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Archive for April, 2012

“Curb the crazy or double the meds!”

Words spoken by my stepfather. Words that cut me deeply.

That’s the thing with words. Once spoken they can hang in the air like a thick fog and trying to maneuver around and through them can be a tricky and burdensome task.

These words, spoken in an email in August of 2011, were just as fresh today as they were back in August. I was driving to my doctor’s appointment and suddenly, in the lonely silence and stale air of the car, these words came back to haunt me. They taunted me for about ten miles. I became overwhelmed with self-hatred. Embarrassment of who I am. I began to tear myself apart mentally.

For someone with Bi-Polar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder (not the same as Multiple Personality Disorder), words can be the catalyst for a raging and destructive fire or they can be a cool and calming water that quenches and heals.

I must remind myself of this often. I must remind myself that my words, too, can eat away at me much like a cancer. As a child I learned the adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Maybe a bit simple. But this truth is ancient. There are no shortage of ancient religious texts that speak to the taming of the tongue. There are also no shortage of texts and proverbs that provide caution concerning the thoughts of the mind; the internal tongue if you will.

Thankfully, on the way home from the doctor’s today I was reminded of “The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi”

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This prayer is a reminder. A reminder of peace, love, forgiveness, faith, hope and grace. Today it was a reminder of all those things for myself.

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https://www.moodtracker.com/index.php

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Mood Tracker

Mood Tracker

I love this website. It allows you to record your mood, including mixed moods, as well as irritability and anxiety scale, and to note if medications where taken or not. It also allows you to record specific medications, dosages, and how often they are taken with a beginning and ending date if needed. Each entry provides you with the opportunity to indicate in the journal section any specific feelings or circumstances that may have affected your mood as well.

 

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Mindfully Bi-Polar

I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder in 2000. It is likely that I have had Bi-Polar Disorder, or as some may know it, Manic-Depressive Disorder, since childhood. I have seen many Psychiatrists, Psychologist, and Counselors. I have been hospitalized over seven times in the past ten years. I have been written prescriptions from Abilify to Zyprexa. Shock therapy has even been suggested at one point, though I did not consent to treatment. Though in twelve years it has never been suggested that meditation, the practice of Yoga, natural herbal supplements, and other forms of alternative medicine, such as Accupuncture and massage, might be helpful in the treatment of mental illness.

I find this not only disappointing but alarming. Ancient practices that have been utilized by millions of people for thousands of years are regarded with indifference, apathy, and sometimes disdain by Western Medicine. 

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As someone who gets caught up in worry and rumination, The practice of mindfulness really speaks to me. The act of mindfully breathing in and out, being aware of my breath, and my body, quiets my mind and centers me in the present moment. The times in which I have practiced mindful breathing and meditation I have been reminded that Jesus encouraged us to stay in the present moment; that tomorrow will handle itself and the past is the past. I find it amusing that so many Christians are quite resistant to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness though it reinforces the very teachings, the very essence, of Christ.

I started reading “Living Buddha, Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hahn. Thich Nhat Hahn relates the practice of mindfulness to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and both as ways of approaching the mystery of God.

I am excited about the healing possibilities that the practice of mindfulness, Yoga, prayerful meditation, and various other Alternative Medicines might bring me.

Specifically, I am excited to see how the practice of mindfulness and meditation might help foster self-love and acceptance. Many with Bi-Polar Disorder live in shame. I know I have. I have been ashamed of my mental illness. Embarrassed of it. The embarrassment and shame has led me, at times, down paths of self-hatred and loathing. Unfortunately, the culture in which I live makes it so easy to think in these ways. Mental illness is still a largely taboo and misunderstood subject.

Many approach the topic of mental illness with taught misconceptions and/or lazy ignorance. I have sat through many awkward silences after having educated my friends at the dinner table about mental illness, and why the joke they just made is neither accurate nor funny.

That is why I write this blog. I write it as an act of self-love, self-acceptance, self-appreciation, and for the opportunity to educate and inform.

I will leave you with a quote from “Living Buddha, Living Christ”:

          “in Buddhism, we speak of touching Nirvana with our own body, In Christianity, you can also touch    the Kingdom of God with your body, right here and now. it is much safer than placing our hope in the future. If we cling to the idea of hope in the future, we might not notice the peace and joy that are available in the present moment. The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.”

 

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