Category Archives: Tools for Mental Wellness

The Most Frustrating Conversation

This week’s post speaks to a common problem that we as bipolar sufferers face. I have covered this problem from the aspect of when our professional support falls into their routine of this should work for that symptom failing to see us as who we are in this post and in the blog of the week I have attached a wonderful post by Natasha Tracy on toxic positivity another side of the same coin.

Here is the scenario: you go to your psychiatrist or your therapist because your bipolar management plan is not working and they say to you, “Take this or do that and it will work for you.”

You reply, “I have taken that or done that in the past and it did not work.”

Then you get that blank stare from your psychiatrist or your therapist.

That is when you know that your psychiatrist or your therapist is not seeing you.

You may be in their presence, but they are not connecting with you. They are just going by their routine saying this symptom or behavior requires this med or this action.

Psychiatrists and therapists are people just like us and they fall into routines just like the rest of us. That is when it gets frustrating. Because it then becomes our job to make them see us. To see us not as just another patient but as a real person.

Now it is wrong to expect that every time we walk in the door of our professional support they are going to be as attentive as they were when we were a new patient. That is an unreasonable expectation. It is reasonable to expect that when we come into their office, they should know who we are.

Let us replay that conversation again:

You go to your psychiatrist or your therapist because your bipolar management plan is not working and they say to you, “Take this or do that and it will work for you.”

You reply, “I have taken that or done that in the past and it did not work.” Then you get that blank stare from your psychiatrist or your therapist.

Our normal bipolar response to this situation is to complete the appointment and never go back because we think that the psychiatrist or therapist does not care about us. These are the lies our bipolar mind tells us to destroy helpful relationships.

Since these are actual conversations from my life that have happened with both my psychiatrist and my therapist, I can share how I learned to respond when it became my job to make them see me.

My angry response is, “I have told you over and over to never say, “this will work for you.” You are not me and you have no idea what will work for me.”

That usually wakes them up. Being bipolar and the fact that I am there because my management plan is not working, I am usually angry.  But I do have a calm response as well.

“Look, we have tried a lot of stuff, so you are not going to remember everything we tried. How about we try something new.”

Sometimes it is our job to make others see us as an individual, not just part of the crowd.  It is difficult but we can learn the skills to make it happen.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our minds

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom-1412484182389749. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/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 Natasha Tracy

From Glued to the bed to walking underwater

I know every year somewhere from the middle of October to the middle of November the seasonal aspect of my bipolar disorder is going to strike. Sending me into a deep depression.

This year it struck last weekend. It had been creeping up over the previous week, the irritability reappeared. A bipolar symptom that is the harbinger of my depression to come.

This year I slept a lot on Saturday and missed my usual Sunday morning breakfast get together. But I also made a great supper for my girlfriend both days, did the dishes both times and cleaned my apartment. Even though it felt like I was walking underwater. Walking underwater is the only way I can impart the slow sluggish feeling that moving while depressed feels like. Everything is in slow motion, your thinking, your movements. Sometimes even your speech as your thought to speech transmission slips into neutral. It is a struggle.

This annual slide into depression is the most debilitating aspect of my bipolar disorder.

This annual slide into depression is also how I judge my progress. For most of my life, this annual slide into depression would destroy my life. I would be glued to the bed for months. A couple of times this depression spanned a couple of years. Due to this depression, I was unable to do anything. I lost jobs or if I was able to keep them, I phoned in sick a lot.

I learned a lot about myself studying this slide into depression and work.  I thought that I was well suited to farming as where I live the growing season goes from May to October. But mania used to rule my life during the summer back then. So, that didn’t work out well either. I did learn that if I took a job, I could not work the day shift. Either I worked afternoons or nights, or I could not keep the job. For the past decade, I have worked four to midnight at the same place, the longest I have kept a job in my life.

It has been while holding this job that I have been able to study my progress from glued to bed when the depression hit to walking underwater.  I did this by practicing what I preach a lot today, “You can take the initiative against depression.”

Do not doubt that I am depressed as I write this, I cannot even tell if this is coherent. The big lesson I have learned is this, our brains tell us we must do some great thing to defeat depression. The truth is it is by doing little things even if it feels like we are walking underwater that really works.  Doing something for someone else also seems to help as well. When I listed my weekend accomplishments at the beginning of this post, they were not huge things. I made a couple of meals and shared them with my girlfriend. I did the dishes both times and I cleaned my apartment and I felt like I was walking underwater the whole time. But I also felt like I was doing something worthwhile.

If you get up and do one little thing even if it feels like it is the greatest weight you have ever lifted, you will find that feeling of doing something worthwhile. Then you can build on “taking the initiative against depression.”

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our minds

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/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 Sharon Davis

bipolar.newlifeoutlook.com/yoga-for-mental-health/

Do Not Speak death

In his short story “What Men Live By” the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy gave me one of the great secrets for my mental health. The secret is said in many ways in many different languages, but it was in this short story that I finally heard the secret and learned from it. My hope is that in telling this secret in my way that some may hear the secret and learn to practice it.

The gist of the story is a poor man went to the store to get something and not only did he not get what he supposed to, but he also brought someone home with him for supper. A scenario that would anger any wife. There is more to the story than this of course.     

Near the end of the story, one of the characters says, “I entered the house and a woman came to meet us and she began to speak………. the spirit of death came from her mouth.” That line stopped me cold and I had to go back to the beginning of the story to find what the woman said.

She said, “her husband was a drunk, she hated him and should never have married him. The man he brought home was as worthless as her husband. She dragged in things that happened ten years before. She talked and talked and at last flew at her husband in her rage.”

To my bipolar mind, this was a pretty typical husband and wife argument and very well written, where was the “death” in that. Then I focused on two words, hate and worthless. Words I spoke every day about myself and every person, place, thing and situation in my life. That’s when the secret jumped out at me.

The secret is a simple statement, “Do not speak death.” What does “do not speak death” mean – that we should eliminate the words that kill our spirits from our spoken words. This, in turn, will remove these words from our thoughts as we become conscious of them.

With those two words, “hate” and “worthless” I started on a journey. The journey was to eliminate all the spirit killing words from my vocabulary. My first step was to track how often I used those words. On a typical day, I used the word “HATE” a remarkable one hundred and ten times. The word “WORTHLESS” only about thirty times. As I became more and more aware when these two words crept into my spoken language, I began to look for words that I could replace them with. For “hate” I chose “like” which over time became “love” and “worthless” I chose “useful.”

Here is a concrete example. On June 10th, 201O I said, “I hate my job,” out loud fifty-two times. That does not include the number of times I made that statement in the confines of my mind. In that mindset, I did not want to go to work.

On June 10th, 2019 I said, “I love my job,” sixteen times in conversation and another twenty-three times to myself. The thing is it is the same job. Nothing has changed but me and how I speak of my job and now I want to go to work every day.

As time went on, I found more and more spirit killing words and using the same process eliminated them from my spoken vocabulary. In a future post, I will compile a list of the common spirit killing words that we use in our everyday speech.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our minds

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/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 Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

https://psychcentral.com/blog/are-you-making-these-4-communication-mistakes-in-your-romantic-relationship

You have to Find What Works For You

The statement, “You have to find what works for you,” is the most frustratingly true statement of the bipolar battle. This statement speaks to the individuality of bipolar as no other statement can. Only by finding what works for you can you even make the beginning steps towards mental wellness.

Well-meaning people, both professional and non-professional, often say if you do this, or do that, your bipolar will go away. The truth is they can say whatever they like. Today my first response to these statements is, “Thank you for the suggestion.” This may be because no one can tell me what to do. I would like to outgrow that response, but it is still there. The other reason is that as an individual what they are saying may or may not help. I have tried thousands of “guaranteed to work” things in my bipolar battle that did not help at all.

The thing is I did TRY them all. I took those suggestions and tried them.

Some said medication is guaranteed to work. I tried 52 different meds or combinations of meds until I found the one that worked for me.

Some said therapy is guaranteed to work. I tried several therapists and a couple of different therapy styles until I found the therapist and therapy style that worked for me.

Some said meditation is guaranteed to work.  I tried many, many styles of meditation until I found the definition and style of meditation that worked for me.

Some said exercise is guaranteed to work.  I went to the gym and lasted one week. I tried exercising a home, nope. I took my camera and my camcorder and walked in nature, that is what worked for me. I can hike for hours.

Some said diet is guaranteed to work. I tried this diet and that diet, none of them did anything for me. Then I found a group of people who have a weekly potluck and eat healthy most of the time. That is what worked for me. A diet based on friendship and encouragement.

All these things are just suggestions that I tied and tried until I found what worked for me.

Finding what works is kind of like banging your head against a wall until a door you had no idea was there begins to swing open. Suddenly you are on a totally different and unexpected path. Making the statement, “when you step on the way the way appears” truer than you can imagine.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our minds

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on Twitter @365daysofbipol2

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

Not Recommended for Bipolar Disorder

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”.  I write mostly about somewhere to start in growing and healing. How to resume our connection with our authentic selves. I write from the perspective of someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, not as an expert. I share the knowledge I have gained in the hopes it may help you.

This post gets to the heart of “bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it.”

I am not recommending everyone run out and try things that are not recommended for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Or that this is even a good Idea. What I am saying is that properly supervised by a good professional team, if all else is failing, thinking out side of recommended treatments may be what is needed.

There are a number of things that are not recommended for the treatment of bipolar disorder that are in my bipolar management bag of tricks. The first being the medication that I am on, which shall remain nameless. When I was prescribed this med by my psychiatrist it was not recommended for bipolar disorder. After two years of trying to find meds that worked, he prescribed this med because nothing else worked and guess what, this med worked. Almost a decade later it still works and is now recommended along with many others as a viable bipolar med.

I suffer from seasonally affected bipolar 1, meaning that as the days shorten, I crash towards depression and as the days lengthen in spring I take off like a rocket into mania. That has been my pattern most of my life. My meds take care of the liftoff in the spring for the most part, but the management of the crash towards depression in the winter remained a struggle for many years. Then three years ago one of my medical team suggested light therapy as an addition to my winter management system. Light therapy is not recommended for bipolar sufferers because the light can over stimulate the brain causing mania. Which happened to me because I used the light for thirty minutes a day, every day. I overdosed on the light. I got into that bipolar way of thinking, “if it is good for you, lots may be better.”

However, ten minutes of light therapy three times a week seems to be what I need to stop that plunge towards depression. It has worked well for the last two winters.

What this post is about is that we must find what works for us, be it a recommended treatment or not. If what we are doing, or taking, is actually working, then it is for us.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. Follow us on Twitter @365daysofbipol2

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

Finding a different starting point

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”.

I had to find a different starting point for many things in my life. I had to find a different starting point in the area of meditation than what was being offered me, as none of those ways worked. I had to find different definitions for ambition and success before I could really move forward.

When I read the quote, “Discover who you truly are and fully give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world. This is your path to an extraordinary life.” James McWhinney.

That is what I really wanted, “an extraordinary life” but I only saw one part of what the author was saying, that is “give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world.”. I latched on to that part of the quote and missed the rest. Because I did show “every aspect of my uniqueness to world” on a lot of occasions and all it ever got me was rejected or locked up. So that approach has a real stigma attached to it and “showing my uniqueness” was not my path to an extraordinary life.

What I am writing about is how we, as bipolar sufferers, must look at things that are said and written and then set out for the “so called normal” world. We must recognize that we see and interpret things differently. Even when we are on the path to mental wellness, we must be careful that we are hearing and reading what is said and written and not go by the reaction in our head. When I read things like the above quote I need to slow down and read the whole quote a few times. Then relate that quote to what I know.

For me the path to extraordinary life did lay in discovering who I truly was. I called it “growing my inner child”, but “giving every aspect of my uniqueness to the world” was not part of that path

I am not about show my uniqueness to the world ever again, because my uniqueness to me means me in my illness.  I have worked diligently at discovering who I am so that I can present that person to the world, the sane reasonable person. I find I am not that unique when I am close to mental wellness. I can find sameness or shared ideals with others that do not make me feel isolated, unique and different. Those feelings and actions of isolation and uniqueness are a part of my illness. Always thinking I was different was fuel for my illness.

If I want to carve a path to an extraordinary life, my uniqueness and the stigma attached to that word is not the direction that I need to go in, I need to find a different starting point. On this issue of finding an extraordinary life, I find looking for the sameness with others, especially those I respect, to be the starting point for me.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. 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 Melanie McKinnon as appeared in BPHope blog.

Due to a technical error this blog is unavailable.

Growing Your Inner Child part 3

“Without a solid foundation, you will have trouble creating anything of value” erickaopenheimer.com

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. That individuality also applies to the tools and methods used to manage bipolar disorder. When I talk on the things I use to manage my bipolar I am talking about what worked for me. These suggestions are just that suggestions, but they may work for you. Then again they may not. But at least it is somewhere to start. And that is the real issue, we have no idea where to start on this journey of healing and growing. If you want to grow your inner child to match your adult frame, in other words, connect with your authentic self you need a starting point.

You can do nothing without a proper diagnosis and, more importantly the proper medication, that works for you. The proper diagnosis and proper medication give’s you a stable mind with which to work. The next thing you need is an unbiased observer, today we call them therapists or counsellors. There is one other ingredient and that is knowledge. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. If you don’t know, you can not act.

I am fond of the sailing ship analogy as it portrays in the minds eye you are sailing a magnificent ship across calm waters. A proper diagnosis and proper medications are the fair wind in you sail and your rudder. The therapist or councillor is the dock worker that helps you untie from the dock by helping you change your thinking and challenges your false beliefs.  Connecting with and living as your authentic self becomes your course to your own tropical island.

If you try to sail away on your journey to find your authentic self without the fair wind and rudder, not willing to gain any knowledge and not having the aid of the dock worker, you are just a rudderless ship that is going to hit the rocks again and again.

My own journey of being improperly diagnosed for decades and my unwillingness to listen to anyone; caused me to have that cyclic existence of lose everything, get patched up and set out again, do well for a bit, then lose everything again. This cycle would repeat over and over until the day I was properly diagnosed with Bipolar 1, found meds that worked and spent two years in a therapist’s office. My experience is not that different than many others who have honestly shared their experiences with me. That is why I can say with certainty that even though we are individuals and differ in the presentation and control of our illness to some degree, without a proper diagnosis and proper medication. Coupled with the aid of a good therapist and a willingness to learn about ourselves and our illness. Our journey to connect with our authentic self will be futile.

The good new is we can incorporate all these aspects the day we get our proper diagnosis. It takes time to find meds that work, and you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find a therapist you click with. This takes time but you can set your course towards developing a strong connection with your authentic selves by learning on your own about this illness and how it affects you. To find what works for you in managing your bipolar disorder and just as importantly what doesn’t work. This is all knowledge

Progress is slow at first but as you progress towards your goal of connecting with your authentic self you will find your mental anguish and emotional turmoil will slowly subside.

These are the first things we need to do embark on that journey towards mental wellness, to make our lives “Ducky” even with bipolar disorder.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Wednesday. Like us on Facebook at 365daysofbipolar.com. 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 Becky Wicks on the NewLifeOutlook website.

https://bipolar.newlifeoutlook.com/fatigue-bipolar/?referrer=Newsletter&utm_campaign=NLO-Bipolar-Newsletter&utm_adgroup=Newsletter&keywords=bipolar

Omega 3 Mood Formula, A Review

I have not posted anything since July 4th. I have had a wonderful summer and I hope after all this time you are still interested in what I have to say. As always, I begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. That individuality also applies to the tools and methods used to manage bipolar disorder. When I talk on the things I use to manage my polar I am talking about what worked for me. These suggestions are just that suggestions, but they may work for you. Then again, they may not. But at least it is somewhere to start. This is very true with this week’s topic. When it comes to adding things like vitamins and supplements to your bipolar management please consult your Doctor before you do.

On September 15, 2017 when I was getting my vitamins which then included B6 and B12 with Folic acid, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin C. I picked up a product called Omega 3 Mood Formula. I have now been taking this product for one year and I want to give you my review of this product.

What is Omega 3 Mood Formula? Omega 3 Mood formula is a fish oil supplement in which the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is double the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the one I take it is 500 EPA – 250 DHA. This is very important. There are a lot of Omega 3 supplements out there but only the mood formula has this high ratio of EPA to DHA. It is also important to point out that each manufacturer of this supplement call it by a different name, Rexall uses “Mood Stabilizer,” Jamison is “Calm, County Life is “Mood,” Ascenta uses “Omega 3, High EPA.”  I think you get the idea. Make sure to find the one with EPA double the DHA. The product can be either soft gels or liquid. I am going to avoid the debate about which is better.

What does Omega 3 Mood Formula Do? “Doctors believe omega3 fatty acids are a potential treatment for bipolar disorder because the fish-oil fatty acids, EPA and DHA, can alter brain signal pathways in ways similar to mood stabilizers like lithium and valproate.” Every Day Health April 20, 2010.

 

What did Omega 3 Mood Formula Do for Me?  Omega 3 mood formula seems to have been a beneficial addition to my bipolar management strategy. That is not to say there was no bumps in the road during the past year. About six months after I started taking I began to experience nausea and a dry mouth feeling. This turned out to be side effects of the medication I had been prescribed for my bipolar disorder. The reason for this was the Omega 3 was working and causing me to not need as much of my prescribed medication. My prescription meds were cut in half and that sick feeling went away and has stayed away.

Conclusion: The more research I do the more things I find that may aid in the management of my bipolar disorder and then can pass on to you, so you can use what may be beneficial to you. Bipolar management will forever be experimentation, with ourselves as the Guinee Pig. I have learned that if I want that ducky life even with bipolar disorder I must embrace that experimentation.

Recently, I have added a few more supplements to my management strategy. Which begs the question are vitamins and supplements a better way to manage bipolar disorder. Which looks like a good topic for next week.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

https://gretchenrubin.com/2017/11/7-books-creativity

 

What is Your Aversion

 

 

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

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

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

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

This is Janes story.

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

“Are you willing, Jane?”

To which I responded, “NO!”

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

I again said, “NO!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

A BP Sufferers Take on Mood Tracking

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Therefore, whatever I suggest in the ways of managing bipolar and the tools to use for bipolar management, I know those strategies or tools are not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people.  Today we are discussing a management tool, mood tracking and journaling. As a writer using a pen and paper came naturally to me so this was an easy habit for me to adopt. For others mood tracking and journaling is very difficult. Today there are apps that may help.

At the beginning of my mental wellness journey, I started mood tracking and journaling with no knowledge of what I was supposed to track. Tracking moods and feelings does not show you are making progress towards your goal of mental wellness. Day after day of writing depressed/angry, depressed/angry, depressed/angry does not improve anything it just shows you are always depressed and angry.

It was not until I changed how and what I was tracking that consistent improvement began.  When I added tracking the events that affected my mood then I could see constructively what sparked my moods. When I added writing out ways to learn to cope with those events and practicing those coping strategies on paper that real progress was made.

“There are only two ways to handle triggering events in your life. Either you learn to cope with the event or you learn to avoid the event.”

The internet is a wonderful thing and we are so lucky to live at this time. We can search out coping strategies for all kinds of things.  It was by studying and practicing coping strategies at home that I suddenly noticed a drop in my stress level. The biggest breakthrough in this area was when I made a mistake at work and knew that I would be disciplined for the mistake. Normally this would cause me to call in sick for a week or quit the job. This time with the help of a friend I practiced coping strategies and learned to handle this type of situation. The result is that today I have lost my fear of making errors. Which surprisingly has led to making fewer errors and given me far more confidence.

By tracking the events that trigger us and practicing coping strategies, we also quickly find the events we need to avoid. No matter what we cannot learn a strategy that will allow us to cope with that or similar situations. I have found that as my skills and coping strategies improve there are some events that used to have a negative effect on me that I can tolerate in small doses, like concerts and large crowds that used to send me into severe mania. There are still people, places, things and situations in my life that need to be avoided, but the list is getting smaller and smaller as I learn to cope better with life.

It is only by trial and error and constant evaluation of ourselves that we find our own joyous version of mental wellness.

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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