“It is estimated that nearly thirty percent of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide rate for people with bipolar disorder is twenty times that of the general population.” and “The annual suicide rate in the U.S. is over 13 deaths per 100,000 population.” (Source: CDC)
The battle is real.
It seems like it comes out of nowhere– The bad days piled on top of each other, the insecurities subconsciously revealed and eventually the dark, depressive episode that’s been anticipated for some time has come. Even with practice, a lot of time spent learning how to self-coach and how to develop helpful strategies plus a variety of natural supplements– I think that I am getting better at finding the right strategies for me; the tools I can use to help ease the symptoms of Mental Illnesses. But living with this new world and drastically difficult experience of Bipolar II leaves me clueless on some days. I still have so much to learn. And part of this learning process is understanding the disorder more and more along with understanding how to best combat the powerful symptoms that show up uninvited.
Like, the inevitable emotion of “feeling alone” that is stronger than any other emotions today. A loss of connection, which is the one thing that truly makes my world go round, leaves me feeling so isolated and living in a part of a world that’s different than the rest of society lives in. The Mental Health Community knows these feelings all too well– we never welcome them, but we know how to overcome them more and more because of pure experience and from practicing different strategies that get us through these incredibly tough moments.
On some days, like today, the worst is just beginning– the self talk inside our head starts to develop and begin telling you a story that isn’t your story. Yet it’s heard with such persuasiveness that you can fall into it’s trap in a moments notice; If you don’t have a set intention and a strategy. The self talk begins the same way; that it’s “just you– nobody else who feels like this. You’re the crazy one. No other mom has depression like this, or even… Bipolar. And no other wife has low moments like this. Plus, your in your twenties, Carrie? Something has to be wrong with you— (with us, right?) Maybe we are the crazy ones after all” and that’s how the self talk begins to get a grip on our lives. Our symptoms make us feel like the strength we’ve built up after all these years has dissolved overnight and we suddenly we feel defeated in a world we were just on top of yesterday. So as that tape of negative self talk replays over and over, reminding you of the things you suck at and ambitions you ‘won’t ever amount to’… you’re faced with two options.
Option 1) Let it feel so real it becomes your reality. As it takes over as your new reality, It will begin to isolate you into a world so far away from others. You’re not aware of how your insecurities are developing into the negative self-talk that shows up during these episodes so that self-talk becomes so loud that the noise inevitability destroys your perception of yourself and the beautiful world around you. Your Mental Illness defines you and there is just a small sliver of hope that you’re barely holding onto as days fade into months.
Or option 2) Stand up and Step Up. It’s a battlefield in your mind. One you didn’t ask to be apart of but now you’re here. It’s a reality only you can pull yourself out of—even though you didn’t pull yourself into it. Don’t give up and cry. Show up and try. Cry because you are trying your hardest. Cry because you’re trying your best to believe in yourself more than you believe in a Mental Illness defining who you are. With the courage inside you, stand up and say that not another day these thoughts get to paralyze me OR you or all the millions of others who deal with this… Today, we start to notice how our inner self talk is affecting us. Is it positive, do we talk to ourselves with love and compassion or with doubt and impatience? We can begin to develop our strategies that will help us on these dark, depressive days– After all, we have had a lot of practice. This is why we will choose to move forward when everything in our mind tells us it’s easier to give up.
Today, we can choose if we want to get into bed; But we aren’t going to be forced to bed paralyzed, by our thoughts, because of depression. Not another wasted day where the world feels so big that you can’t ever possibly compete. This feeling is normal to 1 out of every 5 people, you are not alone despite that record playing in your head. It’s a symptom of many Mental and Physical illnesses, but today I want you to find the courage and strength to say, “Yes” to life and “no” to the symptoms that have the power to dictate our life, only if we aren’t intentional in our recovery.
Some days, it’s much easier to get past the symptoms of Bipolar Depression because I’ve been learning my triggers, I’m working on self-coaching and the way I talk to myself. I am observing the environments that push me into these pits of hell. I keep looking for the lesson I can use in every low moment so that next time, I’m just a little bit stronger. Don’t ever let this illness let you forget that before these illnesses came, lived a person inside all of us, that is filled with potential, courage and so much strength. That person still exists and still has so much positive influence in the world & an incredible amount of power.
It’s easy to lose sight of that on these dark days, I completely understand. I’ve been there. Today, I am there. But it’s not impossible to gain back that sight of who you really are and where you’re going. This isn’t a permanent place of mind, it’s a temporary stop that we have to embrace in order to become who we really are.
People believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. That’s why I’m sharing this extremely low point that I am in today, –to provide some of you with hope and the reminder we all need from time to time that is: with strength and a hunger to thrive beyond this illness, we develop skills that make us resilient. We can persevere past these days and learn a little something along the way. Be kind to your mind! You are not alone. You are filled with the courage and strength that equips you to handle these battle.
If today is one of your low days– I’ll be the first one to say– you’re a great mom and doing the best you can because you have’t given up. Your child will look up to you for your resilience and will know that you never gave up– a skill that will be embedded in them for life and one they will need to be successful. Maybe your a wife too; the healer and fixer of all things, on so many days. But not even Wonder woman could save the world in one day. So today, stop and relax and don’t feel ashamed about it. Be kind to your mind because that’s how we learn to control this Illness and stop letting it control us. Check out this “prescription” for better Mental Health and see if any of them are things you can see yourself using.
My strategies on depressive days usually revolve around the actions below:
- repeat positive ” I can” statements.
- Reach out to a friend I trust
- Write down five things I’m good at and 5 topics I’m grateful for.
- Than shower and sit in the water with no interruptions. This helps me retreat to my safety place and calm my anxiety. I’ll take as many as 4 showers in one day if it helps.
- and meditate, meditate, mediate. It helps you ground yourself, reconnect to yourself and feel more in control. They have YouTube and podcasts that are short and totally doable at work or at home! Look up positive affirmations, or self confidence affirmations and complete the exercise, mindfully.
Take a look at online resources. Small things below might benefit you more than what benefits me because after all– we are all unique and have different symptoms:
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I’m always here as someone who can relate. Check out resources, articles and podcasts that will help you strengthen your skills. Don’t forget to believe in yourself and rely on the strength and courage that continues to move you in the right direction.
Carriedoran9@gmail.com— in case you ever need someone.