Category Archives: bipolar disorder

What Is Support?

 

 

Untreated bipolar disorder creates a life of chaos, of failings and unease. Managed bipolar creates a life worth living. It is going from the chaos to order that is difficult. The main problem is lack of knowledge, we simply do not know how. Humans learn best by imitation and repetition.  Support is not someone telling us what to do. It is not someone trying to live our lives for us or telling us how to live. Support is feeding us knowledge and letting us learn. Support is letting us make grave errors and then making us face the consequences. Support is not saving us from ourselves. The bipolar sufferer is the one who must do the learning, the bipolar sufferer is the one that must do the work.

Someone can tell us where to get help. Someone can show us the many ways to manage this illness. Unless we go for the help and create and use the management plan, nothing will change.

The object of all support and management plans is for the bipolar sufferer to learn about themselves. To learn through repetition what works and what does not work for them. The things that trigger them and the things that don’t. What drives the mania and what sparks depression. What other issues we must deal with. What is good and what is bad and hopefully learning to stick with the good. Support is the people and places that lead us and encourage us through all of it until we can lead and encourage ourselves. We all need support at the beginning of our journey towards mental wellness, we also must learn what support is for each of us.

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 Natasha Tracy

Depression and Fake, Coping Skill Smiles vs Real Smiles

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?

 

 

Week Three – Building A Support Team

This week we continue speaking about things to add to your support team and support system. Those things are a computer and online support groups.

I think of a computer as separate from a smartphone or tablet as computers are more stationary, even if you have a laptop, computers are just more difficult to move around and get set up than a smartphone or tablet. The other reason I think of computers separately is that for myself and many others when we took our first tentative steps on the path to mental wellness we had nothing. If we weren’t homeless, we were close to it and the only place we could access technology was at our local library. That is why when I think of support, I always think of the local library because it was at the library that I learned what real support looked like and felt like.

At most libraries, you can book time on a computer with nothing more than a valid library card. That computer can take you anywhere, put you in contact with people that can help you and the computer can help you learn amazing things and you don’t have to pay for it.

Once you are on a computer you can access online support groups. There are many support groups dedicated to helping bipolar sufferers. My favorite is the forum attached to BP Hope Magazine. The magazine is very helpful in itself, but the forum and the people involved there are very helpful.

https://www.bphope.com/community/

Bipolar Disorder Support – a Facebook support group is very good as well. There are many others

The one caution I will say regarding the online support community is that it is made up of bipolar sufferers. So, take what you need and leave the rest. There are great supportive people in these groups and there are also people that are just there to cause trouble and stir you up.  It’s up to you to find the ones who are supportive towards you and your situation. Online support forums were where I learned to differentiate between someone saying things that were hurtful and people giving me constructive criticism and good advice in a way I didn’t like. Both can look the same on the screen.

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.

One of the newer areas of online support is online therapy. Please see this article from Betterhelp.com for more information on this topic and how to start with online therapy.

https://www.betterhelp.com/

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Wednesday. 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 Douglas T. Kenrich Ph.D.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201712/do-you-know-these-nine-varieties-positive-emotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light Therapy And A Brush With Mania

 

To be a good blogger consistency is the key, at least that is what all the experts say. When I don’t have a blog post ready for Monday because of life issues, my mind tells me I am a bad blogger. If I listened to that negative voice in my head that could be a problem, but I don’t listen to that voice anymore so it’s not a problem. I know I am not a bad blogger.  This is a blog about bipolar disorder, written by a bipolar sufferer and the issue that caused the blog post not to be ready for Monday morning were due to bipolar symptoms. I thought sharing this story with you may prove helpful to anyone considering light therapy to combat winter blues.

Last winter due to an early snowstorm on October 8th of 2016, my usual system of vitamins and supplements could not ward off the blues that an early onset of winter brought with it. Before my blues turned into a full-blown depression I ran to my neighborhood pharmacist and she recommended light therapy. I promptly bought a small Lightbox Edge and set it up on my computer. Turning it on for 15 minutes as I wrote each day. This little box of light did wonders for my mood and I kept it up until spring.

This winter as the days shortened I started my routine of vitamins and supplements plus this year I added light therapy starting in October. I have to say that until a few weeks ago I was having the best winter I have ever had in my entire life. A few weeks ago, ever so slowly, ever so slightly I began to climb into mania. My thoughts started to speed up, my speech sped up, my creativity came alive. Solutions to problems sprang up from nowhere. I could multi-task or at least I thought I could. All the signs and symptoms of a manic episode.

I will be the first to tell you no one complains about mania, at least I sure don’t. It is not the mania that is the issue unless we overspend or start doing risky things, which I did not do this time. It is the crash that follows mania that caused the most problems in my life. I did not want that crash to happen again.

As I am the luckiest bipolar sufferer in the world and have access to all the professionals, as I am the clinic’s janitor, I stopped by the Psychiatrists office before he went home.  I explained what was happening and what I was doing, the vitamins and supplements, plus the 15 minutes of light therapy a day.

He explained to me that long-term use of light therapy can cause brain stimulation in some people and obviously I am one of those people. He recommended I stop the light therapy which I did. The mania subsided within a few days ending in a bump, not a crash. But the bump did cause me to lose a couple of days. Days in which I would have completed writing my blog and had my blog scheduled to post Monday morning. That said, this is what I learned, that light therapy can be useful for me. I must learn that when I start using my light therapy in October, I can only continue using the therapy for a short period, but what period? Because now I know too much light therapy drives me into mania and the signs of what is too much. I can continue to adjust my strategy for the best life with bipolar I can create for myself. Again, I am confronted with the trial and error of all bipolar management strategies. Today I choose to take that confrontation as a minor and enjoyable challenge.

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 Lolly Daskal

How to Stop Seeing Struggle as Something Negative

Week 2 – Building a Support Team

This is a continuation of the series on building the best professional and non-professional support team we can to help us become victors over, rather than victims of, our bipolar disorder.

As I said last week, my goal over the next year is to introduce you to the obvious and not so obvious people, places and things that are available to become part of your support team and support system.

The obvious members of a support team are the professionals like a Psychiatrist, a GP or a Psych Nurse or a Counselor/Therapist or a Social Worker. Last week I introduced a not so obvious safe place for support, your public library. Your library is not only a great resource for books but also programs that may be helpful to you.

This week I want to talk about a thing that can be a great part of your support system and can even be considered a member of your team. That is technology, specifically a smartphone, tablet and computer. Mostly this week I want to talk about the boon to mental health that the smartphone and tablet and WIFI have become for many of us. Right at the outset, I want to declare my bias towards Apple products. My phone is an iPhone and my Tablet is an iPad. I will admit my computer is not a Mac, but a Mac is on the list of future purchases.

It is a fact that the more tools we have and the more informed we are the easier our struggles with bipolar may be. With the addition of WIFI and apps, your smartphone and tablet can provide you both easy access to tools that can help you manage your bipolar disorder and access to great information that can motivate you towards mental wellness.

Apps: There are many apps that allow you to track your moods, create a journal and to help deal with anxiety and depression. There are apps on meditation and other helpful skills. Unfortunately, I have found few that are free. I will be doing reviews on apps for smartphones as the year progresses.

Podcasts: There are many mental health podcasts. A few of my favorites are “The Depression Files with Al Levine,” “Bipolar Style with John Emotions” and “Go Friend Yourself with Dr. Baker.”

YouTube: The wealth of information on YouTube is staggering and way too much for me to cover in this short blog. I subscribe to over 100 channels that provide me with a constant stream of information and entertainment. You can’t study all the time.

iTunes U: This is an app that is only available to Apple users. iTunes U offers the ability to audit University level classes on a variety of subjects. Currently, I am auditing classes on creative writing, nutrition and relationships

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with 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 Marlisa Rocco

These are the worst jobs for your physical and mental health