Tag Archives: bipolar support

Two Steps Forward and One Back, Part 2

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In last weeks post I started a thread on triggers and learning personal crisis management. When we seek help we are in crisis. If we weren’t facing some form of crisis we would have never sought help in the first place. Some of us had help forced on us by our behavior, but even then, if we can grasp the truth that we have an illness we can take the help offered. To put us into crisis there has to be a cause. Since everything today has to have a technical title these causes have been renamed triggers.

What are triggers? Triggers are the external issues that cause failure in any management system. If we try to manage anything, people or things, there will be issues that come up that cause the management system to fail. That is just a fact.

To land us in crisis, the way we were managing our lives has to have failed. The real truth is our illness precludes us from learning to manage our lives. Most of us were always envious of those that leaned to manage themselves, their emotions and their lives. While we always seemed to make a mess of things. That is not our fault, we now know we were ill and you just can’t blame a sick person for how things turned out. I do not consider drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs, or not taking our prescribed drugs as prescribed, or not taking them at all, as triggers. They are just a continuation of our same sick behavior. We have to stop the sick behaviors and learn totally new behaviors.

To deal with our bipolar we need learn what triggers us. We can only learn this by keeping records, such as journaling and mood charting. We also need to build a way to communicate our issues so that others can help up learn new strategies. We need to build that helpful, non-judgmental support into our lives.

It is by learning crisis management that we learn what our individual routine management needs to be. This is a point that is never stressed enough. We come seeking help in crisis and therefore it is crisis management we need to learn. We need to learn what triggers us and how to either meet those triggers head on or avoid those triggers entirely and which is which. This becomes the basis for our routine management system, what I call dancing with our illness.

What triggers us individually you have to find out for yourself but some common triggers that cause a relapse of symptoms for many are:

  • Poor sleeping patterns – this is the largest cause of relapse for bipolar sufferers.
  • External stimulation – crowds, loud music, noises, traffic.
  • Stress of any kind
  • Arguments and conflicts
  • New Children
  • Loss of relationships, jobs, material things, our identity.
  • Death of any kind, people, either close or distant, or animals, pets or wild.
  • The change of seasons
  • Poor eating habits

There many more triggers, too many to list. I often think of the Tony Arata song, “The Dance”, that Garth Brooks made famous. The chorus always makes me think of how I learned to dance to with my illness, by learning to avoid this trigger or learning to overcome that trigger. Mostly learning how to dance with all my triggers. I have learned that: “It’s my life, it’s better left to chance, I could have missed the pain. But I’d have had to miss the dance.”

Today, I am glad I did not miss the chance to learn how to dance with my illness. Yes, there has been pain, I won’t deny that. But I am eternally grateful for the skills I have learned that allow me to deal with my triggers and stop my bipolar from taking over the lead in my life.

That is what we all have to learn how to do. Learn to work through the pain and dance with our bipolar.

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.

Two Steps Forward and One Back

 

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Sometimes it feels like we take two steps forward and then one back when it comes to managing our illness. We seem to make progress towards living in the fifth truth of being useful and productive members of society and then our illness steps in and we either take off into mania or fall into depression, rapid cycle or become emotional wrecks causing anything from big ripples to a tidal wave to wash over our lives.

Our bipolar is not going to go away and every now and then it will step up to try and take over our lives again. BP is like our shadow it is always there it just depends on where we stand if our shadow is non-existent or larger than life. The same with our illness, it depends on where we stand mentally and the state of the knowledge we have of ourselves, this determines if our illness will take over our lives or if we can push it back to remain only a non existent shadow that dogs us.

When we have that proper diagnosis and the proper meds that gives us that stable mental platform from which we can start to rebuild our lives as useful and productive people we soon realize we have a lot to learn. The first thing we have to learn is what sets us off, our triggers. This knowledge only comes from experience. Here is where the first truth, the individuality of bipolar comes in. What triggers me may not trigger you and what triggers you may have no effect on me. Lots of things can trigger us and to write a compressive list would look like a multi volume encyclopedia. My experience has been that any external action or event can have triggering effect on anyone. I have a friend who cannot attend concerts because attending a concert sends her into mania, even symphony concerts. Another cannot watch Romance Movies because they cause an instant and deep depression.

As with the criteria that allows diagnosis of our illness, there are some triggers that stand out and we should be aware of:

There are two things that set us up to fail no matter what, I do not consider these triggers and later I explain why:

Alcohol and street drugs are to be avoided at all times. Drinking alcohol or using street drugs is just a sign of selfishness and not wanting to get better. Marijuana is a different story, for some it is a prescribed drug, for others, like myself, it is a deadly poison. Here is the individuality of BP rearing its ugly head again. What may help some may be deadly for others. In my case using weed caused a lot of problems so I do not touch it

Not taking our prescribed medications at all or not taking them as prescribed will guarantee our failure to learn to manage our BP.  That is all I need to say on this subject, if you want that stable platform to build on, take your medications and take them as prescribed. Also build that rapport with your PDoc where you can tell them if a med is not doing for you what the PDoc thought it should. Antidepressants can cause the exact opposite effect and send you into mania. I have experienced that result of antidepressants and spoke of it in an earlier blog.

I have had to learn to dance with my illness. I need to know when my illness was being a bad dance partner and trying to take over the lead. To understand this I have had to study myself and my reactions to people, places, things and situations. In this way I can learn how to respond differently to my triggers.

What are triggers? Triggers are the external issues that cause failure in any management system. If we try to manage anything, people or things, there will be issues that come up that cause the management system to fail. That is just a fact. Having managed companies and not for profits, I know from experience you need two types of management systems, a regular management routine and a crisis management system that can deal with the crisis’ that come up. In the next few posts I will talk about learning personal crisis management. Although I had experience in crisis management on external things, I was surprised how hard is was to practice on my self.

Before I go any further I am going to reiterate that our triggers are our triggers and it requires a lot of personal study to find out what those are. There are some triggers that are pretty much universal and those I will cover here, but we must study ourselves in even greater depth than a scientist studies a lab rat to find what really triggers us.

So tune in next week as we continue this discussion. To be continued……..

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.

 

 

Blending Truths and Absolutes 2

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In becoming aware that I was creating the problems in my life and being put into a situation where I needed to seek help I started the process to get in to see a psychiatrist.  This led to start of that collision between my first absolute and my first truth.  All collisions have a starting point. Car A failed to stop for the stop sign. That is why the two cars collided. My seeking help from a psychiatrist was the start of this collision between my absolutes and my truths. These are the lessons that experience taught me.

We go into things with preconceived notions in our world today, especially medical things. We expect that an instant cure will be forthcoming shortly after we sit down across from the doctor. We also expect not to have to do a lot of work ourselves beyond maybe taking a few pills when we are diagnosed.

My second absolute, “that medications and a good medical and non medical support team can only help to a point. Achieving mental wellness is mostly up to me.” And my first truth, “bipolar as an illness is as individual as the people who suffer from it,” collided almost immediately

Although it only took three visits for my PDoc to figure out that I had bipolar 1, finding medications that worked for me proved very difficult. I have a great PDoc, but that first truth on the individuality of this illness makes treating bipolar very difficult in a lot of cases. It definitely did in my case. The details of this adventure encompass about 18 months and filled three of those dollar store notebooks of medications tried and their effects on me, none of which were good. The average on each medication or combination of medications was a two-week trial. Now good, or not good, is an objective personal opinion. For most of the medications my PDoc and I both agreed that the effects were not good. Effects like made me a zombie, made me physically ill and so on. But there was one combination of medications we tried that I thought was great and my PDoc did not.  This combinations of medications put me in a state of almost instant mania. I slept only six hours in the whole two-week trial and got lots done.  It was even difficult for me to keep that next PDoc appointment because I felt so good. As I stated earlier, BP sufferers find it difficult to seek help when they are manic.  I had made a commitment to see this through so I showed up. Because, and maybe thankfully, my PDoc controlled the prescription pad those meds were changed immediately. Along with that I saw my PDoc daily until the mania subsided. Which only took a few days. Finally, a medication was found that seemed to work for me and because of that 18-month experience I can say there is way to tell if your medication is working for you. You feel like you, not up, not down, not different, just you. Or as one person said to me, “How do you know you are on the right meds and they are working? You can’t tell they are.” Once I had taken my proper medications for a few weeks one word entered into my life that I had never experienced before, stability. Real mental stability.

There were other things going on during that 18-month period simultaneous to my search for medications that worked for me. Things that I recommend everyone who suffers from this illness do right after they get their diagnosis and fill their first prescription. The first thing I recommend is buy a note book and a pen when you pay for your prescription and write down how those medications make you feel after you take them.

To be continued………………

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.

 

 

Blending Truths and Absolutes

 

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What are our tactics for dealing with bipolar? Herman Gorter’s quote says that our tactics must be based on absolute truths or they would lead to defeat. That is why I shared my three absolutes and my five truths, my tactics for dealing with my bipolar are based on those things and they are absolutely true for me. Thus my tactics seldom fail and even when they do, I automatically reach out to someone to help me find a new tactic to add to my arsenal of tools and tactics that work for me. Failure then, is not really failure at all, it is just a learning experience.

The Five Truths have proven true for myself and many others, but they are usually too general to be absolute truths for everyone. It is only by finding what is absolutely true for ourselves, individually, can we find the tactics to manage our individual bipolar.

I find I can only explain this by telling my story as it relates to  those absolute truths on which to base those tactics, as they are my truths. But i hope to be a guide to help you find your own absolute truths to base your tactics on.

When I began my journey towards mental wellness, I had no tools and no tactics. I had only my illness. What was different? I had made a decision to change because I no longer liked living in this illness. My decision to change was the start of my first absolute, “I have BP 1 and left unchecked my life is a disaster.”  I needed to learn the things that would check my bipolar

Awareness, real awareness, is the beginning of all change. I had been aware that there may be something different about me, even wrong with me, since I was about 8 years old. That, maybe there is something but you can’t quite capture it, feeling.  That does not constitute real awareness. Real awareness is when the problem comes and slaps you upside the head. It is at that point real awareness kicks in. For some of us it took a lot for that to happen. The reason is we have to run out of other people, places, things and situations to blame and be faced with the stark fact we are responsible for what is going on.

It’s like the term, “situational depression.” Meaning if you weren’t in that situation you wouldn’t be depressed. I spent a lifetime being situationally depressed, because I was always putting myself in situations I was uncomfortable in and couldn’t deal with. I never learned to ask myself or anyone else, “what situation am I supposed to be in?” Or more importantly, “how do I stop getting into these situations?” One day there was just too much situation and too much depression, I needed to reach out for help.

One of the sad facts of bipolar is that few people ever seek help when they are manic.

There was nothing I could blame this time; I had done it. I had gotten myself in this predicament and now I needed to find someone to help me get out of this situation. This led me to the collision of my second absolute and my first truth.

To be continued…………………

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.

 

 

 

Absolutes and Truths

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In the last few blogs I talked of the 4th and 5th truths of my Five Truths of Bipolar. These truths came about from my struggles and learning of others struggles with this illness. I also developed three absolute truths for myself that I must make sure I do not forget because in forgetting one or all of these absolutes can will destroy my life again.

It is written that we should build our houses on solid foundations. These absolutes are the foundation that my house of sanity is built on. If I do not do as these absolutes direct me, I am in danger, these are the absolutes in my life:

  1. I have BP 1 and left unchecked my life is a disaster
    2. That medications and a good medical and non medical support team can only help to a point. Achieving mental wellness is mostly up to me.
    3. That a strong spiritual foundation of faith and hope, based on an unshakable belief that I can achieve, and maintain, mental wellness.  Which can give me the spiritual character and mental strength and emotional control to balance my life.

It is these three things blended with my five truths give me a guide to managing my bipolar.

  1. Bi-Polar as an illness is as individual as the people that suffer from it.
  2. A Proper Diagnosis and Proper Medication is critical in stabilizing our minds.
  3. Therapy is an essential part of treatment
  4. Developing a strong spiritual self is essential in overcoming our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.
  5. We, as Bi-Polar sufferers, can be useful and productive members of society.

My ultimate goal is to live in the fifth truth of being a useful and productive member of society at all times. Is that reality, not always. This illness does not go away, but there is a vast difference between living in the illness, letting it control every aspect of my life, and having short episodes of hyper mania, mania and depression once in a while. When those episodes do happen, they are short lived because I know who to turn to for help. The onus is on me to reach out. That is the action of my first and second absolutes. Taking care of this illness is my responsibility and if I absolve my self of that responsibility I am on the fast track to no where good. I have developed a good team that I can reach out to. Whom I have allowed to know me and know what works and doesn’t with me. This illness is as individual as those who suffer from it and if we do not get to know ourselves and let others get to know us, this illness is hard to treat. We are individuals and this illness fits our individuality like a glove.

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.

 

The Fifth Truth

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Those possessive words me, mine and my, permeate our lives in our shared illness. We talk about my illness, my feelings and when we feel hard done by we say, “why can’t you care about “ME”?

All of this shrinks our world to a pin point of poor me and out of whack feelings. Feelings we do not know or understand, but those feelings run our lives. Mostly, we feel everyone and everything is against us. Yet, the simple truth is that we do everything in our power to deny our true self. We are self-created chameleons. Trying to “be” everything to everybody. Proving to everyone that we do not care about ourselves, nor do we know how to care for ourselves, but we are totally blind to this fact.

The fifth truth of bipolar is, “we, as BP sufferers, can become useful and productive members of society.” Wrapped up in ourselves and our illness this is an impossible statement to fulfill and one statement we have all failed miserably trying to fulfill. As long as our illness controls our lives we will find it difficult to be either useful or productive. We have all been taught to believe the truth of this quote in one form or another.

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” Bill Bradley.

We all want to be a success, but our illness distorts, in so many ways, what success really is. We “think” success is this, or that, and follow that path only to have what we “think” success is pulled out from under us and we fall again into despair.

In dissecting the line, “ambition is the path to success”, I found, for myself, the reason for this failure and surprisingly the path to fulfilling it. Maybe this may help you as well to make the fifth truth a part of your life. For me, it all started with another quote.

“True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.” Bill Wilson.

If we have the wrong definition of ambition, we are on the wrong path to success as stated in the first quote. Proving again my “thinking” was wrong. For the first time ever I did not beat myself up for wrong thinking. I simply accepted as fact that my illness makes my thinking flawed. Thanks to the second and third truths, I now have the ability with to replace the wrong thinking with right thinking.

In meditating on this definition of ambition, I slowly developed that profound desire to be useful for no other reason than it is right thing to do. Right thinking and right actions make my life better both, in the eyes of God and the eyes of the world.

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.

 

Getting Right with God

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This next series of blogs are going to be on the subject of spirituality. Now some may turn away at this point but be warned, read my fourth truth of bipolar under why I write this blog.

Spirituality is different than Religion. Spirituality is for those of us who have already been to hell and don’t want to go back. Religion is for those who have never been there in the first place.

Unfortunately, it is only by studying seemingly religious things that we can lean about spirituality.

I have written a formula for becoming right with God. The formula is; Prayer + Meditation+ Right Action = Right living in the eyes of God. It could also mean right living in the eyes of the world but that is not important to me.

This is my story after all that is all we will ever be is a story. I have BPI and because of that illness, misdiagnosis and my inability to see the truth, I made a mess of my life for the first 55 years. Add to that the fact that men on both my maternal side and paternal side have never reached 70, I will be 61 at the end of the month. This could mean my time is short. Now I could meditate on those things and I can become those things or I can, and do, meditate on this poem by the Sanskrit dramatist Kalidasa and come to understand and live this way.
”Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities(difficulties) and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
© by Kalidasa
Live well today and God will take care of the rest.
This poem leads us to a fuller explanation of the formula; prayer + meditation + right action

Prayer:

Prayer is the asking.” Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Mathew 7:7

I asked for mental wellness and for help to live as the above poem described, in today, this moment. Yes, I had many yesterdays that were not so good, but I asked if I could live one day mentally well, then I would have one yesterday that was good to treasure. It actually happened. Now, I have many yesterdays to look back on fondly and the not so good past is fading away to nothingness, only to be brought when my past experiences will help others. I no longer live looking backwards at the “what if’s”, “should haves” and all those other things that kept me firmly rooted in mental illness.

Meditation:

Meditation is not in the way we think of meditation today. What I mean by meditation is this;
”Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish.” James Allen.

A quick side note here. There is a James Allen free library on the internet. This quote is from the book “From Poverty to Power” and is directly from Part II” The Path Way to Peace. Finding and reading James Allen changed my life, especially that book.

Meditating on mental wellness and the things that bring mental wellness is what changed my life. Despite myself, I became mentally well.

Right Action:

Right Action for each of us is different and therefore is not easy to describe as we initially have no idea what right action really is. (See my first truth of bipolar.) It is trial and error. The key with prayer and meditation and right action is really getting to know yourself.
Jesus said,” If your leaders say to you, ’Look, the (Father’s) imperial rule is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ’It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) imperial rule is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas, Verse 3 (this is not in the bible but it really helped me)

It was when I got sick and tired of being the poverty that Jesus describes that I sought real help and real knowledge on how to get well. Ignorance may be bliss, but it sure stops you from growing. Real knowledge of ourselves and this illness is what keeps us on the road to mental wellness. This my formula for getting right with God, along with the main quotes I meditated upon to understand what getting right with God means. These quotes have become me. I hope this blog edition and the quotes can help you.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret

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This is the fourth in the series on Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret. These are the four main feelings that control the down side of bipolar disorder. What I am about to say regarding regret may surprise many people. These are my conclusions after years of studying myself and listening to, or reading, the stories of hundreds of others.

Regret is the feeling of disappointment with our past actions or inactions. In many cases our deepest regrets are over missed opportunities or regrets about taking the wrong fork in the road of life. This is always looking into the past. Regret is always past tense. In the moment, or present tense, we feel either guilt, shame or remorse. We do not feel regret until we look backwards on an incident, then we feel regret. How I now view regret, is as an opportunity. The feeling of regret opens a previously hidden door if you are willing to look for it. The feeling of regret opens the door to repentance. To repent means to change our ways. In that time of regret, we are given the greatest opportunity to really seek those changes that will make us that better person. In the present moment we are consumed by the emotion of that moment, be it guilt, shame or remorse. With remorse, it can be so overwhelming to us, with bipolar, that we can seldom pick ourselves up, let alone change. It is only when the guilt, shame or remorse change to regret can we begin to make changes in our lives. It is then, at the fist twinge of regret, that we need to seize the opportunity to repent and make those constructive changes in our lives.

I now view the feeling of regret as the start of the upswing in my moods and depressions. Guilt and/or shame can and do start the slippery slope towards remorse. Remorse, for me, is the bottom of the pit. It is when I feel regret that I know the worst is over. Today, not only is regret the signal that the worst is over, but that it is time to learn a new way to handle life.

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.

 

 

Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret, Part Two

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The revolving ball of emotions labeled guilt, shame, remorse, and regret, destroy our hope. The unnatural whirl of these emotions keep us locked in the past and fearful of the future. Guilt, shame, remorse, and regret are normal human emotions that are there as warning flags, warning us we have crossed into territory that may be harmful to ourselves. That we have violated something we should not violate within ourselves. Our illness of bipolar as a mood disorder does more than just play with our moods of elation and depression. Bipolar distorts, or denies, all our normal human emotions. This distortion, or denial, means we are clueless as to what we have violated within ourselves and why I stated last week that mostly these emotions express themselves as pain during our illness.

Last week I ended the blog with the statement, “there is another aspect of guilt, or what people confuse with guilt. That is when we make a mistake, or perceived mistake.” Our quote today explains clearly that if we view a mistake as a mistake, we feel guilty when we make them. If we make a mistake and think our world has come to an end, we are ashamed.  There are other aspects that are confused with guilt as well, such as the belief we have fallen short of the perceived expectations of others.  Or we have not met the incredibly high expectations we have placed on ourselves.  In reality this is not guilt, but shame we are feeling. The feelings of guilt and shame are so close together on the range of human emotions that sometimes they can seem inter-changeable. On these issues of error and falling short of expectations it can be hard to tell if we are feeling guilty or ashamed. These issues fall in the grey area of shame and guilt, but shame is really the emotion that is active here if our self worth is called into question. Shame is the topic of this week’s blog.

It is when we have judged ourselves to be inadequate or worthless. When we realize that we are acting as a helpless victim, that there is no longer a grey area. In these situations, we feel ashamed of ourselves. The feeling of shame is directly tied to our personal identity.  We have betrayed who we thought we were and therefore are ashamed of ourselves. This feeling of shame is hard to overcome as we have to change our whole opinion of ourselves, we have to build an whole new self-image. To over come shame requires more than telling ourselves that we are not failures or inadequate. That we have worth and are not a helpless victim of this world.  Those are things we need to tell ourselves, but are just some of the tools to overcome shame. To overcome shame requires drawing a line in the sand and coming to firmly believe one idea or statement, “In the past I may have been that person, but today I am a totally different person.”

It is only by making it a fact that you are doing everything in your power to become that totally different person that will drive that sick feeling of shame from your life. Oh, we will still always make mistakes, but we learn to no longer beat ourselves up over our errors. In fact, I am personally driving the word mistake from my verbal and mental vocabulary, to be replaced by the word errors. Errors, I can learn from. Errors happen, but they are not personal failures.

When it comes to feelings of inadequacy, I may feel inadequate as I learn and practice new skills to battle this illness. What is surprising is that it is actually normal to feel that way, every one feels inadequate when learning new things.

I am never the helpless victim; I always I have the choice in every situation. I may not like my choices, that is not my problem. I just have to choose. Usually help is only a phone call away to help me find my choices. Most importantly, I do something each day to prove my worthiness to myself, through helping others.

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.

Continuing Support

 

 

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We cannot get mentally and emotionally well without ongoing support that lasts beyond therapy. This support usually takes the form of some type of mental health support group. The most interesting BP fact I ever came across was that 98 percent of BP sufferers bring other addictions with them by the time they seek treatment. This means that many of us wind up in the twelve step programs to help deal with our other addictions. The twelve step programs have their place and their programs can help us get better, but their singleness of purpose can also cause us some problems. This singleness of purpose does not include mental illness, which is our main issue, bipolar is our problem, our addictions are the result of the pain caused by our bipolar. We need more understanding than what is usually provided by twelve step programs. We need either someone, or a mental health support group, that understands bipolar and who can reflect those twelve steps back to us with an understanding of this illness and keep us mindful of the fact that bipolar is our main problem and needs to be our main focus. Most of us have multiple addictions which are the result of our illness and we need to be reminded fairly regularly our issue is bipolar. We can easily forget our problem is bipolar and get thinking our problem is only addiction. Our problems go far beyond addiction and although we can relate to those people, sometimes they cannot relate to us and our illness. We need someone, or a mental health support group, that relates to us and understands our illness. Although the twelve steps direct us to look at ourselves they do not relay the importance of constant monitoring this illness requires.

One of the issues that one confronts within mental health support groups is that as personal wellness grows we tend to feel we outgrow the people who are just showing up. The group is not focused on solutions but only on problems, the groups are giant whine sessions. For myself, I believe that this is caused by too many people who have achieved some form of mental wellness leaving rather than hanging around to share their experiences of overcoming situations and offering solutions. Most mental health groups are filled with people who have not learned to deal with this illness in a constructive manor and have no examples that this can be accomplished. Once they figure out on their own how to manage this illness and get onto the path of mental wellness they leave as well. Some never figure it out and we lose them. This is a sad situation, one that needs changing.

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.