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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bipolar and Self harm

I used to be scared of the word self harm.  Scared of reading about it or facing the fact that its out there and that maybe I have done it.  Self harm is usually thought of as cutting ( taking a sharp object and cutting oneself ) but its more than that.  Burning oneself, bruising oneself and even cutting a single strand of your hair with your fingernail is considerd self harm.  And then there is actually pulling ones hair out.  Its even hard for me to read these things.  To think that we could and would do this to ourselves is hard to believe.  But it is very common for those of us who have a mood disorder.

I think self harm is very common when one is experiencing anxiety and stress.  There are healthy ways to cope with anxiety and stress, like exercise, hobbies or journaling and other self help activities.  Self harm is another way to cope with stress and anxiety.  When one hurts himself a chemical is released to the wound.  A feel good chemical.  This is what causes the addiction.  Its not the pain one likes it's the bodies response to the pain that we like.  So then it becomes habitual.  And it works to calm our nerves so we do it again and again as a coping mechanism to feel better.

Its hard to feel negative emotions.  It can be scary.  We need a release.  So we really need to find a healthy alternative to this unhealthy way to cope. First lets be okay with feeling a certian way and know that it is just a "feeling".  We must be nice to our self.  It is self harm even if it does make us feel better for awhile.

I've heard of people distracting themselves when they get an urge to self harm.  Put on a cup of tea, get out some crayons and color.  Even coloring lines on the paper as if you are cutting.  But its on paper not your arms.  I've even heard that taking a red marker and coloring on your arm as if you are cutting will release the urge and stress.  Its better than doing the real thing.  Sometimes when the urge is strong its hard to pass it up.  It takes a strong will.  Sometimes we win and sometimes it does.  But when the urge does come we must have a plan.  I've heard of a distraction box.  A box filled with self help activities.  Coloring books and paper.  Cake mix to go bake a cake.  Lotion for massaging your hands and arms.  Fingernail polish.  A stress ball, a ball that you can squeeze to your hearts content.  Games or puzzles.  The list can go on and on.  Basically something that will take you away from self harm and help ease the negative emotion your experiencing.

Also its very important to be honest with your doctor and therapist.  They can provide you with a medical and custume fit plan for you.  Its hard to admit that we would harm our self but if you are I want you to seek help.  We are too precious to hurt ourselfs.  We are obviously hurting enough as it is. But learning other ways to cope with difficulties can make all the difference. It will take time however. Don't beat yourself up if you give in but try very very hard not to.

What are some other ways you could distract yourself when an urge to self harm comes knocking on your door?

We are in this together and we can win.
Bipolar Butterfly

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bipolar and Pets?

We all have heard how wonderful are. How they aid those who are experiencing depression. Comfort the lonely etc. I love my dog by the way. He has been a huge comfort to me in times of deep depression. Just the always constant companion.

So are pets good for your mental health? I'm no expert but I'm going to say yes! Now my dog has not taken away my bipolar symptoms and I'm sure your pet hasn't as well. So why are they good for our health?
1. It forces us to take care of something other than ourselves. Antidote to selfishness.
2. It forces us to get outside. This is very helpful during depression. Dogs need healthy walks and lo and behold the walks are healthy for us too. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.
3. Dogs make you feel like your the most important person in the world. Unconditional love. They are so excited to see you. They want to sit on your lap or at least around you. This boosts our own feelings of self worth. Its nice to be the center of attention even if its from a dog.
4. We are not alone. They provide companionship. You can play with your dog. Talk to your dog. Pet your dog. Just having that feeling that your not alone.

These are some ideas I came up with. I'm sure there's more. Having my pet has been enjoyable. I recommend it. Cats or dogs or any other pet that you would enjoy could be your ticket to a better day. Think about it. It is a big commitment and at times some work but it can be well worth it.

Let me know how your pet has helped your mental health. I would love to hear from you.                                       this song says it all <3  press on this link to listen <3

Bipolar Butterfly

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Depression and Guilt

Do you ever feel guilty for being depressed? I do. As much as I know that it is not my fault that I am depressed I somehow feel like I can snap myself out of it. I want to stay in bed. I feel guilty. I dont want to do anything. I feel guilty. I have no motivation. I feel guilty. I feel so lazy. I feel guilty.

I know we know this but I'm going to say it agian. Depression is not your fault, just like mania and bipolar is not your fault. If we could control it I know we would. Who wants to feel depressed? Who wants out of control mania running their life?

So what do we do when depression marries guilt? Know deep down in your heart that this feeling of depression; this lack of motivation; this heaviness is not your fault and you can not just snap out of it even when you put forth your best efforts. The word guilt means: the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving penalty. 2 the state of one who has commited an offense especially consciously. So, did we wake up depressed on purpose. Did we ask for this heaviness and lack of motivation. Do we put our own punishment on ourselves for feeling this way? Yes I think alot of the times we do. We punish our own self for an illness we did not create.

We must stop if we are to gain some well being. I think this could be the best time to do something nice for ourself. Give ourself a break. For some it may be taking the day off. Watch movies, eat popcorn. For some of us we may have to push ourself to go for a walk or a drive; get out of the house. But the last thing we should be doing is beating ourself up. The best thing we can do is know and say to ourself that this will pass. I may not be feeling well right now but depression doesnt last forever with bipolar, I will feel good agian. I just need to endure this with a good attitude. I will not feel guilty about a crime that I did not commit.

So have a little candy. Be extra nice to yourself. Dont listen to negitive voices, including your own. Know that this too shall pass. Know that you can catch up on your to do list later. ( At least most of us) Keep on keeping on. Give yourself a hug. You are not guilty for feeling depressed or for not having the ability to not be depressed.

I hope this finds you encouraged
Bipolar Butterfly

Bipolar Butterfly

Hi my name is Jenni and  I live with bipolar. I was diagnosed at age 14. I am now in my thirties. It has taken me 14 years to finally admit my problem. I was ashamed of it as a teen and was in denial till age 28. I thought some how I had control over it. I thought I could wish it away and act normal. It took getting married and having the one person I trusted enough to tell me the truth. I had a problem and I was not normal. In a way it was a relief.

I sought help. I went to a doctor. I was put on an antidepresant medication. It didn't help but I thought it would. I settled for the first med they gave me. Big no no. As time went by and I sought support online I learned that its okay to suggest another med and to be honest with your symptoms. I finally feel satisfied with my doctor and the meds she is giving me. I still have major mood swings and lately it has been depression.

Its hard to get up in the morning. I want to sleep all day. I feel guilty for feeling this way. Its a downward spiral. Since I did not admit my illness until a few years back I am new to the bipolar world. I'm educating myself and learning ways to ease the symptoms and how to get through. I just started this blog as a new project to keep me motivated with my progress to wellness.

Thankyou for reading
Jenni bipolar butterfly