A BP Sufferers Take on Mood Tracking

 

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.

 

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 Blogger Ivy Rose.

8 Easy Ways To Make Exercise Suck Less

 

What Is Support?

 

 

Untreated bipolar disorder creates a life of chaos, of failings and unease. Managed bipolar creates a life worth living. It is going from the chaos to order that is difficult. The main problem is lack of knowledge, we simply do not know how. Humans learn best by imitation and repetition.  Support is not someone telling us what to do. It is not someone trying to live our lives for us or telling us how to live. Support is feeding us knowledge and letting us learn. Support is letting us make grave errors and then making us face the consequences. Support is not saving us from ourselves. The bipolar sufferer is the one who must do the learning, the bipolar sufferer is the one that must do the work.

Someone can tell us where to get help. Someone can show us the many ways to manage this illness. Unless we go for the help and create and use the management plan, nothing will change.

The object of all support and management plans is for the bipolar sufferer to learn about themselves. To learn through repetition what works and what does not work for them. The things that trigger them and the things that don’t. What drives the mania and what sparks depression. What other issues we must deal with. What is good and what is bad and hopefully learning to stick with the good. Support is the people and places that lead us and encourage us through all of it until we can lead and encourage ourselves. We all need support at the beginning of our journey towards mental wellness, we also must learn what support is for each of us.

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 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 Natasha Tracy

Depression and Fake, Coping Skill Smiles vs Real Smiles

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Narcissism

 

Is there a connection between Narcissism and Bipolar disorder?  “The DSMIV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts”, such as family life and work.”

In a fantastic 2009 study by Fredrick E. Stinson et al, titled the Prevalence, Correlates, Disability, and Comorbidity of DSM-IV Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Results from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

The results were astounding at least to me. This study encompassed many things, but my only concern was with bipolar and comorbid conditions that usually go along with bipolar disorder, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs being the main ones.

As a man who suffered from untreated BP 1 most of his life and that self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. I often wondered if people who accused me of being totally narcissistic were correct in their assessment. This study proves that they were right.

What this study proves is there is a very high chance that both men and women with untreated and unmanaged bipolar disorder will be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. How great is that chance? Although I am not a statistician, the numbers in the study seem to indicate a 25 % likelihood that the bipolar sufferer is a narcissist. If the person has bipolar disorder and is self-medicating with alcohol and drugs the chances of exhibiting narcissistic behavior go up to over 50%.

No wonder the bipolar forums and chats are full of people wondering what is going on with the untreated, self-medicating bipolar sufferer they are dating. The answer is now proven to be, “They are a complete narcissist.”

The statistics that I found most interesting were the ones that showed what happened when you did something about your condition. If you started to manage your bipolar disorder and don’t self-medicate your chances of retaining your narcissistic ways dropped to almost zero.

To me, this study scientifically proves there is hope. Hope that if we do something about our illness and quit doing and using the things we go to kill the pain generated by our illness then we can get mentally well.

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 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: Improving Alice

https://www.improvingalice.co.uk/single-post/2018/03/07/Anxiety-and-Gut-Health

What Is The Purpose

 

This week’s topic was to be a continuation of building a support group, but a comment on my Twitter feed caused me to address a different topic.

The comment was, “Mental Health Advocacy has become synonymous with being a motivational speaker. I’m concerned the mental health world is going to kick all of us depressed, mentally ill people out for those that “overcame” their illness.”

I thought long and hard about how to respond to this tweet because there is a valid point here. It is true many of Mental Health Advocates have “overcome” their illness, which really means found what works for them most of the time, including my self. If you had made a discovery that changed your life would you not want to share not only what tools you are using, but that there is hope that others can find what works for them as well. In that light, most of us do sound like motivational speakers.

On the other hand when issues come up that affect the treatment of the mentally ill or mental illness we, advocates, are yelling at the top our lungs because we have learned to speak out. The thing is people listen to us because we have “overcome.” A prominent politician, who knew me before, told me that the change in my life was the only reason he listened to me on a mental health issue. I am not saying my voice swung that issue because my voice was just one of many, but I know if I had not “overcome” my illness I would have had no voice with that person.

So yes, we who have “overcome” do sound like motivational speakers, but that voice is solely directed back at those that are still struggling with their illness to offer hope that you too can find what works for you. If you are a member of the mental health community that is still really suffering this means that is the voice you will hear the loudest.

Those of us who have chosen the role of mental health advocates are also members of the mental health community. We still struggle, just not as often. We have found what works for us most of the time and because we have done so people are willing to listen to us. There is no risk that “the mental health world is going to kick all of the depressed, mentally ill people out for those that “overcame” their illness.” By “overcoming” our illness we have proved the mental health system can have successes which give’s hope to both sides. It provides hope to those that are still struggling and to those that provide the services and fund the projects, that mental health is still worth fighting for.  Without that hope of success, there would be a problem getting anyone in power to listen or fund the needs of mental health.

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 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 another author 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 Hayley Hobson for Positively Positive

How Are Your Reactions Creating Your Experiences?