Category Archives: Being Useful and Productive

My Christmas Wish for You, 2017

 

The Christmas season is well underway and for many of us this can be the most stressful time of year. We are told this is supposed to be a season of happiness and joy, a time to make merry with family and friends. For a lot of bipolar sufferers, those statements are a crock. It is a time of serious stress and emotional pain. The ghosts of Christmas past come haunting our minds and the need to be loved by others overtakes our reason. We spend our time looking for the perfect gift that will make that person love us.  That is what I want to share with you this week, the perfect Christmas gift.

Several Christmas’ ago I found that perfect gift that made that person love me. First off, that person that needed to love me, was me. It was about this time of year in 2011 that I finally realized what the problem was, it was me and how I treated myself and even saw myself.

I am Bipolar and for most of my life, I have confused that with needing to self-medicate and explore every addiction under the sun. The road to sanity was long, hard and sometimes seemed never-ending. Misdiagnosed for over 40 years, I struggled through two years of finding meds that worked, but once stable found I was an emotional wreck. Something I learned quickly was medications could not fix me, medications could only stabilize my moods and make life better. Medications do not deal with my mental anguish and emotional turmoil. That could only be accomplished by realizing that I am made up of body, mind, and spirit. It was through growing and exercising my spirit (some may call this their inner child) that I was able to remove my mental anguish and control my emotions. These things were not accomplished overnight, nor in a weekend, but over a period of years. There were ups and downs, as well as major setbacks.

Most of my life I was all things to all people, I wanted to please everyone. Then I would waffle and not want anyone near me. I pushed everyone away. I had no idea who or what I was or wanted. I mostly felt I wasn’t good enough or I should be better than this. Mainly I was a dreamer, who thought that out of nothing I would be miraculously put into a position of great importance. Believe it or not, I almost pulled that one off. There was no reality in my life, it was all just smoke and mirrors. Over time, and due to hard work, reality began to seep in and that glossy façade I had built to protect myself slipped away. I came to understand who I really was and that was just a very sick man. But this was the perfect place to build from as it was an honest appraisal of myself.

I quit lying to myself and began to open the key to life – It is not about others. It is about knowing who you really are and what you must fix yourself to become who you were meant to be. This is the only way to become at peace with yourself.

Two weeks ago, the fruits of all this labor showed up when I forgot to lock my van with a couple of hundred dollars worth of things in it. When I returned my van was empty.

Not long ago that would have been the perfect excuse to beat me into a severe depression and trigger suicidal thoughts. But that is not what happened. I called it for what it was, a mistake. I then planned on how I was going to deal with this issue. That was it and that was all, the issue never entered my mind again. I have not thought about the incident until I wrote it out for this blog. I made a mistake which left me two paths I could accept it and move on or I could make it into the worst thing that ever happened to me and stay there for days, even months. I chose acceptance and moved on.

My Christmas wish for you is that you also choose to love and forgive yourself, even laugh at yourself this holiday season.

This will be my last post for 2017, we will see you in the New Year.

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: Monique Honberg

https://riseregardless.com/change-your-story-to-change-your-life-on

Self Care Is Like Gardening

 

Self-care is never selfish, self-care is a lot like gardening. Gardening can look selfish spending all that time alone in your yard digging, planting and watering.  You could be out with your friends, but you are home getting dirty. That is until you share the produce, the things you have grown, be it a harvest of flowers, fruits or vegetables.  It is then your friends benefit from all your hard work that you have done. Yes, self-care is like gardening.

The reason I started this way and used the quote I did is that in all honesty, this is the fourth post I have written this week. The other three were totally negative in both tone and subject. When I write as negatively as I have during this past week its time for a little self-care, a little weeding in my garden before I lose what I am trying to produce which is, hope. I want to share hope with you. I want to show that with hard work on yourself you can learn to manage this illness of bipolar that we share and have a useful and productive life. I want to show that it is possible to build a helpful support team of both professional and non-professional people that are there for you.

I want to take you to the garden store of bipolar management and show you the tools you may need and how to use them.  I want to show you how to clean and sharpen those tools after you used them for a while, so they stay sharp. I want to show you the best seeds to plant within yourself and the process with which they grow so you can have that harvest of usefulness.

Self-care is about looking at and after yourself. It is about getting the weeds before they get too big and are harder to pull out. I found the weed that was causing the negativity, it is called expectations. I expected different results than I got from an action. I thought I had cleared my garden of expectations, but a small seed snuck in there from somewhere and began to grow. So, I spent the last few days pulling it out before it produced its own seeds. Because if you let just one weed go to seed you will have seven years of weeding to get rid of that weed again.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle is with bipolar disorder and 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 https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom. Follow us on twitter @365daysofbipol2.

 

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 Sandy Swenson

https://www.sandyswenson.com/blog/

 

 

Is Bipolar Like A Cold?

Is bipolar disorder like a cold? With this question, I am not saying the symptoms of bipolar are like a cold. What I am trying to ask is how bipolar affects each of us differently as individuals the same as a cold affects each of us differently as individuals. I firmly believe that bipolar is as individual the people that suffer from it. Cold symptoms also manifest differently in each of us. When I get a cold the symptoms are not usually incapacitating. When my girlfriend gets a cold it can knock her down for days. Knowing that a cold really does affect her differently, this got me thinking of how our bipolar also affects each of us differently. It’s not just that fact that I have BP1 and she has BPII. It’s the difference in the power of the symptoms of bipolar in our lives. Which means that original question could be asked differently. The question is not, is bipolar disorder like a cold? But do the symptoms of bipolar affect some to a greater degree than others?

There is one disclaimer to this idea, if you are not trying to manage your bipolar it does not matter. If you are not taking your meds and trying hard to learn about and manage how bipolar affects you, the symptoms will rule your life.

What I am getting at is that no matter how hard they work at management some bipolar sufferers seem to suffer more from this illness than others do. This cannot be attributed to attitude or anything else. They are just affected more deeply by this illness than some others.

Understanding this simple fact has made me far more empathetic towards bipolar sufferers in general.  It was fine to say that bipolar as an illness is as individual the people that suffer from it. But to add that bipolar affects some a lot harder than others makes understanding those that suffer from this devastating illness much easier.

I hope this little article helps you become empathetic to other sufferers of bipolar disorder as well.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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.

This week’s blog is not a blog but an update on a story I commented on some time back. In July I wrote how the government in my home province refused to staff a dedicated mental health emergency ward, even though the funds had been raised to build the facility. Well due to pressure many mental health advocates the government has had a change of heart and the facility is set to open early in the New Year.  Teaching us that together we can make a difference.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-mental-health-emergency-unit-1.4360855

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Affected Bipolar Disorder 2

Learning to manage any aspect of bipolar disorder on the individual level is going to be by trial and error. Some people find what works quickly, like when their Psychiatrist prescribes a medication that works without side effects right away. These people are quite rare. For most of us learning manage our bipolar is a struggle of trying this or that until we find what works. What I encourage in myself and I also encourage in others is to embrace that struggle. Enjoy learning how your bipolar disorder affects you and how overcoming this illness makes you a better, stronger person. What works for me and helps me manage my bipolar may not work for you. However, what works for me may give you a starting point.

On the subject of seasonally affected bipolar disorder management, this was for me a many year journey. Even today I am tweaking my management system of what I need to do to ward off the winter blues. As I write this I have my sunglasses on and am bathed by the light of my Litebook Edge therapy light. This light was added a year ago when winter set in really early and what usually worked quit working or didn’t have time to work.  Another pitfall of bipolar management is sometimes our management system quits working and we have to develop a new one.

Today my management system for the fall/winter part of the seasonally affected bipolar disorder is very simple. I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D and 50 mg B6 + B12 starting in early August. I introduce 15 minutes of light therapy in early October.  I keep this routine up until the middle of May. Which is about when spring begins to come about where I live.

I want to point out why I take both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 as well as B6. It has been scientifically proven that if you are low on Vitamin D you are more than likely low on Vitamin B12 as well. I take Vitamin B6 because of its scientifically proven link to cognitive function.

When spring has sprung this requires a whole new management system. The first requirement of this portion of the management system is compete honesty with myself. Why? Because no one ever complains about mania. Mania is great, we get stuff done. We are usually happy and excited about life.  I have had a handle on quelling the summer mania for a lot longer than I have the winter depression. For me, when the first urge to buy every garden tool in the Johnny’s seed catalog strikes that is my sign to have a talk with the doctor to decide this year’s course of action. Most years it has meant an increase in meds for a period of time. Some years it has only meant increased diligence on my part to do the tips set out later. This is when I need constant monitoring by my professional and non- professional network. This is my program for managing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. It works for me.

Bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. The treatment of this illness in every aspect, be it medication or seasonal affected bipolar disorder, has to be individual as well. We each have to develop our own ways to manage our particular bipolar disorder.

Last week I promised some tips and techniques for dealing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. The first tip I want to offer is:

  1. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.
  2. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.

I can not stress this point enough. We are not rocks, and we cannot fight this illness alone, despite popular belief. If you have bipolar you inwardly believe you are alone.

We are the ones that have to do the work, but we need the best team we can put together to cheer us on and give us advice when we need it.

Tips for dealing with depression when your meds don’t seem to be. This happened to me last winter until the light therapy started to work.

  1. Take the initiative against depression. Get up and keep moving even though you feel like one of those deep-sea divers in the big suits walking through molasses. Force yourself to eat and wash the dishes. Make a gratitude list of 5 things you are grateful for every evening, try to do 5 different ones every night.
  2. Learn what triggers your depression besides the change of seasons. As a lifetime sufferer of seasonally affected bipolar, when I started to learn to manage seasonal depression I found other triggers that elevated that depression. Anything that I perceived to negatively affect me compounded my depression. When my management system was working if something negative happened I still became depressed. This is what I touched on last week.
  3. Make a commitment and keep on keeping it. I found this one very helpful. I hang out with a bunch of people every Sunday morning for breakfast. No matter how low I am I force myself to attend. Actually, if I am not there they come looking for me.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. This one is hard to get over. I practiced self-encouragement for a long time before I was able to use it effectively when I was deeply depressed.
  5. Do not let your mind convince you that you have to do some great thing or be perfect to beat your depression. It is by doing the simple things, some of them badly, that we overcome depression. Sticking to an already set routine does wonders for beating depression. This is similar to #3 but different. This has to do with a commitment to yourself the first thing that used to go when depression struck was my morning routine of daily reading of inspirational material. Now it doesn’t matter, I go through the motions of coffee and books no matter what. I may not comprehend what I am reading all the time, but I am there in body every day and I do it.
  6. Don’t let your mind create catastrophes that do not exist and thoughts of self-harm. These thoughts of loss, disaster and self-harm are the true dangers of depression. This is when we absolutely have to reach out to others. I also know that when these thoughts happen we most want to isolate. We can, with help, learn to defeat these thoughts but it takes time and effort. What we must quickly learn is to reach out whenever these thoughts appear.

Tips for dealing with Mania.

  1. Learn what triggers your mania. As I said earlier one of mine is wanting to spend.
  2. Monitor your thinking. Our feelings of self-importance start to grow when manic. Our thoughts begin to race. We are bombarded with one idea after the other. We become more mentally creative. These are all signs of mania. Learn yours.
  3. Watch your behaviors. Mania causes us to engage in risky behaviors and behaviors that will threaten our lives and relationships more easily.
  4. Keep your regular sleep/eat schedule. This is not easy. I don’t sleep, and I don’t eat when manic. Forcing your self to bed and to eat can reign in a manic episode.

Unfortunately for most of us, medication is the only way to effectively deal with mania.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 facebook/365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on twitter @365daysofbipol2.

 

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 Hillary Jacobs Hendel.

https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/single-post/2017/09/26/Beyond-Life%E2%80%99s-Disappointments

 

Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder

Studies show that about 20% of bipolar sufferers are affected by seasonal changes. This is a major trigger for many bipolar sufferers. For many to be affected by the seasons usually means moving towards depression as the days shorten into winter and towards mania as the days lengthen in the spring and summer. This is not always the case, some are affected in other ways, but I can only share my own experience

Seasonal Affected Bipolar was a major part of my bipolar life, depressed to the point of not being able to function during short days of winter. Then taking off like a rocket as the days lengthen in the spring. Learning to manage my bipolar during these seasonal changes has been a large part of my recovery program.  As with all management of bipolar disorder it has been by trial and error. I have learned the proper time to increase my Vitamin D and B12 intake and when to introduce light therapy as an added boost to my program to ward off the winter depression. Conversely, I have also learned when is the best time of year to introduce extra medication to prevent the lengthening days from launching me into mania.

I never discuss prescribed medications or the doses of vitamins and supplements a bipolar suffer should take as our illness is so individual. What works for me may do you great harm in the areas of medication, vitamins and supplements. In those areas I recommend working with your professional support team.

What I can talk about is the generalities that many studies have pointed out on using Vitamins D and B12 for Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) and Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder (SABD) as well as techniques that work to ward off winter depression.

These will be next week’s topics.

I want to end this week’s blog explaining something about triggers and bipolar disorder.

Triggers are the things that cause you to relapse into full blown bipolar episodes. Here is the distinction that helped me understand this definition. You must have some control or management of your bipolar disorder before you can relapse. If you are not doing anything to manage your illness you cannot relapse.  What I have learned is that when you have a major trigger like SABD, as you learn to manage that trigger a lot of other triggers seem to suddenly appear that you no idea even affected you. These triggers that seemed hidden by SABD seemed overwhelming to me when they showed themselves. I soon realized how they helped increase effect of the seasons on me, especially my winter depression.

What triggers you may not trigger me and what really triggers me may not even affect you. It is important that we learn the early signs and warnings that our bipolar disorder is about to take over our lives again.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 a link to their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Carrie Elizabeth Lin

http://ibpf.org/blog/spotting-icebergs-miles-away-how-use-early-warning-signs-bipolar-disorder-relapse-prevention

 

Bipolar Induced Cognitive Impairment

The scariest day of my bipolar life was Wednesday, May 14th, 2008. A day I will never forget, nor repeat. That day I learned first hand what bipolar generated cognitive impairment was all about.

At nine in the morning, I went into my office to read reports from the past few days of operations. I remember picking up the first report and reading the first few lines and then…. At five one of my staff came in to ask if I was coming to brief the afternoon shift. I was still holding that first report in my hand and eight hours had elapsed. I had no memory of that time and still don’t.

I feigned illness and left. The problem, I really had no idea where I was to go. I couldn’t remember where I lived. I just sat in my car, scared and getting angrier by the second.

My staff called my wife, who came and got me and took me home.

That day started the process towards my proper diagnosis of Bipolar 1 disorder almost a year to the day later, Tuesday, May 12th, 2009.

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is real and it is scary for anyone that has experienced it.

Sometimes it is subtle, by that I mean we are not aware of it, like when we ask the same question over and over. When we tell the same story six times in a row. At those times those around us see it, but we don’t.

Sometimes we blame other known parts of our bipolar like when we have difficulty planning and carrying out tasks, blaming our anxiety or depression. When our irritability reaches all time highs, irritability and rage are part of being bipolar. When we make bad judgment calls on important issues that affect our lives, like cashing in all our retirement savings to buy a truck we don’t need. Those kind of bad judgment calls is part of mania.

Then there are the issues that have no other explanation. When we accidentally drive into the back of the car in front of us because we thought we were at least six feet away. When all we hear is a buzzing sound or it sounds like the speaker is miles away. When we can’t remember, not just where we put the car keys but the entire car or where we live. When we lose incredible amounts of time, like I did on that sunny day in May of 2008 and many times before. When we run into people we have known all our lives and do not recognize them or walk down to our favorite coffee shop and don’t recognize anything and can’t find the coffee shop. When we seem to have impaired ability to walk or hold objects

These are the signs and symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment

Memory loss

Loss of time

Repeating questions or stories over and over to the same audience.

Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks

Vision problems – depth perception, blurred vision, tunnel vision.

Hearing problems – buzzing, hearing like the speaker is far away.

No facial recognition.

Inability to recognize places that should be familiar.

Impaired motor function

Unusual changes in moods and behavior.

Radical life choices and poor life judgment

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is part of our bipolar illness. It most often strikes when our bipolar disorder is acute. According to a 2004 study published in Bipolar Disorder Magazine Volume 6, some of these symptoms can also be part of our illness when our illness seems to be under control. Be patient with yourself if some of these symptoms, like memory loss persist when you are stable. The inability to recall some things from prior to spring and summer of 2008, seems to be part of my life today.

When the symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment became severe was not the first time I sought help, it was the first time all my symptoms lined up to prove that I was BP 1 instead of OCD. I know first hand that it is sometimes a long process to receive proper help but stick with it.  It is worth it.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 Jonice Webb PhD

Emptiness: The Un-Feeling Feeling

 

 

Some Tips for Managing Your Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is as individual as the people who suffer from it. There are common factors, if there weren’t we could never be diagnosed. In being properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder the biggest issue is to learn how our bipolar disorder affects us as individuals. It is by studying our bipolar disorder and its effect on our lives that we learn to manage our bipolar disorder and in turn our lives. If we fail to study how bipolar disorder affects us personally, our bipolar disorder will always rule our lives.

In my own story, I was misdiagnosed with OCD for over 40 years. For me, to be finally properly diagnosed with BP1 made studying the symptoms of bipolar disorder and how they affected my life paramount as in my mind I didn’t seem to have much life left and didn’t want to waste any more of it having bipolar disorder as the ruler my life. I wanted to be the ruler of what time I had left.

What I learned in studying how bipolar affects my life and ways to mange this illness is:

Learn your triggers: Triggers are the things that bring on your bipolar disorder symptoms. Triggers are interesting because they are as individual as our shared illness. What triggers you may or may not affect me. Yet what triggers me may just make you smile. My biggest personal triggers are stress, change in routine and loss of any kind.

Chart your moods daily:  Mood charting is incredibly important as a way to quickly spot triggers that may come into your life without your knowledge. Mood charting today is incredibly easy. There are several great apps for smart phones and even mood charting books that you can buy. One of the draw backs I found with apps or pre-printed charts over designing your own mood chart is that, at least in my case, if your stable state is slightly elevated or slightly depressed over time you may not see yourself as normal. Remember, you must learn what is normal for you, not someone else’s normal.

Keep a journal: Journaling is one of the best habits we can learn in the management of our bipolar. I combined my mood chart and journal into one page and many of the apps and pre-printed books do as well. One of the benefits of journaling is to use it to look at our thinking. Bipolar is not only a mood disorder but a thinking disorder as our thoughts create our emotions. What happens in many cases is an external event (a trigger) causes an automatic emotional and behavioural response. Journaling helps us learn that our responses do not have to be automatic. Personally, I use my journal more as a thinking exercise book to see on paper my crooked thinking, which is based mostly on beliefs that are untrue. I have unearthed many irrational beliefs in this way and stopped many adverse reactions before they happened.

Monitor and change your self-talk:  What and how we say things to ourselves both in our minds and out loud can be one of our biggest triggers for our bipolar disorder symptoms. The fact that we can trigger ourselves seemed strange at first to me but this turned out to be true. Changing how we respond internally to external situations is one of the greatest skills we can lean. Over the past half decade, I have learned to practice love and encouragement to myself. Replacing the constant negative, berating voice in my head with a kind, compassionate one. Eventually coming to a place of no voice in my head at all.

Learn your emotions:   Moods, as in describing bipolar as a mood disorder, are nothing more that emotions controlling your life. Usually these are negative emotions. Even in mania we never find the one emotion that leads to a full life, that emotion is peace. Inner peace radiates other emotions that are totally foreign to the bipolar sufferer such as serenity, contentment and trusting of others.

For the most part, bipolar sufferers become afraid of their emotions as emotions control their lives, we are either sad, mad or scared or one of the emotions that radiate out from these.

We need to be able to name our emotions and learn the emotions we need to cultivate to become a whole person again.

 

To practice these skills, learning your triggers, charting your moods, keeping a journal, monitoring and changing your self talk, learning your emotions takes time. The time invested in these skills is not a waste of time, it is an investment towards a better managed bipolar life.

 

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 Johnna Mediana M.A.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

 

 

 

 

Therapy and Self-Talk

 

 

I believe that to manage bipolar disorder effectively therapy is essential. I also believe that when we decide we no longer want our bipolar disorder to rule our lives we become two distinct people. The person who wants to get mentally well and the person we were who resists change.  To over come that resistance we need a third person objective opinion to help us change. That person is a trained therapist. A therapist is needed to help us change our thinking and challenge our beliefs to bring us back to reality.  I owe a lot to the therapists that have helped me.

When it comes to sharing about therapy, I can only share my experiences and what I have learned in the hopes it helps you. I am not a therapist or councillor.

I was miss diagnosed with OCD for many years. Thus, my experience with therapists prior to my proper diagnosis was never good as we were all working on false assumptions. Kind of like trying to fix the tires on a car when it was the engine that was the problem and wondering why it wouldn’t go. Once I received my proper diagnosis of BP1 my experience with therapists changed dramatically.

In therapy, the first lesson I learned was that my self talk fueled my bipolar. What I said to myself fueled both my manias and my depressions. I knew that my self talk fueled my manias before I ever met a therapist. I had described the highs I had (mania) as “being driven by ideas, good or bad” for years prior to being properly diagnosed. The lesson for me was how my self talk pushed me deeper and deeper into depression.

“What I learned in therapy was that myself talk fueled my bipolar, both the manias and depressions”

The second lesson that I learned was that myself talk was based on my irrational beliefs about myself, others and the world around me.

“You will find it difficult, if not impossible to manage your emotions and life while holding irrational beliefs and using irrational self-talk statements.” Lynn Clark Ph.D. From the book “SOS – Help for Emotions.”

Although that is not exactly what my therapist said to me, it is close. This is when my therapy experience turned into beneficial work. My therapist and I had to find out what my irrational beliefs were and how they affected my self talk.

“What I learned in therapy was that my self-talk was based on my irrational beliefs about myself, others and the world around me.”

The third lesson I learned in therapy took a long time to believe could happen. but was talked about in the same session where we discussed how my irrational beliefs drove my self-talk was discussed.  My therapist told me I can remove and replace my irrational beliefs with rational beliefs. More importantly, I can change my self-talk from the negative way I spoke to myself and others to an encouraging, positive way of speaking to myself and others.

“What I learned in therapy was I could change.”

The fourth lesson I learned in therapy was to listen to myself. My therapist had been doing something since that first session that I did not know about until we reached this point. He had been listening for my most often repeated negative words and then counting how many times I used these words in a one-hour session. As this session ended he handed me the page from his legal pad.

It read:

Stupid – 10 times
Dumb – 5 times
Useless – 2 times
Hate – 25 times

In a one-hour session, I had used the word “Hate” 25 times. No wonder I was angry. I also showed what I thought of myself at that moment in time. I was stupid, dumb and useless. Today I know that none of those words were ever true, back then or now.

Then he said, “If this is what you are saying out loud, I can only imagine what you are saying in your head.”

From that day forward I tried to listen to myself. First by listening to what I said out loud and after time to what I was telling myself inside my head. It was only by doing this could I hear and then change the negative words that I used.

“What I learned in therapy was to listen to myself, what I said out loud and in my head.”

I attended regular weekly therapy for two years. In that time, I learned many things about myself. The main thing I learned is that when serious issues come up even today I need that third person objective opinion to help me change. The objective opinion of a trained therapist.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 the link to their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Angela Ayles

http://www.activebeat.co/your-health/13-symptoms-of-bipolar-disorder-are-you-bipolar/

 

 

Therapy, Bipolar and Grief

 

 

 

I believe that therapy is an essential part of overcoming our bipolar disorder. One area where therapy is essential to bipolar sufferers is in grief and grieving.

Grief, bereavement of a loss, is normal. No matter if that loss is a loved one (spouse, significant other, parent, sibling, grandparent), a job, a boss, material possessions, a pet, aspects of our lives lost due to this illness, abuse or trauma. No matter the loss we need to recognize it and we need to grieve that loss or losses.

There are three things that bipolar disorder affects regarding grief, firstly this illness hides or twists the things that we need to grieve, like the aspects of our lives we have lost due to this illness along with any abuse and trauma we may have suffered.  We need to grieve the loss of jobs, friends, relationships. We also need to grieve the things our bipolar disorder has taken away, like our ability to think, remember and focus. Secondly, because of severe loss, the loss of loved one, pet or career, even the loss of who we once were, bipolar sufferers are more likely to fall into abnormal grief than most others. Our illness causes us to revisit, or even live directly in, the past. Thirdly, that many symptoms of grief can be compounded by our bipolar symptoms.

Normal grief is a process of reconciling ourselves to the loss we have suffered.

Abnormal Grief according to the DSM 5, “Lasts longer than 6 months, the person must yearn the loss on a daily basis or to a disabling degree. At least five of the following symptoms must be present; Emotional confusion about one’s role in life, Difficulty accepting the loss, Avoidance of anything to do with the loss. Inability to trust others since the loss, Bitterness or anger related to the loss, difficulty moving on with life, Numbness since the loss, feeling that life is meaningless now, feeling stunned or dazed at the loss

I suffered from abnormal grief for over 25 years and coupled with my bipolar disorder it destroyed my life. The trigger for change was the death of my 22-year-old cat, it proved to be one loss too many. I sought help with a qualified grief counselor.

The losses I suffered haunted my mind, most daily, the rest regularly enough to make me unable to function.

One of the main things that my therapist needed to do was to explain and help me separate the symptoms of bipolar disorder and the symptoms of the grieving process and to see how my bipolar contributed to my abnormal grief.

Bitterness and anger are part of the grieving process, however that bitterness and anger is meant to pass. This is a normal grief symptom but if that feeling lasts longer than a few months it is abnormal. One of the symptoms of bipolar and a major part of my disorder is a long-simmering irritability and rage—angry outbursts lasting over several days, during both manic episodes and agitated states of depression.

Numbness, feeling that life is meaningless, feeling stunned or dazed are also symptoms of bipolar and of grief.

It took two years of almost weekly sessions and a lot of work on my part to grieve these losses in a healthy way and put them in their proper place, the losses in the past and me in the present. During those two years, many losses were found that also needed grieving, these are the losses that my bipolar brain told me were of no importance or had twisted into complete fabrications that had nothing to do with reality. They turned out to be very important and I ignored acknowledging and grieving them at my peril.

Today I am living in the present, not in the past and I am no longer haunted by the what’s, if’s and whys, the blame and shame, of the losses that I have suffered. I acknowledge that they happened but I no longer live there.

Look for your losses that keep you in the past and learn to grieve them, in this area we usually need help so talk to your therapist and if necessary find a specialized grief counselor.

What we need to separate is our bipolar disorder and that fact we need to grieve our losses.

As a bipolar sufferer, we have symptoms and an illness that are not going away.

As a griever, you are not broken and do not need to be fixed. You need to learn that grieving is a natural part of living, but it is not a permanent state. Yes, loss happens and we need to grieve, but the real grieving process ends in recovering from the loss and living again.  Grieving is meant to be a short process not a way of life.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 Gabriel Nathan

Book Review: An Urgent, Bold Voice Emerges from the “Manic Kingdom”

 

Four Facts That May Help You on Your Journey Towards Mental Wellness.

Image result for mental health begins with me

 

 

These are four facts that may help you on your journey towards mental wellness.

The first fact is that our bipolar disorder is inside us. That looking outside of ourselves for something that will fix everything is a fantasy. Our illness tells us if I had, or was, something different (a different life, a different job, a different relationship, whatever) life would be great.  We falsely believe that if these external things would change so would our lives. Whatever we envision as the external thing that will save our lives we must come to realize it is a fantasy. We must stop thinking that way. It is delusional insanity.  If your computer crashes you do not go reformat your neighbor’s computer. That would be insane, right? Well it is just as insane to think what you are experiencing in this illness is anywhere but inside of yourself and the mental wellness you seek can only be found there as well.

Yes, we need outside help, medications and a good support system, but it is only a help towards fixing ourselves. The outside assistance is only that, assistance. It is not the fix.

The second fact we must embrace is that our thoughts and feelings are separate from ourselves. That the mind is not you, you are separate from all the things in your mind.

Your thoughts are the substance of what you have been told, what has been modeled to you and what you have experienced. In our illness our experiences, are our greatest enemy as so many of the things we think we have experienced may, or may not, have been as we thought in the light of reality.  I am not discounting anyone’s abuse, trauma, loss or any other bad experiences, they are real and did happen.

It has also been proven that bipolar disorder can in some cases blow some events out of proportion compared to the reality of those events.  Conversely, some events are downplayed to avoid the pain they caused. Our mind can and does enlarge or diminish, events of its own accord in our illness to protect us. If there is an “us” to protect then that “us” must be separate from the mind. Grasping the fact that you and your mind are separate is essential.

The third fact is, you can train your mind to think, feel and respond differently. Those thoughts, feelings and reactions are changeable because they are not you.  You can change your thoughts to positive thoughts. You can change that angry tyrannical voice in your head to a loving, encouraging voice. You can gain control of your feelings and expand them to include many more feelings of joy and happiness. You can change your automatic reactions to controlled responses. You can do all of this because your mind is not you.

There is a fourth fact, your mind will rebel like an angry child at the first hint that you are trying to grow and change how you are doing things. Those first steps towards mental wellness are met with real resistance. Your mind will throw everything at you to make you stop, every bad thing, every traumatic thing that has happened will haunt you. Your mind will shout “You Can’t” and give a thousand reasons why. Your mind may engage your body in this resistance and make you feel physically ill. I have had all the above happen to me as I moved towards my goal of mental wellness. Do not give up because like training any fierce beast, once you show that you are boss the mind will begin to respond in a more mannerly fashion.

It takes time and effort to retrain your mind. Today there are many resources on the internet that can aid in this process I have attached two links to PDF’s that I found helpful.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Seven-Steps-Preview.pdf

http://vitalcoaching.com/files/a2/positive_thinking.pdf

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 authors work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Hillary Jacobs Hendel :

https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/single-post/2017/05/15/How-To-Tell-if-Youre-Normal