Tag Archives: beliefs

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/

 

 

Four Facts That May Help You on Your Journey Towards Mental Wellness.

Image result for mental health begins with me

 

 

These are four facts that may help you on your journey towards mental wellness.

The first fact is that our bipolar disorder is inside us. That looking outside of ourselves for something that will fix everything is a fantasy. Our illness tells us if I had, or was, something different (a different life, a different job, a different relationship, whatever) life would be great.  We falsely believe that if these external things would change so would our lives. Whatever we envision as the external thing that will save our lives we must come to realize it is a fantasy. We must stop thinking that way. It is delusional insanity.  If your computer crashes you do not go reformat your neighbor’s computer. That would be insane, right? Well it is just as insane to think what you are experiencing in this illness is anywhere but inside of yourself and the mental wellness you seek can only be found there as well.

Yes, we need outside help, medications and a good support system, but it is only a help towards fixing ourselves. The outside assistance is only that, assistance. It is not the fix.

The second fact we must embrace is that our thoughts and feelings are separate from ourselves. That the mind is not you, you are separate from all the things in your mind.

Your thoughts are the substance of what you have been told, what has been modeled to you and what you have experienced. In our illness our experiences, are our greatest enemy as so many of the things we think we have experienced may, or may not, have been as we thought in the light of reality.  I am not discounting anyone’s abuse, trauma, loss or any other bad experiences, they are real and did happen.

It has also been proven that bipolar disorder can in some cases blow some events out of proportion compared to the reality of those events.  Conversely, some events are downplayed to avoid the pain they caused. Our mind can and does enlarge or diminish, events of its own accord in our illness to protect us. If there is an “us” to protect then that “us” must be separate from the mind. Grasping the fact that you and your mind are separate is essential.

The third fact is, you can train your mind to think, feel and respond differently. Those thoughts, feelings and reactions are changeable because they are not you.  You can change your thoughts to positive thoughts. You can change that angry tyrannical voice in your head to a loving, encouraging voice. You can gain control of your feelings and expand them to include many more feelings of joy and happiness. You can change your automatic reactions to controlled responses. You can do all of this because your mind is not you.

There is a fourth fact, your mind will rebel like an angry child at the first hint that you are trying to grow and change how you are doing things. Those first steps towards mental wellness are met with real resistance. Your mind will throw everything at you to make you stop, every bad thing, every traumatic thing that has happened will haunt you. Your mind will shout “You Can’t” and give a thousand reasons why. Your mind may engage your body in this resistance and make you feel physically ill. I have had all the above happen to me as I moved towards my goal of mental wellness. Do not give up because like training any fierce beast, once you show that you are boss the mind will begin to respond in a more mannerly fashion.

It takes time and effort to retrain your mind. Today there are many resources on the internet that can aid in this process I have attached two links to PDF’s that I found helpful.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Seven-Steps-Preview.pdf

http://vitalcoaching.com/files/a2/positive_thinking.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. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another authors work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Hillary Jacobs Hendel :

https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/single-post/2017/05/15/How-To-Tell-if-Youre-Normal

 

 

 

 

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

A Questioning Attitude for 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

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

 

 

 

Bipolar As Our Primary Problem

40fa8897fa22c48252ea216be7ec63c0

 

No matter what people try to tell you, bipolar is your primary problem or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. That is what this weeks blog is about, that bipolar is our primary problem and mental wellness is our primary goal. If we keep those simple facts in front of us it seems to lessen our struggles.

Bipolar Is Our Primary Problem.

Our Goal is Mental Wellness.

When we let secondary issues become the primary problem and deflect us into thinking our primary goal is to fix that secondary issue is when our lives fall off the rails. Once we are on the road to recovery this line of thinking derails us faster than anything. To believe that my alcoholism, or my codependent tendencies, or my sick need for every one to like me, were the things that destroyed my life is pure fantasy.  My primary, and life destroying issue, was my bipolar disorder, everything else was secondary. It was only when I make these and other issues the primary issue and take my eyes off my primary goal that I have a greater chance of relapse or setting off my triggers. Conversely, it is only by total focus on my goal of mental wellness and managing my primary problem, bipolar, that I am able to maintain my recovery and mental wellness.

This problem of primary mental health issue and secondary addictions has been well studied in the past twenty years with several models being put forward. A lot of these studies can be found online by doing a google search for: “primary mental health issue and secondary addictions,” if you wish to read them.

The concurring theme of this research is that the treatment of the mental health issue and the treatment of the addictions and other secondary issues is usually separate. You are treated here for your mental health issue and treated there for your addiction and other secondary issues.  While the medical community struggles with this issue and how to deal with it. I want to tell those that read this blog, it doesn’t matter if, and how and where you are seeking help, you are ultimately responsible for your own mental health. It would be nice to go to one place and get the answers for out issues but the world is not set up that way, yet.

It is up to all of us, individually, to make our own wellness plan and carry out that plan. It up to us all, individually, to put all the tools we are shown in our own individual tool box. It us also our personal responsibility to build our own tool box. Lose the idea that someone else is going to do this for you.

That is why It should not matter if you receive the answer for this issue here and the answer for that issue over there. It is our personal responsibility to put it all together in one place. That place is inside ourselves so we can practice those things we learned to make them our life habits.

Bipolar disorder is our primary problem and mental wellness is our primary goal, but we have picked up these secondary addictions and other issues. These secondary addictions and other issues are mostly in response to our running away from our primary problem when we did not know how to deal with the pain our bipolar was causing in our lives. I am not saying we do not have to learn to deal with these secondary addictions and other issues. What I am saying is that we cannot get distracted into thinking that these secondary addictions and other issues are our primary focus. They are not and never will be. If I only worked on dealing with my alcoholism and neglected to deal with my bipolar, I would not be able to maintain any form of mental wellness. This would increase my chances of relapsing by a huge margin.

The wording concurring addictions and mental health disorders is creeping into this discussion which I fear will muddy the waters even more. We must always keep our primary issue of bipolar foremost in our minds and all other addictions and issues secondary. These secondary addictions and other issues are for the most part a result of our bipolar disorder, not the cause of it. Therefore, they are secondary addictions and issues at best and definitely not concurrent.

As with any thing I can only relay my own experience on any issue and my experience has been that following a model that bipolar is my primary problem and all other addictions and issues are secondary I am able to keep focusing on my goal of mental wellness and making mental wellness manifest in my life.

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. www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom. 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:

Self Help Videos

 

 

Examining The Wonky Ideas We develop About Our Basic Needs

quote-i-may-not-be-the-man-i-want-to-be-i-may-not-be-the-man-i-ought-to-be-i-may-not-be-the-martin-luther-king-64-46-48

This week I want to start a thread examining the wonky ideas we develop about our basic needs for acceptance, romance and security as manifested in our bipolar disorder. Wonky is a word that encapsulates the meaning I am trying to convey. Wonky means that our ideas about acceptance, romance and security are crooked; off-centre; askew, not functioning correctly; or faulty according to two online dictionaries. That pretty much defines how the instinctive desires of acceptance, romance and security played out in my bipolar life. It was all or nothing, a sick need for total acceptance, a perfect romance and utter security. Through my bipolar disorder, I had developed an overpowering need for total acceptance, a crippling need to be loved, plus unrealistic expectations of financial and emotional security without any personal effort.

According to Dr. Steven Reis in his work “Who Am I” there are sixteen basic human needs that motivate us. If these sixteen needs motivate us and we have wonky ideas about these needs as manifested by our bipolar disorder, we are in trouble. In my personal journey I was in serious trouble because of this. With stability I was able to define the basic needs that most motivated me and with a lot of help, be able to rein these overpowering needs in, to align them with reality most of the time. Then to readjust those needs into a proper order of priority, based on who I really am and what I really value.  The value exercise I spoke of in an earlier blog. To find our values and examine our beliefs against the light of reality, I feel, is one of the necessary exercises towards mental wellness.

I am only speaking of three of the basic human needs that motivate us, acceptance, romance and security, as I can only speak of my experience. My wonky ideas on those three basic needs caused much damage in my life. The overpowering need for total acceptance and that crippling need to be loved caused me to be chameleon, changing to fit every situation, rather than being a person of character. I wanted so much to be accepted and loved that I gave away my values, betrayed my principals, took down my boundaries and generally made a fool of myself over and over to the point that I was just a shadow. Almost not existing at all in the realm of reality. I lived in a fantasy world where my wonky beliefs and my illness ran my life, believing people, places, things and situations all conspired against me. In the area of security, both financial and emotional, I threw them out with the water that I used to bath my overpowering need for total acceptance and crippling need to be loved in.

With stability and lots of help from both professionals and non-professionals I was able to examine who I had become, why I was that way and more importantly what I could become if I stayed on the path of mental wellness. That is the hope offered all of us who are willing to battle this illness within us, believing in the idea of who we can become. We do not know who we can become and no one can tell us, either. but it is sure a lot of fun finding out.

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. http://blogs.psychcentral.com/coping-depression/2016/11/supplements-for-bipolar-disorder/

 

Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret, Part One

 

mission-vision-and-goals-43-728

Guilt, shame, remorse and regret can be a revolving ball of emotions in many BP sufferers lives. We know in some abstract way that we have these feelings, but mostly we experience these feelings as a continuation of the pain. This pain is what brought us to seek help. To stop reliving the feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and regret, we need to find out what they are, where they come from and learn ways to keep reliving these feelings in our new lives. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing these feelings in depth. Let’s start with the feeling of guilt.

Guilt is a violation of our personal value system, what I have come to call the unknown positives in our lives. Many of us, by the time we seek help, feel we are of little, or no, value. Much of that guilt is unearned, or miss placed, as we never had a clearly defined value system or understood the importance of values. Sometimes these hazy values we felt we had violated were not even our own values, but someone else’s. When our feelings of guilt are examined in this light, that we had no knowledge of values and our guilt was an emotion driven out of what we thought rather than reality, then we can make the needed changes. We need to really stop and check what our values are. I know in my case this was a hard job because I had to do a lot of learning as to what real values were. Human values are human qualities, honesty and the like. Many of us confuse values with beliefs, what we assume to be true about ourselves and others and how we think things should be. Our values can be based on our beliefs. Or values with behaviours, our thoughts and actions.

Originally I thought the easy road would be to look at my employer’s value statement at least for a start. It was quite a shock to find it contained no values at all, only a list of behaviours. I kept looking and learning to get an idea what values were.  The best work on values I found was by a man named Steve Pavlina.

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2004/11/list-of-values/

Unfortunately, I had done the bulk of my own work by the time I found Mr. Pavlina’s work, but his list of 400 + values is great and I really recommend it. It is a quick reference that you can pick and choose the things that relate to you and your life. The thing is values evolve, especially as our beliefs fall in line with reality. So what you value most today may fade as what you assume to be true and the truth come closer together. A regular review of our values is worth while.

What I learned is that by establishing a list 10 to 15 values and listing them in order of priority, sets a course. A course that it is hard to knock us off of once we incorporate our true values into our lives.

There is another aspect of guilt, or what people confuse with guilt. That is when we make a mistake, or perceived mistake. We all make errors. Errors of judgement, errors in math or push the wrong button on the computer deleting a week’s worth of work. The thing is those things happen and instead of beating ourselves up we need to learn to practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion.

To keep from reliving guilt, we must work on developing and strengthening our personal value system so that we will be constantly aware of our values and know it is a huge deal to violate them. We must also practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion

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

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

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

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

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

My Life’s Mission

 

images (11)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Path, The Hard One

 

buddha385920

 

I end every blog with the same line, “keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does go anywhere.” I do this because I know there is a part of everyone of us, including myself, that wants to take the easy way. The easy way is never the way that benefits us in the end. If something does not seem hard in the beginning, it usually does not benefit us much further down the road of time. Managing this illness that we all share is not easy, it is down right hard. The easy thing is always to let this illness run our lives. To let our lives, reflect the symptoms of BP.

Personally I never want my life to reflect the symptoms of BP again. I like having friends I can call and want me around, rather than living in isolation. I like participating in reality rather than being delusional. I like being rid of my mental anguish and my emotional turmoil. I like living mostly free of the symptoms of BP in my day to day existence. Is it easy to live this way? Never, it is damn hard work. It involves constant checking on myself and my life. Keeping track of my moods and my motives, constant acceptance of life as it is, not as I would like it to be. It is a life of constant learning, testing and incorporating better ways of thinking, speaking and acting. Why, because living is in reality the ability to get along with others. We can be as ill as we want in a cave alone.

Am I successful at this? Most of the time now. Do I have problems? Of course but then problems are a part of living.  It is by dealing with our problems that we grow and mature.

I end every blog with this line to encourage everyone, including myself, to take this idea that the hard path to mental wellness is the one we need to be on and run with it.

Feed yourself positive things every day. Look for the positive in everything and everybody. But most of all….

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

Nothing can be built without a plan

35673fa9ec4070c7a8f013cbc65a441f

 

Nothing can be built without a plan. In construction they are called blueprints. They are the plans for the building that is to be constructed. Every detail in contained within them and without them no one knows what is going on.

We have blueprints for our lives. These blueprints are made up of our beliefs. Beliefs are made up of the information we have collected in our lives, what we have been told, what we have been shown and what we have experienced. Our core beliefs cause us to think as we think and act as we act. Those beliefs are what rule our lives and make it as it is. The joy of being human is we can examine those beliefs and if need be change them.

I always thought I had the blueprint for a multi- room mansion within me but kept constructing a one room hovel out of my life. BP caused what I was told to be garbled, what I was shown to be misunderstood or exaggerated, what I experienced to be mostly negative. The beliefs that I held were mostly erroneous or fantastical, a blueprint for disaster.

As with a building I took over years ago, someone had miss-read the blueprint.  In that building it was to have a 3 point 5 gallon per hour pump installed to recirculate the hot water, instead they installed a 35 gallon an hour pump. That building had problems, water leaks developed all over the place. In not too long a time the building became uninhabited.

My life ran along similar lines as that building, my life had become uninhabitable and no one wanted to be around me, I did not even want to be around myself.

The first thing I did when I took over that building was to find the blueprints and read them. I then checked to see if what the blue prints said checked with the reality of the building. They didn’t, that pump was pumping water through the pipes at 10 times the speed recommended by the blueprints. Once the pump was replaced and a few other repairs made, the building stopped having problems and was soon re-inhabited. Everyone loved the place.

In my own life, once I quit misreading the blueprint and replaced my erroneous and fantastical beliefs with realistic thinking based in reality. Once that was done my life became inhabitable by myself and others. I am now on my way to constructing the life I was meant to have.

Look to your blueprint if your life is not all you would like. You could be miss-reading it or may have to redraw it.

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