. This is not always the case, some are affected in other ways, but I can only share my own experience

Seasonal Affected Bipolar was a major part of my bipolar life, depressed to the point of not being able to function during short days of winter. Then taking off like a rocket as the days lengthen in the spring. Learning to manage my bipolar during these seasonal changes has been a large part of my recovery program.  As with all management of bipolar disorder it has been by trial and error. I have learned the proper time to increase my Vitamin D and B12 intake and when to introduce light therapy as an added boost to my program to ward off the winter depression. Conversely, I have also learned when is the best time of year to introduce extra medication to prevent the lengthening days from launching me into mania.

I never discuss prescribed medications or the doses of vitamins and supplements a bipolar suffer should take as our illness is so individual. What works for me may do you great harm in the areas of medication, vitamins and supplements. In those areas I recommend working with your professional support team.

What I can talk about is the generalities that many studies have pointed out on using Vitamins D and B12 for Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) and Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder (SABD) as well as techniques that work to ward off winter depression.

These will be next week’s topics.

I want to end this week’s blog explaining something about triggers and bipolar disorder.

Triggers are the things that cause you to relapse into full blown bipolar episodes. Here is the distinction that helped me understand this definition. You must have some control or management of your bipolar disorder before you can relapse. If you are not doing anything to manage your illness you cannot relapse.  What I have learned is that when you have a major trigger like SABD, as you learn to manage that trigger a lot of other triggers seem to suddenly appear that you no idea even affected you. These triggers that seemed hidden by SABD seemed overwhelming to me when they showed themselves. I soon realized how they helped increase effect of the seasons on me, especially my winter depression.

What triggers you may not trigger me and what really triggers me may not even affect you. It is important that we learn the early signs and warnings that our bipolar disorder is about to take over our lives again.

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 author’s work I am just attaching a link to their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Carrie Elizabeth Lin

http://ibpf.org/blog/spotting-icebergs-miles-away-how-use-early-warning-signs-bipolar-disorder-relapse-prevention

 

Bipolar Induced Cognitive Impairment

The scariest day of my bipolar life was Wednesday, May 14th, 2008. A day I will never forget, nor repeat. That day I learned first hand what bipolar generated cognitive impairment was all about.

At nine in the morning, I went into my office to read reports from the past few days of operations. I remember picking up the first report and reading the first few lines and then…. At five one of my staff came in to ask if I was coming to brief the afternoon shift. I was still holding that first report in my hand and eight hours had elapsed. I had no memory of that time and still don’t.

I feigned illness and left. The problem, I really had no idea where I was to go. I couldn’t remember where I lived. I just sat in my car, scared and getting angrier by the second.

My staff called my wife, who came and got me and took me home.

That day started the process towards my proper diagnosis of Bipolar 1 disorder almost a year to the day later, Tuesday, May 12th, 2009.

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is real and it is scary for anyone that has experienced it.

Sometimes it is subtle, by that I mean we are not aware of it, like when we ask the same question over and over. When we tell the same story six times in a row. At those times those around us see it, but we don’t.

Sometimes we blame other known parts of our bipolar like when we have difficulty planning and carrying out tasks, blaming our anxiety or depression. When our irritability reaches all time highs, irritability and rage are part of being bipolar. When we make bad judgment calls on important issues that affect our lives, like cashing in all our retirement savings to buy a truck we don’t need. Those kind of bad judgment calls is part of mania.

Then there are the issues that have no other explanation. When we accidentally drive into the back of the car in front of us because we thought we were at least six feet away. When all we hear is a buzzing sound or it sounds like the speaker is miles away. When we can’t remember, not just where we put the car keys but the entire car or where we live. When we lose incredible amounts of time, like I did on that sunny day in May of 2008 and many times before. When we run into people we have known all our lives and do not recognize them or walk down to our favorite coffee shop and don’t recognize anything and can’t find the coffee shop. When we seem to have impaired ability to walk or hold objects

These are the signs and symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment

Memory loss

Loss of time

Repeating questions or stories over and over to the same audience.

Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks

Vision problems – depth perception, blurred vision, tunnel vision.

Hearing problems – buzzing, hearing like the speaker is far away.

No facial recognition.

Inability to recognize places that should be familiar.

Impaired motor function

Unusual changes in moods and behavior.

Radical life choices and poor life judgment

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is part of our bipolar illness. It most often strikes when our bipolar disorder is acute. According to a 2004 study published in Bipolar Disorder Magazine Volume 6, some of these symptoms can also be part of our illness when our illness seems to be under control. Be patient with yourself if some of these symptoms, like memory loss persist when you are stable. The inability to recall some things from prior to spring and summer of 2008, seems to be part of my life today.

When the symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment became severe was not the first time I sought help, it was the first time all my symptoms lined up to prove that I was BP 1 instead of OCD. I know first hand that it is sometimes a long process to receive proper help but stick with it.  It is worth it.

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 author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Jonice Webb PhD

Emptiness: The Un-Feeling Feeling