Importance of Support Network

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I realize through my recent relapses, the importance of having the support and prayers of my family and friends, besides professional helps from Doctors, Counsellors and Support Group. The people I love, and who love me, will see me at my best. When my symptoms reappear, they may see me at my worst.

Whenever possible, I will share with them my condition. I give them articles, pamphlets and books to read about bipolar disorder so that they will understand that my behaviour is not always under my control. It will also help them to understand why I am sometimes so different.

A friend recently told me that he used to wonder why I was at times very warm and friendly but at other times very cold and indifferent. After understanding my condition and different mood swings, he was able to understand why. He is very compassionate kind and understanding. He even offered me a listening ear should I need to talk to someone when I am feeling down.

My Doctor suggested to me recently, that I should tell my family and friends that I am like a bear -) For certain period of time in a year, I will hibernate -) Bears hibernate during winter in which they pass the winter in inactive.

I thank God for the support of the following people in my life:

1) My family.


2) My church brethren and Friends

3) My Doctors

4) My Christian Counsellors


5) My newfound Blogging Friends

Since I started this blog, I am getting to know a few oversea friends who are either bipolar themselves or suffering from other condition which can cause depression at times. They are most understanding and supportive, as they themselves have gone through similar experiences. I am also learning many things from them as they have posted many useful posts on their own experiences and also links to other helpful sites.

I am thankful for these newfound friends who are sharing their experiences and learnings with me. My newfound blogging friends thus far are:

a) Marja Bergen : Her blog is Roller Coaster

Marja, from Canada is a writer/photographer with bipolar. She is the author of a book “Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders” (Northstone, 1999).

I first came across Marja’s article published on the website of CanadianChristianity.com about her illness. I have reproduced her article with her kind permission under “Real Life Testimonies” of my posts. I hope, God willing, one day I can also write a book just like Marja :-)

b) Michelle Ozarks : Her blog is Ozarks sew n' sew

Michelle is from Missouri, United States. I got to know Michelle when she visited my blog and left a comment. Michelle also has bipolar, and when I visited her blog, I found out that she and her husband love to cross-stitch. I enjoy cross-stitch too. Michelle is the most faithful in visiting my blog and commenting on it. Thanks Michelle :-)

c) Desiree Sison : Her blog is Mood Swings

Desiree is from San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. She has been stuggling with bipolar disorder for the past 15 years. The illness has been a part of her eversince she can remember and she has learned to manage it with the help of medications and counselling, etc. Well done, Desiree :-)

d) Anne : Her blog is Disabled Not Dead

Anne is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. I got to know Anne through Marja's blog. Anne is a Christian. She has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since 1976. She volunteers in issues regarding employment discrimination, disability discrimination in workplace and schools, and is the chairwoman of a disabled persons advisory board in local community. Keep up your good works, Anne :-)

e) Merelyme : Her blog is Multiple Synchronicities & Sclerosis

Merelyme is from United States. She is also a MSer. Writing about her life experiences is her main passion. She also loves to read other's life stories. She thrives on creative expression including poetry, photography, and art. Glad you are creative, Merelyme, very much like us with bipolar :-)

f) Amanda : Her blog is My Bipolar Blessing

Amanda is a Canadian. I got to know Amanda when she visited my blog and left a comment. I am glad that Amanda called her blog "My Bipolar Blessing" and able to see blessings in her bipolar. I am learning to do so too :-)

g) Dream Writer : Her blog is Coming Out of the Dark

Dream Writer is from United States. I got to know Dream Writer through Marja's blog. She has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder in 2005. She now goes to college as a non-traditional student majoring in Psychology. Her goal is to receive her masters and become a counselor and help within the Mental Health area. Good of you, Dream Writer, to want to be a counselor and help others in the Mental Health area :-) Trust you will be a great blessing to others.

h) Susan Bernard : Her blog is Bipolar Wellness Writer.

Susan is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and she has survived more than 120 bipolar depressions! I am glad that Susan called her blog "Bipolar Wellness Writer" and she prefers to post in a positive way. She knows that the only real hope is to try and achieve wellness rather than dwelling on all the pain and suffering. But she knows it's not always easy. I am also learning to try and achieve wellness so that I can be more functional and useful :-) Do read more about Susan in her comments with this post.

I thank God for His love and mercies to me through all my life, saving me from sins and giving me much spiritual and temporal blessings. And even now in this bipolar condition, He has provided so much help and support, and I can know His love and faithfulness in very special ways daily. Before my diagnosis, I thank God that He has preserved me through some 10 or more relapses of severe depressions. I am thankful for my diagnosis which is helping me to manage my illness better. And I thank God for all my family members, church friends, other friends and my newfound blogging friends - for all the prayers, encouragements, supports and kindness. I pray that I may continue to learn to manage my condition better so that I can be functional and able to serve God and be of maximum benefit to my family, church, friends, fellow bloggers and the society. I thank God for the joy of walking with Him daily and serving Him in small ways, as He enables me. I thank Him that I can serve Him through this blog.

Oops, I hope I don't sound like someone who just won an academy award :-)

Anyway, once again, thanks to all of you! Sorry, if I missed out any names, there's too many for me to put all down here. May God bless all of you :-)

7 Kind thoughts:

Dreamwriter said...

Thanks so much for including me as your blogging friends. A little bit about me, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder in 2005. I, now go to college as a non-traditional student majoring in Psychology. My goal is to receive my masters and become a counselor and help within the Mental Health area.

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Thanks, Dream Writer, for dropping by and giving me more information about you. I have added your info into my post. Good to know that you are preparing to be a counselor and to help within the Mental Health area. Wish you good success and trust you will be a great blessing to others! Take care.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancie,
Thank you for your kind words yesterday. I am 57-years-old and live in Los Angeles. I have been married for 25 years and we have an 18-year-old son who just started college.

For the last 15 years, I have been an author (three published books and an eBook) and grantwriter. I’ve been too sick to work for the last few years so I’m semi-retired.

I started blogging a year ago to try and find a bipolar community of people who were upbeat and positive so that we could share wellness ideas and discuss healing. It hasn’t really happened, although a few of my readers have become friends and supporters.

I also have a few good friends, and a few extended family members who have been supportive of my illness. My husband is a true saint and my son has been wonderful.

But I must say that when I saw all the people who support you, I felt so happy for you and sad that I live in such relative isolation. One of my primary supporters, my mother, died four months ago. Not only did I love her dearly but she was so understanding and loving. For the past two years I played the Autoharp at her assisted living facility for about 20 of the residents.

I experienced my first depressive episode 40 years ago and my illness wasn’t diagnosed for 25 years. Over the years, it evolved from undiagnosed depression to atypical bipolar II. I am now considered a medication resistant rapid cycler.

You’ve caught me at a low point so I can’t really find a lot to be thankful for right now–other than the people I love and those who love me.

But I believe I am in a time of transition and it’s just difficult to find a new direction and purpose.

Thank you for asking. And thanks for your support!

Susan
P.S. I’m Jewish and although I do have a few Christian readers, they all seemed to find me through Marja.

Anne said...

Thank you for the mention on your blog. Although I do not suffer bi-polar, depression can affect people in many different ways. Some are so extreme as to think they are bi-polar, when in fact, they are not “there” yet. There are so many levels of depression and only a professional should diagnose.

You pretty much have my info correct and any more would eliminate people from visiting my blog because they won’t be curious. So thanks again, and for your daily visits. Anne

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Thanks, Susan and Anne, for dropping by and commenting.

Anne, you are so right that only professionals can correctly diagnosed a person’s conditions, though maybe at times they too can make mistakes :-) Depression is so complex and that is why I have posted my articles on the “Complexity of Depression”. There is no easy solution to it either. But there is hope and help. That’s our comfort.

Susan, my heart goes out to you as you go through another low point now. For bipolar, this is just a transition as we often alternate between our highs and lows. So don’t lose heart, hang in there. I know when going through our lows, it is difficult to imagine what is it like to be well, and we can lose our direction and purpose. Somehow our brain sends all the wrong messages. But this is temporary. You are a useful person, a loving wife and mother. And you are a writer. You have written a few books and may continue to write. Your books have been useful and helpful to the readers.

I am starting to keep a journal and also writing my thoughts and reflections on this blog. I am hopping that whenever I am going through my low, by reading what I am like or what I have achieved when I was well, will bring some hope and comfort that I will ultimately get out of this low. I know it is not easy to derive comfort and hope from anything when our minds are so broken. I hope in God daily and even then I find it hard to go on at times when I was severely depressed. I thank God for preserving and restoring me through medication, exercise, etc etc.

You mentioned that you are now considered medication resistant rapid cycler. Hmm… I have not read much on this and on what it can help. But again don’t lose heart. There will some form of help available out there. Let’s research and try them out. During my recent relapse of depression, my condition fluctuates despite medications due to various reasons. Eliminating as many stressors as possible and going for regular exercise helps me eventually to get better, so that I can make use of other helps. My regular workout at the gym after 1 week, enable me to lower my dosage of anti-depressant and after 1 month, I was off the anti-depressant totally. Now, after 2 months at the gym, I can feel myself a little hypomania. That is why I can develop this blog. I have a lot of racing thoughts, a lot of ideas, more energy and urge to do things, can be more creative and very happy most of the days whenever I am better or well.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing despite how you feel. You will get better, do press on. I will try and find more blessings and advantages of bipolar to share on my blogs as I too wish to major in the wellness and blessing of our conditions despite the awfulness of our lows. Our highs will always have to be balanced out by our lows, but it is for good purposes.

I am glad you have a group of supportive people too - your husband and son in particular. The most important support person is our loved ones as they see us at our best and at our worst. Even when others forsake us, they will stand by us. It can be hard for them, but it is most therapeutic when they able to do so. I thank God for the many people who love me and tries hard to accept me in my conditions. It is true that despite these supporting people, when it comes to going through the experiences of the highs and lows, it is very much a personal experiences. Especially the lows, no one can go through the actual pain and struggles with us, nevertheless their love and support is invaluable and it gives us hope and courage to hang in there. If we have good support, it need not be many people. So take heart, that you do have very good support. But you can find more eventually and you will. And you will get well eventually. Take care.

michelle said...

What a lovely post, and I am glad to be counted as friend. What more can I tell you without it being really long? Not easy! LOL! I was not diagnosed as bi polar until the late 1990’s but I have suffered from anxiety and panic for years. I was also always terrified of people even as a child. Most of the time I am manic and sleeping is really difficult for me too. When I do cycle down it is seldom severe unless I have had a lot of stressors in my life and then I just completly shut down. When I am extremely manic, I tend to also have visual and occasionally auditory hallucinations. It is because my poor mind just gets way to overloaded. Which is also why I don’t do well in noisey or crowded conditions. Well, I will stop there as that is most of my history! Huggles!

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Hi, Michelle!

Thanks for dropping by and sharing. My experiences are quite different from yours as my depression is very severe and my mania is mostly hypomania. I am glad those things are history now to you.


Thanks again for dropping by, reading and commenting. It's a pleasure to know you. Take care. Hope your sinus is much better and you are getting on with your cross-stitch and knitting :-)

 

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