I sit every day on the third floor of the student center eating my lunch. Today I was ruminating about how up until now I was usually eating lunch with friends, laughing and having fun, but these days, it is not at all like that. I do not have friends at school, or at least any friends that invite me over to their house or where we go out to a bar and eat. I am often by myself most of the day, going home and sitting on my couch and watching British TV shows with my dog. It is a cycle.
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I’ve read in many places that the average person has around 70,000 thoughts per day. You may have already heard this. That is a huge number! Seventy thousand.
It’s also been said that the typical person has more negative than positive thoughts. And for those of us diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there is a good chance that we may be having more negative thoughts than the average person out there.
What does this mean?
What Tools Do You Consistently Use to Effectively Manage Your Bipolar Disorder?
The intention of this post is to get people sharing what works for them. And for those who are not as far along in their path to mental stability and wellness, it can serve as ideas and/or inspiration of strategies or tools to consider incorporating into your life.
At present I use a variety of tools to be very holistically healthy overall and mentally stable. That being said, I am always open to new ideas!
This is a tool that I learned about on a Facebook post late last year written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author who wrote “Eat Pray Love”. I’ve been consistently using this tool since January 1, 2015 and am grateful to have come across it! This tool helps anyone, and can potentially be very beneficial to those of us diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
What is a happiness jar?
It is a way to have a visual reminder of happy moments in your daily life...no matter how big or small.
How do I keep a happiness jar?
I sat in a chair at a psychiatrist’s office and am asked questions that provoke me to describe both my depressive and hypomanic states.
It was painful yet enlightening.
When I am depressed I am stupid, lazy and useless.
When I am depressed I am weak, unlovable and a waste of skin.
When I am depressed I am paranoid, reactive and delusional.
When I am depressed I am pitiful, annoying and ugly.
When I am depressed I am melancholy, bitter and pessimistic.
When I am hypomanic I act confident, charming and charismatic.
I am fortunate to be mentally stable and manage my bipolar disorder well. That being said I sometimes have a tendency to not always have a positive mindset throughout my day. At times negative things that people say or do bother me and I’m not able to let go of them quickly.
Having Bipolar Disorder is hard enough. From day to day, from moment to moment, we are always adjusting, monitoring. Am I getting manic? Is this depression creeping in? Should I talk to my doctor about a medication change? We are constantly trying to find that perfect balance. And those of us who have done our homework know that “that perfect balance” is ever-changing. An enigma. We often wonder if it even exists.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my adolescence lately. This is partly because I’m continuing to delve into my past as I work on my memoir, and partly because both my children are now at ages at which I was battling bipolar pretty much single-handedly. It’s also the consequence of befriending several young people on Twitter and watching them go through struggles which feel all too familiar.
This is the third article in, what’s turned out to be, a series on How Bipolar Disorder has Been Changed for Me. If you haven’t read the first two they are:
1. How Journaling has Changed Bipolar Disorder for Me
2. How Food has Changed Bipolar Disorder for Me
Journaling has given me the tools I need to gather important information. Healthy food and exercise have helped improve the physical part of me. But what about my mind? Being whole and healthy involves 3 aspects; body, mind, and soul. If any one of those is unhealthy, the whole package is flawed.