Climbing out of the Trough without going into Mania

For a couple of months I have been a bottom feeder, living in the Trough of Despair and Discontent. There are profound reasons . . . . I lost Social Security, need to find another car, am missing my children and having a hard time reaching out to others, had a major car accident and am afraid of myself behind the wheel, the list goes on. But I am trying to climb out of this pit of despair. Sometimes it works, for moments. But for now I have to content myself with baby steps.

It’s time for a transition to a more normal path. Much of that involves taking care of business. Pulling together the information necessary to Appeal to Social Security, looking for a car in the usual sources, making an appointment with an accountant so this doesn’t happen again, and being responsible. The last being a near impossibility. Lastly, adopting a more positive frame of reference.

In doing some reading I came across an article entitled “5 Positives of Living with Bipolar Disorder (Besides Creativity). Its suggestions made sense to me:

1. Bipolar “Gives you strength, tenacity, or “Chutzpah”.
2. “It makes you more proactive about your overall health” – In order to ensure you are not living too high on the hog or existing in the pig slops, you need to make sure your medications are in supply (and taken as prescribed) and not in conflict with each other. Exercise, sleep, diet, meditation, and practicing spirituality are all essential.
3. “It gives you empathy for other people” – being bipolar and living with its stigma and side effects can increase your empathy both for other bipolar people and for the general population. We know how feeling bad works and we can understand how hard it is for others.
4. “It helps you know who your real friends are” – I know I have people that love me. I also know that sometimes they just don’t get what’s wrong with me even though they love me. I can be a bitter pill to swallow. But there are a couple of others who understand or have the disease themselves.
5. “It gives you the ability to help others who have the disorder” – That’s the wonderful thing about Prime Time. It’s one for all and all for one. We try to be there to support each other.

The creativity factor can’t be ruled out either. According to some researchers, 30% of bipolar people are more creative than the regular population. This is often during Manic phases of the disease although some of my best poetry was written when I was in the trough. The trick is to avoid the suicidal side we can be subject to.

As Lynn Rae has said, “Focus on what you can do; not on what you have lost.” You will have a greater chance at happiness if you focus on your blessings instead of your heartbreaks.

The 5 positives were developed by the “Advice and Support Community:, a group of volunteers at the International Bipolar Foundation.

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