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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experiences and knowledge that I have gained in the hope those experiences and knowledge may help you.
As Bipolar Sufferers We Do Not Listen To What Is Important.
I have never met a bipolar sufferer who does not have some type of Gastrointestinal issue if not several of them. In my case, I have ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
Not only that but heart or circulation issues are as prevalent as gastrointestinal issues. I also have high blood pressure.
Why is that? The short answer is we do not listen to our bodies and then suffer the consequences when our body begins to rebel causing us pain and other side effects of neglect.
Bipolar Disorder Makes Us Externally Focused.
Bipolar disorder makes us believe that external things are the cause of our discomfort while our body is screaming that our problem is inside us.
It is like those old horror movies where all the teenagers are looking out the windows for the scary monster and the scary monster is standing behind a group of them in the house.
Every week I end this blog with the statement, “Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things.” I say this because bipolar disorder does not want us to look inside ourselves to find what is wrong. Bipolar disorder wants us to look everywhere else.
The Mind, Body, Emotion Conflict.
Where do our emotions come from? Is it our mind or our bodies? Could it be both or is there something else?
Those questions were posed to me about six years ago and sent me on a journey that is still ongoing. But I want to share what I have learned so far.
To me, it was obvious that our mind does not generate or control our emotions, especially the bipolar mind. To me, that meant our body must generate and control our emotions.
Then I read, “Three Brains” by Karen Jenson N.D., the subtitle of which is, “How the Heart, Brain, and Gut Influence Mental Health and Identity. When I came across this book, I was already convinced that bipolar disorder created an identity crisis. This book showed me not only did bipolar create an identity crisis but caused a conflict between our heart brain and our gut-brain.
Why We Should Listen To Our Bodies.
As the book states, we have three brains, two in our bodies and one in our head. Once you understand this it is not hard to figure out that there is more brainpower in our bodies than in our head. That makes our bodies worth listening to. In this light it also quite easy to understand the statement, “your body is quite intelligent.”
If you have a mind that is controlled by bipolar disorder it is even more important that you learn how to let the brains in your body take over.
What Of Emotions?
Bipolar disorder affects our moods and emotions. That is what seems to control us. For many of us, all we really want is emotional control. If we could control our emotions, we would have everything, right?
The fact is we will never have real emotional control without aligning our three brains or at least getting them to work together instead of being in a state of miscommunication.
It Is Imperative We Turn Inwards.
If you agree that it is now time to listen to the two brains in our bodies, how do we do it? Our body has always talked to us and even if you have not listened in decades your body is still talking to you. The problem is we do not understand its language.
Our mind talks to us in words, our bodies talk in sensations and feelings.
We have to become open to that language.
The other issue is that of trust. We have never trusted our heart or gut. They seem to have led us astray way too many times and betrayed our trust. What if I told you your heart and gut never lied to you? Your bipolar mind wrongly interpreted the signals.
This brings us to my favorite word in bipolar management, “learning.”
To effectively listen to your body, you have to learn the language your body speaks in and even more importantly you have to trust what your body is saying. This will not happen overnight.
3 Simple Things To Start Tuning Into Your Body.
- Stop – for a minute stop and relax.
- Breath Deep – Take a few deep breaths.
- Acknowledge your feelings – The language of our bodies is feelings and sensations. If we acknowledge what we are feeling but do not respond. We will slowly learn to filter out the noise and hear what our body is saying.
The journey to reconnect with the language of your body is both interesting and worthwhile. The benefits are a healthier and happier you. This is a short blog post that I hope will interest you in embarking on your own journey of learning to connect your three brains, mind, heart, and gut and listening to your body.
There are many great teachers on how to listen to your body and in the last few years, many therapists are learning and passing on this skill. As a starting point, I have put a post in the Blog of the Week section below.
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.
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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 Amy Kurtz