Category Archives: Emotional Wellness

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

 

 

Questioning What is Behind Our Thoughts

 

Image result for Strong beliefs

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

 

Image result for strong mind quotes

 

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?

Image result for Whole person quotes

 

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

Image result for repetition zig ziglar

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

 

Image result for make your life a story worth telling

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

Image result for Quotes on negative convictions

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