Sharing Experiences That Can Be A Warning To Some

 

As a mental health advocate, I am sometimes asked to share my story with others. This was the case this past weekend when a young ladies parents asked me to share my story with their daughter. Their daughter is a young lady who after achieving a four-year degree in nursing last year she took her first job as a healthcare professional.  Not long into her new job she began to exhibit the symptoms that lead to her diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. The young lady was devasted to find she could no longer continue in the career she had worked so hard for. At the end of our time together I think she understood that this is only a setback and her life can still be wonderful even with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar sufferers are very caring people no matter what this illness does to us. For those reasons, many of us wind up working in health care in one way or another. The problem is that healthcare is a 24/7 business. It is rare to find a position in healthcare that does not involve having to work revolving shifts. That is the nature of health care.

Here is the problem, as a bipolar sufferer to go from day shift to afternoon shift to night shift, or the twelve-hour day/night rotation, and keep up that rotation we inevitably fall prey to our illness.  This does not happen some of the time, it happens all the time.

We spend years going to school, which is nine to five, to have this great career in healthcare. Then we show up on the job or our practicums, internships, residency or whatever and find after a short time we just can’t handle the changing shifts. I know because it happened to me.

I went to school to be a care-aide to work with the elderly and the mentally and physically challenged. Having become more than a few thousand dollars in debt from two years at the technical school I found I could not do the job because I could not do the shift rotation.

It was not the jobs fault, it is not the schools’ fault, it is not my employer’s fault. It was not even my bipolar disorders fault.  I could not do the job because I have bipolar disorder and having to change shifts every week just does not work for someone with this illness. It is like someone with diabetes taking a job as a sugary treat taste tester, it just is not going to work out well.

If you have bipolar disorder and your caring heart is leading you to go thousands of dollars in debt to be a health care provider in any capacity, please don’t. It is difficult to suffer from bipolar disorder, be thousands of dollars in debt and unable to work in the field you have studied so hard to be in. It tends to make you angry and resentful, which is not a good way to live.

Please share this post if you know someone who has bipolar disorder and is considering a career in healthcare.

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 Wednesday. 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 from the time to Change Website, Author Unknown.

www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/bipolar-my-best-friend-and-worst-enemy

Struggling? Make Your Struggles Worthwhile.

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Which means that there is no one pill fix. Even suggesting ways of managing bipolar and the tools to use for bipolar management is not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people.

Everything we do to deal with our individual bipolar disorder seems to be through experimentation, trial and error.

In my case, it was the 40-year struggle for a proper diagnosis. Then a two-year struggle to find meds that worked. The only area I didn’t struggle was in finding the therapist that could help me. That only required an 8-month wait and the luck of the draw. The therapist who happened to be up on the rotation when my wait ended was a person with whom I instantly connected. Otherwise, that may have been a struggle as well. Then it was and continues to be, a struggle to find ways of managing my bipolar disorder and finding the tools that allow me to live this ducky life even with bipolar disorder.  But if someone had told me 10 years ago that it would be through all this struggle I would have the quality of life I have today I would not have believed them.

The thing is I felt I have struggled all my life and yet there seems to be a great difference between the struggles I have endured in the past decade and the struggles I had for the first five decades of my life. So, I sat down to figure out the difference. There seems to be a word or words missing from that Napoleon Hill quote that I attached at the beginning of this post. I know because for the first fifty plus years of my life I developed no strength or growth from my struggles. My struggles sapped my strength and stunted my growth. I felt like I was in a clothes dryer, hot (angry) and banged around. But my recent struggles have yielded strength and growth. What changed?

The only thing that I could find that changed was mental stability. Prior to having a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder 1 and finding the proper medication, I felt I had no real mental stability. No matter how hard I tried to deal with my previous diagnoses of OCD and ADHD, nothing worked. Like a rudderless ship, I kept winding up broken on the rocks. Now I have been fitted with a working rudder, a proper diagnosis and proper medication, with which I can steer myself towards mental and emotional wellness. Every struggle I have endured since that day has resulted in progress, (however tiny) towards mental and emotional wellness, towards that duckier and duckier life.

It has taken time, effort and struggle but as Napoleon Hill says I have seen and felt “strength and growth” in my life.

The words that seem to be missing from the quote are mental stability. The quote should really read, “With mental stability strength and growth come only through effort and struggle.” Without that mental stability, all that effort and struggle is just that effort and struggle that leads nowhere.

Our mental stability must always be directed towards better mental and emotional wellness, but we need that rudder of a proper diagnosis and proper medication plus the help of others to propel us there.

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 Wednesday. 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 from her BipolarBurble blog.

There Is No Right Way to Deal with Bipolar Disorder — I Hate It

Unmet Needs Affect Our Thinking

Nothing derails my thinking towards the negative faster than having unmet needs. It does not matter if that unmet need is real or imagined. Even if I perceive a need may not be met in the future, the negative thinking begins. Making me destined to be depressed.

Having learned the lesson that it is always how I am thinking that puts me on that downward spiral towards depression. I remind myself daily to be careful of my thinking, to keep that sentry posted at the door of my mind to keep unwanted thoughts out. More importantly, I do my best to ensure that my needs, be they real or imagined, are met in the present and in the future to the best of my ability.

The biggest thing to derail my thinking into believing my needs will not be met in the future is uncertainty. Just so you know, uncertainty only happens in the present, but it makes itself look it is a long dark tunnel leading forever into your future. Uncertainty is like quicksand for me, quickly sucking me down into that pit of depression.

How do you remove uncertainty from your life?

  1. Lower your expectations and develop an attitude of acceptance and gratitude – lower your expectations of yourself and others. Get rid of that perfectionist attitude. Nobody is perfect and if you interject a little acceptance of yourself and others into your life you will find that things quickly smooth out. Most peoples first response to developing an attitude of acceptance is that they will become a doormat. Not so, and this is because of another word, “Boundaries.” Simply put boundaries are the lines we don’t let others cross and something we need to learn as well. Finding things to be grateful for in the here and now helps you build a strong foundation for your life. Gratitude is the foundation of life and the springboard of hope.
  2. Set goals and work towards them – by setting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals you have a direction in which to steer. Making a daily to-do list and at the end of the day checking them off as done brings on that sense of accomplishment. Checking them off as done also removes a certain amount of uncertainty from your life. Setting longer range goals and accomplishing them gives you that sense direction that we lack and place more certainty in our lives. We no longer feel like a rudderless ship on the waves heading for the rocks. The key to goals, both daily and long range is working towards them. If you do nothing things will stay the same.
  3. Quit the “What if” game – One of the most disempowering things you can do is fall into the “what if” trap. Not only does this take all your power and suck it into a never-ending loop. As my wise counselor told me, “The “what if” game makes you think you are God and have control. You are not God and you are not in control.”
  4. Learn the first part of the Serenity Prayer and use it. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” By practicing the directions of this prayer, staying calm is situations that are beyond your control. Acting on things within your control, “You are the only thing you can control, your thoughts, words, actions and reactions.” Learning to know the difference between what you can control and what you can’t. You will find that in time a lot of uncertainty in your life simply vanishes.

There is a number of things I can add to this list but learning to practice these first four things to the best of my ability removed a large amount of the uncertainty from my life.

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 Wednesday. 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 Kristina Ostermeyer as posted in New Life Outlook.

Bipolar and Exercise Addiction: When Exercise Becomes Dangerous