Tag Archives: mental wellnes

I have Bi-Polar

 

 

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When we have a proper diagnosis it explains a lot of things, the biggest being why we were unable to handle life. Today, I look at this as the greatest gift I ever received. It was a gift that answered a number of questions, the two biggest answers being that there was something wrong with “me.” It was actually a relief to find out the problem was not with the world I was living in.  The second answer was that something could be done about the problem and being told exactly where I had to do that something to get better.

Learning to (what ever word, or words, you want to insert in here that means get better to you please use them) this mental illness of Bi-Polar, of what ever variety, is not easy. It is down right hard work. Where the gift part comes in for me, and what I want to impart to you, is that with our diagnosis we have been given a clear understanding of what is wrong with us and what we have to fix. We have a confirmed mental illness; meaning we have to fix our minds.  People search for years to find out what needs to be fixed to make their lives better. You have had the secret handed to you in the form of a diagnosis. That diagnosis clearly explains what has been wrong with your life, your mind, it is ill. Specifically, it is your thinking and the beliefs you hold that made you think that way, that is wrong. What a gift!

Clearly stated, “You are the problem in your life so you better concentrate on fixing you.”

There is a saying that fits in pretty good right here.

“What ever we concentrate on expands.”

Why is this principal so important? Because by keeping this simple principal in mind we know we must concentrate on our mental wellness to have that wellness expand so we can shrink our mental illness. We will concentrate from this day forward on our mental wellness. That is the path we are getting on and staying on, the hard path of mental wellness.

Learning to live with and conquer our Bi-Polar means we have to do something and it can no longer remain what we have been doing. This clearly doesn’t work or you would not be seeking help.

The first thing we need to do is find medication that will help stabilize our minds, this usually starts right when you get your diagnosis.  This process, to find the right medications, is no automatic thing. This illness is as individual in you as you are in this world. Do not build up that false expectation that this will be an easy process. In my own case it took a few years and three scribblers of tried and failed meds before the magic combination was found.

I am not a doctor so I do not get into the specifics of medication. All I can relay is my personal experience and extend the hope, that although difficult, it will work out in the end, if you work at it yourself and cooperate with your health professionals. When it comes to this phase of our treatment the best friend you can make is with a journal of some kind and one of the best practices is learning to mood chart. In a journal you can record the effects and results of tried medications. Actually journaling and mood charting are one of the best habits we can get into right at the start of this journey. We can make a record of our progress right from the start. One of the uses of my early journals was to point out the lies I consistently told myself about life. Journaling and mood charting will be a topic of a future blog.

Finding proper meds to stabilize our minds does not fix us. Having a stable mind allows us a stable platform on which to fix ourselves. Without that stable platform we have no hope of ever finding out what really is the root of our problems.

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

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

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

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

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

My Life’s Mission

 

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“Bi-Polar is a recognized mental illness that can be diagnosed and treated with medication.”

I read that earlier this week in a brochure about BP they had out at a doctor’s office. This statement perpetuates a myth that I have made it my life mission to dispel. The statement has some truth; BP is an illness that can be diagnosed. Where the statement perpetuates the myth that needs busting, is that it fails to say that  only the “symptoms” of BP can be treated with medication. Without the word “symptoms” this statement perpetually makes people believe that medication alone can make them mentally well. Medication alone does not, and can not, make you mentally well. All medication does is deal with the “symptoms” of BP that make it impossible for you to become mentally well. Medication alone gives you a fighting chance to change and grow, nothing more. A proper diagnosis and proper medication offers just a chance for you to become the person you want to be. A chance at a new path.

This expectation that medication will make me something different than who I am is the myth that needs dispelling. Since all the literature and many of the medical profession do nothing to dispel this myth, I have made it my life mission to help BP sufferers realize that a proper diagnosis and medication, although critical in dealing with the symptoms of BP, do nothing to deal with our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

As a BP sufferer you can either be a victim of this illness or you can use your illness as a shield to protect yourself from others, most of us flip from the victim role to using our illness as a shield as the situation dictates. A proper diagnosis and proper medication make a third option possible, the option of becoming mentally well where there is no need to be a victim of this illness, we can become a victor. Where there is no need to use our illness to protect ourselves from the world and we can live free of our mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

Many of us feel our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is imposed on us by others. We are this way because other people made us this way, is another part of the same myth that is perpetuated by thinking that a diagnosis and medication will repair us. It is easy to see why this is so, a diagnosis and medication are external things that should cure an external problem. I want to convince those that share this illness our problems are internal. All a proper diagnosis and proper medication does is give us a stable mind that allows us to shine a steady light on those internal problems. Our illness made us the way we are, an internal thing. Our mental anguish and emotional turmoil is our way of dealing with this illness within ourselves. Our illness made us sick and as sick people we dealt with our illness in sick ways, there can be no other result.

It is in realizing that a proper diagnosis and proper medication is only a chance to find that new path to mental wellness, as always I urge you:

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

About The Year Ahead

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This blog is called 365 days of bipolar for a reason, the reason is quite simple. To remind me (the writer) and you (the reader) that our illness takes no holidays. BP is with us every day of this upcoming year and we must learn to be vigilant against it every day.

When we first seek help we come as victims of our illness. If we were not victims of our illness there would be no reason to seek help.  There are many that still do not see themselves as victims of this illness. They just act like victims of everyone and everything, except this illness.  As we build our support team and come to know others with our illness, we see that there are those that are victors over BP. People who live their lives in a way that seems almost normal, yet they admit that they have that dreaded illness called BP. Those who are victors over BP are the ones we are drawn to emulate but, and it is a big “but”, we have no idea how in the beginning. This just gives us some hope that victory may be possible. That spark of hope is all we need to start.

Before we can be anything but a victim of this illness we need to stabilize on proper medication. The second thing is we need to build a support team. Both of these things do not come about over night. For me, it took over a year to find meds that worked and as long to find the right group of people, both professional and non professional to build my team. It takes some less time, and others more, but they kept working on this until they found what they needed.

To go from victim to victor, we need to start working on ourselves at the same time we start working on finding our proper meds and our team. The fact that we have no idea how to do this is of no consequence, we need to start. I did no say there would be no consequences from working on finding our proper medications, support group and stopping to try and fix the world and concentrate on fixing ourselves. There are serious consequences. Your life will change, you will be ejected from where you are comfortable in your beliefs and attitudes on a regular basis. You will be challenged to see yourself as you are right this minute and then shown what you can become if you work for it. All the time knowing that your Bi-Polar will never take a holiday.

All we have is 366 days in 2016 (it’s a leap year), in which we can learn to be victors over Bi-Polar or remain victims. We will have ups and downs; the aim is to have more good days than bad in 2016.

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

Nothing can be built without a plan

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Nothing can be built without a plan. In construction they are called blueprints. They are the plans for the building that is to be constructed. Every detail in contained within them and without them no one knows what is going on.

We have blueprints for our lives. These blueprints are made up of our beliefs. Beliefs are made up of the information we have collected in our lives, what we have been told, what we have been shown and what we have experienced. Our core beliefs cause us to think as we think and act as we act. Those beliefs are what rule our lives and make it as it is. The joy of being human is we can examine those beliefs and if need be change them.

I always thought I had the blueprint for a multi- room mansion within me but kept constructing a one room hovel out of my life. BP caused what I was told to be garbled, what I was shown to be misunderstood or exaggerated, what I experienced to be mostly negative. The beliefs that I held were mostly erroneous or fantastical, a blueprint for disaster.

As with a building I took over years ago, someone had miss-read the blueprint.  In that building it was to have a 3 point 5 gallon per hour pump installed to recirculate the hot water, instead they installed a 35 gallon an hour pump. That building had problems, water leaks developed all over the place. In not too long a time the building became uninhabited.

My life ran along similar lines as that building, my life had become uninhabitable and no one wanted to be around me, I did not even want to be around myself.

The first thing I did when I took over that building was to find the blueprints and read them. I then checked to see if what the blue prints said checked with the reality of the building. They didn’t, that pump was pumping water through the pipes at 10 times the speed recommended by the blueprints. Once the pump was replaced and a few other repairs made, the building stopped having problems and was soon re-inhabited. Everyone loved the place.

In my own life, once I quit misreading the blueprint and replaced my erroneous and fantastical beliefs with realistic thinking based in reality. Once that was done my life became inhabitable by myself and others. I am now on my way to constructing the life I was meant to have.

Look to your blueprint if your life is not all you would like. You could be miss-reading it or may have to redraw it.

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

Three Facts

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There are three facts that we must grasp and fully understand for mental wellness to work in our lives. The first fact is that our shared illness is inside us. It is within our bodies and minds. That looking for some great external, outside our bodies and minds, thing to happen that will fix everything is a fantasy. Our society and our illness tells us if I had, or was, something different (money, a different life, a different job, a job, a better deodorant or perfume, 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 have to come to realize it is a fantasy, stop thinking that way. It is delusional insanity.  If your computer crashes you do not go reformat your neighbour’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 minds and ourselves are separate. That the mind is not you, you are separate from all the things in your mind. Your mind and its thoughts are the substance of what you have been told, what has been modeled to you and what you have experienced. In our illness the last one, 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, I am just saying that in some cases even I, in my illness, kind of blew some events out of proportion compared to the reality of those events. Some events I downplayed in my mind to avoid the pain they cause and had to deal with that pain later. I am saying that our mind either enlarges or shrinks events of its own accord in our illness to protect us. If there is an “us” to protect then that “us” has to be separate from the mind. Grasping the fact that you and your mind are separate is essential.Without this understanding you cannot understand and use the last fact.

The last fact is, you can train your mind to think, feel and respond differently. Those things are changeable because they are not you. I will also be the first to tell you that your mind will rebel like an angry child at the first hint that you are trying to grow into a better person. It will throw everything at you to make you stop, every bad thing, every traumatic thing that has happened will haunt you. It will come out of the blue, not only when you sleep in the form of nightmares, but in broad daylight as you are hugging your children. But do not give up because like training any fierce beast. Once you show the mind that you are boss the mind will begin to respond in a more mannerly fashion. It takes time and effort to retrain your mind and it is at the effort part that many fail. It is damn hard work.

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