Tag Archives: Understanding

Sharing Experiences That Can Be A Warning To Some

 

As a mental health advocate, I am sometimes asked to share my story with others. This was the case this past weekend when a young ladies parents asked me to share my story with their daughter. Their daughter is a young lady who after achieving a four-year degree in nursing last year she took her first job as a healthcare professional.  Not long into her new job she began to exhibit the symptoms that lead to her diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. The young lady was devasted to find she could no longer continue in the career she had worked so hard for. At the end of our time together I think she understood that this is only a setback and her life can still be wonderful even with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar sufferers are very caring people no matter what this illness does to us. For those reasons, many of us wind up working in health care in one way or another. The problem is that healthcare is a 24/7 business. It is rare to find a position in healthcare that does not involve having to work revolving shifts. That is the nature of health care.

Here is the problem, as a bipolar sufferer to go from day shift to afternoon shift to night shift, or the twelve-hour day/night rotation, and keep up that rotation we inevitably fall prey to our illness.  This does not happen some of the time, it happens all the time.

We spend years going to school, which is nine to five, to have this great career in healthcare. Then we show up on the job or our practicums, internships, residency or whatever and find after a short time we just can’t handle the changing shifts. I know because it happened to me.

I went to school to be a care-aide to work with the elderly and the mentally and physically challenged. Having become more than a few thousand dollars in debt from two years at the technical school I found I could not do the job because I could not do the shift rotation.

It was not the jobs fault, it is not the schools’ fault, it is not my employer’s fault. It was not even my bipolar disorders fault.  I could not do the job because I have bipolar disorder and having to change shifts every week just does not work for someone with this illness. It is like someone with diabetes taking a job as a sugary treat taste tester, it just is not going to work out well.

If you have bipolar disorder and your caring heart is leading you to go thousands of dollars in debt to be a health care provider in any capacity, please don’t. It is difficult to suffer from bipolar disorder, be thousands of dollars in debt and unable to work in the field you have studied so hard to be in. It tends to make you angry and resentful, which is not a good way to live.

Please share this post if you know someone who has bipolar disorder and is considering a career in healthcare.

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 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 from the time to Change Website, Author Unknown.

www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/bipolar-my-best-friend-and-worst-enemy

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Narcissism

 

Is there a connection between Narcissism and Bipolar disorder?  “The DSMIV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts”, such as family life and work.”

In a fantastic 2009 study by Fredrick E. Stinson et al, titled the Prevalence, Correlates, Disability, and Comorbidity of DSM-IV Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Results from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

The results were astounding at least to me. This study encompassed many things, but my only concern was with bipolar and comorbid conditions that usually go along with bipolar disorder, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs being the main ones.

As a man who suffered from untreated BP 1 most of his life and that self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. I often wondered if people who accused me of being totally narcissistic were correct in their assessment. This study proves that they were right.

What this study proves is there is a very high chance that both men and women with untreated and unmanaged bipolar disorder will be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. How great is that chance? Although I am not a statistician, the numbers in the study seem to indicate a 25 % likelihood that the bipolar sufferer is a narcissist. If the person has bipolar disorder and is self-medicating with alcohol and drugs the chances of exhibiting narcissistic behavior go up to over 50%.

No wonder the bipolar forums and chats are full of people wondering what is going on with the untreated, self-medicating bipolar sufferer they are dating. The answer is now proven to be, “They are a complete narcissist.”

The statistics that I found most interesting were the ones that showed what happened when you did something about your condition. If you started to manage your bipolar disorder and don’t self-medicate your chances of retaining your narcissistic ways dropped to almost zero.

To me, this study scientifically proves there is hope. Hope that if we do something about our illness and quit doing and using the things we go to kill the pain generated by our illness then we can get mentally well.

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: Improving Alice

https://www.improvingalice.co.uk/single-post/2018/03/07/Anxiety-and-Gut-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

 

 

 

 

Bipolar Induced Cognitive Impairment

The scariest day of my bipolar life was Wednesday, May 14th, 2008. A day I will never forget, nor repeat. That day I learned first hand what bipolar generated cognitive impairment was all about.

At nine in the morning, I went into my office to read reports from the past few days of operations. I remember picking up the first report and reading the first few lines and then…. At five one of my staff came in to ask if I was coming to brief the afternoon shift. I was still holding that first report in my hand and eight hours had elapsed. I had no memory of that time and still don’t.

I feigned illness and left. The problem, I really had no idea where I was to go. I couldn’t remember where I lived. I just sat in my car, scared and getting angrier by the second.

My staff called my wife, who came and got me and took me home.

That day started the process towards my proper diagnosis of Bipolar 1 disorder almost a year to the day later, Tuesday, May 12th, 2009.

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is real and it is scary for anyone that has experienced it.

Sometimes it is subtle, by that I mean we are not aware of it, like when we ask the same question over and over. When we tell the same story six times in a row. At those times those around us see it, but we don’t.

Sometimes we blame other known parts of our bipolar like when we have difficulty planning and carrying out tasks, blaming our anxiety or depression. When our irritability reaches all time highs, irritability and rage are part of being bipolar. When we make bad judgment calls on important issues that affect our lives, like cashing in all our retirement savings to buy a truck we don’t need. Those kind of bad judgment calls is part of mania.

Then there are the issues that have no other explanation. When we accidentally drive into the back of the car in front of us because we thought we were at least six feet away. When all we hear is a buzzing sound or it sounds like the speaker is miles away. When we can’t remember, not just where we put the car keys but the entire car or where we live. When we lose incredible amounts of time, like I did on that sunny day in May of 2008 and many times before. When we run into people we have known all our lives and do not recognize them or walk down to our favorite coffee shop and don’t recognize anything and can’t find the coffee shop. When we seem to have impaired ability to walk or hold objects

These are the signs and symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment

Memory loss

Loss of time

Repeating questions or stories over and over to the same audience.

Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks

Vision problems – depth perception, blurred vision, tunnel vision.

Hearing problems – buzzing, hearing like the speaker is far away.

No facial recognition.

Inability to recognize places that should be familiar.

Impaired motor function

Unusual changes in moods and behavior.

Radical life choices and poor life judgment

Bipolar generated cognitive impairment is part of our bipolar illness. It most often strikes when our bipolar disorder is acute. According to a 2004 study published in Bipolar Disorder Magazine Volume 6, some of these symptoms can also be part of our illness when our illness seems to be under control. Be patient with yourself if some of these symptoms, like memory loss persist when you are stable. The inability to recall some things from prior to spring and summer of 2008, seems to be part of my life today.

When the symptoms of bipolar generated cognitive impairment became severe was not the first time I sought help, it was the first time all my symptoms lined up to prove that I was BP 1 instead of OCD. I know first hand that it is sometimes a long process to receive proper help but stick with it.  It is worth it.

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.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Jonice Webb PhD

Emptiness: The Un-Feeling Feeling

 

 

Therapy, Bipolar and Grief

 

 

 

I believe that therapy is an essential part of overcoming our bipolar disorder. One area where therapy is essential to bipolar sufferers is in grief and grieving.

Grief, bereavement of a loss, is normal. No matter if that loss is a loved one (spouse, significant other, parent, sibling, grandparent), a job, a boss, material possessions, a pet, aspects of our lives lost due to this illness, abuse or trauma. No matter the loss we need to recognize it and we need to grieve that loss or losses.

There are three things that bipolar disorder affects regarding grief, firstly this illness hides or twists the things that we need to grieve, like the aspects of our lives we have lost due to this illness along with any abuse and trauma we may have suffered.  We need to grieve the loss of jobs, friends, relationships. We also need to grieve the things our bipolar disorder has taken away, like our ability to think, remember and focus. Secondly, because of severe loss, the loss of loved one, pet or career, even the loss of who we once were, bipolar sufferers are more likely to fall into abnormal grief than most others. Our illness causes us to revisit, or even live directly in, the past. Thirdly, that many symptoms of grief can be compounded by our bipolar symptoms.

Normal grief is a process of reconciling ourselves to the loss we have suffered.

Abnormal Grief according to the DSM 5, “Lasts longer than 6 months, the person must yearn the loss on a daily basis or to a disabling degree. At least five of the following symptoms must be present; Emotional confusion about one’s role in life, Difficulty accepting the loss, Avoidance of anything to do with the loss. Inability to trust others since the loss, Bitterness or anger related to the loss, difficulty moving on with life, Numbness since the loss, feeling that life is meaningless now, feeling stunned or dazed at the loss

I suffered from abnormal grief for over 25 years and coupled with my bipolar disorder it destroyed my life. The trigger for change was the death of my 22-year-old cat, it proved to be one loss too many. I sought help with a qualified grief counselor.

The losses I suffered haunted my mind, most daily, the rest regularly enough to make me unable to function.

One of the main things that my therapist needed to do was to explain and help me separate the symptoms of bipolar disorder and the symptoms of the grieving process and to see how my bipolar contributed to my abnormal grief.

Bitterness and anger are part of the grieving process, however that bitterness and anger is meant to pass. This is a normal grief symptom but if that feeling lasts longer than a few months it is abnormal. One of the symptoms of bipolar and a major part of my disorder is a long-simmering irritability and rage—angry outbursts lasting over several days, during both manic episodes and agitated states of depression.

Numbness, feeling that life is meaningless, feeling stunned or dazed are also symptoms of bipolar and of grief.

It took two years of almost weekly sessions and a lot of work on my part to grieve these losses in a healthy way and put them in their proper place, the losses in the past and me in the present. During those two years, many losses were found that also needed grieving, these are the losses that my bipolar brain told me were of no importance or had twisted into complete fabrications that had nothing to do with reality. They turned out to be very important and I ignored acknowledging and grieving them at my peril.

Today I am living in the present, not in the past and I am no longer haunted by the what’s, if’s and whys, the blame and shame, of the losses that I have suffered. I acknowledge that they happened but I no longer live there.

Look for your losses that keep you in the past and learn to grieve them, in this area we usually need help so talk to your therapist and if necessary find a specialized grief counselor.

What we need to separate is our bipolar disorder and that fact we need to grieve our losses.

As a bipolar sufferer, we have symptoms and an illness that are not going away.

As a griever, you are not broken and do not need to be fixed. You need to learn that grieving is a natural part of living, but it is not a permanent state. Yes, loss happens and we need to grieve, but the real grieving process ends in recovering from the loss and living again.  Grieving is meant to be a short process not a way of life.

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.  I hope you enjoy this week’s Blog created by Gabriel Nathan

Book Review: An Urgent, Bold Voice Emerges from the “Manic Kingdom”

 

Healing is damn hard work

healing-does-not-mean-the-damage-never-existed-it-means-the-damage-no-longer-controls-our-lives-quote-1

Have you ever had a cut or scrape, you put a band aid on it and over time it the cut or scrape heals, our cells heal themselves without any effort on our part or so it seems. Some cuts are so deep they require stitches, over time they heal as well, but usually leave a scar. This is the seeming effortless healing of our body. The question is, is it really effortless? At the microscopic and smaller level there is an army fighting to close that hole in our body.  But because this healing is seemingly effortless we think that all healing should be as effortless and we are actually shocked to find that healing our minds and our lives is a lot of really hard work.

Since the battle cry of today’s society seems to be “That is too much work.”  I have no trouble understanding why so few BP sufferers actually get on, and stay on, the path to mental wellness. To get well you have to heal your mind and your life and it is damn hard work. But the illusion of effortless healing remains and if you buy into that illusion chances of getting well are pretty slim.

Effortlessness is always an illusion. My favorite example of this is when my girlfriend saw a Journeyman sheet metal worker install soffit and facia on a house. It looked so easy. So she decided that if it was that easy she and I could install soffit and facia in her house. It turned out to not be that easy, actually it turned into one the few fights we ever had not just in getting the soffit and facia installed but between ourselves.

If it looks easy, look at the person who is doing it. Tiger Woods can sink a hundred foot put with fair consistency, if I sink one it is a fluke of nature. The guy who made installing soffit and facia look easy was a Journeyman, which means he had served a five year apprenticeship and by his age he had been doing the job for at least 20 years. Of course it looked easy.

Healing and walking on the path of mental wellness is damn hard work. If you buy into the illusion that healing is easy you will be so disappointed and disheartened by the amount of hard work you have to do and will give up. I am telling you do not think healing is easy, get that thought out of your head. Healing a cut or a scrape on our body involves thousands of cells and organisms too small for the eye to see working their asses off.  Sometimes we even have to help and get stitches and we are scarred in the healing. The healing of our minds and lives will leave scars as well.

There is only one of you to do the healing and the only thing you can heal is yourself, so get to work. You will not regret it, but give up any illusions that is healing is easy.

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

How?

how-to-get-top-ranking-in-seo-1

Nothing is more important in dealing with our shared illness of BP, after finding medication that works, than knowing ourselves. Knowing our triggers that set off the things that manifest as addictions such as hyper sexuality. Or the things that cause our emotional turmoil and mental anguish. What places, situations, things, events and even people that cause our illness to rear its ugly head in our lives. How can these be avoided or removed from our lives if we have no idea what they are.

It is our lack of understanding of ourselves and our reactions that is the cause of most of these issues and gaining knowledge of our selves is the key to finding and keeping to the path of mental wellness. We initially have no understanding of the reasons for our thinking and our behavior. If we want to be well we have to learn what sets off our illness in our lives. Even then until we deal with the issues we have created our illness will attack us. There is a period of time in which our past will haunt us in a real sense but I want to be the first to tell you this will pass if we deal with the issues we created. It takes time but it is worth it.

James Allen’s statement, “Look within, look searchingly and show no mercy upon yourself.” Has been a catch phrase for me for some years now. The problem is, although true, this statement does not give a clear idea as to how we are to look within and what we are searching for. It’s the unexplained “How” that causes most of us to flounder about and accomplish little in this area of getting to know ourselves and what sets us off.

We are told keep a journal, that’s nice but what do I write? Do I write a blow by blow description of my day and then try and figure out what my triggers were or what I was doing or who I was with when my BP took off. You can do it that way and I did for a long time. Do not get me wrong I am far from discounting journaling actually pen and paper are the only tools that seem to work. You cannot do this successfully in your head you need to write it down but you need to know how to write it down.

Finding out the “How” is an exact science, with actual doable steps gave me great relief. I am hoping that once you know them, you will find the same relief and apply these steps to find the things that are holding you back or causing this illness to control your life.  The steps are the same and once known can be applied to every area of our lives in which we are not happy.

The first step is awareness. Unless you are aware that there is a problem no problem exists.

The second step is coming to understand why you do as you do. Without that understanding you cannot change what you do.

The third step is called a few different things by different people. Currently I like T. Harv. Ecker’s wording of “disassociation”. Previously I used forgiveness. Disassociating with a behaviour, reaction, or habit means you no longer own it. Whereas with forgiveness the element of ownership is retained and can cause further grief.

The fourth and final step is “Change”. You now are aware of the issue, you understand why you do what you do. You have disassociated the issue from yourself. Now you need to find something new to replace it. Trial and error is a large part of everything new. Do not expect you will walk through the first three steps and instantly be a newer, better you. You will have to learn what works to replace what doesn’t. In time you will be that newer, better you but in the beginning of change you will make some errors.

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