365daysofbipolar.com

Where We Learn To Connect With Our Authentic Selves.

Tag: Mental wellness (page 1 of 2)

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

JOURNALING, THE GREATEST TOOL FOR MENTAL WELLNESS

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:

________________________________________________________________________

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

Ten Benefits of Journaling:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude: list three things you are grateful for

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

Thought Tracking :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Products:

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

https://amzn.to/2RQXZaw

365 Days of Positive Self-Talk for Finding Your Purpose 

https://amzn.to/2U2lqAa

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

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

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

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

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

Mental Wellness and Support

To live the life you want to live ACTION IS REQUIRED.

You can think and dream about what you what for your life,

But unless you actually do something to make change, 

THINGS WILL STAY THE SAME.

What do you think of when you hear the term “Mental Wellness,” or meditate on the statement of, “if I became “Mentally Well.” What does “Mental Wellness” mean to you as a bipolar sufferer. What image of yourself comes to your mind if you think of yourself being “Mentally Well.”

For each of us what we think of or what image comes into our minds when we hear the term, “Mental Wellness,” will be slightly different. We cannot give meaning to that term or bring that image to life unless we do something. If we, as the above quote says, just think and dream about our life of being mentally well, nothing is going to happen, things will stay exactly as they are. We must do something. That is one unavoidable truth is to have mental wellness you must reach for it, it is not going to reach for you, the other unavoidable truth is we cannot change without the support of other people, places or things. We need to develop a support team and system. When most people think of support they think of professionals like their Psychiatrist or their GP or Psych Nurse or a counselor/therapist. It is not wrong to think of these professionals as supports because they are, they are usually the first people we see when we seek help, which does weird stuff to our brain, that is another topic for another day.  To reach and maintain mental wellness most of us need more support than just those professionals.  My goal over the next year in this blog is to introduce you to the obvious and not so obvious people, places and things that are available to be become part of your support team and system to first reach and then maintain your mental wellness.

The first installment of building your supports to achieve and maintain your mental wellness is both a place and a thing. It is your local library. Another word that can be substituted for the word support in the context that it is being used in this conversation is the word, “Resource.”

Your local library is not just a great resource for books and other material that will help you on a journey towards mental wellness and after to help you maintain the mental wellness you have attained. Most libraries today provide programs and other connections that will help you. I took my first boundaries class at my local library.

Your local library is a safe place to work on this most important of work, which is working on yourself. Your local library has all the things necessary to find a starting point and grow from there. Your local library has everything, or if they don’t have it they will usually get it, you will need to work on yourself.

Think of your local library as part of your support team, I do, and it really helped me.

 

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.

P.S. The quote that I used in today’s blog is three feet tall and four feet wide and resides on the wall of the lower level of my workplace. I have had the privilege of reading and meditating on that quote for the last eight years. It really made a difference in my life. I hope you copy it and put it on your wall and read it every day.

 

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 Kelly Babcock and Psych Central

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/today-i-love/2018/01/today-i-love-my-youthful-mind

Things to Meditate On

I feel that I am the luckiest bipolar sufferer in the world for several reasons. The most important, besides finally getting a proper diagnosis and finding medications that work for me, is the instantly accessible team of professional support I have. This is something few bipolar sufferers have access to and I am always grateful that I have this.

The other reason I feel I am so lucky is I have been allowed to learn, through unobtrusive means, certain ideas that have helped me in my growth towards mental wellness. The unobtrusive means are very large statements that have been placed on the walls of my work place that I can meditate on at my leisure as I work. I want to share these statements with you so you can meditate, on them as well.

James Allen wrote, “Mediation is the intense dwelling, in thought, on an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and what so ever you constantly meditate upon not only will you come to understand, but you will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, it will become your very self.”

“What you say and the things you choose to do are 100% your responsibility.”

 

 “To live the life, you want action is required.

You can think and dream about what you want for your life,

But unless you actually do something to make change

things will stay the same”

 

“You can’t change another’s behavior but you can change your response to it.”

 

“Happy people are constantly evaluating themselves. Unhappy people are constantly evaluating others.”

 

“Your body is the only place you have to live.”

 

“Attitudes are contagious, are yours worth catching.”

As I have meditated on these statements over the past few years I have found that I have changed. My hope is that these statements may help you change as well

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2017/08/the-effects-of-lack-of-sleep-on-bipolar-disorder/

 

 

Questioning What is Behind Our Thoughts

 

Image result for Strong beliefs

Bipolar causes us to believe things that are flatly untrue about ourselves, others and the world around us. Bipolar distorts our thoughts which are driven by our current needs and our past experiences. What we believe to be our current needs and our past experiences are tainted by the false beliefs we have accumulated, the perceived slights we have received and the resentments that we hold. This in turn gives us overboard emotional responses causing absurd actions and leaves us with bad results.

Our thinking drives the wheel that leads to our results, if our thinking is wrong we have no choice but to have bad results. But our thoughts must be based on something and that something is all our past encounters, either through what we have heard, what we have seen or what we have felt. We have allowed these encounters to collect in ourselves without ever questioning their validity. We have not put our lives through the true or false test. We have just lived our lives without posting a guard on our subconscious, the place where all this information is stored and used, for and against ourselves.

We also have a design flaw that makes fixing this false thinking even harder to correct because all our data collection (our five senses) that our past experiences and on which we base our needs bring everything from the outside inwards. Yet what we need to fix is inside and it is an entire paradigm shift to turn your data collection inwards to make your senses a garbage removal detail and then do guard duty to keep you in reality. Yet that is what we must do, look inside, hear ourselves, smell our fears, touch our own hearts and learn what hope tastes like.

First, we must understand what our shared illness does to us. How our disorder twists and makes sick what we think is our current need. How our disorder distorts our experiences to isolate ourselves from everything good. In coming to that understanding we quickly realize that although medication can and will stabilize us, it will never fix us

My experience with my own disorder and in my discussions with others who have worked hard to overcome their own bipolar disorder, has led to a belief that bipolar takes one or more of our normal human needs and blows it all out proportion

Human needs can be broken down into a few broad categories, those needs that connect us to others, those that are for our physical well being, those that keep us honest with ourselves, those that allow us to play, those that give us peace and personal autonomy and those that give our lives meaning.

In most cases what happens is our bipolar disorder usually takes some of our normal needs to connect with others and blows them up so badly that that need can never be satisfied. In my case it was my needs for acceptance, appreciation and belonging. Causing me to feel that I was never accepted, appreciated or that I never belonged, even when I was accepted and appreciated and worse when I was included but pushed everyone away. This caused all sorts of bizarre reactions in my life to the point of almost destroying it.  For another person that I know well, it was the need for safety, security and support. This unfulfillable need for safety and security and support caused this person all kinds of grief in their life, they could never have enough money saved and could never spend any, they horded things and sucked the life out of everyone they met.

It is by recognizing what our bipolar disorder does to what are supposed to be normal needs and the unbelievable, unreasonable expectations that these unfillable needs cause in our lives that makes our lives so out of control. It is by bringing those needs back to reality that we can gain control of our disorder. It is only then that load of garbage, the false beliefs, the resentment, that created our thoughts can be removed and we can have real peace and serenity.

I have linked The Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Needs Inventory to this blog for anyone who wants to look at this idea of out of proportion needs for themselves.

https://www.cnvc.org/sites/default/files/needs_inventory_0.pdf

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

https://mindshare2017.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/positiverolemodel/

 

They Want To Do Better, But They Won’t.

 

Image result for The worst thing you can do to a person is pretend you care.

 

As the quote says, “The cruelest thing you can do to another person is pretend you care about them more than you really do .” When it comes to the treatment of Mental Health and Addiction issues this unfortunately is blatantly obvious. This treatment is totally in the hands of government or insurance plans or both, huge machines that have no feelings and are incapable of compassion. The people elected to government, unless directly affected by metal health issues, have other priorities.

In May of 2017, there was a protest at our provincial legislator calling for less talk and more action on Mental Health issues. People got up made speeches, recounted tragic losses of loved ones who fell through the cracks of the system and spread awareness of how dire this issue is.

The Health Minister showed up and laid out what the government has done to help, ending his talk with, “We want to do better.”

To many this was taken as “someone may care, there is hope.”

Most of the people at the protest did not know that a local philanthropist and many others had been quietly raising funds to create a dedicated Mental Health Emergency Ward at one of our hospitals. This dedicated unit was planned to be constructed and opened in the fall of 2017. This was the chance for the government to step up.

Instead we woke up to the headline “New (could be anywhere) mental health emergency wing that would ‘save lives guaranteed’ on hold. It is on hold because the money to build the unit is there but the government claims it has no money to staff this unit. The government has other priorities.

To many at the protest it was like a slap in the face.

This particular hospital emergency saw 60,000 patients last year of which 9,000 were for mental health and addiction issues (statistics from hospital foundation web site.) Those 9, 000 were the ones they saw. How many got tired of waiting and walked away before they were seen. It is a fact those of us with mental health issues are not considered critical in a regular emergency room. We are not bleeding or having a heart attack, so they don’t think we will die. The problem is many of us just might die, because if we are sitting in an emergency room that’s usually how we are thinking.

This is just one instance in many. What this one instance does show is that relying on government or insurance policies to fix our mental health problems is never going to be the solution. We must act ourselves and learn Mental Health First Aid to help each other. We need professional help, you bet. But if we stand by one person each and demand they get help, waiting with them, encouraging them. Governments may just take notice because there is this army of people that don’t need them and therefore make them worry they will lose votes.

Don’t just talk, look for someone to help.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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 at 12:00 p.m. CST. 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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

http://joeroe.co.uk/

 

Strong Mind, Strong Body. Where’s the Soul

 

Image result for strong mind quotes

 

This is the second part of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit? Or how to become a whole person even with bipolar. We are still talking about developing mental toughness. On this topic, I can only share what I have done and experienced, in the order I have done it. It is meant to as a guide, not an order. We always need to remember that bipolar is as individual as the people who suffer from it. Therefore, what works for me and my recovery, may be detrimental to you and your recovery. But there are generalities that work for everyone without them we couldn’t be diagnosed. What I have highlighted are the generalities. These are areas that everyone should look at.

The first principal of mental toughness I practiced was Asking for Help. The hardest part of this was getting over my pride. In asking for help I realized it was not a sign of weakness but a sign I wanted to change. I was confident I could not do any of this myself. I also needed a mirror through which to see improvement. The kind of help I am talking about here is not someone who charges a hundred and twenty dollars an hour, but someone who will listen to you without judgement and be supportive.

What asking for help taught me is I don’t have to go it on my own and I can build a nonprofessional support group. I did build this support group and all have become friends. I also learned that the isolationist attitude I held was part of my illness, not a function of reality. The reality is we all need help and support. We need to learn to ask for help when we need it. It is through asking for help that I learned to properly ask for what I needed in other areas without fear.

The second principal of mental toughness I practiced was Gratitude. We all have things we take for granted that we should really be grateful for. That is where I started, I worked at becoming grateful I was alive, because if my mind had its way that is not what I would be.

I wrote down that I was grateful to be alive every day for a month. That one sentence. Then I started to look for other things to be grateful for and kept building my list. I started this process in about 2013 and have never stopped looking for new things to be grateful for.

To start learning gratitude, write down just one thing you are grateful for each day before bed and meditate on that one thing as you fall asleep. Then expand your list and begin to constantly look for things to be grateful for. Soon you will develop an attitude of gratitude. What this attitude of gratitude gives you is the ability to appreciate the little things life has to offer you far more that you ever have in the past.

The third principal of mental toughness I started to practice was Boundaries. Learning to set boundaries was very difficult for me. I found this so difficult I finally found a class on setting boundaries and took it, twice. There is one universal truth that I want to share with you that is crucial in setting a boundary. “You Cannot Take the Other Persons Feelings into Account.” That is what we, as bipolar sufferers, always seem to do, allow the feelings of others to trump our own feelings, needs and wants. In that way, they always win. The real benefit of learning to set clear boundaries and reinforcing them is return our self-respect. The other benefit for me was I was finally able to say, “No” and not feel guilty.

The fourth principal of mental toughness that I started to practice was Accepting myself fully. It was during the second time through the boundaries class that I came across the quote that changed my life.

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas Verse 3 Lambdin translation.

It was that last line that struck me so forcefully, “if you do not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I could not get that line out of my head, it rang around in there constantly. Until I admitted to myself that, “no I had no idea who I was” and I wanted to really change that and know who I was. I was tired of living in poverty and being an impoverished person, mentally, physically and most of all spiritually. I wanted to know my self and be known, but mostly understand me and how this illness affects me.

I had kind of begun the process, I was getting counseling. But this is where it all changed I went from following direction (doing as the counselor suggested) to actively seeking myself and my own direction and really applying it. I worked with Randy two more years after the change started. He kept me in line and out that of giddy mania we fall into when we have a eureka moment. He taught me to ask myself the right questions.

Out of all of this came this one fact, I did not like myself at that time, but I had hope. That was the ingredient that made accepting me as I was in this second possible. Hope I wouldn’t always feel like this. I have learned to accept myself fully as I am right now because I am constantly changing and growing, plus I have hope it will continue.

I have learned that self-acceptance is as important to self-growth as gratitude is to a good life. You must have acceptance before you can have growth. As one person said, “if you can’t accept being an acorn, you will never be an oak.”

What are the benefits of self-acceptance? I no longer blame others or compare myself to others. The big change is I don’t wish that I had what someone else has any longer. I can get my own, thanks. I no longer feel less than anyone else. Oh, there are better athletes and even a few better workers than I may be, but I strive each day to be the best me I can be. The only person that I am trying to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

Come back next week and we will continue to look at this issue of strong mind, strong body. Where’s the spirit?

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

http://www.psy-ed.com/wpblog/teenage-suicide-warning-signs-prevention/

 

Happy Birthday

 

Image result for happy birthday

 

The great North American celebrations happened this weekend, Canada turned 150 on July 1st, The USA will turn 241 tomorrow. In the United States, the great heath care reform is being talked about and nothing much is being done. Its all scare tactics and disagreement. Personally, I find that sad.

As a Canadian I have great empathy for my many American friends who share this illness we call bipolar. But I also count my blessing everyday as the luckiest bipolar suffer there is. There are few who have the access to trained professionals at every level that I do, I work with them. My GP, my PDoc, my Counselor are all fellow employees. They see me, if not daily, at least once a week. They all know me and are not afraid to ask if they see I am falling off the rails.

That said, to battle this illness we all need access to trained professionals. The stories of people who can’t see a PDoc unless they are hospitalized and that meeting ends on discharge, saddened me. Stories of people all over the world who can’t have sustained counselling that lasts long enough for them to learn to battle their demons on their own, broke my heart. Stories of people who find it easier to self-medicate because they can’t afford the prescribed meds, made me want to cry.

It is my wish that everyone who wants help to battle this illness can receive the sustained help that I have received. This illness blinds us and deafens us to  reality. Without the professionals to guide us few will ever find our way to the real world

Then I asked myself what can I do? I can start this blog, because life, even with bipolar should be ducky. In this blog, I try to pass on the meager tools I have learned and use to maybe help others but also links to the writing of others that are far better informed than I am in the blog of the week segment.

We can as a community help each other. I also want to show that many professionals take their time to write articles and blogs with the same goal – to help others.

The main thing I can do is to teach people and remind myself:

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

http://talentdevelop.com/1981/developing-creativity-preparation-performing-perfectionism/

My Process for Using the Quotes of Others

Image result for You may not control all events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." Maya Angelou

I usually use the quotes of others as my affirmations. These affirmations are the things I meditate on to generate the deep conviction required to make things happen in my life or change my mindset. I thought sharing the process I use to make someone’s quote a usable affirmation in my life may help others. My first mentor in mental wellness taught me to make sure I understood the meaning of the words in the context presented. Not what I think they mean, but the actual meaning. To this end his first gift to me was a dictionary.

This is the process I used to make this quote of Maya Angelou’s  a usable affirmation in my life.

The first part of the quote speaks of events. What does the word events mean in this context? Events could mean concerts and parties, but this meaning does not fit the context. What events means in this context is issues and/or situations. Issues and situations happen in our bipolar lives that are for sure out our control. When the issue or situation is out of our control we react and the reaction is usually negative. In most cases this negative reaction leads to a negative mindset and then spirals into depression.

This lead me to ask myself one question, “what depresses me besides issues I can’t control?”

The answer was incredibly simple, issues or situations that are not my liking or do not go my way.

Issues or situations out of my control or not to my liking or that don’t go my way cause that instant negative mindset.

In reading this quote I had to do more work for the quote to make sense. I now understood what the events were. I did not grasp how the word reduced fit. Reduced meant make smaller to me.  I had to find a meaning for the word reduce that made sense in this quotation. In looking up the word reduce I found it can also mean to make someone weaker or in a lesser state. That allowed me to change the word reduce to depress.

The quote now read, “You may not control (or like) all the events that happen to you (nor will they go my way), but you can decide not to let these events depress you.” Realizing what these events really entailed and that the word reduced = the word depression brought this quote into sharper focus for me and closer to it becoming a useable affirmation on which to meditate.

This a quote is a hope quote, providing the hope that “I can.” I can learn that issues or situations do not need to depress me.

I have different categories of affirmations. Affirmations of hope, gratitude, personal growth and development, right thinking, belief challenging, and wisdom. I have night time and morning affirmations. I also have categories of themes I meditate on throughout the day that I not only want to understand, but also become.

When I find a quote I like, I use this process to make it useable to me and then file it under its appropriate category.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle 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. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/dysfunction/2017/06/dont-let-your-past-be-your-future-overcoming-emotionally-dysfunctional-messages/

 

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