Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

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WHY WE SHOULD LISTEN TO OUR BODIES.

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

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

As Bipolar Sufferers We Do Not Listen To What Is Important.

I have never met a bipolar sufferer who does not have some type of Gastrointestinal issue if not several of them. In my case, I have ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

Not only that but heart or circulation issues are as prevalent as gastrointestinal issues. I also have high blood pressure.

Why is that? The short answer is we do not listen to our bodies and then suffer the consequences when our body begins to rebel causing us pain and other side effects of neglect.

Bipolar Disorder Makes Us Externally Focused.

Bipolar disorder makes us believe that external things are the cause of our discomfort while our body is screaming that our problem is inside us.

It is like those old horror movies where all the teenagers are looking out the windows for the scary monster and the scary monster is standing behind a group of them in the house.

Every week I end this blog with the statement, “Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things.” I say this because bipolar disorder does not want us to look inside ourselves to find what is wrong. Bipolar disorder wants us to look everywhere else.

The Mind, Body, Emotion Conflict.

Where do our emotions come from? Is it our mind or our bodies? Could it be both or is there something else?

Those questions were posed to me about six years ago and sent me on a journey that is still ongoing. But I want to share what I have learned so far.

To me, it was obvious that our mind does not generate or control our emotions, especially the bipolar mind. To me, that meant our body must generate and control our emotions.

Then I read, “Three Brains” by Karen Jenson N.D., the subtitle of which is, “How the Heart, Brain, and Gut Influence Mental Health and Identity. When I came across this book, I was already convinced that bipolar disorder created an identity crisis. This book showed me not only did bipolar create an identity crisis but caused a conflict between our heart brain and our gut-brain.

Why We Should Listen To Our Bodies.

As the book states, we have three brains, two in our bodies and one in our head. Once you understand this it is not hard to figure out that there is more brainpower in our bodies than in our head. That makes our bodies worth listening to. In this light it also quite easy to understand the statement, “your body is quite intelligent.”

If you have a mind that is controlled by bipolar disorder it is even more important that you learn how to let the brains in your body take over.

What Of Emotions?

Bipolar disorder affects our moods and emotions. That is what seems to control us. For many of us, all we really want is emotional control. If we could control our emotions, we would have everything, right?

The fact is we will never have real emotional control without aligning our three brains or at least getting them to work together instead of being in a state of miscommunication.

It Is Imperative We Turn Inwards.

If you agree that it is now time to listen to the two brains in our bodies, how do we do it? Our body has always talked to us and even if you have not listened in decades your body is still talking to you. The problem is we do not understand its language.

 Our mind talks to us in words, our bodies talk in sensations and feelings.

We have to become open to that language.

The other issue is that of trust. We have never trusted our heart or gut. They seem to have led us astray way too many times and betrayed our trust. What if I told you your heart and gut never lied to you? Your bipolar mind wrongly interpreted the signals.

This brings us to my favorite word in bipolar management, “learning.”

To effectively listen to your body, you have to learn the language your body speaks in and even more importantly you have to trust what your body is saying. This will not happen overnight.

3 Simple Things To Start Tuning Into Your Body.

  1. Stop – for a minute stop and relax.
  2. Breath Deep – Take a few deep breaths.
  3. Acknowledge your feelings – The language of our bodies is feelings and sensations. If we acknowledge what we are feeling but do not respond. We will slowly learn to filter out the noise and hear what our body is saying.

The journey to reconnect with the language of your body is both interesting and worthwhile. The benefits are a healthier and happier you. This is a short blog post that I hope will interest you in embarking on your own journey of learning to connect your three brains, mind, heart, and gut and listening to your body.

There are many great teachers on how to listen to your body and in the last few years, many therapists are learning and passing on this skill. As a starting point, I have put a post in the Blog of the Week section below.

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you redefine the things that drive, you.

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

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

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

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

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

Ambition has nothing to do with success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

IS MENTAL WELLNESS A WORTHY IDEAL

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

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

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

Is Mental Wellness A Worthy Ideal?

I came across this quote shortly after my diagnosis in April of 2009.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Earl Nightingale.

This was the question I asked myself. Is mental wellness a worthy ideal? My answer was a resounding, “Yes, for me it is.”

Success Does Not Mean Perfection:

The lie my bipolar brain had convinced me of was, “If it was not perfect, I was not doing it right and therefore I should not do anything.”

It took a year and a really good therapist to convince me otherwise. In talking to many other bipolar sufferers, I learned that I was not alone in this way of thinking.

As a visual person this image did more for me to understand what success really looks like. Success has nothing to do with doing things perfectly. Success is about keeping your goal, mental wellness, firmly in your sights. The goal of mental wellness may seem a long way off and may even be unreachable, but I learned THE GREATEST JOY is really found in the Progressive Realization Of The Worthy Ideal.

There is a second part to the Earl Nightingale quote.

“Any person with a goal towards which they are working is a successful person.” Earl Nightingale.

There is an important word in the second part of this quote and that word is “WORK.”

Jim Rohn supplied the quote that told me what I needed to work on.” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

Defining The Goal And The Work.

Bipolar disorder does not go away, ever. Bipolar disorder is now defined as a chronic condition which simply means that the knowledgeable people in society recognize that you will never get over bipolar disorder as well.

Having a goal of mental wellness does not mean getting over bipolar disorder. The goal of mental wellness means managing bipolar disorder to the best of your ability.

In last week’s post I pointed out the more of bipolar management was learning. That is the work.

It is by progressing along the learning curve of bipolar management that the realization of mental wellness happens. That is where joy is found, in the progress of learning to manage your bipolar disorder not in reaching the goal of mental wellness.

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

THE MORE OF BIPOLAR MANAGEMENT

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

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

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

There Is More To Bipolar Management.

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

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

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

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

“Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

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

Standard Bipolar Management Strategies.

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

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

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

Manage Bipolar Disorder With Medication.

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

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

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

Manage Bipolar Disorder With Therapy.

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

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

Managing Bipolar Disorder With Mood Tracking.

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

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

The More Of Bipolar Management.

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

Learning how bipolar disorder affects you as an individual.

Learning what works for you to manage your bipolar symptoms.

Learning who the person is that bipolar disorder hid away.

Learning skills like proper boundaries.

Learning to improve both your mental and emotional resilience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

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

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

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

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

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

What is a hero and how to find one?

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

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

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

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

What is a mentor and how to find one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

LET US TALK – SELF-CARE

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

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

Please read my full disclosure and policy statement here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Products:

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

https://amzn.to/2xzvGqG

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

https://hackspirit.com/self-love

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. 

A LETTER TO A FRIEND

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 nor a 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.

Please read my full disclosure and privacy policy here: https://365daysofbipolar.com/privacy-policy/

Most Sunday mornings I get together with a group of people for breakfast and to share our experience, strength and hope.

A few weeks ago, a person who is a relative newcomer to our group asked me a question. Being a writer and unable to explain fully at the gathering I wrote that person a letter. A letter I want to share with all of you.

The Question:

Last week you asked me how I seemed to always be happy?

The Answer:

The short answer is, I changed “ME” a lot.

The long answer is, I needed to see something that would shock me into changing my thinking and challenge my beliefs. I am a visual learner and I need to see something to understand it. Also, to change my ways I need something that shocks me into realizing I am on the wrong path. The thing that I could both see and shocked me turned out to be a quote, a quote that drew a line from the present to the future. This quote has been attributed to Margret Thatcher, but a further study shows the author is unknown or possibly Loa Tzu of the Toa Te Ching fame.

The Life-Changing 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.”

What The Quote Made Me Realize:

The moment I looked at this quote it struck me that,

I continually thought over and over, “life is not worth living.”

 I repeatedly used words that meant or actually said, “life is not worth living.”

My actions pointed out, “life is not worth living.”

My habits reinforced, “life is not worth living.”

My character showed, “life is not worth living.”

This meant that in that moment I had the destiny of an insane person (the hospital stays, lost jobs, lost relationships) and that destiny would continue to its inevitable end.

In that moment I realized deep down I wanted something else, I really wanted “a life worth living” and did not know how to get it. That simple quote showed me it was possible to change my destiny

The Quote Answered The Question Of How To Change My Destiny!

The first line of the quote, “be careful of your thoughts they become your words” tells everything. My thoughts are what always took me down.  Be they manic thoughts or depressed thoughts or in between thoughts. It was my bipolar thinking that was fueling this current destiny. I needed to change my thinking.

I Set About Finding The Thing That Would Change My Thoughts:

It took a while, but I eventually found the one thing that over time would change my thinking, my actions, my habits, and my character, ultimately giving me a different destiny.

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.

That one thing I needed to change was my words. By changing my words from negative to positive the science says you begin to change “YOU.”

You begin to see things differently, problems become solvable issues rather than unclimbable mountains.

Positive words do not negate the issues that arise in life. That is not reality. Positive words and the attitude they generate within you allows you to see things as they really are.

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 through your words, 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, doing, reading and seeing reinforce the negative and 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, changing them from negative to positive you will find that things will change.

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

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, our minds and our 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:

Words Can Change Your Brain

https://amzn.to/2V2RPHm

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 Hillary Jacobs Hendel

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

HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY

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

Please read my full disclosure and privacy policy here:

__________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Products:

Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff M.D,

https://amzn.to/30TkEqA

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

https://amzn.to/3aK23C0

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

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

What Is Connecting With Your Authentic Self?

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.

What is connecting with your authentic self?

We all have to find our own best way of living. None of us do this exactly alike. By connecting with your authentic self, the best life for you becomes intuitive. You no longer have to think about what is best for you.

By connecting with your authentic self, you will:

  1. Know yourself, your needs, your values.
  2. How to protect yourself
  3. How to love yourself.   

The Most Important Step to Connecting With Our Authentic Self – Lean-to Manage Your Bipolar Disorder.

Realize that bipolar disorder is not going to go away. Bipolar is the mental equivalent of diabetes. Once you have bipolar disorder the best you can do is learn to manage bipolar disorder to alleviate the symptoms. No one can eliminate all the symptoms of bipolar, but by learning to manage your bipolar disorder in a way that works for you the symptoms will no longer rule your life. The management of our bipolar disorder is job #1. It is the most important thing we can do. You can not find your best way of living if bipolar disorder and its symptoms are ruling your life.

Bipolar Causes A Crisis of Identity:

Bipolar disorder creates roadblocks to finding our best way of living. To connect with your authentic self, you have to remove the roadblocks that bipolar disorder has set in your path. That is why I have named bipolar disorder a great deceiver. Bipolar disorder causes us to believe things that simply are not true.

It is impossible to live your best life if you have no idea who you are, what you need, what you value or how to live the life you want.

What is a crisis of identity?

The dictionary definition of a crisis of identity is: “a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”

Bipolar causes us to lose our role in society.

We can’t hold down a job or work in the field we were educated in. As such we cannot be identified with what we do.

We are not good at relationships, be it as friends, family members, parents, children, husbands, and wives. We cannot be defined as the best or even good in any of those categories.

Bipolar destroys our role in society.

Bipolar destroys our aims in Society:

When we were young, we all wanted to “be” something. Bipolar disorder stole our dreams and ambitions.

Bipolar disorder makes us believe three things that are entirely untrue:

  1.  we are no longer worth anything.
  2. That we can no longer connect with others.
  3. What we want is no longer available.

By making us believe these three things Bipolar Disorder aims us in completely the wrong direction. Causing us to become externally focused which kills our ambition.

How to connect with your authentic self:

To connect with our authentic selves, we must learn to manage our bipolar disorder and overcome the identity crisis bipolar disorder has caused in us. To do this we must focus on ourselves and develop the necessary tools, skills, and habits to accomplish this goal.

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.

Related Products:

https://amzn.to/2TLHX45

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 Hillary Jacobs Hendel

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

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