Tag Archives: Learning Skills

What is Your Aversion

 

 

Do you have an aversion to something that is holding you back on your journey to mental wellness? An aversion can be defined “as a tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation and especially a usually pleasurable one because it is or has been associated with a noxious stimulus.” Mariam-Webster Dictionary.

Mental wellness can be described as a pleasurable experience and yet we all seem to have some aversion within us that extinguishes our chances of reaching that place we want to go. How do you quickly spot an aversion? If you start a sentence with the words “I hate…” That is a very good indicator of an aversion. I know in my own mental wellness journey I had one aversion that held me back for years in all aspects of my life. What was that aversion? It was an aversion to learning. Because I had come to equate learning of any kind with pain and failure, I was totally averse to learning anything. If I didn’t already know it, I was not going to learn it. At jobs, if I had to learn a new skill, I quit. In personal interactions, if I did not have the social skills, I would not interact. This aversion limited my life in so many ways that in my bipolar way of thinking it was a life not worth living. That was where the change happened. At my darkest point came the realization that I did not know how to live. The worst part of that was I was so averse to learning that there was no way I could ever figure out how to live.  I had to learn the skills for a good life and yet I had this great aversion, this noxious stimulus, that prevented me from even starting.

There is a saying that is attributed to several sources, but whoever said this it was spot on in this situation. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

It was at this time that Jane appeared at a group I was forced to attend. Jane, the feisty little Brit, who changed my thinking by telling a story.

This is Janes story.

“When I was confronted with having to change I was asked a simple question.”

“Are you willing, Jane?”

To which I responded, “NO!”

They then asked, “Are you willing to be willing?”

I again said, “NO!”

They came back with, “Are you willing to be willing to be willing?”

I suddenly realized that we could be at this all day, so I replied, “Maybe.”

To which they said, “Great we can start with maybe and see how it goes.”

Then Jane said, “And that is how I started, “maybe I was willing to be willing to be willing to change. From that my willingness has grown.

That story made me realize that all I had to do was maybe be willing to learn and the rest would change with time. So right then and there I worked on becoming willing and you know what, as Jane said it would, that willingness has grown. Today I love to learn not only about my illness and how it affects me but any skill that will give me a better life.

So, I ask you, “what is the aversion that keeps you from your goal of mental wellness and what are you willing to do about it?” Is it an aversion to taking pills? Is it an aversion to speaking to those in the medical profession? Or to hospitals? Or Doctors offices? Is it an aversion to dieting that equates to an unwillingness to learn about nutrition?

It is by finding and overcoming our aversions that lets us make great strides on our journey to the pleasurable experience of mental wellness.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychoanalysis-unplugged/201803/why-does-therapy-take-so-long

A BP Sufferers Take on Mood Tracking

 

I always begin writing each post with the same premise in mind, “bipolar is as individual as the people that suffer from it”. Therefore, whatever I suggest in the ways of managing bipolar and the tools to use for bipolar management, I know those strategies or tools are not going to work for everyone. At best they can only be a starting point for some people.  Today we are discussing a management tool, mood tracking and journaling. As a writer using a pen and paper came naturally to me so this was an easy habit for me to adopt. For others mood tracking and journaling is very difficult. Today there are apps that may help.

At the beginning of my mental wellness journey, I started mood tracking and journaling with no knowledge of what I was supposed to track. Tracking moods and feelings does not show you are making progress towards your goal of mental wellness. Day after day of writing depressed/angry, depressed/angry, depressed/angry does not improve anything it just shows you are always depressed and angry.

It was not until I changed how and what I was tracking that consistent improvement began.  When I added tracking the events that affected my mood then I could see constructively what sparked my moods. When I added writing out ways to learn to cope with those events and practicing those coping strategies on paper that real progress was made.

“There are only two ways to handle triggering events in your life. Either you learn to cope with the event or you learn to avoid the event.”

The internet is a wonderful thing and we are so lucky to live at this time. We can search out coping strategies for all kinds of things.  It was by studying and practicing coping strategies at home that I suddenly noticed a drop in my stress level. The biggest breakthrough in this area was when I made a mistake at work and knew that I would be disciplined for the mistake. Normally this would cause me to call in sick for a week or quit the job. This time with the help of a friend I practiced coping strategies and learned to handle this type of situation. The result is that today I have lost my fear of making errors. Which surprisingly has led to making fewer errors and given me far more confidence.

By tracking the events that trigger us and practicing coping strategies, we also quickly find the events we need to avoid. No matter what we cannot learn a strategy that will allow us to cope with that or similar situations. I have found that as my skills and coping strategies improve there are some events that used to have a negative effect on me that I can tolerate in small doses, like concerts and large crowds that used to send me into severe mania. There are still people, places, things and situations in my life that need to be avoided, but the list is getting smaller and smaller as I learn to cope better with life.

It is only by trial and error and constant evaluation of ourselves that we find our own joyous version of mental wellness.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

8 Easy Ways To Make Exercise Suck Less

 

What Is Support?

 

 

Untreated bipolar disorder creates a life of chaos, of failings and unease. Managed bipolar creates a life worth living. It is going from the chaos to order that is difficult. The main problem is lack of knowledge, we simply do not know how. Humans learn best by imitation and repetition.  Support is not someone telling us what to do. It is not someone trying to live our lives for us or telling us how to live. Support is feeding us knowledge and letting us learn. Support is letting us make grave errors and then making us face the consequences. Support is not saving us from ourselves. The bipolar sufferer is the one who must do the learning, the bipolar sufferer is the one that must do the work.

Someone can tell us where to get help. Someone can show us the many ways to manage this illness. Unless we go for the help and create and use the management plan, nothing will change.

The object of all support and management plans is for the bipolar sufferer to learn about themselves. To learn through repetition what works and what does not work for them. The things that trigger them and the things that don’t. What drives the mania and what sparks depression. What other issues we must deal with. What is good and what is bad and hopefully learning to stick with the good. Support is the people and places that lead us and encourage us through all of it until we can lead and encourage ourselves. We all need support at the beginning of our journey towards mental wellness, we also must learn what support is for each of us.

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. Follow us on Twitter.

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

Depression and Fake, Coping Skill Smiles vs Real Smiles

Week Three – Building A Support Team

This week we continue speaking about things to add to your support team and support system. Those things are a computer and online support groups.

I think of a computer as separate from a smartphone or tablet as computers are more stationary, even if you have a laptop, computers are just more difficult to move around and get set up than a smartphone or tablet. The other reason I think of computers separately is that for myself and many others when we took our first tentative steps on the path to mental wellness we had nothing. If we weren’t homeless, we were close to it and the only place we could access technology was at our local library. That is why when I think of support, I always think of the local library because it was at the library that I learned what real support looked like and felt like.

At most libraries, you can book time on a computer with nothing more than a valid library card. That computer can take you anywhere, put you in contact with people that can help you and the computer can help you learn amazing things and you don’t have to pay for it.

Once you are on a computer you can access online support groups. There are many support groups dedicated to helping bipolar sufferers. My favorite is the forum attached to BP Hope Magazine. The magazine is very helpful in itself, but the forum and the people involved there are very helpful.

https://www.bphope.com/community/

Bipolar Disorder Support – a Facebook support group is very good as well. There are many others

The one caution I will say regarding the online support community is that it is made up of bipolar sufferers. So, take what you need and leave the rest. There are great supportive people in these groups and there are also people that are just there to cause trouble and stir you up.  It’s up to you to find the ones who are supportive towards you and your situation. Online support forums were where I learned to differentiate between someone saying things that were hurtful and people giving me constructive criticism and good advice in a way I didn’t like. Both can look the same on the screen.

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.

One of the newer areas of online support is online therapy. Please see this article from Betterhelp.com for more information on this topic and how to start with online therapy.

https://www.betterhelp.com/

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 Douglas T. Kenrich Ph.D.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light Therapy And A Brush With Mania

 

To be a good blogger consistency is the key, at least that is what all the experts say. When I don’t have a blog post ready for Monday because of life issues, my mind tells me I am a bad blogger. If I listened to that negative voice in my head that could be a problem, but I don’t listen to that voice anymore so it’s not a problem. I know I am not a bad blogger.  This is a blog about bipolar disorder, written by a bipolar sufferer and the issue that caused the blog post not to be ready for Monday morning were due to bipolar symptoms. I thought sharing this story with you may prove helpful to anyone considering light therapy to combat winter blues.

Last winter due to an early snowstorm on October 8th of 2016, my usual system of vitamins and supplements could not ward off the blues that an early onset of winter brought with it. Before my blues turned into a full-blown depression I ran to my neighborhood pharmacist and she recommended light therapy. I promptly bought a small Lightbox Edge and set it up on my computer. Turning it on for 15 minutes as I wrote each day. This little box of light did wonders for my mood and I kept it up until spring.

This winter as the days shortened I started my routine of vitamins and supplements plus this year I added light therapy starting in October. I have to say that until a few weeks ago I was having the best winter I have ever had in my entire life. A few weeks ago, ever so slowly, ever so slightly I began to climb into mania. My thoughts started to speed up, my speech sped up, my creativity came alive. Solutions to problems sprang up from nowhere. I could multi-task or at least I thought I could. All the signs and symptoms of a manic episode.

I will be the first to tell you no one complains about mania, at least I sure don’t. It is not the mania that is the issue unless we overspend or start doing risky things, which I did not do this time. It is the crash that follows mania that caused the most problems in my life. I did not want that crash to happen again.

As I am the luckiest bipolar sufferer in the world and have access to all the professionals, as I am the clinic’s janitor, I stopped by the Psychiatrists office before he went home.  I explained what was happening and what I was doing, the vitamins and supplements, plus the 15 minutes of light therapy a day.

He explained to me that long-term use of light therapy can cause brain stimulation in some people and obviously I am one of those people. He recommended I stop the light therapy which I did. The mania subsided within a few days ending in a bump, not a crash. But the bump did cause me to lose a couple of days. Days in which I would have completed writing my blog and had my blog scheduled to post Monday morning. That said, this is what I learned, that light therapy can be useful for me. I must learn that when I start using my light therapy in October, I can only continue using the therapy for a short period, but what period? Because now I know too much light therapy drives me into mania and the signs of what is too much. I can continue to adjust my strategy for the best life with bipolar I can create for myself. Again, I am confronted with the trial and error of all bipolar management strategies. Today I choose to take that confrontation as a minor and enjoyable challenge.

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. 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 Lolly Daskal

How to Stop Seeing Struggle as Something Negative

Mental Wellness and Support

To live the life you want to live ACTION IS REQUIRED.

You can think and dream about what you what for your life,

But unless you actually do something to make change, 

THINGS WILL STAY THE SAME.

What do you think of when you hear the term “Mental Wellness,” or meditate on the statement of, “if I became “Mentally Well.” What does “Mental Wellness” mean to you as a bipolar sufferer. What image of yourself comes to your mind if you think of yourself being “Mentally Well.”

For each of us what we think of or what image comes into our minds when we hear the term, “Mental Wellness,” will be slightly different. We cannot give meaning to that term or bring that image to life unless we do something. If we, as the above quote says, just think and dream about our life of being mentally well, nothing is going to happen, things will stay exactly as they are. We must do something. That is one unavoidable truth is to have mental wellness you must reach for it, it is not going to reach for you, the other unavoidable truth is we cannot change without the support of other people, places or things. We need to develop a support team and system. When most people think of support they think of professionals like their Psychiatrist or their GP or Psych Nurse or a counselor/therapist. It is not wrong to think of these professionals as supports because they are, they are usually the first people we see when we seek help, which does weird stuff to our brain, that is another topic for another day.  To reach and maintain mental wellness most of us need more support than just those professionals.  My goal over the next year in this blog is to introduce you to the obvious and not so obvious people, places and things that are available to be become part of your support team and system to first reach and then maintain your mental wellness.

The first installment of building your supports to achieve and maintain your mental wellness is both a place and a thing. It is your local library. Another word that can be substituted for the word support in the context that it is being used in this conversation is the word, “Resource.”

Your local library is not just a great resource for books and other material that will help you on a journey towards mental wellness and after to help you maintain the mental wellness you have attained. Most libraries today provide programs and other connections that will help you. I took my first boundaries class at my local library.

Your local library is a safe place to work on this most important of work, which is working on yourself. Your local library has all the things necessary to find a starting point and grow from there. Your local library has everything, or if they don’t have it they will usually get it, you will need to work on yourself.

Think of your local library as part of your support team, I do, and it really helped me.

 

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.

P.S. The quote that I used in today’s blog is three feet tall and four feet wide and resides on the wall of the lower level of my workplace. I have had the privilege of reading and meditating on that quote for the last eight years. It really made a difference in my life. I hope you copy it and put it on your wall and read it every day.

 

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 Kelly Babcock and Psych Central

Today I Love My Youthful Mind

My Christmas Wish for You, 2017

 

The Christmas season is well underway and for many of us this can be the most stressful time of year. We are told this is supposed to be a season of happiness and joy, a time to make merry with family and friends. For a lot of bipolar sufferers, those statements are a crock. It is a time of serious stress and emotional pain. The ghosts of Christmas past come haunting our minds and the need to be loved by others overtakes our reason. We spend our time looking for the perfect gift that will make that person love us.  That is what I want to share with you this week, the perfect Christmas gift.

Several Christmas’ ago I found that perfect gift that made that person love me. First off, that person that needed to love me, was me. It was about this time of year in 2011 that I finally realized what the problem was, it was me and how I treated myself and even saw myself.

I am Bipolar and for most of my life, I have confused that with needing to self-medicate and explore every addiction under the sun. The road to sanity was long, hard and sometimes seemed never-ending. Misdiagnosed for over 40 years, I struggled through two years of finding meds that worked, but once stable found I was an emotional wreck. Something I learned quickly was medications could not fix me, medications could only stabilize my moods and make life better. Medications do not deal with my mental anguish and emotional turmoil. That could only be accomplished by realizing that I am made up of body, mind, and spirit. It was through growing and exercising my spirit (some may call this their inner child) that I was able to remove my mental anguish and control my emotions. These things were not accomplished overnight, nor in a weekend, but over a period of years. There were ups and downs, as well as major setbacks.

Most of my life I was all things to all people, I wanted to please everyone. Then I would waffle and not want anyone near me. I pushed everyone away. I had no idea who or what I was or wanted. I mostly felt I wasn’t good enough or I should be better than this. Mainly I was a dreamer, who thought that out of nothing I would be miraculously put into a position of great importance. Believe it or not, I almost pulled that one off. There was no reality in my life, it was all just smoke and mirrors. Over time, and due to hard work, reality began to seep in and that glossy façade I had built to protect myself slipped away. I came to understand who I really was and that was just a very sick man. But this was the perfect place to build from as it was an honest appraisal of myself.

I quit lying to myself and began to open the key to life – It is not about others. It is about knowing who you really are and what you must fix yourself to become who you were meant to be. This is the only way to become at peace with yourself.

Two weeks ago, the fruits of all this labor showed up when I forgot to lock my van with a couple of hundred dollars worth of things in it. When I returned my van was empty.

Not long ago that would have been the perfect excuse to beat me into a severe depression and trigger suicidal thoughts. But that is not what happened. I called it for what it was, a mistake. I then planned on how I was going to deal with this issue. That was it and that was all, the issue never entered my mind again. I have not thought about the incident until I wrote it out for this blog. I made a mistake which left me two paths I could accept it and move on or I could make it into the worst thing that ever happened to me and stay there for days, even months. I chose acceptance and moved on.

My Christmas wish for you is that you also choose to love and forgive yourself, even laugh at yourself this holiday season.

This will be my last post for 2017, we will see you in the New Year.

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. 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: Monique Honberg

https://riseregardless.com/change-your-story-to-change-your-life-on

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/

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Affected Bipolar Disorder 2

Learning to manage any aspect of bipolar disorder on the individual level is going to be by trial and error. Some people find what works quickly, like when their Psychiatrist prescribes a medication that works without side effects right away. These people are quite rare. For most of us learning manage our bipolar is a struggle of trying this or that until we find what works. What I encourage in myself and I also encourage in others is to embrace that struggle. Enjoy learning how your bipolar disorder affects you and how overcoming this illness makes you a better, stronger person. What works for me and helps me manage my bipolar may not work for you. However, what works for me may give you a starting point.

On the subject of seasonally affected bipolar disorder management, this was for me a many year journey. Even today I am tweaking my management system of what I need to do to ward off the winter blues. As I write this I have my sunglasses on and am bathed by the light of my Litebook Edge therapy light. This light was added a year ago when winter set in really early and what usually worked quit working or didn’t have time to work.  Another pitfall of bipolar management is sometimes our management system quits working and we have to develop a new one.

Today my management system for the fall/winter part of the seasonally affected bipolar disorder is very simple. I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D and 50 mg B6 + B12 starting in early August. I introduce 15 minutes of light therapy in early October.  I keep this routine up until the middle of May. Which is about when spring begins to come about where I live.

I want to point out why I take both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 as well as B6. It has been scientifically proven that if you are low on Vitamin D you are more than likely low on Vitamin B12 as well. I take Vitamin B6 because of its scientifically proven link to cognitive function.

When spring has sprung this requires a whole new management system. The first requirement of this portion of the management system is compete honesty with myself. Why? Because no one ever complains about mania. Mania is great, we get stuff done. We are usually happy and excited about life.  I have had a handle on quelling the summer mania for a lot longer than I have the winter depression. For me, when the first urge to buy every garden tool in the Johnny’s seed catalog strikes that is my sign to have a talk with the doctor to decide this year’s course of action. Most years it has meant an increase in meds for a period of time. Some years it has only meant increased diligence on my part to do the tips set out later. This is when I need constant monitoring by my professional and non- professional network. This is my program for managing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. It works for me.

Bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. The treatment of this illness in every aspect, be it medication or seasonal affected bipolar disorder, has to be individual as well. We each have to develop our own ways to manage our particular bipolar disorder.

Last week I promised some tips and techniques for dealing seasonal affected bipolar disorder. The first tip I want to offer is:

  1. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.
  2. build the best professional and non-professional support team you possibly can.

I can not stress this point enough. We are not rocks, and we cannot fight this illness alone, despite popular belief. If you have bipolar you inwardly believe you are alone.

We are the ones that have to do the work, but we need the best team we can put together to cheer us on and give us advice when we need it.

Tips for dealing with depression when your meds don’t seem to be. This happened to me last winter until the light therapy started to work.

  1. Take the initiative against depression. Get up and keep moving even though you feel like one of those deep-sea divers in the big suits walking through molasses. Force yourself to eat and wash the dishes. Make a gratitude list of 5 things you are grateful for every evening, try to do 5 different ones every night.
  2. Learn what triggers your depression besides the change of seasons. As a lifetime sufferer of seasonally affected bipolar, when I started to learn to manage seasonal depression I found other triggers that elevated that depression. Anything that I perceived to negatively affect me compounded my depression. When my management system was working if something negative happened I still became depressed. This is what I touched on last week.
  3. Make a commitment and keep on keeping it. I found this one very helpful. I hang out with a bunch of people every Sunday morning for breakfast. No matter how low I am I force myself to attend. Actually, if I am not there they come looking for me.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. This one is hard to get over. I practiced self-encouragement for a long time before I was able to use it effectively when I was deeply depressed.
  5. Do not let your mind convince you that you have to do some great thing or be perfect to beat your depression. It is by doing the simple things, some of them badly, that we overcome depression. Sticking to an already set routine does wonders for beating depression. This is similar to #3 but different. This has to do with a commitment to yourself the first thing that used to go when depression struck was my morning routine of daily reading of inspirational material. Now it doesn’t matter, I go through the motions of coffee and books no matter what. I may not comprehend what I am reading all the time, but I am there in body every day and I do it.
  6. Don’t let your mind create catastrophes that do not exist and thoughts of self-harm. These thoughts of loss, disaster and self-harm are the true dangers of depression. This is when we absolutely have to reach out to others. I also know that when these thoughts happen we most want to isolate. We can, with help, learn to defeat these thoughts but it takes time and effort. What we must quickly learn is to reach out whenever these thoughts appear.

Tips for dealing with Mania.

  1. Learn what triggers your mania. As I said earlier one of mine is wanting to spend.
  2. Monitor your thinking. Our feelings of self-importance start to grow when manic. Our thoughts begin to race. We are bombarded with one idea after the other. We become more mentally creative. These are all signs of mania. Learn yours.
  3. Watch your behaviors. Mania causes us to engage in risky behaviors and behaviors that will threaten our lives and relationships more easily.
  4. Keep your regular sleep/eat schedule. This is not easy. I don’t sleep, and I don’t eat when manic. Forcing your self to bed and to eat can reign in a manic episode.

Unfortunately for most of us, medication is the only way to effectively deal with mania.

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 facebook/365daysofbipolar.com. 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 Hillary Jacobs Hendel.

https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/single-post/2017/09/26/Beyond-Life%E2%80%99s-Disappointments

 

Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder

Studies show that about 20% of bipolar sufferers are affected by seasonal changes. This is a major trigger for many bipolar sufferers. For many to be affected by the seasons usually means moving towards depression as the days shorten into winter and towards mania as the days lengthen in the spring and summer. This is not always the case, some are affected in other ways, but I can only share my own experience

Seasonal Affected Bipolar was a major part of my bipolar life, depressed to the point of not being able to function during short days of winter. Then taking off like a rocket as the days lengthen in the spring. Learning to manage my bipolar during these seasonal changes has been a large part of my recovery program.  As with all management of bipolar disorder it has been by trial and error. I have learned the proper time to increase my Vitamin D and B12 intake and when to introduce light therapy as an added boost to my program to ward off the winter depression. Conversely, I have also learned when is the best time of year to introduce extra medication to prevent the lengthening days from launching me into mania.

I never discuss prescribed medications or the doses of vitamins and supplements a bipolar suffer should take as our illness is so individual. What works for me may do you great harm in the areas of medication, vitamins and supplements. In those areas I recommend working with your professional support team.

What I can talk about is the generalities that many studies have pointed out on using Vitamins D and B12 for Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) and Seasonally Affected Bipolar Disorder (SABD) as well as techniques that work to ward off winter depression.

These will be next week’s topics.

I want to end this week’s blog explaining something about triggers and bipolar disorder.

Triggers are the things that cause you to relapse into full blown bipolar episodes. Here is the distinction that helped me understand this definition. You must have some control or management of your bipolar disorder before you can relapse. If you are not doing anything to manage your illness you cannot relapse.  What I have learned is that when you have a major trigger like SABD, as you learn to manage that trigger a lot of other triggers seem to suddenly appear that you no idea even affected you. These triggers that seemed hidden by SABD seemed overwhelming to me when they showed themselves. I soon realized how they helped increase effect of the seasons on me, especially my winter depression.

What triggers you may not trigger me and what really triggers me may not even affect you. It is important that we learn the early signs and warnings that our bipolar disorder is about to take over our lives again.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

http://ibpf.org/blog/spotting-icebergs-miles-away-how-use-early-warning-signs-bipolar-disorder-relapse-prevention