Bipolar – Magnificent Obsession

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I believe that I, a person with Bipolar Disorder, can have a definite purpose in life. I believe although I have Bipolar Disorder I can have a main goal for my life and I believe I can reach it. I believe I have the ability to find a magnificent obsession, an overwhelming passion to dedicate my life to.

The illness ate year after year of my life, but now I understand that it doesn’t have to get a free pass to destroying me. I say this although I suffered for years of feeling like I was being ravaged from within. I can remember doing things, thinking things, and feeling emotions that were bipolar even when I was a young teen.

My poor mom. I was a devil to live with growing up. My depression often expressed itself as vicious anger. She tried to help me. She knew something was wrong. Some of the things she tried included counseling, religion, hypnotism, and sending me to live with relatives for the summer hoping that they could get through to me. Nothing helped. I once tried to kill my brother by bouncing on his chest till he turned purple. I only stopped because I knew that I would get in trouble if I actually killed him.

I knew something was terribly wrong with me. In high school I started actively searching to help myself I started going to church and there began chasing hard after God for the next 25 years. During my most devoted years I attended a Bible college and earned a bachelor’s degree.

Still, I suffered.

Many of my symptoms of bipolar disorder presented looking very much like sin. I couldn’t stop being bipolar and I couldn’t stop the “sinning”. No one knew I was sick and even if they had, I don’t believe they had the tools to help me. At one point some of the missionary staff tried to cast demons out of me.

Years later when I was a single mom and had left religion far behind me I no longer felt like a condemned sinner. Having that weight lifted off my shoulders did a lot to enable me to get out from under some of the self-created depression and condemnation. I had been obsessed with trying to stop sinning and all I succeeded in doing was make my condition worse.

I suffered and slowly died inside as I impacted my three young children with the violence of my inner turmoil. I said things, I threw things… I did a lot of things I wish they had never experienced.

I learned about success teacher Tony Robbins on an infomercial and began on my quest to be successful. I hoped that “success” would give me the strength to not give in to the urges of my illness. I thought that if I could be successful, I could be in control of myself. If people could use these principles to get rich, maybe I could use them to be successful in controlling my bipolar. I ordered the material he was selling and set to work enthusiastically doing the 30-day program.

Something amazing happened to me while I was going through the program: I learned how to think before I reacted and I learned I could preserver when I failed and I could try again. I learned to never accept defeat. I learned I could choose how I wanted to behave and I could actually behave that way. I was able to change the way I thought about myself, who I was and what my future might hold. I learned to have hope.

I’ve worked for years to follow certain success principles. I’d go for long periods of time when I forgot about them especially when I was depressed. The illness is still with me, my companion for life.

Today, I believe I’m successful. I’m doing what I love every day. I’ve taken the additional success materials of Napoleon Hill and Clement Stone and found that I could have a purpose for my life, regardless of who I am, and I found principles to help me achieve it.

These principles help me get up in the morning and do things that I know will fight my depression, my mania and all that lay between so that I can function and keep chasing my goals and be successful. I refuse to lose to my illness. I may have setbacks when the illness does overtake me and I will tell you that for many years I lost the fight against it and realistically I will probably have times when I feel I’ve lost to it in the future. Right now, I’m taking my life back. That’s why I blog. It is one way I’m taking back my life back.

I still have to take chill pills daily along with all my other meds. I’m not anywhere near perfect or even functioning at my best. But, when the hill has been climbed and I’m back among the living I still have my purpose to drive me. I’d like to say it’s a reason I get up in the mornings, but I’m not there yet. Yet.

I have a magnificent obsession I’m focused upon. I have goals and dreams that I am working on so that they will come true. I believe I can be even more successful than I can possibly understand today.

I have Bipolar Disorder and I’m amazing.

 

Bipolar and Clear Thinking

(I want to hide in the cupboard until this is all over.)

Success! We’ve found a house we like. The big issue is storage. I realize that all houses this small have very limited storage, but I’ll have to get rid of pretty much all that I own to make this happen even if I have a storage shed to help with the overflow. I’m preparing to have a panic attack. I’m going to schedule it.

I am a book hoarder. I’ve been successful in getting rid of probably 50 boxes of books. It was painful. Next weekend we’re having a big garage sale in the neighborhood that my mom lives in. It’s a huge multiple neighborhood gated community. I’ve sent over two car loads of things to sell including my Ryan Seacrest bobble head (I’m not attached to it, I just want to get more than $10 for it.)

I woke up this morning thinking about the lack of storage the little house has. I waited till about 10 a.m. to call my mom to talk about the storage problem and what we can do about it. I want to go look at it again and do some measuring. We’ve only been to view it one time. A commitment that huge we should look at again, don’t you think? The housing market here is so tight that if you find a house you like you need to put an offer on it the day you find it or someone else will. So, if I decide not to go with this house we go back to all the stress of looking for a house all over again.

I’m a worrier. I’m a bipolar worrier with anxiety issues. I keep having to calm myself down. I look around my 1800 sq. ft. house and realize I’m going to have to get rid of most all of my possessions to make this work. The new house is only 837 sq. ft. So yeah, downsizing. All my kids have moved out and I don’t need this large a house. I can’t afford anything bigger than the house we’ve put an offer in on.

My stress meter is reading high. Very high. It turns out that it really was good that I didn’t go to school this quarter because we found the house during what would be the week before finals and I wouldn’t have had the time to go look at it.

So how to deal with the stress and associated problems that come with it? I need to think clearly and NOT emotionally. I don’t know how much of my fear of no storage is being realistic or if I’m just falling in with my all too familiar states of paralyzing worrying and all the things that come with stress, like the possibility that I may not be able to handle it and have an episode.

I think I need to begin with focusing on tidying up my thinking processes and think accurately rather than emotionally. If I can do that it will help me have a positive attitude about this instead of having the attitude that we’re going to make a huge mistake. What does clear thinking tell me? Does it make sense to move into this house?

One of the problems I have to deal with constantly is making decisions based on commonsense and thoughtfulness rather than on emotion. I don’t want to pass this house up if I’m just having an anxiety attack because of all the worrying I’ve been doing. I need to settle down and think with clarity.

A really good way to start is to have people around me who I can consult with who know my situation and can make judgements based on commonsense and logic. If I’m blinded by panic they can help me see clearly. I’ve chosen to make my mom, and my three kids those people. Granted the kids think any house is good, once we start measuring and they’ve been inside the house they’ll be able to make good recommendations.

Another thing I can do is avoid, eliminate, thinking about the whole thing in such negative terms such as: never, only, nothing, every, no way, can’t and impossible. I must remember that these negative ways of thinking are going to impact my accurate thinking and that I need to hold on to the positive attitude I’ve been working on cultivating within myself.

To think clearly I have to bind it with a positive attitude. I need to remember that I’m in control of my decisions and that I can make good ones not driven by negative emotions.

I need to work hard to take control and direct my thoughts and control my emotions. Of course being bipolar I’m challenged to think clearly and not let my emotions drive my decisions all the time.

My thoughts must control my thinking, not my emotions. This is especially true right now while I’ve got an offer in on a house. I need to be sure and have a convinced positive attitude before signing the papers. I can’t move into a house that I don’t think I can live with the storage challenges forcing me to throw out all the things I’m attached to.

I need facts. I need clear thinking. I need the advice of others that I trust who know me how my emotions impact my thinking. I need to separate “facts” from imagined fictions, and important facts from unimportant ones.

Bipolar Disorder will definitely have a large role in determining whether or not we buy this house. All the small houses we’ve looked at have pretty much been dives and not had any storage. We’ve seen this house and one other that has been fixed up by a flipper (someone who buys a house, fixes it up, and sells it). Both are really great. Neither has storage. Realistically, no houses this size will have storage.

So we’ll see. Will I freak out and convince everyone that the lack of storage is a deal breaker for me? Or will I go do some measuring and creative thinking? The plan is to go next week to view it again and do a lot of measuring.

I’m going to stay on my meds, see my counselor, exercise, get enough sleep, play with my dog and eat better. These things will give me a chance to keep from falling into a bipolar tailspin.

A Bipolar House Hunting & Being Successful

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I got up yesterday close to on time and took the Bailey out and fed the cats. Bailey doesn’t eat early in the day. It distresses me I have to admit it. Yesterday afternoon we went house hunting. It’s been almost a month since the broker last took us out. The market here is really low on inventory. Houses are being bought the day they go on the market. You can imagine I might be feeling some stress about this. I am.

I spent time playing ball with Bailey before we went out. She helps me calm down. We played soccer. I kick it and she catches it and brings it back. We play in the house. When I down size I probably won’t be able to kick the ball around like this. We’re looking for a place with a fenced yard.

I’m stressed. I took a chill pill before I left to meet my mom because I started to feel really anxious. I started tapping my legs violently, which is one of the physical signs I’m having anxiety. After playing ball and taking the pill I started to calm down.

I chose to be positive about looking for houses yesterday. I don’t mean that I believed that because I was thinking positively that we’d find a house. What I do mean is that I chose to go looking with my broker and my mother and be positive towards them and the situation in general. I accepted that we might find the perfect house. I accepted we might not find anything remotely good. We saw some interesting houses. Let’s just leave it at that. We’re still looking.

As of yesterday I hadn’t seen my son in a couple weeks. Since he’s moved out and into town I don’t see him much. Sometimes I feel like seeing me is more like I’m a chore that needs to be done. I know that’s how he feels when grandma asks him to do something – like she’s a chore he doesn’t want to give his time off from work to. I feel that he feels that way towards me too. It makes me sad. He does mow my lawn every other week and I’m thankful for that because with my back pain and arthritis I can’t do it myself.

Today I met with my brother at Shari’s restaurant. I’d gone over his business website and taken notes about changes I’d make and problems I found. It needs a lot of work. I was kind of hoping he’d pay me a little for doing it, but he didn’t. I got a strawberry lemonade out of it and an hour of time with him. I don’t see him very often.

I would say I’ve had a successful week. Success doesn’t always come in making a lot of money or getting a new job. Sometimes success comes in little packages like being able to get the medicine down the cat’s throat and not all over her.

Although my brother didn’t think to pay me I still look at it as a success. I set out to survey the website and take complete notes and I did it. Then I wanted to meet with him and communicate to him what I’d found and make recommendations. I did that too. I wanted to go to the mattress store and exchange my mattress and I did that. Another success. Now I’m blogging. Another success. I have another project that’s important to me that I’ll work on next.

What kind of successes have you had this week? Today? It’s hard when I’m sad/depressed to feel like I’ve been successful, but when I’m fair and I really think about it I can see them. Being bipolar doesn’t mean I can’t be successful. But sometimes, I have to look for successes a little more closely.

I refuse to give up. I’m going to keep pushing and poking things till I reach my main goal. It’s not easy. I’m tired and my arthritis is flaring up in my shoulders, elbows and hands. It would be easy to just watch TV tonight. But I’m not going to do that just yet. I’m going to move forward towards my main goal.

I’m a little depressed. We’re probably going to have to put down one of my cats soon, so as I say, depressed. But I’m not going to give up. Excuse me now please, I have something I need to work on. I’ll see you soon dear Reader.

A Visit From Etiquette of Madness

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I’ve not been able to post for a little while so I’d like to share with you a post from my other blog  The Etiquette of Madness. It’s similar to this, only different. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s one thing to recognize the madness, it’s another thing to fix it.

Wait. I forgot. It can’t be fixed. We need to learn how to live with it.

Have hope. It can be managed so that we can live rich and meaningful lives.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between “manners” and “etiquette”. When I say “The etiquette of madness” I mean living with the illness and interacting with our world in appropriate ways. I realize this is not always an easy thing to do. I have a few things that I do to help me get on or stay on track interacting with the world around me. It is a pretty short “to do” list, but every element is essential to my wellbeing.

Steps to Proper Etiquette
Take medications as prescribed and do not forget to take them
See counselor regularly and do not skip appointments
Regularly see personal physician
Have support system in place to reach out to (even one person counts)
Exercise and eat well to be healthy physically
Have a purpose in life
______________________ fill in with your own idea

Purpose
The first five things on the list are things you’ve probably heard before. Having a purpose for your life might be something you’ve not thought about in dealing with living with Bipolar Disorder. If you are a religious person your purpose is probably something along the lines of serving your God. If you’re not religious you’ll have to think about it and decide what your purpose for being here is. This is especially important when you’re feeling depressed and like there is no reason for you to keep living. Having a purpose can give you something to hold on to when part of your brain says, “Why am I alive? I can’t do this anymore. I want to die.” Another part of your brain can answer and say, “I have a reason to live. No matter how I feel right now, I still have a reason to be alive. I will fight and not quit because the world needs me.”

When to determine your purpose in life
If you are depressed right now this will probably be more difficult for you to do. Ideally being in a state that hovers between depression and mania is the best time to nail down your life purpose. If you’re manic and trying to do this, use common sense to balance out your manic state. When you’re really high you might think you can change the world, but that isn’t logical and probably isn’t going to happen. Be realistic, but aim high. You are not an ordinary person. You are extraordinary and have unlimited possibilities.

People with Bipolar Disorder Who Achieved Great Things
Just a very small list of people you may have heard of who were diagnosed or are recognized as having had or have Bipolar Disorder (You could be a member of this list one day):
Patricia Cornwell – One of the most successful crime novelists of all time
Kay Redfield Jamison – Author and doctor
Patty Duke – Actress and author
Carrie Fisher – Actress and author
Vincent von Gogh – Painter
Demi Lovato – Actress, singer, author
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Actress
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Actor
Jim Carrey – Actor and comedian
Kurt Cobain – Musician
Ernest Hemingway – Author
Robin Williams – Comedian and actor
Virginia Woolf – Author
Frank Sinatra – Singer and actor
Sidney Sheldon – Producer and author
Ted Turner – American media businessman. Founder of CNN

(This list is compiled primarily from Wikipedia and by Kay Redfield Jamison in her book Touched with Fire”

Successfully Bipolar

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My daughter and her puppy Mercy and my dog Bailey on their play date today.

Disasters for yesterday: My elderly (14 years old) cat has been diagnosed with cancer. She throws up at least twice a day on the carpet. Next, while out walking my 2 year old cattle dog barfed. Next I gave the cat the steroids in liquid form and it went all over the kitchen. The dog came to see what was going on and chased the scared cat off. Sigh. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’m a firm believer in striving and working hard to be successful whether it’s in dealing with myself and my mental health issues or it’s working towards my financial goals. I’m doing so much better with my brain than I am with my finances.

I’ve always been fascinated by success and successful people. While I haven’t been obsessed by it, I have relied upon it to pull me through some pretty serious depressed phases. I have found help in

I believe, that I can follow my passions and reach my goals despite having Bipolar Disorder, PTST and ADHD. I try to live like I believe that. I study and think about my issues and how to be successful. There have been many times when I think about giving up and just trying to survive. Sometimes just living is all I can do… when I’m profoundly depressed.

Today, I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life (I’m 53). I’ve taken to studying how to be successful and reach my goals again. I’ve been reading a new book on Bipolar Disorder so that I can deal with myself more effectively. It’s helping me realize I really am depressed.

One of the first things I’ve learned is that what I think about the most is going to express itself outwardly eventually. It’s like when I get stuck in the circle of depression and all I can think about is how depressed I am, I stay depressed. What I have to do is try to choose to change my thinking, change my state.

Why should I strive for success? What does that even mean? Can I, a person with Bipolar Disorder, even be successful? Or will my illness keep me from reaching my goals?

Every person desires to be successful. They may not identify what they’re doing as trying to be successful, but it is. I want to be successful even it means just liking themselves and I bet you do too.

All people want to be successful. Being successful doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re trying to be rich. People who go to work generally do so to get paid to make money. That money is needed to cloth, feed and have shelter for themselves and the people they live with. Making money is what they are striving for and when they get it, they are successful, but maybe they see their goal as providing for their family.

There is another kind of success where making money is secondary. This is when what you’re doing is something you love doing. You’re following your passion. When you’re able to follow your passion you are successful. The best thing is to follow your passion and make money doing it, at least that’s my goal.

If I set a goal and reach the goal, I am being successful. If you are a person with Bipolar Disorder, you can be successful. If you’re currently depressed you may not feel that way right now, but it really is true. You and I can be successful.

When I’m depressed the idea of reaching a goal is usually the last thing I think of. I’m usually just trying to get up and get through one day at a time.

When I’m manic and I can slow down enough to remember that I have goals, I usually make great strides towards my goals. I love chasing my dreams, my passions and my goals during the manic magic. The problem is I do a lot of chasing and not a lot of catching.

Right now I’m somewhat depressed according to the assessment my new counselor recently gave me. I feel pretty good. I’m focusing on my goals and my passions. It feels good. But I have to ask myself if I should be trying to follow my passion right now. I’m on disability and don’t have a job. I really don’t have any money. Following my passion isn’t going to give me a paycheck or make me money any time soon. But you know what? It is the one thing I can hold on to, when I remember, that I can do fairly well and I can indulge in it anytime I want to. I want to be better at it every day. I hope that I am.

I hope that when you feel well enough, you can figure out what you love about life, what your passions are. I hope that when you close your eyes you can see you and your passion together, see yourself engaged in your passion.

And now, true to my bipolar self, I’m having a mood swing. I had an incident giving my cat some medication and it went very wrong. She was diagnosed with cancer today. Not a great day. But I’ll try to give it to her again tomorrow. I have to hold my shit together right? I’m alone now there isn’t anyone to help me and Siberia is depending on me.

Yah think this is a small test to see if I’m determined to be successful? Yah I don’t think so. It’s just how things go sometimes. I’ll try again tomorrow.