Category Archives: Emotional Wellness

Struggling? Make Your Struggles Worthwhile.

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Which means that there is no one pill fix. Even suggesting ways of managing bipolar and the tools to use for bipolar management is not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people.

Everything we do to deal with our individual bipolar disorder seems to be through experimentation, trial and error.

In my case, it was the 40-year struggle for a proper diagnosis. Then a two-year struggle to find meds that worked. The only area I didn’t struggle was in finding the therapist that could help me. That only required an 8-month wait and the luck of the draw. The therapist who happened to be up on the rotation when my wait ended was a person with whom I instantly connected. Otherwise, that may have been a struggle as well. Then it was and continues to be, a struggle to find ways of managing my bipolar disorder and finding the tools that allow me to live this ducky life even with bipolar disorder.  But if someone had told me 10 years ago that it would be through all this struggle I would have the quality of life I have today I would not have believed them.

The thing is I felt I have struggled all my life and yet there seems to be a great difference between the struggles I have endured in the past decade and the struggles I had for the first five decades of my life. So, I sat down to figure out the difference. There seems to be a word or words missing from that Napoleon Hill quote that I attached at the beginning of this post. I know because for the first fifty plus years of my life I developed no strength or growth from my struggles. My struggles sapped my strength and stunted my growth. I felt like I was in a clothes dryer, hot (angry) and banged around. But my recent struggles have yielded strength and growth. What changed?

The only thing that I could find that changed was mental stability. Prior to having a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder 1 and finding the proper medication, I felt I had no real mental stability. No matter how hard I tried to deal with my previous diagnoses of OCD and ADHD, nothing worked. Like a rudderless ship, I kept winding up broken on the rocks. Now I have been fitted with a working rudder, a proper diagnosis and proper medication, with which I can steer myself towards mental and emotional wellness. Every struggle I have endured since that day has resulted in progress, (however tiny) towards mental and emotional wellness, towards that duckier and duckier life.

It has taken time, effort and struggle but as Napoleon Hill says I have seen and felt “strength and growth” in my life.

The words that seem to be missing from the quote are mental stability. The quote should really read, “With mental stability strength and growth come only through effort and struggle.” Without that mental stability, all that effort and struggle is just that effort and struggle that leads nowhere.

Our mental stability must always be directed towards better mental and emotional wellness, but we need that rudder of a proper diagnosis and proper medication plus the help of others to propel us there.

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 hard 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 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 Natasha Tracy from her BipolarBurble blog.

There Is No Right Way to Deal with Bipolar Disorder — I Hate It

Unmet Needs Affect Our Thinking

Nothing derails my thinking towards the negative faster than having unmet needs. It does not matter if that unmet need is real or imagined. Even if I perceive a need may not be met in the future, the negative thinking begins. Making me destined to be depressed.

Having learned the lesson that it is always how I am thinking that puts me on that downward spiral towards depression. I remind myself daily to be careful of my thinking, to keep that sentry posted at the door of my mind to keep unwanted thoughts out. More importantly, I do my best to ensure that my needs, be they real or imagined, are met in the present and in the future to the best of my ability.

The biggest thing to derail my thinking into believing my needs will not be met in the future is uncertainty. Just so you know, uncertainty only happens in the present, but it makes itself look it is a long dark tunnel leading forever into your future. Uncertainty is like quicksand for me, quickly sucking me down into that pit of depression.

How do you remove uncertainty from your life?

  1. Lower your expectations and develop an attitude of acceptance and gratitude – lower your expectations of yourself and others. Get rid of that perfectionist attitude. Nobody is perfect and if you interject a little acceptance of yourself and others into your life you will find that things quickly smooth out. Most peoples first response to developing an attitude of acceptance is that they will become a doormat. Not so, and this is because of another word, “Boundaries.” Simply put boundaries are the lines we don’t let others cross and something we need to learn as well. Finding things to be grateful for in the here and now helps you build a strong foundation for your life. Gratitude is the foundation of life and the springboard of hope.
  2. Set goals and work towards them – by setting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals you have a direction in which to steer. Making a daily to-do list and at the end of the day checking them off as done brings on that sense of accomplishment. Checking them off as done also removes a certain amount of uncertainty from your life. Setting longer range goals and accomplishing them gives you that sense direction that we lack and place more certainty in our lives. We no longer feel like a rudderless ship on the waves heading for the rocks. The key to goals, both daily and long range is working towards them. If you do nothing things will stay the same.
  3. Quit the “What if” game – One of the most disempowering things you can do is fall into the “what if” trap. Not only does this take all your power and suck it into a never-ending loop. As my wise counselor told me, “The “what if” game makes you think you are God and have control. You are not God and you are not in control.”
  4. Learn the first part of the Serenity Prayer and use it. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” By practicing the directions of this prayer, staying calm is situations that are beyond your control. Acting on things within your control, “You are the only thing you can control, your thoughts, words, actions and reactions.” Learning to know the difference between what you can control and what you can’t. You will find that in time a lot of uncertainty in your life simply vanishes.

There is a number of things I can add to this list but learning to practice these first four things to the best of my ability removed a large amount of the uncertainty from my life.

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 hard 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 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 Kristina Ostermeyer as posted in New Life Outlook.

Bipolar and Exercise Addiction: When Exercise Becomes Dangerous

A Talk On Meditation

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Therefore, whatever is suggested as a way of managing bipolar disorder and its symptoms or the tools to use for bipolar management, I know those strategies or tools are not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people.  This is true when dealing with the subject of meditation. The benefits of meditation as a management strategy for emotions have been well studied and proven beneficial. It is the HOW that never seems to be fully described.

Most bipolar sufferers encounter this statement, or something like it, during treatment. “Meditate daily to expand your awareness and to accept triggered feelings by becoming aware of these feelings.”

“That’s all well and fine, but how do you meditate?” Is the usual response.

The therapist or counselor goes on the describe some form of meditation that does not work for the bipolar sufferer, like deep breathing, a form of Vipassana meditation.

The word meditation is kind of like the words art and sport. Most five-year-olds consider their latest finger painting, “art” and many seniors consider lawn bowling a sport.  The same is true with the word meditation. There are many styles of meditation and finding what works for you is a process that requires experimentation.

This was proven quite profoundly in the lives of myself and my girlfriend. I suffer from BP 1 and my girlfriend suffers from BP II. In my own life after much experimentation with many styles that never worked. I created my own style of meditation called Active Thought Replacement which combines affirmations with motion. This is somewhat in the style of Tony Robbins but not as intense.

This style just did not work for my girlfriend, but she did not give up. She took a class that went through eight different styles of meditation, none of which seemed to work for her either. Then she literally stumbled across Guided Meditations on YouTube and she found this type of meditation worked for her. Written guided meditations do not work as well for her so she listens to one or more audios of guided meditations each morning and is noticing better control of her moods and improvement in her handling of life in general. That is the real goal of meditation no matter the style, to create an improvement in our mood control and improve how we handle our lives in general. Moving towards always being peaceful and contented.

As proven by both my girlfriend and myself to get to the benefits of meditation you may have to experiment with many styles of mediation and in some cases, like mine, you may have to create your own.

If you are wanting to reap the benefits of meditation but are struggling with the HOW of meditation and which style is best for you, here are some suggested styles for beginners and their definition.

Affirmations – The best definition of affirmations was given by the late, great Mohamed Ali. “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

Combining affirmations with exercise or simple chores is what I practice.

Louise Hay’s “I Can Do It” is a great starting point for this type of meditation.

This can also be described as:

Guided Meditation –  Is defined by Wikipedia as, “a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher, either in person or via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.”

There are many guided meditations on YouTube.

Mindfulness Meditation – This type of meditation is described as “paying attention, in a non-judgemental way to the present moment.”

I found Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Wherever You Go There You Are.” a great starting point and explanation of this type of meditation.

Vipassana Meditation – Which is a meditation concentrating on breathing. Breathing out through the nose and in through the mouth. There are many variations of this meditation taught and practiced and whole weekends of silent meditation are done around the world.

Zen Meditation – Sitting meditation is the kind of meditation shown in most pictures. A person sitting serenely somewhere slowly breathing in and out letting their thoughts flow but not capturing any.

This is a difficult meditation for bipolar sufferers and not a great starting point, but I also know a few bipolar sufferers who found this type of meditation helpful.

Christian Meditation –  the word meditate is found 14 times in the Bible. This style of meditation is to meditate on Gods word (Bible passages).

Mantra or Ohm Meditation – This is where you meditate while chanting a mantra or simply the word Ohm, or some variation of these or other words.

Both my girlfriend and I found this form of meditation annoying, but it works well for others we know.

There are many, many more types and styles of meditation. Finding what works for you will require experimentation as it did for my girlfriend and me. When you find what works for you and practice it for a while you will be amazed at the benefits. If you are a bipolar sufferer we both wish for you to find this one benefit we have found from meditation, a quiet mind.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle with bipolar disorder is 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 hard 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 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 Jack Canfield

How to Realize That All Fear Is Created by You

What is Your Aversion

 

 

Do you have an aversion to something that is holding you back on your journey to mental wellness? An aversion can be defined “as a tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation and especially a usually pleasurable one because it is or has been associated with a noxious stimulus.” Mariam-Webster Dictionary.

Mental wellness can be described as a pleasurable experience and yet we all seem to have some aversion within us that extinguishes our chances of reaching that place we want to go. How do you quickly spot an aversion? If you start a sentence with the words “I hate…” That is a very good indicator of an aversion. I know in my own mental wellness journey I had one aversion that held me back for years in all aspects of my life. What was that aversion? It was an aversion to learning. Because I had come to equate learning of any kind with pain and failure, I was totally averse to learning anything. If I didn’t already know it, I was not going to learn it. At jobs, if I had to learn a new skill, I quit. In personal interactions, if I did not have the social skills, I would not interact. This aversion limited my life in so many ways that in my bipolar way of thinking it was a life not worth living. That was where the change happened. At my darkest point came the realization that I did not know how to live. The worst part of that was I was so averse to learning that there was no way I could ever figure out how to live.  I had to learn the skills for a good life and yet I had this great aversion, this noxious stimulus, that prevented me from even starting.

There is a saying that is attributed to several sources, but whoever said this it was spot on in this situation. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

It was at this time that Jane appeared at a group I was forced to attend. Jane, the feisty little Brit, who changed my thinking by telling a story.

This is Janes story.

“When I was confronted with having to change I was asked a simple question.”

“Are you willing, Jane?”

To which I responded, “NO!”

They then asked, “Are you willing to be willing?”

I again said, “NO!”

They came back with, “Are you willing to be willing to be willing?”

I suddenly realized that we could be at this all day, so I replied, “Maybe.”

To which they said, “Great we can start with maybe and see how it goes.”

Then Jane said, “And that is how I started, “maybe I was willing to be willing to be willing to change. From that my willingness has grown.

That story made me realize that all I had to do was maybe be willing to learn and the rest would change with time. So right then and there I worked on becoming willing and you know what, as Jane said it would, that willingness has grown. Today I love to learn not only about my illness and how it affects me but any skill that will give me a better life.

So, I ask you, “what is the aversion that keeps you from your goal of mental wellness and what are you willing to do about it?” Is it an aversion to taking pills? Is it an aversion to speaking to those in the medical profession? Or to hospitals? Or Doctors offices? Is it an aversion to dieting that equates to an unwillingness to learn about nutrition?

It is by finding and overcoming our aversions that lets us make great strides on our journey to the pleasurable experience of mental wellness.

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 hard 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 Jane S. Hall, CSW, FIPA

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychoanalysis-unplugged/201803/why-does-therapy-take-so-long

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Freeing Responses to Life

As bipolar sufferers what do we really want? For most of us it is to be free of the emotional turmoil we feel within us and maybe a little peace from the constant noise in our heads. To earn some of this freedom and peace of mind, this is what I have learned to do and how I learned to accomplish this.

I meditated on this for a long time, “You can’t change another’s behavior, but you can change your response to it.”

“What the hell does that mean?” was my initial reaction to that statement.

To make a long story short that is the difference. I can react, or I can respond. When I react, it is an initial emotional feeling! I have no control, none, it just happens.

If B says something, I yell. If things don’t go right, I throw stuff. If someone really bothers me, I get angry and yell and possibly get violent.

I have bipolar that is what I am supposed to do isn’t it?

I think asking that question is the only time I ever made my therapist laugh out loud in a session. I think he laughed at me a lot but usually waited until I had left.

After he quit laughing my therapist responded: “If you want to feel any peace within yourself and know a sense of freedom that you have never felt before, then “NO,” that is not what you are supposed to do. You react as you do because it is what you have learned, what you have always done. What other people allowed you to do. Now that you are stable you can learn another way.”

It was at this point when I started to learn what I call my freeing responses to life. You see previously when I reacted, I usually reacted badly. By reacting badly, I created a huge amount of guilt and remorse within myself and utter turmoil within my mind, which I then had to carry around. It was by learning my freedom responses that I reduced my guilt and remorse and stopped many useless conversations within my mind.

My fist freeing response to life – learning to practice the old saying, “bite your tongue.” I have learned I don’t have to react to everything.

My second freeing response to life – walk away and deal with those negative feelings within you in private. Punch a pillow, not the wall, but in the end, laugh at yourself for getting so worked up for what in reality is nothing.

My third freeing response to life – If I must respond, take deep breaths and think before you speak.

My fourth freeing response to life – learn to forgive those that hurt, slighted and offended you. There is truth in this saying, “When I forgive I set a prisoner free and find the prisoner was me.” Forgiveness is for ourselves not for others. A lot of times if you went up to the person who had hurt you and said I forgive you they would not know what the hell you are talking about nor would they care.

My fifth freeing response to life – Learn to thank those that criticize you. There is both constructive and destructive criticism and as a bipolar sufferer that takes things so personally, we really can’t tell the difference. So, learning to just say, “thanks, I’ll take that under advisement” and walk away seems the best response to all criticism. Go home and really look at what was said, if it applies use it and if it doesn’t chuck it.

My sixth freeing response to life is – Learn not to take things so personally. Of all the freeing responses to life, this one is the hardest to lean. It is difficult to realize that many things that others do or say that cause our feelings to be hurt are because they are hurting as much as we are. We just happen to be there at the wrong moment.

By practicing these freeing responses to life, I have found an understanding of serenity and know a little peace of mind.

There is another aspect of how to respond to life that I want to touch on. As bipolar sufferers, our emotions are aroused by a lot of things. I want to recommend some things we need to do to enhance our freedom.

Put away the cell phone for a while each day. I must admit this is easy for me as I can remember when the phone stayed home when you went out. I can even remember when answering machines were a new invention. Even today, as I write, my cell is in another part of the house and I couldn’t hear it if someone called. I do not expect this will be as easy for you in this connected age. I can only ask that you give it a try and see how freeing it can be.

Start each day by putting positive into your life. I have five daily readers that I read every day with my first coffee. Nothing happens before my coffee and my books. Include others or kick them out during that time, that is your choice. My girlfriend was quite startled the first time she stayed over, and I told her to be quiet I am reading. Now we read aloud to each other most days.

Quit watching the news. I can tell you first hand that if something is going to affect you directly you will hear about it. On two occasions since I stopped watching the news things have happened that directly affected me, and I heard about them right away. Out of all the news, local, area and national, the world, over the last four years, only two things affected me personally. This proves that most of it is just noise that makes us angry.

There is one expert about freedom responses that everyone should know about and that is Viktor Frankl, the author of “Mans Search for Meaning.”  His story and his book are amazing. I recommend you look at his work.

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 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 Dr. Rick Nauert

https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/11/21/mobile-apps-can-help-manage-and-support-mental-emotional-health/

 

 

 

 

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/

 

 

On Loving Ourselves

 

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 spirit with us 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.

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 Shannon Cutts

How to Make Friends With the Unknown

 

 

Therapy and Self-Talk

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

 

 

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