That is a big deal! Why? Because sticking to things is really hard when you have a mental disorder that causes your moods to change constantly.
What seems like a good idea one day, seems like a distant memory the next day.
Sticking to projects that we start can be hard for just about anyone but particularly if you have a bipolar related disorder.
So what does Dr. Phil have to do with all of that?
Let me backtrack a bit.
For the last two weeks we have been reviewing the symptoms of depression and the symptoms of manic.
More important than the symptoms though is our response to those symptoms. I asked you to list your responses to each of the symptoms and do a ‘cost/benefit’ analysis of each response.
If Dr. Phil were interviewing you and you told him one of your symptoms during an episode of depression was antisocial feelings, and your response to those feelings was to lock yourself in your house and stay in bed until you feel better, he might say ‘and how’s that workin’ for ya?’
The most important thing you might get out of this Bipolar Boot Camp is to take a good look at your responses and figure out how they are working for you? Or ARE they working at all?
Do you possibly need some new responses? Would you like a few suggestions? This is a complicated area to deal with since each of us are unique in our symptoms and especially in our responses.
Let me give you a personal example. Here is one of the symptoms of depression that I experience:
Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
Here is my first response
- Response One: Ruminating over all of the bad things that have ever happened to me and feeling sorry for myself that I can’t do things that everyone else can and enjoy life
- Cost: I feel even worse
- Benefit: none
I have realized that this particular response is not making me better, truly it is probably making that symptom (feelings of sadness) worse.
So I try a different response:
- Response Two: talking to myself about things that are not sad in my life. For instance, “Wendy, you have two wonderful daughters that have given you four beautiful grandchildren and they all love you, even though you have bipolar disorder and can’t babysit or visit as often as you would like.”
- Cost: none whatsoever
- Benefit: I feel less sad.
Do you see what I am getting at? We need to break it down, looking at each symptom and each response and see how it is or isn’t working for us.
JUST READING ABOUT THIS OR DISCUSSING THISOR THINKING ABOUT THIS IS NOT ENOUGH!
You really need to write down all of the symptoms of both depression and manic and then record all of your responses and then the costs and benefits of those responses. Sure, that seems like a lot of work, but hey, this is a boot camp!
Are you willing to do that?
Are you willing to keep a mood chart?
Because, if you aren’t willing to do any of these things you may as well quit this Bipolar Boot Camp right now because you won’t get anything out of it.
Next week we march!
I am so glad you dropped by today!
Join me again at ‘Depression Getaway’ and together we will…
…live, care, laugh, share, learn, discover, forgive and recover.
Don’t give up, I’m praying for you!