Graduating Outpatient – Letter to my future self

The prompt: It may be difficult to remember all the things you have learned and are feeling right now as you complete the program especially when you find yourself feeling highly anxious/depressed again. Write a supportive note from your current self to your future self who may need a reminder.

What I wrote: Dear BipolarBarbieQ,
We wrote all our coping skills in the journal Jas gave us and you can look at them often. If we keep practicing our skills we’ll dig new neural pathways. I’ve already laid the ground works for you and planted all the seeds. In fact, you can look back and remember this was the day Ashley led Experiential Therapy we read the story of the butterfly and the caterpillar pillar then shredded our papers and made new paper with seeds in it.

Make sure you look at our affirmations often. Find new ones. Decorate everything. I did some but you can do more! We are the observer from the meditation that had us dig through our memories. Life is context but we, the observer remain a mystical force and a representation of a full person which we always will be no matter the circumstances. Though I have struggled with negative core beliefs about myself and unearthed all the roots attached to them I also started trying to catch and challenge these. Add to the living list of positive attributes of us and don’t be shy to read it to remind our-self that we are enough. Even if we are not where we want to be yet, that is okay. Remember to accept reality wholey as it is.

Opposite action and behavioral activation are our sword and shield against avoidance and isolation. Adjust your goals to where you’re at and don’t take on too much at once. It is okay to cry, healing is not linear. We have the power to make wise choices to change our future with the knowledge we’ve gained and that you will gain for me as my future self. We are enough. We are worthy of good things and have an ability not all have – the ability to ask for help if we need it. It may seem like just a tiny thing but think of how beneficial it has been for us.

We can not change the past nor will any good come of tripping over things that are behind you. Don’t live too far in the future either. Remember we are in the moment and want to be there. Wherever “there” is. Ajham Brahm helped us tie together all the mindfulness we took in every day in so many ways. I’m cheering you on to keep practicing everything we’ve learned.

It’s been a long journey without question but I’m proud of you just as you are proud of you at the moment this was written. Write your wins and remember who you are and who you want to be. Believe in yourself a little more and follow your own example. Taking risks takes practice and your future self will thank you for it.

Love you,

Bipolar BBQ

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100 Minute Panic Attacks & Other Fine Feelings

For an hour my mind had been processing at over 100 wpm. I say words per minute (wpm) because I know I type on average 100 wpm and I was thinking way faster than I could type everything I wanted to say. In fact it had been one of those wormhole experiences where the electrical signals in my brain were playing tag so fast that only my body was responding at that point. My heart also surpassed the 100 wpm mark which made mindful deep breathing a chore and light-headedness a constant. I was having a full-blown panic attack and screaming quite loudly, internally, of course. The whole house was asleep for the night and I’m far too medicated to freak out like a feral child over my first toaster surprise experience.

So what the hell set me off? I won the lottery! Not the fun never-have-to-work-another-day-in-my-life lottery, but the knowledge lottery. Check this THE HELL OUT! http://psychology.tools/download-therapy-worksheets.html

During my in and out-of-body experience I downloaded/saved/printed 100 or so worksheets and handouts (100 is a popular number tonight). I made extra copies of some of them, so I’d have a few to go off of before I’d need to make more copies for a thought log CBT diary, etc. I want to have one master hard copy of them all in addition to the saved .pdf’s I made. I wanted to cry at how glad I was that people had come together and made these resources and shared them FOR FREE. You know, when I go digging around online for grade school and special ed teaching tool worksheets there are websites that limit the amount of downloads you can have per month and other websites that want you to pay money for worksheets on identifying basic coins or color by numbers. It’s the reality of the internet, which makes finds like this site even more golden. The thing that makes this a “Mega Millions” kind of win is that people put these resources up to aid other counselors, educators, and seekers of self-help, “just because”. That’s what I’m here to do, that’s why I got into the field, and I’m so damn lucky for someone who struggles with bipolar and OCD on a daily basis as well as someone who is studying to help people who need these resources implemented in a therapeutic environment to get better to have access to these materials.

(I may laugh and/or groan tomorrow if I find this all way less exciting than I do now after admitting it to my WordPress community in writing, but let me not get ahead of myself.)

On my journey to build a bigger better therapy binder (for personal use, I need to get back on the structured recovery and maintenance track) I’ll find other sites, other resources and feel really really bad that I blew through so much ink…but I’m trying on a daily basis to fight the good fight, and this is a great achievement even just to collect materials I know I need and will help me, and then to use them. My obsessions are getting a little out of control lately and my catastrophic thinking is becoming more problematic than usual. Believe me, there’ll be lots of highlighting, section dividers and spazzing about how to organize it all in the days ahead. Of course I’ll sneak in the replying to posts and catching up on blogs too, because that is at the top of the priority list after every entry I make!