All posts by jpstefanuk

What? Again! Really?

 

 

This week’s post is brought to you by the instant irritability that bipolar brings to your life when something changes. Especially when your bipolar mind thinks that you and everyone else with bipolar disorder is being picked on. It used to be, throw stuff around rage when something like this week’s topic happened in my life, so I am improving.

It all started when I received an email from the team at “Bipolar Lives” asking me to fill in a questionnaire about my experience with “BD.”

BD?” “WT F is “BD.” Well, guess what I found out? Our initials have been hijacked by another disorder. That disorder is borderline personality disorder. Which now uses the initials “BP” and “BPD.” Leaving us poor bipolar people with only “BD.” Let me say at the outset that I have nothing against people with borderline personality disorder. My argument is with the people who name these disorders and the subsequent initials that define them.

Why does this upset me? Because the people who suffer from our illness, “Bipolar Disorder” are the ones that to my mind always get pushed around.  Like the name of our illness or it’s designations really don’t matter, and, in the end, we don’t matter. Sure, bipolar sufferers are by nature accommodating, as most of us seem to suffer from co-dependency, but how are we supposed to find ourselves and manage an illness whose name and definers change.  This is not the first time we as bipolar sufferers have had to change how we define ourselves.

In 1978 when I was misdiagnosed with OCD, I should have been properly diagnosed with Manic Depression. In 1980 the DSM III changed the name from Manic Depression to bipolar disorder (BP) or (BPD). The same year personality disorders (PD’s) were also recognized. In 2009 when I was finally properly diagnosed I was given the diagnosis of BP1. I have that in writing from the psychiatrist that diagnosed me. Now in 2018 our defining initials have been hijacked. Here is my simple suggestion. Give us our initials back and change the initials that define borderline personality disorder to PD(B).

Somehow I doubt that would happen but it is worth a shot.

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 Melody Wilding LMSW.

https://psychcentral.com/blog/let-go-of-perfectionism-with-these-3-shifts

 

Omega 3 Mood Formula, A Review

I have not posted anything since July 4th. I have had a wonderful summer and I hope after all this time you are still interested in what I have to say. As always, I begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. That individuality also applies to the tools and methods used to manage bipolar disorder. When I talk on the things I use to manage my polar I am talking about what worked for me. These suggestions are just that suggestions, but they may work for you. Then again, they may not. But at least it is somewhere to start. This is very true with this week’s topic. When it comes to adding things like vitamins and supplements to your bipolar management please consult your Doctor before you do.

On September 15, 2017 when I was getting my vitamins which then included B6 and B12 with Folic acid, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin C. I picked up a product called Omega 3 Mood Formula. I have now been taking this product for one year and I want to give you my review of this product.

What is Omega 3 Mood Formula? Omega 3 Mood formula is a fish oil supplement in which the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is double the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the one I take it is 500 EPA – 250 DHA. This is very important. There are a lot of Omega 3 supplements out there but only the mood formula has this high ratio of EPA to DHA. It is also important to point out that each manufacturer of this supplement call it by a different name, Rexall uses “Mood Stabilizer,” Jamison is “Calm, County Life is “Mood,” Ascenta uses “Omega 3, High EPA.”  I think you get the idea. Make sure to find the one with EPA double the DHA. The product can be either soft gels or liquid. I am going to avoid the debate about which is better.

What does Omega 3 Mood Formula Do? “Doctors believe omega3 fatty acids are a potential treatment for bipolar disorder because the fish-oil fatty acids, EPA and DHA, can alter brain signal pathways in ways similar to mood stabilizers like lithium and valproate.” Every Day Health April 20, 2010.

 

What did Omega 3 Mood Formula Do for Me?  Omega 3 mood formula seems to have been a beneficial addition to my bipolar management strategy. That is not to say there was no bumps in the road during the past year. About six months after I started taking I began to experience nausea and a dry mouth feeling. This turned out to be side effects of the medication I had been prescribed for my bipolar disorder. The reason for this was the Omega 3 was working and causing me to not need as much of my prescribed medication. My prescription meds were cut in half and that sick feeling went away and has stayed away.

Conclusion: The more research I do the more things I find that may aid in the management of my bipolar disorder and then can pass on to you, so you can use what may be beneficial to you. Bipolar management will forever be experimentation, with ourselves as the Guinee Pig. I have learned that if I want that ducky life even with bipolar disorder I must embrace that experimentation.

Recently, I have added a few more supplements to my management strategy. Which begs the question are vitamins and supplements a better way to manage bipolar disorder. Which looks like a good topic for next week.

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 Gretchen Rubin.

https://gretchenrubin.com/2017/11/7-books-creativity

 

It Will Be Legal In Canada October 17, 2018 and It’s Summer, Time For Holidays

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. With marijuana to be legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018, there can be nothing more individual than this topic. Although marijuana has been legal as a prescription drug in Canada for several years it has rarely been prescribed for bipolar disorder. The Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association both hold the view that marijuana use “may also negatively interact with depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders due to its biological effects on brain maturation.” After reading study after study I can see why they came to this conclusion. However, there was a small number of study participants that marijuana use seemed to help. Which leads me to conclude that marijuana is like any other drug, prescription or not when to comes to bipolar disorder. It may hurt you or it may help you, who knows. Personally, marijuana use hurts me, so legal or not I won’t be partaking.

The interesting fact that came out in looking at the research. Bipolar suffers are twice as likely to use marijuana as non-sufferers. This statistic is from 2016. I have one suggestion to anyone who has bipolar disorder and wants to use marijuana. Keep your support team, your psychiatrist, therapist and anyone else, aware of your marijuana use. So that you and your support team can watch out for signs that marijuana use is not for you.

The things to watch out for when using marijuana when you have bipolar disorder are:

  1. An Increase in bipolar symptoms either mania or depression or rapid cycling.
  2. You reduce or stop taking already prescribed medication without medical supervision
  3. increased anxiety or paranoia.

There is also the discussion about THC and CBD, but that is for a future post.

As for right now, it is summer time and I am taking a holiday. See you in September. Enjoy your summer.

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 Sharon Davis as posted in New Life Outlook.

https://bipolar.newlifeoutlook.com/yoga-for-mental-health/

 

 

 

 

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

A Propelling Force

Although bipolar disorder is as individual as the people who suffer from it, when we initially seek help we all have the same goal in mind. That goal is “get this craziness out of my head.”  We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We want our suffering to end. I could go on and on with the stock statements relaying the fact we are tired of the pain. The pain in our minds, our bodies and our relationships. Everything about us is painful, our past and our present, our future is looking no better unless something changes. That is why we seek help. It does not matter if seeking help is voluntary or is forced on us by others. Our goal is never mental wellness. Our immediate concern is always the instant relief from the suffering.

When a Pdoc told me that I didn’t get this sick in a day and it is going to take more than a day to get me better, I got very upset. It was that anger that initially propelled me to go beyond the idea of instant relief to the goal of real mental wellness. To move from the suffering towards a life of constant joy, even with bipolar disorder. To persevere through the two-year odyssey to find meds that worked for me and the many more to find my authentic self.

What I am getting at is you must find your own propelling force to move you from that desire for instant relief towards that better life that is waiting for you. I don’t know what that propelling force is for you, but I hope you find it and let it propel you towards that better life that awaits if you work for it.

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 Thérèse Schwenkler

Warning: Loneliness Is As Bad For Your Health As Smoking 15 Cigarettes Per Day

Are You Majoring In Minor Things?

I think this is my favorite Jim Rohn quote. Bipolar disorder caused me to spend a lot of time and energy concentrating on things that were unimportant to my life leaving me to no time to work on what was important. This seems to be true for most of us that suffer from this illness.

I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what others were thinking and doing. What others thought of me, from my boss to the person six seats down on the bus. Rather than concentrating on what I was thinking and doing. I spent large amounts of time lamenting the past and worrying about the future. Instead of being in the present moment.

The worst part was I did nothing to monitor the thoughts in my head. I never thought that I could argue with those thoughts because I believed those thoughts were me. One of the symptoms of bipolar is racing thoughts. The reason this is such a common symptom is that most of us are under the same impression, that we are our thoughts.

Eckhart Tolle in his book “A New Earth” was the first person I had ever come across who boldly stated, “You are not your thoughts.” Not only did he make that bold statement he proved it well enough that I came to believe it.

Because I came to believe those thoughts in my head were not me I could begin to do the most important thing, monitor and change my thinking. Rather than going with my thoughts no matter what they were I began to question them. I argued with myself, I told my mind to shut up. I waged the most important battle of my life, the battle for my mind. In time I came up with some statements and questions to keep me concentrating on what is important. Like how important is this? Does this matter? Simple things that bring me back to the important things in my life. I learned I could tell my mind to shut up and my mind would actually listen.

In time my mind became this peaceful place where concentration on what was important was not only possible but actually happened. Today, for the most part, I major in the things that are major to my life. The most major being making my life better and better each day.

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 Dr. Ellen Albertson

6 Steps to Overcome Fear and Step Into Your Brilliance!

 

Become The Experiment

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”.  As individuals we must find our own way, our own meaning. Finding that path to our true meaning can be prompted by hearing or reading words that sparks change in us or by getting into a situation that makes us change.  Either way, it is only by experimentation that we maintain that change, working daily towards our goal of mental wellness.

Sometimes I wonder what words I can use to reach someone so that they understand what it takes to overcome this illness or even to understand this illness can be overcome. Words that initiate in someone the idea that you can have a great life even with this illness.  Bipolar disorder does not go away, but it can be managed, and the emotional turmoil and mental anguish can be eliminated.

The thing is it takes something, a word, a situation, that makes a person wake up to the fact that change is possible. For me, it took the realization that I spent more time thinking about ways to die than I did about living.  That was the situation that brought about change. What prompted it is a saying; “if you don’t know yourself you will live in poverty and in fact, you are the poverty.” I was so tired of being the poverty.

The problem is How. How do you go from thinking about dying all the time to thinking about living, really living, all the time? And how can you describe it someone else that makes sense to them? Do you use words like willingness, desire, determination, perseverance, endurance, diligence, commitment or decision to describe what you must do to change?

One thing you don’t do is lie and say it is going to be easy. It is definitely not easy. That is why most of the words used to describe the how of change mean “continuing to do something in the face of difficulty.”

I used to say that overcoming bipolar disorder is all about trial and error. From finding the meds that work for us to finding the best way to manage our emotions and overcoming the identity crisis bipolar disorder causes within ourselves. Maybe a better way to say trial and error is experimentation. We need to literally experiment on ourselves to find what works for us, individually. We need to become both the experimenter and the experiment. In that way, we can develop the mindset that allows us to continue in the face of any and all difficulties. And maybe those words “become the experiment” will awaken in someone the idea of how to get on the path to 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 Douglas T. Kenrick Ph.D.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201712/do-you-know-these-nine-varieties-positive-emotion

 

 

 

A Talk On Meditation

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 is suggested as a way of managing bipolar disorder and its symptoms or 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.  This is true when dealing with the subject of meditation. The benefits of meditation as a management strategy for emotions have been well studied and proven beneficial. It is the HOW that never seems to be fully described.

Most bipolar sufferers encounter this statement, or something like it, during treatment. “Meditate daily to expand your awareness and to accept triggered feelings by becoming aware of these feelings.”

“That’s all well and fine, but how do you meditate?” Is the usual response.

The therapist or counselor goes on the describe some form of meditation that does not work for the bipolar sufferer, like deep breathing, a form of Vipassana meditation.

The word meditation is kind of like the words art and sport. Most five-year-olds consider their latest finger painting, “art” and many seniors consider lawn bowling a sport.  The same is true with the word meditation. There are many styles of meditation and finding what works for you is a process that requires experimentation.

This was proven quite profoundly in the lives of myself and my girlfriend. I suffer from BP 1 and my girlfriend suffers from BP II. In my own life after much experimentation with many styles that never worked. I created my own style of meditation called Active Thought Replacement which combines affirmations with motion. This is somewhat in the style of Tony Robbins but not as intense.

This style just did not work for my girlfriend, but she did not give up. She took a class that went through eight different styles of meditation, none of which seemed to work for her either. Then she literally stumbled across Guided Meditations on YouTube and she found this type of meditation worked for her. Written guided meditations do not work as well for her so she listens to one or more audios of guided meditations each morning and is noticing better control of her moods and improvement in her handling of life in general. That is the real goal of meditation no matter the style, to create an improvement in our mood control and improve how we handle our lives in general. Moving towards always being peaceful and contented.

As proven by both my girlfriend and myself to get to the benefits of meditation you may have to experiment with many styles of mediation and in some cases, like mine, you may have to create your own.

If you are wanting to reap the benefits of meditation but are struggling with the HOW of meditation and which style is best for you, here are some suggested styles for beginners and their definition.

Affirmations – The best definition of affirmations was given by the late, great Mohamed Ali. “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

Combining affirmations with exercise or simple chores is what I practice.

Louise Hay’s “I Can Do It” is a great starting point for this type of meditation.

This can also be described as:

Guided Meditation –  Is defined by Wikipedia as, “a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher, either in person or via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.”

There are many guided meditations on YouTube.

Mindfulness Meditation – This type of meditation is described as “paying attention, in a non-judgemental way to the present moment.”

I found Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Wherever You Go There You Are.” a great starting point and explanation of this type of meditation.

Vipassana Meditation – Which is a meditation concentrating on breathing. Breathing out through the nose and in through the mouth. There are many variations of this meditation taught and practiced and whole weekends of silent meditation are done around the world.

Zen Meditation – Sitting meditation is the kind of meditation shown in most pictures. A person sitting serenely somewhere slowly breathing in and out letting their thoughts flow but not capturing any.

This is a difficult meditation for bipolar sufferers and not a great starting point, but I also know a few bipolar sufferers who found this type of meditation helpful.

Christian Meditation –  the word meditate is found 14 times in the Bible. This style of meditation is to meditate on Gods word (Bible passages).

Mantra or Ohm Meditation – This is where you meditate while chanting a mantra or simply the word Ohm, or some variation of these or other words.

Both my girlfriend and I found this form of meditation annoying, but it works well for others we know.

There are many, many more types and styles of meditation. Finding what works for you will require experimentation as it did for my girlfriend and me. When you find what works for you and practice it for a while you will be amazed at the benefits. If you are a bipolar sufferer we both wish for you to find this one benefit we have found from meditation, a quiet mind.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle with bipolar disorder is 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 Jack Canfield

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