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Bipolar and Surviving
21 minutes | May 18, 2022
#42 - Negative Self-talk
Negative self-talk can be brought about by many things. No matter how strong you are, life can get to you and you may think of yourself negatively. In this episode, I share my recent experiences with this, some coping strategies, and how I'm forgiving myself for not being perfect at handling life's stressors.
7 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
#41 - Eat, Sleep,
Caring for our basic physical needs is the basis for everything else in life.
39 minutes | Oct 2, 2021
#40 - Interview with Lauren Utley
Lauren Utley shares her story of living with Bipolar 1, the ups, the downs, and the gratitude she feels each day. Here are some useful links she recommends that you check out: NAMI Support Groups: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Support-Groups DBSA Support Groups: https://www.dbsalliance.org/ The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help/
10 minutes | Aug 15, 2021
#39 - Self-sabotage
Self-sabotage is a common theme and practice in my life. This is a negative but all-too-common practice in our society whether one has mental illness or not. This episode discusses a few elements of this practice.
7 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
#38 - Abilify (Aripiprazole)
Abilify has been a long-time staple of my medication regimen. However, to help solve my incessant drowsiness, I have begun tapering it with the approval and supervision of my psychiatrist. Here is a brief explanation of my experience with Abilify.
3 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
Trailer - Bipolar and Surviving
This is a NEW trailer for the podcast! I hope this helps explain what this podcast is about, and the topics covered. Thank you for listening, and keep on surviving. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
15 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
#37 - Meditation
Today I talk about a topic that is near and dear to me: meditation. It is a practice I really enjoy, and that has great side effects in my life. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
14 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
#36 - Yeah, I'm truly bipolar.
I discuss how I really, truly have Bipolar I, PTSD, and likely have sleep apnea. And how I feel accomplished getting out of bed each day despite those. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
18 minutes | Mar 14, 2021
#35 - There is nothing wrong with you
There is nothing wrong with you. Here is how I know this. This episode is a discussion on guilt and shame, particularly the two types of guilt, and shame. I encourage you to check out the work of Brene Brown for incredibly insightful research and clear, impactful presentations regarding shame. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
22 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
#34 - 3 things you can do to improve
Here are 3 things that you can do to improve the world, society, and most importantly, yourself. These aren't the three most important things, or the only three things, but these are three of the multitude of important things you can do that will make a change in the world, society, and yourself. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
24 minutes | Feb 14, 2021
#33 - Being honest with yourself, journaling
It is important to be honest with yourself, and also to maintain a journal. This episode dives into honesty, journaling, parenting, and the insights that I have arrived at based on these practices and topics. The website is also refreshed! More content to come there. www.bipolarandsurviving.com To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
14 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
#32 - Self-Doubt - Am I even bipolar?
Sometimes I wonder if I am even bipolar. It is natural to have these self-doubts, but even more so, I oftentimes doubt whether my thinking is the "up" or anxious me, or the "down" or depressed me speaking. So, the doubt is two-fold: Am I even bipolar? and Can I even trust my thoughts when I am thinking this way? To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
11 minutes | Dec 20, 2020
#31 - Fatigue
I haven't recorded an episode in 1.5 months because of fatigue. Today I talk about my experience with fatigue caused primarily by a dosage of Abilify that was too strong. Other topics include self care, basic needs, and routine. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
12 minutes | Nov 7, 2020
#30 - Depakote is saving my life
Depakote is a mood stabilizer that is helping me beat my mania and hypomania which I haven't been able to get rid of for many months. Depakote is saving my life. This episode details my experience with it. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
10 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
#29 - Saying Goodbye to a Psychiatrist
This episode tells the story of me leaving one psychiatrist, and finding a new one. This involves topics related to medication, psychiatry, therapy, support networks, growth, and hard work. Primary medications touched on are Depakote, with references to Lamictal and Lithium. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
12 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
#28 - The Pause - my new tool against mania
The podcast is alive and well! In this episode I discuss the tool I have discovered when reading Tara Brach's book Radical Acceptance. By pausing, I have been able to more skillfully address my mania. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
17 minutes | Jul 19, 2020
#27 - Law enforcement and mental illness
I share my thoughts on the findings from the study "Road Runners" via Treatment Advocacy Center. Key findings can be found on: https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/road-runners An average of 10% of law enforcement agencies’ total budgets was spent responding to and transporting persons with mental illness in 2017. The average distance to transport an individual in mental illness crisis to a medical facility was 5 times farther than the distance to transport them to jail. Nationwide, an estimated $918 million was spent by law enforcement on transporting people with severe mental illness in 2017. The amount of time spent transporting people with mental illness by law enforcement agency survey respondents in 2017 sums to 165,295 hours, or more than 18 years. 21% of total law enforcement staff time was used to respond to and transport individuals with mental illness in 2017. Law enforcement officers waited significantly longer — almost 2.5 hours longer — when dropping a person off at a medical facility than if transporting to a jail. Some officers reported having to wait with the individual for 72 hours or more until a bed becomes available. Survey respondents drove a total of 5,424,212 miles transporting individuals with serious mental illness in 2017 — the equivalent of driving around the Earth’s equator more than 217 times. The report was released in partnership with the National Sheriffs' Association and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and funded by the Achelis and Bodman Foundation. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
13 minutes | Jun 7, 2020
#26 - COVID, Mania, Self Worth, and Black Lives Matter
After a short break from recording episodes, I return to document my experience with mania induced by the COVID quarantine; self worth; self care; getting better; and the Black Lives Matter movement and how it inspired me to not feel sorry for myself. To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving.
7 minutes | May 10, 2020
#25 - Music is my life, and my refuge. What is your refuge?
To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving. Any mental health blog will tell you that having a creative outlet is good for the mind. Whether they are trying to sell you a gratitude journal in their store, or want you to fit their model of how someone should live their life, there is still truth in their words: having a creative outlet is great for mental health. But, having a creative outlet isn’t the focus of today’s episode. Today’s episode focuses on refuge. In my case, my creative outlet happens to be my refuge. But you can find fulfillment and joy in anything that captures your attention. For some people it is hiking. For others, it is fixing cars. For others, it is programming computer games. Why is it important to have a refuge? It is important to have a safe haven for your mind to allow yourself a place to regroup in times of trouble. In this case, since this blog focuses on real stories of hope and survival, I will use music as an example of the lifeline that kept me hanging on when the delusions of my mania overcame me as an adolescent. As a child, I was heavily involved in music. I suppose you could call it musical training, but really music was, and still is, just another part of me, like another arm that can pull me in different directions and grasp things that are intangible. I didn’t really train in becoming a musician; rather, music reached out to me and raised me as its own. I’m not saying I’m super talented; I just have an instinct in music that makes me realize that music and I are one. And so, when my mania started attacking me and deluding my mind in high school, and when my depression made me suicidal in college, the one consistent thing in my life outside of my family was music. And that was the only refuge I had that I could retreat to that was inside of myself. When everything else in my head was either a huge mess or completely obliterated by mood swings and medication adjustments, I knew I always had music to pull me through. And that’s what I mean by a refuge. You will always hear music at the beginning and ends of these episodes, I imagine sometimes for a little too long for some listeners’ tastes. While I cannot please everyone’s musical preferences at the same time, this music is composed and produced by me entirely, and it is one form of the essence of who I am. And, since this is such a personally-oriented podcast, where I discuss personal struggles that we all go through and invite guests who experience deep, powerful illness, it is important to me that music--my one constant source of strength throughout my entire life--be at the beginning and end of each show. So, music is not filler material. It is rather the fabric of my universe. It is not my passion; I am a part of it and I cannot begin to call it something other than who I am, and therefore it cannot be a passion I hold, because I cannot really hold myself. But I think I’m getting a bit too metaphysical with this. The point of this is that you can find your refuge. Whether it is cooking, working with animals, or spending time with your elders, you can find a refuge that allows you peace and comfort. In my case it is a bit extreme, where I am not separate from my refuge. And maybe that can be the same for you, and maybe not. A refuge is oftentimes a passion, even though it doesn’t have to be. As a note on passions, we are taught that if we find our passion, we can invest ourselves in it fully, become a master at it, and make a living off of it. I urge you to not do that. Instead, once you find your passion, invest yourself fully into it, but not to become a master or to make a living off of it. The thing about passions and refuges are that you will do them because you love them. In Buddhism, we use the phrase “the path is the goal”. In other words, walking towards a destination is the same thing as arriving at the destination. Pursuing your passion is the same thing as realizing your ultimate potential in your passion. They are one in the same. So, a refuge can be a passion. And for the purposes of the episode at hand, I have focused on passions because my refuge is my passion. But, a refuge can be something as simple as a cup of coffee each morning. It can be a daily walk to the mailbox. And in the case of some, it can be the reassurance that “this is temporary” in times of trouble. Because in the end, despite my rambling episode of this podcast, “this is temporary” is the story of everyone’s life. And having a refuge like my passion for music allows me to get from point A to point B, knowing that I can find refuge in music until things pass from point A and move to point B. Let your refuge help you weather times of trouble, doubt, despair, and suffering. Remember that this is temporary--and everything is. Find your refuge and make yourself a part of it. Find shelter in it. And enjoy life in the good times too, with the help of your refuge. Whether you have bipolar or not, this is a universal truth. I hope you were able to get something out of this. I can’t fully express many things, but I hope I got to the gist of my message in a way that most listeners can digest. If you like these episodes, please share them with others. I am grateful that more and more people keep listening, and I look forward to any feedback you may have. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever have any questions, concerns, or feedback. As always, keep on surviving.
6 minutes | May 4, 2020
#24 - Instagram
To help keep the podcast ad-free, please consider supporting the podcast for just $1 per month via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bipolarandsurviving. I run an Instagram account for another blog of mine. I sometimes get emails asking me to sign up for this or that service, or have someone re-post my images, so that I can get more followers. Apparently my images could get more views, or so they want me to think. The Instagram account is for fun; it is mostly pictures of my cats anyways and doesn’t drive a whole lot of traffic to the blog, so it’s rather lighthearted and really is enjoyable. These emails telling me that I should have so many more followers has made me realize just how insidious this culture is. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posting pictures of my cats and laughing at funny things, but I don’t do it for the likes or comments. I feel, though, that so many people lead a curated life to show only their best moments, that they put up a facade and don’t show their true selves. And, that causes them a lot of suffering beyond what they are experiencing already behind the facade. What I am really getting at is, Instagram culture is really bad for our mental health. So, don’t stay on that platform, or any social media platform with images, too long. You’ve probably heard this before--that social media is bad for mental health. But why am I singling out Instagram right now? For one, it is the latest craze to be enduring. There’s a reason Facebook bought Instagram; Facebook knew that eventually Instagram was going to take over a huge amount of its market share and user base. And why is it doing so? Images play a central role in our lives. After all, seeing is believing. We put up images on our walls, along our highways, on our bodies, and most advertisements that one remembers have images or video in them. Face it, podcast ads don’t usually make the memorability cut as compared to image or video ads. And there is the mental “image”--the “mind’s eye”. There is the image of perfection, the images on our news channels, and the image of good and the image of evil. There is also the “self image”. And this sense of self can cause a lot of hurt and suffering. Instagram feeds on our need to fantasize about our self image. Whether it is a selfie of us looking our best, our cute dog, a cuddly baby, some tantalizing food, the latest exotic vacation, or the coolest drawing, we portray a self image that is really a fantasy. It isn’t really about who we actually are; rather, it is a projection of how we want others to see us. There are many consequences to this. A particular consequence happens when we fool others into thinking we really are as stunningly gorgeous, masterful at cooking, or filthy rich as we want them to think. Even if the picture is awesome, we are hoping to project that onto someone else. We do not want them to see the bad and the ugly--just the good. So when we fool others into thinking that we are just as we portray ourselves, others compare themselves to us. We all do this to each other. You have a cute dog. Man, I wish I had a cute dog. Or, you have a smart child. Damn, I wish my child got grades like that. Or you have a wonderful husband. Crap, I’m a terrible husband compared to him. OR--I have crazy cats. I bet you don’t have as crazy and funny a life as me, I mean, right?! See, we trick the other person into feeling less about themself by trying to feel better about our own self. And that is called a zero-sum game. Let me give you a tip: Life is not a zero-sum game. What I mean is, if I am doing well, that does not mean you are doing badly. Instead, I do well because you do well. You do well because I do well. There doesn’t have to be a winner and a loser. We all move forward together. So, in the name of protecting our own mental health, in the name of weakening our depression, the name of calming our anxiety, just stop. Please stop. Stop putting up a false image. Stop fantasizing about who you wish you were, about who you wish others would see you as. I’m not saying stop posting to Instagram, or stop reading it. Just be aware that when you read other people’s posts, your mental health is in jeopardy unless you realize that they are either trying to put on a show, or have decided to stop themselves. For now, do your part by stopping to put up a false image. Be yourself, not your curated self. No need to pretend. Have fun, be careful, but don’t make yourself out to be someone you’re not. Not only are you making yourself insecure, but you could be making someone else’s mental health worse. Be aware of who posts what, why they post it, and to whom they intend it to be seen. If they post it to get attention, especially from a certain group of people, take that into consideration. I’m not saying don’t look at it; just know that this could hurt your mental health if you take it seriously. If they post it in an honest, genuine way (which is extremely hard to determine, but be wise and use your best judgment in determining this), then enjoy it! You have found someone who you might want to interact with. And, be that person posting in an honest, genuine way. Be a mental health activist in that sense. Everyone deserves peace of mind, and the closer you can help someone get to peace of mind by being judicious with the self-image you put online, the better. Be tactful, skillful, and kind. You may make someone’s day brighter by being the most honest version of you you can be. And someone else’s honesty could give you a mental health boost, too. As always, keep on surviving.
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