Song of the Day: Turning Page by Sleeping At Last
(Thanks again everybody for all your interest in my blog, I really hope that reading about similar experiences can help you feel a little less alone. I know I feel comforted to know there are others like me out there and I’m not making everything up!)
Ever since I was first diagnosed with Bipolar I have been an avid researcher into all the symptoms, treatments, experiences etc. My thirst for knowledge can become intense and sometimes obsessive! Recently I’ve begun to think that maybe this hasn’t always been a good thing. Despite it being sensible to be well-informed on the condition, I think my obsessive reading has actually been unwittingly destructive.
There are so so many books out there now about the disorder, which is absolutely brilliant in terms of social acceptance and awareness of the condition, but perhaps my search to find an answer as to why this has happened to me and how the hell I can get out of it is not so healthy? I never seem to find an answer! I used to truly believe there was nothing “wrong” with me in terms of a clinical diagnosis. I used to think I was just lazy, not working hard enough, too fat, too unhealthy, hadn’t got enough friends or wasn’t good enough at anything. Hell, I’d only have been happy if I’d discovered a cure for cancer! Reading these books and articles about Bipolar brought me a reassurance that I did indeed have the condition and comforted me in the knowledge that I was not to blame; that my laziness, lack of concentration, suicidal ideation and dark, dark thoughts were not my fault.
IT ISN’T OUR FAULT! WE ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR DEPRESSION OR BIPOLAR!!
I have to remember this now. I still feel bitter and angry for all I feel I have lost in the last 12 years- there is a lot of pain there. If I blame it all on me I will implode!! So when my ego starts to bully me into taking all the blame, the Bipolar books call. They tell me it’s not my fault, there is a strong biological link, the way I was raised could play a big part, any trauma I’ve been through, etc. However I think too much focus on researching Bipolar has led me to become too focused on the symptoms and watching out for any tiny little disturbance that has altered my mood. Was that a genuine “me” reaction or a Bipolar one? It’s so easy to withdraw from life, wrap yourself in a duvet and stay where’s it’s safe. That’s a whole other topic on its own!
In the last year or two I have become more familiar with The Law of Attraction – a universal law that theorizes that whatever we give our focus to, we attract. Therefore if we focus on illness and disease this is what we get. If we focus on health and wellness this is what we get. This is a very basic description and there are many avenues associated with it including the use of affirmations, compassion for ourselves, meditation, visualisation, and raising our energy levels so that we feel good- if we “feel good”, we attract more “feel good”!! I’ll totally admit that when I’m depressed it is the hardest thing in the world to be so positive, but I have found it easier to be kinder to myself and not talk to myself with such a bullying “voice”.
Reading about the Law of Attraction made me realise that the whole time I had been reading about Bipolar and it’s symptoms, that is what I was experiencing in my life- more Bipolar symptoms; I was soooo focused on them. I think I let it take over and stopped pushing myself to get out into the world again when I’d been off work. I focused so much on my symptoms and what was going on internally mood-wise that I paid little attention to more positive aspects of my life and goal-setting. I guess I am still in a similar place now. I do blame Bipolar for a lot, and use it as an excuse to explain away my lack of career and under-achievement. Taking responsibility for my decisions without self-blame is something I’m frequently trying to balance in my mind.
Learning to realise that Bipolar doesn’t hold me back from most things (well, not the majority of the time) and that I am the one who holds me back, is something I need to work on. I think I’ve made a start by working, having a much more active social-life, joining a choir and adopting our dog: these are great things to focus on, and I am slowly climbing up the mountain.
If you’re interested, more can be found on the Law of Attraction on the website of Esther and Jerry Hicks who have written some very interesting books about the topic: