The very first step to bipolar no more

Regardless of the why – you can take control of your own life.  No matter the reason why people are bipolar the one thing I have found, talking to many people who suffer from bipolar disorder, there is a disconnect between making  choices and the consequences of those choices.

First, find a good therapist and if you already have one, ensure they are willing to go with you on the journey.  Ask them if they are willing to hold you accountable for the choices you make. In other words, when you make a statement like, “I did whatever” they will help you change your thought process by saying, “You chose to do whatever.”  After awhile every time you make a statement you will say “Today I chose to go to the store, eat pizza, whatever!”  Once you begin to understand that every action, thought, or process you do in the moments of a day are your choices, you can then begin to understand the link between your choices and the consequences in your life.  When you write in your journal, use the words “I chose” or “I am making a choice” or “I am going to choose”  and follow it with the consequences or what you believe they will be.  Then follow up and see what the consequences actually were.

Something else you might want to ask your therapist to do is to help you come up with a mood chart.  You can do this on your own as well but it was helpful for me to go over with my therapist.  Basically, every day for a couple of months you will need to track whether you are anxious, up, down, or flat.  And correlate that with events in your life and, most importantly, with the choices you make.

For instance: Today, I made a choice to talk to a police officer that was working with my neighbor as they were making an arrest, who is also a police officer. I just happened to be walking by with my dogs.  One of my dogs recognized my neighbor and I was fighting my dog to not run over to my neighbor.  The other officer was tickled by Riley, my dog, and I said, “He wants to run to him, he is my neighbor.”  My neighbor was visibly not happy with my choice.  So if I was keeping a mood chart I would write this event down and say I felt anxious.  Then I would write what, if anything, I will choose to do about it.  And the answer is, I will apologize when I get the opportunity.  Let it go, and move on.

You would be surprised at the choices you make and the consequences of those action and how they affect your mood.  Something as simple as going for a walk and making a unremarkable statement created anxiety.

Acknowledging your choices and the consequences they have can start a lifetime of balance.  But the most important part of the whole choice and consequences journey is acknowledging when you made a good choice and patting yourself on the back.

Always, always, always give yourself credit.  With every good choice you make, the next will come easier and so on!

And when you make a bad choice, acknowledge it as well, decide what you could have done differently, make a choice to do corrective action, if any,  that makes you OK with your choice, AND MOVE ON!  Remember, balance.

Next, I will go over how to talk to you doctor about reducing or removing medication and the steps to take before you even walk in his or her door!

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