I think the key thing that has sprung up this week in counselling and also in week two of my getting into work program down at the mental health charity is the empowering nature of having a name for my devil. Yes it’s annoying, frustrating, I still feel angry, but at least I know what I’m dealing with, so I can plan for the future properly for the first time since I embarked on my first failed attempt at a degree at the age of 19. That’s a long time to have been unstable, a decade in fact, but after a lot of careful thinking, I think I’ve identified what first triggered my bipolar and from there the slow descent into the position I find myself now, which, thankfully, is indisputably at the beginning of an upward curve. I’ll talk about that first trigger in a future post.
I printed off a mood scale from Bipolar UK, which looks something like this –
This past week I’ve been hovering between a 3 and a 4, which might not exactly sound great, but I’m finding it easier to cope by not expending valuable energy fighting the tide. I simply say to myself that it is a fact I am not feeling 100%, but I recognise it isn’t my fault, so just keep doing as you are. Certainly I feel in the past I may have driven myself to distraction arguing with myself and maybe not turned up to the work program.
The only thing that derailed me slightly this week was a late night on Tuesday. My friend is a teacher but had no lessons on Wednesday so I met up with her to play pool. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks and I hadn’t told her yet about the bipolar stuff and wanted to do it in person, plus she’d spoken about having a stressful time recently and we’re both pretty good at helping each other, giving each other advice. And I just like spending time with her.
The late night though had a knock on effect the next day and also into Thursday, where in class I found myself slipping into thoughts of ‘I don’t need to be here, I’m perfectly healthy, I’m not ill etc etc.’ But I’m sticking resolutely with my routines and feel somewhat back on track. I’ve spoken previously about sleep and bipolar in a post you can find here, but again, I understand so much more about the relationship between bipolar and sleep that I feel empowered by that knowledge and can work with my ebbs and flows and not against them.
In the future I’d love to live between 5 and 6 but all in good time. I’ll get there and for now, as long as I’m not 8 or above or slip below 3, I can cope with that.
So yes, that word empowering, today it’s the buzz word because we worked on coming up with empowering statements that relate specifically to us and our lives. This was after spending time looking at limiting beliefs and the way we hold ourselves back consciously and unconsciously. As I’ve mentioned before, everyone in the class (there are 6 of us) each has their own issues, in fact I think we’ve all got very different issues, although there are overlaps for all of us in terms of the impact mental health issues has had on our lives. I’ll talk about the empowering beliefs I came up with next time.
All in all then, staying positive and keeping my mind set on the future as much as possible.