Inside the Bipolar 2 Mind

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I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 in the early spring of this year. Although I had heard of Bipolar, I had no idea the symptoms, the details and struggles that go into this particular Mental Illness for those that had been battling it every day.

It wasn’t for a few months that I even wrapped my head around this new concept and accepted I had been diagnosed with Bipolar. I took the medications like prescribed (of course, complaining about them the entire time), but most of the time I isolated myself so I could research, and research (and research) all the articles, data, and stories that I could find online to help me prove that this diagnosis was wrong…. but to no avail. As I read story after story and dived deep into understanding the explanation of this illness on Mental Health and Medical sites, I could easily say “me too!” to all the struggles and symptoms that consistently described how I was feeling, but I couldn’t articulate into words myself.

img_5356-e1541600399972.jpgSee, often people with Bipolar or any mood altering illness won’t explain to you the symptoms they experience in detail; partly because they don’t want to scare you and partly because they don’t fully understand them all themselves. It’s hard to understand a diagnosis so complex and then be able to articulate that into words. It’s hard for many reasons, but one being because some people don’t believe Mental Illness is real. It’s easy if you break your foot, go to the doctor, followed by an x-ray and then you get your diagnosis. When you are mentally ill, your ability to articulate how you are feeling, usually to a complete stranger,  is how we’re diagnosed which is why so many people are unproperly diagnosed for years before Bipolar and other Mental Health Disorders reveal their true characteristics which will finally lead to proper treatment. Treatment helps, I’m grateful for it because it makes it more manageable, but treatment doesn’t cure Mental Illness.

img_5355-1.jpgI still have to put in work every day to make the most out of the rapid cycling mood changes that drastically change as quick and easy as walking into a dark room and simply turning on the light switch to see; that darkness becomes light and vice-versa in less than seconds. Living with Bipolar, as simply put as I can explain it, is similar to that. Your mood will change in a matter of seconds for no reason at all and usually, it’s out of your control.

img_5357-2.jpgThe illness has a variety of symptoms which makes it even more difficult for people to get properly diagnosed. For example, I consider myself a very grounded person. I know who I am, my values and core beliefs. I know my boundaries and likes and dislikes. But, I don’t feel like I live in a ‘middle ground‘ mentally. I am either living in a state of mind called “Hypomania” or “Bipolar Depression”. Hypomania is constantly high-paced behavior and energy, accompanied by impulsive thinking where your ideas and thoughts race 100mph, you’re judgment becomes clouded and you can’t concentrate on the task at hand to save your life. It’s also coupled with heightened anxiety and can’t forget about that good old friend, insomnia, which regardless of how much sleep you get, your energy level will stay up and so these symptoms linger for 24 hours a day, weeks at a time. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Actually, it’s exhausting. Exhausting both mentally and physically.

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The other half of a Bipolar mindset is dark and isolating. During a depressive episode, it begins to feel normal to fantasize about suicide which is why people with Bipolar are 3x more likely to commit suicide. These thoughts that become horrifyingly casual are called “suicidal ideation”.  It’s common that people with Bipolar are unable to explain the symptoms of these episodes. Personally, I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, do anything, go anywhere, try anything, eat anything; I’m simply, extremely unmotivated. I’m sad for no reason and struggling to fight the dark thoughts that present themselves consistently, although they’re 100% uninvited. I’m irritable, anxious, fatigued and feel completely empty. If I could draw or illustrate a visual picture for you during one of these episodes to capture how it feels, it’d simply be the darkest rain cloud I’ve ever seen suddenly blocking out any and all sunlight from every area of your life. That raincloud can’t be moved, it will simply stay for as long as it intends too and in reference to Bipolar, this is the battle that most would say is the hardest about Bipolar 2.

Understanding Mental Health is important because it’ll help you understand people more. Perhaps you’ll feel more compassion next time your friend bails last minute because they’re suddenly depressed or maybe you’ll reach out more to be that friend who can pull someone out of that isolation when they desperately need someone.

Bipolar is hard, but it’s manageable. It’s a part of me, but not my entire story. Yes, I still have to find a balance in life with this new diagnosis, I don’t know all my triggers yet and I only have a handful of tools that I have developed to make it through these depressive episodes. But, in time I know that I will become better and stronger at caring and battling for my Bipolar 2 Diagnosis. I only know that because of the incredible people who boldly shared their raw stories with Mental Illness and shed light into a time in my life when I was feeling incredibly alone.

img_5359My PSA for you is after knowing that 1 in 5 people suffer from a Mental Illness, chances are you know a lot more people who struggle with similar feelings to what I’ve described. I hope you know that you can be their beacon of hope and bring light even in the darkest of times by simply listening and reminding them they are not alone. For those of you that can relate to this illness, remember that an illness like this doesn’t make you broken. It makes you strong and brave for battling your own mind every day. You have one little sparkle of madness, you must never lose it!

Wishing you all the best,
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The Significant Ways Having Role Models Can Lead To Success!

contribute, courage, gratitude, happiness, inspiration, lets talk, life, life changing, lifestyle, mental health, personal development, personal growth, role models, self belief, self care, self-growth, self-reflection, your story

37ebf18e0cef888991a483599d69aeb0Do you have a role model that inspires you to set ambitious goals and motivates you to do your best? See, typically that’s the way we think about role models. But the reality is that a “role model” isn’t clearly defined. It doesn’t always have to be the person on stage discussing life lessons. Learning from role models has another side to it also. Learning what NOT to do is often times just as important if not more important than learning what TO do.

This year I’ve learned the most about my expectations, values, and goals simply by watching the way others either succeeded or failed.

c1e088243079191ff941f17239b09bdbAs things become more clear to me–despite the several challenges that kept landing on my lap, I managed to fall more and more into a life I wanted to live, not one that I just kept waiting for. I stopped hoping life would happen the way I wanted it to and began to work for the life I wanted. This is because I had invested so much time into learning what others were doing to live their authentic life; I found role models that helped me get where I wanted.

Ironically, my Mental Health Diagnosis started my journey into journaling (than blogging) and personal development. When I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Bipolar 2, and your brain starts to think, act and behave in such a challenging way– you suddenly realize what’s important in life. I also was desperate to find things that’d help when I was feeling down or uncomfortable in my own skin. So I looked to role models– people that had qualities and skills that I wanted. Over time, I started stumbling across people in real life, attending personal development events & was discovering people all over social media who felt just like me. I could relate with these people so intimately that I almost felt like I had all these virtual besties & they had no idea who I even was, ha! They were inspiring and displayed the courage I wanted to have. They conquered goals I dreamed of doing. They became my role models. I follow them regularly and apply their knowledge into my everyday life as much as possible.

55a258a71d7861c1594209db9bfb47d4That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned this year & it’s changing my life. You can learn from other people, you can find role models and learn something from them without having to go through the challenge yourself.  It’s such a great tool to use once you realize that you don’t have to walk through every struggle firsthand, you can learn from another person’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself. Save yourself some trouble.

c4a82f8938bead28175b6f9e2267ce69.jpgWhen you think of a role model, who comes to mind? For me, Role Models aren’t just the podcasts and blogs that changed my perspective (although the people who invest their time to better peoples lives are thee most powerful role models out there to me). It’s also not limited to the people in my family whom I love and admire. Role Models can be anyone YOU learn from, real people that you may not even know. Tony Robbins for example.

Just this year,  I gained this new perspective on role models when I saw some of the most beautiful people leave our world & their family remained resilient. They exhibited enormous amounts of strength in the midst of loss; one the worst experience we endure as human beings. That was inspiring. Something I can’t imagine doing without seeing someone else do it first. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I saw someone lose everything they had due to the adversities and uncertainty in life. Their home, friends, family, car and it was heartbreaking. I learned how powerful you have to keep your state of mind! These lessons that other people went through taught me life lessons that I hadn’t learned yet and wouldn’t know today had I not been focused on developing myself by understanding how important role models are.

So I’ll challenge you this week to pay closer attention to the people that inspire you. What qualities do they possess that you want? What can they offer you that’ll bring value to your life? And how much effort are you putting into yourself to take the action you need to in order to receive the results you want?
American theologian Tyron Edwards  said, “People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.

So I’ll leave you with my final thoughts here:

  • Become the best version of yourself. Learn from others’ actions and qualities and use them to improve your existing characteristics, you will become someone else’s role model one day.
  • Pick the right role models; people that can help you; looking up to someone who has made a great change in the world– it will encourage you to do the same
  • Learn from others how to overcome failure, drawbacks, and challenges: Learn from not only your mistakes but the mistakes of others. Understanding how your role models overcame their obstacles will help you prepare to deal with future drawbacks.
  • Have an open mind: It’s important to always be open to learn and listen. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to learn from someone.

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Remember that role models provide a “guide” for us and their not someone we need to follow exactly. Believe in yourself, become clear on your vision and values and continue to personally develop yourself so you’re living the most fulfilling life.
Namaste Friends,
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I’m a pretty deep person as it is, I’m so awkward at small talk because I just want to talk about deep life topics in conversation. So this is my warning that I get deep into thought when I feel my perspective changing. These lessons hit home.

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to hear from a doctor what your life expectancy timeline is? Maybe it happens to someone close to you or maybe it will soon– it’s a really, incredibly hard time. But Imagine you’re in a doctors office and the doctor says to you, “You have three years left, at most”. Well, I don’t know about you, but that terrifies the shit out of me, just thinking about it hypothetically. Not death– I don’t find that so scary. What terrifies me is that I’ll wake up one day and realize I didn’t do half the things I wanted too.

About three years ago, I was 24 and my state of mind just never considered the importance of living in the present moment.
-I never took action towards goals I really wanted because I cared too much what people would say.
-I mainly worried about petty things like how I needed new shoes, missed a friend’s get together or any topic that really wouldn’t matter in a few days.
Essentially I just didn’t think too deeply into the true purpose of my life.
I was on autopilot. 

But over the last few years, a lot has changed. Today, I spend a lot of my time (I’ll be honest.. nearly all my free time) watching, listening and learning from people I consider to be role models and people that inspire me to do what it takes to live a fulfilling life. I am infatuated with the idea that you can change and grow, it’s been the journey of a lifetime diving deep into the meaning of life and so I constantly feel the need to keep learning and adopting skills that make me live authentically and with intention.

Below are the 5 lessons that I’ve heard over and over again. I think that’s because they happen to be the common theme in personal development; they’re considered to be the most important ways we can change our current mentality and behaviors to live the best life and become our best selves. No matter how different we all are, I’m sure we can agree that the last thing we want to do is look back and reflect on our life only to realize we missed out on so much.

So here are the 5 lessons that most people report they learned way too late in life:

6b50232ea6234a1eb32b3d12286ddf34.jpgDON’T SLEEPWALK THROUGH LIFE:
Start by imagining that you have to look for the job that you want, not because you needed one. Would it be the exact thing you’re doing today, tomorrow and probably for the foreseeable future? Sleepwalking through life is emphasizing all the time we spend not pursuing the things we want most. Some of us are spending 50+ hours somewhere unfulfilled & that means you’re not actually living. We sleepwalk through life when we say, “I’ll do this and I want to do that too, eventually.” Why are we waiting? We know that tomorrow isn’t promised.  It’s wasting precious time when we could be taking action. Its wasting time hoping for something instead of taking the action to really be doing something. Something that what we love doing. Realistically, you’re not always going to love your first job, but that doesn’t mean we should give up and settle. Keep searching for the things that fulfill you with the precious time you’ve been given and don’t give up before you find it.

35243336_10208995219317556_588587802917076992_nLIVE LIFE WITHOUT FEAR
Oh, Fear. The powerful emotion that stops us from living life and doing the things we want. Will Smith was the one who inspired me to take the right steps towards conquering fear and I’ll share what he said because I don’t think anyone has really put it into such a powerful perspective like he did. To conquer fear, you have to adopt one concept– confront fear, daily. You have to confront it daily because fear lies. It tells you things or makes you believe things that aren’t actually true. The problem with fear is that it lies. Fear tells you things that aren’t true and makes you believe things will happen that most likely won’t happen.  He used the example of how in the dating world, it has this weird rule where “you can’t text back the person you start talking to too soon because they  will think I like them too much, or they’ll think *fill in the blank with some other weird thing they’re most likely never thinking*. His analogy was such a perfect example of how Fear tells you dumb stuff like that. The daily confrontation with fear has to become a real practice. Because if it isn’t practiced than fear will grab ahold of you for days, throughout the night, all the way up until the moment you realize months and years later how much fear has held you back from things you can’t imagine you missed out on. We didn’t need to carry that fear around with us if it wasn’t serving a purpose.  The lesson that many people learned later in life is that the best things in life are on the other side of terror; on the other side of fear. Like when people want to become a musician or try to run their own business but are so afraid of failing they never even tried. So instead of turning away from it, confront it.

STOP COMPLAINING-
What if I told you that today was the last Sunday of your life? Would you complain about your crap homework assignment that’s due? Would you complain about the co-worker you can’t stand? I’m so guilty of doing this not too long ago. But this lesson is a work in progress for me. If this was really our last Sunday– we go into a much higher & deeper level of thinking. If we remembered that there is opportunity everywhere we go, we’d hold our heads high with optimism and positivity. Instead, we get bogged down by the things we have to do– school, work, this, that– and we forget that there is so much life right here. It’s a beautiful time to be alive.  So challenge yourself to take a step back and think about how awesome it actually is to be alive, in this era, right now, at this moment. Than recognize you can attack the world in a totally different way, a way that brings you enlightenment and happiness. Because the truth is that we should feel lucky just to be alive– let alone alive during one of the most wonderful eras in our history.

KNOW YOUR DESTINATION-
How many times have you made a simple problem so much more complicated than it needed to be? I know I have. That’s because we use our own creativity and problem-solving skills throughout the journey of life which end up distracting us from focusing on our destination. We get so fixated on the journey and get distracted where we are headed. For example, if someone told you to walk in a straight line to the chair across the room.. it’d be easy, right? But if someone placed a chair in the middle, you can’t just walk straight ahead, and everything comes to a grinding halt. You’ll analyze, think, make decisions, then change your mind. Maybe you’ll make a turn and end up going in a different direction…eventually never making it to the intended destination. This simple analogy is how so many of us deal with life and the obstacles that come our way. This is the problem I believe this lesson is trying to emphasize: what we do in life is we take a look at all the steps we are taking along the journey–and never look at our destination. A clear destination makes obstacles easy to overcome, but if we don’t know where we are going than those obstacles take us wherever we end up; not where we want to be. Life is full of obstacles, there isn’t an instruction book or a “straight line” we can follow. What we can do is stay focused on our destination and we’ll find it within ourselves the strength, courage, problem-solving skills, everything you’ll need to overcome the obstacles. It’s not at all about what you want to achieve, it’s about arriving at your destination, it’s about what you want to achieve. That’s how you become fulfilled.  It’s not a straight line, but it’s one direction.

b1a0366b38c3aea0a0c6cc3e26a7d2c6We’re all a work in progress and some of us learn these different skills and valuable lessons at different times. We aren’t born with all this wisdom, but through progress, we develop it. So let’s all begin a small challenge this week by taking a really close look at these lessons and trying to apply what we believe will bring value to our lives. One step at a time we become the best versions of ourselves.

Any tips missing from this list that you’ve learned? Please share below. Oh, and I finally set up a mailing list where I can connect more personally with people.

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Namaste! Harbers

4 Lessons That People Admit They Learned Too Late & How You Can Avoid Making The Same Mistakes.

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