Category Archives: The Challenges of life

Finding inspiration to continue the fight


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Sometimes we need to find inspiration to continue our fight to overcome this illness that plagues us even on a good day. When I need to be inspired that this fight against BP is worth continuing I have taken to watching Stephen Fry’s wonderful documentary on BP, which can be found on YouTube.

What I find in that documentary is hope. Hope that although I am unique in my BP, I am not alone. That, as Tony Robins says, “Success leaves clues.” I can follow those clues to mental wellness. First I have to find some who have been successful at living with and overcoming their BP.

For the last year and a bit I have had an external force doing its best to derail me. Some external issue that I have no control over that is result of an act of neglect in a previous life. This has created an internal battle and as the battle ebbs and flows so do my moods. For most of the past year I have felt like a rock skimming across a lake knowing that once the momentum wains I will sink to the bottom of the abyss. So far I have kept up some forward momentum and to that end I even posted Victor Klam’s quote on my wall. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.

I haven’t quite fallen on my face this time but I have come close, I need to keep my head up my eyes forward and my feet moving. I suggest you do the same.

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



In having an over two hour discussion with others on the subject of peace I came home and began to write out my jumbled thoughts. The peace we were talking about is not world peace, although that would be nice. We talked of the peace that comes to us in our hearts and minds when we settle the emotional upheaval this illness wreaks on our lives. When we finally bust that over blown ego that possess us to think we could have thought rightly at any point in our illness.  If we have a mental illness it is impossible that our thinking could be right at all. A hard thing to accept, but ultimately true, if your mind is ill your thinking has to be as well.

We all agreed that in finding and accepting help and being willing to do the work is the first part. To, as James Allen wrote, look within, to look searchingly and show no mercy upon yourself. To test what you believe against reality. To root out and change what does not hold true in reality. This opens the door to peace. Inner peace is a promise of hard work on ourselves. It cannot be any other way, you cannot hire someone to do your push-ups for you and expect results, as Jim Rohn so eloquently stated. It is all on you.

That does not mean there will not be issues or setbacks, that our shared illness will never rear its ugly head in our lives. Our illness is controllable, not curable. We can control it the best we can. As we grow in that seldom talked about area of spirit, which is the area from which our emotional control and character development flows from, we are able to gain more and more control over this illness and ourselves.

Peace, inner peace, is a result of controlling ourselves in our environment, no matter what is going on around us. To me that simple statement, “you can have peace, no matter what, if you do what you are supposed to do,” gave me so much hope.

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


Fear and other such things



I spent a good hour today in my little green house willing my tomatoes to ripen because I do not want to buy any more of those want to be things from the store. I want a real peanut butter and tomato sandwich.

What does that have to do with BP and dealing with this illness? Only this, I harp a lot on the subject of self-awareness, I quote things about knowing yourself. I say that self-awareness is the key to our lives.

I say to be healthy we no longer want to be something we are not, but who we really are. And like the store bought tomato, that is only a facsimile of a tomato, we want to go from being a facsimile of ourselves, to being the real deal.

Part of being self-aware is listening to your thoughts and words and monitoring your actions, to see if they line up with who you are. That you are not lying to yourself or others. Presenting a false façade, like a forever changing movie set.  As you do that you find yourself literally confronting yourself and finding things that make you feel not so great.

I was confronted with me today in a way that I did not like.  Because of that confrontation I realized I still have some great fears lurking with in me. Yet I felt that, Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I fear no evil, cause I am the scariest person in the valley, but I found I do have fears.

I fear success, I fear being less than, I fear financial insecurity.

Things I thought I had left behind years ago, but they are still there lurking in the deepest corners of my being. Waiting for a chance to jump out and take over my life. I know because fear ran my life for many years and if I am not diligent fear can take over again.

It was fear and stressing over fears that brought me down in the past, causing those deep and really dark depressions. My history is far more depressive than manic, but I did the manic thing too.

What do I do about fears, exactly as I have done here – put them on paper and test them against reality. Is it realistic to afraid of success – every time in the past that I was successful I crashed and burned shortly after because of my arrogant nature. That was the past, I need to trust that I have the tools today to overcome my arrogant nature and pray that God will help me in that area.

I would do the same to each fear, at one time my list of fears was three neatly written pages long. Finding only three hanging on is kind of surprising, it should be more. But thankfully there isn’t.

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


Is this true or False



One of the effects of BP is that we become somewhat delusional. That is to say, we can become detached from reality. A situation A to us appears baffling and confusing and others laugh, we get hurt and crawl away.

I have spoken of the fact, and it is a fact, that most answers are within ourselves, we just need to look harder than most to find them. That is our illness, the great blocker of life. If you truly want to live and quit using your illness as an excuse or wear it as a badge then read on. If not, don’t waste your time.

What we need to do is clear away first. You cannot plant a garden in a forest without cutting down and removing a few trees. I am not saying this is easy I have cleared ground and it is damn hard work, clearing all the garbage we carry within us is also really hard work. If you are not prepared to work hard this will just be information.

I found my myth list today and that is what started this line of thinking. All the crap I believed that separated me from reality. I am not going to list my false and delusional beliefs, you can make your own list. What I am going to talk about is these delusional beliefs and the consequential ridged defense systems we construct to defend those beliefs cut us off from life. Delusional beliefs, even “normal” people carry some, as BP sufferers seem to become deeply entrenched and strongly defended. More importantly I want to talk about the tools to dig them out with.

Why is it we never question our beliefs, we just react when they are violated. The biggest reason is that someone is violating them. Instead looking at ourselves we instantly look to the violator. We see all their short comings, pile up all past hurts. Sometimes not just their hurts, but every hurt or slight we have ever experienced in our lifetime, it all comes out.

We need to look at ourselves first. We need to quit looking out and look in. We need learn the value of a journal and asking ourselves hard questions. If I am doing the same behavior over and over, why? Don’t sugar coat, or deny it, answer the damn question. Why do I always put myself in these situations? This was the best question I ever asked myself. Finding the real answer – I had some stupid belief that those situations would not harm me – made it so I never got in those situations again.

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

This Key to living, self examination




I am beginning to realize that mostly what I want to impart in these messages is the key to living. That there is an actual key and it can be achieved. That to manufacture that key in ourselves, the ingredients are quite simple, willingness, the realization that there is more to this world than just you, your wants and needs, an entity I call God to fill the hole, or holes, that realization of  there is more to life puts in your spirit.

There are many teachers of this key in the world, some lead you part way and some lead you back to where you were, expecting selfish fulfillment of your dreams. There are a few that will lead you all the way to that place called self-awareness.

I spent over three years in counselling with a person who did just that, lead me to self-awareness. Gently, kindly but with a specific goal in mind. I went to this counsellor in the beginning with many questions, in short I was willing because I was tired of the pain. He responded by answering them and then asking more questions, which I answered and we discussed. But each session for a long time ended in more pointed questions about me. The result of this exercise, and three years, is that I was led to a place where I could ask and answer my own questions because I had come to know myself so well. Today when confronted with situations I know what questions to ask of myself and where to find the answers, usually in myself.

What in my attitude is causing this? If not my attitude, then my thoughts of beliefs. Where am I being ridged and intolerant? Am I afraid or angry?

And on and on from there until I find the answer that will solve the problem I am having in dealing with the world around me.

“It is a spiritual axiom that when we are disturbed that, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.” AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 90.

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

Finding yourself in all the noise



What do you really want? Do you want what makes someone else happy with you? That is, nine times out of ten, not what we really want. We buy into so much garbage that the first question gets buried by the second especially in our illness.  We are taught so early in life that to like ourselves is just plain wrong.  This is what so called “normal” people experience. Our illness pounces on this idea of self-love is wrong and takes it to the level of pure self-loathing and encourages self-harm. Until all we feel is pain.
Eckhart Tolle calls this “the pain body.” I call this “my personal hell on earth.” Having lived in this hell and having found a way out, I never want to go back.
You can find many explanations as to why this may be so, but for me not liking myself and taking all my beliefs from external sources was the cause of all this pain.
The Christian writer, Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are not born with character or with habits both these things need to be developed.”
If my Character and my habits do not align with my true nature can there be anything but pain?  Not likely.
The fact is there is no one to ask but ourselves what that true nature may be. This also is a great stumbling block. We are so used to being told all the answers are external that when we come to understand the real answer is within ourselves we have trouble believing it. Even if we do believe it we have no training in how to go about finding the answer.

Finding your true nature, your essential being, is different than finding a purpose, or goals, or anything else. It is digging and finding the bedrock of your being and exposing that to the world. It is not your personality, personalities can change. It is the spirit that came with you when you entered this body and this life. To find this requires diligence and a lot of trial and error. However this is the bedrock on which true Character and good habits can be developed.

Mental wellness, of which I speak a lot, is our requirement to start this process of finding our true nature. Our illness buries our essential being deep within us and fights us every time we get close to discovering our true selves. A true deceiver, our illness hides the truth and lies to us every chance it gets. But there is only one place to find your true self and that is within you and you are the only one who can.

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

The Feeling Wheel




One of my four truths of BP is that through developing a strong spiritual self we can control our mental anguish and emotional turmoil. Mental anguish and emotional turmoil are feeling generated and to gain some understanding of this we need know the feelings we are experiencing. What those feelings are called and which ones are driving us is a good place to start. In that area we, BP’ers, can take heart it seems most people cannot identify their feelings, so we are far from alone.

I found that over the years of my illness I had numbed, stuffed and denied my feelings to such an extent that I had no idea what a feeling was besides fear and anger.  Because of this the first thing I had to learn was to give myself permission to feel.  This permission had to be an actual act, like a teacher giving a child permission to go to the bathroom. I had to say to myself each day and sometimes many times each day that I had my permission to feel. Although this sounds corny without that permission I kept doing what I had always done, stuff and deny my feelings. It did not matter, without that permission I would not allow myself to feel. For me this proved to be an important step.

The Feeling Wheel was developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox and for me it proved a useful tool. I carried one around in my back pocket for over a year and as my feelings bubbled up and ran over I would take out my Feeling Wheel and identify what word corresponded with what I was feeling. There were times during this process that I became an emotional wreck because I had not allowed any feelings in my life for so long and now I had given them permission to come out and they took over my life. This is surprisingly normal and over time my feelings became controlled and genuine.  If I tell you that I feel secure, serene and relaxed today that is genuinely how I feel. But it was a process to get there.

To become whole and healthy we need to recognize that our feelings play an important part in our lives.  That emotional turmoil is brought on by out of whack and misdirected feelings. In this state we are like tires stuck in the mud unable to move or rudderless ships trying to take off in several directions at the same time tearing us apart at the seams. But there is a way to overcome this turmoil and it is by planting your feet firmly on the path to emotional wellness and doing what is required each day, as difficult as it may seem. It takes time but it can be done.

The Feeling Wheel became my touchstone with reality enabling me to attach words to what I was feeling at any given minute. The interesting thing is that the Feeling Wheel is divided into six quadrants and it did not take long for me to realize I seldom ventured out of feelings that fell in the sad, mad and scared quadrants. It was deciding that I wanted my life to be more in the peaceful, powerful and joyful quadrants and having a visual description of what those feelings were that allowed me to work towards, them ultimately reaching, those feelings in my life.

A Feeling Wheel in your pocket or purse may be the answer for some, as it was for me, along with the appropriate supports such as a good counselor.

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

The Feeling Wheel by Dr. Gloria Wilcox can be found as a PDF on the internet along with hundreds of other charts and ideas describing feelings.


Forgiveness Continued




It is all fine and well to practice the art of forgiveness on others, but it is in forgiving ourselves that we make huge gains but it is the hardest to accomplish.

We have all made mistakes and we have all done things in our illness that in moments of lucid reality almost made us physically sick. It is those things that are hard to put behind us or forgive ourselves for. How many times have we said in our heads?

“I can never forgive myself for, what I did to, how I acted.”

If we think holding something against someone else is making us a prisoner. Being unable and unwilling to forgive ourselves makes us doubly so. This is the one area that can stop our quest for mental wellness and negate any gains we have made.

Forgiving yourself is one of the most important things that we can do and it starts with one simple thought.

“I am no longer that person.”

If we are sincere in our attempts to change then we are no longer that person.

I found it to be the great out that I needed to forgive myself. I was no longer that person. I did not think like that person, I did not speak like that person and I did not act like that person.

When I think or speak about my past lives that is exactly how I do it.

I think and say, “In a previous life.”

I have convinced myself that all that bad crap happened in another life and not in the one I am currently living. This has worked for me. You have to come to place that works for you.

I have had three previous lives that all ended the same way, me very ill and with nothing. I do not intend for this current life to end that way and right or wrong I needed to build those partitions.

I can talk about my previous lives in the context of helping others but I do not have to relive the feelings nor do I have to relive that life.

It is not that I wish to forget the past because what I write about is how I overcame the past and stepped into a very bright future. I have to be able to bring out my past to do that. But to do that I needed to forgive myself first.

That is why I can tell you it is important to forgive yourself and also say it is not easy. But if you want to stay on the road to mental wellness that is exactly what you need to do or you will never stay on the road

Forgive your trespasses as you forgive those that trespass against you.

Jesus taught us to pray that way for a reason. It took me a long time to figure out the reason. I hope I just saved you some time.

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







The practice of forgiveness is another essential practice for mental wellness. Holding grudges and resentments against others seemed to be one of my favorite past times. It was only when I was convinced of the fact that these grudges and resentments only affected me and my life and not the other person that I could change.

The explanation that worked was when someone explained to me that holding a grudge or resentment was like setting yourself on fire and expecting it to harm the other person. It doesn’t work that way and never will.

When I hold a grudge or resentment I am holding myself hostage for the perceived wrongs of others, most of the time they neither know or care about how I feel. That is the most frustrating part, they don’t even know what is going on inside of me. How could they, or anyone else know, what is going on inside of me. There are few, if any, mind readers in this world and I seldom told anyone how I really felt.

With our illness controlling our lives we always feel slighted, less than others and our emotions control our lives. In seeking help we are given medication that causes our mood swings to be leveled out. We no longer should have the high highs or the low lows. The medication does not change how we think or controls our emotional upheavals. We are responsible for that on our own, with the help of others. But we are ultimately responsible for anything we think, say or do.

When it comes to grudges or resentments we are also responsible for how we react to others and the feelings that we carry in regards to others. We cannot change other people and what they do but we can change how respond to them. Sometimes our hurt feeling, the basis of all grudges and resentments, are just because we have weak feelings. This means we need to strengthen our feelings not shut them off which is the direction many of us take not knowing any better. We need to learn to strengthen our emotions through understanding ourselves and changing our reactions. It boils down to choice and remembering that we always have a choice to react differently.

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


The Challenges of Life


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

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