Category Archives: Being Useful and Productive

Mental Wellness

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“Without struggle there is no progress.” Frederick Douglas

If someone tells you that dealing with BP is not a struggle every day, they are lying. Over the last couple of days I have been thinking a lot about my personal progress, the ups and downs, and the one step forward three steps back approach that was the beginning. That has now progressed to a steady, or unsteady, trudge onward. I am now able to see a lot of beauty around me instead of the blackness that overshadowed everything.

One of the most telling parts of this look over my shoulder at the path behind me is the distinct change in perception and attitude that has come about on the journey towards mental wellness.  At one time concentrating on and learning all about the illness that I suffered from was paramount to me and my way of thinking. However, all though the knowledge has been helpful in getting to know myself and how my illness affects me, this approach seemed to leave me mired in the illness. Only by shifting my perception to mental wellness was I able to shake this stuck in the “Land of Oz” feeling.

By concentrating on the illness, the illness would control me even though I wanted to be better. When my focus became wellness, I was able to begin to overcome my mental anguish and emotional turmoil. It was only when I concentrated on mental wellness was I able to become useful and productive. Only by concentrating on wellness was I able to become a functioning person in society.

As long as I concentrated on the illness I could not overcome, but that shift of perception to mental wellness took time and I now understand it was part of the growth process. We all have to start with our illness and learning to cope with that illness and then we progress towards mental wellness. This then becomes our focus, to be mentally well a condition I would not trade for anything.

Employment and Careers

“They are the unfortunate people who have mistaken their mission……..Their ambitions is forever outrunning their capabilities.”  Edmund Morris

Our shared illness causes us to fail in a lot of areas of our lives until we sincerely embark on the road to mental wellness. We fail most miserably in the area of employment. We spend years going to school where many of us implode at the level of higher education. If we graduate we find we are incapable of handling the work we are assigned in the profession we have chosen and dreamed about for years. All of which causes us to think we are failures. We are not failures, our untreated illness causes the failure.

One of the big issues with BP is that we, as sufferers, cannot handle stress. Our untreated mental state does not allow us to learn the skills needed to objectively look at stress and how to deal with stress. I never say manage stress because trying to manage stress is akin to herding cats, in my opinion. Learning the skills to deal with stress takes the demand of management out of the equation. It becomes a learnable skill like tying my shoes and if practiced enough can become as much of a habit as tying my shoes.

My thinking in the area of employment and career was all wrong, like my thinking in a lot of areas of my life. Having a career carried way to much weight in my life which caused stress and led to failure. I redefined career for myself with this simple statement, “A career is a job with a suit on.”  This worked for me and really took the pressure off, because a career is just a label on a job. The weight we put on the idea of career, a label, far outweighs its real importance. This weight we place on the idea of career is what causes us to “mistake our mission” as Edmund Morris says.

My idea of career and my actual mission in this life were as far apart as the poles on this earth. In finding my real mission, or calling, which is to help others through my experiences and what I have learned, rather than my career in health care with its erratic shift changes and extreme pressure.

This is the first part of my change in thinking on employment and career. Tomorrow I will discuss the other part of the employment puzzle which is stated in the quote of Edmund Morris, our definition, or idea, of ambition. “Our ambition exceeded our capabilities” which again caused feelings of failure.  Failure is not failure if there is a cause beyond our control and BP is way beyond our control.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Today’s Site: https://www.facebook.com/newlifeoutlook.bipolar?fref=nf

Criticism

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I was recently criticized for not talking enough about medications and the symptoms of BP on this blog. I can, in one sentence, answer this criticism. “I do not concentrate in thought, word or action on the illness of BP. I concentrate on mental wellness.”

I say that medications is essential to stabilize our minds, but I am not a doctor. Therefore anything I say on that subject is not going to be based on any education, just my opinion. The same with dealing with symptoms, I am not a PDoc, Psychologist or Counselor so anything I say will be my opinion. My opinion almost got me killed and it will for sure kill you, so I keep my opinion to myself. I have heard, and read, people say you should or shouldn’t take this or that med. How do they know? I recommended a med once and the guy killed himself after being on it for two days. Symptoms are the same, I have never experienced a number of symptoms that are attributed to BP due to BP’s individuality and its ability to affect each of differently. I have no idea how to deal with those symptoms. Of the symptoms I have experienced, I can speak on how I deal with them, but what I do may not work for you. There are many great sites if you wish to know about meds and symptoms and I will be posting links to them as an answer to this comment it will appear as Today’s Site at the end of each post.

Today’s Site is: www.bphope.com on which you will find a wealth of factual information on Bi-Polar disorder

I talk about sticking to the hard path of mental wellness and the tools that may help us to be useful, productive members of society, that is my direction.  I share my experience, strength and hope that this illness can be overcome. I talk about the mind, body, spirit connection and how you must not ignore any of these keys and if you do it will be at the expense of the other two. That all three respond like the muscles in our bodies and need to be exercised. Atrophy (decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.) of the spirt was my greatest failing and I maybe talk disproportionately on that subject. Body, mind and spirit and ways of overcoming our shared illness are the main focus of this blog.

I do appreciate criticism because it makes me look at what I am doing and in most cases causes me to improve. This criticism caused the creation of Today’s Site which will be helpful to many in the future.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

The Challenges of Life

Bipolar8

Men and rivers both become crooked by taking the path of least resistance – Napoleon Hill.

I end every message with a statement about taking the hard path to mental wellness. The truth about the easy path is it always leads back to the same place every time. That place is where we need to make the decision to get on the hard path to mental wellness.
Resistance, challenges, issues are all words that I have replaced the word problems with. It does not matter which path you are on, easy or hard, there will be issues that come up. On the easy path we whine, cry, blame others, run away and never really deal with the issue. On the hard path we learn to deal with the issues as they come up.
Brian Tracy says that we are either coming into a crisis, in a crisis or just leaving a crisis and he is talking to audiences of so called normal, successful people. We all want to be content and have peace of mind, the way to achieve this is to become mentally stable and to learn to deal with the resistance, challenges and issues as they come. The key word in this statement is the word “Learn”, we can learn new ways. That has been the constant miracle to me, I can learn new ways to handle life’s situations that used to leave me totally baffled.
When I learned that I can take some time with the issues that come up in my life, that I was allowed to take a breath and think things changed for the better. Nothing requires immediate action except fires, floods and other real disasters. In our shared illness we see all issues as immediate and life threatening disasters. It takes time to convince ourselves that they are not and we have time to deal with the challenges placed before us.
What struck me when I took the time to look at the challenges that came up in my life, it was mostly some past inaction that caused the issue in the first place. Something that I did not do like, apologize, pay a bill, ask a question or straight out ignored something. My inaction caused most of my grief in this world. There were very few challenges that were not caused by my personal inaction.
When I meet resistance in my personal relationships it is because usually I did not do something or did something that hurt them and failed to make amends.
When I meet challenges at my work place it is again mostly due to a failure to act in some way.
When other issues crop up in my life, they usually showed up because I forgot to do some little thing in the recent or distant past. There is an issue that I am dealing with today that is the direct result of not asking a question four years ago.
I can reduce the number of resistances, challenges and issues in my life by simply doing my best to do everything that I am supposed to do each day.
There are other issues and challenges that come up in my life that are not caused by my neglect. Those issues are there for me to learn from and are the best teachers I will ever have.
When I look at the things that challenge my life and realize that they are there because I did not act at some time in the past, or they are teaching me something I need to know, these issues do not seem to be such a big deal anymore. I can deal with them and move on to the next challenge. I learned that these so called “bad things” in my life were as James Allen said, “a passing phase of my human experience.” They are like the waves of the sea on a rock, slowly molding me into a better man.
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere

Feeding yourself 2

I kept trying to do something, thinking that was how I became someone, rather than knowing myself and in that way becoming known.
One of the problems that BP caused in me was to feed me many false perceptions of who I was and what I wanted. This illness even lied to me about what I needed. It was in learning that these false perceptions can be recognized and changed that solidified my path towards mental wellness. Prior to that knowledge the path seemed too made of shifting sands and was never clearly defined, sort of like a road obscured with heat waves.
The biggest lie was thinking that what I did was who I was. Which led to the belief that to be anything or anybody I had to do certain things, be the boss, and hold a position of some type of esteem. With this came stress and with stress came the self-destruction that the mixture of BP and stress brings about in most of us.
Today I am a janitor at a medical clinic, which means I am as low on the status pole as you can go and therefore feel no stress. I work 4 to midnight and I work mostly alone. This is absolutely perfect for what I want to accomplish. For six hours of my eight hour shift, thanks to YouTube and Wi-Fi, I feed myself an incredible amount of positive information and affirmations. I actually planned this change in my life.
For 30 hours a week or more I feed myself knowledge and overwrite the false programing that BP has allowed into my subconscious by strangling that sentry that is supposed to be at the gate. I realize that few, if any, others have that kind of time to devote to reprograming themselves and I am not advocating that anyone does devote that kind of time. I chose to set up my life in this way for a few reasons, the biggest being I was very tired of the boom and bust cycle of my life and wanted something different. I am no longer young and any change takes time. I wanted to be around to enjoy some of the benefits.
What I can say is that reprogramming yourself towards the positive pole of life works. You can change the way you think, speak and act and in doing so change your destiny.
You can develop good habits and leave behind the life sucking residue of our shared illness. I am not advocating you do not need your meds or that you will no longer have BP. BP never goes away and it will always affect you but the degree that it affects you will lessen.
There are far better teachers than me on reprogramming and overcoming and if you are a willing student they will appear in your life. I will say that I started with the works of Louis L. Hay and Joyce Myers and their books, CD’s and YouTube channels helped in my reprogramming.
Today, I know myself and have become known to others through that knowledge. I have quit trying to be something because I was usually trying to be something I wasn’t.
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

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Why I write this blog

Over the last number of years I have made one field of study a priority – me and this illness we all share. Over time I have come to some conclusions and developed these three absolutes for myself. They reflect my beliefs about how this illness affects my life and how to deal with the affects in a positive way.

1. I have BP 1 and left unchecked my life is a disaster
2. That medications and a good medical and non medical support team can only help to a point. Achieving mental wellness is mostly up to me.
3. That a strong spiritual foundation of faith and hope, based on an unshakeable belief, can give me the spiritual character and mental strength and emotional control to balance my life.

I truly believe that these three things have allowed me to have a useful and productive life for the last number of years. Yes, I still fall off the rails once in a while, but never to the points of the highs and lows that I have experienced in the past.

I began to talk to fellow sufferers of BP and this caused me to developed my four truths of Bi-Polar:
1. Bi-Polar as an illness is as individual as the people that suffer from it.
2. Medication is essential in stabilizing our minds.
3. Developing a strong spiritual self is essential in overcoming our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.
4. We, as Bi-Polar sufferers, can be useful and productive members of society.
These truths were developed to make some sense in my own mind of the things I was coming across when I spent time with fellow sufferers and through them seeing in myself.
What I kept seeing was:
We are all individuals and this is not a one size fits all illness. Once the proper medications were found, and taken (this is a very important step, we became mentally stable, but this only dealt with our rapid mood swings and removed the brain fog.
To overcome our mental anguish and emotional upheavals we need something more. Once we found and began to incorporate this spiritual aspect we could become useful and productive members of society.

That has become my goal to help others to find their way to being useful and productive members of society.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

We can be useful and productive members of society

I apologize to my followers, I came down with pneumonia in late January and it just will not go away. I have been down again and unable to write.  Hopefully things will be more stable from this point on.

My fourth truth is that we can be useful and productive members of society.

This statement does not in any way contain the words “Success” or “Successful”.  The reason for this is simple, I had a great misconception about what success was and really had no idea what being successful was either.  Because of that I spent years chasing an unreachable dream as a sufferer of BP.

The fact is we sufferers of BP cannot handle stress and we get stressed very easily. Things stress us out that do not stress others, but learning to over come the things that stress us is possible. What I found was that when I embarked on the path to success in the way society currently defines success “The fact of getting or achieving, wealth, respect, or fame.” Merriam- Webster Dictionary.

I found my self crashing so badly that I could no longer function. Then repeating the process over and over. The Twelve steps programs give a definition of insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”  I spent all my time trying to be successful – Trying to achieve wealth, respect and fame – without the ability or tools to actually be able to be successful, all I ever did was stress myself out.

One day I came across a statement about “Living usefully” and this sparked the idea of maybe trying to do things a little different. Living usefully and being productive is very different from seeking wealth, respect and fame. When I clean my house, make my bed and do my laundry, show up for work on time and do my job ( being productive) or do something useful for someone, wealth, respect or fame are the last thing on my mind.

I found that I am not stressed out if I keep my mind on being useful and productive. Stress only enters into my life when my expectations of myself or my perceived expectations of others take over.  That is definitely a topic for a future blog. Trying to climb the ladder of success as defined by our society is eliminated when you set your sights on usefulness and productivity.

What I have learned to do is bring that mindset of usefulness and productivity to my life and not worry about success as defined by societies definition. In doing so I found a type of success that I was previously unaware. Success that is not based on wealth, respect or fame, but on being useful to others. Those others being my employer, my friends and those around me.  The more I have focused on being useful and productive and made this my ambition, the more I found that peace and serenity that is promised us.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

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