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'Looking Up' at the Bright Side of Bipolar


Today is one of those. A cloudy grim dark chilly day here in Ontario. I expected to wake up barely being able to stay out of bed long enough to get the kids off to school. It was the total opposite. I glared at the clouds and loved observing the formations they took on. I admired the beautiful sound of rain upon my window sill. I embraced the thought of leaving the house in my non-hooded jacket to feel each drop of rain hit my face. It was all so beautiful, something I don’t remember experiencing.

I have been learning through cognitive behavioral therapy that our minds tell us a lot of things that aren’t true. It tells us we are worthless, hopeless and deserve to be alone. Those thoughts are not actually true, but for some reason they convince us to choose to believe them.

Imagine telling our brains you are not in control of me. You do not get the choice to make me feel worthless, hopeless and out of control. I choose to not believe you because I am aware and in control of myself.

Identifying today may not be a great day due to the weather is already giving your brain the control. It opens the door for more negative thoughts to occur. By saying today is going to be a “write off” eliminates your possibilities. It may lead to thoughts about sad times, sad movies and sad music. These things seem reachable and achievable because they feed the low moment.

It easier to withdraw from others and live selflessly alone, your brain convinces you these things are OK. I am not saying feeling sadness and loneliness is always within your control, but being aware that you are in a sad state can help you think of a to-do list. A list of things that make you more sad and feel hopeless is helpful. This is better done on a day you are feeling OK. This has helped me immensely.

I have identified that certain songs trigger my tears. Especially those that I listened to while going through a separation.

I have identified certain television shows bring on past insecurities as an alcoholic.

I have identified certain people trigger me into comparing my old life as a wife to being just a girlfriend are causes for feeling worthless

Certain holidays such as Valentine’s Day trigger upset, as this was the day I told my ex-husband I was pregnant.

It’s attainable to write the things down that feed your sadness so that you can avoid letting those triggers bring you to the depths of emotional turmoil

I identified my resources that support me when I am down. I chose to let in few people about my diagnosis of bipolar, but on my darkest days when I realize I have been consumed by all the triggers I wrote down, I reach out to the very few who support me and remind me I am worthy.

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Thinkstock photo via Astarot