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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am just a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experiences in the hope they may help you. Please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). At the end of each post, I will be recommending through links the books and other products I personally use to connect with my authentic self.
Overcoming Loneliness Is A Skill:
Learning the skill of overcoming loneliness with bipolar disorder is not easy but it not impossible either. Bipolar disorder symptoms enhance our feelings of loneliness but does not make those feelings a fact.
Realizing that overcoming loneliness is a skill, not another inherent gift that everyone got but I didn’t, really helped me. I hope that a little bit of knowledge helps you as well.
If overcoming loneliness is a skill, then it is something that is open for everyone to learn. This means overcoming loneliness is a life skill we can add to our tool kit to help move us towards that “Ducky” life that we seek. The term “Adulting” perfectly describes learning the skills required to overcome loneliness. Overcoming Loneliness is a skill requiring maturity.
The Difference Between Loneliness and Boredom:
The feelings of loneliness and boredom are often confused but are actually two distinct feelings or states of mind. Combating boredom is a whole other subject to be covered at a later date. For this post let us define loneliness and boredom to get at the differences.
Loneliness defined: To feel lonely one does not have to alone. The feeling of loneliness is when one perceives that they lack social acceptance, or the quality or quantity of their social sphere is lacking. Loneliness is a perception or state of mind.
Boredom defined: Being bored is expressing a lack of interest in one’s current activity or surroundings. Boredom can also be caused by the inability to concentrate on the activity or surroundings. Feeling bored can also result when leaving the chaos of mental illness or addiction. Boredom is more than a perception; boredom usually has a repairable cause.
The Main Blocks To Overcoming Loneliness:
Feeling lonely is caused by our perception of our social dynamic. The things that block us from overcoming loneliness are the things that stop us from changing our perception of the people, places, things or situations in our lives.
- Cognitive Distortions and mental blocks.
- Unstable moods.
- Feeling misunderstood.
Some form of outside help is usually required to deal with these blocks to overcoming loneliness.
Tools To Overcome Loneliness:
- Understand that feeling of loneliness is just that, a feeling, It is not a fact. It is important to understand that this overwhelming feeling of loneliness that you have is generated by your perception of yourself and the people, places, things, and situations around you. A simple statement did more to help me overcome loneliness than anything else. “Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?” I found that the more I worked to develop a positive attitude the less lonely I felt.
- Connect with a higher power. We are made up of body, mind, and spirit. Bipolar is more than just a mental disorder, it affects us physically and it is a spirit killer. Our spirit craves a connection with universal power. Developing our connection with that universal power greatly reduces loneliness.
- Reach out to others. Although the telephone seems to weigh a thousand pounds at times of extreme loneliness, it is one of the best things that we can do. You do not have to tell whoever you call or text that you are lonely. You can just talk to them about anything.
- Squash your negative thoughts. Our negative thoughts are what hold us captive in loneliness. The only way to squash these thoughts is by taking positive action.
- Become willing to experience things and meet people. No one with bipolar is initially willing to try new experiences or meet people unless you are manic. If you are manic it is unlikely loneliness even enters your mind, Willingness can be worked up to by action,
- Don’t isolate. Like a hurt animal, our first instinct when we are down is to isolate. We have to overcome that instinct if we are ever to overcome loneliness. Our bipolar disorder does a number on our natural instincts. Making them the opposite of what they really should be.
- Build your self-esteem. Self-esteem building is an exercise, exactly like any physical exercise, Self-esteem is a part of the spirit that our bipolar disorder has killed. There are many resources that can help you build your self-esteem. I have included my favorites in the related products section,
- Join things, either online or in the real world. Most of us who suffer from bipolar disorder are not joiners. Bluntly, we have had too many bad experiences. My first positive joining experience was with an online bipolar group. I mostly hung back for the longest time and just read the posts, But even that gave me a sense of connection with people who shared a similar problem.
- Challenge the story you are telling yourself. As bipolar sufferers we not only have negative thoughts, but our whole life narrative is decidedly negative. Challenging that story you are telling and reframing it into something else allows you to change your view on life.
- Develop a sense of Wonderment. If you didn’t grasp the meaning of this statement, don’t feel bad I didn’t either in the beginning. The best way to develop this sense of wonderment is to start by being grateful. Gratitude for life is what leads to that sense of wonderment and awe.
- Create a vision and make a vision board. Creating a vision for your life is not setting goals. Creating a vision requires you to develop faith and believe that the unbelievable can happen in your life. My vision for my life is to create an unbreakable connection with my authentic self and help others to achieve that unbreakable connection. Along the way to have a “Ducky” Life. That is potentially unachievable but worth working towards every day.
- Think and speak positively. Everyone says this and they say it because it is true. Changing your thinking and speaking from negative to positive will change your life. Positive thinking does not mean negative things will not happen in your life. Or that you should think positively about negative things. That is pure bullshit. What positive thinking does is raise your awareness of options that were hidden before when negative things happen.
- Connect with your authentic self. I am writing a book on this subject so I will keep this short. This simply means that you begin recognizing and overcome the identity crisis that bipolar disorder created in your life.
- Disconnect from social media. This is not contradicting all the earlier statements about joining online groups or reaching out with your smartphone. It means to ignore and unfollow all the political and negative stuff. It means to disconnect from the competition for likes and follows. I have one rule for social media – Check your motives for being there.
- Learn that you can be yourself and people will still like you. This is something that I found difficult. Not everyone is going to like you, but surprisingly more people will like you if you are willing to be yourself. I spent years being the chameleon, all things to all people, trying to fit in. When I quit trying to fit in and just was myself, my social circle grew beyond my wildest dreams.
Loneliness is more of a perception or state of mind that creates a feeling than a feeling all on its own. To overcome loneliness, we must first change our perception of the people, places, things or situations in our lives. I hope these 15 things will give you some ideas on how to combat your own feelings of loneliness.
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. Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our emotions, minds, and lives.
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.
The Self-Esteem Workbook: 2nd Edition
Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem.
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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 Carol Borelli Originally featured in BPHope.