Category Archives: The Challenges of life

Stressed?

 

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For Christmas someone gave me a fridge magnet entitled “Tips for dealing with stress”. I appreciated the thought put into that gift. BP and stress have never mixed well, so learning to deal with stress is an important part of coping with our illness. The giver of this gift knew I am all about ways to cope with BP.

The topic of the fridge magnet “Tips for Dealing with Stress” seems appropriate for this time of the year. Tips and tricks are always useful things to have available. Tips on how to do things that may help and tricks to trick our mind into believing something different than it currently is. Tips and tricks do not address the issue, solve the problem, they just allow you to cope with the issue. Yes, we have to cope with BP because it is not going away. We do not have to cope with stress. Stress can be eliminated from our lives. You may not believe that statement, but it is true. You do not have to cope with stress, it can be eliminated from your life. It is not easy; as a matter of fact, it is damn hard work. If you think you are lazy this may not be for you. What I am about to set out in the next few days is a system that will remove stress from your life if you do the work.

Let’s start with a few simple factual statements about stress. The first fact is that what stresses you out may not even bother me. Stress is the physical manifestation of the fear of loss. You would not be stressed if you did not fear losing something of value to you.

This knowledge is the key to removing stress from your life. If you know that what is stressing you out may not even bother the person beside you. Does this not make you want to ask the question why is that?  If you know that the basis of your stress is fear, does this not make you ask the question why am I afraid?

Most of the time when I was so stressed out I could not eat, sleep, think or speak, it was because I was so afraid. All the possible worst case scenarios raced through my mind faster and faster until my mind just literally shut off. It got so bad about a decade ago that I became completely unable to function. I never recognized the problem as fear and specifically fear of losing something. Even the professionals trying to help me at that time could do nothing more than meds, tips and tricks that were sometimes helpful to calm the symptoms. This did not remove the underlying problem.

To be continued………

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

Resolutions 2016

 

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Seldom do I make New Year’s resolutions and had no intention of doing so this year until this idea was presented to a group of us on the weekend. It struck me a such a good idea I needed to pass it on. The problem with making these New Years resolutions, at least in my life, is that after about a week, at the most a month, they mostly fade away without out becoming a habit. We revert back to our old ways and life goes on. The other side of that coin is I seemed to be vey successful with affirmations. This idea that was presented to the group this weekend is more along the lines of an affirmation than a go to the gym type of resolution. Maybe that is why this idea struck me as so good.

The idea is to come up with a word that describes who you want to be in 2016. This word can be a feeling like happy or grateful. It can be an action word like productive or useful. It is highly recommended that the word be positive so as to impact your life in a positive way. Then you take that word and couple it with “I am.” What ever your word may be when coupled with “I am” creates an incredibly strong single to your brain reinforcing that you are what you say you are. In time that becomes who you are.

Saying I am happy, or I am productive over and over out loud or silently is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. Coming up with the word you are going to use that is a bit of a challenge and I do challenge you to do this. Find a word that describes who you want to be in 2016.

For myself, my word is disciplined. I am disciplined.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one goes anywhere.

What are your motives at Christmas

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It’s the Christmas season and my inbox is full of tips and tricks on what to do and not to do for our BP during this time a year. My own experience with this season pretty much encapsulates the complete range of these ideas. We can either be depressed, not care – go with the flow, or manic as hell. I have done them all. This particular season seems to lean towards the go with the flow, but having a really bad cold has not helped in revving my engines towards Christmas glee.

Personally, I want to talk about motives. Why we do what we do. I have spent a fortune on Christmas’ past trying to by everyone’s love, or at least someone’s love. Wallace Wattles wrote “that man’s greatest expression of love is in giving.” The unsaid part is that there should be no expectation of love in return with the giving.  I never learned that until recently, I always gave to get. If I gave you something I expected appreciation, if not adoration, in return. I expected to get something for my giving, be it sex or whatever. Where that fits in with our illness I do not know except maybe the selfishness that our illness creates within us. This way of thinking, give to get, is something that is very predominant in my circle of BP sufferers that I use as a sounding board. It may even be the predominate way of thinking in society in general I do not know.

What I have done in my own life by recognizing this motive is to remove that expectation of getting something in return for what I give. This has not been easy and I had to start with something small at first, I chose the Salvation Army Kettles. I was always way too selfish to give money to the bell ringers, there was no reward for me in giving something that I didn’t even get a tax break on. The past few years I have not passed a kettle that I have not deposited something into. In taking that baby step I have been able to expand giving without any expectation of return to other areas of my life. The last to fall of course was in the intimate relation category, family and close friends and last Christmas was a success because I was able give fully without expectation of return. This Christmas will be more so as I have had a year of birthdays and other occasions to practice on.

The more I find the motives for why I do what I do and check them against reality, the more I find I need to change my motives.

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

Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

 

 

Taking steps out of your comfort zone is pivotal for your own evolution and growth.

 

When you have BP issues that are slow to resolve spell danger.  Long lasting issues, be they physical, financial or people orientated, tax us. Long lasting issues also allow us to practice all the coping skills we have learned in learning to overcome our illness.  This proves they are transferable skills, who knew that in learning to manage our illness we were learning to manage life in general. This last year and half has been like that for me. For most of it I have been able to keep moving, show up for most days and keep the roller coaster of emotions that is going on inside me from taking over my life. Now for some of the past year and half I have to admit my emotions boiled over, depression kicked in and my old thinking tried to take over my mind. In the past I would have folded like a bad poker hand if confronted with an issue like I have faced this last while and not reappeared until the issue had gone away of its own accord.

I am not saying I have learned to face long lasting issues head on but I have practiced hard facing little issues in that way and that practice has seemed to help.

When things do not go the way I think they should I still become an emotional wreck, with anger and resentment leading the pack. I did practice taking a step back and respond instead of reacting in a lot of the dealings I had in the issue. I did not react inappropriately, but I did react sometimes.  This only proved that I have not mastered responding instead of reacting completely yet, much less responding like Buddha or Lord Krishna with non-attachment. I am getting there though.

When it was explained to me that I needed to grow into my problems. In fact I was promised in writing that if I learned to grow beyond my problems; “I would intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle me.”  I did not totally understand those statements at first, but understanding is in the doing. This has in fact proved true in many cases and for the most part in this long lasting issue. Where this has not proved true, it has given me new opportunities for personal growth and knowledge of new coping skills.

I did not realize that my run and hide attitude for handling the simplest conflicts and issues had stunted my growth in becoming the man I wanted to be. As I become more and more that person I find issues big and small that used to appear as unsurmountable all have solutions if you face them directly.

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

 

Nothing can be built without a plan

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Nothing can be built without a plan. In construction they are called blueprints. They are the plans for the building that is to be constructed. Every detail in contained within them and without them no one knows what is going on.

We have blueprints for our lives. These blueprints are made up of our beliefs. Beliefs are made up of the information we have collected in our lives, what we have been told, what we have been shown and what we have experienced. Our core beliefs cause us to think as we think and act as we act. Those beliefs are what rule our lives and make it as it is. The joy of being human is we can examine those beliefs and if need be change them.

I always thought I had the blueprint for a multi- room mansion within me but kept constructing a one room hovel out of my life. BP caused what I was told to be garbled, what I was shown to be misunderstood or exaggerated, what I experienced to be mostly negative. The beliefs that I held were mostly erroneous or fantastical, a blueprint for disaster.

As with a building I took over years ago, someone had miss-read the blueprint.  In that building it was to have a 3 point 5 gallon per hour pump installed to recirculate the hot water, instead they installed a 35 gallon an hour pump. That building had problems, water leaks developed all over the place. In not too long a time the building became uninhabited.

My life ran along similar lines as that building, my life had become uninhabitable and no one wanted to be around me, I did not even want to be around myself.

The first thing I did when I took over that building was to find the blueprints and read them. I then checked to see if what the blue prints said checked with the reality of the building. They didn’t, that pump was pumping water through the pipes at 10 times the speed recommended by the blueprints. Once the pump was replaced and a few other repairs made, the building stopped having problems and was soon re-inhabited. Everyone loved the place.

In my own life, once I quit misreading the blueprint and replaced my erroneous and fantastical beliefs with realistic thinking based in reality. Once that was done my life became inhabitable by myself and others. I am now on my way to constructing the life I was meant to have.

Look to your blueprint if your life is not all you would like. You could be miss-reading it or may have to redraw it.

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

Selling your self short after keeping your hands to the plough

 

 

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Keeping your hand to the plough is a subject that is descriptive and it is practical. Practical in the sense that living is doing and nothing depicts doing more than plowing a field, getting it ready for planting.

When you work on a field you have to be focused on your task. You will run into obstacles, things will not always go your way. You are relying on some force greater than yourself to actually do the heavy work, it would be pretty silly to have puny you pulling the plough and the oxen driving. You still have to use your brains. You have to stop or turn a corner once in while to see how well you are doing, where you can improve.

That to me is life at its finest. Being focused on a task, glad to be on this side of the grass, able to see the beauty of the world at all times. To face obstacles and successfully deal with them and find in, or under, them a gem that you can take into the rest of your life to make it better. Knowing that it may rain or other things may interfere with the task, but know it will work out in the long run. The human view is far too short and self centered. When we are honest with ourselves most things have worked out well in our lives, maybe not as we would have liked, but well just the same.

The importance of looking back after a period, not just to see how far we have come but where we can be better cannot be stressed enough. I am not talking a week, more like a year. You will be amazed at what can happen.

A woman told me a story once that went like this.

Her counselor told her that she now had all the tools and knew how to use them. The last exercise her counselor had her do was write down her dreams and aspirations. Then her counselor told her to put them away for 10 years. The counselor bet her that she sold herself short. At the end of ten years she looked at the list of dreams and aspirations. Most had been filled and accomplished in the first 18 months. She had, as the counselor said, sold herself short.

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.

Peace

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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

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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

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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.