Tag Archives: emotional control

Creating a Space 2

 

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The creation of that space within ourselves from which we can be free to respond sanely to the people, places, things and situations that affect us grants us the greatest gift, a place of inner peace.
Bipolar causes within us a state of emotional turmoil and mental anguish where there is no peace.
For most us we believe the world is at fault rather than ourselves and the illness that consumes us.
Our focus is wrong. The lens through which we view people, places, things and situations is backwards. Causing us to magnify the external and minimize the internal. In other words, to minimize ourselves. Sometimes to the point where we no longer exist. This causes us to react inappropriately because we feel worthless and fear others will find out how worthless we are.
It is only by creating that space within ourselves can we find our self-worth and remove the fear through which we react to the world.
Retraining our minds to focus inwards causes us to have to challenge some false beliefs, like other people or things can fulfill us or denying the idea that we can create this space where we can live joyous and free within ourselves. All we have to do to defeat this false belief is to never say, “I can’t do that”.

To defeat the false belief that others is the route to our happiness, we need to stop thinking that if I had this relationship. Moved to this place. Had this job. This vehicle, then I will have everything. That if things would change I would be all right. Yet, all I need is a change is the only true statement we tell ourselves. As long as we believe that change has to come from something out side of ourselves we will continue with self defeating behaviours. Until we believe that the only worthwhile and lasting change can only come about by changing ourselves. We will not find that space that allows for personal growth and gives us personal freedom.

After overcoming the false beliefs, then the work begins to create that space that we have longed for and not known we were looking for.

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.

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Creating That Mental Space

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The Viktor E. Frankl quote that I used holds the greatest clue I have ever found to learning to manage bipolar. The imputes for this week’s blog was an article on strategies for managing anger written by a Doctor. I could not agree with anything the doctor said in that article. In the past that article would have made me very angry because for me all of the suggested strategies, medication, deep breathing, pause and communicate and the like, never worked in my life and my experience has been that these strategies have not worked for many others. But they are always the go to strategies of the medical profession. I said in the past this article would have made me angry. Did the article make me angry when I read it now? No, it made me sad that things have not changed. The real clue to dealing with all my emotional issues is contained in the Frankl quote

All people, places, situations and things affect our lives, this is called external stimulus. Responding to external stimulus is the clinical definition of being alive. It is how we respond to that external stimulus that defines our lives. For the most part, as bipolar sufferers, we respond to stimulus badly, that is what bipolar does to us and why we can be diagnosed. Once we are stable, triggers are the external stimulus that we continue respond to in a negative way.

No disrespect to Mr. Frankl, but he was definitely not bipolar. If he was he would know that space, he talks about between stimulus and response does not exist in a bipolar person. Also a bipolar person does not respond to stimulus either, they only react to it. If we do not have that space required to respond to stimulus and only instantly react to stimulus, how do we change that? Because that idea of freedom sounds really good. At least that is question I asked myself when I came across that quote. The idea of the existence of that space offered such a ray of hope for me.

How do we go about this change? We need to learn to create a space within ourselves that allows us to think before we react to the stimulus around us. We then need to learn to respond rather than react. Our proper diagnosis and proper medication has provided that stable platform from which we can learn to create this space and learn to respond rather than react. We can learn to create that space from which we can grow and become free with a lot of practice and help from our support team.

Next week we will look at the mechanics of creating that space in which we can live and from which we can grow and become free.

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.

I am trying a new feature of sharing sites that I have found helpful in my search for information on Bipolar.

Bipolar Site of the Week:

Welcome to the Bipolar Blogger Network!

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.

 

 

 

The Fourth Truth

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The fourth of my five truths of bipolar is; “developing a strong spiritual self is essential in overcoming our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.” In the last few installments of this blog I have talked about a number of emotions that cause some of our emotional turmoil. I ended the last blog in that series  saying; “there is a caveat to all of this; we must have a proper diagnosis and proper medications that gives us a stable mind.” Without that stable mind we are unable to develop ourselves, spiritually, mentally, or physically, in any way. It is this stable mind that is the foundation of mental wellness. in this series I stated there is formula to connect with our spiritual need. In this issue I speak on why we have that need to connect with our spiritual self.

I have come to believe through my experiences and the experiences of others, both professional and non-professional, that bipolar is a disruption of the communication lines between the human spirit, the human mind and human body. Not only are the communication lines disrupted but our human soul is destroyed or put on serious life support as we have stopped communicating with an important part of ourselves. Without the human spirit to act as referee or controller, our mind runs the show and in most cases our minds are not a place worth hanging out. The biggest hurdle for myself and for many others is to understand, as Eckhart Tolle says: “we are not our minds.” If we were our minds we could not separate ourselves from our thoughts. Now, I admit in the grips of our illness it is almost impossible separate ourselves from our thoughts, but this separation is possible once we have that stable mind. Since this separation is possible, this means we must reside somewhere else. The simplest way I have found to name that somewhere else we reside is to say we are spirit. Or, as the French philosopher Pierre Telhard de Chardin stated: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

This one statement put into perspective the entire issue of how important the human spirit is. This is where we reside. In the new research of heart transplant recipients, a surprising number adopt the personality’s, likes and dislikes of the person who’s heart they receive. There is a lot more to this research, but for this topic it is enough to offer as proof that our mind is not us. But makes real the statement; “We can have a change of heart.”

That is what repairing the communication lines between the mind, body and spirit does, gives us an opportunity to have a change of heart. One of my counsellor friends teaches that when we no longer reside in our minds, we can quickly learn that our bodies give us perfect warnings of a change of mental state.  This is absolutely true when we learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us.  If there is no communication between the body and the spirit this early warning system is of no use to us.

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.

 

Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Regret 5

 

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This is the fifth in the series of guilt, shame, remorse and regret. My intent is to tie is all this together and add the tool that sparks that one thing that is needed to bring us out of these negative feelings. That one emotion that all humans need to continue on in life is hope. Finding hope is difficult for the bipolar sufferer. In the manic phase we are invincible and untouchable by the feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and regret. Hope does not enter into our lives.  When we crash we become worthless in our minds and all hope is lost to us.

The emotions of guilt, shame, remorse and regret are normal human emotions, every person has the capacity to feel these emotions. These emotions are used as red flags to tell every human that they have violated something within themselves that has hurt their relationship with themselves and/or with others. Bipolar is a mood disorder and the feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and regret are moods. As moods they are expressed as feeling guilty, feeling ashamed, feeling remorseful and feeling regretful. Bipolar causes us to become stuck, or mired, in these emotions for much longer and more deeply than a sane person does.

The feeling of guilt is caused the violation of our personal values, the feeling of shame is caused by a giving away or losing our personal identity. The feeling of remorse is the deepening of either guilt or shame or both causing a deepening of the feeling of worthlessness. This causes the loss of all hope. For myself there was a progression from either guilt or shame to remorse that deepens and deepens culminating in a greater and greater regret of my entire life. Only when I reached that point of deep regret could I take the action that reversed this downward slide. Real regret opened the door that gave the me the will to repent, to change. Caught in the deep feelings of guilt or shame and feeling remorseful to the point of worthlessness and total loss of hope there was no ability to change. Only when the feelings of guilt and shame passed and I was left only with deep regret could I find the door to change.

In deciding that I no longer wanted to slide down that slippery slope to deep remorse and depression it became apparent what I needed was knowledge. What did I need to know? I needed to know myself, to find me, my true self. I needed to find my real identity, my values, my boundaries. I needed to built my true character which is made up of all those things and more.

That is the first step, get to know your real self and then quit violating yourself or giving part, or all, of your self away when you deal with others. In that way you will keep your self-worth intact. This leaves the feeling of hopelessness. How do you battle hopelessness? I have found only one way and that is to replace hopelessness with gratitude. To be eternally grateful for everything I have at this moment and for what I am about to receive, if I continue on this journey called living. It is only by being grateful that makes this journey worthwhile.

I said at the beginning that I would add the tool that brings us out of these negative feelings that tool is to cultivate gratitude at all times. Write down three things you are grateful for every day. Keep those in mind all day long and look for more.

When those feelings of guilt and shame come upon us we have to find out what we have violated or given away within ourselves, quickly. These are our feelings, so there is no need to look anywhere but within ourselves to find what has been violated or given away.

There is one caveat to all of this. To find your-self and to learn what your true values and boundaries are, you need a stable mind. Without a proper diagnosis and proper medication, you cannot achieve that staple mind.

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

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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 3

 

 

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In this third in the series on the emotions of guilt, shame, remorse and regret, emotions that are a predominant whirling dervish in our fall from mania to depression. This week I look at the emotion of remorse.

Remorse is more than guilt or shame; remorse is generated when we have committed a serious wrong to another person or ourselves, in our mind or in reality. Remorse can be described as guilt and shame coupled with grief. We are remorseful when we are fired from a job or alienate a friend, betray our spouse or ignore our children.

Remorse is generated by our actions, or our inactions, and of all the emotions that are being discussed here, it is the most dangerous. Remorse is the emotion that leads us to contemplate suicide. When we feel genuine remorse we see ourselves at our worst and in our illness seeing ourselves that way causes all hope of a future to flee. With no hope of a future we feel we cannot go on. Real remorse is the most dangerous emotion we can generate. True remorse is the lowest point we can reach. This is the deepest pit to climb out of, it is the emotion of severe depression. We need to learn that there still is hope for us

Constantly reliving the feeling of remorse, or recreating remorse, creates our depression, at least for me. Another part of remorse is that this emotion is the trigger that allows you to beat yourself up at every perceived error, even when you think you are doing fine. If you never felt remorse you would never condemn yourself either.  This is the emotion of self condemnation.

Remorse is again a normal human emotion, used as a severe warning flag that we have crossed a line that has really hurt ourselves and/or others. In the reality of the real world humans are to learn this is the hot stove ring emotion and we should not do the things that cause this emotion and when we do, should not do them again. We, as bipolar suffers, take a sick pleasure in causing ourselves severe emotional, and sometimes physical pain, and remorse is the severest emotional pain we can create for ourselves.  The emotion of remorse can not be allowed to linger in our lives.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Always 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.

 

 

 

Armageddon

 

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Armageddon – the end of days, this is supposedly a Biblical or Religious way of thinking. It may be expressed so by many, but for those of us who have placed ourselves solidly on the path to mental wellness we have faced our own personal Armageddon and put an end to the days our illness controlled our lives.

If someone told you that you must give up to get ahead, you would not likely believe them. To have an end to our illness most of us get the idea that if we take our meds we will be just fine. I have said this many times in this blog, this is an absolute fallacy. If all you do is take your meds you are still at the mercy of your mind (thinking) and your emotions. Your mind and your emotions still rule your life and until you learn to rule them nothing will change. This is where the work is and I will say at the outset this is hard, hard work. It is hard because the focus is totally on you and you are the one looking at yourself.

Recently I read an account of US Airways flight 1549 that made an incredible landing in the Hudson River in January of 2009. What struck me was a statement made by the aircrafts Captain, Chelsey Shellenburger.   “One way of looking at this,” he said, “might be that for 42 years I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on [that day] the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

He basically said his years of experience, education and training was what allowed him and his crew to pull off that incredible landing.  How does this apply to battling BP? In the case of controlling our mind and our emotions we have nothing in the bank of experience, education and training to draw on. If you never have tried to control your thinking, your emotions and your reactions to life you have no idea that it can be done. If Captain Shellenburger did not have his experience, education and training that incredible landing would have been an incredible disaster, with the blame laid squarely at his feet.

In relation to our illness, those that say they cannot control their thinking, their emotions and their reactions to life’s situations do so out of ignorance. They have invested no time in the education or training required to understand that there is a real possibility of learning to control their thinking, their emotions and their reactions to life’s situations. They have not reached the point of Armageddon in their lives that makes way for opening that new bank account and put an end to the days when this illness controls their lives.

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

Peace

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In having an over two hour discussion with others on the subject of peace I came home and began to write out my jumbled thoughts. The peace we were talking about is not world peace, although that would be nice. We talked of the peace that comes to us in our hearts and minds when we settle the emotional upheaval this illness wreaks on our lives. When we finally bust that over blown ego that possess us to think we could have thought rightly at any point in our illness.  If we have a mental illness it is impossible that our thinking could be right at all. A hard thing to accept, but ultimately true, if your mind is ill your thinking has to be as well.

We all agreed that in finding and accepting help and being willing to do the work is the first part. To, as James Allen wrote, look within, to look searchingly and show no mercy upon yourself. To test what you believe against reality. To root out and change what does not hold true in reality. This opens the door to peace. Inner peace is a promise of hard work on ourselves. It cannot be any other way, you cannot hire someone to do your push-ups for you and expect results, as Jim Rohn so eloquently stated. It is all on you.

That does not mean there will not be issues or setbacks, that our shared illness will never rear its ugly head in our lives. Our illness is controllable, not curable. We can control it the best we can. As we grow in that seldom talked about area of spirit, which is the area from which our emotional control and character development flows from, we are able to gain more and more control over this illness and ourselves.

Peace, inner peace, is a result of controlling ourselves in our environment, no matter what is going on around us. To me that simple statement, “you can have peace, no matter what, if you do what you are supposed to do,” gave me so much hope.

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