Bipolar Disorder: Low Confidence

Song of the Day: Tourniquet by Evanescence

(Photo Credit: Heavenhated available under a Creative Commons Licence)

Think I might be heading towards Depression-ville again. I’ve wanted to be on my own more this week- I just don’t feel like socialising at all. This is the complete opposite of how I was a few weeks back when all I could think about was partying. My social confidence is a lot lower- I’m questioning every little thing I say again, and dwelling on conversations- did I say the right thing? Were they bored? Am I boring? Do they think I’m a moron? etc.

My confidence about myself is a lot lower too. Whereas a few weeks back I was bouncing off the walls thinking I looked like an Angelina Jolie clone, I’m now back to feeling like a bag lady. Nothing seems good enough- I’m too short, I wear rubbish clothes, I’m too fat, I should take better care of myself. Blah blah blah bleurgh.

I’m starting to think about dying more, which I tend to do when depressed, not in a suicidal way, just an- I wonder how and when I’ll die- kind of way. Just ruminating on it. My anxieties about dying before I’ve ever fulfilled my life purpose are higher too. I’m worried I’ve totally failed at life and that I’ll have to die earlier as punishment- how crazy is that! I feel ridiculously guilty for EVERYTHING too! I didn’t walk the dog this afternoon, I didn’t wash up, I ate too much, I drank too much Diet Coke. My brain seems to like to find things to beat myself up about.

In the Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert, the author talks about the idea that being kind and compassionate to ourselves is the way to prevent mental ill health such as depression.  I really like this concept. Being kind and compassionate to other people seems so much easier than to myself though. I’m sure I wouldn’t tell my friend that she looks like a total heifer in that coat, or that she should put some make-up on, or that her house is a right tip and she should quit being such a lazy layabout. Then I look back at all these things I’ve been telling myself and feel like I’ve failed there too! Something else to beat myself up about. It’s like I’m actually looking for excuses to criticise myself!

Learning to change thought habits, ones that have been ingrained in your brain since childhood, is no mean feat. This is something I find very difficult to overcome once Cognitive Behavioural Therapy courses have finished- I’m moving along nicely, learning how to be kinder to myself with all the thought-monitoring, then BAM! The course finishes and so it’s back to the old ways. Keeping up the work they give you is very difficult- it can be very repetitive and boring. Couple this with low motivation from depression and you ‘aint gonna get very far! Changing these deeply ingrained thought patterns is gonna take more than a few weeks of therapy courses. The other problem I have with this type of therapy is that it is saying that your thoughts are imperfect, you are in charge of these, so you have failed in your duty to protect yourself from depression. This is how my depressed brain sees it anyway- that my depression is my own fault. I’m sure I’m not usually this negative, so maybe a bit of depression is creeping back in.

Clocks go back this weekend. This is always a precursor to a mood change for me, so can’t wait for that one.

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2 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder: Low Confidence

  1. jillnottelten

    Have you read ‘The Mindful Way Through Depression’? That is an awesome book and really helpful with the stuff you’re talking about. I’d whole-heartily recommend it.

    I found that it was easy to go back to my old ways when I stopped seeing my Psychologist as often. But it’s a discipline that just needs to stay. Have you tried picking up any of the old homework activities again to use as maintenance or set up journaling? That can help.

    You also sound like you could use a mood diary to keep track of your symptoms and to get a handle on your early warning signs and triggers. http://www.moodscope.com is handy, then there’s an iphone app called moody me that you can get that’s also a mood diary; also for pen and paper there’s http://www.bipolar.com.au/living/diary.cfm, and http://www.psychiatry24x7.com/bgdisplay.jhtml?itemname=mooddiary that are pretty good. The other link that you might find worthwhile for keeping track of early warning signs etc is http://www.idamaecampbell.org/files/40263519.pdf

    Sorry didn’t set out to flood you with links. I just can’t see the good of sitting on good resources when they’ve helped me.

    Hey, be kind to yourself. This is a difficult time of the year. Changing of seasons is a rotten time for a lot of people. You’re not alone, even though it probably feels like it at the moment.

    ps your dog looks really cute.

    Reply
    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Hi,

      Thanks for your information-packed reply! Yes, I have the Mindful Way Through Depression book, it is good isn’t it? The CD is helpful. I also do a mood diary and journal- been living with this for 12 years now, so have been through most options. You’re right about maintaining the work from the psychologists, it really is something to be doing regularly, I guess I’m just being pretty negative at the moment. Maybe I’ll get some of the workbooks out today.

      Will definitely look at the links you’ve supplied and thanks for the boost, it has helped.

      Thanks again,

      Rachel

      Reply

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