Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

Category: Being Useful and Productive (Page 1 of 15)

MY STORY OF HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE MYSELF

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Before We Start This Week:

Please check out The Blog of The Week. Which this week it is not a blog at all but a link to a Facebook group that I feel shares many of the same values as I try to express in this blog.

My Story of Learning To Love Myself.

In my own life and in talking to many bipolar sufferers there seem to be common thoughts running through our minds. “We feel worthless, useless, and hopeless”, “We feel guilt, shame and remorse for the things we have done and have lost”, “we feel like we missed some important piece of life information.” “We feel like imposters.” “We feel like we are not enough,” “We feel like chameleons, forever changing who we are to fit in with others.” We feel used and abused by others.” “We feel responsible for everyone and everything,” “We feel shunned and ostracized by loved ones and society at large,” “We don’t trust ourselves.” “We have let ourselves down too often.”

It is hard to love yourself when those are the predominant words running through your mind at any given time.

“It Is All About What You Are Feeding Yourself.”

I thought “it is all about what you are feeding yourself” the dumbest statement I had ever heard in relation to the mind. Whoever heard of feeding your mind? The truth is your mind is a sponge and if you do not feed it properly it will feed itself. Where do you think all those negative statements come from?

It took a long time for me to grasp this concept:

To Grow From Incredible Self Hatred To Really And Truly Loving Yourself Takes Time And The Right Fertilizer.

Before my last bipolar implosion, I had built a small market garden. To improve the soil, I added tons of manure to the land. I did not realize that I also added tons of manure to my thoughts over my life as well.

I held on to every hurtful and negative statement that was said to me and about me as if they were golden nuggets. I could recite them and did all day long, sometimes out loud. If you have bipolar you know exactly what I am talking about.

Manure is not the proper fertilizer for your mind.

After that last bipolar disorder implosion, I realized things needed to change, but it took a while to realize the main thing that needed changing was me and the way I thought.

I Felt Like I Missed Some Important Piece Of Life Information.

I came to realize that I did not have the tools or skills to change. The way I thought was the biggest problem. Bad experiences in education led me to believe that I was unteachable. I have learned this is not an uncommon way of thinking for a lot of bipolar sufferers. Which adds to our self – loathing.

Then I learned the truth of this quote from Buddha, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

I was ready and I wanted to change but I had no idea how. I was willing to do anything to change and out of nowhere people and situations arose to help me change.

I Learned The Secret That Worked For Me.

The secret that worked for me was something I was already doing but in a not helpful way. The secret even had a name, it was affirmations.

Earlier I said, “I held on to every hurtful and negative statement that was said to me and about me as if they were golden nuggets. I could recite them and did all day long, sometimes out loud.”

I did not know that technically I was affirming all of that negativity about myself.

Teachers, as I said, seemed to appear from everywhere and the teacher that taught me the truth of how affirmations really worked was the late Mohamed Ali who said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

I had a deep conviction that I did not love myself. Actually, I was full of self-loathing. To turn that around I had to tell myself something different until I was convinced that what I was telling myself was true.

Mantra Time.

I came up with this mantra that has transformed my life. “I love myself; I love my life; I love my job.” But it started out as “I love myself.” The rest came later.

Mowing The Lawn, A Story.

My last bipolar implosion landed me almost on the street, but an old friend took pity on me and allowed me to live in his spare bedroom. In the bathroom, I pasted “I Love Myself” on the mirror. Although I read that statement out loud every morning and said it to myself often, I did not believe it.

One day I was mowing the lawn and as the gas mower was going, I would chant “I love myself.” I thought if the mower were running no one would hear me. But when I shut off the mower the neighbors shouted back; We love you too.”

Kind of embarrassing, but I will never forget the feeling I had. If I love myself others will live me too.” That feeling stuck and made me work even harder.

I recited, “I love myself” all day long, in my mind as my predominant thought and out loud as often as I could. Since most of the time on my job I worked alone I would say my mantra over and over out loud.

I lived with my friend for two years and over those two years my mantra of, “I love myself; I love my life; I love my job.” Not only came into being, but I came to believe every word of it and become firmly convinced that every word was truly how I felt about myself and my life.

Today I do love myself. I do love the life I am living, and I do love my job.

And what of my mantra. When things are quiet my mantra automatically starts to play in my head and it even set itself to music. So, my mantra plays over and over in my mind to the tune of Neil Youngs “Southern Man.” This is much better than the manure my mind used to automatically conjure up.

I am firmly convinced that if you do this as well you would transform your self-loathing to self love.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in what you have to say.

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 Sharilyn Gilmore

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2520960211495674/

WHY WE SHOULD LISTEN TO OUR BODIES.

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

  1. Stop – for a minute stop and relax.
  2. Breath Deep – Take a few deep breaths.
  3. 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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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

https://wanderlust.com/journal/actually-means-listen-body

WHEN THINGS ARE NOT WORKING OUT, SOMETIMES WE NEED A NEW STARTING POINT.

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

WHEN THINGS ARE NOT WORKING OUT, SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO FIND A NEW STARTING POINT.

I believe that bipolar disorder is as individual as the people who suffer from it. This means that this illness affects all us of differently and we not only have to find what works. But what works for each of us as individuals.

This is my story and I hope that some of the things I learned may help you.

The first step to finding that new starting point is to make sure you are using the right words to define it.

As a bipolar sufferer, I spent a long time in a life that was not worth living. Nothing was working out in my life in any area. To find the life I wanted I have had to find a different starting point for many areas of my life. To find that new starting point I first had to redefine many words. Keeping the definitions that my bipolar mind told me was correct kept me in the same mindset and unable to find that new starting point.

If you redefine the things that drive, you.

For most of us when we think of what drives us two words that come quickly to mind, ambition, and success. In redefining one of those words I found a new starting point that has completely changed my life.

Like most people, I have always been ambitious and wanted to succeed. Unfortunately, I failed miserably at everything I tried. Why? The short answer is I had the wrong definition for the word ambition and therefore the wrong thoughts and feelings driving my ambition and thwarting success. 

That was my first lesson: the thoughts and feelings a word in your mind generates have an incredible effect on the result.

My idea of ambition had me believing that I would get something material out of it. The truth for me turned out to be that if I made my ambition to be useful to others, I always got a good feeling and not necessarily a material gain.

Over the past decade, since I made being useful my goal, I have found many ways to put that into practice.

Ambition has nothing to do with success.

Success for me was learning to manage my bipolar disorder. I have been fairly successful at that. My life is no longer ruled 24/7 by my bipolar mood swings and my bipolar mind. That does not mean that I no longer have bipolar symptoms, they show up and often at the most inopportune times.

I have made managing my bipolar disorder job one each and every day. Learning to recognize the subtle signs and triggers that bring on my bipolar disorder.

The byproduct of making managing my bipolar disorder job one is I have held a job for a decade with minimal sick time, consistently written this blog for five years, and written two children’s books. If I had not made bipolar management job one, I would be able to point to any of those accomplishments as a gauge to mental wellness.

I encourage you to find that new starting point that will lead to a life worth living.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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 Hilary Jacobs Hendal

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/22/what-toxic-stress-does-to-a-childs-brain-and-how-to-heal-it

MANIA FROM THE OTHER SIDE

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experiences and the knowledge that I have gained in the hope those experiences and knowledge may help you.

Experiencing Mania From The Other Side.

I have shared a number of times that for the past five years I have been in a fantastic relationship with a woman who sufferers from bipolar II disorder.

As a sufferer of bipolar 1 disorder, I have experienced full-blown manic bouts. Therefore, I know exactly what experiencing a manic phase looks and feels like on me, but does it mean that I know what mania or hypo-mania look like on someone else?

A Great Weekend At The Lake.

It was supposed to be a great weekend at the lake. A getaway to see friends whom we had not seen all winter. Play some cards and cook some food. Generally, we were to relax and hang out. We even agreed, during the week, not to tackle any of the long lists of projects we have planned for our lake lot.

What Really Happened.

Kathy has been under a lot of stress at work and I had noticed she was not sleeping great. But that was what this weekend was for, stress release. I do not think she slept at all the night before we were to leave for the lake.

I did not think much of this as she could sleep in the truck during the three-hour drive to the lake.

As I loaded our belongings into the truck, I could here Kathy talking. I assumed she was on the phone or just checking things off her list of things to pack.

We are all loaded and, in the truck, when Kathy started talking. An hour later she was still talking. This was not normal as we usually use this time to pursue our separate interests. Kathy’s is music and she usually has her ancient iPod with over 10,000 songs and her earbuds in. Kathy usually sings quietly along to her music. While I drive and think about blog ideas or work on stories in my mind. Recording them through my own earbuds into a voice recorder. A usually quiet and enjoyable drive.

We took the scenic route to the lake. This takes us through mostly farmland and as we go further north into an area dotted with small lakes. There are no major towns only small villages along the way,

We stopped at a gas station to get fresh coffee and I wanted to get some bait for fishing.

Kathy was still talking when we got out of the truck. She continued to talk in the store as she picked out things. When I had our coffees and my bait I paid for those things. Kathy meanwhile had struck up a conversation with the lady who was running the store. So, I told her I would meet her in the truck. Some 45 minutes later Kathy emerged from the store carrying four large bags of things. For the remaining 90 minutes of our journey, Kathy showed me and explained in great detail the treasures she had found in that out of the way gas station. She probably made that store sales targets for the summer.

Once we arrived at the lake it was the energizer bunny that got out of the truck. Kathy went from one project to another dragging me along with her.

“We need to get this done” she would say.

Our friends came over to get us to play cards at their place as was the plan. Because we had been so busy on the projects, we had not eaten yet so we told them we would show up after we had eaten.

While we were eating Kathy talked about her ideas and plans for our place at the lake.

The card game was the last straw for me. Kathy never stopped talking and disrupted the whole evening.

I was getting angrier and angrier and I my friend, who is also bipolar, could see it.

He suggested that he and I go for a walk.

Once we were out of hearing range, he looked at me and said. “What is the matter with you can you not see that Kathy is manic?”

I had not seen the signs.

What Signs Of Mania Had I Missed?

Not sleeping.

Excessive talking

Excessive energy

Excessive spending.

Lots of ideas and plans.

In Conclusion.

After that swift kick in the ass, we went back to the table and resumed the card game. My attitude had changed from anger to understanding and compassion and I looked at Kathy’s behavior for what it was – mania.

Kathy is bipolar II and her hyper manic bouts are short-lived. By the next morning, she was back to her regular self.

I was able to be there for her when the one symptom of mania that is never talked about showed up. That is the remorse after the manic phase.

Kathy was ashamed of her behavior and all the money she had spent.

But having a partner, once his head was put on straight, and friends who really understand, both the illness of bipolar and the aftermath of mania, we were able to keep her from the dive into the depression that the remorse brings.

What did I learn?

It is my job to recognize the signs of Kathy’s illness as well as my own and to be there for her with a compassionate heart.

That I am not perfect.

That Kathy and I have great friends that accept us as we are and correct us when we are on the wrong path.  

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

Related Products.

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacker

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 John Poehler

THE MORE OF BIPOLAR MANAGEMENT

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

There Is More To Bipolar Management.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip Toe if you must, but take a step.” – Naeem Callaway

Bipolar disorder is as individual as the people that suffer from it. That individuality is the reason that bipolar disorder management must be tailored to the individual. There are generalities that apply to most of us, but there are cases where none of the generalities apply.

I end every post with the same statements because they are true. The ones that apply to this post are,

“Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things.”

“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.”

Standard Bipolar Management Strategies.

When you check out the standard bipolar management strategies, they usually say:

  1. eat healthy,
  2. sleep properly
  3.  exercise.

Everyone is supposed to do that! That advice is not specific to bipolar management. Not only that, but you can eat as healthy as you can, sleep eight or nine hours a night, and exercise like a fiend, but none of those actions will fix your mental state.

Manage Bipolar Disorder With Medication.

There are now 50 or more medications recommended for the treatment of the bipolar disorder. Research is proving that there are many nutraceuticals (supplements) that are also beneficial in bipolar management.

Bipolar disorder is as individual as the people that suffer from it. This means it takes a commitment from both the bipolar sufferer and the medical professional to find the pharmaceutical or the combination of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, that actually work for the individual.

Medications, be it pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals, do not fix your mental state. Medications stabilize your mind giving you a stable platform with which to work on the real problem.

Manage Bipolar Disorder With Therapy.

There is a misconception when it comes to therapy and that is that the therapist is going to fix you. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good therapist is nothing more that a guide and sounding board. The therapist’s job is to challenge our thinking and help us confront our false beliefs.

Bipolar disorder fills our minds with misconceptions and false beliefs that are firmly embedded and only with help can we overcome these. These misconceptions and false beliefs act like walls that stop us from connecting with our authentic selves.

Managing Bipolar Disorder With Mood Tracking.

“There is an app for that.” There is no truer statement for the area of mood tracking. At my last count there are some 30 apps solely devoted to mood tracking and many more that combine mood tracking with journaling.

Mood tracking is more than just noting your highs and lows. Mood tracking allows you to see how outside influences affect your mood. Diligent mood tracking will quickly highlight the things that trigger your emotions.

The More Of Bipolar Management.

By incorporating all of the above, taking your medication, eating well, exercising, practicing good sleep hygiene, tracking your moods, and working with your therapist, you have a decent bipolar management strategy. This strategy may even give you a decent life. But if you want that “Ducky” life there is more and that more is learning.

Learning how bipolar disorder affects you as an individual.

Learning what works for you to manage your bipolar symptoms.

Learning who the person is that bipolar disorder hid away.

Learning skills like proper boundaries.

Learning to improve both your mental and emotional resilience.

The path to mental wellness is hard, it involves a good basic routine and lots of learning. It involves consistency and looking solely at yourself. Remember, “Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things.”

Adding learning to your bipolar management is worth it, because if you do those things your life will change like magic.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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 Dana Arcuri

http://www.danaarcuri.com/blog/what-is-stealing-your-peace-of-mind

Why We Should Stop Using The Term “High Functioning” In The Mental Health Community.

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the posts title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

Why We Should Stop Using The Term “High Functioning” In The Mental Health Community.

I have never felt the need to start a campaign, but I do on this issue. In the mental health community, the term “High Functioning” is being used to describe a set of people with a mental illness who have better-coping skills in some situations than others who suffer from the same illness. My campaign is to remove the term “High Functioning” from the language of the mental health community.

In my own case someone could apply the term “High Functioning” to me today, but until 10 years ago it would not have applied to my life at all as I could not function at all. Does that mean I no longer have bipolar 1 disorder? No, it means I have worked my ass off learning to manage my illness. Everyone who has learned to manage their mental illness should get a medal not a label that sets them apart.

What caused me to start this campaign?

In a medical file, a mental health professional wrote – he suffers from “high functioning” depression. Where they should have written – he suffers from dysthymia.

The use of the term, “High Functioning” has caused an individual no end of grief. The inability to qualify for any medical benefits or health insurance payments being the most devastating as these entities equate “High Functioning” as not having depression at all.

And of course, the mental health professional who wrote that statement bears no responsibility, stating: “It is a commonly used term within the mental health community.”

Why should this concern anyone?

The term “High Functioning” is not in any manual or diagnostic tool related to mental illnesses. Using a term that has no basis in any manual or diagnostic tool means other agencies can define the term as they see fit.

Origins Of The Term “High Functioning.”  

My research is showing the term “High Functioning” originally comes from either the area of mental disability or autism. I cannot be sure of which area the term escaped into the mental health community.

 I have experience in the field of the mentally and physically disabled. That is where my education is, and I worked in that field. A mental disability affects the persons intellectual capacity. The term “Higher Functioning” was used to describe the level of care a client required.

In one of the places I worked, we had two 30-year-old clients, one with an intellectual capacity of a teenager, the other client that had the intellectual capacity of a two-year-old  The client with the capacity of a teenager was “Higher Functioning” than the other client and needed less care as they could do certain tasks themselves, like dress themselves and eat unaided.

In the situation of mental disability, the term ‘higher functioning’ fits because it relates to level of care.

 I have no experience with Autism other than the understanding autism is a developmental condition. The term “High Functioning” seems to differentiate the level of social skills a person with autism displays.

This was the first use of the exact term “High Functioning” instead of the term “Higher Functioning” that is used in the field of mental disability.

How did the term “High functioning” invade the mental health community?

The term “High Functioning” seems o be applied by mental health professionals to an individual. The reasons seem to vary but the most common is to “take the sting out of a diagnosis” or “because it sounds better ( I got this statement from the professional who wrote the term “High Functioning” in my friend’s file).

The fact that the mental health professionals are perpetuating this term is perplexing as its professionals that should know better than to transfer terminology between fields with different parameters

As individuals we then perpetuate the term “High Functioning” by applying the term to ourselves without thinking how that term sets us apart.

Terminology effectively used in one field is terminology improperly used in another if the basic parameters of the fields are not the same. The fields of mental disability and autism may be similar enough to allow the term “High Functioning” to apply to both. But there are no similarities between those fields and the field of mental illness.

The Danger of Using The Term “High Functioning” In Regard To Mental Illness.

  1. The term “High Functioning” has no meaning in the realm of mental illness. The term “High Functioning” has no place in the conversations about mental health or because it may “sound better” than an actual diagnosis.
  2. is not a diagnosis, but a judgment on a person. In the fields of mental disability, this judgment is on the level of care required for them by the caregivers, not how they live their lives. In the mental health community, it is a judgment on how we live our lives.
  3. Using The term “High Functioning” and writing it in a file may cause a person to not qualify for disability benefits or disability insurance when the person needs it because they are no longer “High Functioning”.
  4. The term “High Functioning” negates the fact that someone has “learned” the skills to cope in some situations. Because they are labeled “High Functioning” leads people to believe they no longer have a mental illness. In reality, all they have done is learn to cope a little better some of the time and still suffer from the illness in all areas.
  5. divides us within the mental health community. Because a person is said to be “High Functioning” this leads others with the shared illness to think that the “High Functioning” person is not as affected by the illness the same as they are.
  6. “High Functioning” adds to the stigma put on everyone who suffers from a mental illness. Because one is able to cope a little better and gets the label “High Functioning” the outside world, which has no concept of the labels meaning, has another excuse to use against those who are not functioning as well with the same mental illness.

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If we do not allow ourselves to be labeled as “High Functioning” or label ourselves in that way, it would not take long for that term to disappear from the language of mental health conversations.

The term “High Functioning” has no place in the conversations about mental health as the term has no meaning in the field of mental illness.

It is true that all fields have their jargon and agreed-upon terminology, but in most cases, they also have the backbone to explain the jargon and terminology to outside agencies. The mental health community seems to be sorely lacking in this capacity. 

In 2017, I wrote a post entitled “Is Bipolar Like A Cold” outlining how the symptoms of a cold do not affect me a deeply as my girl friend. No medical professional would dare say I had a “High Functioning” cold even though I am not affected by the symptoms as deeply as my girlfriend. A cold is a cold as a mental illness is a mental illness. There are no varying degrees in the diagnosis. The only variation is in the way the symptoms affect the individual.

It is unfortunate “High Functioning” was allowed to pervade the mental health industry as it is divisive, hurtful to all who have mental illness and adds to the stigma that already follows those of us with a mental illness. Let us use stop using the term “High Functioning” and start using defined diagnosis only in speech and writing.

Please share post with as many people as possible so we may kill the term “High Functioning” and remove it from our community.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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 Alexa Ceza

https://www.alexaceza.com/post/5-things-you-should-stop-doing-to-yourself-mental-health

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the posts title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

A Bit Of History.

May was established as Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization. Mental Health Awareness month reaches millions of people through the media, local events, and other promotions.

Mental Health Awareness Has A Purpose.

The purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness.

To draw attention to what its like to live with depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

To help provide strategies for mental health and wellness.

To draw attention to the potential for suicide that prevalent with these mental illnesses.

To help reduce the stigma given to those that suffer from mental illness.

Every year Mental Health Awareness Month has a theme and since 2018 the theme has been #4mind4Body.

Each there is a tool kit.

https://www.mhanational.org/2020toolkit

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

The four months leading up to May 2020 have shed a light on the fragility of the world’s mental health when everyone’s world turned upside down. From the fear of Covid -19 infection to forced isolation, to unprecedented business closures and layoffs. If you are working unless you are a front line worker or an essential service, you are likely working from home. Our world seems out of control or at least out of our personal control.

This is unheard of in anyone’s lifetime and it is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health.

Finding Positivity in the Crisis.

One of the most positive things that I have seen is the outreach on social media and the prevalence of zoom and other connection apps. This has brought about a new way to connect with our support, be it professional and non-professional.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am very interested in your opinion.

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 John Poehler

VITAMIN C MORE THAN AN IMMUNE BOOSTER FOR THOSE WITH BIPOLAR

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

Vitamin C is more than an immune booster.

To avoid Covid – 19 we are encouraged to boost our immune systems. The simplest immune booster is vitamin C. For those of us with bipolar Vitamin C has other surprising benefits. Studies are showing that Vitamin C has many benefits in brain function and in mood stabilization.

Studies indicate that Vitamin C does the following:

  1. Improves cognitive function.
  2. Reduces anxiety
  3. Reduces Mania
  4. Strengthens Neurons and Neuron connectors
  5. Reduces depression
  6. It helps protect against toxins.
  7. It helps the body reduce its load of vanadium, a mineral that adversely influences bipolar disorder. 

Other information studies have indicated.

In a Brazilian study, it was found that Vitamin C may be as effective as Fluoxetine (Prozac) in combating depression.

In New Zealand studies it was proven that most people in the western world are Vitamin C deficient (North Americans especially so).

Sources of Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwis
  • Papayas
  • Guavas
  • Strawberries
  • Dark leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, rainbow chard, collard greens, watercress, dandelion greens, purslane)
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts
  • Red cabbage

With the new information on the link between inflammation and bipolar disorder these foods of the nightshade family are proven to be inflammatory but are good sources of Vitamin C for people who are not concerned with inflammation.

  • Bell peppers (yellow bell peppers provide the most vitamin C and green bell peppers provide the least)
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Red and green hot chili pepper

Vitamin C is destroyed by heat and air. Food should be eaten raw or cooked lightly and consumed quickly after cutting or juicing.

Recommended Dosages of Vitamin C.

Humans cannot make Vitamin C; we need to get these dosages from our diet. Smokers need higher dosages of Vitamin C.

Males & Females: 1-3 years 15 mg

Males & Females: 4-8 years 25 mg

Males & Females: 9-13 years 45 mg

Males: 14-18 years 75 mg

Females: 14-18 years 65 mg

Males:19+ years 90 mg

Females: 19+ years 75 mg

For bipolar disorder sufferers, a minimum dosage of 1000 mg daily is recommended and should not exceed 2,000 mg daily. Studies have shown that taking over 2,000 mg daily can cause nausea and diarrhea. These high dosages are unlikely to be obtained through food alone and Vitamin C supplements may be required.

As with any change to your bipolar management strategy you should discuss adding vitamin C in consultation with your professional support team.

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.

Related Products:

Naka Platinum PRO Pure Vitamin C 1000 mg Delayed Release 100% Vegetarian – BONUS Size 180 Veggie Capsules (150+30)

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=365daysofbipo-20&keywords=Naka Platinum PRO Pure Vitamin C 1000 mg Delayed Release 100% Vegetarian – BONUS Size 180 Veggie Capsules (150+30)&index=aps&camp=15121&creative=330641&linkCode=ur2&linkId=366f0a806d80c93c69ab2b727924524f

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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 Single Mom Chapters

MAYBE HERO’S AND MENTORS ARE WHAT WE NEED IN THIS UNCERTAIN TIME

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the posts title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

In this time of uncertainty hero’s and mentors maybe what we need for our mental health. They are out there and it is our job to find them.

What is a hero and how to find one?

A hero is that torch that you can follow. The spark that ignites the fire that says if they can, I can too. The biographies of the great men and women are waiting on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and online in Wikipedia for you to find the hero that speaks to you in a way you can understand and want to follow.

My current hero is Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why would I choose him as a hero? Because when most people are winding down their working lives he was just getting started. In my case after battling this illness unsuccessfully for decades my life is just getting started in my 60’s as well. If he had quit when he turned 65 and settled for his little pension, we would never have known who he was. He did not settle, and I do not want to settle either. He had something to offer the world, a secret recipe of herbs and spices, and I would like to think I have something to offer in my writing of children’s stories and this blog.

There was one other thing about Col. Sanders that his biography shed a light on. He had failed a lot in his life. His biographer John Ed Pearce wrote, “[Sanders] had encountered repeated failure largely through bullheadedness, a lack of self-control, impatience, and a self-righteous lack of diplomacy.”

I could really relate to that line as it pretty much summed up my bipolar life except the fear.

What is a mentor and how to find one?

A mentor is someone who has trod the path that you are on and can keep you from some of the errors that they have suffered through. The best mentors have no ulterior motives and only sincerely want the best for you. It is a relationship like none other in this day and age. A good mentor is not a bank, a taxi, or your savior. They are just a person who will never turn you away no matter what you have done.

My current mentor and I have welded a relationship over the last number of years and even in the depths of my last episode in 2010 never once turned me away. I just refused to listen to wise words because I was so wrapped up in my illness that nothing penetrated. We can laugh about that today.

How do you find a mentor? First, you must put yourself in a position to meet one. Attending support groups is usually a good place to start. Although many who attend support groups fall away as they reach a feeling of wellness, some stay to give back to the people who are still suffering. Those are the potential mentors. With the advent of online forums and chats finding someone you can forge a long distant relationship with has also become an option. I have a few people that I mentor through email. There is only one requirement to having a mentor and that is honesty. If you cannot be honest don’t bother. For the few that I mentor face to face the first thing I say is “I don’t care if you lie to me, just don’t lie to yourself.”

There are many tools to be found on the path to mental wellness. Two of the best are finding a hero and a mentor. They are the fire and the forge that can weld you into a person of integrity and keep you on the path to mental wellness.

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.

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am extremely interested in your opinion.

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 Madelyn Chung

https://www.madelynchung.com/blog/2019/4/26/i-showered-today-1

LET US TALK – SELF-CARE

If you are visiting through the website, please click on the post’s title to open this post in a separate window for a better experience and to comment.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

During this time of uncertainty, we have a great opportunity. An opportunity to work on ourselves. To learn good stewardship of our minds, bodies, and spirits.

My basic premise, that bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it, is also true of Self-Care. The first thing I have to admit is I changed the word self-care to stewardship for my life. I am the steward of my life. My life’s one and only caretaker.
Why did I change the word I use to define caring for myself? A mentor made the greatest observation when discussing the topic of self-care. “Pretend you are a beautiful flower, say an orchid. Do you know how to take care of a beautiful flower, like an orchid?”

Of course, I had no idea how to take care of a flower or any other plant at that time. That was his point. Self-care is not something we inherently know how to do. We have to learn what works for us.

For me, taking the approach that I was outside myself and tending to me like I was a plant I knew nothing about really helped me in the beginning.

To be a good steward of the orchid I want my life to become I needed to develop some skills and knowledge.

  1. To learn what the orchid likes, wants and needs.
  2. To know what can attack the orchid or reduce its life.
  3. To not only love the plant but love caring for the plant.

This interprets into knowing, protecting and loving ourselves and loving the act of caring for ourselves when we apply this to our persons. The thing is we have no idea about these things, and we have to learn them.

One other issue that caused me to change my terminology from self-care to stewardship is that this has allowed me to shut out all the noise that has become the self-care industry. Don’t get me wrong there is fantastic information out there under this topic but lighting candles and taking bubble baths did nothing for me. A lot of what is sold as self-care is just being momentarily good to ourselves and has no long-term effect on us. Self-care is a topic is sliding towards instant gratification rather than long term results. If you are the steward of something it instantly connotates you are in this for the long haul.

This is a difficult time for all of us. To help us get through this we need to be good to ourselves and love each other. If this post and this blog can help you learn to be good stewards of your mind, body, and spirit I am overjoyed.

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.

Related Products:

Self-Care for the Real World: Practical self-care advice for everyday life.

https://amzn.to/2xzvGqG

Subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the subscription box to the right of this post. In that way, you will be notified of all the new posts and happenings in 2020. Please comment below as I am very interested in your opinion.

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 Lachlan Brown.

https://hackspirit.com/self-love

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