My husband, whom I have lovingly deemed the poster-child for mental health, thinks about things once, makes his decision and confidently moves on. Meanwhile, five hours later, I am still anxiously figuring out what to do.
Why is this? Why is he able to do what takes me five hours, in one minute? I get that we are all individuals and therefore will handle things differently, but I would like to know how to stop overthinking and move on with life. I feel stuck. Or am I overthinking this?! Ha! Any of you relate or have advice?
My psychologist looked up from behind his glasses that rest on the tip of his nose and very seriously said “no wonder you are depressed, your life is boring.” Say what?!
At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom to my newborn and 3 & 5 year olds. Not sure what more he thought I should be doing to lead a more action-packed life! Perhaps there was a grain of truth to what he said. I was not doing things like traveling or skydiving that would bring excitement to my life, but my life was by no means boring!
Just wanted to throw this example out there to explain why I say so often to keep looking for a psychologist/counselor you really trust and click with. Someone you feel you can talk with as a friend, without judgement. Also, just because someone has ‘Dr.’ in front of their name does not mean they are right, follow your gut instinct. Just like dating, don’t settle for just anyone, or you are wasting your time. That is why he is now my EX therapist. Never give up looking for the right one.
I left my straitjacket at home again, dangit!
In all seriousness, yes, people say this to me. No, I do not think they are trying to be mean. I do, however, think this is a perfect example of the stigma that very much exists surrounding mental health.
I think people hear that someone has bipolar and then sit on edge waiting for us to do something “crazy.” I could argue that those “mentally healthy” individuals are more likely to do something “crazy” than I am.
Love begets love, which cultivates joy, happiness, and peace. The opposite of love, which is fear, seeps anger, anxiety, irritability, and depression into our lives.
If we get to know our fears on a very real and personal level, we can move on from the ugliness of fear. To be truly honest with ourselves of what our fears are, takes a great deal of introspection.
To help illustrate this idea, think of an onion. The center of the onion is your deepest fear, while the outer layers are what you might think are your fears, but are not quite the root of the fear.
Let’s say that you are struggling with depression. You think the root of your problem is that you just can’t do anything right. This is what peeling the onion might look like for you:
Why am I sad? I’m sad because I can’t do anything right. Why can’t I do anything right? Because I feel so overwhelmed. Why do I feel overwhelmed? Because I have too much going on and can’t do everything exactly the way I want to. Why do I want to do everything perfectly? Because if I don’t, I won’t have control over things. Why does not having control worry me? Because I think I will fail. Why does failure worry me? Because I think people will be disappointed in me. Why do I want others’ approval? I want them to love me.
The root of the depression is the fear that people won’t love you. Once that is recognized you can work on healing that fear.
Keep asking the “why” questions, and you will peel the onion layers away until you feel that you can peel no further.
Once you have eliminated your fear, you will be able to love like never before, which is where true happiness lies.
This week I have been happily surprised by the impact three very small changes have had on my mood. Perhaps you would like to give them a go yourself.
1. Setting aside time for uplifting reading
2. Completing a 5-10 minute meditation once (or more if needed) daily. This was very hard at first, but is slowly getting easier.
3. Making a conscious effort to recognize my negative thinking patterns to train myself to replace with positive thinking.
This is work that has been well worth it.
I will be writing about more “positive thinking” topics for the next while, to see how they affect not only my mood but yours as well. Kind of a little experiment. My hope is that both you and I will be uplifted.
After all, our minds become what we spend our time on.
Bipolar can feel awfully uncontrollable at times that it is easy to buy into the idea that we are victims. After all, we had no choice in the matter.
“I did not do anything to deserve bipolar.” “It’s not fair I have to deal with bipolar for the rest of my life.” “I hate having bipolar!”
More than likely we have all thought these thoughts, myself included. However, I do not believe it is wise to allow ourselves to continue in this headspace of self-loathing. There comes a point where we have to make a choice. Will I become bitter about my bipolar? Or will I become better because of my bipolar?
And that my friends, is a CHOICE that we DO get to make. You have the power. You have the control. And I think that feels good. Choose wisely.
Nevermind how ridiculous you might look, get out and play! It’s fun, and guaranteed to make you smile. Great for our mental health!
Sadness is not forever. Tears are not forever. Emotions are transient, even when you think you will be sad and depressed forever. You won’t. Joy is out there. You will find it again.
Just a friendly reminder that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves, even if we have some somewhat embarrassing moments during manic episodes.