About Doubt and Mood Disorder Management

In my last blog post, I discussed some future plans I had for wanting to push my body of advocacy work to a new level. The type of feedback I received on that post could be neatly fit into two categories; encouragement and “are you manic?” On the first point, I appreciate the kind words and encouragement that many people gave me.

On the second point, I’m a Type 2 Bipolar. I don’t experience mania, I experience hypomania. I realize that most people use the two interchangeably, but they are different things. Mania requires psychosis. Hypomania does not. Technically, I’m not manic. Also technically, I’m not hypomanic either.

How do I know that? Doubt and self-doubt.

Understanding the way unwellness manifests gives us a great tool for identifying when Bipolar Disorder or Depression is trying to drive our thought processes. In my case, hypomania brings with it arrogance, impatience, and anger. The thought that I could be making a bad decision never crosses my mind because Bipolar Disorder just shoves my brain ahead at 1000 miles an hour without any consideration for consequences.

The ideas and thoughts I shared on pushing towards forming a venture of my own are not an overnight creation. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past two years, off and on. The list of doubts and cons is about the same length as the list of ideas and pros.

That is a good thing, because it heavily infers that I’m not now or have been escalated. A major decision like that is an almost guaranteed unwell cycle trigger. That doesn’t mean that I will or have triggered, it’s just that the potential is there. Anything that can bring major stress or incite passionate emotion should be counted as a potential trigger. That means increasing the amount of self-assessment that I would normally do to ensure that I pick up on any shift towards unwellness before it becomes a major problem.

Awareness gives me the power to unwind the unwell cycle before it really gets going. My methods of management are derived from personal reflection and strategy learned through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

These points are something that anyone can learn to be aware of. It may sound exhausting to need to think about mental state on a daily basis, but it really is the best way to keep a firm grasp on potential unwellness. Though it is kind of annoying at the start, regular practice and effort turned it into a thing that I just do without actively thinking about it.

That leads me to one of the more common misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder. Just because we’re not unwell at the moment does not mean that Bipolar Disorder is not lurking, waiting. An unwell cycle can trigger from anything and come out of nowhere.

The only way to head those unwell cycles off is to treat Bipolar Disorder like it is a companion that is always walking beside us: not behind us, not sitting at home on the couch, not as that thing in our past. Even when we’re medicated we need to keep a close eye on it to make sure it does not run ahead and away.

Even though my doubts have been strong, I view them as a good thing. Doubt means I’m sane and balanced. Doubt means I’m thinking critically of my choices. Doubt means I’m still in control of the Disorder, it is not in control of me.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in Coping, Hypomania | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Anger and Future Plans

This is pretty much just going to be an update post on the direction I’ve been contemplating for myself and body of work.

It’s coming up on the four years anniversary since I launched my website and began my advocacy work. Every year, around this time, I contemplate the past year and how I want to advance my missions in the coming year. I used year too many times in that sentence, but screw it I’m leaving it.

The first point is a slight change in the way I deliver my message. The only real critical criticism I’ve ever received on my body of work is my casual swearing. I opted to preserve that tone of speech in the hopes of breaking through to other people like me who are turned off by the sterile nature of a lot of mental health material. I felt that preserving my authentic language of anger and frustration would help others who are of similar mentality to identify and hopefully take action.

I’ve finally decided to change that, except when I’m writing examples of unwellness. I feel it is super important to preserve the tone and feeling of what unwellness cycles can look like, because they can be very brutal.

Simply put, I feel the decision is hurting more than helping. While I, personally, think the idea of bad words is stupid and ridiculous. My opinion isn’t the one that really matters here. Writers and other artists often push the importance of staying true to your own voice of expression. My voice of expression isn’t what’s important to me. What’s important to me is reaching people and ensuring they are receiving quality, actionable information. If that takes a hard approach, that’s what I use. If it takes a soft approach, that’s what I use.

It really doesn’t matter to me either way because my work isn’t really about what I need to express about myself. I don’t NEED to express any of this really. I’m expressing it solely for the benefit of other people. But I’ve come to find that there are several regular or high-functioning people who just see it as a demonstration of undirected anger and instability. I’m not either of those things, but that really doesn’t mean squat if that’s how I’m being perceived.

It would be really stupid for me to hamstring my efforts just because I feel like that particular social standard is idiotic. (So, you were half-right, mom. Half a point to you on this issue.) I mean, it’s not exceptionally hard to make “good” words bite the same way. You just have to know your audience and which buttons to push. But, I feel like I’m never going to push to the next tier of scope unless I do it in a more socially acceptable way.

The next announcement is a change in how I do what I do. I have decided to pursue the angle of establishing a one man limited liability corporation, branding myself as a “Bipolar Coach”, and pushing towards a profitable model that will allow me to turn this passion into my career and discontinue the need for donations. This seems to be the best path for legal, personal, and profit driven reasons.

It’s been challenging trying to find a model that will work for me. I’ve read hundreds of page on Coaching models in the past six months and none of them really fit what I do and want to accomplish. I believe I will be creating some form of priority-based model. I am still clinging very tightly to a promise I made myself when I first started writing my Bipolar Manifesto.

That promise was to ensure that anyone, regardless of economic situation or belief, could have equal access to quality, actionable information to better understand and deal with their mental illness.

This is a contributing reason to why I utilize Amazon for distribution of my ebooks. Amazon allows me to offer them for free, periodically. And it’s the reason I’m heavily considering a priority-driven model.

So, what do I mean by priority? Well, A LOT of people send me emails and leave me blog comments. As anyone that has ever written to me will know, I make it a point to write meaningful answers to each and every one that does. That takes a fair amount of time.

At this point, when I take a day off from it I fall behind. A priority-driven model will simply allow me to slide the people who are willing to pay for my services to the front, rather than just saying “Oh, you can’t pay? Well, bye.” I’ve been regularly told that my service was well worth paying for; so I think this will let me whether or not that is true and still help people of very limited resources.

The other challenge is finding an appropriate price point. I looked at several other life coach-type service providers to see what they did. There is absolutely zero chance that I am going to charge people $50 for an email, $150 for a 30 minute phone consultation, or $400+ dollars for a monthly retainer. My target demographic are not primarily businesses and people with tons of disposable income.

My target demographic are regular people dealing with difficult circumstances; many of whom have very limited resources. I can’t imagine asking for more than a $100 a month retainer for unlimited emails and a Skype conversation.

Frankly, I didn’t even like a majority of the life coaches I looked at. “Unlock your inner potential!” “Attain spiritual peace!” “Heal your mental pains!” With their fake, plastic marketing-friendly smiles. (You can insert some expletives here, from me, if you’d like.) You know, this should really tell you something – doing marketing work has jaded me more than being mentally ill has. What’s up with that?

Anywho…

A further addition that will soon be coming to my website is a t-shirt shop that I intend to populate with funny and inspirational shirts. That will hopefully bring in a few additional dollars on top of services provided and ebook sales.

That provides another unique problem. When you think, “t-shirt from a business” you usually expect it to be branded with that business’s logo and be a marketing vehicle. I can’t do that with my offering because branding “Bipolar” on them could most certainly prevent people from buying them or causing customers uncomfortable conversations that they don’t want to have with relative strangers; or strange relatives, as the case may be.

I will offer a few, I think. And some awareness oriented shirts. But by and large, I can’t see actually branding them in a traditional way being good for my customers and followers.

Anyway. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve actually done a focused fund drive. I believe I will be running a GoFundMe campaign within the next couple of weeks to defray some of the costs associated with the direction I want to take my work. I hope you will consider contributing if it is within your means.

Thank you all for your support and for reading my work. I’m excited for this new direction and hope it will provide me the means, resources, and time to help more people understand, cope with, and overcome mental illness.

I know there are many people out there from a lot of different backgrounds and professions; so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to drop me a comment or message.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Should We Be Concerned with the Label, Bipolar Disorder?

Labels, labels, labels. There is an unending narrative on how bad labels are. We shouldn’t label people, we shouldn’t be judgmental. We should just accept people how they are.

Contrary to that opinion, labels are pretty important, especially when it comes to identifying, treating, and recovering from mental illness.

The most common example I can cite is the misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder as Major Depression. The distinction between these labels is vitally important. Why? Because if a doctor treats a Bipolar person as though they had Major Depression, there is a strong chance that person’s brain is going to run screaming into instability and chaos. How can people know which is which? By looking at the label and analyzing the behaviors of the person in question.

Time and again, I hear people scream about how the DSM is awful because it tries to categorize mental illness. “I’m not my mental illness!” “I can’t be defined by a book!” This narrative misses the point. It’s so medical science is on the same page in how they are working towards treatment.

“But these labels are used for people to point the finger and look down on us!” So? If it wasn’t your mental health; it would be your sex, religion, race, economic background, or political background. I don’t know when the last time you cracked a history book was; but humanity has always found reasons to hate and look down on one another. The idea that we can all get along, all be accepted, is ridiculous. There are literally tens of thousands of years of precedence that demonstrate this.

The world can’t be changed because it does not want to be changed. This is why we celebrate great and kind thinkers. This is why we quote Gandhi, Dr. King, Mother Teresa, and other humanitarians. They stand out because they are a light in the bleak sea that is humanity.

What we can do is change the way we view others and relate to ourselves. It’s not the label that is trying to do harm to another person when used in anger. It’s the person using it. Forcing people to stop using a word we don’t like does nothing to address the actual problem of the person using it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by other Bipolar people that I shouldn’t say “I am Bipolar.” Even though “am” includes the definition of “having the quality of,” as in having the quality of Bipolar Disorder. These people are often struggling to find their own identity, to separate themselves from their mental illness. Quite often, they have life experiences where those words were used as weapons against them. They think they are helping to end stigma by trying to alter the words people use. And more than a couple of them expressed I would feel better about myself if I did.

The assumption is that because I use a phrase, I must not feel good about myself. That isn’t about me. I know they are transposing their own journey, suffering, and pain on to me. I think they normally have good, if not misguided intentions.

I’m at peace with myself because I understand myself. I don’t have the internal conflicts that racked up massive casualties in my mind like I used to. I understand Bipolar Disorder. I understand how my mental illness affects me. I know how to respond to the problems it gives me. And I use my pain for something positive, which makes it worthwhile in my eyes.

So, no. We are not our mental illness. Our mental illness is just one facet of who we are. Putting the responsibility of our own happiness and peace of mind on everyone else is a sure recipe for failure. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone else.

The final thing I would like to point is that the waters are typically gray and murky around these labels. Many of the loved ones of the mentally ill that reach out to me believe that they can look at the label for a mental illness and understand how that person functions.

Sort of, but not really. Essentially, it can serve as a rule of thumb for what the person could possibly experience; but the way it comes through is going to entirely depend on the mentally ill person. It’s a circumstance where things look one way on paper but function differently in practice.

As an example. The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Bipolar Disorder is psychosis. I identify as a Type 2 Bipolar because 99% of my unwellness and unwell cycles have not included psychosis. However, the time immediately after the Disorder started emerging in me and the time that actually prompted me to get screened for mental illness would have fit Type 1 psychosis criteria.

Similarly, I had a full-blown anxiety attack while I was coming down with the stomach bug I recently got over. I’ve had about 3 full-blown anxiety attacks in the past 20 years. Would that qualify as an anxiety disorder? No. It’s not really affecting me enough to warrant the need for medication or therapy to cope with it. Anxiety attacks are an anomaly for me.

I regularly see people put more importance on Type than is warranted. It’s not really that important because the DSM is mostly a general guideline to get a medical professional in the ballpark. Medication and treatment addresses the symptoms of mental illness that are out of control in an individual.

Let me give you an example.

The first is myself. I’m a Type 2 Bipolar with a severe Depression component. I spend probably 80% of my time in some form of depression – mild to severe. A mood stabilizer to cap the top end and an antidepressant to bring up the bottom end is a typical treatment.

On the other hand, I have a friend who is also a Type 2. But the way that person’s Disorder manifests is that they spend 80%+ of their time either fine or mildly escalated. The only time that person really swings into a depression is after a post escalation crash, which happens about once or twice a year. For that person, a mood stabilizer makes sense but an antidepressant may not be necessary.

We both have the same diagnosis but the Disorder functions differently in practice. We both require different treatment regimens to address the problems Bipolar Disorder specifically causes.

This why it is so important that we understand how our diagnosis and mental illness affects us as individuals. We each need to find our own peace with the circumstances we were given and not require others to feel good about ourselves. A lot of fear can be dispelled with knowledge. Each of us should learn everything we can about the Disorder so we can identify how it manifests and meaningfully communicate that to our professionals and loved ones.

As for labels used as weapons – shrug and move on. They only have power if you let them bother you. Responding with anger just feeds the ego of the person using it and gives them control over your emotional state.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Power of Medication and Self-Management

I would like to share with you the worst couple of weeks I have had in years and their impact on my mental state.

It started about the second week of December when I interviewed at a local store for a part-time job. Everything seemed awesome. My store manager was a direct, no bullshit kind of guy who had overcome some mental health issues of his own. The job hours were perfectly suited to what I was looking towards. It would have had me in and outside on a regular basis, so no stagnation in four walls constantly. Rather easy going environment so long as you got your work done. Seemed great! Super stoked and happy about the prospect.

I’m offered a job. I go through my self-management practices that I learned in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Being Bipolar, I know from previous experiences that I would often escalate when offered a new job. I would rocket up, be super excited, happy to get going, and then either get myself fired for saying inappropriate things thanks to hypomania removing the filter between my mouth and brain or crash into a mind numbing depression and be unable to function for a few days.

I purposefully avoid thinking about it for about the first 12 hours after I find out. Every time it comes to mind, I push it back out with something else that requires a lot of thought. Reading about economics and finance are my general haven for that. You don’t have to do anything that boring; but having a difficult subject to try and focus on can help derail the thought processes.

Make it through the job offer with no hints of an escalation! Success!

On Monday, December 21st, I go in for my orientation at about 9 A.M. At about 8 or 9 P.M. that night, I start feeling very off. By about two in the morning, my body is violently rejecting anything I had put into it that day. I am forced to call off of work my first scheduled day because my body is expelling everything from it, from both ends, with the force of a geyser.

I’m hoping this turns out to be a 24 hour bug. NOPE! I’m repeating this process for a good 48 hours until I am finally able to eat and actually keep things in my stomach. Though my stomach seems to be settled, my intestines weren’t quite finished with me. I tried to go into work that day. I was there for an hour going through training before I realized, “If I bend over or try to pick up something heavy, I’m going to shit myself.”

I get sent home because I can’t do my job. This goes on for about 5 more days. Maximum dosages of anti-diarrhea medicine don’t touch what’s going on in my intestines.

So, let’s rewind for a minute.

The day of my work orientation, I’m driving home and my engine makes three hard fires and then starts driving like a tank. I’m like, okay, I have a misfire. I get in to a mechanic some days later to find out that one of my cylinders has no compression and is scored severely. Diagnosis of trashed engine. $4500 that I don’t have for a remanufactured engine and installation or shop for a different used car. Only reason I’m not going to be driving a $500 beater is my folks were willing to help me with it.

On Day 2 of this ordeal, I get a call from Social Security. “We never received paperwork for reexamining your Disability case. You are going to lose your benefits if we don’t hear from you.” I immediately call and find out they sent me paperwork in JULY that I don’t remember ever seeing. The social worker I’m dealing with gives me until January 12th to file a new set of paperwork. (Seriously, be nice to these people. They are there to help you, even when they are giving you news you don’t want to hear.)

At this point; I’m stressed out about being sick, figuring I’ll lose my job for missing so much work in my probationary period, figuring out what I’m going to do about a vehicle with no credit and the couple hundred bucks I have, and the potential for losing Social Security and medical insurance.

I’m proactive about communicating with my work to show that I want to be there, that I want to work. My Store Manager decides he doesn’t want to fire me if I have a legitimate medical excuse (good guy, boss) even though I should be let go. Unfortunately, I can’t get in to get cleared to return to work, per company policy, until January 4th. I get cleared, I go in January 6th.

I’m like awesome, came out of this with my job intact! I go in, work on January 6th. January 7th, I report for work. I ended up losing the job anyways. Fun stuff.

The only response I could muster was laughter…for about five straight minutes. It was one of the deepest belly laughs I’ve had in years. Why?

No unwell cycle. Because of medication, the practices I learned through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the things I’ve come up with for myself – no unwell cycle. Some depression, sure. But my brain isn’t screaming at me to kill myself nor is it running unchecked into mania. Ten years ago, the circumstances like this would have rocketed my brain into a severe unwell cycle and screwed me up for months; just like I’m sure it would for many of my readers out there.

Bipolar Disorder can be a daunting, intimidating illness. It is especially scary for people who are newly diagnosed or do not know much about their mental illness. The more you learn, the smaller the teeth on the monster become. It will always have some teeth. There is a possibility that I could have triggered and had an unwell cycle because of this no matter what I did. No one should be complacent in the management of the Disorder and making sure they keep it controlled. I identified that I was entering a turbulent time and responded with my contingency plans for dealing with my brain during them.

Knowledge, planning, and tools from the mental health industry are why I’m not out of my fucking mind right now. Anyone can learn to do these things. It’s a lot of work and it’s not easy. I don’t always get it right and neither will you. Derailing just one unwell cycle can greatly reduce the overall chaos in the life of a Bipolar person and their loved ones.

In other news, I’ll be using the time I have between applying for new jobs to begin working on my third e-book in earnest. The next to come will deal with my observations and suggestions in creating more harmonious Bipolar relationships (friends, family, love), identifying toxic situations and when it is time to let go, common mistakes I see people make regularly, strategies for dealing with different situations, and more! Like all my work, it will be written to be equally useful for mentally ill people and the people that love them.

And finally, if you would like to help me out, making a donation or picking up one of my e-books would be greatly appreciated.

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in Coping | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Brief Note About Abusive Relationships and Bipolar Disorder

Many people write to me about a number of different things. I find myself pointing out that a number of these people are relating red flags of an abusive relationship. I’m not talking about the general difficulty that can come from mental illness or an unwell cycle. Sometimes, we Bipolar people can do awful things during an unwell cycle that are entirely out of character for who we actually are.

I’m talking about consistent, long-term abuse or severe red flag behavior.

There is a camp of people where those terrible things are a general part of their personality and character. They have toxic qualities about their personality that goes past what Bipolar Disorder is actually responsible for. A well-adjusted person who is open, loving, and accepting makes for an ideal target for a predator. That well-adjusted person can easily fall into the cycle of excusing awful behavior because of their loved one’s problems.

I’ve read a crapload of literature on “identifying abusive relationships.” This literature typically focuses on identifying the negative markers, but does not provide a lot of context. In answering these messages, I will typically point out the red flags and then provide links to good resources that point these same things out.

A majority of the time, I get one of the following responses:

“But they are such a great person because XYZ reason!”

“But we really synced on a deep level! Things were great until they got unwell.”

“But they have all of these really great qualities!”

“But I’ve never met anyone so intense, passionate, and wonderful!”

Here’s the thing I find myself repeating on a very regular basis that isn’t often covered in resources.

Abusive people are rarely completely awful people. Most of them have positive qualities about them. Media likes to depict bad people as damaged to the core, which is the only reason I can think of for this perception. Real life is rarely that black and white.

It really doesn’t matter if he’s amazing with puppies and children if his insecurities make him so jealous that he undermines his partner’s self-confidence, edits her friends and family, and forces his partner to sacrifice key components of herself to be “loved.”

It really doesn’t matter if she’s a vibrant, well-liked person by everyone she meets if she is unhinged and violent when angry.

If abusive people were 100% awful then no one would ever end up in abusive relationships. You’d just go, “Oh, that person is an asshole. I better avoid them,” and that would be the end of it. But that’s not how it works. Instead, the abusive person wears whatever mask is socially acceptable. As their partner gets more emotionally invested and the relationship continues, that mask starts coming off more and more.

I should also note that this isn’t always a willful act of manipulation either. Yes, there are people who are master manipulators, will get in your head, and use whatever your weakness is as leverage to tear you apart. Other people grow up in terrible situations where abuse and shittiness is the normal that they know. Sometimes it can take years for that person to realize that isn’t how they should conduct themselves. Others never realize it.

But no matter the case, that person is not going to change unless they want to change themselves. I’ve heard so many rationalizations to the contrary.

“But if I just love them better they’ll be inspired to change.” No. No, they won’t.

“But if I just do what they ask, then things will work out.” No. It really won’t. They just keep taking more.

“But what if I can’t ever do any better?” That’s a matter you should discuss with a therapist.

Simply put, you’re better off not being in a relationship at all rather than staying in an abusive one. An abusive relationship takes a very drastic toll on the abused in the long-term. That kind of relationship destroys a person’s self-esteem and confidence. It can completely destroy one’s ability to trust and the damage carries over into future relationships; assuming the abused doesn’t decide to stop having relationships altogether.

Let’s specifically talk about new relationships and Bipolar Disorder.

The most frequent inquiry I get goes something like this.

I met this wonderful person about six months to a year ago. They were so smart, charming, intense, vibrant, and passionate. I’ve never experienced anything that wonderful. Now, they are a completely different person.” Sometimes they are just different, sometimes they are acting in awful ways.

That is a very intoxicating experience for the second party. I’ve talked to several people who fall into the trap of thinking that they can get the person they originally met back if they just tough their way through whatever the Bipolar person is putting them through. The truth is that the vibrant, passionate experience was likely an unhealthy anomaly.

But how can anything that felt so pure and right be bad? It’s love!”

Anytime I hear the words “intense and vibrant” in conjunction with Bipolar Disorder, my first question is, “Was the person manic?” When a Bipolar person is manic, their mental illness is creating a lot of false emotions and impressions. That includes feelings of love and attraction. No one can simply trust a Bipolar person’s feelings that are founded in mania because they likely do not represent that person’s actual feelings.

I catch a lot of shit from Bipolar people for that sentiment. “You don’t know me. You can’t tell me how I feel!” Correct. I do not know how everyone else feels. I do, however, know how an unwell cycle of Bipolar Disorder can cause delusional thoughts and feelings. And if you are Bipolar and thinking that, I would challenge you to look back at your previous manic cycles and compare feelings you had during those cycles to feelings you had before they started, after they ended, and see how consistent they are.

I digress.

Putting up with abusive behavior to get that “intense and vibrant” person back is not a solution. I would conclude that the “intense and vibrant” Bipolar person was manic until proven otherwise; because people aren’t usually intense and vibrant without some reason. In Bipolar people, mania is a pretty common reason.

I know it probably felt amazing; but I’m told heroin does, too. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to indulge in it. Feeling good does not necessarily mean it is good.

As I’ve stated many times, my rule of thumb is simple. Is the person trying to help themselves? And I don’t mean just talking about it. It’s easy for a manipulator to lie and say, “Oh, I’ll go to the doctor and do what needs to be done.” Managing mental illness is hard, tedious, frustrating, and fucking annoying at times. A person that is not actively working to be well and following through on all of that tedious crapwork is not going to stay well.

No amount of love and compassion is going to inspire that person to want to be well or not be shitty. For every one person that claims that to be the case, there’s a thousand who wind up an abused, damaged husk of who they used to be.

Every situation is different. If you feel you are in such a situation, I would highly recommend that you speak to a counselor about your situation or reach out to a local organization that deals with abusive relationships. They will be able to provide better insight on your specific situation and may be able to provide resources to separate yourself from that relationship.

Compassion for the mentally ill and people that struggle is wonderful; but there must be limits. If you hold on too tight, you’ll just sink to the bottom and drown with that person.

enjoybanner

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in General, Relationships | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” now available for FREE through Dec 9th!

The e-book “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” is now available!

The author, Dennis Heil, is now running a FREE promotion for BOTH of his e-books from December 5th through December 9th. Dennis has Type 2 Bipolar Disorder and High-Functioning Autism.

“My goal for “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” is to better help people with Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and their loved ones better understand how these mental illnesses affect our everyday perception. I include numerous examples, my strategies for dealing with and unwinding instability, and much more derived from my personal experiences. My hope is that this piece of work will help other people better understand the way these mental illnesses affect us, taint decision making processes, and encourage more proactive management.

My ways are far from the only ways. I am simply trying to provide people a platform to start from.”

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http://www.bipolarmanifesto.com/index.php/e-books/

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My e-Book, “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder”, Coming December 5th

EDIT: I suppose it would have helped had I included a link to “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” on Amazon. Yes? No? Maybe. Sigh.

I am pleased to announce my second e-Book will be available as of December 5th! The subject matter of “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” deals with the way the Bipolar Disorder and Depression disrupt our thinking OUTSIDE of extreme unwell cycles. There are already tons of videos, literature, and content out there on dealing with full-blown unwell cycles. I see very little on understanding and managing the general instability that adds so much stress, pressure, and weight to our personal lives.

In this e-book, I have created three fictional people to demonstrate the way a mood disorder can color a person’s perceptions and actions. Two of these people are Bipolar, one is normal. In providing a narrative, I am hoping it will help people coping with Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and their loved ones understand how these mental illnesses can mess with our perception.

Other subjects I cover in this piece of work include:

– Examples on how the different sides of the Disorder can color our decisions and perceptions.

– The system I use for identifying where my brain is at and effectively communicating.

– Tips on communicating and including others in the process of management.

– My self-management practices to deal with erratic thoughts, keeping them from damaging my life and loved ones.

– Core principles of self-management, the hurdles I feel we need to clear to effectively manage and self-manage.

– And more! Chapter list is included at the end of this post!

About Pre-Orders

As of this posting, pre-orders for “Everyday Instability and Bipolar Disorder” are available! My work is only available via Amazon Kindle. If you do not have a Kindle, there are Kindle reader apps available for Mobile and PC. To answer some questions I received about this with the launch of my first e-book.

1. Will you be releasing for any other platform?

No. I use a program that Amazon offers called Kindle Select. Essentially, by making the e-book an exclusive release on Amazon, I gain a couple of different benefits, including the ability to offer my e-book for FREE for up to 5 days per 90 days. And speaking of which…

2. Wait, did you mention FREE?

Indeed. The e-book is available for paid pre-order now if you are in the camp of people that wants to pay to help support me and my work. After release, I will be offering BOTH of my e-Books for free for the five day duration that Amazon gives me. So if you’re broke as hell or aren’t sure you want to spend money on my work – grab both for free during this five day window!

3. You offer your work for free? That sounds highly suspicious…

Yeah, I get that a lot. I have two goals. The first is to help mentally ill people and their loved ones have better lives. The second is to make money. In that order. The free promotion allows me to accomplish both goals effectively. I put a lot of energy, thought, and work into creating useful pieces of work that anyone can pick up and use to better cope with all of the shit that goes into living with/around Bipolar Disorder. The free promotion allows me to skip the whole “convince me to buy your work” thing and just let people read it and decide for themselves. Worst case scenario, they read it and add to their knowledge. Best case scenario, I gain new followers who may be willing to pay for future work.

Everybody wins.

At any rate, here is a copy of the Table of Contents! (99% sure this is the final line up, but reserving the right to tweak if needed as I finish the polishing process.)

The Table of Contents

1.0 – The Underestimated Mood Disorder

1.1 – Should the Name Be Changed?

 

2.0 – The Concept of Stained Thoughts

2.1 – Stained Thoughts and a Bipolar Person’s Average Level

 

3.0 – Every Day Examples of Stained Thoughts

 

4.0 – A Simple 0-10 Scale

 

4.1 – Using the Scale as a Bipolar Person

4.2 – Using the Scale as a Supporter

4.3 – Problems with the Scale

 

5.0 – About the Example Chapters

5.1 – What These Chapters are Not

5.2 – My Goals for these Examples

5.3 – The General Outline

 

6.0 – Michelle – Baseline of 7 (Mildly Escalated)

6.1 – About Michelle’s Day

6.2 – Michelle on Correct Medication

6.3 – How Michelle’s Extremes May Look

 

7.0 – Tony – Baseline of 3 (Mild Depression)

7.1 – About Tony’s Day

7.2 – Tony on Correct Medication

7.3 – How Tony’s Extremes May Look

 

8.0 – Maria – Mentally Healthy/Normal

8.1 – About Maria’s Day

 

9.0 – Foundation of Management

9.1 – Honesty

9.2 – Mindfulness

9.3 – My Approach to Mindfulness

9.4 – Skepticism

 

10.0 – The Core of My Self Management

 

11.0 – Can Bipolar Relationships Work?

11.1 – Can a Relationship Between Two Mentally Ill People Work?

11.2 – I Can Have This Relationship, but Should I?

11.3 – Should I Forgive a Damaging Action?

 

12.0 – Battling Instability with Allies

12.1 – Trust

12.2 – Trust and Mental Health Professionals

12.3 – About Communication

12.4 – Pointing Out Instability to an Unstable Person

 

13.0 – An Affirmation

 

14.0 – Glossary

 

15.0 – Appendix

15.1 – Core Self-Management Process

15.2 – Should I Forgive a Damaging Action?

********************

My e-book, ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Bipolar Disorder’, is now available exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem! Look for Amazon’s Kindle Mobile and PC reader apps!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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An Open Letter from Mentally Ill Woman, Leah Dick

A long time reader of mine recently pointed me towards a blog post written by an in recovery mentally ill woman. The reason she pointed it out to me is because the author, Leah Dick, touched on many of the points I regularly encourage and promote about what it means to recover, find wellness, function in a relationship with a mentally ill person, and thrive in life with a mental illness. With Leah’s permission, I am linking out to her post “An Open Letter from a Mentally Ill Woman to the Man Who Wants to Date Her”. I would encourage you to read her post either before or after reading this post. Much of what I will discuss in this post will be what I see in her writing and how it relates to the journey.

Before I dive into that, I’m assuming you’ll end up reading this post, Leah. Congratulations on your recovery, continued work at recovery, and four years of being clean! Never forget how far you’ve come when your mind grows dark. I know how hard it can be as someone who has walked similar paths.

About Communication

It is no secret that I love blunt, direct people and encourage more people to discuss what is on their minds. Why? Communication is essential to the success of any relationship. It is even MORE IMPORTANT when you are trying to be in a relationship involving mental illness. Case in point, I recently had a commenter tell me that she was offended that I would suggest a loved one be direct and tell their partner if the person was acting unstable. That commenter’s response was “I would be infuriated if they did that.”

And what good would that do? How is that person’s loved ones supposed to communicate that said commenter is unwell if she happens to miss it? No one gets self-management 100% perfect. Compare that to Leah’s demeanor and approach. In her post, she clearly states that she understands what she needs to do to manage and that she is at a point in her recovery process where a majority of the work is maintenance. There’s no hints at anger about her situation or rebelling against the idea that she is mentally ill, that it can have a drastic affect on her perception. Leah clearly states what pitfalls a potential suitor is going to experience by acknowledging and putting forward the challenges she faces.

In my experience, a person like Leah wouldn’t respond with anger at the suggestion. Her words suggest that she is at peace with her challenges and deals with them in a very direct way. On the other hand, if things were going poorly for someone who did have strong management practices, they may respond with anger at the suggestion because reactions while unwell aren’t always rational. But when Leah finds a partner she can trust, who she knows has a decent understanding of who she is, that person’s words can serve as another anchor to reality if she was drifting unwell without realizing it.

The aforementioned commenter is a victim to a very common pollutant in internet advocacy spaces. That is the idea that any suggestion of potential instability if a Bipolar person is angry or sad should be taken with offense. Assuming the loved ones involved are not toxic assholes themselves, they will come to understand the differences between unwellness and emotions if their mentally ill loved one helps them understand the difference. And if they are toxic assholes, then it doesn’t matter what you do or say to those people, they aren’t going to be a help. So the idea that “oh I should be angry if someone suggests I’m unwell” just makes it harder for a person like that commenter to utilize their support network.

About Idiocy

Leah’s open letter addresses quite a bit of the idiocy that surrounds romanticizing mental illness. From the presumably damaged man who thought that her former habit of “injecting opiates was ‘kind of hot’” to the misinformed notion that “better does not mean cured”. Leah rightfully points out that wellness and recovery are a lifetime commitment. It’s a work in progress. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even though Leah acknowledges she still faces many problems relating to intimacy and security; she is fully aware of her hurdles and works to overcome them. It doesn’t mean getting them right 100% of the time. The fact that she can look at them objectively and identify them as problems gives her a significant edge in actually overcoming them.

And the buzzwords and well-intentioned ass-patting! I laughed when she pointed out that buzzwords like “brave” and “strong” come up when she is trying to discuss these things; and that she smiles and changes the subject.

I do a similar thing, except my strategy is to thank the person for their kind words and then ask the person about something that interests them. It quickly shifts their focus away from that line of thinking. (And works very well, Leah! Feel free to use it.)

I’m no better than anyone else. Never have been. Never will be. I’m using the hand I was dealt in a way that I feel makes the most of it. Plus, arrogance is a major hypomanic symptom for me. If I start getting too far up my own ass about myself, it’s a pretty solid indicator that I’m starting to escalate.

And then there is the statement that she hears, “Oh, but you’re not crazy. Don’t say that.” The version I usually get is “You don’t seem Bipolar.” Same thing, different words. My response is typically “How do Bipolar people seem?” or “What is crazy?” It’s funny to me how so many people have such solid opinions on concepts they can’t define. They have this intangible idea in their mind of what Bipolar Disorder or mental illness is supposed to be; but they don’t actually know how the medical industry defines it for the purpose of separating insanity from quirkiness.

A Powerful Phrase

A phrase that Leah bolded in her text is worth drawing attention to. Hell, I’ll even bold it too.

I want you to see me as a whole person, not just as my mental illness and not without it.”

I find myself telling people versions of this constantly. To the mentally ill struggling to find an identity without their mental illness and avoid it. To the loved ones of mentally ill people who don’t think it should ever affect them. To the point who think that they can isolate themselves, protecting those around them from any potential damage the mental illness can cause.

It’s part of us. It’s one facet of the entire picture. We must each find peace and a way to cope that makes sense to us as individuals. I am a loud and vocal proponent of working with the mental health professionals to find success. I feel this is an essential component of pursuing wellness, whether it is through therapy or medication. But still, there are nuances that are important to each of us as individuals.

Leah mentions that she got her tattoos in her more foolhardy days. I did not. My forearm pieces mean many things to me. At the deepest level, they are both there to remind me of the paths I’ve already walked and managed to survive. Even though I manage well today, Bipolar-Depression is a serious problem for me. As I get older, I am sure that I will end up warring with suicidal thoughts again. One serves as a reminder of the suicide attempts I am lucky to have come through. The other serves to remind me of my dedication to advocacy work; the people struggling to understand and find their own path.

The people I’ve discussed this with seem to think it’s a bit extreme. That there is no reason for me to broadcast I’m Bipolar or battled with depression that regularly took me into suicidal depths. In my mind, it’s no different than discussing what food I like to eat or being stoked for Fallout 4 being released tomorrow (yay!). These things are part of me.

The people who try to treat it like some minor piece of themselves that they can compartmentalize are setting back their own progress. No matter what we do, our mental illness will touch the people we care about, sooner or later. The best thing we can do is acknowledge it, plan for it, and educate our loved ones on how to handle it.

And Finally…

This letter will save you a lot of time if you show it to men who express interest in the future, Leah. In a dip of depression and feeling alone myself, I ended up signing up with an online dating site. I wrote a similar introduction for myself. That unwell thought process ran it’s course pretty quick, but I decided to leave it up just to see how things would go.

I read a few different profiles and it was very amusing to me how veiled most people tried to be with who they are as a person. My curiosity grew on what kind of people would respond to or want to see an introverted, overweight, openly Bipolar man with a broken smile, still working to build his life from the ashes, with a sense of style that falls somewhere around Tres Chic Hobo.

I ended up befriending three other Bipolar women and a handful of normal people who appreciated my bluntness in regards to who I am. It very effectively narrowed the pool to the kind of people I would want to be around on a regular basis. No inane conversations. No waste of money or time. Simple and brutally effective. Probably the most amusing part of that whole ordeal was a multi-page message of advice on “being too blunt and scaring people off”. Appreciated the time the person spent on the message. But in my mind, anyone that would be scared off by a few paragraphs of text probably isn’t going to handle being a part of difficult situations well.

Well, if you have not, I encourage you to head on over and check out Leah’s “An Open Letter from a Mentally Ill Woman to the Man Who Wants to Date Her” and her blog. She doesn’t appear to do a whole lot of writing on mental health, but more on fashion and related subjects. So if that’s your thing, maybe have a look around, give her a follow, or perhaps some warm wishes on her own journey.

********************

My e-book, ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Bipolar Disorder’, is now available exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem! Look for Amazon’s Kindle Mobile and PC reader apps!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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An Open Letter: The Guilt of an Unwell Cycle

Every once in awhile, I will sit down and write an Open Letter style post that a reader can hand off to a loved one who may be struggling. This one is on the crushing guilt that many of us feel after the unwell cycle ends and we are confronted with the devastation we unleashed on the lives of our loved ones.

To Whom It May Concern;

Hey there. My name is Dennis. I’m a 35 year old, Type 2 Bipolar with severe Bipolar-Depression and High-Functioning Autism. I spent 15 years undiagnosed and unmedicated, with all of the “fun” that goes along with that. About six years ago, I started working towards my recovery. A few years after that, I began my own advocacy efforts to help people such as you and your loved ones find your way through the confusion, chaos, and misery that often accompanies Bipolar Disorder.

If you’re reading this, which you clearly are or you wouldn’t know what I was saying, chances are pretty good that you’ve done damage to the people you love due to an unwell cycle and feel awful about it. Many of the people that reach out to me are the friends, family members, and loved ones of people such as yourself who are trying to figure out how they can help you.

I know, from personal experience, that their words aren’t going to cut through what you’re feeling. There are two potential reasons.

The first? Escalated cycles of Bipolar Disorder are often followed by a very severe depressive cycle when your brain finally crashes. As anyone with depression can attest, there isn’t a whole lot of light, hope, or positivity in that mental space.

The second? Pretty words don’t take the guilt away when a Bipolar person genuinely feels bad about how their unwell actions upended the lives of their loved ones. A severe unwell cycle can unleash devastation into the lives of the people you love with the magnitude of a hurricane.

You may blame yourself, but it is not your fault. Would you have done those things if you were not severely unwell? Probably not. The fact that you feel bad or guilty about it is actually a good thing. There are plenty of assholes and toxic people in this world who just don’t care how their actions affect the people around them. I hear from the loved ones of those people on a regular basis as well.

No amount of feeling bad or guilty is going to unmake your actions. The past is the past. It’s done, though it may not be over with. Bipolar Disorder is certainly the cause of many horrible actions, but the Disorder does not prevent you from rendering apologies, working to repair the damage that your mental illness was responsible for, and working to ensure it does not happen again.

Do you want to repair that damage? Start with an apology to the people you wounded, but never apologize for being Bipolar. This is a point that is often confused in advocacy circles a lot, particular on the internet. “You shouldn’t apologize for being you!” No, but you should apologize when you deal damage to the people you care about. Not because you’re sorry about being Bipolar, but to acknowledge that you understand you caused them hurt and want to make that better.

Do you want to make it up to the people you damaged? Commit yourself to making sure another severe unwell cycle cannot happen again. Bipolar Disorder can seem like a daunting, intangible beast. The big reason for that is how it strikes each person who lives with it in a slightly different way. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa.

But you can learn to interpret the Disorder. You can learn how it affects you specifically. You can visit your doctor or a therapist to develop better skills in coping with it. You can go to a support group to be around and learn from other people who have already experienced problems similar to yours.

There are many things you can do to work towards controlling Bipolar Disorder instead of allowing it to destroy and destabilize your life over and over. It will if you let it. We can, however, learn to manage it and exert greater control over it.

You and your loved ones do not have to continue to be victims of Bipolar Disorder. You can fight it tooth and nail. You can build your body of knowledge on the Disorder and use it to fight for recovery.

It’s not an easy path. It’s really easy to get confused or lost along the way. It’s easy to get frustrated with the tedious nature of pursuing meaningful wellness. It’s not a fast process for most people. It takes time to see what works and what doesn’t. But when things start working? Well, just imagine if you had been able to intercept and head off just one of the severe unwell cycles you’ve experienced in your life. How different would things be? How much better could they be?

Bipolar Disorder is a severe mental illness. It’s not something you can just ignore and everything will work out okay. It’s a problem we need to commit ourselves to combating.

I did it. You can do it, too. You may not get it perfect. I sure as hell don’t. But you can pursue a higher quality of life and reduce the impact of your mental illness on the people you love.

The first step, whether you are new to the recovery process or simply stumbled on your path, is talking to a knowledgeable mental health professional. Find yourself a doctor or a therapist, tell them what happened, ask questions, and see what options are available to you for pursuing wellness. Whether it’s lifestyle changes, therapy, or medication; the only way to know what works for you is to start trying.

You don’t have to be a victim. Stand up. Fight. Fight for yourself. Fight for the people you love. Don’t spend too much time mourning the past, build yourself a better future.

Believe me when I tell you that you’re not the only one who has ever felt the pain and guilt that you feel. Many of us have done things that are just as bad and worse.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not one of your normal friends or loved ones trying to comfort you. I am a Type 2 Bipolar with a history that includes one active and six passive suicide attempts, homelessness, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, two broken engagements, multiple broken relationships, multiple lost jobs, and more. As someone who has lived a path similar to yours, I am telling you that things can get better if you work to make them better.

Sincerely,

-Dennis

********************

My e-book, ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Bipolar Disorder’, is now available exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem! Look for Amazon’s Kindle Mobile and PC reader apps!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

Posted in Coping, General | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The War Against Mental Health Stigma

There are many days where a circumstance causes me to question if I’m nuts or if it’s everyone else. The war against stigma is one of those subjects. I would say that at least 50% of the discussion I read or hear on it is completely unreasonable with impossible goals. And what’s worse is that unreasonable, impossible discussions make it harder for other people to come to reasonable conclusions about us. Walk with me as I rant about this further. And allow me to infuriate some readers almost immediately!

Is Stigma Ever Fair or Reasonable?

Yes. It is. Google defines stigma as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”

But Dennis, how can that ever be fair or reasonable? I can’t help what I am!”

Since I launched my website and started engaging in regular advocacy work, I have found that many of the people that harbor the worst feelings about Bipolar people and Bipolar Disorder had good reason to feel that way. They had Bipolar parents who abused and tormented them. They married a Bipolar person who cleaned them out and destroyed their lives. Their adult Bipolar child was toxic and refused to do anything to help themselves, burning them out and draining them of emotional and financial resources.

To suggest that these people would not, should not be fearful of Bipolar people is stupid. If you’re walking down an alleyway, someone jumps out of a door way, robs you, and stabs you; you’re going to develop a wariness and discomfort of cutting down alleyways with easy places for people to hide. Right? And that’s a pretty quick exchange in general. Imagine someone who suffered for decades at the hands of a toxic Bipolar person. Are they going to be running around with open arms to other Bipolar people? Hell no. They’re going to be wary, angry, and fearful.

And they have every right to be.

Bipolar Disorder Should Be Addressed with Respectful Fear

Do you respect Bipolar Disorder? Do you fear it? If you don’t, you need to at least a little. Deaths. Abuse. Gaslighting. All it takes is a single severe unwell cycle to do some shit that you can never take back. Maybe you’ve never had a severe unwell cycle before. Many unwell cycles do not always reach such extremes that we are a threat to ourselves or other people. However, each and every one of us has the potential to land in such a cycle. It can be stress in your life. It can be a bad reaction to medication. It can be anything that, for whatever reason, sends a Bipolar mind into destructive unwell cycle.

I’ve been through a lot in my life. There isn’t a whole lot that makes me genuinely afraid. What does? What goes in my brain when I have a Mixed Cycle. I’ve had three in my life and I remember each of them distinctly because of how awful I felt and how hateful they made me. My last one was so bad it was the reason I sought psychiatric help after contemplating murdering a bunch of people and killing myself. That wasn’t that shocking. I had thoughts like that off and on through the years. What was terrifying is how good of an idea I thought it was and that I had the capability to carry it out. That was enough to get me in for a psychiatric evaluation once I was jarred out of those thoughts.

My respect and fear for what is in my brain is what helps me stay compliant when I really don’t want to. When I’m sick of dealing with meds and doctors and all other other crap that goes along with trying to stay mentally well. I cannot lose to that Monster in my mind because if I do, the end will not be pretty.

And what if you’ve never had that experience? Well hey, Bipolar Disorder gets worse with age, not better. Tomorrow or five years from now you could have an unwell cycle that an intensity that you’ve never experienced before. You have to be prepared for that. The people that we love and that love us do too.

Much Stigma is Rooted in Irrational Fear

Do you want to meaningfully combat stigma? Then you have to come to terms with Bipolar Disorder and what it means to others. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the people who have suffered at the hands of other Bipolar people. Even if you’re not toxic, if you’d never dream of hurting or wounding another person in such a severe way, the fact that you’re Bipolar is going to instill fear in those people. And no, it’s not rational and it’s not fair. But it’s also not fair that others are victimized by toxic people of all kinds. Having compassion for those people takes nothing away from your own position and place in the world. Compassion takes nothing away from your own struggles or difficulties in life.

And it is a way to meaningfully combat stigma. To be able to listen, hear what they have to say, and be able to show them that a Bipolar person can care about their suffering as opposed to inflicting it.

All of the sugar-coated, flowery poetic bullshit that so many people peddle about Bipolar Disorder just drives those people further away. They KNOW how awful we have the potential to be because they experienced it first hand. Of course they aren’t going to respond well to that. Of course they’re going to think we’re lying manipulators touting that garbage.

I view other mentally ill people as my brothers and sisters in this war for well-being and peace of mind. I want us all to be treated humanely. Note that I used the word humanely, not kindly. Some of us cannot be treated kindly because some of us are toxic, abusive, whirlwinds of destruction who would be completely terrible people even if they weren’t mentally ill. Like it or not, we have to do our part to combat the shit these people put into the world and treat their victims with the same compassion that we would want for ourselves. Their pain and struggles are no less important than ours.

That is, for those of us that are able to. I am well aware that not everyone has the desire or ability to engage in these struggles. That’s okay, too. Staying well, sane, and balanced should always be our priority.

To combat irrational fear, we must introduce rational knowledge. And in my mind, that means not glossing over the severe damage that we have the capability of inflicting on the people around us.

********************

My first e-book, ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Bipolar Disorder’, is now available exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle.

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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