Surviving Part 3


Surviving As A Bipolar Person

Continued . . .

                                    
  1. Quit kicking yourself!..
  2. Knowing when to say when...
  3. Suicide:The final solution...
                                    

 

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Quit kicking yourself!

I'll start this off by saying, "Yes, you are a BAD person and you deserve to have your face chewed off by a Cerberus_imagethree-headed dog!" Ok, feel better now? Good, some folks just have to be guilt-tripped before they'll listen. Ahem...ok, onward now. It's probably true that you've been less than wonderful at times, maybe you've even been downright evil, but you need to stop the vicious cycle of beating up on yourself. Let me give you a bit of a rationale for turning over a new thought-leaf here and now.

  1. You cannot change the past and all the remorse in the world won't alter that fact.
  2. Suffering from a disease or illness isn't grounds for being barred from paradise and the hereafter (if that's your gig).
  3. Furthermore, illness (hence being bipolar) is NOT a sin. You are ill, but you aren't a sinner or any such nonsense.
  4. No matter how horrid the moral trespass you think you've committed, trust me, there's some huge portion of the human population who does the same thing daily and thinks it just dandy and perfectly ok to do so. (adultery etc.)
  5. You aren't a child anymore so tell your mum and dad's niggling, disapproving voices to take a hike. You know the ones I mean: they run around your mind saying ya ought to do this and you should have done that, and why can't you be more like so and so? From this day forth make up your mind to do your own [LINK] thinking, make your own decisions, and take your lumps for your screw-ups without a whine. But for the gods sake! Don't waste time and precious energy on feeling guilty.
  6. Lastly, be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for being human and having human foibles. You're not perfect and never will be, so don't bother beating up on yourself trying to be what no human ever is. Just DEAL! Besides, people who aspire to be perfect are often damned boring, terribly judgmental, and officious, intolerant jerks. Faults make people interesting and approachable, and that's not a bad way to be now is it?

 

Knowing when to say when.

h boy is this a painful one to get a grip on! Ever gone out for a few drinks only to wake up the next morning and have to look out the window to see if your car made it home with you? Hmmm...well I have...tons of times. I apparently never knew "when to say when" when it came to drinking and drugs (and men). Well, even if you've given up all your vices and turned over a shining, brand new leaf, you still will have trouble with the big WHEN. Here they are:nervous_gif

  1. Learn when the consequence of a possible choice is just too bad to make acting on that choice an option.
  2. Learn when to quit being superman (or woman) and turn the control over to a trusted other. You can't do it all.
  3. Learn when to walk away from a friend who is using you.
  4. Learn when it's better to suffer the pain of loss, than to suffer a bad relationship just so you won't be alone.
  5. Learn when to cut your losses and exit. (Bad jobs, relationships etc.)
  6. Learn when family can be your worst enemy. Tell them goodbye.
  7. Learn when you are thinking with your emotions and not your mind. (see the thinking course on this site)
  8. And MOST importantly, know when it's time to find a hospital. When depression or mania take ahold, you need to say, "WHEN!" big time and go where the help you need is. Here's a hint: You can't think well when in the throes of depression or mania, so before you cycle up or down to that unable-to-think point, practice ahead of time by identifying your mood cycles as carefully as possible. Use a mood chart or whatever works, but run a drill through your mind, a rehearsed pattern sort of that ingrains in your mind what you will do as soon as the clearest signs of an impending crisis-type moodswing appears.

    It's kind of like rehearsing for a fire drill: when disaster hits, because you've rehearsed it so often, your mind automatically tends to kick into auto-pilot to save you. Remember, we all have [LINK] triggers: those things that often send us into a tailspin. Sometimes it's a death in our family, a sick child, or one in trouble, a job loss etc. If you *know* your triggers, and have considered them a bit, you will also know to expect a possible triggering effect. So think ahead and have a plan rehearsed. Include who will care for the kids, animals, etc. Who will take the children to school. Who will notify your boss and how--for example, what are they to say? All of these things can, and should, be considered as part of a drill/crisis plan. And DO please make sure you have an advocate you can trust to look out for your needs and rights!

 

Suicide from all perspectives.

When one of our own takes the final drastic step to end their pain via suicide, some part of each of us who are left behind dies as well. Suicide is the final, permanent solution--the key words are 'final' and 'permanent'--they'll never get another chance. There are some excellent places on the internet dealing with suicide prevention and grief counselling for those who mourn the loss of a suicide victim. I've provided a list of links to some of them. But I'd like to talk briefly about bipolars specifically.

When one of our flock is felled by suicide, we are brutally crushed, our confidence shattered. In our minds runs the chant--"There but for the grace of some arbitrary god go I." And somewhat less frequently, but often enough to be alarming, some see the suicided person as lucky, for they are free at last of the bipolar burden, and so they consider the same option for themselves. And sadly, some will take that option.

cemetery_image

There are a myriad of ways to deal with a friend or loved one's suicide, but joining them is surely the worst. Instead, build tributes to those whom suicide claims. Acknowledge their fierce struggle and spirit via webpages, in poems, in shared stories, in naming an IRC channel in their memory, in working a suicide prevention hotline...in short, honour their memory, not their death. Honour their valiant fight with an awesome enemy, not the sad and final defeat. But most of all, understand that you need not be defeated simply because one of your own has taken the final out. Be stronger than that--do whatever you need to do to change things so your life has hope rather than bleak nothingness. dead_bird

Your mind can trick you into seeing only one option, but there is NEVER JUST ONE option! The bipolar "beast" whispers that you cannot win the battle with being bipolar, but the whisper's nasty efficacy relies on your failure to really think through your illness. Please check out the section on thinking--it may prevent you from becoming just another pathetic statistic.