21-10-2019 10:56 PM
Hi @eth, thank you for the welcome. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 when I was 17, coming up to my 40th soon and feels like I've been living with Bipolar for so long, most days are fine and I almost feel normal but I really feel it has hit my self esteem greatly. I don't know maybe everyone feels confused, awkward to some extent but any advice on how to repair confidence and self esteem after a mental health diagnosis would be great. I have a husband and 3 kids. Husband is supportive. I have a regular Psychiatrist I see about twice a year now and used to see a Psychologist where we used the ACT therapy..has helped but sort of reached a point where we were both happy to stop but will see her again if anything comes up. Psychiatrist is helpful to have medication available if required but day to day I'm not on any regular medication, have tried a few over the years on and off but side effects were worse than the actual benefits/gains. Most days I'm surrounded by people and friends as I work part-time and do the daily school drop off and pick ups but feel a loneliness in regards to having someone to talk to about my mental health. I don't tell many people due to the stigma that might come with it.. don't want people to perceive me differently or less able or competent because of Bipolar 1.
22-10-2019 08:53 AM
Hi and good morning @Jadedragon Thankyou for sharing so openly how things are for you. I have bipolar 1 too (along with complex PTSD and anxiety disorder) - I'm 56 and the bipolar wasn't diagnosed til I was 46 tho' I'm sure it was a factor since I was in my teens. It was really confronting for me getting the diagnosis too, really knocked the wind out of my sails. I rarely disclose to anyone either - partly because of stigma, but partly because it's no-ones business most of the time. I don't want to be stereotyped or treated differently because of MH either. I just say I have some health challenges if I need to say anything.
For me, managing to stay pretty stable these days takes a 3-fold approach - self-managing (sleep, healthy food, keeping mood charts, etc), psychology regularly (doing EMDR at the moment and it's working for me), and psychiatrist regularly for medication management. The last 2 years I've been more stable and made more progress than ever before so something is working at last.
Regarding confidence and self-esteem recovery - I guess it's probably different for everyone - for me it's taken a big change in living circumstances to where I have family support after isolating for many years - and starting to have some goals that I work on pretty constantly - planning and taking baby steps towards them. Seeing myself make some progress after so many years being frozen and alone. In the early days it was as basic as taking up a craft hobby and exploring in the kitchen with new recipes - that's still something I do. Am at the stage now where I'm writing again, joined a writers group and have even done some live readings at the art gallery in town and won a prize for one of my stories. A huge boost for me. I also have only recently gone anywhere without either family member or support worker, by catching a Shebah ride (all women drivers for women passengers) to a known safe place - so that was a huge step forward too. And I'm about to start MH specific driver training with an OT instructor - that's scary stuff for me but essential to getting some independent mobility in my life. For nearly 3 years I haven't gone past the letterbox alone so these things are massive achievements. Recently facilitated a womens group about recognising and recovering from abuse too which was nerve wracking initially but afterwards I felt really good about having done it. These are just the things that are working for me these days.
So I guess to sum up it's having goals, no matter how small they seem, progress is progress. Or if you're not ready for goals (I wasn't for many years) then perhaps finding a hobby or making a list of self-care activities and doing them more often. There's a thread here on this forum called Coping Box which can help with this. Lots of suggestions there.
I'll stop raving now but will finish by saying that engaging with others on the SANE forums, giving and receiving support, is also really good for personal growth and self-worth.
22-10-2019 12:02 PM
Hi @Jadedragon We have not "met" before. Welcome to the forum.
Sorry I did not respond earlier. My son is back home and I am generally limiting my time here. I am glad you had others to relate with. Good on you for handling so much yesterday. Sifting through the NDIS stuff is hard work, getting to know company providers and individual workers and making all those choices. I have heard it said that the NDIS is like a fulltime job. There is something to that. I am going along with things unless I get messed around, but value hearing about your experiences as it gives me something to compare with ... some kind of yardstick in a new complex situation. It allows for me to do a little stepping back rather than jumping in at the deep end, which is the story of my life.
Regarding your new friend's crisis. There is a lot of sifting to go through individual's personal styles and figuring out the degree of risk for a given person. It is terrible to hear a person express suicidal thoughts. In people who have social consciences, the strain rises very high. I have been there so often and had no guidance. It is one of the reasons I think it is important that trauma load and specific triggers become a more regular part of mental health discussions. People are at many different points in their experiences and styles of managing suicidal thoughts and intentions. It is also one of my concerns about services going gung ho with peer support. The most vulnerable people supporting the most vulnerable ... there is scope for a few mess ups. MH services are struggling wth policies and protocols, despite being told they are professional I am yet to be convinced they have as much under control as they make out.
Making tough calls ... or deciding not to make them. At least you have more idea about the distress tolerance levels and values of that person. I think we both probably need to thicken our skins, but if we are not made that way from the beginning it is hard to do that.
Hugs Bella. I read through your post last night, but I could not respons immediately. The issues were too close and personal and I needed time to process as well as having family commitments.
22-10-2019 05:00 PM
22-10-2019 05:12 PM
Thanks @Appleblossom I appreciate all you have said. You take care too. Hope having your son back home works well for both of you. Would love to respond more but just haven't the energy this afternoon. Still trying to let go of all the issues yesterday brought up for me. Did have a good talk with my support worker today, but haven't been able to talk with someone from the group and the larger body that runs it to properly debrief yet.
Hi to you too @Shaz51 hope you haven't been working too hard and have had some time for yourself somewhere along the way today.
I've just been exhausted all afternoon - think it must be a post-adrenal rush hangover. I often have delayed reactions to intense situations. Have been making a list carrying jobs I was going to do today over til tomorrow. Also see my psychologist tomorrow so no doubt will be talking about this matter and my need for boundaries.
22-10-2019 05:16 PM
He is planning to move out Monday @eth Hope it goes well and is a good overall outcome from a very difficult few months. Has found a suitable little unit.
22-10-2019 05:18 PM
I hope it works out well @Appleblossom That's a big life change for you both. Lots to adjust to. Sounds really good that he is venturing into independence.
22-10-2019 05:24 PM
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