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Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

Category: Being Useful and Productive (page 1 of 14)

A SHORT MESSAGE DURING THIS TROUBLING TIME.

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 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:

I felt a need to talk to you directly about the current situation in the world.

I had a very different blog scheduled for this week, but really believe that I needed to add my voice to this subject.

Then I had problems with my computer. I spent hours trying to fix the issue over the phone. This was very trying. So, I am posting this late.

Many of us with bipolar disorder are experiencing increased anxiety at this time over the Covid-19 pandemic.  I have to admit I have had quite a lot of anxiety myself over this situation.

 Besides the anxiety, there are also things that are happening that make just managing our bipolar disorder had become more difficult.

One of the main difficulties that I have experienced is limited access to professional support. Access to medication has so far not been a problem for me, but I have heard it has been for others.

My routines have been destroyed. But I have installed new ones and that is mainly what I want to share. What I am doing and not doing to keep my mental health during this time of a global pandemic.

I am reaching out more by phone, text and Facebook plus Skype.

Now that my computer is fixed, I am writing.

I am writing a personal growth plan. I have attached a great article to the blog of the week section on how to do this.

I am not watching or reading the news.

I am watching Netflix.

I am learning things via YouTube.

I am reading the books that have gathered dust over the winter.

I am remaining positive in my thoughts.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to maintain your mental health.

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 Team Tony Robbins.

LET’S TALK: OVERCOMING LONELINESS

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 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.

  1. Cognitive Distortions and mental blocks.
  2. Unstable moods.
  3. Anxiety.
  4. Trauma.
  5. Depression.
  6. Feeling misunderstood.

Some form of outside help is usually required to deal with these blocks to overcoming loneliness.

Tools To Overcome Loneliness:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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,
  6. 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.
  7. 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,
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

Related Products:

The Self-Esteem Workbook: 2nd Edition

https://amzn.to/33szvcJ

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem.

https://amzn.to/39YFBEn

 

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 Carol Borelli Originally featured in BPHope.

LET’S TALK – BIPOLAR AND EATING

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 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 disclaimer and privacy policy here:

A Special Post:

This is a special post, please check out the special blog of the week, as it is a guest post from my friend Pamela Gold.  Pam is the creator and administrator for the Facebook Group “The Bipolar Experience.”  I want to thank Pam for agreeing to do this.

Bashing the Bipolar Diet Hype:

You see it all the time, “this is the perfect diet for bipolar,” “start on the bipolar diet today” or some similar sensationalized statement. I think there is a perfect bipolar diet but not in the way that they are advertising it. I think one diet that helps with everyone’s bipolar disorder as unlikely as one medication that stabilizes all bipolar sufferers. This illness affects each of us so different and we respond to treatments so differently that one way of eating to help with bipolar does not seem logical. 

Being Bipolar, Single and Eating:

I was a single man when I started this journey towards mental, physical and spiritual health and I remain single to this day. Yes, I have a girlfriend, but we do not live together and when we are together, I do most of the cooking. The reason I say this at the outset is people say it is hard to cook when you are single and have bipolar. I am proof it is not. 

My position is, as with everything that bipolar disorder has touched in our lives, we need help. Eating and nutrition is one area that is not talked about enough to know where to find that help. To provide that help is why dietitians and nutritionists exist. They seem to be the greatest untapped resource in the bipolar battle. Dietitians and nutritionists can help to change your mindset concerning eating and food. Dietitians and nutritionists can teach you the skills you need. But as always you have to do the work.

My Journey With Bipolar Disorder And Eating:

Where we started:

In 2011, I met a lady named Calista Adams, who is a nutritionist. Mainly it is her advice that I going to share with you when it comes to proper eating habits. Before I met Calista, like most bipolar sufferers, I did not have any eating habits. I plain didn’t eat or ate seldom.

I am a five foot ten- and three-quarter inch male in his mid-sixties. When I met Calista, I was 56 and weighed a whopping one hundred and twenty-eight pounds. Ten pounds heavier than I did when I was hospitalized the first time 38 years before. My weight had fluctuated between one eighteen and one fifty-five in the intervening years. I knew I was heading back to the hospital again if I did not fix my nutrition problem.

First, we discussed the issues, 

  1. When I was depressed, I did not have the energy to eat.
  2. When I was manic, I didn’t have time to eat.
  3. When I wasn’t depressed or manic, food had no appeal.

Calista listened but didn’t say much except for prodding questions. At the end of our session, she went to her desk and handed me a little note pad with a pencil attached. She asked me to put a mark every time I ate, and we made another appointment in two weeks.

When I returned two weeks later, I had 10 marks in the little book. Calista asked one question after she looked at the marks.

“Were these meals eaten in the morning, mid-day or evening?”

“I usually eat in the evening.” Was my response.

She said, “Ok then, I want you to eat a meal every evening from now until our next appointment and don’t forget to mark it down.”

We made an appointment for two weeks later. I had 14 marks in the book when I showed up. 

What Calista Taught Me:

Over the next number of months, Calista taught me: 

Meal Prep – for when I didn’t have the energy or inclination to prepare food. Preparing meals ahead and freezing them allows you to just pop things into the microwave. She taught me to make a meal prep day. 

Slow Cooker – I bought and still use a slow cooker. Use a slow cooker is easy just throw everything in and turn it on. To get fancy I got a slow cooker recipe book 

Grocery List: – “To properly meal prep and use that shiny new slow cooker, you have to have something to prep with and to put in the slow cooker.” Calista said.  

She taught me the easiest way to make a grocery list was to plan what you wanted to eat for a week and make the list from the ingredients needed for those meals. 

Breakfast – Calista did not approach this as “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Calista simply pointed out that I had medications that needed to be taken twice a day with food. She suggested instant oatmeal with some fruit and toast. I buy a big bag of frozen fruit and thaw enough for a few days and keep that portion in the fridge. I buy the instant oatmeal packets. 

The Canada Food Guide – We talked about the Canada Food Guide. We talked about incorporating fruit and vegetables into my meals. This is what was never discussed – eating healthy. Not once. But as I gained more knowledge, I made healthier choices on my own,

This is the link to the Canada Food Guide, which has been updated in 2019 and therefore is not the one I was introduced to.

https://food-guide.canada.ca/en

The Results:

Today, I eat two meals a day, a breakfast of instant oatmeal, fruit, and toast, although I change it up sometimes. A supper, that includes meat, starch, and vegetables. If I have lunch it will have some kind of leafy green included. I buy my groceries from a list.  

I weigh between one seventy-five and one eighty-five. My weight still fluctuates but remains in a healthy range for my height and build.

Now, I enjoy cooking for myself and others. I also make sure my bipolar girlfriend eats too. 

The Truth About Bipolar And Eating:

Calista encouraged me to take baby steps to change my eating habits. She never said it that way but that is what it turned out to be. If we progress a little at a time it is more likely to become part of our lives. It is only our bipolar mind that makes us think we have to progress from not eating to perfection overnight. 

Eating has become a habit. It is not so much about what I eat but the fact that I do eat and eat regularly.

That is what eating has to be – a habit. Once it becomes a habit you can fancy it up any way you like. Just make eating a habit first. 

I said at the beginning of this post, “I think there is a perfect bipolar diet.” There is, it is a diet you create for yourself, that considers your needs as an individual. But first, you have to make eating a habit. 

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:

This is not my slow cooker, as mine is not made anymore, but this is a good one. and inexpensive.

https://amzn.to/2PxMap2

Slow Cooker Recipe Book.

https://amzn.to/2TpcPFZ

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.

A VERY SPECIAL 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 Pamela Gold. Pamela Gold utilizes her Bipolar Type II diagnosis to inform and educate others both with and without the illness. She’s a contributor to many online mental health publications and leads a support group on Facebook called The Bipolar Experience. Pamela is married, an all-boy mom, a grand-momma to a vivacious little girl, and lives in Denver, Colorado.

Pam’s Post:

The Bipolar Confessional

I’m tired of being told how strong I am.

I’m not.

Not an ounce of strong resides in this body.

Sometimes, for reasons unknown, I’ll leave the room and have a silent cry.

Is that part of what makes me strong?

The idea that I can have a total meltdown without making a sound?

That I can return to the room and you have no idea how weak I actually am?

If only you could hear the racing thoughts swimming laps in my head.

Constant addition in milligrams and ounces. |medication|

Constant wondering of…How high is that structure? |to jump|

Constant planning of when and where. |suicide|

Strong, continuous constants.

I’m as weak as they come.

I get that sometimes you’re unsure of what to say to me so you turn to building me up.

You don’t realize that sometimes it does a hell of a lot more harm than good.

I say thank you because it’s the right thing to do, but I’m really trying to just move it along. To move you along.

What does strength really have to do with getting through day after day with Bipolar Disorder?

It’s not strength.

I call it powering through.

Everything in my life is a struggle right now.

Telling me how strong I am, makes me feel weaker than ever.

Do you even know what I’m going through?

Do you know what my illness is?

Do you realize I’m going to have this forever?

Bipolar depression isn’t situational.

Bipolar (hypo) mania isn’t fun (for me).

My Bipolar Disorder is medication (I’ve tried over 30), therapy, ECT (10 plus years of my memory has been erased), hospitalizations, suicide attempts, crisis hotlines, not wanting to take care of myself, not wanting to cook or clean or leave the house, severe-everlasting-depression, mania (it isn’t always creativity–sometimes it’s anger), avoiding friends and family, irritability, careless spending, reckless behavior, anxiety (sometimes crippling), zero concentration, and on and on and on. 

I know you’re trying.

But I also know, if you tried harder, you’d get it right.

Disclosure: Of course, not everyone with BP experiences the same symptoms, gets the same treatments and/or feels the way I do. This is my perception. 

Cognitive Distortions Part 2 (Possible Trigger Warning.)

If you are visiting the website, please click on the 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 privacy policy here:

What is Cognitive Distortion?

“A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated or irrational thought pattern involved in the onset and perpetuation of psychopathological states, especially those more influenced by psychosocial factors, such as depression and anxiety.”  Wikipedia

The Wikipedia definition does not specifically list bipolar disorder as a psychopathological disorder, but it is clearly stated in this article, https://www.verywellmind.com/a-list-of-psychological-disorders-2794776

Cognitive distortion, in its many forms, plagued me when bipolar disorder ruled my life. Especially when I fueled my bipolar with alcohol and drugs, stress or anxiety.

Science has identified at least 50 different cognitive distortions. Some are minor mental blocks, while others can be quite scary.

When cognitive distortion takes over, your brain is lying to you. It is causing you to interpret situations in your life falsely.

It is through cognitive distortion that we form the deeply seated false beliefs we come to hold.

Under the influence of cognitive distortion, we become almost unreachable.

To remove cognitive distortions and the deep-seated beliefs that we form in our distorted thinking, therapy is required. I am not a therapist and this blog is not about how to heal from cognitive distortion. I can only define cognitive distortion and discuss the most common forms I experienced in my bipolar life.

The 10 Types of Cognitive Distortion That I Believed Most:

  1. Perfectionist Thinking: I put this distortion as number one because studies conducted after suicides are proving that this perfectionist thinking distortion is the cause in over 50% of the cases, with or without a co-occurring mental health issue. This is the “if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,” way of thinking. There is also another side to the perfectionist thinking distortion that is seldom equated with it. That is, “everyone is better than me” thinking. Both of these ways of thinking that keeps us stuck. The “if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,” distortion kept me from writing anything for over 20 years The “everyone is better than me” thinking could keep me from blogging. There are many better bloggers than I am. Instead, I did something novel, I attach their blogs to this one. So you get the best I can offer as well as access to the best blogs and bloggers. That they are better than me then becomes irrelevant.
  2. Personalization:  This distortion is exactly what it says, we take everything personally. I think this distortion should be called, “everything is my fault.” My personal example of this was a friend who asked me what meds I was taking. I told him and he convinced his doctor to prescribe them. A few days later he killed himself. I believed for years that his death was all my fault. If I hadn’t told him about that med this would not have happened. That is not true, but it was hard to convince me otherwise.
  3. Blaming: This is the exact opposite of personalization. Everything that is wrong in your life is someone else’s fault. “None of this would have happened if my wife hadn’t died.” “The business would not have gone under if I had a better partner.” I actually said and believed both of those statements.
  4. Arbitrary inference:  This distortion causes us to believe something without any evidence to support that belief. “I am going to get fired.” “Everyone hates me.” Those are my favorite examples from my own life.
  5. Selective Abstraction: This distortion is also called Catastrophic Thinking. This happens when we take one minor event and come to a catastrophic conclusion. My girlfriend was supposed to meet me at 5 pm. It is now 5:20 so she must no longer want this relationship. The fact that she was stuck in traffic never entered my mind.
  6. Mental Filtering:  This distortion only allows you to see only the negative and totally ignore anything positive. One of my personal favorite distortions. “My shoes aren’t shined, no one is going to listen to me.” It’s not perfect, so it is useless.”
  7. Overgeneralization: is when we come to a general conclusion based on one bad incident or event. For me, the loss of my first wife caused me to believe everyone in my life was going to abandon me was the biggest example of this distortion.
  8. Should And Must Statements: This distortion is self-explanatory and two-sided. As an expert in I should/they should and I must/they must, let me explain. There are the I should’s, should haves and should not or I must, I must not, we apply to ourselves and then there are the, they should, they should have and they should not, they must, or they must not, we apply to others. The “should, should not, must, must not” game unintentionally applies very strict rules to our lives and the lives of others. Rules that are unbendable and, in all seriousness, only break us. This game creates depression and anger and is the fuel for the constant irritability in our lives. Should’s and musts are words I removed from my vocabulary and my thoughts.
  9. Emotional Reasoning: This distortion leads us to believe our feelings are fact, but it is slightly more complicated than that. My jealousy made me believe my wife was sleeping with every guy she saw. Feeling equals fact. I was overwhelmed in a lot of situations and therefore I could never solve a problem. Emotional reasoning causes us to conclude falsely based on a feeling. It does not necessarily mean that we are saying our feelings are a fact. But that our feelings are fueling an irrational conclusion. This distortion makes it hard for us to learn to trust our gut instincts. If you always jumped to the wrong conclusion from a feeling it is very hard to believe that you can learn to come to the right conclusions from a feeling. I have learned with a lot of help you can begin to trust your gut instincts.
  10. Jumping to Conclusions: This distortion is divided into two parts – mind reading, you know exactly what a person is feeling or thinking based on nothing. Or fortune-telling you know exactly what the outcome of a future situation is going to be – and it will be horrible. Mind reading – “She just winked at me – she loves me.” “He just looked at his watch, this must be a horrible meeting.”  In both those instances, I was totally wrong of course. The lady did wink at me because I did something, she appreciated but she could not speak of it in that situation. She did not love me.  The guy didn’t even look at his watch, he scratched his elbow. He came up and told me it was a fantastic meeting.   Fortune Telling – “My bipolar will always rule my life.”  And now I have a life I wouldn’t trade for anything. “I am going to screw this up.” Not so much anymore and if I do, I laugh. We don’t know the future so why is it we think we do?

Early on in my journey towards mental wellness when my anxiety, stress and other bipolar symptoms would leave for a bit and then come back, I could feel the cognitive distortions, especially delusions, personalization, blaming and mental filtering, begin to gain control. That was one of the strangest feelings I ever had, it was like I was sliding out of reality.

Cognitive distortions can be banished from our lives. With the help of a good therapist and by learning and practicing the specific questions we need to ask ourselves to ward off the distortion we can free ourselves.

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:

https://amzn.to/3ab6q86

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 Madelyn Heslet.

Cognitive Distortions (Possible Trigger Warning.)

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 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 disclaimer and privacy policy here:

What is Cognitive Distortion?

“A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated or irrational thought pattern involved in the onset and perpetuation of psychopathological states, especially those more influenced by psychosocial factors, such as depression and anxiety.”  Wikipedia

The Wikipedia definition does not specifically list bipolar disorder as a psychopathological disorder, but it is clearly stated in this article, https://www.verywellmind.com/a-list-of-psychological-disorders-2794776

Cognitive distortion, in its many forms, plagued me when bipolar disorder ruled my life. Especially when I fueled my bipolar with alcohol, drugs, stress or anxiety.

Science has identified at least 50 different cognitive distortions. Some are minor mental blocks, while others can be quite scary.

When cognitive distortion takes over, your brain is lying to you. It is causing you to interpret situations in your life falsely.

It is through cognitive distortion that we form the deeply seated false beliefs we come to hold.

Under the influence of cognitive distortion, we become almost unreachable.

To remove cognitive distortions and the deep-seated beliefs that we form in our distorted thinking, therapy is required. I am not a therapist and this blog is not about how to heal from cognitive distortion. I can only define cognitive distortion and discuss the most common forms I experienced in my bipolar life.

Bipolar Disorders Star Cognitive Distortion:

Delusions:  Delusions are defined as a firm or fixed belief not based on fact, or open to rational argument, or behavior that is out of character for the sufferer. Wikipedia.

Delusional thinking is a symptom of bipolar disorder and I have chosen to cover this distortion separately.

As a sufferer of bipolar 1 disorder delusions were a major part of my active illness. As such, I have a lot to say about them

The Types of Delusions:

  1. Jealous – believes that his or her spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful. What they do not add in most definitions of this delusion is, “without proof.” If you have proof, it is not a delusion. This was me, always jealous and it took a lot of therapy to convince me this was a delusion. To describe this delusion, it is where jealousy is more than an emotion and becomes an all-consuming thought. Today I know the difference. Yes, I get jealous when some guy is paying my girlfriend to much attention. That is a normal emotion, so my therapist says.  I do not automatically, and always, think my girlfriend is cheating on me.
  2. Persecutory – you believe that you (or someone close to you) are being mistreated, or that someone is spying on you or planning to harm you. This delusion only happened to me under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Mostly it was someone spying on me or trying to harm me. I have suffered from the milder form of this delusion, everyone is against me, not that long ago. Writing this, I can easily recall the feeling of terror this delusion, that both the mild version or the extreme version, generated.
  3. Grandiose – an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, identity or invincibility. At the extreme, a person might believe he or she has a great talent or has made an important discovery. Have you ever been manic? This is mania. Write a 300,000-word novel in a week thinking it is the greatest thing ever written. In the light of reality, you find it is mostly gibberish. I still have that pile of paper to remind me. Yes, I have had that delusion of grandiosity.
  4. Erotomanic – believing that another person, often someone important or famous, is in love with you.  The extreme is stalking and trying to contact the person may happen. I have never had this delusion directed at a famous person, but I have unfortunately had this delusion, Even thinking about it makes me sad. I don’t think I ever stalked or tried to contact the person, but I was obsessed.
  5. Mixed – when two or more of the types of delusions listed above are held at the same time. Grandiosity and jealousy were never far from each other in my bipolar world. The weirdest was when I held the Erotomanic delusion, Grandiosity, and Jealousy all at the same time. Picture this scenario, I am a great writer in love with a woman and believe she loves me. I believe she is cheating on me.  I had only seen the woman briefly on a bus, once. That was it.  A great plot for a romance novel, but in real life not so much. So yes, I have experienced mixed state delusions.
  6. Somatic – believing you have a physical defect or medical problem. This is a delusion that I have never held. Maybe because of my invincibility belief.

Delusional thinking can be banished from our lives. With the help of a good therapist and by learning and practicing the specific questions we need to ask ourselves to ward off the delusion we can free ourselves.

To Be Continued ………….

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:

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 BP Magazine.

JOURNALING, THE GREATEST TOOL FOR MENTAL WELLNESS

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Please read my full disclosure and privacy policy here:

________________________________________________________________________

There are many benefits to journaling, be it pen to paper in a book or on an App. In the battle for mental wellness, journaling can play a big part in winning the battle. I am the first to admit that developing journaling as a habit takes works, but remember our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our emotions, minds, and lives. Journaling is one way to develop that self-discipline and begin to take control.

Ten Benefits of Journaling:

  1. Calming and clearing your mind
  2. Releasing pent up feelings
  3. Reduces stress
  4. Improves self-awareness and shows triggers
  5. Used for mood tracking.
  6. Shifts your perspective.
  7. Gets those repeating thoughts out of your head and on paper.
  8. Allows you to see other options.
  9. Cultivates gratitude.
  10. Allows you to track successes and promotes change.

Pointing out the benefits of journaling is all fine and well, but how do I journal?

For most people starting out, journaling is best done at night before bed to reduce racing thoughts.

The basic elements in journaling for mental health are medication and mood tracking, a gratitude list, finding something positive in your day and tracking your thinking.

Medication tracking – entails keeping track of the medications you are on and how they are making you feel. This is critical at the beginning of our journey towards mental wellness. I have often shared how I trialed fifty-two meds or combinations of meds in two years before I found the med that worked for me. By keeping track of each med or combination of meds and how they made me feel gave me the ability to go to my Pdoc with indisputable evidence. It also made it easier to see what was tried and never to repeat the prescriptions. We never had the, “I will prescribe this” not realizing that was prescribed months ago conversation.

Mood Tracking – entails keeping track of your moods. Mood tracking can highlight exposure to triggers that you may not even know you have.

By mood tracking, I found out I fell into a funk every Wednesday. The reason was on Wednesdays I had to deal with a really negative person for the entire afternoon. I had to quit that assignment.  

By mood tracking, we figured out I had seasonally affected bipolar disorder.

Mood tracking gives us clues and then we can act on them.

Gratitude: list three things you are grateful for

Positivity: list three things that were positive today, like I made my bed, went out for coffee, did the dishes.

Thought Tracking :

Worry Tracking – entails writing about the people, places, situations or other external things that we are worried about and make us anxious. Then writing a conclusion – can we do something about this right now? Yes or No. If yes, what can we do right now? If No, why are we worrying about this?

Believe it or not, this one exercise caused me to stop worrying about a lot of things and put my life into perspective.

Racing Thoughts – reduction entails writing down everything you are thinking about. Putting them on paper makes it possible to see these thoughts in the light of day and judge if any of these thoughts are important. The truth is that when you go to write down all of those thoughts in your head a lot of them just disappear.

For me, journaling took what was once an all-day, every day, constant head pounding to an almost quiet mind.

Recently, I went through a period of racing thoughts as I implemented the changes to this blog. Too many ideas and tasks running in my mind proving that, yes, I still have bipolar. My constant journaling kept this episode short and it did not take over my life.

Trigger Tracking –This is done in three parts. Part 1. Writing down the triggering event and what my response was. Part 2. Writing down how best to handle the trigger in the future – I will a. avoid this trigger or b. learn to cope with this trigger.  Part 3. If I choose to learn to cope with the triggering event, I then list all the resources, people, books, courses and other help I can use to learn these coping skills.

Since I started trigger tracking and deciding on how I will handle triggering events I have found that I am not triggered much anymore. But that took a number of years.

Journaling is one of the best tools there is for bipolar management. Journaling does not have to be detailed, just started. Everything I have outlined that a journal should contain is less than a page in my journal. There are many mental wellness journals and apps ready-made for you to start. I just encourage you to start and keep journaling. Your mental health will thank you.

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 Talk: How to Train Your Brain to Turn Negative Thinking into Positive Thinking & Practice Self Love (2nd Edition: Edited & Expanded) 

https://amzn.to/2RQXZaw

365 Days of Positive Self-Talk for Finding Your Purpose 

https://amzn.to/2U2lqAa

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 Eva Grant originally featured in Bustle.

https://www.bustle.com/p/7-ways-to-tell-if-your-racing-thoughts-might-actually-be-a-mental-health-issue-9655043

HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY

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.

Please read my full disclosure and privacy policy here:

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365daysofbipolar.com is five years old. I started this blog in February 2015. I hope that this site has helped you as much as it has helped me, this is a personal blog after all. This blog has been my therapy, my teacher and my way of being useful and provide value to the mental health community. Hopefully, along the way, this blog has been providing some value to you, the reader. Because if I have been useful and provided value to you, I can ask nothing more.

I started this blog with the intent of sharing how we can live with and manage bipolar disorder so that life, even with bipolar, could be ducky. But always there was a deeper focus. That deeper focus was to help others learn that it was only by connecting with our authentic selves that this life could be accomplished. Even though I conceived this idea right from the beginning It has taken me five years to learn to make the message concise. Here is an excerpt from one of my first posts, February 2015.

“The subject of spirituality is a difficult one in the world today as spirituality is often confused with religion. Religion asks that you believe this or that doctrine or creed. Spirituality, at the least the spirituality I speak of, asks you to acknowledge that you are made up of body, mind and spirit. The spirituality I speak of is for you to align your ways with your personal spirit and to do things that build or strengthen that spirit within you. Just as exercise and proper diet help your body and working on affirmations help your mind, there are things that will help strengthen your spirit.

It is your spirit and there is no teacher, religious leader or anyone else that can heal and strengthen your spirit better than being true to your own nature. The problem is we have to be sane enough, mentally stable, to learn our true nature. We have to learn our real ideals, ideals that ring true in our spirit and therefore are our personal truth.”

Your true nature is your authentic self and 365daysofbipolar is dedicated to helping you connect to that authentic self. Here you will find tools and ideas that will help you:

  1. manage your bipolar disorder,
  2. heal your body through proper eating
  3. Connect with your authentic self.

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:

Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff M.D,

https://amzn.to/30TkEqA

The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being by Judith Orloff M. D.

https://amzn.to/3aK23C0

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.

Important Notice: Join me on 365daysofbipolar.com’s Facebook page February 17 to 21 as I share my first eBook, “365daysofbipolar.com’s Meditations For The Bipolar Mind” for comments and feedback. “Like” the page while you are there.

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 Kendra Syrdal originally featured in Thought Catalog

Practice Gratitude? The Science Says – Yes.

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.

Please read my full disclosure and privacy policy here:

__________________________________________________________________________

Although we are all individuals and we need to find what works for us as individuals there are things that prove to be universal. If there were no universal symptoms for bipolar disorder, we could never be properly diagnosed.

Science is now proving another universal truth, repeatedly finding things to be grateful for in our lives has amazing benefits. I have attached the best-researched blog post I could find in the blog of the week that explains the benefits of gratitude.

Science is also proving that finding things to be grateful for is one of the things we can use to help rewire our brains. Something I talk a lot about in this blog. Bipolar disorder is a disease of the mind and we need to fix our minds.

In all of the studies, it is stated over and over that as the name suggests practicing gratitude is not a once and done deal. You must practice being grateful. There is also a specific way you need to practice gratitude; you have to write it down. To this end, there are now a plethora of gratitude journals and apps on the market. This week I am attaching a second blog post to the blog of the week giving the nine best gratitude apps.

Here the controversy starts. Do you write the things you are grateful for daily or weekly? How many things should you write down? Three, five, ten or more?

To find what really works I turned to the people that have been teaching how to practice gratitude long before the science caught up, the twelve-step programs.

They say to write down three things you are grateful for every day. They also have a rule, you can’t use the same things twice. This causes you to search for the things you are grateful for after you have written down the obvious. If you write down that: 1. you are alive, 2. have a job 3. have a good boss. The next day you have to find three new things. This is how you rewire your mind by having to push yourself to look beyond the obvious.

Practicing gratitude is finally scientifically proven to help. Something that many people have known and taught for a long time. It is nice when everyone is on the same page. I encourage everyone to bring the practice of being grateful in their lives.

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.

Recommended Products:

Gratitude Journal: Journal 5 minutes a day

https://amzn.to/2GjKASL

The Buddha’s Guide to Gratitude

https://amzn.to/2RPciMr

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.

Important Notice: Join me on 365daysofbipolar.com’s Facebook page on February 17 to 21 as I share my first eBook, “365daysofbipolar.com’s Meditations For The Bipolar Mind” for comments and feedback. “Like” the page while you are there.

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 blogs which are both from happierhuman.com. A site I recommend.

Make Your New Years’ Resolutions Come True 2

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 just a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experience in the hope it 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). Please note that I only recommend books and products that I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart. 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.

This is part two of making your New Years’ resolutions come true. Last week I shared the definitions that mattered.

Most New Year resolutions are about stopping or starting a habit. A habit is defined in psychology as: “any regularly repeated behavior that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate. A habit—which can be part of any activity, ranging from eating and sleeping to thinking and reacting—is developed through reinforcement and repetition.”

That means that any habit can be learned or unlearned and if we make a resolution to invoke this change in our lives it can happen. Do we really understand what a resolution is?

The definition of a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”

For the most part, we do not take our new year resolutions seriously. We say them but do not develop the resolve to carry them out. We do nothing to reinforce that initial decision. The tactic for making my resolutions come true is to make that initial decision into a mantra which reinforces my commitment to the initial decision. In stopping addictive behavior such a smoking, alcohol, drugs and hyper fixation habits outside help may be required as no mantra by itself will overcome these. I believe creating a mantra that requires actually thinking about the decision you are making and putting into words really helps to reinforce that decision. But even if we reinforce the decision with mantras there remains the issue of making the habit itself stick and that can only be done with action. The definition does say a habit is an activity. To really establish a habit we must both reinforce and repeat it. That is the action, repeating the activity. Although I can find no scientific studies to back up this next statement: my personal experience and experiences shared by other bipolar sufferers indicate, it takes substantially longer for bipolar sufferers to establish a habit. The common understanding that it takes twenty-one to thirty days to establish a new habit is not true for most bipolar sufferers. The realistic time frame seems to be three to six months before that habit becomes our new behavior without having to think about it. But armed with that information it is easier to keep up the commitment until our new habit becomes an ingrained behavior. The habit will get established it just takes us a little longer for that to happen.

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.

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 Debbie Jacobs originally featured in BPHope Magazine

A Christmas Message

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 just a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experience in the hope it 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.

It seems odd to me that Christmas day falls on my regular day to post a blog. Christmas, what does that mean? To someone who has battled bipolar disorder, all his life Christmas has had its ups and downs, literally.  I think that is the point of this Christmas message. We have bipolar disorder this season and this day affects us. Some more than others, but if we are honest, we can admit this season does affect us.

For me, Christmas has become a season of self-care, practicing boundaries and knowing my limits.

Self-Care Secrets:

  1. Do less – realize you are not the energizer bunny.
  2. Look for the humor – Learn to laugh when things don’t go exactly as planned.
  3. Check your motives – Why are you doing what you are doing? If you are doing something simply to please others it will only make you unhappy.
  4. Get enough rest – trying to be here, there and everywhere is tiring. Make sure you are getting enough rest.

Boundary Secrets:

  1. Be honest and direct – If you know going to your wife’s uncle Joes will be a disaster say so and don’t go.
  2. Give your self permission – If people, places, and situations are not going well give your self permission to leave.
  3. Be Assertive:  Assertively communicate when others have crossed a boundary.

I can share no secrets on knowing your limits as they are your limits. By practicing self-care and boundaries, you will find you may not be as stressed. Allowing you to have a “ducky” Christmas.

That is what I wish for everyone – A “ducky” Christmas.

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 minds

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.

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 Crazy Little Things

https://crazylittlethings.site/2019/10/23/your-path-is-not-my-path

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