Struggling? Make Your Struggles Worthwhile.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

Unmet Needs Affect Our Thinking

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

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

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

How do you remove uncertainty from your life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

Bipolar and Exercise Addiction: When Exercise Becomes Dangerous

A Propelling Force

Although bipolar disorder is as individual as the people who suffer from it, when we initially seek help we all have the same goal in mind. That goal is “get this craziness out of my head.”  We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We want our suffering to end. I could go on and on with the stock statements relaying the fact we are tired of the pain. The pain in our minds, our bodies and our relationships. Everything about us is painful, our past and our present, our future is looking no better unless something changes. That is why we seek help. It does not matter if seeking help is voluntary or is forced on us by others. Our goal is never mental wellness. Our immediate concern is always the instant relief from the suffering.

When a Pdoc told me that I didn’t get this sick in a day and it is going to take more than a day to get me better, I got very upset. It was that anger that initially propelled me to go beyond the idea of instant relief to the goal of real mental wellness. To move from the suffering towards a life of constant joy, even with bipolar disorder. To persevere through the two-year odyssey to find meds that worked for me and the many more to find my authentic self.

What I am getting at is you must find your own propelling force to move you from that desire for instant relief towards that better life that is waiting for you. I don’t know what that propelling force is for you, but I hope you find it and let it propel you towards that better life that awaits if you work for it.

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 Thérèse Schwenkler

Warning: Loneliness Is As Bad For Your Health As Smoking 15 Cigarettes Per Day

Are You Majoring In Minor Things?

I think this is my favorite Jim Rohn quote. Bipolar disorder caused me to spend a lot of time and energy concentrating on things that were unimportant to my life leaving me to no time to work on what was important. This seems to be true for most of us that suffer from this illness.

I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what others were thinking and doing. What others thought of me, from my boss to the person six seats down on the bus. Rather than concentrating on what I was thinking and doing. I spent large amounts of time lamenting the past and worrying about the future. Instead of being in the present moment.

The worst part was I did nothing to monitor the thoughts in my head. I never thought that I could argue with those thoughts because I believed those thoughts were me. One of the symptoms of bipolar is racing thoughts. The reason this is such a common symptom is that most of us are under the same impression, that we are our thoughts.

Eckhart Tolle in his book “A New Earth” was the first person I had ever come across who boldly stated, “You are not your thoughts.” Not only did he make that bold statement he proved it well enough that I came to believe it.

Because I came to believe those thoughts in my head were not me I could begin to do the most important thing, monitor and change my thinking. Rather than going with my thoughts no matter what they were I began to question them. I argued with myself, I told my mind to shut up. I waged the most important battle of my life, the battle for my mind. In time I came up with some statements and questions to keep me concentrating on what is important. Like how important is this? Does this matter? Simple things that bring me back to the important things in my life. I learned I could tell my mind to shut up and my mind would actually listen.

In time my mind became this peaceful place where concentration on what was important was not only possible but actually happened. Today, for the most part, I major in the things that are major to my life. The most major being making my life better and better each day.

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 Dr. Ellen Albertson

6 Steps to Overcome Fear and Step Into Your Brilliance!

 

Become The Experiment

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”.  As individuals we must find our own way, our own meaning. Finding that path to our true meaning can be prompted by hearing or reading words that sparks change in us or by getting into a situation that makes us change.  Either way, it is only by experimentation that we maintain that change, working daily towards our goal of mental wellness.

Sometimes I wonder what words I can use to reach someone so that they understand what it takes to overcome this illness or even to understand this illness can be overcome. Words that initiate in someone the idea that you can have a great life even with this illness.  Bipolar disorder does not go away, but it can be managed, and the emotional turmoil and mental anguish can be eliminated.

The thing is it takes something, a word, a situation, that makes a person wake up to the fact that change is possible. For me, it took the realization that I spent more time thinking about ways to die than I did about living.  That was the situation that brought about change. What prompted it is a saying; “if you don’t know yourself you will live in poverty and in fact, you are the poverty.” I was so tired of being the poverty.

The problem is How. How do you go from thinking about dying all the time to thinking about living, really living, all the time? And how can you describe it someone else that makes sense to them? Do you use words like willingness, desire, determination, perseverance, endurance, diligence, commitment or decision to describe what you must do to change?

One thing you don’t do is lie and say it is going to be easy. It is definitely not easy. That is why most of the words used to describe the how of change mean “continuing to do something in the face of difficulty.”

I used to say that overcoming bipolar disorder is all about trial and error. From finding the meds that work for us to finding the best way to manage our emotions and overcoming the identity crisis bipolar disorder causes within ourselves. Maybe a better way to say trial and error is experimentation. We need to literally experiment on ourselves to find what works for us, individually. We need to become both the experimenter and the experiment. In that way, we can develop the mindset that allows us to continue in the face of any and all difficulties. And maybe those words “become the experiment” will awaken in someone the idea of how to get on the path to 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 Douglas T. Kenrick Ph.D.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201712/do-you-know-these-nine-varieties-positive-emotion

 

 

 

A Talk On Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This can also be described as:

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

There are many guided meditations on YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

How to Realize That All Fear Is Created by You

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month.  Mental Health Month was started in 1949 to bring awareness to Mental Health issues in our society. Each year a theme is suggested this year the theme suggested by Mental Health America is the mind-body connection. To this end, they offer a one-week challenge called the #4 Mind 4 Body challenge.

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/4mind4body-challenge

It took me a long time to learn the interconnectedness of my body and my mind goes far beyond nutrition, exercise and sleep. My therapist friend Greta was the person who taught me to begin to recognize all the signals my body was sending me that my mind ignored and the skill of listening to my body. There are many studies linking mental illness and stress-related gastro-intestinal issues such as ulcers, crone’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome and many others. What I have learned is that my body was sending me signals long before my ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome showed up. That these illnesses were a direct result of me not listening to my body.

Your body is the greatest indicator of danger or comfort if you only learn to listen to your body. This is a skill that is easily learned, all that is required is to become aware of what your body is saying to you. The slightly queasy stomach means something. Learn what it really means.

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 Pavel G. Somov, PhD

Everything is Resilience

What We Should Never Sacrifice In A Relationship

There is a big difference between compromise (an agreement for the betterment of all the people involved) and sacrifice (giving away part of ourselves or things dear to us to our detriment) in a relationship. There are certain things we should never sacrifice in a relationship no matter what.

Never sacrifice YOU for a relationship. By YOU I mean THE THINGS THAT ARE YOU like:

Your Beliefs.

Your Values.

Your Dignity.

Your Self-worth.

Your True Self.

Your Likes and Dislikes.

Your Independence.

Never Sacrifice what is DEAR TO YOU for a relationship like:

How You Dress.

Your Dreams and Goals.

Your Children.

Your Family.

Your Friends.

Your Independence.

Your Belongings.

Your Finances.

Your Vocation or Livelihood.

As bipolar sufferers, we sometimes sacrifice something of ourselves or what is dear to us in a relationship while our bipolar brain tells us we are compromising. To sacrifice any of the things on this list open areas of serious incompatibility. Areas of incompatibility slowly erode the relationship and cause resentment. Learning what and when a compromise can be reached is important in a relationship.  The items that make up  YOU, like your beliefs, your likes and dislikes, your self-worth are not even open to compromise if you want a healthy relationship.

The only area where they can be any compromise is with the things that are dear to you. We all compromise a bit of our independence to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t give our independence totally away. We all compromise on spending time with our friends to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t stop seeing our friends because of the other person. We all compromise on spending time with family to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t shun our family to please the other person. We all compromise on our belongings to be in an exclusive relationship. We give up space in our closets and bathrooms as the relationship progresses. We decide who has the better couch and bed when we move in together. We do not get rid of everything we own to please the other person. We all compromise a bit on our finances to work together as a couple, but we do not give up total control. We may even compromise a bit on where and how we go to school or make a living, but we do not give up control of that either.

There can be no compromise when it comes to children, they are part of you. There can be a little compromise in the way you dress as well. How we dress makes us comfortable, to sacrifice how we dress makes us very uncomfortable.

As bipolar sufferers, we need to learn the difference between sacrifice and compromise in our relationships because the right relationship does not require detrimental sacrifices of anyone.

In learning this skill of differentiating between compromise and sacrifice, nothing can be more beneficial than a good therapist. Please see the attached link from Betterhelp.com on how to sign up for online therapy.

https://www.betterhelp.com/start/

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 Myrko Thum

The Right Mindset: Change Your Mindset in 6 Steps

 

 

 

 

 

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.

8 Easy Ways To Make Exercise Suck Less