Tag Archives: mental wellnes

What Is The Purpose

 

This week’s topic was to be a continuation of building a support group, but a comment on my Twitter feed caused me to address a different topic.

The comment was, “Mental Health Advocacy has become synonymous with being a motivational speaker. I’m concerned the mental health world is going to kick all of us depressed, mentally ill people out for those that “overcame” their illness.”

I thought long and hard about how to respond to this tweet because there is a valid point here. It is true many of Mental Health Advocates have “overcome” their illness, which really means found what works for them most of the time, including my self. If you had made a discovery that changed your life would you not want to share not only what tools you are using, but that there is hope that others can find what works for them as well. In that light, most of us do sound like motivational speakers.

On the other hand when issues come up that affect the treatment of the mentally ill or mental illness we, advocates, are yelling at the top our lungs because we have learned to speak out. The thing is people listen to us because we have “overcome.” A prominent politician, who knew me before, told me that the change in my life was the only reason he listened to me on a mental health issue. I am not saying my voice swung that issue because my voice was just one of many, but I know if I had not “overcome” my illness I would have had no voice with that person.

So yes, we who have “overcome” do sound like motivational speakers, but that voice is solely directed back at those that are still struggling with their illness to offer hope that you too can find what works for you. If you are a member of the mental health community that is still really suffering this means that is the voice you will hear the loudest.

Those of us who have chosen the role of mental health advocates are also members of the mental health community. We still struggle, just not as often. We have found what works for us most of the time and because we have done so people are willing to listen to us. There is no risk that “the mental health world is going to kick all of the depressed, mentally ill people out for those that “overcame” their illness.” By “overcoming” our illness we have proved the mental health system can have successes which give’s hope to both sides. It provides hope to those that are still struggling and to those that provide the services and fund the projects, that mental health is still worth fighting for.  Without that hope of success, there would be a problem getting anyone in power to listen or fund the needs of mental health.

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 another author 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 Hayley Hobson for Positively Positive

How Are Your Reactions Creating Your Experiences?

 

 

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

Week 2 – Building a Support Team

This is a continuation of the series on building the best professional and non-professional support team we can to help us become victors over, rather than victims of, our bipolar disorder.

As I said last week, my goal over the next year is to introduce you to the obvious and not so obvious people, places and things that are available to become part of your support team and support system.

The obvious members of a support team are the professionals like a Psychiatrist, a GP or a Psych Nurse or a Counselor/Therapist or a Social Worker. Last week I introduced a not so obvious safe place for support, your public library. Your library is not only a great resource for books but also programs that may be helpful to you.

This week I want to talk about a thing that can be a great part of your support system and can even be considered a member of your team. That is technology, specifically a smartphone, tablet and computer. Mostly this week I want to talk about the boon to mental health that the smartphone and tablet and WIFI have become for many of us. Right at the outset, I want to declare my bias towards Apple products. My phone is an iPhone and my Tablet is an iPad. I will admit my computer is not a Mac, but a Mac is on the list of future purchases.

It is a fact that the more tools we have and the more informed we are the easier our struggles with bipolar may be. With the addition of WIFI and apps, your smartphone and tablet can provide you both easy access to tools that can help you manage your bipolar disorder and access to great information that can motivate you towards mental wellness.

Apps: There are many apps that allow you to track your moods, create a journal and to help deal with anxiety and depression. There are apps on meditation and other helpful skills. Unfortunately, I have found few that are free. I will be doing reviews on apps for smartphones as the year progresses.

Podcasts: There are many mental health podcasts. A few of my favorites are “The Depression Files with Al Levine,” “Bipolar Style with John Emotions” and “Go Friend Yourself with Dr. Baker.”

YouTube: The wealth of information on YouTube is staggering and way too much for me to cover in this short blog. I subscribe to over 100 channels that provide me with a constant stream of information and entertainment. You can’t study all the time.

iTunes U: This is an app that is only available to Apple users. iTunes U offers the ability to audit University level classes on a variety of subjects. Currently, I am auditing classes on creative writing, nutrition and relationships

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with 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 Marlisa Rocco

These are the worst jobs for your physical and mental health

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/

 

 

 

 

Is Bipolar Like A Cold?

Is bipolar disorder like a cold? With this question, I am not saying the symptoms of bipolar are like a cold. What I am trying to ask is how bipolar affects each of us differently as individuals the same as a cold affects each of us differently as individuals. I firmly believe that bipolar is as individual the people that suffer from it. Cold symptoms also manifest differently in each of us. When I get a cold the symptoms are not usually incapacitating. When my girlfriend gets a cold it can knock her down for days. Knowing that a cold really does affect her differently, this got me thinking of how our bipolar also affects each of us differently. It’s not just that fact that I have BP1 and she has BPII. It’s the difference in the power of the symptoms of bipolar in our lives. Which means that original question could be asked differently. The question is not, is bipolar disorder like a cold? But do the symptoms of bipolar affect some to a greater degree than others?

There is one disclaimer to this idea, if you are not trying to manage your bipolar it does not matter. If you are not taking your meds and trying hard to learn about and manage how bipolar affects you, the symptoms will rule your life.

What I am getting at is that no matter how hard they work at management some bipolar sufferers seem to suffer more from this illness than others do. This cannot be attributed to attitude or anything else. They are just affected more deeply by this illness than some others.

Understanding this simple fact has made me far more empathetic towards bipolar sufferers in general.  It was fine to say that bipolar as an illness is as individual the people that suffer from it. But to add that bipolar affects some a lot harder than others makes understanding those that suffer from this devastating illness much easier.

I hope this little article helps you become empathetic to other sufferers of bipolar disorder as well.

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 their blog for you.

This week’s blog is not a blog but an update on a story I commented on some time back. In July I wrote how the government in my home province refused to staff a dedicated mental health emergency ward, even though the funds had been raised to build the facility. Well due to pressure many mental health advocates the government has had a change of heart and the facility is set to open early in the New Year.  Teaching us that together we can make a difference.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-mental-health-emergency-unit-1.4360855

 

 

 

 

Four Facts That May Help You on Your Journey Towards Mental Wellness.

Image result for mental health begins with me

 

 

These are four facts that may help you on your journey towards mental wellness.

The first fact is that our bipolar disorder is inside us. That looking outside of ourselves for something that will fix everything is a fantasy. Our illness tells us if I had, or was, something different (a different life, a different job, a different relationship, whatever) life would be great.  We falsely believe that if these external things would change so would our lives. Whatever we envision as the external thing that will save our lives we must come to realize it is a fantasy. We must stop thinking that way. It is delusional insanity.  If your computer crashes you do not go reformat your neighbor’s computer. That would be insane, right? Well it is just as insane to think what you are experiencing in this illness is anywhere but inside of yourself and the mental wellness you seek can only be found there as well.

Yes, we need outside help, medications and a good support system, but it is only a help towards fixing ourselves. The outside assistance is only that, assistance. It is not the fix.

The second fact we must embrace is that our thoughts and feelings are separate from ourselves. That the mind is not you, you are separate from all the things in your mind.

Your thoughts are the substance of what you have been told, what has been modeled to you and what you have experienced. In our illness our experiences, are our greatest enemy as so many of the things we think we have experienced may, or may not, have been as we thought in the light of reality.  I am not discounting anyone’s abuse, trauma, loss or any other bad experiences, they are real and did happen.

It has also been proven that bipolar disorder can in some cases blow some events out of proportion compared to the reality of those events.  Conversely, some events are downplayed to avoid the pain they caused. Our mind can and does enlarge or diminish, events of its own accord in our illness to protect us. If there is an “us” to protect then that “us” must be separate from the mind. Grasping the fact that you and your mind are separate is essential.

The third fact is, you can train your mind to think, feel and respond differently. Those thoughts, feelings and reactions are changeable because they are not you.  You can change your thoughts to positive thoughts. You can change that angry tyrannical voice in your head to a loving, encouraging voice. You can gain control of your feelings and expand them to include many more feelings of joy and happiness. You can change your automatic reactions to controlled responses. You can do all of this because your mind is not you.

There is a fourth fact, your mind will rebel like an angry child at the first hint that you are trying to grow and change how you are doing things. Those first steps towards mental wellness are met with real resistance. Your mind will throw everything at you to make you stop, every bad thing, every traumatic thing that has happened will haunt you. Your mind will shout “You Can’t” and give a thousand reasons why. Your mind may engage your body in this resistance and make you feel physically ill. I have had all the above happen to me as I moved towards my goal of mental wellness. Do not give up because like training any fierce beast, once you show that you are boss the mind will begin to respond in a more mannerly fashion.

It takes time and effort to retrain your mind. Today there are many resources on the internet that can aid in this process I have attached two links to PDF’s that I found helpful.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Seven-Steps-Preview.pdf

http://vitalcoaching.com/files/a2/positive_thinking.pdf

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 authors 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/2017/05/15/How-To-Tell-if-Youre-Normal

 

 

 

 

Tolstoy Was Right

Count Leonov Nikolayevich (Leo) Tolstoy (1828 -1910), in his book “What I Believe,” set out five principals of earthly happiness which no one can deny. Although in his book Tolstoy uses how rising in the Russian upper class cuts you off from these five principals. I will show how our shared illness of bipolar disorder cuts us off from these principals just as deeply and how finding and embracing these five principals we can finally live and find the happiness that has eluded us for so long.

“The first condition essentially necessary for happiness has always been admitted by all men to a life in the link between him and nature is not destroyed – that is life in the open air, in the sunshine, in communion with nature, plants and animals.”

Today study after study are proving the benefits of connecting with nature for mental health. Google: “how nature helps mental health” and see what I mean. The key is connecting. Bipolar disorder shuts us in and shuts us off. In Mania, we are too busy to notice and in depression we are too down to care. However, if we truly make the effort to connect with nature, be it in local park or our own garden or at some great place like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, we will find that that this connection soothes us and slowly brings us back to happiness.

“The second indubitable condition for happiness is labor – congenial, free labor, physical labor, which gives a man a good appetite and sound invigorating sleep.”

Today, I must admit there is little work that can be said to be congenial, free or physical. Having gainful employment is helpful to mental health, but being stuck in a job you hate is just as bad for your mental health. I think my activities last weekend portray more what Tolstoy was getting at and in 1870 when this was written there were more of this type of activity available. I spent last weekend helping friends restore an old garden at the house they just purchased. It was once a beautiful garden, but had been neglected for many years. Each day was spent raking, pulling, cutting and hauling. You were thirsty, hungry and at the end of the day too exhausted to care. It was fun to share this work with good friends and the work made us happy both in the doing and seeing the result. This kind of work does lead to happiness, because it makes us feel useful and productive. To feel useful and productive as a bipolar sufferer is one road to happiness.

“The third condition essentially necessary for happiness is family life.”

Bipolar disorder destroys family life. Bipolar makes the sufferer selfish and self-centered. Bipolar makes the family members unsure of what is going on, what is right or wrong and ultimately angry.  Yet if the sufferer can overcome their illness the joy they find in their families after mending the hurts can not be over stated. Families can provide the greatest happiness.

“A fourth condition essentially necessary for happiness is a free, friendly communication with all men.”

Bipolar disorder causes isolation. When manic most of us are the life of the party and we collect a bunch of fair weather friends. When the crash happens, and it always does, our friends are no where to be found and we are alone with our pain.

In stability, we can find happiness through our friendships and our circle can grow and grow.

“The fifth and last condition essentially necessary for happiness is health and a painless death.”

Bipolar causes the sufferer to be mentally, physically and spiritually unhealthy. We suffer from all sorts of secondary issues that are used to kill our emotional pain. But we can be restored to health. With a proper diagnosis and proper medication, we can become stable allowing us to fix our physical and spiritual maladies. Allowing us to live a good healthy life and pass on to the next without regret.

All in all, Tolstoy was right, if we can embrace even a few of these five principals for happiness, we will find that happiness that has eluded us. I know I have.

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/2017/02/20/experiences-beyond-the-classic-5-stages-of-grief/

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