Category Archives: False Beliefs and Assumptions

Grow that Inner Child Up Part 1

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I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. There are things that seem to be common to all of us as sufferers of bipolar disorder. A couple of those things are our wounded inner selves and the angry, demanding and demeaning voice in our heads. I am not a fan of the term inner child, but it has become quite popular and most people know what I am referring to when I use that term. The other term for the inner child that I have come across is “inner shadow” a term made popular in the book “The Tools” by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels.  Nor am I a fan of the concept that your inner child or inner shadow will always be with you. I believe that we can learn to grow that inner child/inner shadow to adulthood by learning to parent ourselves. The job of a parent, to take an infant and nurture it to maturity. Why can’t we take the same approach to the scared, immature child/shadow that bipolar disorder seems to have created within us and by practicing good parenting skills bring that inner child/inner shadow to maturity?

We cannot even start to nurture and love that scared, immature inner child/shadow without first dealing with that angry, demanding, demeaning voice in our heads. In my case, that voice was what my inner child had been afraid of all along.  First, you must believe as an adult you have the power to change that voice from angry, demanding and demeaning to a loving, caring voice that encourages and never criticizes. Secondly, you must bring in new knowledge and practice shutting down the old voice and introducing the new voice. I will be the first to tell you that shutting down the old voice will cause great inner turmoil in the beginning but battling through this turmoil is worth it.

When I was first told that I could change the voice in my head from angry, demanding, demeaning enemy to a loving, caring, encouraging friend I had a hard time believing it. I also had a hard time believing that voice in my head was not me. I think most of us do because we have lived with that voice for so long. Learning that only about 26% of all people have the voice in their head, their inner narrator, also was eye-opening. That statistic told me that I could even eliminate that voice if I tried and really helped convince me that I was not that inner voice. I am still a long way from eliminating that voice in my head, but I have converted it to an encouraging friend.

For this week I want to conclude by saying that before we can even reach our wounded inner selves we must deal with our inner voice and we will continue that topic next week.

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 Dr.Ellen Albertson

http://drellenalbertson.com/6-steps-to-overcome-fear-and-step-into-your-brilliance

 

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”

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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

 

 

Questioning What is Behind Our Thoughts

 

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Bipolar causes us to believe things that are flatly untrue about ourselves, others and the world around us. Bipolar distorts our thoughts which are driven by our current needs and our past experiences. What we believe to be our current needs and our past experiences are tainted by the false beliefs we have accumulated, the perceived slights we have received and the resentments that we hold. This in turn gives us overboard emotional responses causing absurd actions and leaves us with bad results.

Our thinking drives the wheel that leads to our results, if our thinking is wrong we have no choice but to have bad results. But our thoughts must be based on something and that something is all our past encounters, either through what we have heard, what we have seen or what we have felt. We have allowed these encounters to collect in ourselves without ever questioning their validity. We have not put our lives through the true or false test. We have just lived our lives without posting a guard on our subconscious, the place where all this information is stored and used, for and against ourselves.

We also have a design flaw that makes fixing this false thinking even harder to correct because all our data collection (our five senses) that our past experiences and on which we base our needs bring everything from the outside inwards. Yet what we need to fix is inside and it is an entire paradigm shift to turn your data collection inwards to make your senses a garbage removal detail and then do guard duty to keep you in reality. Yet that is what we must do, look inside, hear ourselves, smell our fears, touch our own hearts and learn what hope tastes like.

First, we must understand what our shared illness does to us. How our disorder twists and makes sick what we think is our current need. How our disorder distorts our experiences to isolate ourselves from everything good. In coming to that understanding we quickly realize that although medication can and will stabilize us, it will never fix us

My experience with my own disorder and in my discussions with others who have worked hard to overcome their own bipolar disorder, has led to a belief that bipolar takes one or more of our normal human needs and blows it all out proportion

Human needs can be broken down into a few broad categories, those needs that connect us to others, those that are for our physical well being, those that keep us honest with ourselves, those that allow us to play, those that give us peace and personal autonomy and those that give our lives meaning.

In most cases what happens is our bipolar disorder usually takes some of our normal needs to connect with others and blows them up so badly that that need can never be satisfied. In my case it was my needs for acceptance, appreciation and belonging. Causing me to feel that I was never accepted, appreciated or that I never belonged, even when I was accepted and appreciated and worse when I was included but pushed everyone away. This caused all sorts of bizarre reactions in my life to the point of almost destroying it.  For another person that I know well, it was the need for safety, security and support. This unfulfillable need for safety and security and support caused this person all kinds of grief in their life, they could never have enough money saved and could never spend any, they horded things and sucked the life out of everyone they met.

It is by recognizing what our bipolar disorder does to what are supposed to be normal needs and the unbelievable, unreasonable expectations that these unfillable needs cause in our lives that makes our lives so out of control. It is by bringing those needs back to reality that we can gain control of our disorder. It is only then that load of garbage, the false beliefs, the resentment, that created our thoughts can be removed and we can have real peace and serenity.

I have linked The Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Needs Inventory to this blog for anyone who wants to look at this idea of out of proportion needs for themselves.

https://www.cnvc.org/sites/default/files/needs_inventory_0.pdf

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:

#positiverolemodel

 

A Questioning Attitude for 2017

 

Let’s start 2017 with a question, or a series of questions. Let us start the year with a questioning attitude that keeps us questioning our ideas, beliefs and attitudes all year long. Questioning our ideas, beliefs and attitudes leads to change and 2017 is a great year to change ourselves.

When someone speaks of managing bipolar disorder, they speak of eating right and physical exercise. Why are nutrition and exercise spoke of more often than fixing our thinking and feeding our minds things of a positive nature for a mental illness? Is it not our minds that are sick?

Why is the pain that causes many of our bizarre behaviours and addictions never identified as spiritual pain as expressed by our emotions?

Why do so many people think that taking medication is enough to manage bipolar disorder?

This first question is my aim for 2017, to speak out about feeding our minds. Changing our thinking is the most important thing we can do for ourselves. I am not negating proper nutrition and exercise. I just want to put the importance of each in the right order. What we feed our minds with bipolar disorder can be more important than what we feed our bodies. Training our thinking can be far more important than training our muscles. We are dealing with an illness of the mind; we need to concentrate on healing our mind.

There is mounting scientific evidence that developing a strong spiritual self is helpful in dealing with bipolar disorder. It is becoming evident that the pain that drives our bizarre behaviours and many of our addictive ways is spiritual pain as expressed by our emotions. Our emotions are the only way to express pain, be it physical, mental or spiritual. It is impossible for emotions to express pain as emotions are the vehicle of expression, not a location like mind, body and spirit. When people suggest they are expressing emotional pain, they are really expressing spiritual pain.

As we feel pain when we over use our muscles or over tax our minds, we can and do feel spiritual pain. We can also strengthen our spirits, just as we improve our muscles and our knowledge. In strengthening our spirits, we are better able to cope with the ups and downs of our lives.

So many feel that once they find medications that level out their highs and lows and they feel stable that is all they have to do to manage their bipolar disorder. Popping a few pills only gives you a stable platform on which to build. We failed in building the life we wanted because we had no stability. We could play the blame game or be victims of our illness, but in reality our lack of emotional stability stopped us from building anything. Once we have a proper diagnosis and proper medication that gives us some stability we can fully enter the school of life and unlearn all the bad habits that bipolar disorder created in our lives. Replacing them with good habits that allow us to become useful and productive members of society.

Let us make our goal for 2017 mental wellness and becoming useful and productive members of society through constantly questioning our ideas, beliefs and attitudes, replacing those that lead to false ideals with realistic beliefs and attitudes.

 

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:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2017/01/01/few-smokers-with-serious-mental-illness-get-help-to-kick-habit/114511.html

 

 

 

Self-Love and Our Bipolar Mind

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Its not that nobody ever told me it was OK to love myself, it was my bipolar mind never allowed that thought to penetrate to the point that this was an option. My bipolar mind actually convinced me to hate myself and everything about me. My bipolar mind made me deface everything about me and make me want to be anything but me. What made me think of this as a blog topic is the media hype going on about “Fake News.” You want to know the fakest news, the lies we allow our bipolar minds to tell ourselves. Things like, “self-love is selfish”. Narcissism is selfish, it is only through knowing and loving ourselves can we be truly selfless. It is hard to have compassion or empathy for others if we have never practiced these virtues on ourselves. We cannot know the correct inner feeling to express if we have not tried these feelings out on ourselves first. If we have never had compassion or empathy for ourselves we are just guessing about those feelings. In my experience, I mostly guessed wrong and hurt more people than I ever helped.

Learning self-love was a progression for me. I started with self-acceptance. Learning to accept myself, both good and bad. No longer lying to myself and exaggerating either the good or the bad. Accepting only that I am me, the only me I can be and believing I can always be better than I am today was the first step in the journey to loving myself. Accepting that I will always make errors caused my errors to lessen as I became less concerned about it. Accepting that I have BP 1 and that my illness will always try to lie to me, caused my BP to lose its control oover me. Oh sure BP still tries to take control but I can fight that today and mostly win as long as I do what I am supposed to do.

The next step on the ladder of learning self-love was to learn self-compassion. Bipolar makes us self-critical to the highest degree. We invent more ways to beat ourselves up or put ourselves down than most people can even imagine. It is just a fact that our illness makes us think very little of ourselves and shreds our self esteem. In this area of self-esteem, I agree with Dr. Kristen Neff, the Author of “Self-Compassion”, trying to repair our self esteem in today’s competitive culture, where the meaning of self-esteem has become “to feel special or above average” is not going to work. Dr. Neff’s comment, “we cannot all feel special or above average at the same time” made me smile and nod my head in agreement.  Since I already had enough false beliefs about myself it was not hard to see that I had to take a different approach to building self-worth. What worked for me was learning and practicing self-compassion.  What is compassion? Compassion is showing kindness, tenderness, mercy and leniency towards someone. Can that someone not be yourself? Of course it can. As I said earlier how are we to know those inner feelings if we have never practiced this on ourselves. How do we know if we are treating others tenderly if we always kick ourselves when we are down? How can we show others mercy when we judge ourselves to the gallows every time? In reality we can’t and we don’t, but we may think we do. I practiced showing myself tenderness when I failed, mercy when I committed sins, being kind to myself when I needed a hand up. I practiced and practiced these feelings on myself until they became the regular responses to my failings. As with self-acceptance, I learned through practicing self-compassion that I was lovable and in time I came to love myself.  I can look at the eyes looking back in the mirror and say, “I love you” and mean it. This ability I wish for all the world not just those of us with bipolar. Today I can look in the eyes of the man in mirror and know the I no longer cheat the man looking back, he is my friend.

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.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

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.

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:

http://mindfullybipolar.blogspot.ca/2016_10_01_archive.html

 

The Fifth Truth

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Those possessive words me, mine and my, permeate our lives in our shared illness. We talk about my illness, my feelings and when we feel hard done by we say, “why can’t you care about “ME”?

All of this shrinks our world to a pin point of poor me and out of whack feelings. Feelings we do not know or understand, but those feelings run our lives. Mostly, we feel everyone and everything is against us. Yet, the simple truth is that we do everything in our power to deny our true self. We are self-created chameleons. Trying to “be” everything to everybody. Proving to everyone that we do not care about ourselves, nor do we know how to care for ourselves, but we are totally blind to this fact.

The fifth truth of bipolar is, “we, as BP sufferers, can become useful and productive members of society.” Wrapped up in ourselves and our illness this is an impossible statement to fulfill and one statement we have all failed miserably trying to fulfill. As long as our illness controls our lives we will find it difficult to be either useful or productive. We have all been taught to believe the truth of this quote in one form or another.

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” Bill Bradley.

We all want to be a success, but our illness distorts, in so many ways, what success really is. We “think” success is this, or that, and follow that path only to have what we “think” success is pulled out from under us and we fall again into despair.

In dissecting the line, “ambition is the path to success”, I found, for myself, the reason for this failure and surprisingly the path to fulfilling it. Maybe this may help you as well to make the fifth truth a part of your life. For me, it all started with another quote.

“True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.” Bill Wilson.

If we have the wrong definition of ambition, we are on the wrong path to success as stated in the first quote. Proving again my “thinking” was wrong. For the first time ever I did not beat myself up for wrong thinking. I simply accepted as fact that my illness makes my thinking flawed. Thanks to the second and third truths, I now have the ability with to replace the wrong thinking with right thinking.

In meditating on this definition of ambition, I slowly developed that profound desire to be useful for no other reason than it is right thing to do. Right thinking and right actions make my life better both, in the eyes of God and the eyes of the world.

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.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

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.

 

Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret, Part Two

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The revolving ball of emotions labeled guilt, shame, remorse, and regret, destroy our hope. The unnatural whirl of these emotions keep us locked in the past and fearful of the future. Guilt, shame, remorse, and regret are normal human emotions that are there as warning flags, warning us we have crossed into territory that may be harmful to ourselves. That we have violated something we should not violate within ourselves. Our illness of bipolar as a mood disorder does more than just play with our moods of elation and depression. Bipolar distorts, or denies, all our normal human emotions. This distortion, or denial, means we are clueless as to what we have violated within ourselves and why I stated last week that mostly these emotions express themselves as pain during our illness.

Last week I ended the blog with the statement, “there is another aspect of guilt, or what people confuse with guilt. That is when we make a mistake, or perceived mistake.” Our quote today explains clearly that if we view a mistake as a mistake, we feel guilty when we make them. If we make a mistake and think our world has come to an end, we are ashamed.  There are other aspects that are confused with guilt as well, such as the belief we have fallen short of the perceived expectations of others.  Or we have not met the incredibly high expectations we have placed on ourselves.  In reality this is not guilt, but shame we are feeling. The feelings of guilt and shame are so close together on the range of human emotions that sometimes they can seem inter-changeable. On these issues of error and falling short of expectations it can be hard to tell if we are feeling guilty or ashamed. These issues fall in the grey area of shame and guilt, but shame is really the emotion that is active here if our self worth is called into question. Shame is the topic of this week’s blog.

It is when we have judged ourselves to be inadequate or worthless. When we realize that we are acting as a helpless victim, that there is no longer a grey area. In these situations, we feel ashamed of ourselves. The feeling of shame is directly tied to our personal identity.  We have betrayed who we thought we were and therefore are ashamed of ourselves. This feeling of shame is hard to overcome as we have to change our whole opinion of ourselves, we have to build an whole new self-image. To over come shame requires more than telling ourselves that we are not failures or inadequate. That we have worth and are not a helpless victim of this world.  Those are things we need to tell ourselves, but are just some of the tools to overcome shame. To overcome shame requires drawing a line in the sand and coming to firmly believe one idea or statement, “In the past I may have been that person, but today I am a totally different person.”

It is only by making it a fact that you are doing everything in your power to become that totally different person that will drive that sick feeling of shame from your life. Oh, we will still always make mistakes, but we learn to no longer beat ourselves up over our errors. In fact, I am personally driving the word mistake from my verbal and mental vocabulary, to be replaced by the word errors. Errors, I can learn from. Errors happen, but they are not personal failures.

When it comes to feelings of inadequacy, I may feel inadequate as I learn and practice new skills to battle this illness. What is surprising is that it is actually normal to feel that way, every one feels inadequate when learning new things.

I am never the helpless victim; I always I have the choice in every situation. I may not like my choices, that is not my problem. I just have to choose. Usually help is only a phone call away to help me find my choices. Most importantly, I do something each day to prove my worthiness to myself, through helping others.

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

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

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.

My Life’s Mission

 

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“Bi-Polar is a recognized mental illness that can be diagnosed and treated with medication.”

I read that earlier this week in a brochure about BP they had out at a doctor’s office. This statement perpetuates a myth that I have made it my life mission to dispel. The statement has some truth; BP is an illness that can be diagnosed. Where the statement perpetuates the myth that needs busting, is that it fails to say that  only the “symptoms” of BP can be treated with medication. Without the word “symptoms” this statement perpetually makes people believe that medication alone can make them mentally well. Medication alone does not, and can not, make you mentally well. All medication does is deal with the “symptoms” of BP that make it impossible for you to become mentally well. Medication alone gives you a fighting chance to change and grow, nothing more. A proper diagnosis and proper medication offers just a chance for you to become the person you want to be. A chance at a new path.

This expectation that medication will make me something different than who I am is the myth that needs dispelling. Since all the literature and many of the medical profession do nothing to dispel this myth, I have made it my life mission to help BP sufferers realize that a proper diagnosis and medication, although critical in dealing with the symptoms of BP, do nothing to deal with our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

As a BP sufferer you can either be a victim of this illness or you can use your illness as a shield to protect yourself from others, most of us flip from the victim role to using our illness as a shield as the situation dictates. A proper diagnosis and proper medication make a third option possible, the option of becoming mentally well where there is no need to be a victim of this illness, we can become a victor. Where there is no need to use our illness to protect ourselves from the world and we can live free of our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

Many of us feel our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is imposed on us by others. We are this way because other people made us this way, is another part of the same myth that is perpetuated by thinking that a diagnosis and medication will repair us. It is easy to see why this is so, a diagnosis and medication are external things that should cure an external problem. I want to convince those that share this illness our problems are internal. All a proper diagnosis and proper medication does is give us a stable mind that allows us to shine a steady light on those internal problems. Our illness made us the way we are, an internal thing. Our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is our way of dealing with this illness within ourselves. Our illness made us sick and as sick people we dealt with our illness in sick ways, there can be no other result.

It is in realizing that a proper diagnosis and proper medication is only a chance to find that new path to mental wellness, as always I urge you:

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

About The Year Ahead

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This blog is called 365 days of bipolar for a reason, the reason is quite simple. To remind me (the writer) and you (the reader) that our illness takes no holidays. BP is with us every day of this upcoming year and we must learn to be vigilant against it every day.

When we first seek help we come as victims of our illness. If we were not victims of our illness there would be no reason to seek help.  There are many that still do not see themselves as victims of this illness. They just act like victims of everyone and everything, except this illness.  As we build our support team and come to know others with our illness, we see that there are those that are victors over BP. People who live their lives in a way that seems almost normal, yet they admit that they have that dreaded illness called BP. Those who are victors over BP are the ones we are drawn to emulate but, and it is a big “but”, we have no idea how in the beginning. This just gives us some hope that victory may be possible. That spark of hope is all we need to start.

Before we can be anything but a victim of this illness we need to stabilize on proper medication. The second thing is we need to build a support team. Both of these things do not come about over night. For me, it took over a year to find meds that worked and as long to find the right group of people, both professional and non professional to build my team. It takes some less time, and others more, but they kept working on this until they found what they needed.

To go from victim to victor, we need to start working on ourselves at the same time we start working on finding our proper meds and our team. The fact that we have no idea how to do this is of no consequence, we need to start. I did no say there would be no consequences from working on finding our proper medications, support group and stopping to try and fix the world and concentrate on fixing ourselves. There are serious consequences. Your life will change, you will be ejected from where you are comfortable in your beliefs and attitudes on a regular basis. You will be challenged to see yourself as you are right this minute and then shown what you can become if you work for it. All the time knowing that your Bi-Polar will never take a holiday.

All we have is 366 days in 2016 (it’s a leap year), in which we can learn to be victors over Bi-Polar or remain victims. We will have ups and downs; the aim is to have more good days than bad in 2016.

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