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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Healing the Hurt

A look at bi-polar episodes



By Dr. Barbara Bachmeier


Feeling Rejected and Misunderstood

  • Do you sometimes feel as if no one really understands what you are going through when you are facing the aftermath of a manic episode? 
  • Do you wonder if your friends and family even care to understand? 
  • Are they angry with you or blaming you?
  • Are you feeling a deep sense of failure and shame? 
This can happen, and these kinds of feelings can be devastating and debilitating. But you can recover and feel confident again.

Overcoming feelings of defeat are not only possible, but very important as we want to prevent the “other side” of bipolar to get you down — literally. Such feelings and thoughts can trigger a major depressive episode; so we must look at the events and possible poor decisions and impulse behaviors of the manic episode from a balanced and objective perspective. We can then revise our prevention and actions plans should another manic episode be triggered in the future.
There are two areas to focus on while recovering from a manic episode. The first is self education, and .....the second is the education of family and friends. 

Your self- education process will consist of taking an objective look at recent events. Take note of what you were think and feeling. Note the triggers. Track your recent behaviors, especially ones that might have elicited negative responses from family and friends. 

You cannot change anything in the past, or the events that have led to here and now. But you can move aside from yourself and look at the events from an objective point of view and assess the distorted thoughts that you have had. You can then assess what triggered distorted thinking that might have led to maladaptive behaviors. You can assess what makes you feel vulnerable. From this information you can revise your wellness and action plan and make adjustments to your lifestyle and relationships to prevent another manic episode, and or to teach other people about your manic episodes and how to help you

This leads us to the second area of focus; educating friends and family. There is no better time than the present for this. Consider setting an appointment with your therapist and asking your most trusted family member, your spouse, or a very trusted friend to come with you to an appointment.
During the appointment, have your therapist share with your loved one information that you have already reviewed together and that you have approved.

This will be an opportunity for your loved one, spouse, or friend to receive first hand education about your condition and will reinforce the fact that you need support and understanding. This is beyond simple psycho-education about bipolar and what bipolar is. Indeed, your family, loved ones, spouse, and friends, will benefit from learning this and I encourage you to encourage them to attend family support groups where they will learn more and more. But in addition to this, sessions with your therapist can make a huge difference. Over time, you might even be able to persuade your family to engage in family therapy with you.

Remember, you past does not define you. Your mental illness does not define who you are as a human being. You were born with innate gifts and talents. You are good human being and you deserve to be treated as such. So, you must also treat yourself with love and respect and understanding. Often, it is the sufferer who is hardest on him or herself. Check your self defeating and negative thoughts, and thoughts of self judgment and criticism and use your positive thinking skills to change those. Get back into the world, volunteer, and visit friends, it is important to stay in touch with others.