I am bipolar. It’s a fact of my life, and I’m trying to come to terms with it. It hasn’t been easy – it initially felt like a life sentence. Slowly I began to realise that it did explain some of the crazy things I’ve done in the past, and unless I get it under control and keep it there, I’m going to repeat some of those crazy things.
I’m doing my best to learn how to manage this. It’s a combination approach – meds, thinking, and lifestyle changes. Each of these elements is important, and I need to stick to them.
For reasons that I cannot fathom, everyone thinks that a healthy lifestyle is great, and encourages me to pursue that. They also accept that talk therapy to help modify my thinking is a great idea. But when it comes to meds? Not so much.
We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” And it’s becoming fairly common now to hear the expression, “You are what you think.” I would like to introduce a new expression (though in this day and age where hardly ANYTHING is really new, it’s probably been said before): “You are what you think.”
When you stop to consider how integral “thinking” and “speaking” are to making us…well…US, it’s no wonder that they can, and definitely DO both reflect, and define our nature.
I mean, you know a person is happy by the things they say, right? It’s an outward expression of who they are. Their words are a reflection of their inner nature.
You think they say happy things BECAUSE they are happy people. And you think sad people say depressing things BECAUSE they are depressed. And that is more or less true.
But today, I ask you to consider an opposite, yet equally true reality: People are happy BECAUSE they say and think happy things. And people are sad BECAUSE they say and think sad things.
Practice being happy? What the heck, you ask? That sounds both illogical and impossible. You may think that you can’t practice an emotion, but you are wrong! I know what you’re thinking, though. I used to think the same way. Emotions just happen, we don’t fundamentally have control over them. Maybe we can control how we REACT to them, or how we EXPRESS them, but we can’t control HAVING them.
How to be happy, you ask? You just “are” or “aren’t” happy, right?
Wrong. It’s a proven fact that happiness doesn’t just happen. Unfortunately, like losing that extra 10 or 20 pounds, you have to work for it. I know, it sounds counter intuitive. Happiness should be like love, either you’re in it, or you’re not.
Sorry, it doesn’t work that way, just as most of us know by now that true love doesn’t work that way either. It takes a conscious effort and lots of practice. And it’s quite easy to get so wrapped up in your busy, hectic life that you forget to practice. You forget that you are supposed to be working at being happy…or being in love, for that matter.
Grief. At one point, and usually many points in our lives, we all have to deal with it. Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone or something close to you.
It doesn’t have to be the death of a person. It can be the death of a beloved pet, a job loss, a divorce or separation, your last child leaving the house. Even retirement can, and often does, cause grief – grief over the loss of your “old life”. We can even grieve over the loss of our “old selves” as we get older and youth slips away. Indeed, after a major set-back to our health, eg: losing a limb, the ability to walk, cognitive ability after a stroke, to name just a few, grief is extremely common. There are so many things, both large and small, that we grieve over and it’s important that we fully understand what it means to grieve.
Although it doesn’t feel like it at the time you are grieving, many of the responses you feel are natural and healthy and promote the healing process. It’s important however, to recognize the responses which will hinder your healing, and know when to get additional help to get you through the process.