I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Therefore, whatever I suggest in the ways of managing bipolar and the tools to use for bipolar management, I know those strategies or tools are not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people. Today we are discussing a management tool, mood tracking and journaling. As a writer using a pen and paper came naturally to me so this was an easy habit for me to adopt. For others mood tracking and journaling is very difficult. Today there are apps that may help.
At the beginning of my mental wellness journey, I started mood tracking and journaling with no knowledge of what I was supposed to track. Tracking moods and feelings does not show you are making progress towards your goal of mental wellness. Day after day of writing depressed/angry, depressed/angry, depressed/angry does not improve anything it just shows you are always depressed and angry.
It was not until I changed how and what I was tracking that consistent improvement began. When I added tracking the events that affected my mood then I could see constructively what sparked my moods. When I added writing out ways to learn to cope with those events and practicing those coping strategies on paper that real progress was made.
“There are only two ways to handle triggering events in your life. Either you learn to cope with the event or you learn to avoid the event.”
The internet is a wonderful thing and we are so lucky to live at this time. We can search out coping strategies for all kinds of things. It was by studying and practicing coping strategies at home that I suddenly noticed a drop in my stress level. The biggest breakthrough in this area was when I made a mistake at work and knew that I would be disciplined for the mistake. Normally this would cause me to call in sick for a week or quit the job. This time with the help of a friend I practiced coping strategies and learned to handle this type of situation. The result is that today I have lost my fear of making errors. Which surprisingly has led to making fewer errors and given me far more confidence.
By tracking the events that trigger us and practicing coping strategies, we also quickly find the events we need to avoid. No matter what we cannot learn a strategy that will allow us to cope with that or similar situations. I have found that as my skills and coping strategies improve there are some events that used to have a negative effect on me that I can tolerate in small doses, like concerts and large crowds that used to send me into severe mania. There are still people, places, things and situations in my life that need to be avoided, but the list is getting smaller and smaller as I learn to cope better with life.
It is only by trial and error and constant evaluation of ourselves that we find our own joyous version of mental wellness.
As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things. Remember our battle for mental health 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 hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.
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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 Blogger Ivy Rose.