Category Archives: Bipolar Management

High Sensitivity and “Limitations”

ID-1002679A few weeks ago, my boyfriend suddenly developed migraines. His vision partially disappeared, his head was extremely painful, and he was sick. This was beginning to occur every other day, which meant he was having to return home early from work, or other activities, and driving became limited.

My boyfriend is extremely active, autonomous and independent, and so for him this was a massive blow to daily life- he had never had this experience of having no control over what he could and couldn’t do. He was extremely frustrated and became anxious about whether he would get another attack when he was out. It was difficult to see him like this, but he has had success with the medication he was prescribed., which is great.

Limitations

The experience my boyfriend went through got me thinking about my own limitations.

Since I developed my first severe depression at university, I have felt limited by what I can do every single day.

My concentration decreased markedly at uni: I could only read the same few sentences over and over- nothing registered in my mind. For a previously high academic achiever this was a massive blow! It made me realise how much of my identity was wrapped up in achievement too- my whole concept of myself had to change. But that’s another post of its own.

Regular jobs in retail and admin just don’t work for me. I spent years trying to make myself fit the social norm, but the symptoms of Bipolar kept returningit was a nightmare.

I tried driving lessons on two separate occasions, but found that I dissociated (my awareness lifted out of my body, as if I were observing myself) and I felt completely out of control of the vehicle. Panic attacks occurred on every driving lesson I took. It took me a long time to accept that I most likely would never drive. Whilst I believe, if I had 100% wanted to and sought out specialist training, that I could have achieved it, I was so scared off by the dissociation and panic attacks that I no longer had any desire to drive, other than that it is a social norm, and for the sake of fitting in. This was not enough incentive for me, so I now accept my non-driver status.

I also have high sensitivity to lighting, smells and noise, which means I can only take so much of certain environments before I become dizzy and panicky, or a migraine is triggered. Parties, concerts, shopping in the city and many social activities are limited now- I need frequent breaks from them, or to just go for short bursts of time.

I was so angry with myself for so long. Really angry. Furious. I wanted so much to be like everybody else. I felt stupid and that something was innately wrong with me. I felt like God had taken these things away from me and that I was being punished for something. I felt a complete victim.

So, yes, I could understand how my boyfriend was feeling with the limitations his migraines were causing!

ID-10066657A New Perspective

It has only been in the last 5 or so years that I have come to see these, not as limitations, but as adjustments that I need in order to take care of myself.

I no longer see Bipolar Disorder. I see an extremely sensitive person, who deserves to protect her sensitivity and to keep herself healthy by whatever means she can. I no longer see someone who must be considered “ill” to fit onto society. I am just different. Not ill.

Society does not like different.

Society does not like an individual to have to live their life differently, and I do need to live my life differently in order to be healthy. So they prefer to see you at mentally ill.

Below are examples of necessary adjustments I’ve made to keep myself healthy:

  • a small amount of part-time work on my own terms: self employment teaching the flute, which I really enjoy.
  • accepting financial help from other people (this is not easy, despite other people perhaps thinking I have a cushy life. It has been embarrassing, shame-inducing, guilt-inducing, and I am still working on acceptance of this).
  • lots of free time to be alone, to sleep (I need 10-12 hours a day, and some of this I need to have in the afternoon as I don’t sleep so well at night), and to meditate.
  • regular walks in nature. This helps to balance my energy and help me to connect with myself. I feel more peaceful.
  • spending time on things I love, rather than things I think I “should” be doing.
  • regular journalling to connect with myself, check in how I am feeling, and figuring out any further adjustments to me made. This is active work on myself- looking at my beliefs and thought-patterns (which are often negative) and how I can love myself more by creating new self-loving, self-supportive ones. This requires practice throughout the day. Just off-loading my feelings to the paper can also be therapeutic.
  • avoiding loud, noisy places with lots of people.

I still experience mood swings, just on a more manageable level. I do still take medication, but it is more effective along with these adjustments. It is still a full time job just to keep myself balanced.

But I accept this now. I accept that I am not going to be living the “norm” and that’s okay.

I would rather be as healthy and as happy as I can possibly be!

Related Posts

Overwhelmed!

Healing at Home

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People– Guest post on Mental Health Talk.

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Face Fear: Making Peace With Your Shadow

 

 

 

Abraham Hicks Part 3: Feeling Thoughts

Following on from my last post Abraham Hicks Part 2: The Emotional Guidance System, I’ve been trying to practice thoughts that raise my vibration up the Emotional Guidance Scale.

emotionalguidancescale

This morning was a good opportunity to do that as I woke up, weighed myself and discovered I’d put on a few pounds. My immediate reaction was panic, which I think is probably as low as 22 on the scale (fear).

“How did this happen?!!”

“I didn’t really eat that much over the last week did I?!”

“Arghhhhhh!!!”

“Are the scales wrong?”

“I feel so out of control!!”

Feeling Thoughts

Abraham Hicks describes these thoughts as “feeling thoughts”: thoughts that create a feeling or emotion. These thoughts immediately made me feel panicky and fearful of being out of control.

So, I thought about what I wrote in my last post- moving up the Emotional Guidance Scale. What thought feels better than this? I consciously spoke to myself as if I were a friend and tried to be supportive of myself:

“It’s ok, I know how to lose the weight, I’ve done it before and it’s actually quite easy once I get into the flow of it.”

“It’s easy to get back in control.”

“I’m still lighter than I was this time last year.”

“It’s been ultra hot the last few days and I’ve been drinking loads. I might have retained water which has increased my weight.”

“Weight is just a number. I am so much more than this.”

“I’ve got something exciting arriving in the post today.”

“I’m looking forward to practicing the flute again. I’m doing really well with it.”

“Teaching my pupil on Monday was brilliant- she’d practiced so hard and I was really proud of her.”

See how my thoughts naturally progressed from being about my weight to being about the things that really matter to me or things that make me feel good? This was totally a natural progression, so much so that I hardly noticed the shift. And yes, I did feel better with these thoughts. It felt easy at first to slip back into the panicky ones, but after a few hours of dog-walking, chores, and TV watching, I am now feeling more secure in these better feeling thoughts.

Awareness & Mindfulness

Awareness of your thoughts is key to noticing what’s going on in your mind.

Awareness comes with mindfulness which really isn’t this big subject that requires you to read books or take courses, like we are perhaps led to believe. Yes, it can help very much, but basically it requires your attention to be focused on the here and now.

Your awareness is on how your body feels, your breathing, the thoughts going through your mind, the room you’re sitting in.

It can be so easy for our minds to wander off into the future: planning, worrying, etc. This is all completely natural, and mindfulness is also about being completely non-judgemental of your thoughts and feelings- just accepting them as they are.

Without this mindful condition, it is difficult to have an awareness of what is going through your mind in the present. Your mental energy is focused in the future- with plans or worries or even excitement and anticipation. Or it may be in the past- remembering something that made you feel bad, or good.

Mental energy may also be focused on distractions which also take us away from the here and now: TV, the internet, work- we are giving our mental focus away to these experiences.

From these energetic positions, we are unaware of our current emotional state, and from that perspective, have no power to change it by creating new good feeling thoughts.

Directing Mental Energy

Mindfulness is about directing this mental energy, that we have projected into the past or future, back to ourselves in the here and now. It is in the here and now that we have the power to change our feeling thoughts and develop a healthy, nurturing relationship with ourselves.

To me this is all a completely new concept, as I’ve grown up with the programme installed in my mind that I’m never good enough, and critical thoughts automatically seem to appear from out of nowhere and often trigger shameful feelings.

To notice these bad feeling thoughts is the first step. It requires focus, intention and effort, but it is not difficult.

Once you are noticing and have the awareness of the thoughts flowing through your mind, you are then in the driving seat, in a position of power, where you can re-programme your mind by creating good feeling thoughts.

Positive Results!

If I hadn’t have tried to change my mind programming today, I may still be stuck at 22. But now I feel at a 4- with positive expectation and belief! That’s quite a big jump!!

I think it’s probably a good idea to record these results that I’m generating, to keep an eye on how successful the whole technique is.

I am fortunate in that I am not going to a busy job, in a noisy environment, and that I have the time and quiet to be aware and be mindful. I don’t always do it, but I’m working on it, and today has been successful so far!

Related Posts

Abraham Hicks Part 1: Bipolar Disorder

Abraham Hicks Part 2: The Emotional Guidance Scale

What Is Bipolar Disorder? Abraham Hicks: A Conversation

You Are Amazing!

Bipolar Management: Mindfulness and Meditation

 

 

 

 

 

Abraham Hicks Part 2: The Emotional Guidance Scale

So today I’m finding it more of a challenge to feel positive.

Today I’m feeling the effects of the hot weather here in the UK. I’m extremely tired (probably through poor quality, broken sleep) and cranky and my energy feels low.

It is on days like this that I find my spiritual and positive intentions more difficult to achieve.

And I think that is very normal- even though I’ve spent portions of today letting my mind run with thoughts of: “why can’t I just get on with things?”, “why am I so lazy?”, “why am I so unmotivated”, “I feel so useless”.

Okay, so I really am just being very normal. I may have been brought up to believe I should always be grateful, and joyful and have a smile on my face, but this is totally unrealistic, and not a match to who I truly am.

It’s ok for me to feel fed up and frustrated with myself. It’s normal!

But I can feel better if I want to.

And that’s where my post from two days ago fits in (see Abraham Hicks on Bipolar Disorder). I strongly recommend reading this first before continuing here.

At the end of the post I asked a few questions that I intended to answer in further posts. Well, here I am considering the question:

How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?

To answer this a familiarity with The Emotional Guidance Scale as offered in Esther and Jerry Hicks book Ask and It Is Given.

emotionalguidancescale

As you can see, the scale lists different emotions and they are ordered as such that the emotions at the top of the scale are those that will feel good to us, and those at the bottom will feel bad.

There is a continuum implied whereby number 9: Pessimism will feel better to us emotionally than number 10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience. Number 1. Joy, will feel better to us than number 5. Optimism, which in turn will feel better than number 7. Contentment.

Of course, this is a much simplified perspective of our complex range of human emotion, and what feels good or bad to each person is going to vary.

You might argue that some people feel good when raging at other people, or harming them in some way- they get some kind of energy or kick out of it?! But this may only feel good to them in comparison with how they were feeling before- extremely guilty perhaps?

So too, I would add the emotion of shame to the bottom of the list, and peace to the top of the list. We can all tweak it in a way that speaks most accurately to ourselves.

Moving Around the Scale

So yesterday I shared the experience of mania as described by Abraham:

“If you didn’t eat for about a week and someone turned up with a pizza, we’d see mania.”

I love this!! Suddenly we have the most enthusiasm for pizza we’ve ever had in our lives.

Abraham is talking about pizza as us being in alignment to who we truly are, about being in alignment with Source energy. To us this may be being in the creative flow of writing a book or making art, or feeling a sense of peace, joy and being at one with the world, after a period of us somehow blocking this flow- perhaps due to feelings of unworthiness, lack of self-belief etc. So when we get back into this flow- wow!! It feels so good!

I know this feeling! Suddenly I feel I have purpose in my life again when I allow that stream of energy to flow. When I don’t block it with my beliefs of my own limitation. I feel free and alive and everything feels so right and the sense of euphoria can be so intoxicating!

But if we do block it again, maybe with a belief that this wonderful feeling can’t possibly last, and become scared of losing it- we then plummet into the lower energies and completely disconnect from Source energy, from who we truly are.

So, back to the question I posed earlier:

How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?

Well, to me the answer seems to be to eat pizza more regularly, so we don’t get hungry.

I’m serious!

If pizza represents the actions that align us with who we truly are, with Source energy, then we won’t ever be completely disconnected.

Quite often for those of us labelled with bipolar disorder, our powerful flow of energy goes against the grain of society. We may love to do unconventional things with our creativity for example, but have been criticised for this- which encourages us to stop. Stopping equals being out of alignment with who we truly are, with Source energy. It may be very challenging for us to be who we really are!!

The energy of someone with bipolar disorder I see as a wild, powerful stallion running free. To be able to ride the horse or use it purposefully, the stallion needs some kind of taming and training. The energy is directed. (This is just an analogy and I’m all for horses being wild and free, it just makes sense to me this way!)

We can manage our own energy by learning to take ourselves up the emotional guidance scale. We need to “be ourselves”, allow our creativity etc. often, regularly! We need to feed our hunger for being in alignment with source energy, so that we don’t become ravenous with hunger for it!! If we do this then we will be able to stop and rest, rather than stay up for nights on end writing or creating in any other way. We won’t become so “high”, but our positivity will remain more stable and manageable. Our energy won’t increase so intensely that we want to clean our houses all night or be so manically optimistic that we make unwise decisions with our money. Just examples of course. No doubt you’ll have your own particular manic ways!!

Therefore we are much less likely to dip so low into depression. We will come to realise that we are never truly without Source energy expressing itself through us- we are always living as our true self. There is never any loss of connection with it- which is where depression comes from.

This all makes sense to me, but if it doesn’t make sense to you please feel free to comment and I will try and explain as best I can.

I do realise that these concepts are pretty “out there” in terms of modern-day psychiatry and societal understanding. If it resonates with you- great! If it doesn’t, that’s ok- just move onto whatever does! (Just please don’t tell me. )

The Emotional Guidance Scale

So, instead of us bouncing from a 1 to a 22 on the Emotional Guidance Scale, we can use it a bit more gently and learn what feels a bit better (not a million times better).

We can learn what brings us up from a 1 to a 2, or from a 7 to a 9.

These may be simple action steps such as taking a shower, or chatting to a friend. They may be more profound and involve creating or learning in some way.

I’m definitely still learning this, but over the last 18 years of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and yes I am on medication and would never recommend coming off any you are taking without consulting your doctor), things have got easier.

I know I feel better when I go for a walk in the morning with my dog.

I know I feel better if I eat toast for breakfast rather than chocolate.

I know I feel better when my hair is freshly washed.

I know I feel better when I’m playing the flute.

I still have days where I’m lower down the scale, but I think I’m better at getting myself back up the scale again at a more gentle pace. So that means no spending loads of money on my credit card on beautiful things I don’t need- that puts me up to a 1, but only lasts for a short time!! Then I feel worse at the accumulation of debt, and have probably forgotten all about said beautiful things which are now crumpled up at the bottom of my wardrobe. Back down to 22 we go!

I think it’s all about us learning how to use our powerful energy in a way which feels good to us all the time. Not amazingly, overwhelmingly, euphorically good, but a more gentle, fulfilled, positive kind of good, which is way more manageable.

We need to keep asking ourselves “what feels better than this?”, even if it’s just a little bit better.

Related Posts

Abraham Hicks on Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder? Abraham Hicks: A Conversation.

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Why Depression? (The Law of Attraction).

Resources

Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Abraham Hicks on You Tube

Abraham Hicks- Just to Live Your Life With Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder- Abraham Hicks

Bipolar Depression and Suicidal Feelings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overwhelmed!

Overwhelm seems to be happening a lot at the moment.

I can cope with one thing in a day, eg. work, but not 2 or more. Try adding on choir, cooking, seeing friends etc and my anxiety levels shoot up. Being productive with any other activity other than work is just not happening- I can’t concentrate, get easily distracted and restless.

Overwhelm seems to happen when exciting things are happening too. I recently went away to Edinburgh to sing in a choir I’m part of. Most of the members I hadn’t seen for a few months and we were all really excited to see each other again- well, I was excited anyway!!! Couple this with singing awesome music and trips out to shows and tourist attractions and soon I wasn’t coping. Too much excitement!!! I had three panic attacks that week. I hadn’t had one previously for a good few months. I was overly emotional.

I didn’t take this limitation very graciously, and was very angry and frustrated with myself for not being able to join in everything I wanted to. I could try, but panic attacks had already resulted from doing too much.

Accepting limitations is something I’m still working on! Remembering it’s not my fault is important, but also to evaluate whether I’m putting too much pressure on myself or judging myself harshly.

Affirmations that I’m finding helpful from Louise Hay’s companion book to You Can Heal Your Life are:

I have the power, strength and knowledge to handle everything in my life.

I relax into the flow of life and let Life provide all that I need asily and comfortably.

I am enough just as I am.

Louise Hay

 

Christmas- Cooling Off!

Xmas RachI LOVE Christmas- the lights, the carols, the Christmas story, the Christmas films, the food, the general merry-ment.

This year I find myself questioning more and more the concept of gift-giving. Am I really giving a gift when what I am really doing is fulfilling somebody else’s expectation that they receive a gift from me- and vice versa I guess?

I love buying presents! I love the aha moment of- “oh this person would love this gift!” Then I feel I’m truly giving from the heart.

Maybe it isn’t the gift-giving itself, but rather the way I shop that makes it feel a bit mechanical- sounds a bit weird! Maybe it would feel more fun going to small businesses and craft stalls to buy presents. Maybe I’m just giving this too much thought LOL!

Anyway I think I’m getting a bit mind-spinny from all the shopping and could do with some general calming-down. So today I’m going to be meditating, playing the piano and drawing, amidst a bit of present-wrapping. Need some mind-cooling, right-brained, creative activity. If you haven’t read this fab article about the over-heated mind, I think it fits in very nicely with hypomania & obsessive, racey-thoughts in general:

“Your Brain Is Like A Nuclear Reactor. Avoid Meltdowns, Keep It Cool.”  By Word From The Well.

I’m thinking peaceful thoughts from now on and remembering to keep grounded.

Bach Flower Remedies which really help to keep the hypomanic-type mind balanced and calm:

Vervain; White Chestnut; Chestnut Bud; Cherry Plum; Impatiens.

ID-1004259 (1)

Related Posts

Crazy-Hypomanic Birthday Shopping

A Christmas Present To Ourselves

Hypomania & Grounding

Bach Flower Remedies

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

ID-10021637This post is based on my opinion as well as extensive research and experience throughout the last few years.

My Spiritual Experiences During Hypomania

During episodes of hypomania I have frequently felt more at one with nature and in harmony with life in general, as well as with spirit. These experiences have had a euphoric quality to them where I have felt “high”, believing that I have energetic powers including healing.

I always assumed this was part of mania and that I was having grandiose delusions. I would have so much energy that I would feel I was bursting out of my skin.

But what if I wasn’t delusional- what if there was some truth to these intense intuitive experiences? It may sound grandiose now- but what if we all have these dormant psychic skills ready to reawaken?

The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (as well as depression and anxiety in general) are extremely similar to those that occur as we awaken spiritually.

ID-100136585Spiritual Awakening and Ascension

Spiritual awakening is the process by which our spirits are reunited with our bodies and minds. Our higher self is integrated into our lives as we begin to see how we are all connected as one, and that we have higher purposes in our lives.

This process is occurring increasingly in many people, as earth and all its life forms evolve to a higher dimension, whereby we see each other as brothers and sisters and live from a place of love. Psychic abilities will also develop in many. This is known as Ascension.

As we ascend as individuals, we undergo spiritual awakening, which brings about many symptoms in our mind, body and emotions as we clear out old baggage, and mental and behavioural patterns which no longer serve us.

Many spiritual writers and teachers are sharing information regarding ascension. Diana Cooper is a favourite of mine and explains more about the phenomenon here.

Spiritual Awakening Symptoms

As we awaken, our bodies and minds need to shed old patterns and beliefs which no longer serve a purpose in our lives, and keep us at lower vibrational energy. This leads to many symptoms that include the following:

  • depression & anxiety
  • periods of high energy manifesting in our lives as hyperactivity, racing thoughts, creative bursts (sound familiar?!) etc.
  • new sleep patterns whereby we often wake up between the hours of 2-4pm, fall back to sleep, then possibly wake up again.
  • periods of intense emotion & mood swings- crying at the drop of a hat, switching to laughter.
  • life altering events.
  • growing interest in spirituality.
  • a sense of higher purpose or wishing to know what this is.
  • a feeling of being “different”.

These are just a few of the symptoms. For an extensive list please click here.

As you can see quite a few of the experiences listed overlap with Bipolar Disorder symptoms.

There are a few resources, discussion forums and videos on the internet which discuss this phenomenon. Here is a Google search of Spiritual Awakening and Bipolar Disorder.

ID-10035460What does this mean for us?

The tie-in between Bipolar and Spiritual Awakening may have no meaning for you whatsoever! But for me, and hopefully more and more individuals, it is profoundly meaningful and has changed my life.

I no longer feel a victim of my emotions and, through guidance in spiritual and personal development from a wonderful teacher, I am learning to grow and take charge of my life.

Spiritual & Personal Development

For me, spiritual and personal development have meant taking the reins of my life. Where my emotions have frequently felt like an out-of-control horse running away with me, I am now learning to balance myself and that it is perfectly fine and right to live a life that is different from others. It keeps my emotions in balance. I am so much happier after only a year of this work! I have spent much more time in quiet and solitude, and have learnt to protect and value my innate sensitivity. This development work is something we can all do!

I have also come to learn that many of the emotions I experience are not actually my own, but that I am energetically picking up on the emotions of those around me. It is quite possible you do this too! Development work teaches you to discern which emotions are yours and which are other peoples’, as well as how to clear these emotions from yourself and protecting against further experiences.

Related Posts on this Website

Many of the posts on my blog chart my journey through spiritual and personal development with Bipolar Disorder. Here are a few:

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013

Self-Forgiveness: A Work in Progress

Bipolar Disorder & Depression: Baby Steps Towards a Spiritual Solution

Bipolar Disorder- Towards Healing: Self-Forgiveness

Other Websites & Blogs

Read my guest post Bipolar and Highly Sensitive People on mentalhealthtalk.info.

Spiritual Awakening: doctors label it delusional but one healer calls it magic.

The Underrated Relation Between Bipolar Disorder and Spirituality

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Awakening?

Mania or Spiritual Awakening?