Tag Archives: Learning Skills

Continuing Support

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Greatest Therapy

 

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I am a sufferer of BP I and therefore I can only share my experience and my research into the various facets of bipolar. BP is an illness that is not going to go away, but we can learn to manage this illness with the help of others.

Last week we talked of the essential value of professional therapy and a professional therapist. Those of us who want to learn to manage this illness can only do so with the help of others. You can not learn to manage this illness with out that team of professional and non professional support holding us up, pushing us forward and sometimes even holding our feet to the fire to get things done that are to our betterment.

I want to talk about a therapy that is neither professional nor non professional. This therapy benefits from the input of both. That is the therapy of self-education and learning to monitor ourselves in a way that we would have never dreamt of before. I state often that my greatest field of study is myself and in the closing of each blog I suggest working harder on yourself than anything else. This self education and monitoring can be considered the greatest therapy. We need this on going therapy of self education and monitoring to become a life habit.  Professional people, non professional people and support groups will come and go in our lives leaving the habit of self-education and self monitoring the only constant in our lives

Many of us have never listened to our bodies and yet when it comes to self monitoring, our bodies prove to be the first indicator of trouble. Triggers and mood changes are usually first indicated by feelings in the body. Here again the individuality of BP comes in to play because what I feel in my body may not be what you feel. We, individually, need to learn what our bodies are telling us.

We need to learn the management skills required to manage and forecast our moods like a weatherman.

We need to educate ourselves about the illness of bipolar as well as learn, or relearn, the social and life skills this illness has taken away from us. This illness destroys our character, our integrity, our dignity, our self-worth and every relationship we were ever in. We have to repair all that damage as well.

In learning about this illness and its affect on us. As well as the skills required to repair the damage this illness caused in our lives and the skills to manage and forecast our moods we, in time, become the people we have always wanted to be and sometimes way more than that.

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

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

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

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

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

My Therapist is not working for me

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I am a sufferer of BP I,  therefore I can only share my experience and my research into the various facets of bipolar. BP is an illness that is not going to go away, but we can learn to manage this illness with the help of others. One of the most important tools we can add to our tool box is a good therapist, psychologist or counselor.

Therapy is essential for treating bipolar. When I talk of therapy I separate this into two categories so there is no confusion, professional and non professional. This week we are talking about professional therapy.  We should think about seeking out a qualified professional therapist right after our diagnosis and in conjunction with our search to find the right meds to stabilize our minds. If we ask our Psychiatrist, in most cases they will recommend someone.  For the most part Psychiatrists can help in our therapy, but seldom have the time to do real therapy sessions. We need the guidance and the time of a professional trained to unearth, and help us deal with, the deep seated false beliefs and trauma that we have collected during our illness.

I compare the need for a professional therapist to help us deal with our bipolar issues, with the need for a professional guide on an African Safari. Sure you can do go to Africa on your own or in a group and you may even see some things but the experience will be so much better under the guidance of a professional who has an idea of where to look.

I want to talk about some issues that are often raised in conversations about professional therapy.

“My Therapist is not working for me” is a common complaint that is heard all the time. “They do nothing for me” and “I cannot connect” are other forms of the same complaint.

The professional you are seeing is not supposed to do any work, they have gone to school and continue to educate themselves, they are your guide and sounding board. If they did the work it would not help you.

“You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you and expect to benefit.” Jim Rohn.

The job of a professional therapist is to ask the  hard questions, listen carefully and have a really good BS meter.

You are to provide the honest answers and do the homework assigned. If you are not doing homework on yourself between sessions, you are doing yourself a disservice. Simply put, you have to do the work to change – no one else can.

One of the areas that bipolar affects is our ability to connect with people, we do not make friends easily. Then we, as bipolar sufferers, lament that we are having a hard time connecting with our therapist. The development of a real working relationship is hard for us and we need to realize that. We need to reach out to our therapist in a genuine way. In most cases they are actually reaching out to us, we just don’t see it.

Sometimes in the end we just cannot make it work with a particular professional therapist and we need to find a different therapist. This happens sometimes, but the reason to change your therapist should never be that you could not connect, until you tried, or they are making you work too hard or you are not working at all.

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.

To be continued next week…………….

Why do we give up the things we enjoy?

 

 

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It’s stupid not to try to get back something you enjoy. Nora Roberts.

Having given up, denied or thrown away most of the things I enjoyed in my life and then later coming up with some justification why I no longer have the right to enjoy them. This quote from Nora Roberts book Angel Falls kind of shook me.  I don’t know if this is part of our illness or more part of our low self-worth that comes from our illness.  The reason is actually unimportant it is what we do that is important. In talking to others it seems that many BP sufferers fall into this type of thinking. We feel we have no right to enjoy anything. We use statements like; “I used to enjoy that.” With a wistful undertone. Or feel our whole being light up as we describe how we did this or made that thing. Then feel the liight fade as we say at the end; “it’s too bad I can’t do that anymore.”
In those statements are we looking for sympathy or just lamenting the past?
For me it was a bit of both. The truth is why can’t we get back something we enjoy. Why can’t we feel that joy again that activity brought us? There is nothing stopping us but ourselves. Oh sure, for some activities the requirements may have changed a bit and we may to learn those requirements. We may even have to take a class or two and maybe pass a test. We may have to do some work to get whatever it is we threw away back, but the thing that awaits us is a smile on our face and joy in our hearts when we resume doing what we truly enjoy.

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

Finding the Ditch

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Another tool that aids in mental wellness that is talked about a lot is working with others. Our shared illness causes us to become completely wrapped up in ourselves and focusing on someone else is said to bring us out of ourselves. However, no one bothers to add that this is also a learning experience and initially we will make a lot of mistakes that make it seem like helping others is just hurting ourselves. This causes us to think that this another highly touted idea that is just so much crap.

Bluntly, if we can barely function ourselves what makes us think we somehow magically have the skills to effectively help another person? Jesus said, “When the blind lead the blind they soon fall in the ditch.” I am the first to admit that I have hit the ditch a lot leading another person. But I have also learned only by hitting the ditch on both sides of the path can we find the road to mental wellness. In life there are no white lines to mark the edge of the road and in our closed eyed state what more can we expect than to find the ditch. The skills to effectively help others are learned skills not something we miraculously know.

What is this ditch that I speak of? It is emotional turmoil, not something we really want but that is what trying to help someone else usually creates in the beginning. There is an old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I wonder how many hours’ cowboys spent trying to get horses to drink when the horse didn’t want to for the cowboys to figure that out. The same with people, you can show them the path to mental wellness but you can’t make them get on it. Nobody could make you get well either, you had to do it yourself. This is where the emotional turmoil comes in because we need to learn through experience that we cannot push, pull or drag someone on to the path to mental wellness. A hundred, even a thousand, people can tell you that, but for some reason most of us remain deaf to this until we experience it ourselves. Which proves this statement “Truth can only be experienced, it cannot be explained.” A Course in Miracles. It is in coming to understand that working with others is really about growing yourself. But my intent is to draw your attention to this fact – you will face distress and frustration working with others, but maybe we are to do this to learn exactly that, how to overcome distress and frustration. What we must realize is the conundrum of working with others, it may not do a thing for the other person but it will definitely do something for you.

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