Tag Archives: emotional control

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 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

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

 

My Freeing Responses to Life

As bipolar sufferers what do we really want? For most of us it is to be free of the emotional turmoil we feel within us and maybe a little peace from the constant noise in our heads. To earn some of this freedom and peace of mind, this is what I have learned to do and how I learned to accomplish this.

I meditated on this for a long time, “You can’t change another’s behavior, but you can change your response to it.”

“What the hell does that mean?” was my initial reaction to that statement.

To make a long story short that is the difference. I can react, or I can respond. When I react, it is an initial emotional feeling! I have no control, none, it just happens.

If B says something, I yell. If things don’t go right, I throw stuff. If someone really bothers me, I get angry and yell and possibly get violent.

I have bipolar that is what I am supposed to do isn’t it?

I think asking that question is the only time I ever made my therapist laugh out loud in a session. I think he laughed at me a lot but usually waited until I had left.

After he quit laughing my therapist responded: “If you want to feel any peace within yourself and know a sense of freedom that you have never felt before, then “NO,” that is not what you are supposed to do. You react as you do because it is what you have learned, what you have always done. What other people allowed you to do. Now that you are stable you can learn another way.”

It was at this point when I started to learn what I call my freeing responses to life. You see previously when I reacted, I usually reacted badly. By reacting badly, I created a huge amount of guilt and remorse within myself and utter turmoil within my mind, which I then had to carry around. It was by learning my freedom responses that I reduced my guilt and remorse and stopped many useless conversations within my mind.

My fist freeing response to life – learning to practice the old saying, “bite your tongue.” I have learned I don’t have to react to everything.

My second freeing response to life – walk away and deal with those negative feelings within you in private. Punch a pillow, not the wall, but in the end, laugh at yourself for getting so worked up for what in reality is nothing.

My third freeing response to life – If I must respond, take deep breaths and think before you speak.

My fourth freeing response to life – learn to forgive those that hurt, slighted and offended you. There is truth in this saying, “When I forgive I set a prisoner free and find the prisoner was me.” Forgiveness is for ourselves not for others. A lot of times if you went up to the person who had hurt you and said I forgive you they would not know what the hell you are talking about nor would they care.

My fifth freeing response to life – Learn to thank those that criticize you. There is both constructive and destructive criticism and as a bipolar sufferer that takes things so personally, we really can’t tell the difference. So, learning to just say, “thanks, I’ll take that under advisement” and walk away seems the best response to all criticism. Go home and really look at what was said, if it applies use it and if it doesn’t chuck it.

My sixth freeing response to life is – Learn not to take things so personally. Of all the freeing responses to life, this one is the hardest to lean. It is difficult to realize that many things that others do or say that cause our feelings to be hurt are because they are hurting as much as we are. We just happen to be there at the wrong moment.

By practicing these freeing responses to life, I have found an understanding of serenity and know a little peace of mind.

There is another aspect of how to respond to life that I want to touch on. As bipolar sufferers, our emotions are aroused by a lot of things. I want to recommend some things we need to do to enhance our freedom.

Put away the cell phone for a while each day. I must admit this is easy for me as I can remember when the phone stayed home when you went out. I can even remember when answering machines were a new invention. Even today, as I write, my cell is in another part of the house and I couldn’t hear it if someone called. I do not expect this will be as easy for you in this connected age. I can only ask that you give it a try and see how freeing it can be.

Start each day by putting positive into your life. I have five daily readers that I read every day with my first coffee. Nothing happens before my coffee and my books. Include others or kick them out during that time, that is your choice. My girlfriend was quite startled the first time she stayed over, and I told her to be quiet I am reading. Now we read aloud to each other most days.

Quit watching the news. I can tell you first hand that if something is going to affect you directly you will hear about it. On two occasions since I stopped watching the news things have happened that directly affected me, and I heard about them right away. Out of all the news, local, area and national, the world, over the last four years, only two things affected me personally. This proves that most of it is just noise that makes us angry.

There is one expert about freedom responses that everyone should know about and that is Viktor Frankl, the author of “Mans Search for Meaning.”  His story and his book are amazing. I recommend you look at his work.

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 harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom. Follow us on twitter @365daysofbipol2.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/11/21/mobile-apps-can-help-manage-and-support-mental-emotional-health/

 

 

 

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s the Soul

 

Image result for strong mind quotes

 

This is the second part of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit? Or how to become a whole person even with bipolar. We are still talking about developing mental toughness. On this topic, I can only share what I have done and experienced, in the order I have done it. It is meant to as a guide, not an order. We always need to remember that bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. Therefore, what works for me and my recovery, may be detrimental to you and your recovery. But there are generalities that work for everyone without them we couldn’t be diagnosed. What I have highlighted are the generalities. These are areas that everyone should look at.

The first principal of mental toughness I practiced was Asking for Help. The hardest part of this was getting over my pride. In asking for help I realized it was not a sign of weakness but a sign I wanted to change. I was confident I could not do any of this myself. I also needed a mirror through which to see improvement. The kind of help I am talking about here is not someone who charges a hundred and twenty dollars an hour, but someone who will listen to you without judgement and be supportive.

What asking for help taught me is I don’t have to go it on my own and I can build a nonprofessional support group. I did build this support group and all have become friends. I also learned that the isolationist attitude I held was part of my illness, not a function of reality. The reality is we all need help and support. We need to learn to ask for help when we need it. It is through asking for help that I learned to properly ask for what I needed in other areas without fear.

The second principal of mental toughness I practiced was Gratitude. We all have things we take for granted that we should really be grateful for. That is where I started, I worked at becoming grateful I was alive, because if my mind had its way that is not what I would be.

I wrote down that I was grateful to be alive every day for a month. That one sentence. Then I started to look for other things to be grateful for and kept building my list. I started this process in about 2013 and have never stopped looking for new things to be grateful for.

To start learning gratitude, write down just one thing you are grateful for each day before bed and meditate on that one thing as you fall asleep. Then expand your list and begin to constantly look for things to be grateful for. Soon you will develop an attitude of gratitude. What this attitude of gratitude gives you is the ability to appreciate the little things life has to offer you far more that you ever have in the past.

The third principal of mental toughness I started to practice was Boundaries. Learning to set boundaries was very difficult for me. I found this so difficult I finally found a class on setting boundaries and took it, twice. There is one universal truth that I want to share with you that is crucial in setting a boundary. “You Cannot Take the Other Persons Feelings into Account.” That is what we, as bipolar sufferers, always seem to do, allow the feelings of others to trump our own feelings, needs and wants. In that way, they always win. The real benefit of learning to set clear boundaries and reinforcing them is return our self-respect. The other benefit for me was I was finally able to say, “No” and not feel guilty.

The fourth principal of mental toughness that I started to practice was Accepting myself fully. It was during the second time through the boundaries class that I came across the quote that changed my life.

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas Verse 3 Lambdin translation.

It was that last line that struck me so forcefully, “if you do not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I could not get that line out of my head, it rang around in there constantly. Until I admitted to myself that, “no I had no idea who I was” and I wanted to really change that and know who I was. I was tired of living in poverty and being an impoverished person, mentally, physically and most of all spiritually. I wanted to know my self and be known, but mostly understand me and how this illness affects me.

I had kind of begun the process, I was getting counseling. But this is where it all changed I went from following direction (doing as the counselor suggested) to actively seeking myself and my own direction and really applying it. I worked with Randy two more years after the change started. He kept me in line and out that of giddy mania we fall into when we have a eureka moment. He taught me to ask myself the right questions.

Out of all of this came this one fact, I did not like myself at that time, but I had hope. That was the ingredient that made accepting me as I was in this second possible. Hope I wouldn’t always feel like this. I have learned to accept myself fully as I am right now because I am constantly changing and growing, plus I have hope it will continue.

I have learned that self-acceptance is as important to self-growth as gratitude is to a good life. You must have acceptance before you can have growth. As one person said, “if you can’t accept being an acorn, you will never be an oak.”

What are the benefits of self-acceptance? I no longer blame others or compare myself to others. The big change is I don’t wish that I had what someone else has any longer. I can get my own, thanks. I no longer feel less than anyone else. Oh, there are better athletes and even a few better workers than I may be, but I strive each day to be the best me I can be. The only person that I am trying to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

Come back next week and we will continue to look at this issue of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit?

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

Teenage Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s The Soul?

Image result for Whole person quotes

 

Recently I was reading an article entitled “Strong mind, strong body”, which lead me to ask this one question, “What about spirit?” The human spirit seems to a persona non-grata in our current culture and yet we are getting scientific study after scientific study that says cultivating a spiritual self along with strong mind and being in good physical condition makes you a whole person. These studies also indicate that gaining better physical condition and strengthening both your mind and spirit will enable you to better battle this condition called bipolar that we share.

For the next few weeks I am going to discuss these three areas one at a time and then show how tying them together makes us a whole person. Most of us seem to be either a third of a person or at most two thirds of a person when we suffer from bipolar. When I say a whole person of mind, body and spirit, I always mean a whole person who has bipolar disorder. Bipolar is for life, but it does not have to control our lives.

Strong Mind:

In my own case I have been studying the area of mental toughness and looking for, and incorporating, the ingredients that make up mental toughness for the last four or five years. Since I firmly believe that our battle is solely with our minds. I wanted to learn what was required to not have to fight that mind so much any more, to fortify it against the negative and rein it in from the exuberant. There are many lists on the internet that share the ingredients of mental toughness and I recommend that you do look up mental toughness on your favourite search engine.

As my goal is to help others I want to share the process I am using to incorporate the principals of mental toughness into my life. I am becoming stronger mentally so these things are working. Is it perfect? No, it is a process, I really struggled last winter but I was never totally knocked out of the game like I always was in the past. I know things are improving.

Like anything else to become mentally strong is hard work. It requires consistent practice of certain principals, many of which can be started all at once. Other principals are like steps above the basic principals. Once you are practicing the basics with some proficiency it is easy to step up to incorporate these other principals. But practice we must, every day.

Next week I will share the principals of Mental Toughness as I see them and the order in which I incorporated them.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/21/3-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/

 

 

 

 

It Is By Repetition

Image result for repetition zig ziglar

To say I have struggled this past six or eight months would be a terrible understatement. Situations and issues kept showing up that would knock me down every time I felt that I was getting back up. No tool in my mental health tool box seemed to be able to help me. Then I ran into a situation in the real world that gave me the clue as to what I had to do to win my mental battle. In the hands-on situation, I had to install a plug into a water heater, but no wrench or socket I owned fit. The simple solution was to go to the local hardware store and by the proper socket for the job. But what did I do, I drove around the city and tried to borrow the proper socket from one of my friends. I did this on solid reasoning. I will probably only need this socket one time in my entire life once the plug was in, it should not have to be removed again. Typical bipolar thinking, why was the plug missing in the first place? Because someone lost it when they drained the water heater last fall so it would not freeze up over the winter. This fact alone should have told me that I would need that wrench again because I was now responsible for that water heater that needed to be drained. But I wasted and entire afternoon asking friends if they had a 15/16 inch socket. Which none of them owned. Then the next morning I went to the store spent the money and now own the socket.  I found out I will need that socket at least twice a year as the water heater is subject to scaling due the hardness of the water. I am glad I bought that socket because borrowing a tool from someone, even a couple of times a year, delays your work because of their availability.

I used the almost an identical process in learning to deal with the issues that kept knocking me down into depression. First, I tried to borrow tools from the mental health tool boxes of my friends and none seemed to help. I went to my group of professionals and although they could not direct me to the tool I needed, they did identify that all the issues that seemed to knock me into depression in the past few years had a common denominator and that this common denominator had come up a lot this winter. Truthfully, it was by a google search of events out of our control that came upon Maya Angelou’s quote. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to let them reduce you.”

In my last post, I went through the process that I used to make this quote meaningful to me, even more meaningful than when I first read it and said that is it, that is exactly what I am doing letting events out of my control reduce me to depression.

I knew that water heater needed a new plug when I turned on the water and it just ran out the bottom of the water heater. Now that I know events that I have no control over but affect me directly make me depressed I can bring out my new knowledge that I do not need to let these events reduce me to depression.

Here is where repetition comes in, I had seen enough water heaters in my life to know that they were meant to hold water, not let it drain out the bottom on to the floor unless they were malfunctioning. It was by seeing so many water heaters that I could quickly asses this water heater was not malfunctioning and simply needed a plug.

Now that I was aware that I did not need to let events, especially events I felt were out of my control, reduce me to depression I could change. This did not mean that I knew how to stop these types of situations from depressing me, it just meant that I knew others did not let themselves be depressed by these situations. This told me two things, that I still resided in the uniqueness of our illness and if others did not get depressed by situations out of their control, I could learn to not get depressed as well.

I had used a similar emotion regulating tool when I let go of anxiety and stress. In learning that others did not get stressed out and anxious in the same situations as I did, I could by practice and by repetition, not get anxious and stressed out either. This does not mean I do not get anxious or stressed out any more. It means I no longer get anxious and stressed out, except for those rare situations when everyone else is anxious and stressed out too.

I am using the same idea to overcome being depressed by events out of my control. I practice my new knowledge where ever I can and repeat that quote as my theme for the day over and over as an affirmation.

It is only by awareness that we can change. I am now on the repetition part to drive the new habit of not becoming depressed by situations to replace a lifetime of allowing these situations to depress me.   It’s hard work, implementing new knowledge and new habits. But it you read the last line of this blog you will understand why I stay on the hard path.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201201/awareness-the-cornerstone-changing-our-behavior

My Process for Using the Quotes of Others

Image result for You may not control all events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." Maya Angelou

I usually use the quotes of others as my affirmations. These affirmations are the things I meditate on to generate the deep conviction required to make things happen in my life or change my mindset. I thought sharing the process I use to make someone’s quote a usable affirmation in my life may help others. My first mentor in mental wellness taught me to make sure I understood the meaning of the words in the context presented. Not what I think they mean, but the actual meaning. To this end his first gift to me was a dictionary.

This is the process I used to make this quote of Maya Angelou’s  a usable affirmation in my life.

The first part of the quote speaks of events. What does the word events mean in this context? Events could mean concerts and parties, but this meaning does not fit the context. What events means in this context is issues and/or situations. Issues and situations happen in our bipolar lives that are for sure out our control. When the issue or situation is out of our control we react and the reaction is usually negative. In most cases this negative reaction leads to a negative mindset and then spirals into depression.

This lead me to ask myself one question, “what depresses me besides issues I can’t control?”

The answer was incredibly simple, issues or situations that are not my liking or do not go my way.

Issues or situations out of my control or not to my liking or that don’t go my way cause that instant negative mindset.

In reading this quote I had to do more work for the quote to make sense. I now understood what the events were. I did not grasp how the word reduced fit. Reduced meant make smaller to me.  I had to find a meaning for the word reduce that made sense in this quotation. In looking up the word reduce I found it can also mean to make someone weaker or in a lesser state. That allowed me to change the word reduce to depress.

The quote now read, “You may not control (or like) all the events that happen to you (nor will they go my way), but you can decide not to let these events depress you.” Realizing what these events really entailed and that the word reduced = the word depression brought this quote into sharper focus for me and closer to it becoming a useable affirmation on which to meditate.

This a quote is a hope quote, providing the hope that “I can.” I can learn that issues or situations do not need to depress me.

I have different categories of affirmations. Affirmations of hope, gratitude, personal growth and development, right thinking, belief challenging, and wisdom. I have night time and morning affirmations. I also have categories of themes I meditate on throughout the day that I not only want to understand, but also become.

When I find a quote I like, I use this process to make it useable to me and then file it under its appropriate category.

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:

Don’t Let Your Past be Your Future-Overcoming Emotionally Dysfunctional Messages

 

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

 

 

 

Today is Mental Health Day. It is also Thanksgiving in Canada.

 

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Today is Mental Health Day. It is also Thanksgiving in Canada. We have a lot to be thankful for in area of mental health awareness, but also a long way to go. As a bipolar sufferer I want to contribute to the awareness of mental health issues. That is the reason for this blog, to help where I can.

Having just went through a three-day blizzard and living under very dark clouds for a week I have found it difficult to not let the blues in at some level. Realizing that this is part of my illness helps. I also know that I can take the initiative against these feelings and get up and get moving. I know today I do not have to fall down and stay there, I can get up. I know it is ok to fight these feelings they do not have to run my life.

How do I know I can take the initiative against these feelings?  How do I know I can fight these feelings? The reason I know that I can take the initiative and fight these feelings is I have practiced over and over forcing myself to get up. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Then I kept records of when I was able to overcome these feelings and along with my regular mood charts.

I want to share with you what I have learned.

There are proactive things you can do when fall comes around. I started taking Vitamin “D” a number of years ago, a lot of research recommends this.  I take 1000 IU daily. I use light therapy and start it early. I live in an area where in summer daylight is better than 14 hours. In the winter it is less than 8. Once daylight drops to 12 hours I bring out the light.

Mood charting is incredibly important along with journaling. I also suggest checking the weather. For myself, if I see a weather forecast like the last week I know I had better start to mentally prepare. The charts and my journal tell me if my mood is starting to fall.

I no longer lie to myself and in that way I can catch the down turns in my moods early and take action right away. In that way I am less likely to succumb to the feelings.

Is it perfect and wonderful? No it is not. It is after noon and I have still not posted this blog. I have struggled to get the wording for days.  What I can say is that I have learned I can force myself to get up if I catch those feelings early enough. If the feelings have taken over my life, then it is hard to change them.

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

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:

http://bipolarmomlife.com/