Friday, February 25, 2011

Remembering What You Already Know.

The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of a bipolar, common sense snuck in at number 89. Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Perhaps, that is why the person with bipolar needs to always look at all the positive aspects and remember the mistakes they had in the past.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Courage To Forgive Others and Ourselves !

Perhaps, as we grow with our own bipolar disorder, we can approach the positive forgiveness that is needed to gain stability.
From what I witness, over and over again, I discover how satisfying living for others can be. The folks whose lives have meaning and purpose, who have a real zest for living, spend little of their time worried about themselves and a great deal of time giving to others.
Elisha Goldstein suggests “we all hold grudges against other people who we feel have hurt or offended us in some way or another. We even hold these grudges for people who are not even alive anymore. We do this with the false idea that somehow we are making them suffer by being hurt and angry with them”.
As for me, I have  seen enough unforgiving to be utterly convinced that it is about as destructive a thing as there can be. There is a kind of peace that is clearly observable among people who have the courage to forgive others and themselves. I like being around those folk. I’ll bet you do too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chasing Happiness !

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running around after happiness. If you make up your mind  to be happy, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time-Edith Wharton-
Perhaps, that is all a bipolar needs to do is “make up our minds” It’s the willingness to be positive about all events with our moods that will bring about happiness and then stability .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Are We So Uncomfortable With An Invitation To Change ?

Sometimes I wonder if the reason we so easily pray not to be led into temptation is because we are so very comfortable where we are.
In the midst of everything else going on in our lives, the last thing we want is to confront the possibility of change. "Lead us not into temptation" may be just another way of saying, "Look, my life may not be perfect but at least it's familiar, so please God don't complicate it with invitations into the unknown."
Surely we face similar temptations. We are tempted to convince ourselves that we are doing all we can for God and for others...and perhaps we are...but why then are we, as people with bipolar disorder, so afraid to hear of other possibilities? Why are we so uncomfortable when the invitation to change is placed before us?
Is it because we are afraid to discover who we really are?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Do Not Be Discouraged By Failure

Do not be discouraged by a failure. This can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success. Inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly what is true; every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid. If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down. I cannot give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soul Walking

I have begun a new type of walk two or three times a week. I call it a soul walk. Entirely different than my physical walk that I do three or four times a week.
While engaged in soul walking one should let ones mind simply relax.
Soul walks are not undertaken in order to solve lifes problems, resolve difficult situations or decide future activities.
Soul walks are simply for walking.
If you are accustomed to timing your walks or using a pedometer then this kind of walking will be a new experience for you.
If you are one of those curious folk who have taken up the latest and strange fad of aerobic walking...soul walking may take some getting used to.
When I am out on a soul walk, all kinds of wonderful things happen. A porcupine ambles on. Squirrels stop by to say hello. The sun rises. Ducks fly by in slow motion. Wonderful things that remind me of why I live near the warm Gulf winds. Indeed, why I live at all.
I am convinced that we need a little less regimen to our living and a lot more purposeless soul walking.
Which brings me to my final point. I believe it brings out the positiveness in we that have bipolar disorder. It is the relaxation that we so often need; it is strictly for fun.
If you become compulsive about it or develop a daily discipline that demands your allegiance then it is not soul walking anymore. It is something else and it may even be good for you but it is definitely not soul walking.
Soul walking is an exercise in nothingness. There is no purpose, no destination, no reward but the walk itself.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

View From Space

The astronaut, Rusty Schweigert, went for a space walk, and while outside the capsule something went wrong with his communication device. For quite some time, Schweigert was suspended, literally, in time and space.
When he returned to the capsule, he was transformed.
He had spent his time in limbo staring at the little globe called earth.
He said later that he felt the way a new mother must feel toward her child. He cherished this planet as a gift from God and vowed to spend the rest of his life working to care for it.
Something else the astronaut noted: There was no dividing line between the countries. Nothing separated Russia from Europe, the U. S. from Latin America. It was a vision of unity, of family, of communal blessing.
Perhaps,there is a correlation between Schweigert’s space walk and a person with bipolar disorder. When episodes are in a High or Low Mood , the Bipolar will also be without proper communications. However, the Bipolar views can become peaceful if there are positive thoughts and proper medications.
Schweigert reported all of this to NASA, they sent him to a psychiatrist.
 A person that is familiar to most people with bipolar disorder. Of course, this Astronaut was in a sane place in space. The Bipolar can find that same place, it is just knowing that both can walk the same walk.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gettting The Pain's Message

Peter Williams tells us about Pain (any pain--emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away. A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses. Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of, a blessing money can't buy.
Perhaps, this is what a person with Bipolar Disorder needs to hear when it is imperative to “push the positive.” Thinking positive thoughts with the help CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, will improve and aid the Bipolar so he/she can manage their mood swings with an increased confidence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pushing The Positive with Bipolar Disorder

Can the mind stave off disease? Growing evidence links positive thinking to a longer and healthier life.
But, can simply thinking good thoughts help you deal with some of the ups and downs of bipolar disorder ? Yes, how you think can often affect the way you feel and act.

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that causes swings between low mood (depression) and high moods (manic). There are serveral different types, and people with bipolar vary widely in how severe their moods are. But, in general, bipolar disorder is marked by emotional turmoil ranging from grandiose thinking to irritability and rage to sadness and feeling of worthlessness.

Bipolar is a serious condition that typically needs to be treated with both medication and psychtherapy. You cannot sunply "get over" bipolar disorder with a change in attitude. But research has shown that consistent therapy can help people control agonizing bipolar symptoms.

One type of counseling, called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is designed to help people change negative and harmful thought and behavior patterns. There are other effective types of psychotherapy used to treat bipolar disorder, but this post focuses on CBT.

Positive results with cognitive behavioral therapy :
CBT is a skills-oriented form of psychotherapy. In CBT, counselors teach tools to help manage moods, change thinking and cope with problems. For example, people are taught to recognize negative thinking patterns. These patterns often lead to problem behaviors and depressed moods. Some of these patterns include:

*All-or-nothing thinking
*Thinking the worst will happen (catastrophizing)
*Feeling others are thinking negative thoughts toward you (personalizing)

You may be coached on techniques to help you gain some distance from these negative thinking habits. One tool is called "thought stopping." As its name implies, you literally tell yourself to stop when you are having irrational or automatic thoughts. Then replace the negative thoughts with more positive thoughts.

For example, your boss e-mails you to set up an appointment with you. You might automatically think: "I'm going to get fired. I won't be able to make my house payment." Or, "He doesn't like me. I'll never succeed in this job." In the past, you may have complained to co-workers about your boss before you even knew why he wanted the meeting. In CBT, you would be coached to replace the negative thoughts with something like "My boss wants an update on the project. I have done a good job on so this will give me a chance to shine."

Another tool is a "mood graph." By writing down your moods along with the factors that influenced them, you can identify situations that might make you more depressed.

Your therapist may also help you develop problem-solving strategies, communicate better, handle social situations and learn relaxation methods.

Setting yourself up for success :
Of course, finding the right therapist and committing to a consistent therapy schedule can be a hard feat in itself. Ask your doctor if he can suggest a licensed counselor who has training in CBT. It is important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable relaying your inner thoughts. Also, you must trust this person to give you honest feedback and value that feedback.

For many, learning how to cope with bipolar is a lifelong journey. CBT can help give you some of the tools needed for that journey. Learning how to think in a more positive manner might help you take some of the bumps out of life.