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Old 10-06-2006, 06:01 AM   #1
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nicknamechoice HB User
Question positive strategies list

Like, I suspect, many people I came across this board when I was feeling low and looking for insight, understanding or just plain old help with my bp.

Now I'm on my way up again it has struck me that whilst there is loads of good advice, informaton and help on this board - it is usually available in response to individual problems.

I think it would have been helpful for me and I suspect (- no, I'm not normally a suspicious person...lol) lots of others to have been able to access one thread near the top of the board with a list of actions, strategies etc. that people with bp have found helps them.

Although bp is an individual condition the fact that we experience many of the same symptoms might imply that we might benefit from the some of the same help.

So here's my thing that helps me over and over again -

"When you are feeling that everything is dark or going wrong and that you have no control over any of the outcomes, find something that you can control and start planning (for me this has sometimes just been deciding to keep my car clean). Apart from anything else it will distract you from thinking only of the things you can't change."

So what about it people - we all know how creative we are when we're on the up - let's share it.

 
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Old 10-06-2006, 08:46 AM   #2
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jgr01 HB User
Re: positive strategies list

Good idea NickName,

I also have a coping strategy; i really focus on my diet, to the EXTREME! Which ends up with me losing loads of weigth and feeling pretty awful! lol So I don't recommend that one!

I do have a warnings card with my husband for highs and lows. He gently nudges me if he sees me displaying 3 of the 5 symtoms and then forces me to, go for a walk, go to my parents, get my nails done, stop drinking etc. Of course it's not always successful because when you're down you just don't want to do ANYTHING. When you're up, 'what the hell are you on about? I'm fine! You're always putting my actions / words down to my condition, for goodness sake get lost'....hmmmmm

But sometimes it does work.

 
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:35 PM   #3
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NutshellNutter HB User
Re: positive strategies list

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgr01

I do have a warnings card with my husband for highs and lows. He gently nudges me if he sees me displaying 3 of the 5 symtoms and then forces me to, go for a walk, go to my parents, get my nails done, stop drinking etc. Of course it's not always successful because when you're down you just don't want to do ANYTHING. When you're up, 'what the hell are you on about? I'm fine! You're always putting my actions / words down to my condition, for goodness sake get lost'....hmmmmm

But sometimes it does work.

What a fantastic idea - tell me more about your warning cards please.. are they just cards which you and your husband have written your up / down behaviours on so you can recognise them??? Sounds brilliant.....

However, I must say (with a tinge of empathetic laughter) that I do recognise the - 'what the hell are you on about? I'm fine. You're always putting things down to my condition' How do you manage to get past this tho?? You see, I;ve asked my OH to help me with trying to recognise when I'm 'going' but his reaction was 'you go too fast to stop you - when you're gone, you're gone' - any ideas????

Nut.

 
Old 10-06-2006, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: positive strategies list

This is a great idea. Here are some strageties that I use that I had posted on another message board and will repost here.

Journaling -I dont' just mean writing down the deep stuff I mean writing down EVERYTHING. For the three months that I was in the hospital I went through a journal every month because I wrote down everything that was going on around me, within me, psychotic things that the voices were telling me etc. Doing this helped me to figure out what was real and what wasn't. What things I was exaggerating and what I wasn't taking seriously enough etc. ) I know that writing down everything isn't always plausible in the real world but I still even though I'm in college now try to write as much as possible about what is going on around me and what I'm experiencing.

Scribble Art -This is a technique that one of my therapist (Karen) taught me. Basically you draw a big black circle and then inside of it you scribble every feeling that you are having. I like to use chalk pastels because then I can get good color and texture mixtures. The point of the circle is that you dont' go outside of it. By keeping everything inside the circle you are containing it thus it feels like a safer more in control activity which is important when you are depressed or psychotic.

Not isolating- Maybe this is self explainatory but I'm going to explain anyway. Depression is fueled by aloneness. It thrives on isolation. So the more that I could get myself out of my room, out of bed, and out of the house the better I got. Even if this meant walking around in the park or the mall by myself at least I was seeing other people and somewhat interracting with society. This hels tremendously.

Therapy therapy and more therapy- When I first got out of the hospital I literally went to therapy three times a week for several months in order to get my head cleared out. I know this isn't always possible so I'll just say this. Make the most of however many sessions you are able to go to. Really talk and put everything into your therapy sessions.

"It yam what it yam" -Popeye said "it yam what it yam" and that has been one of the most inspiring quotes for me in getting past my depression. When I can realize that things are what they are and will be what they are I am able to begin to accept situations, people, and myself for what they/I am/are. Acceptance of self and others and situations around you is a key piece to getting past depression.

Have a detailed safety plan -The safety plan that I made at Mclean is literally two pages long and goes something like this

Level of Distress (1-10) / Feelings or moods at that level of distress/ body sensations at that level of distress/ thoughts at level of distress behaviors at level of distress/ distractions or activities I can do when I am at that level/ self care or grounding methods/ self-talk or negative challenges/ connection or communciation with others

It literally goes through every one of those steps for every level of distress between 1 and 10. It took forever to make but it is now and invaluable resource. I can pull that baby out no matter how I'm feeling and I can immediately use the guide to rate where I'm at between one and ten. Then I go to the columns that list positive self talk and activites and ideas for connecting to others and I do those things or use those self talk statements. Its also great because my therapist can pull it out and see where she thinks I am and then suggest things off of there for me to do.

Music- I find that if I listen to depressing music (come on we all have a suicide/depressing/triggering music playlist somewhere on our computers right) then I get more depressed. If I listen to positive and uplifting then I feel more positive and uplifted. So I know you wont' delete your depressing playlist (cause I still have mine) but at least watch when you listen to it and pay attention to how it affects your mood.

Humor- Find humor in life. Read the comics/funnies. Put up funny quotes. Buy an amusing t-shirt. Read happy bunny comics on the internet. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Create positive space around you-If you walked into my dorm room right now you would find motivational quotes on my closet door, fun and inspiring posters on my walls, candles, icons of my favorite saints, bright colors, etc. I truly believe that the space around you influences your mood. If you see positive things around you then you will feel more positive.

And last but not least Stay Connected to God -I find that when I lose my connection with God my mood goes down hill too. If I stop praying I get depressed. When I lose sight of something greater than me then I start to think I am the center of the universe and when that happens I get depressed. People are meant to have a connection to something greater than that. Foster that connection and it will help your mood

 
Old 10-06-2006, 04:15 PM   #5
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jgr01 HB User
Re: positive strategies list

Hi Nut,

my warnings card symptoms are as follows and are meant to prevent full mania or depression by taking actions I mentioned previously n.b. they also need reviewing regularly to check the relevance e.g. I'm no longer working!

Symptoms of Mania (main ones)

Work....these symptoms need to continue for about 10 days.

Getting up at 5am into work by 630am coming home at 9pm, working through lunch, not wanting my dinner when I get home.

Staying away from home in the pub after work getting in early hours and still getting up at 5am

Weight loss

Lack of interaction with the children. Husband going to bed without Me.

House being spotless (I'm not a massively tidy person); where am I finding the time?

Secondary symptoms not work related

Wanting friends around every night for a party

Keeping my husband up 'to talk' (I do all the talking)

Not sleeping


Depression

Procrastination about everything

Sleeping all the time

Negative thoughts (and speech) about money, marriage, weight, house.

Crying at anything

Withdrawal, monosyllabic

Seconday symptoms can include

Indecisive - NO decision making capacity (not even over a breakfast choice of 1)

Guilt


Sophia also gives some really good advice here and has clearly taken on a complete and comprehensive traditional and alternative therapy combination.

"And last but not least Stay Connected to God -I find that when I lose my connection with God my mood goes down hill too. If I stop praying I get depressed. When I lose sight of something greater than me then I start to think I am the center of the universe and when that happens I get depressed. People are meant to have a connection to something greater than that. Foster that connection and it will help your mood."

Of course this is very subjective, I am Pagan. I choose to follow the earth and nature as my religion. I see the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are holy days, the earth is my temple, its plants and creatures my partners and teachers. I worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. I respect life (which fills me with total anguish after a low period where I have contemplated anything against this) I cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation.

Last but not least, a little ditty that always makes me smile and I truly believe we can all learn from....

Things We Can Learn from Dogs

Never pass up the chance for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
Run, romp and play daily.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you are not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
When you are happy, dance around and wag your whole body.
No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing, run back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.


 
Old 10-08-2006, 05:25 AM   #6
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nicknamechoice HB User
Re: positive strategies list

Sophia,
I totally agree about the music thing.

I've heard people say that exercise can change their outlook but I hate traditional exercise. However, put on a good bit of dance music and I can exercise in the form of dance.

One thing I would say though is that it's a good idea to have a listen to the words of the songs that keep you company in your low periods when you are not low - it's a better way of understanding how these may be contributing to you feeling low and might help you avoid them in the future.

 
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