The Bipolar Bum

Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.

H&J, now effectively medicated, starts learning how to ‘Happy’ instead of lamenting the loss of Mania

#Gladness #Happiness #Siblings #Bipolar

Gladness is a shortcut to happiness

Gladness is a short-cut to happiness.

 

I’ve been at a low ebb for the past day or two and I know that in days gone by this would be a depression.  Through rigorous mental training, help from a friend and self-examination I’ve managed to learn to recognise the negative thought loops and triggers as soon as they leave a silhouette on my mental horizon.  Anticipating them means that I can weather the storm further from it’s eye.

But is this all there is to life?  Resisting the first wave of troops sent by depression?  Normality tinged with the occasional low mood feels like a poor consolation prize when you’ve had mania.

 

I wrote how to ‘Happy’ as though it was a verb because, now that my medication has left me on an even keel, I know that I will have to MAKE MYSELF happy, just like everyone else.  Part of my long term rehabilitation, as well as avoiding triggers and depression, is going to be learning how to create triggers for happiness.  I know this is possible because just now, whilst listening to the radio, one of my younger sister’s favourite songs started playing.  I felt a bite-size piece of what used to be the joyous static that mania put into the air around me;  A rush of tingles up my back and a heightened awareness of the hair on the back of my head and the air around my ears.  I envisaged my little sister dancing to the song and grinning, as I’ve seen her do many times as we prepared to hit a city on a night-out and for a moment my heart felt like it might burst.

 

The love I have for my sister cannot be measured and even here, on the opposite side of the planet, it warms my heart just to know that she is out there.  I cannot wait for the day when I see her again and get to give her a big cuddle.  Finding the songs that remind me of my family, and picturing specific moments we’ve shared reminds me of just how glad I am of the family I have left.  Gladness being a short-cut to happiness : I’ve found a way to propel myself forward into a GOOD mood after I’ve neutralised an attempt on my emotional well being by the more malevolent citizens of my mind.

 

Not having ATTACKS of mania any more doesn’t mean that I cannot be happy to the same extent.  Perhaps I won’t be overcome with joy for days or weeks at a time but I tell myself that the happiness I experience now is a genuine emotion that I have full rights to.  I’m not taking on a debit of depression for being hyperactive and euphoric; There isn’t a guaranteed crash.  I can LEARN to be happy more of the time than not.  I can tailor my life to be conducive to my happiness now that I am permitted an emotional landscape that reacts to the environment and to my own prompts.

 

If you’ve found ways and means of prompting happiness, ‘cheering yourself up’ or just of hanging onto the happy moments for longer – I’d love to hear from you.  I’ve found hope that a life on medication doesn’t have to be a grey, flat experience for the majority of the time.  Come at me – Tell me your tricks and tips!

 

All the best,
H&J

Advertisements

19 comments on “H&J, now effectively medicated, starts learning how to ‘Happy’ instead of lamenting the loss of Mania

  1. Jason
    28/05/2014

    I have been battling severe depression for more than half my life now and only recently have I started learning how to exist with it. One of the things I dislike the most is when other people try to influence my emotional or mental state. They usually do it by saying something snide or trying to joke about the fact that I am depressed. That _never_ works. What matters is that they try, which brings me to my point.

    One of my many tools is a gratitude journal. I used to think keeping a journal was something for teenage girls, but I was wrong. It’s tremendously therapeutic. When I am deep in the throes of depression, I force myself to listen to my gratitude journal (I use a voice recorder to keep mine, but anything works). In my journal, you’d hear things like “I’m grateful for the sad times because it helps me recognize and cherish the good times” and “I’m grateful for my therapist, because he listens without passing judgement and sometimes I really need that.”

    Now, here’s where it gets a little weird. You’ll also hear “I’m grateful for having a cold, because it makes me slow down and take care of myself more than I would have if I didn’t” and even “I’m grateful for the experience of depression because it shows me that my mind is powerful, and if it’s powerful enough to do this, it must be capable of more.” When I listen to it, I let it repeat so that I can really try to experience the contrast in emotion and thought that I’m having.

    For me, It’s not about seeing a light outside of yourself and chasing it to be happy or anything like that. It’s about revealing the light that is already there within you that is being shrouded by negative emotion, thought and experience.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share and I’m sorry if I rambled. I hope that you can find some tricks and methods that work for you.

    Jason

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jason
    28/05/2014

    Reblogged this on The Root Of Anger.

    Like

  3. drheckleandmrjibe
    28/05/2014

    Thanks very much for responding Jason, you didn’t ramble at all. Your journal sounds like a brilliant strategy.

    I’m an incredibly cynical person sometimes and I’m not sure that hearing about a more sober me being thankful for depression would make me feel better when I’m actually depressed. It might sound a little too much like grasping for a silver lining to a depressed H&J.

    The idea of finding a way to promote self-acceptance and gratitude rather than trying to directly promote happiness is interesting. Being glad makes me happy, though I’ve never tried to be glad of myself, just people that I know and events that have happened around me.

    Would you say that, more than anything else, the consistency of having a strategy that you are completely comfortable with and use almost without effort is the most important thing? Your method strikes me as particularly consistent and it sounds as though the repetition really helps because it takes some of the thinking out of it. Is that fair?

    H&J

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jason
      28/05/2014

      I understand what you mean regarding grasping at the silver lining. Don’t get me wrong; there are times that I feel that way too, but I make myself do it because the repetition forges a new habit. Once I get about a month into making myself do a new behavior, it starts to become the new normal, and thus breaking the cycle of “doing the same thing ad infinitum and expecting different results”. And yes, I agree wholeheartedly with your question/statement. Until I figured out how to break the cycle and insert a new behavior, I felt lost and hopeless that I would ever change for the better.The key is making it something that is almost automatic even to the point that you miss it when you don’t do it. I’ll write up my process and post it on my blog this week and send you a link if you’d like.

      Cheers,
      Jason

      Like

  4. glenn2point0
    28/05/2014

    That change in mindset allowed by medications is wonderful and, is for me, the cornerstone to my recovery.
    Prior to seroquel my thoughts were racing, delusional, chaotic and suicidal.
    But all that has changed and as a result I have been able to reconnect with the world and that makes me happy.
    Blogging has proved to be a great way to get the thoughts out of my head.

    Liked by 3 people

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      29/05/2014

      Amen, especially on the blogging front. Writing this blog is as much therapy as anything else ever has been for me.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  5. Kitt O'Malley
    29/05/2014

    On medication maintenance dose, my mood is not grey. When my pdoc ups my mood stabilizer to combat hypomania, then, yes, my affect flattens. Whatever my mood, though, I know it will pass. Life has ups and downs. We just learn how to ride the real life roller coaster without trying to fly or jump off. Not sure how I hold on to gladness. I do know, though, that recognizing it and appreciating it is key. Joy is precious, not constant or ever-present.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. drheckleandmrjibe
    29/05/2014

    Hi Kitt,

    I’ve been reading about Seroquel and all the studies I’ve found say that there was no added benefit between 300mg/day and 600mg/day of Seroquel. I’m on 600. Are you on Seroquel and if so, what is your maintainance dose?

    Cheers
    H&J

    Like

  7. The Human Mare
    30/05/2014

    I was surprised to find this. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I visited. However, it is a pleasant surprise that you write so nakedly about how you feel about things from a different point than you were before medication.

    Although I do not suffer from mental illness at this time, I have been on the roller coaster of emotions (temporarily comparatively) that ranged from rage to suicidal depression. While I was in the throes of it, there seemed no light at the end of the tunnel. But, here I am alive and well.

    Although I haven’t tried the gratefulness journal, I’m a practicing grateful heart. If I get hit with something big that I didn’t see coming, I look for the silver lining. At this point in my life it’s relatively easy (so far). When I started the best I could come up with is I’m glad I didn’t get my ass stuck to the toilet seat, again.

    I also use verbal stop signs to quit focusing on things that cause depression in me. No matter where I am, if it hits, I just tell myself out loud to breathe, be mindful of why, and I top it off with a cheerleader platitude like, “You got this.” Sometimes just the thought of actually using this tool will make me stop long enough and refocus on happiness.

    I don’t have answers for everything, but these things work for me. They help me to stay relatively stable in a happy mood most of the time. OH! One more thing, I also found that when I’m actively helping others, I can’t focus as much on what my brain does to me. It keeps me from feeling victimized by my thoughts and instead empowers my inspiration.

    Peace and blessings, love and light,
    Mare Martell

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      30/05/2014

      Wow, thanks a lot for taking the time to post this Mare. I appreciate the support and the kind words.

      I think interrupting that dangerous trajectory in your mood is so important. Andrew Solomon said that the best way to beat depression was, first of all, to not make a friend of it. I interrupt ruminations now that before would have laid me out flat.

      I don’t get a chance to help too many others, I’m fairly remote right now, but when someone says that I’ve done something useful for them with this blog it gives me a surge of satisfaction. I LOVE the fact that we can give and receive support for free on here.

      Thanks again for your reply and please post up again. I’m hoping for the conversations here to include everyone, not just those of us who are ill. If we’re going to break down some of that stigma the conversation has to include everyone.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  8. joannaoftheforest
    31/05/2014

    This is very helpful. I work with people who have bipolar disorder and they do lament about missing the mania.I like how you take responsibility to “happy,” and look for ways to do it. Not liking mania much myself, I prefer a quieter happy. Like blowing/watching bubbles and coloring in coloring books, though it’s been too long since I did that. Maybe I’ll buy a coloring book this weekend! Going out in my jungley back yard, and puttering around, or just hanging out with my dogs, helps me let go of baggage I’ve picked up. Getting in the water and playing with the waves of the ocean helps too. Thanks for following my blog, and thereby giving me the opportunity to follow yours!

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      31/05/2014

      There are times I miss the mania but I have to remind myself that I want to be WELL. That’s the primary focus of all of this. Thanks for coming and checking out my little corner of the interwebz 🙂

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  9. Eddie Two Hawks
    07/06/2014

    Make two lists. On the one side enter all things that put a smile on your face. On the other list (can you guess?) enter those things which may upset you. Now, take those things which help you smile and do them more often. This one should be easy.
    Now, look at the list which contains those items which do not help you smile. Take one at a time and erase them from your life one at a time (or just forget about them completely).
    Remember, it is your desire that has given you the opportunity to move forward.
    Thank you so very much for subscribing and opening the door to your beautiful world! Eddie

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      08/06/2014

      Hey Eddie, thanks gfor coming and taking the time to comment.

      I’m having real trouble beating one or two triggers at the minute. I know what they are, I can see them coming – but just like being told “Don’t think about purple, spotted elephants” will guarantee visions of a polka dot pachyderm – so too does trying to not think about or indulge these triggers provide them with unlimited ammunition and energy.

      I’ll find a way to get around them, but it is taking a hell of a lot of time.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  10. transcendbipolar
    23/06/2014

    Wow. “Part of my long term rehabilitation, as well as avoiding triggers and depression, is going to be learning how to create triggers for happiness.” It amazes me to hear someone else say that. It’s something I committed myself to doing just a week ago, and I feel as if I’m a part of something greater when I find echoes of myself in others dealing with Bipolar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      23/06/2014

      You are part of something greater while ever you’re sharing and helping on here, I think. We all need someone to say that right thing at the right time now and then, so keep commenting on blogs and you’re helping by default 🙂

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to come and comment here. Have you managed to find anything that makes you happy quickly yet?

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

      • transcendbipolar
        27/06/2014

        I’m a little slow on the uptake here, but only four days late.

        Silly things make me happy:

        Looking at weird food in the supermarket
        Flowers & gardening
        My cat’s hijinks
        Sailboats – just looking at ’em
        Good writing
        Taking pictures
        Planning a trip, even if I’m not going to take it. And maps.
        Falafel – It’s what’s for dinner! 🙂

        And that’s just right now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • drheckleandmrjibe
          27/06/2014

          Good for you. That’s a healthy sized list, you could do much worse 🙂

          All the best,
          H&J

          Like

Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on 27/05/2014 by in Medication, Self Analysis, Stable, Toon and tagged , , , , , .
Follow The Bipolar Bum on WordPress.com

How we're doing.

  • 25,804 hits

ARCHIVE

%d bloggers like this: