Category Archives: Emotional Wellness

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

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s the Soul

 

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This is the second part of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit? Or how to become a whole person even with bipolar. We are still talking about developing mental toughness. On this topic, I can only share what I have done and experienced, in the order I have done it. It is meant to as a guide, not an order. We always need to remember that bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. Therefore, what works for me and my recovery, may be detrimental to you and your recovery. But there are generalities that work for everyone without them we couldn’t be diagnosed. What I have highlighted are the generalities. These are areas that everyone should look at.

The first principal of mental toughness I practiced was Asking for Help. The hardest part of this was getting over my pride. In asking for help I realized it was not a sign of weakness but a sign I wanted to change. I was confident I could not do any of this myself. I also needed a mirror through which to see improvement. The kind of help I am talking about here is not someone who charges a hundred and twenty dollars an hour, but someone who will listen to you without judgement and be supportive.

What asking for help taught me is I don’t have to go it on my own and I can build a nonprofessional support group. I did build this support group and all have become friends. I also learned that the isolationist attitude I held was part of my illness, not a function of reality. The reality is we all need help and support. We need to learn to ask for help when we need it. It is through asking for help that I learned to properly ask for what I needed in other areas without fear.

The second principal of mental toughness I practiced was Gratitude. We all have things we take for granted that we should really be grateful for. That is where I started, I worked at becoming grateful I was alive, because if my mind had its way that is not what I would be.

I wrote down that I was grateful to be alive every day for a month. That one sentence. Then I started to look for other things to be grateful for and kept building my list. I started this process in about 2013 and have never stopped looking for new things to be grateful for.

To start learning gratitude, write down just one thing you are grateful for each day before bed and meditate on that one thing as you fall asleep. Then expand your list and begin to constantly look for things to be grateful for. Soon you will develop an attitude of gratitude. What this attitude of gratitude gives you is the ability to appreciate the little things life has to offer you far more that you ever have in the past.

The third principal of mental toughness I started to practice was Boundaries. Learning to set boundaries was very difficult for me. I found this so difficult I finally found a class on setting boundaries and took it, twice. There is one universal truth that I want to share with you that is crucial in setting a boundary. “You Cannot Take the Other Persons Feelings into Account.” That is what we, as bipolar sufferers, always seem to do, allow the feelings of others to trump our own feelings, needs and wants. In that way, they always win. The real benefit of learning to set clear boundaries and reinforcing them is return our self-respect. The other benefit for me was I was finally able to say, “No” and not feel guilty.

The fourth principal of mental toughness that I started to practice was Accepting myself fully. It was during the second time through the boundaries class that I came across the quote that changed my life.

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas Verse 3 Lambdin translation.

It was that last line that struck me so forcefully, “if you do not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I could not get that line out of my head, it rang around in there constantly. Until I admitted to myself that, “no I had no idea who I was” and I wanted to really change that and know who I was. I was tired of living in poverty and being an impoverished person, mentally, physically and most of all spiritually. I wanted to know my self and be known, but mostly understand me and how this illness affects me.

I had kind of begun the process, I was getting counseling. But this is where it all changed I went from following direction (doing as the counselor suggested) to actively seeking myself and my own direction and really applying it. I worked with Randy two more years after the change started. He kept me in line and out that of giddy mania we fall into when we have a eureka moment. He taught me to ask myself the right questions.

Out of all of this came this one fact, I did not like myself at that time, but I had hope. That was the ingredient that made accepting me as I was in this second possible. Hope I wouldn’t always feel like this. I have learned to accept myself fully as I am right now because I am constantly changing and growing, plus I have hope it will continue.

I have learned that self-acceptance is as important to self-growth as gratitude is to a good life. You must have acceptance before you can have growth. As one person said, “if you can’t accept being an acorn, you will never be an oak.”

What are the benefits of self-acceptance? I no longer blame others or compare myself to others. The big change is I don’t wish that I had what someone else has any longer. I can get my own, thanks. I no longer feel less than anyone else. Oh, there are better athletes and even a few better workers than I may be, but I strive each day to be the best me I can be. The only person that I am trying to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

Come back next week and we will continue to look at this issue of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit?

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:

Teenage Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s The Soul?

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Recently I was reading an article entitled “Strong mind, strong body”, which lead me to ask this one question, “What about spirit?” The human spirit seems to a persona non-grata in our current culture and yet we are getting scientific study after scientific study that says cultivating a spiritual self along with strong mind and being in good physical condition makes you a whole person. These studies also indicate that gaining better physical condition and strengthening both your mind and spirit will enable you to better battle this condition called bipolar that we share.

For the next few weeks I am going to discuss these three areas one at a time and then show how tying them together makes us a whole person. Most of us seem to be either a third of a person or at most two thirds of a person when we suffer from bipolar. When I say a whole person of mind, body and spirit, I always mean a whole person who has bipolar disorder. Bipolar is for life, but it does not have to control our lives.

Strong Mind:

In my own case I have been studying the area of mental toughness and looking for, and incorporating, the ingredients that make up mental toughness for the last four or five years. Since I firmly believe that our battle is solely with our minds. I wanted to learn what was required to not have to fight that mind so much any more, to fortify it against the negative and rein it in from the exuberant. There are many lists on the internet that share the ingredients of mental toughness and I recommend that you do look up mental toughness on your favourite search engine.

As my goal is to help others I want to share the process I am using to incorporate the principals of mental toughness into my life. I am becoming stronger mentally so these things are working. Is it perfect? No, it is a process, I really struggled last winter but I was never totally knocked out of the game like I always was in the past. I know things are improving.

Like anything else to become mentally strong is hard work. It requires consistent practice of certain principals, many of which can be started all at once. Other principals are like steps above the basic principals. Once you are practicing the basics with some proficiency it is easy to step up to incorporate these other principals. But practice we must, every day.

Next week I will share the principals of Mental Toughness as I see them and the order in which I incorporated them.

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:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/21/3-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/

 

 

 

 

It Is By Repetition

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To say I have struggled this past six or eight months would be a terrible understatement. Situations and issues kept showing up that would knock me down every time I felt that I was getting back up. No tool in my mental health tool box seemed to be able to help me. Then I ran into a situation in the real world that gave me the clue as to what I had to do to win my mental battle. In the hands-on situation, I had to install a plug into a water heater, but no wrench or socket I owned fit. The simple solution was to go to the local hardware store and by the proper socket for the job. But what did I do, I drove around the city and tried to borrow the proper socket from one of my friends. I did this on solid reasoning. I will probably only need this socket one time in my entire life once the plug was in, it should not have to be removed again. Typical bipolar thinking, why was the plug missing in the first place? Because someone lost it when they drained the water heater last fall so it would not freeze up over the winter. This fact alone should have told me that I would need that wrench again because I was now responsible for that water heater that needed to be drained. But I wasted and entire afternoon asking friends if they had a 15/16 inch socket. Which none of them owned. Then the next morning I went to the store spent the money and now own the socket.  I found out I will need that socket at least twice a year as the water heater is subject to scaling due the hardness of the water. I am glad I bought that socket because borrowing a tool from someone, even a couple of times a year, delays your work because of their availability.

I used the almost an identical process in learning to deal with the issues that kept knocking me down into depression. First, I tried to borrow tools from the mental health tool boxes of my friends and none seemed to help. I went to my group of professionals and although they could not direct me to the tool I needed, they did identify that all the issues that seemed to knock me into depression in the past few years had a common denominator and that this common denominator had come up a lot this winter. Truthfully, it was by a google search of events out of our control that came upon Maya Angelou’s quote. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to let them reduce you.”

In my last post, I went through the process that I used to make this quote meaningful to me, even more meaningful than when I first read it and said that is it, that is exactly what I am doing letting events out of my control reduce me to depression.

I knew that water heater needed a new plug when I turned on the water and it just ran out the bottom of the water heater. Now that I know events that I have no control over but affect me directly make me depressed I can bring out my new knowledge that I do not need to let these events reduce me to depression.

Here is where repetition comes in, I had seen enough water heaters in my life to know that they were meant to hold water, not let it drain out the bottom on to the floor unless they were malfunctioning. It was by seeing so many water heaters that I could quickly asses this water heater was not malfunctioning and simply needed a plug.

Now that I was aware that I did not need to let events, especially events I felt were out of my control, reduce me to depression I could change. This did not mean that I knew how to stop these types of situations from depressing me, it just meant that I knew others did not let themselves be depressed by these situations. This told me two things, that I still resided in the uniqueness of our illness and if others did not get depressed by situations out of their control, I could learn to not get depressed as well.

I had used a similar emotion regulating tool when I let go of anxiety and stress. In learning that others did not get stressed out and anxious in the same situations as I did, I could by practice and by repetition, not get anxious and stressed out either. This does not mean I do not get anxious or stressed out any more. It means I no longer get anxious and stressed out, except for those rare situations when everyone else is anxious and stressed out too.

I am using the same idea to overcome being depressed by events out of my control. I practice my new knowledge where ever I can and repeat that quote as my theme for the day over and over as an affirmation.

It is only by awareness that we can change. I am now on the repetition part to drive the new habit of not becoming depressed by situations to replace a lifetime of allowing these situations to depress me.   It’s hard work, implementing new knowledge and new habits. But it you read the last line of this blog you will understand why I stay on the hard path.

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:

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201201/awareness-the-cornerstone-changing-our-behavior

Developing Enthusiasm for the Reality of Life Part Two

 

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This is part two of developing enthusiasm for the reality of life. The subtitle of this series is Adam Braun’s quote, “Make your life a story worth telling.” If you have ever heard a good story teller, they all have one thing in common, they are enthusiastic about their stories. Our life is our story and we need to get enthusiastic about our lives for it to be a good story.

Here are five internal things to do to become enthusiastic about your life:

  1. Stop letting your thinking control your life and learn to control your thinking. As I say at the end of every blog our battle is with our minds. By that I mean specifically our thinking. Our thinking generates our reactions to life and our self talk. We need to take control of our thinking to change our reactions and our self talk.
  2. Develop a positive attitude and keep it. According to Earle Nightengale, the motivational speaker and radio broadcaster, attitude is most important word in the English language.
  3. Ask yourself questions. The net result of two years of counselling was instead of the counselor asking me questions and me answering, I learned to question myself and find my own answers within myself. From the semi negative questions like: Why am feeling this way? What caused that thought? Why do I believe that? To the positive questions like: How do I get better and stay better? What is the best way to respond here?
  4. Remember what situations made you enthusiastic in the past and bring that feeling to the present. When I first met my girlfriend she always said, “I am a different person on holidays, more involved, happier.” My response was, “Go on a holiday and bring that person back.” She has found that “holiday” person hidden inside herself and brought her out, now she is that person all the time.
  5. Act Enthusiastic. Fake it until you make it, sounds corny but it is true. The more you practice enthusiasm, the more enthusiastic you become.

Here are five external things you can do to become enthusiastic about your life:

  1. Make a daily gratitude list. It is easy to become enthusiastic about life if you see on paper in front of you all the things you have to be grateful for.
  2. Create a wellness plan. Enthusiasm and trying to achieve something go hand in hand. If we know where we are going it is easy to become enthusiastic about it. A wellness plan outlines where we want go and how to get there.
  3. Find enthusiastic people to hang with. Enthusiast people have a tendency to rub off on you. Putting more and more enthusiastic people into your life will help keep your enthusiasm level up.
  4. Develop an exercise plan and do it along with a proper sleep routine. Being a couch potato and an insomniac keep our enthusiasm down. Regular exercise and proper sleep help us by providing a body that can become enthusiastic.
  5. Connect with nature. To go to places that connect you with nature lifts your spirits. If you can incorporate nature settings into your exercise routine, like a park, you will find your enthusiasm increases. Failing that, find a beautiful nature picture to look at from the treadmill.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

Opinion, Belief and Conviction

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Last week I started talking about how to maintain mental wellness long term and ended by stating, “it is our thinking that starts our emotional turmoil and our mood swings. If we do not work to change our minds we have nothing with which to deal with any crisis we encounter, but our same old fall back emotional responses that have never worked for us in the past.”  This week I want to examine how our thinking works to defeat us and how we can change our thinking with the help of a good therapist to bring us real change in our lives.

In setting some very ambitious goals for 2016 and reaching many and setting higher goals for 2017, that old familiar feeling of self doubt attacked me. Those statements in my head that persistently, and loudly, say you will never meet those goals, amount to anything, are a perpetual failure, rang around in my mind.

This is where being the most fortunate suffer of bipolar disorder in the world pays off.  I am employed at the same place as my psychiatrist, my GP and my mental health counselors, which means when my mind attacks me, I do not have to wait to talk to someone. I can just knock on their door and if they have a few minutes, I can tell them the issue and they can give me instant feed back. Basically they can tell me what I am telling myself is a load of crap and not to believe it. Besides reinforcing the positive things going on in my life.

That is the essence of therapy, to have an impartial person of skill and training to point out, and have us then challenge the false negative opinions, beliefs and convictions we hold of ourselves, others and the world around us. We then have to follow up by putting positive information into our minds, which surprisingly can be as false as the negative stuff we just removed. The mind knows no difference. We cannot see our own false beliefs, negative or positive, because we believe them even if they are totally false and bear no resemblance to reality. We convince ourselves to believe things to be true. We really have no idea if they are true or not.  It is by what we see, what we hear, and what we experience that we form our opinions on life. Those opinions we form, become our beliefs and then deep our deep convictions of how things work. At the deep conviction stage, it is difficult to root them out.

Luckily I took action at the opinion stage of things and didn’t wait for them to start digging in. I spent two and half years in therapy to dig out my negative convictions about myself, others and the world around me. It was damn hard work. I would prefer never to have to repeat that work.  By catching those negative thoughts at the opinion stage, it was much easier to remove those negative thoughts and replace those thoughts with positive things.

It is by understanding that those deep convictions, or core beliefs, create the prism through which we view life, that we can begin to change. We need a guide to show us which of these deep convictions is helping us or hurting us. This guide can also give is the insight into new ways of looking at things, past, present and future. That guide is our therapist.

The essence of therapy is to have an impartial person of skill and training to point out and have us then challenge the false beliefs, negative opinions,  and convictions we hold of ourselves, others and the world around us. Please see this attached article by Betterhelp.com on how to find an online therapist near you.

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-do-i-find-a-therapist-near-me/

 

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 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. I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog by Dr. Giuseppe (Joe) Accardi from Consultinghealth.com.

Psychoanalytic Therapy: Unconscious vs. Subconscious Mind

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

 

 

 

The Importance OF A Wellness Plan

 

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“When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.” Jesus of Nazareth.

For me these two quotes have everything to do with a wellness plan. The steady progression towards the ideal of mental wellness, through self-knowledge.

A wellness plan is simply a written plan that charts our actions (what to do) to remain on the path to mental wellness. When we are confronted with situations that we know will set off our illness our plan gives us a written plan of action. It is important to note here that the plan contains the things we know will set us back. This means a wellness plan is ever evolving as we learn more and more about ourselves and what triggers our bipolar disorder. Our goal is mental wellness and our wellness plan is our road map to keep us out the ditch and progressing towards that worthy ideal. In order to this we need to know ourselves and our reactions to things incredibly well.

I lived in the poverty of BP I and I was that poverty that bipolar disorder creates. With my first taste of stability I vowed I never wanted to go back there, but was constantly drawn back by my triggers and my thinking.  This is when I was introduced to a wellness plan, a plan that was created by, and for, me to help attain my most sought after goal, “Mental Wellness.”

We can read lists of what triggers a bipolar sufferer on the internet and in books, but what triggers us, individually, may not even be on those lists. This list of triggers does not include the specific instructions on how to handle those triggers. There are triggers that we should avoid all together. Yet there are many things that trigger us, we have to do because they are part of life, such as going on a vacation.

Vacations, for me are not the relaxing fun filled times that people imagine. Being a home body at heart, traveling causes stress (trigger 1). I can not sleep in another bed; thus insomnia occurs (trigger 2). I can not handle large crowds or packed parking lots (trigger 3). If flying is part of the vacation, you can forget that, flying causes a psychotic break. (trigger 4).

In that short description there are four triggers listed, only trigger four (flying) has to be avoided out right, there is no dealing with that one. Trigger one, the stress is from going to unknown places.  Once I learned that was the real trigger, fear of the unknown. I make each place that we vacation as known to me as possible before we go. I watch videos, get brochures and spent time on Google Earth. The stress is mostly eliminated and I can really enjoy myself in the familiarity of things I have seen in other forms, but not in real life.

Trigger two, insomnia. There are medications for that and I make sure I have them with me. In two weeks of vacationing last summer I slept every night and enjoyed each day.

Trigger three, crowds and parking. If I tell you my cure for removing the stress of finding parking in busy tourist parking areas, you will laugh. I pray for parking and every time there is a parking spot just sitting there waiting for me. As for the crowds, we go just before, or after, peak season. There are still lots of people, but you can find breathing room.

All these things are written in my wellness plan so that I can review them when the subject of a vacation comes up. There is less chance of not having the tools and medications on hand if you have a written plan. The key to a good wellness plan is self-knowledge, and a never wavering ideal of mental wellness.

I have included what I consider one of the best blogs on wellness plans in my blog of the week section.

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:

Bipolar Wellness Plan

 

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