Lessons I Learned – Throwback

/lessons i learned

Today’s Throwback is from December 2013

The other day Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. who is an Associate Editor at Psych Central posted an excellent article titled “The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned in Managing My Bipolar Disorder.” Upon reading the article I was pleased to find that I pretty much learned the same lessonsr. Below are each of the lessons she listed and, of course, how they pertain to me.

Understanding Severity

I flip flop with this one. There are many times that I have no idea what state I’m in. I’ll be laying around the house for days while not showering and refuse to accept that I am depressed. Then there are the times that I’m manic and refuse to accept that’s a problem out of my fear of crashing and burning and going back to depression. There are two times that I feel blessed that I knew where I stood. Both times I realized I was severely depressed and went to the hospital because I felt I was a danger to myself. The first time I was in lock down for 10 days and I’m grateful I sought help, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

Having a Great Support System
I hear so many horror stories people tell me about the lack of support they receive from friends and family. It makes me thankful. My husband Maurice understood from the beginning that my bipolar is a disease and that I’m not just lazy, nor am I crazy. My friends are supportive and all the members of our church, in which we are very active, have shown me nothing but love. I believe being open and honest to everyone has made the road much smoother for me.

Committing to a Treatment Plan
It took three years to find the right balance of meds that work for me. I have no plans to go off my meds. I’m not taking herbs or any other type natural products that are supposed to help me. I don’t like taking six pills a day, but I wouldn’t consider going off of them unless some of them stop working for me. Should that happen I would work side by side with my psychiatrist to find the new balance. What I’m doing now works and I have no plans to go back.

Being Honest
As honest as I am on this blog is as honest as I am in the outside world. I won’t allow fear or stigma to prevent me from telling the truth about what’s going on in my life. I was the guest speaker at church when our minister was on vacation this past spring. My sermon was about my bipolar disorder and I received nothing but love from the congregation.

Being Kind to Yourself
I try, but I’m not so good at this. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Taking A Holistic Approach
I walk, walk and walk some more. It is the best form of exercise for me. I also try to eat right and joined Weight Watchers to help remove the weight gain I received from medication. So far I’m 50 lbs less than my max weight of 303. I have about 100 more to lose and feel confident that I’ll achieve that goal.

Having A Routine
I use to create a schedule each week of things that need to get done. The days and times were pretty routine from week to week, I scheduled my meds for each day and went to bed at the same time each night. This had a tremendous, positive impact on my stability. I haven’t been doing this lately, and it shows.

If you’d like to read the full article, you’ll find it at Psych Central.

  15 comments for “Lessons I Learned – Throwback

  1. December 4, 2016 at 09:35

    These are all excellent, “cornerstone” lessons you’ve learned, Bradley! I’ve learned them too, thank God (the hard way, of course!) and now I’m learning some non-bipolar-related lessons that are really testing me. I’m praying daily.

  2. December 3, 2016 at 14:48

    Great post! I find routine key for my stability. Should I deviate it tends to destabilise me and rings warning bells that I’m either going into a depression or mania. Its then up to me how to choose to handle it. Its hard keeping to the routine when depressed and wanting to ditch everything and just go to bed, or hypomanic and not wanting to waste time by sleeping

    • Bradley
      December 3, 2016 at 16:18

      Routine is key for me also. My problem is if I let one thing go I just figure “what the hell” and let everything fall apart. It’s something I’m working on.

  3. December 2, 2016 at 11:27

    I’ve found that a key being kind to one’s self is first understanding why i was unkind to myself – and that amounted to my failure to meet a particular set of criteria of what it means to be a successful and good person. It was a criteria built in part by the grandiose notions of mania so that even someone who didn’t have bipolar and anxiety disorders could not possibly live up to the ideals set forth, In the end, it meant exchanging that old set of criteria for a new one, a criteria that asked above all that I sincerely try to do better each day, not that i am actually successful in achieving whatever it is, and that I be honest about whether I was truly giving it my all given the circumstances.

    • Bradley
      December 2, 2016 at 13:09

      Great comment. Trying to find why I’m unkind to myself is a good start. I can imagine there’s dozens of reasons, though.

      • December 2, 2016 at 13:19

        i was quite imaginative when it came to developing reasons to tear myself down. although a life of self-medication and panic led to numerous ones in reality. In the end I do believe one doesn’t have to be cruel to one’s self while still being honest and taking ownership of one’s actions.

  4. December 2, 2016 at 07:11

    Important lessons indeed!

    • Bradley
      December 2, 2016 at 08:13

      One’s we should all work towards, whether we have bipolar or not

  5. December 1, 2016 at 18:44

    Good for you. All of those thoughts are SO healthy. I’m working on getting there, but it’s a longer road than one might hope.

    • Bradley
      December 2, 2016 at 08:11

      I’m certainly not at 100%, but I keep trying the best I can.

  6. December 1, 2016 at 10:38

    I want to join Weight Watchers. I think the support and structure would help me.

    • Bradley
      December 1, 2016 at 11:07

      There’s a lot of great online apps, but nothing compares to sitting in a room full of people and sharing what you’re going through, and hear them share too. You learn lots of great info too.

  7. December 1, 2016 at 09:07

    Being kind to ourselves is SO hard, isn’t it? It is something I struggle with daily. I try to be mindful and give myself small gifts, such as buying a new tube of lipstick or indulging in a high-quality hair product, or something more simple, like giving myself an extra 15 minutes to listen to a few of my favorite songs.

    • Bradley
      December 1, 2016 at 10:07

      I find it hard every day to be good to me. Overall I think I do a pretty good job of it, but I have my days…

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