Posts tagged ‘Mental Health’

September 19, 2013

It’s been almost two months!

One month, three weeks, two days, 2 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds. 811 cigarettes not smoked, saving $236.65. Life saved: 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes.

And I am still smoke free! I am also very stable again. I was hoping I would be before school started and I am. I was working very hard to be as stable as possible before the pressure of school. I am taking three (yes 3!!!) math classes and a sociology! I am driving over and hour each way to school four days a week and working about 30 hours a week.

But I am sleeping a full 7 to 8 hrs every night and riding my bicycle every morning about 7 to 8 miles.

After reading this I am not sure how in the hell I am able to squeeze all of this into one day, but I do. It is amazing how much you can do if you do not watch TV or play on a computer.

I love being a non-smoker. It allows me to be a free spirit. To wonder into areas that I would have never dared. To do things I would have never done! OK OK so maybe that is a little over board… but really that is how it feels sometimes!

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August 31, 2013

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing you will hate that you never did!

Yep, that’s right I said it. Quitting smoking is very easy. Oh yeah you are going to have some moments where you will be like – wow I would really like to smoke right now, or uggg I feel so uncomfortable not smoking at the moment, or I feel really anxious this second…..

Right now, at the moment, this second! It passes that fast.

I have heard for years that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin.

Withdrawal symptoms for nicotine:
Anxiety
Depression
Drowsiness or trouble sleeping, as well as bad dreams and nightmares
Feeling tense, restless, or frustrated
Headaches
Increased appetite and weight gain
Problems concentrating

Withdrawal symptoms for heroin:
Agitation
Anxiety
Muscle aches
Increased tearing
Insomnia
Runny nose
Sweating
Yawning
Abdominal cramping
Diarrhea
Dilated pupils
Goose bumps
Nausea
Vomiting

So I am thinking where in the hell did the whole fairy tale about nicotine being harder to give up than heroin come from?

I have been smoke free One month, four days, 3 hours, 59 minutes and 41 seconds. 527 cigarettes not smoked, saving $153.76. Life saved: 1 day, 19 hours, 55 minutes.

I am rockin this shit! Love being nicotine free!

August 1, 2013

The bipolar, nicotine, and dopamine connection

The brains of humans with bipolar disorder, according to current reasoning, cannot regulate their dopamine uptake.  To much dopamine = mania.  To little dopamine = depression.  This is why medication adjustments are so common with humans that are bipolar.

I have discovered that I can regulate dopamine production on my own.  By living a life where I get plenty of sleep and I do not create chaos (ie… create lots of dopamine).  I also make sure I have enough dopamine to not become depressed, I find value in my life (go to school, do dog rescue, etc.), have wonderful friends, and have healthy relationships.

Now all of this being said lets talk about nicotine.  Because cigarettes are a nicotine laced with ammonia delivery system they are able to supply the body with so much nicotine with one smoke that dopamine production is increased and then the brain becomes dependent on nicotine to give it that pleasure feeling. Eventually making the human feel – No nicotine = no pleasure.  The reason people become chain smokers is because this dopamine effect wears off so quickly!

So now that I have quit smoking what in the heck is going on with my dopamine?????

Well, I feel less pleasure for sure.  And I know that I am much more vulnerable to depression.  In order to compenssate for this I am riding my bicycle twice a day instead of just once a day.  I have added about 6 mile a day to my current route.  I am eating healthy but as much as I want.  However, I am not depriving myself of simple pleasures.

I am doing my breathing exercises often! I will be getting a massage this weekend!

To increase dopamine production I am eating more eggs, broccoli, cauliflower,bananas, and apples!   I have read that beet juice and watermelon juice are good as well.  I guess I need to make a trip to the health food store!

I still need to post about yesterday!  It was awful!  Today is so much better!  My next post will be all about day 5!

January 16, 2012

Class starts tomorrow!

So, as of tomorrow I will be one busy chicka!  I will be driving an hour one way to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I also have class on Monday nights about 45 minutes away!  I also work full-time!  So needless to say I will not be blogging as much.  Hopefully, over the last several weeks, I have given anyone who wants to work on finding balance and possibly becoming bipolar no more enough information so they can at least get started.

There are some other areas I want to cover.  For instance, when you feel as if you have no choice and learning that you always have a choice.  I also want to address when you feel like you are going backwards or taking a step back, how that is actually a positive sign that you are moving in the right direction.

Today, I just want to take a moment to cover reducing anxiety by telling you about my journey… college.

Tomorrow I will start school at a different college than I have been going to.  For the last two years or so I have been going to a local community college, but tomorrow I will be going to a University.  I have been having some anxiety about it, mainly because the campus is so large and I was afraid I would not be able to find my way around!  So I made a choice, in order to reduce the stress and anxiety I drove up to the school yesterday and drew a map.  First – where to park, second – where the book store and restaurants are, and lastly – where my classes are.  I walked to each building while the campus was closed.  When I left I felt an enormous sense of relief!  My anxiety level dropped considerably!

Taking steps to reduce anxiety is imperative to bipolar no more!

I hope everyone is fabulous!

PS:  There is a blog I read, James Claims (http://jamesclaims.wordpress.com/), his last blog shows the importance of recognizing “choice”.  I have been reading his blog for a while and I, personally, can see the difference in the way he is writing.  Describing the choices he is making is a true sign of healing!  And choices are like chips!  Once you start it is hard to stop!

Remember “I CHOOSE”!

January 14, 2012

Choice and consequence journal

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. Then follow up and see what the consequences actually were.

The key to this exercise is not just writing about the big choices but small one as well.

For one week keep track of at least ten choices a day that you make. Start with the simple stuff like I choose to brushed my teeth – the consequence of that choice is fresh breath and no cavities! Include big choices like I chose to go 65 mph in a 45 mph zone – the consequence of that choice was that I made it to work on time which relieved stress – (or) – the consequence of that choice was a speeding ticket which will cost money and create stress. Follow that up with I choice to handle this by paying the ticket right away and I choose to let it go and move on.

Take a break after your first full week. But don’t stop making the connections and conscious choices to decrease stress. Making those choices will create control over your own life!

After a break of about a week, pick your journal back up but stick to the choices that create stress using the choices – consequences journal!

I realize for someone who is not bipolar this (choices = consequences) seems like common sense, a person with bipolar disorder does not necessarily lack common sense but some people (all that I have ever met) with bipolar disorder do lack the thinking process of choice = consequences.

PS This (in my opinion) is a good exercise for anyone who does not feel control over their own life!

January 11, 2012

Don’t pull the trigger!

So what are your triggers? This was a very hard question for me to answer. I had no idea! All I knew was my life was like a boat floating in an ocean going up and down with every wave, sinking when a storm was overhead, reaching toward the surface of the water when any sign of hope appeared, but never in control what direction to go to get to true safety – the shore!

So is every wave a trigger? Are just the storms triggers? Or is the glimpse of hope a trigger? Or are all three or none of them triggers?

The best answer I could come up with, and what I found to be true, is the trigger is lack of control. Not lack of control of my environment, because like the ocean it cannot be controlled, but lack of control of my life, the boat. For whatever reason, nature or nurture or perhaps both, I never acquired the knowledge or skill to captain my own ship – my own life!

This all goes back to choices and consequences and not seeing the connection. If I steer the boat to the left, and the storm is to my right, I will miss the storm. But if I do not see the connection between the direction of my life and the storms in my life I will never steer clear of them, sadly – most people with bipolar disorder place themselves in the middle of them!

If I have not stressed the fact that the choice and consequence disconnect has been in my observation, not only in myself, but many people with bipolar disorder the trigger, then I have failed! I truly believe and, as for myself know for certain, that learning the connection between the choices we make and the consequences of those choices is the key to bipolar no more!

Life happens, life is not the trigger, it is the choices we make along the way.

I think now is the time to take a look at doing a choices and consequences journal! Next blog, connecting the dots – the line between choices and consequences.

January 6, 2012

Work damn-it!

When I was in the throws of ups and downs, holding down a job was not the easiest task. When I was depressed I called in often, was on the verge of tears when I was as work, and my work suffered tremendously. When I was manic, I would be finished with all of my work and would be helping others finish their work. I am sure it kind of freaked people out. Fortunately, back then, I was more often manic than depressed. Throw in changing meds and I was a disaster!

If this sounds a lot like you, well, you are not alone. I have spoken to many people that go through the same experience all the time. They often change jobs expecting something different, only to find it is the same or even worse! In addition, people who just suffer from depression have a very difficult time holding down a job.

But work is the deal unless you want to live under a bridge (which some people do choose) or unless you get lucky to marry someone who is willing to support you and put up with you (that person, btw, does not exist!).

So what can you do?

Becoming balanced is the answer to that work question.

But what do you do until…

First, find something you really want to do! Even if it means driving a cheaper car or living in a cheaper apartment or whatever! There is an old saying, “Follow your heart and the money will come.” Well, that is crap! But if you follow your heart and do what you enjoy, then eventually, if you work on all areas of your life, balance will come.

Second, set boundaries even at work. Not with just the people you work with but with yourself. I have worked with so many people who were “over sharers”. Keep your personal business out of the office. It is not anyone’s business at work that you take medications or what meds you take or that you have a psych appointment!

Third, just like the human inventory you did for everyone in your life, do one for the people you work with. Identify the healthy people, those are the people you want to be around, work close to, and/or go to lunch with (remember mirroring)! And the toxic people… avoid them like the plague! Not only will they make you miserable, but you will mirror them as well!

All of these steps will be of great value to you on your journey to bipolar no more!

January 3, 2012

An answer to an important question!

Yesterday I received an email with the question, “How long did it take before you knew you could be ok without medicine? And how long did the whole process take?”

Well, from the day I decided I did not want to be dependent on medication to be balanced until I had taken the necessary steps in my life to acquire balance – I would say about a year. During that year I slowly decreased my medication while working my butt off. It was a lot of give and take. When I found that I had made progress, such as handling a trigger without becoming manic or depressed, I would decrease my medication. When I made a big step, such as volunteering with a dog rescue and kept a commitment – showing up every Saturday for a whole month, I would decrease my medication. And so on! It was a process, it still is actually! I may no longer be on meds but I work every day at staying balanced. Remember, everyones journey is different, however, that it is the best part! It is YOUR journey!

Even now I am working on a huge source of stress, being a Mom – yet letting go of my adult child. I love my son so much, he is my only child, but he is a grown-up and it is time for me to let him be one. I have a choice, I can argue with him about the choices he is making, stress over every bad choice he makes, try and control his action (which never works BTW) or I can enjoy my son’s life, embrace his mistakes as his and hope that he learns from them. But if he doesn’t, accept that there is nothing I can do but love him for who he is. I have a choice, I always have a choice, and I choose to let go and love him for the man he has become. I choose to trust myself, the way I raised him, and that whatever choices he makes are his and have nothing to do with me.

So the answer to the question, “How long does the whole process take?” – is FOREVER! But it is an incredible journey!

January 3, 2012

Taking inventory step 3 – unhealthy people

We all have had, and some still have, toxic people in our lives. So now that you have made a list of the unhealthy people in your life, if you wish to truly be healthy, you must decide what to do about those people. As I have written in the past, if a person is incredibly toxic and I find myself not being able to maintain healthy boundaries, I remove that person from my life. It may seem harsh, but my sanity, my balance are what is most important to me.

For those people who are not toxic, but display unhealthy behaviors I set boundaries. I am very clear with the people in my life. I am very straight forward about my mental health and why it is important to set boundaries with people.

An example: I have a friend who really likes to party. Not all the time but she likes to party pretty hard. I have went out with her on a couple of occasions and realized how unhealthy her behavior was. Close to toxic! However, as long as I do not go out on the town with her we can be really good friends. So I have told her that, although I enjoy her friendship, I cannot go out partying with her. It took a couple of times of her asking and me saying no, but she finally gets it and no longer asks.

Again, (and I will say this over and over again) talk to your therapist about how to approach people and how to set boundaries with them.

Your choices will get better and better every time you set a boundary with a person. You will begin to see how strong you really are. You will also begin to feel healthier with every boundary you set and keep.

I hope you are doing well in this journey! And again if you have any questions or any comments please feel free to contact me! You can leave a comment here or you can contact me via email @ nomorevictim68@yahoo.com

Now that your human inventory is complete, and in the next several blogs, I would like to address the issue of having a job and dealing with the people you work with. I will then address triggers, how to identify them and what to do about them! And soon we will work on building a support system, building self-esteem, and making a choices – consequences journal!

Love, Veronica

December 31, 2011

Taking inventory step 2

Now that you have made a list of the people in your life and thought about whether you believed they are healthy or unhealthy people in your life it is time to dig deeper.

Look at the side of your list that says healthy people.  Think about what it is about them that you believe makes them healthy.  Make a list of those behaviors.  This is an important task.  Being able to identify healthy behavior in other people can also help you identify healthy behavior in yourself and behavior you can mirror.  But wait!  Before you carve that list in stone take the time to discuss these behaviors with your therapist.

It is important to get feedback  from an outside person because what you may think is healthy may not be.

For instance, let’s say you wrote Jill is always there when I need her.  Is that healthy, or do you just like that behavior?  Perhaps you need to expand on why you think that is healthy.  Is Jill at your every beckon call?  Is she the go to person for everyone?  Or is she just a great person to talk to because she never judges or give advice – she just listens?

Discussing these behaviors with a therapist can help you identify what is really healthy and what is not.  Your judgement may be skewed, colored by bipolar disorder!

Eventually you will be able to trust your own judgement!  It will come and with that trust you will heal enormously! Trusting yourself is a very important step in bipolar no more!  We will cover how to work on trust soon!  Promise.  But for now… lets work on that list!

 

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