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, 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. 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 possibly poor decisions and poor impulse behaviors of the manic episode from a balanced and objective perspective. We can then revise our prevention and actions plans to us better should another manic episode be triggered in the future.
There are two areas that you will want to focus on while recovering from a manic episode. The first is self education. And the second is the education of your family and friends. Your self- education process will consists of taking an objective look at recent events. Take note of what you were think and feeling. Note also your triggers. Track your recent behaviors, especially ones that might have elicited negative responses from family and friends. Remember radical acceptance and re read my post on radical acceptance if this helps. 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. Read my posts from Feb 2015 0n creating your wellness and recovery plan (Feb 14 and 16).
This leads us to the second area of focus; educating your 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 this appointment, you will have your therapist share with your loved one information that you have already reviewed with your therapist and that you have already 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. With that said, if you are still feeing low, and as if you might be doing down that slippery slope of self judgment and depression, use your Self Esteem Booster Box . (You did create one, didn’t you?) Yes, look for a post on that here on Bipolar Update – it was posted on June 18). IF you have not already put one together, or started that project, this is a great time to do it.
Photo by Todd Huffman