Category Archives: The Challenges of life

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Narcissism

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by: Improving Alice

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

What Is The Purpose

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by another author that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Hayley Hobson for Positively Positive

How Are Your Reactions Creating Your Experiences?

 

 

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

 

 

A Talk On Antidepressants And The Word “Addictive”

Image result for words are important quotes

 

I seldom enter discussions about drugs used in the treatment of mental health conditions for two very specific reasons: 1: I am not a doctor. 2: In the case of my own illness, bipolar disorder, I believe bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. This means what works for me may not work for you. This applies to meds, the tools I have developed to control my own illness and even how my illness affects me day to day compared to you.

That said, there has been a lot in the media, both regular and social, lately regarding the “Addictive” nature of antidepressants. To such a level it even encroached on my personal life. Which is why I have chosen to write this blog post.

I believe words are incredibly important in our lives, especially around what we tell ourselves, what we say to others that boomerang back into our own mind and what people we feel are authorities tell us.

Since this topic of the “Addictive” nature antidepressants came to affect someone I really care about, causing them to question if they should be taking a medication that seems to be helping them. I want to share what I told this person.

First, I want to state clearly, I am a recovered addict and I take an antidepressant. This gives me the only credentials required to take on this subject.

When the media and even the book learned professionals within the mental health community sensationalize this issue by using the word “Addictive” along with the word antidepressants they are causing a problem for people they have never met. The problem they create is causing people to question “IF.”

“If this medication is “Addictive” maybe I should not take it, even if the medication maybe helping/or could help/ me.

All this doubt based on this one word, “Addictive.”

Let us look at antidepressants and how they are handled. No one is ever prescribed an antidepressant without there being a need. Now I am the first to admit there may be pill pushing doctors out there but these are a rarity not the norm. In normal circumstances, there must be a need for any medication to be prescribed. The key word is prescribed. It is regulated by dose and by the amount taken. Antidepressants are to be taken as directed. Do people abuse prescription drugs? Of course, a small percentage does because of their own issues. Again, this it out of the norm, most people take their medications as prescribed.

The other issue is the word ““Addictive”” which scares people and causes regular ordinary people to imagine they will become one of those people in back alleys with brown paper bags and/or shooting drugs in their veins. This is the image conjured up in the mind of the person I care about after being told that the antidepressants they had been prescribed were “Addictive.”

Having been an addict, I can tell you if you are sincerely trying to overcome your problems and need meds to help, that won’t happen.

In my opinion and in the opinion of professionals I respect this word ““Addictive”” must go because it is not the correct word to use. “Addictive” means there are no controls beyond self-control and if you are an addict you have no self-control.

This is not to say that long term antidepressant use is not without possible side effects. One of the main side effects is dependency. You can become dependent on the medication to get you through the day.

Isn’t dependency and addicted the same thing? No, it is not. Firstly, to become dependent you must be on an antidepressant for a long time. The rules in most of the western world are that to renew a prescription after so many refills you must see your doctor first. A form of control, “Addictive” means there are no controls

To say you “may become dependent on a medication if taken over a long period.” is very different than saying “this medication is “Addictive”.” One way lets a person know there are risks. The other makes the person feel they are personally at risk. One is fact based, the other plays on your emotions, mostly creating fear.

The word “Addictive” must go from our discussions about antidepressants and be replaced with the word “Dependent.”  There has been enough damage done.

 

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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

How to Become a Mental Health Advocate

 

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s the Soul

 

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This is the second part of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit? Or how to become a whole person even with bipolar. We are still talking about developing mental toughness. On this topic, I can only share what I have done and experienced, in the order I have done it. It is meant to as a guide, not an order. We always need to remember that bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. Therefore, what works for me and my recovery, may be detrimental to you and your recovery. But there are generalities that work for everyone without them we couldn’t be diagnosed. What I have highlighted are the generalities. These are areas that everyone should look at.

The first principal of mental toughness I practiced was Asking for Help. The hardest part of this was getting over my pride. In asking for help I realized it was not a sign of weakness but a sign I wanted to change. I was confident I could not do any of this myself. I also needed a mirror through which to see improvement. The kind of help I am talking about here is not someone who charges a hundred and twenty dollars an hour, but someone who will listen to you without judgement and be supportive.

What asking for help taught me is I don’t have to go it on my own and I can build a nonprofessional support group. I did build this support group and all have become friends. I also learned that the isolationist attitude I held was part of my illness, not a function of reality. The reality is we all need help and support. We need to learn to ask for help when we need it. It is through asking for help that I learned to properly ask for what I needed in other areas without fear.

The second principal of mental toughness I practiced was Gratitude. We all have things we take for granted that we should really be grateful for. That is where I started, I worked at becoming grateful I was alive, because if my mind had its way that is not what I would be.

I wrote down that I was grateful to be alive every day for a month. That one sentence. Then I started to look for other things to be grateful for and kept building my list. I started this process in about 2013 and have never stopped looking for new things to be grateful for.

To start learning gratitude, write down just one thing you are grateful for each day before bed and meditate on that one thing as you fall asleep. Then expand your list and begin to constantly look for things to be grateful for. Soon you will develop an attitude of gratitude. What this attitude of gratitude gives you is the ability to appreciate the little things life has to offer you far more that you ever have in the past.

The third principal of mental toughness I started to practice was Boundaries. Learning to set boundaries was very difficult for me. I found this so difficult I finally found a class on setting boundaries and took it, twice. There is one universal truth that I want to share with you that is crucial in setting a boundary. “You Cannot Take the Other Persons Feelings into Account.” That is what we, as bipolar sufferers, always seem to do, allow the feelings of others to trump our own feelings, needs and wants. In that way, they always win. The real benefit of learning to set clear boundaries and reinforcing them is return our self-respect. The other benefit for me was I was finally able to say, “No” and not feel guilty.

The fourth principal of mental toughness that I started to practice was Accepting myself fully. It was during the second time through the boundaries class that I came across the quote that changed my life.

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas Verse 3 Lambdin translation.

It was that last line that struck me so forcefully, “if you do not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I could not get that line out of my head, it rang around in there constantly. Until I admitted to myself that, “no I had no idea who I was” and I wanted to really change that and know who I was. I was tired of living in poverty and being an impoverished person, mentally, physically and most of all spiritually. I wanted to know my self and be known, but mostly understand me and how this illness affects me.

I had kind of begun the process, I was getting counseling. But this is where it all changed I went from following direction (doing as the counselor suggested) to actively seeking myself and my own direction and really applying it. I worked with Randy two more years after the change started. He kept me in line and out that of giddy mania we fall into when we have a eureka moment. He taught me to ask myself the right questions.

Out of all of this came this one fact, I did not like myself at that time, but I had hope. That was the ingredient that made accepting me as I was in this second possible. Hope I wouldn’t always feel like this. I have learned to accept myself fully as I am right now because I am constantly changing and growing, plus I have hope it will continue.

I have learned that self-acceptance is as important to self-growth as gratitude is to a good life. You must have acceptance before you can have growth. As one person said, “if you can’t accept being an acorn, you will never be an oak.”

What are the benefits of self-acceptance? I no longer blame others or compare myself to others. The big change is I don’t wish that I had what someone else has any longer. I can get my own, thanks. I no longer feel less than anyone else. Oh, there are better athletes and even a few better workers than I may be, but I strive each day to be the best me I can be. The only person that I am trying to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

Come back next week and we will continue to look at this issue of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit?

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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

Teenage Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention