Your are on to gaining control over your bp now! For the longest time, I denied I had a problem and the illness got worse and worse. Then I knew that I had to take contol over it or it was going to destroy me and the first thing I needed to do was to admit that I was bp. That was my first step and then I learned how to stay in control of it.
I found a book that really helped me to understand bp more and how to implement a plan for stability. It is called "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" and deals with all aspects of the illness. It even shows you how to develop a plan of action to achieve stability. You might want to check it out. It helped me to achieve stability in my life.
Self acceptance for me was essential certainly. The reason that I use the term person with a psychiatric disability although to some it sounds like semantics is because "sick" or "ill" makes one seem like less than a person. I say that if I have a cold. It doesn't mean that I don't need medication. Of course I am on medication and actively encourage people to remain in treatment at all times. Its just that I think of myself as a person first and the disability second and that treatment will help and I will recover. Mentally it turned out to be true and physically things are improving today as I am changing treatments. I already put information on websites of use regarding bipolar. I would have to think of some books. Its just they become clinically outdated fast (which is a good thing). I might suggest to understand my concept the book "No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement" because realistically we all have some limitations or difficulties and its good to know how to declare a reasonable accomodation and what our specific rights are under the ADA and the like. There is nothing against treatment in that book and it actually helped me work better with my psychiatrist and I loaned him the book a while back and it must have been of use to him as he hasn't returned it yet.
But as always people are entitled to their own outlook. But there are practial issues in addition to medication that are essential for people to know as regards self acceptance and knowing our rights as people with psychiatric disabilities.
You know, I just got that book and started reading it last Friday :) It is neat how the author writes about the different perspectives at the beginning of the book. The person w/ BP and their family members, etc., it is different to try to think about how my family thinks of my behavior, I have only been thinking of myself. I need to think of myself in the way of feeling well, but certainly not be selfish and feel it is all about me, they have suffered my wrath as well, they have suffered from my depression. Thank you for your comment, I feel like I am on my way, it feels good, for the first time in a long time it feels like an accomplishment outside of mania!
Yeah you definitely need to come to terms with it and stop being so angry at yourself for it since it's not like it's something you just chose to do and then regret later. I imagine you'd have less stress in your life if you came to terms with it, which the stress itself is going to make the problem you're mad about worse and the anger in itself is going to cause more stress and it's just a never ending cycle that's going to cause you to spiral downward nonstop.
That is great! That book was one of the things that led me to stability. I gave out reading assignments to my wife and mother so that they could better understand bp and knew what I was dealing with. Also, I worked with them on signs to look for and how to bring me back when my moods start to change. It really works!!!
Coming to terms w/ it is the hardest part I think. Atleast it has been for me. I haven't had anyone there for me to help me, I've only had people telling me that the docs aren't right, no support, an extreme drug & alcohol problem, no support or wait did I say that already? Finally I left the people behind who were of no help, but it still took another episode to make me fully get it through my own head! Funny side note: my ex who gave me no support...who actually aided in my craziest of manias...was just diagnosed bipolar about a month ago and is on meds.
Coming to terms with BP is the first step on the correct road for many reasons. One you will try to find the right meds, second to accept the other face of life with the good and bad in it. Usually all BP pts are in denial for start then they accept it. But the good news is that I found in many forums to which I participate is that some would tell you they WILL NOT trade their BP for anything else. Why because I met with many publishers, poets, ... creative people online. As ILADVOCATE said: "Self acceptance for me was essential certainly" so start by realising this and I can ascertain you that you will live more peacefully with yourself. Besides if you think carefully about your case you will see others much more tormented than you are, and this is the philosophy I adopt in my case. You will also meet very nice people here that will offer support for you. BP is for sure not the end of the world. In my case I live in Africa and a person from Syria located me who has Schizophrenia- in another forum - and told me can you believe it that I am (he said) a member in 35 forums (i never thought of such no) and we (he means both of us) are the only members. Of course he discovered me by the name. If i rule out Asia where Syria is, I bet I am the only African in MEDHELP who has BP. You can realise living in a country where 45% illiterates and the rest can read only and the smallest percentage versed in English so my chances are scarce to find sdomeone to talk to about my BP. You are lucky to find pdocs around. so don't be angry
Yes, sometimes I'm angry and that's my right as a human being, and a lot of the time I'm not angry on purpose. The anger that I'm feeling is a symptom of BP....I guess I should have been more clear before. I have extreme anger and agitation. Maybe I wrote it out wrong as it seems I may have offended, I know I have access to many doctors, and many things that people in other countries don't have. I apologize if thats how it was taken.
A little about me, I have very few to talk to outside of this forum, besides my therapist, so actually sharing this self acceptance and self discovery is a huge step in getting well. The few people don't know the details because I am nervous, yes even my husband, his support is almost non-existant, but getting better. Just as w/ the people in my past that I left behind. So even though I live in a country where I have access I am still very alone and wonder ~ am I to feel ashamed? Even with the little support that I have I am doing this pretty much on my own, and I want to feel proud of this accomplishment.
Hi, yes you should feel proud. It took me a long time to accept that I have BP and there are still moments where I find myself fighting it. I'm not saying I'm 100% accepting yet but I'm definitely getting there. My struggle now is how to deal with certain aspects of the disorder. Not let frustrations or self-pity creep in.
I think I may have to get that book!
Acceptance is key but also recognising your capabilities and maybe lowering expectations - this probably sounds odd but I know that personally my expectations of myself were far too high and I often attempted things that were beyond my capabilities (due to the BP).
It's all a learning curve and so is life. Give yourself a pat on the back though, you deserve it, the road of BP is a rocky one and every step forward is to be celebrated.
Ultimately realistic expectations are key and there is always a balance between the things we think can acheive ("changing the world") when in a manic state and the self defeatism ("I'm really not capable of doing anything") and negativism of depression. I can think of specific examples for me even but rather keep it general for us all. There's also a balance between trying to take on everything at once and staying out of life and not participating in it. I know many of us myself included have experienced both extremes.
I struggle with the "everything all at once" -v- "not participating at all". I try very hard to be organised and plan my days but with a houseful there are always going to be times when everything suddenly lands on your lap in one go - now that's when I don't cope :-s
I think the key word is definitely "balance" ILAD, you are absolutely right on the button there.
No need to apologize. From the very definition of BP is to fluctuate and I suppose you are in now. But when you float and this will happen to you very soon you will forget what you wrote here.
The worst feeling I experienced is mixed states anger/denial/depression so people when in it they - from one side - object to their situation and want to achieve but also feel helpless. They hate to become ill and this self defense not wanting to become defeated but on the other side they know their hands are shorter.
For myself, I object to the terminology that i hear often here that BP is a mental illness as if it's a matter of fact. None of the nice people here has the least mental illness NONE i never read an unbalanced post, all think extremely well reason very well and above all educated in their illness pretty well. So we are lucky to be able to tackle a topic of such great complexity and be in control. There are others who are not even aware that they are ill. BP comes often (comorbid) with OCD and i suffered 4 years in this a hell of a feeling of chasing your tail all the time. But you wouldn't believe it my father who is OCD made a change in his life. He is a writer and writers have this perfectionism, call it obcessions, call it thoroughness,...
So yes you are angry and incidentally everybody is angry and feeling alone and no one is happy 100% not even 60%. The key of what you feel is when you are down is to call your pdoc and adjust your med. Self-acceptance is crucial not to BP alone but to everybody.
Another point that people disregard is religion and never talk about it because it constitutes a trigger to most of them. I am not talking about trying to convince oneself that there is a God, i mean to think deeply in the purpose of life and whether there are these secrets we don't know about and never will. To adjust oneself to the spiritual side of life as well
good luck to all of us
Thanks :) I am proud of myself. I do know that I will remember this post, it is a stepping stone and also in my journal, of which I don't toss out! Thanks again! You always have a kind heart!
You sould be proud of yourself and so should everyone else who has accepted their reality with bp. This is the beginning of the healing process and the rest of you life. Life can be wonderful, even though we all have bp when we learn to accept it and stabalize the mood swings. Congratualations to everyone who participated in this post.
You are definately on the right tract When we realize we are powerless over the cause of the disorder or its effects upon us and surroundings, THEN we can begin to change.
Wow, what you have accepted and learned.
With the acceptance goes away the anger, apologizing for who you are to others and to yourself. It also frees us up to look to healthy ways of coping and "reinventing" new positives about ourselves.
I don't write drama/ dark dramas for different things or run around with grandbabies which I loved but no strength or driving distance has shortened, they are just not there. I do have thirty different rose bushes to enjoy the sweet/spicey smells and to take care of. I prune them, listen to the birds, horses and other animals. I accomplish something, nurture, nature.
If the anger can be replaced with a positive change and you could even learn to like a softer more relaxing music, mine will always be jim brickman, george winston and the music of the andes, but you could find your own.
A book on boundaries, juicing, relaxation technics could also be ways to begin this new journey.
We were all there once. No one wants to have bp of any kind or take the meds. You learn acceptance. Find a local NAMI group or a bp 12 step in your area.
Volunteer, if you can even for an hour a week.
Speak with conviction not apology to others about the affects of mental disorder and the lack of care.
You are on your way to healing and it is with taking the liberty of the "gang" in here that I say:
"Well Done Twelvesgirl, well done.
I found it interesting your comment about not liking the term "mental illness" and saying that nobody on this forum has a "mental illness". Some people prefer the term disability, each to their own I say, as we all have our reasons for different terminology raising different emotions within us.
The rationale that because a lot of people are able to communicate coherently on here is an indication that they are not ill because if they were truly ill they would not know they were ill - I do see where you are coming from with that point. However, having got to know so many members on this forum I have seen that the vast majority of "us" spent years not knowing, struggling through life thinking that everyone must feel/act the same way.
After the shock of realising that we are not in fact "normal" (now that's a word I hate) comes a sense of relief that there may be an answer to the hell we have lived with. This is rapidly followed by denial at the thought that we have something that will never go away. The best we can hope for is medicated stability - if we are lucky enough to find a medication and therapy comination that works.
Again, stability comes and we convince ourselves we aren't ill after all. "We" don't have Bipolar, it was just a blip, "We" don't need medication. So off we go again, come off our pills, trundle along for a while (or not) and then another manic or another depressive episode hits and back to the psych chair we go. This can happen so many times.
It can take years and years in a lot of cases to come to terms with knowing we have a mental illness/disability. Our goal is to reach the combination of stability + acceptance + balance + good management.
I like that you mentioned spirituality. I can't word it very well, but I agree that we have to listen to our spiritual selves also. I have tapped back into my creative side, it brings me peace. It is my form of meditation in a sense.
I am not being critical of your opinions Adel, I was just interested by what you had written and wanted to share my own personal opinion. There are of course different types of mental illness and yes there are some that are far far worse than bipolar and I do thank my stars that I don't have them.
Thank you for your mail. You hit right and neat:
""Our goal is to reach the combination of stability + acceptance + balance + good management""
One very good point you also raised is that sometimes accepting disability is beneficial otherwise one can stop the meds abruptly and get a relapse if one convinces himself that he is not mentally ill.
Of course one walks with caution in the land of BP and I am lucky to have my parents around to warn me if i go out of the line. So you are right when you said it's because you experience it alone and had to struggle so many years in denial then acceptance etc...
I just meant by not mentally ill is a person who can think reasonably well, yet disable in some sense like most of us are. On the contrary, I understand by mentally ill a kind of insult like saying I have no brain. But of course we are not completely OK shall I say and it's us who realised this and not the others who have discovered this then calling us mentally ill. I CANNOT accept that Bulldozer or ILADVOCATE or the rest of the smart people here have a brain deficiency of course NOT and to the least. Being disturbed perhaps due to the chemistry. what i am only aiming at if one insists that we are mentally ill chance exist that we will become one. Everyday new comers join the forum and we have to encourage them.
The reason why i post is that this forum made a great favour to me, i realised facts about my disease exchanged ideas and learned a lot from all of you. So i feel obliged to offer a hand if i can, in exchange of gratitude. So many times i sent enquiries to all of you and you all responded. I am a member of another group but never felt the awareness like in here. I surfed a lot the internet and I can say i learned from september till now what I learned in 5 years. Of course at first I rejected the very idea that I was ill as my grades in engineering were straight A's then all of a sudden i had this accident after which i changed cried and burst into tears, then the racing thoughts and the OCD then the antipsychotics which defeated me and made me weak and sedated. Then came monkeyc (incidentally how is he? he must be OK) and ILADVOCATE so concerned recommending mood stabilizers. I didn't listen because i feared from the side effects. Finally a month ago i met this new pdoc who convinced me putting me on lamictal and things started to change for the better. In between i struggled in 3 jobs and got defeated but never gave up. I accepted my illness. Of course I have been angry many times even at my ancestors who probably pass it on to me but then i can't spend my years weaping against the wall, especially that i have a job right now in which i survived 3 months without interruption. I am proud of this, and take my lamotrigine in the morning in my office, nobody cares to enquire what was that. I doubt if anybody even knows here what's the meaning of BP.
In the old days they called our illness manic-depressive an ugly word , then it's BP more civilised. I assume mood disorder is even better or mood swings. People who are moody also have it except with less severe traits. All we have is a much higher fluctuations or oscillations with larger amplitude. The mood stabilizers do the adjustement as simple as that. Thanks God that we live in the 21th century. BP incidentally may take a decade as i read many times before a cunning pdoc discover it. In my case it was OCD for 4 years. Unipolar depression and Bipolar one are sometimes difficult to differentiate. However I am optimistic to the extreme, the new comers aboard will have a better chance with the advent of the new meds.
Thanks to this group
all of you were so kind
You put all that really well. I wasn't sure what you meant originally about the term "illness" but your last post explains it.
Yes, thank goodness we live in the 21st century and I to try and remain optimistic that better medications will come along.
I am also assuming that monkeyc is well, and certainly hope so. Both ILAD and monkeyc definitely spent a lot of time helping you and others on the medication front, something that I had far less experience of.
I'm so glad you are still in your job, that must help with your confidence a lot. I admire you for being at a point where you are able to do that.