Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

Category: Relationships (Page 1 of 2)

I am not a relationship counselor and my track record of widowed, divorced and multiple other relationships of various lengths does not put me in the expert category either. All I can do is share the few things that I have learned about relationships and what we need to do to have a good one..

MANIA FROM THE OTHER SIDE

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

Experiencing Mania From The Other Side.

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

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

A Great Weekend At The Lake.

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

What Really Happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He suggested that he and I go for a walk.

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

I had not seen the signs.

What Signs Of Mania Had I Missed?

Not sleeping.

Excessive talking

Excessive energy

Excessive spending.

Lots of ideas and plans.

In Conclusion.

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

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

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

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

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

What did I learn?

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

That I am not perfect.

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

As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things.  Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our emotions, minds, and lives.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

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

Related Products.

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacker

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

Ten Things to Think about

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.

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Although bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it, there are many common traits. This week is I propose ten things to think about on how we treat our best friends better than we treat ourselves.

  1. We can always trust our BFF. Yet, we never trust ourselves.
  2. We would always be accepting of our BFF. Yet, we always have trouble accepting ourselves.
  3. We would never lie to our BFF. Yet, we always lie to ourselves.
  4. We would never judge our BFF. Yet, we are always our biggest critic.
  5. We would always listen to our BFF. Yet, we seldom listen to ourselves
  6. We would always forgive our BFF. Yet, we can’t forgive ourselves.
  7. We would always make our BFF feel wanted and included. Yet, we isolate ourselves.
  8. We would always celebrate the successes of our BFF. Yet, we instantly downplay anything good we ever do.
  9. We don’t have to try to do things with our BFF. Yet, doing anything in our own life is a chore.
  10.  We are always kind to our BFF. Yet we are seldom kind to 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.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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 at 365daysofbipolar.com.

Follow us on Twitter @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 Margarita Tartakovsky M.S.

https://psychcentral.com/blog/are-you-making-these-4-communication-mistakes-in-your-romantic-relationship/

Loss and other things

It has been a rough few weeks. Even with all I have learned I still do not handle loss well and the loss of a very good friend a few weeks back affected me badly. For me, a loss is one of the greatest triggers of depression and living in my head. instead of living in the reality of today and being productive. I think what bothered me most about my friends passing was like me he had battled hard to rebuild his life. Having rebuilt his life with hundreds of friends and many interests the fact that his life was cut down by the big “C” when things were finally going well for him is what really bothered me. Then I began to examine the real issue which was this could happen to me. I could get cancer and die just when I was learning to live and enjoy life. A rather selfish thought but if you honestly look at depression it is 100% selfish. I have worked hard over this last decade to rebuild my life and have developed many friends and varied interests. For the first time in my life, I want to continue living. That bipolar thought that life is not worth living has not shown up in a long time. I want to have years to better my writing, to help others and to enjoy the best relationships I have ever had in my life. The exact opposite of the bipolar thoughts that that ran my life for most of my life

The truth is I have today. When I don’t make the best of today, that is the real problem. if I concentrate each day to better my writing, to help others and to enjoy the best relationships I have ever had in my life then I am living life

So, it is time to pick me up and start moving forward again. We will see you next week.

 

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.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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 us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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 Gabe Howard.

https://www.bphope.com/blog/everyday-life-with-bipolar-disorder

 

What We Should Never Sacrifice In A Relationship

There is a big difference between compromise (an agreement for the betterment of all the people involved) and sacrifice (giving away part of ourselves or things dear to us to our detriment) in a relationship. There are certain things we should never sacrifice in a relationship no matter what.

Never sacrifice YOU for a relationship. By YOU I mean THE THINGS THAT ARE YOU like:

Your Beliefs.

Your Values.

Your Dignity.

Your Self-worth.

Your True Self.

Your Likes and Dislikes.

Your Independence.

Never Sacrifice what is DEAR TO YOU for a relationship like:

How You Dress.

Your Dreams and Goals.

Your Children.

Your Family.

Your Friends.

Your Independence.

Your Belongings.

Your Finances.

Your Vocation or Livelihood.

As bipolar sufferers, we sometimes sacrifice something of ourselves or what is dear to us in a relationship while our bipolar brain tells us we are compromising. To sacrifice any of the things on this list open areas of serious incompatibility. Areas of incompatibility slowly erode the relationship and cause resentment. Learning what and when a compromise can be reached is important in a relationship.  The items that make up  YOU, like your beliefs, your likes and dislikes, your self-worth are not even open to compromise if you want a healthy relationship.

The only area where they can be any compromise is with the things that are dear to you. We all compromise a bit of our independence to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t give our independence totally away. We all compromise on spending time with our friends to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t stop seeing our friends because of the other person. We all compromise on spending time with family to be in an exclusive relationship, but we don’t shun our family to please the other person. We all compromise on our belongings to be in an exclusive relationship. We give up space in our closets and bathrooms as the relationship progresses. We decide who has the better couch and bed when we move in together. We do not get rid of everything we own to please the other person. We all compromise a bit on our finances to work together as a couple, but we do not give up total control. We may even compromise a bit on where and how we go to school or make a living, but we do not give up control of that either.

There can be no compromise when it comes to children, they are part of you. There can be a little compromise in the way you dress as well. How we dress makes us comfortable, to sacrifice how we dress makes us very uncomfortable.

As bipolar sufferers, we need to learn the difference between sacrifice and compromise in our relationships because the right relationship does not require detrimental sacrifices of anyone.

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.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

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 us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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 Myrko Thum

The Right Mindset: Change Your Mindset in 6 Steps

What Is Support?

 

 

Untreated bipolar disorder creates a life of chaos, of failings and unease. Managed bipolar creates a life worth living. It is going from the chaos to order that is difficult. The main problem is lack of knowledge, we simply do not know how. Humans learn best by imitation and repetition.  Support is not someone telling us what to do. It is not someone trying to live our lives for us or telling us how to live. Support is feeding us knowledge and letting us learn. Support is letting us make grave errors and then making us face the consequences. Support is not saving us from ourselves. The bipolar sufferer is the one who must do the learning, the bipolar sufferer is the one that must do the work.

Someone can tell us where to get help. Someone can show us the many ways to manage this illness. Unless we go for the help and create and use the management plan, nothing will change.

The object of all support and management plans is for the bipolar sufferer to learn about themselves. To learn through repetition what works and what does not work for them. The things that trigger them and the things that don’t. What drives the mania and what sparks depression. What other issues we must deal with. What is good and what is bad and hopefully learning to stick with the good. Support is the people and places that lead us and encourage us through all of it until we can lead and encourage ourselves. We all need support at the beginning of our journey towards mental wellness, we also must learn what support is for each of us.

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.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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

Depression and Fake, Coping Skill Smiles vs Real Smiles

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Narcissism

 

Is there a connection between Narcissism and Bipolar disorder?  “The DSMIV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts”, such as family life and work.”

In a fantastic 2009 study by Fredrick E. Stinson et al, titled the Prevalence, Correlates, Disability, and Comorbidity of DSM-IV Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Results from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

The results were astounding at least to me. This study encompassed many things, but my only concern was with bipolar and comorbid conditions that usually go along with bipolar disorder, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs being the main ones.

As a man who suffered from untreated BP 1 most of his life and that self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. I often wondered if people who accused me of being totally narcissistic were correct in their assessment. This study proves that they were right.

What this study proves is there is a very high chance that both men and women with untreated and unmanaged bipolar disorder will be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. How great is that chance? Although I am not a statistician, the numbers in the study seem to indicate a 25 % likelihood that the bipolar sufferer is a narcissist. If the person has bipolar disorder and is self-medicating with alcohol and drugs the chances of exhibiting narcissistic behavior go up to over 50%.

No wonder the bipolar forums and chats are full of people wondering what is going on with the untreated, self-medicating bipolar sufferer they are dating. The answer is now proven to be, “They are a complete narcissist.”

The statistics that I found most interesting were the ones that showed what happened when you did something about your condition. If you started to manage your bipolar disorder and don’t self-medicate your chances of retaining your narcissistic ways dropped to almost zero.

To me, this study scientifically proves there is hope. Hope that if we do something about our illness and quit doing and using the things we go to kill the pain generated by our illness then we can get mentally well.

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.  Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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: Improving Alice

https://www.improvingalice.co.uk/single-post/2018/03/07/Anxiety-and-Gut-Health

What are your motives at Christmas

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It’s the Christmas season and my inbox is full of tips and tricks on what to do and not to do for our BP during this time a year. My own experience with this season pretty much encapsulates the complete range of these ideas. We can either be depressed, not care – go with the flow, or manic as hell. I have done them all. This particular season seems to lean towards the go with the flow, but having a really bad cold has not helped in revving my engines towards Christmas glee.

Personally, I want to talk about motives. Why we do what we do. I have spent a fortune on Christmas’ past trying to by everyone’s love, or at least someone’s love. Wallace Wattles wrote “that man’s greatest expression of love is in giving.” The unsaid part is that there should be no expectation of love in return with the giving.  I never learned that until recently, I always gave to get. If I gave you something I expected appreciation, if not adoration, in return. I expected to get something for my giving, be it sex or whatever. Where that fits in with our illness I do not know except maybe the selfishness that our illness creates within us. This way of thinking, give to get, is something that is very predominant in my circle of BP sufferers that I use as a sounding board. It may even be the predominate way of thinking in society in general I do not know.

What I have done in my own life by recognizing this motive is to remove that expectation of getting something in return for what I give. This has not been easy and I had to start with something small at first, I chose the Salvation Army Kettles. I was always way too selfish to give money to the bell ringers, there was no reward for me in giving something that I didn’t even get a tax break on. The past few years I have not passed a kettle that I have not deposited something into. In taking that baby step I have been able to expand giving without any expectation of return to other areas of my life. The last to fall of course was in the intimate relation category, family and close friends and last Christmas was a success because I was able give fully without expectation of return. This Christmas will be more so as I have had a year of birthdays and other occasions to practice on.

The more I find the motives for why I do what I do and check them against reality, the more I find I need to change my motives.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

A Feeling Of Rebellion

It only took a second to get my back up and the feeling of rebellion to grow inside me and I will bet money that you will have the same reaction to this as well.

“You Must!”

No matter what follows the, you must, like take your pills, wear this or do that, that feeling of rebellion instantly grows and the response of,

Not likely!” forms in my mind, sometimes migrating to my lips.

I do not get a lot of “you must” said to me these days but my reaction to those words has not changed and try as I might I cannot change it. Then I realized it is not likely to change as them are “fighting” words and the person using those words is the problem not me.

What brought this line of thinking about is that I recently have had to deal with a few people of the “You Must” kind. Since I will never change them and their behavior I need to change my reaction, especially since this is happening frequently. Is there something I am doing that is causing the Universal Force to put these “You Must” people in my life? Maybe I need to look at what is being said and if there is a valid point there, adapt it in my life.

That is the great thing about my life today I do not instantly reject things even if my initial reaction is of the rejecting kind. I am emotionally and mentally stable enough to see choices and accept good advice no matter the source or manner of presentation.

Yes, I rebel at the words “you must” but most people do and there is a reason we do. Nobody really knows what is best for us but ourselves and the words “you must” makes the other person sound like they do, even if they don’t have a clue. However, if the Universal Force of Goodness is putting a series of people in your life and they are saying something consistently we need to look at what is being said.

That is the thing that I love about my life today I have a bunch of choices, I never feel trapped like I used to. That and the fact I have learned that I can put up with a lot of crap for one day without losing it because I know it will pass one way or the other. I have choices and I have practiced enough now to usually make the right choice.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Relationship Guideline 2 Part 2

Why are you reacting rather than responding? This is the second half my second relationship guideline. This guideline asks both parties to do a couple of things, the first is to look at themselves first not the other person. The second is look at what they are doing before they act or speak.

Reacting is actually a way of responding to situations, it is almost always negative in the way it is done and you seem to have no choice about how it comes about. You are in a situation and you react, there seems to be no other option.

What if I told you that is the biggest lie you ever told yourself. Choice is the greatest gift we humans have been given and we always have it. Reactions of the emotional variety are simply ways we have conditioned ourselves to respond to things in an automatic way. This does not differ with reactions of the physical variety like ducking when something is thrown at you. Even reaction time is the same, you can actually speed up or slow down your reaction time with practice.

Your response to situations of the emotional variety are our subject today. When we react it is automatic, any other way of responding requires thought.  There is another bonus to responding rather than reacting, we can choose not to respond to some things at all. That was a real eye opener to me, I never knew I had the option to keep my mouth shut and my hands at my sides. I thought we always had to react with either our tongue or our fists.

The automatic response, called reacting, is not always our best response to any situation. The lesson I learned was when confronted with a situation to take a deep breath. The action of taking a breath was all that was needed to stop my automatic reaction and I could engage my mind and think of a better response or to not respond at all.

It is interesting that today my automatic response to most situations is to take a breath and think.

I say this guideline takes study and practice and it does. We do not stop reacting to situations instantly. The process takes time. For me learning I did not have to react that I can respond gave me that glimmer of hope there may be a better way of handling things in a relationship, I hope it does for you too.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Please let me know your response to my blogs.

Relationship Guideline 2

Before I talk about my second relationship guideline I am going to restate that I am not a relationship counselor and my track record of widowed, divorced and multiple other relationships of various lengths does not put me in the expert category either. All I can do is share the few things that I have learned.

It is not about them, it is about you – why are you reacting instead of responding? This one takes a lot of study and practice. However, the benefits are being able to develop a pretty good relationship with someone else. Realizing that it is about you and your reaction eliminates the he said, or he did this or that. So what! Why are you reacting?

There are two parts to this guideline and this blog is about the first part which is in all relationships there is one constant – you. Unless you are a teenager and this is your first relationship, the only constant in every relationship we have ever had is ourselves. That was the only constant I could find when I took an honest look at my relationships, that constant was me.  I then developed the intent of learning what not to do in the future to have a good relationship with someone.

I am going to refer back to my first guideline for a second and say that if the person with BP is not doing anything about their illness this second guideline is meaningless. In our illness we cannot admit we were wrong, take personal responsibility for anything, especially our words and actions, or see that we had any part to play in the problems of our relationships. This became my own way of telling if I was falling back into my illness or one of the myriad of addictions I dragged into my journey towards mental wellness. It is a sure sign something is wrong with me if I am blind to my part in a problem or I am dodging responsibility.

This second guideline is best worked by both people in a relationship. If both people can learn to look inwards at their own false beliefs and personality traits that get in the way of accepting the other person just as they are and loving then anyway that is a good start. If both people start admitting when they were wrong, taking personal responsibility for their personal issues, especially their words and actions. If both people look hard to see their own part in the problems of their relationships, this I have found is a good foundation.

We will discuss reacting instead of responding in the next installment.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

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