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Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

Category: The Challenges of life (page 1 of 7)

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.

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BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well.  This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you.  I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by BP 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

Why Changing Perceptions is important

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.

“There is no test for depression or bipolar disorder, as there is for cholesterol or blood sugar levels. In most cases, success is determined by patients’ perceptions and behavior. If they say they feel better, and act like it, then they are. No psychiatrist bats 1.000, and there is no X-ray to prove a mental break has been healed.” Quote from an article by Neely Tucker a Washington Post Reporter.

I have never found truer words to describe what I have tried to get across to the readers of this blog. You can successfully deal with bipolar disorder and heal the mental break if you find what works for you as an individual. Finding what works for you makes you feel better then you begin to act like you feel better and your whole world changes. This takes effort and to make the effort worthwhile you must retain the hope that you can feel better.

Are medications required? The purpose of medication in treating bipolar disorder is to stabilize the mind and moods. Medication alone will not fix you; medication just gives you a stable platform on which to fix your self. There are a lot of medications (57 at last count) used to treat bipolar and new ones are appearing regularly. Finding the one, or combination of ones, that work for you can be both frustrating and challenging. In my case, it took a couple of years and the trialing of over fifty medications or combinations of medications to find the mix that worked for me.

Is therapy required? Defiantly, therapy and a therapist are needed to challenge our thinking and help us overcome the trauma we have suffered. As well as to confront the false beliefs that our bipolar disorder has instilled in us. There are several types of therapy and several styles of therapists that are recommended for bipolar disorder.  Finding the therapist and type of therapy that works for you is also challenging. I had to kiss a few frogs before I found the prince that saved my life.

The only other requirement: Learn about and try the tools used in the management of bipolar disorder. Then adopt the ones that work for you. Adopt and develop good habits like eating and sleeping regularly plus regular exercise. Changing your diet, stop using drugs and alcohol and changing other harmful lifestyle habits are necessary for you to manage your bipolar disorder. The more you discover what works for you eliminate what doesn’t the more enjoyable this journey with bipolar disorder becomes.

As bipolar sufferers, we must do everything we can to change our perceptions and behaviors and adopt new habits that make us feel better so we can be better.

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.

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom-1412484182389749. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/365daysofbipol2

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 Linda Sapadin Ph.D

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-importance-of-practice-and-preparation

It is what we concentrate on

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 blog may turn into a rant, if it does that is not my intent. …

The focus of my thinking is always towards mental wellness. I focus on wellness, on better outcomes and solutions in my day rather than what is wrong in my life. In many places, by many writers and by the universal law of polarity we are told concentrating on the illness creates more illness. Concentrating on the opposite, in this case, mental wellness creates more wellness. I have taken this lesson and seared it into my mind.

Bipolar is a mental illness that can be overcome, not an excuse. We can choose to work towards mental wellness, or we can use our illness as an excuse to stay the way we are. Those are our real choices, but those choices can only happen once we know what our problem is. When in the throes of our illness we may suspect there is something wrong, but we are powerless to really do anything. Having been misdiagnosed for over 40 years and trying to fix what was wrong with me by solving the symptoms of ADHD, I can attest to that. It is only when we get in a situation that causes us to be given a proper diagnosis do our choices appear. It is what we do after our diagnosis that is important. I have started looking at this issue of pre and post-diagnosis quite differently. I used to beat myself up severely for all the insane things I did in my illness.  When I was in my illness, I was sick. I can no more blame myself for that as I can blame myself throwing up on the floor when I wake up with severe nausea. It is what happened and was unavoidable.

I quit beating myself up, period. I came to understand that all the things that I condemned myself for were either the result of my illness or the result of trying to learn this new way of living on the path to mental health, I knew nothing of this way of life and I made a lot of mistakes learning this new way of living. Mistakes are just learning experiences, not God condemned sins.  I have learned a lot about myself and the underlying causes of my inappropriate reactions to others. There are other issues in my life besides my bipolar disorder, or maybe because of bipolar disorder that were the result of trying to kill the pain and deal with the trauma in my life. These other issues that my illness caused before I learned there was a real cause for the pain and trauma must also be dealt with as well.

Our shared illness is not an excuse to remain as we are. It is something that is to be dealt with and overcome by learning who we are and connecting with our authentic selves. Bipolar disorder makes us self-centered, but we can actually get over that if we do what is recommended after our diagnosis such as take our meds and use counseling. Once we have a diagnosis, we have choices and it is the choices we make that place us on the path to mental wellness or leave us stuck in our illness. It is always our choice.

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.

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom-1412484182389749. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/365daysofbipol2

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 Laura Fisher

The Most Frustrating Conversation

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.

This week’s post speaks to a common problem that we as bipolar sufferers face. I have covered this problem from the aspect of when our professional support falls into their routine of this should work for that symptom failing to see us as who we are in this post and in the blog of the week I have attached a wonderful post by Natasha Tracy on toxic positivity another side of the same coin.

Here is the scenario: you go to your psychiatrist or your therapist because your bipolar management plan is not working and they say to you, “Take this or do that and it will work for you.”

You reply, “I have taken that or done that in the past and it did not work.”

Then you get that blank stare from your psychiatrist or your therapist.

That is when you know that your psychiatrist or your therapist is not seeing you.

You may be in their presence, but they are not connecting with you. They are just going by their routine saying this symptom or behavior requires this med or this action.

Psychiatrists and therapists are people just like us and they fall into routines just like the rest of us. That is when it gets frustrating. Because it then becomes our job to make them see us. To see us not as just another patient but as a real person.

Now it is wrong to expect that every time we walk in the door of our professional support they are going to be as attentive as they were when we were a new patient. That is an unreasonable expectation. It is reasonable to expect that when we come into their office, they should know who we are.

Let us replay that conversation again:

You go to your psychiatrist or your therapist because your bipolar management plan is not working and they say to you, “Take this or do that and it will work for you.”

You reply, “I have taken that or done that in the past and it did not work.” Then you get that blank stare from your psychiatrist or your therapist.

Our normal bipolar response to this situation is to complete the appointment and never go back because we think that the psychiatrist or therapist does not care about us. These are the lies our bipolar mind tells us to destroy helpful relationships.

Since these are actual conversations from my life that have happened with both my psychiatrist and my therapist, I can share how I learned to respond when it became my job to make them see me.

My angry response is, “I have told you over and over to never say, “this will work for you.” You are not me and you have no idea what will work for me.”

That usually wakes them up. Being bipolar and the fact that I am there because my management plan is not working, I am usually angry.  But I do have a calm response as well.

“Look, we have tried a lot of stuff, so you are not going to remember everything we tried. How about we try something new.”

Sometimes it is our job to make others see us as an individual, not just part of the crowd.  It is difficult but we can learn the skills to make it 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 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.

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom-1412484182389749. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/365daysofbipol2

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 Natasha Tracy

The Tool to Change your Destiny

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.

One of the things that shocked me into changing my thinking and challenging my beliefs was reading a quote that was attributed to Margret Thatcher, but a further study shows the author is unknown or possibly Loa Tzu of Toa Te Ching fame. The quote reads:

“Be careful of your thoughts, they become your words.

Be careful of your words, they become your actions.

Be careful of your actions, they become your habits.

Be careful of your habits, they become your character.

Be careful of your character, it becomes your destiny.”

When I looked at this quote it struck me that I had the destiny of an insane person (the hospital stays, lost jobs, lost relationships) and if I did not change my thinking things would never get better and that destiny would continue to its inevitable end. I did not want that destiny that said over and over “life is not worth living.”  I wanted something else, a life worth living and that simple quote showed me it was possible to get it. The question was how?

To save you the pain of how my bipolar mind concluded the “how” I will share the simple answer. The simple answer is I had to change my words. The words I said to myself and the words I said to others, even the words I wrote. By working on changing the words I thought, spoke and wrote and by challenging the lies my bipolar mind told through the help of a therapist – Lies are made up of words. Just saying – I have been able, over time, to change my thinking and thus I have changed my destiny. My destiny today is one of inner peace, serenity, and joy. The three things that are worth more than money.

What I find interesting is that science is now agreeing with what my bipolar mind came up with all on its own. Science has confirmed, “If you change your words you can change “you” right down to your genetic level.”

 In their book “Words Can Change Your Brain,” Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”

Another great book on this topic is Andrea Gardner’s, “Change Your Words, Change Your World.” Which is basically her story and provides some great tools to help with incorporating positive words into your inner and outer speech.

The other aspect of implementing this change of words is to place a guard at the gate of your mind. It is one thing to become conscious of what is going in and out of your mind verbally, but it is equally important to become conscious of what is going into your subconscious from other sources. To put it bluntly, if everyone and everything you are listening to, reading and seeing reinforce the false beliefs you hold then you will make little progress.

This is a multi-faceted subject, but if you start with what you have total control over, the words you think, say and write, you will find that things will change.

That is the “how” of changing your destiny and if you begin to practice changing your words you will begin to change.

 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.

Please subscribe to this blog or check back every Wednesday. Like and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/365daysofbipolarcom-1412484182389749. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/365daysofbipol2

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 Dr. Deborah Serani Psy.D

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/two-takes-depression/201702/why-self-care-is-hard-depressed-individuals

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