Reaching Out

Reaching Out

I normally am not the person that reaches out to others, not to friends or family. So, I’ve decided that it is something I need to work on. I have friends that reach out to me, and I only sometimes respond to them. It’s important to be the one who reaches out first because I want my friends to know that I care about them. I feel the same way about reaching out to my family.

Even a simple text message let people know you are thinking about them. Sometimes, just a text message can ignite a conversation. It would be great to talk to friends and family, but it is sometimes extremely hard for me to send a text message. I’m going to write it on my to-do list; if it’s on my list, it will get done.

Allowing Others To Help You Is A Gift You Give Them

Allowing Others To Help You Is A Gift You Give Them

I always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness or dependency. I felt that I was always better off doing everything on my own for many reasons. I don’t like letting other people know that I can’t handle everything. It seems as if my flaws are already extremely obvious to everyone; I never saw the purpose in pointing out my shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Plus, when I talk to others about my weaknesses, it means I’m admitting to myself that they’re real. I would rather pretend that everything is okay for as long as possible instead of admit that my issues are real, even though this usually makes my problems worse. Asking others for help requires a lot of trust. I never trusted anyone else to do a better job than I could do; if I couldn’t fix the issue or come up with a solution, then I doubted that someone else could.

I also felt that by not asking others for help, I was being kind to them; who really wanted to spend their time helping me? However, since I didn’t ask others for help, I never allowed people the ability to feel useful. I know that when I am able to help others, it makes me feel good about myself. I finally feel as if I’m important and worth something, which does not come easy for me. Who am I to say others would not feel the same way when helping me? I don’t have to push or force others into helping me, but it is important to give them the opportunity to be there for me and help me through situations.

We become vulnerable by asking others for assistance. I’m usually worried what people will think of me if I tell them what’s really going on. I think that if people knew what was happening in my mind, they would have me locked up. Suicidal ideations, thoughts of cutting, hallucinations, and paranoia; that’s who I really am. Instead, I fake things pretty well; I’m actually fairly talented at pretending everything is okay. However, when I do that, nothing gets better. There’s a saying, ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’. If I want something to change, then I need to do something about it. Asking for help is doing something; it is taking that step toward change. If I allow myself to be vulnerable and ask someone for help, it could be the beginning of change and a deeper relationship.

Reaching Out To Our Loved Ones

Reaching Out To Our Loved Ones

Reaching out is not something I’m good at. In fact, I have to write it down on my list of things to do so I remember to call a friend or family member. My husband encourages me to reach out to people. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t talk to anyone. It’s extremely important to reach out to friends and family, it’s a great way to take care of ourselves. Reaching out to others during every state of our bipolar disorder allows us to maintain friendships. Creating and maintaining relationships is vital to our health; we don’t have to do this alone.

We can reach out to our friends and family in many ways. Even just a simple text message to let others know that we’re thinking about them is helpful, it helps maintain the relationship. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m manic, I tend to reach out to others more often. The things I say are not always the most appropriate. Luckily, my friends and family are very understanding. One of the things I’m working on is reaching out to others during depressive episodes. It’s extremely difficult, but I want my loved ones to know that I care about them and that I’m not just reaching out when I’m manic.

When I’m depressed, I don’t always know what to say to others. I have a hard time talking to other people in general. I have realized that when I reach out to loved ones, I can simply say, ‘Just saying hello; I want you to know I’m thinking about you. How are you doing? What’s new?’ Saying something that simple to someone you love can make them feel loved. Our loved ones are usually the ones that do most of the reaching out. I’m working very hard to change that; I don’t want to be the person that never calls or sends a message. When I receive a phone call or text from someone I care about, it makes me feel really good. It makes me smile and feel loved. I want to give that good feeling to my friends and family as well.

In my opinion, I can’t expect others to always reach out to me if I never reach out to them. Relationships go both ways. I believe that I need to put more effort into my relationships. I have been doing this with a couple important relationships and it has made a huge difference. For example, I’ve been reaching out more to a family member; I email, call, and text her and she does the same to me. I’m going home tomorrow and I can’t wait to see her. Our relationship has grown in just a short amount of time and it has had a huge and wonderful impact on my life. Every person that I’ve reached out to has been a success; I’m building and rebuilding relationships slowly but surely.

Venting: Letting Out My Day

Venting: Letting Out My Day

Normally, I just push through my days, no matter how bad they are; I find some way to make the time pass. I can usually hold it together; I can put a fake smile on and say what I need to in order to make others think I’m fine. Today, however; was not one of those days. My psychiatrist is worried and wanted me to be checked for Clozapine-induced myocarditis. I went to the doctor, and it was a waste of time. I checked her notes afterwards, and she only listened to about half of what I said. I also couldn’t get the ultrasound they referred me for; I wonder when I’ll actually have that appointment. My psychiatrist isn’t taking me off the Clozapine yet, but I’m just guessing that based on my luck, there’s going to be some reason to take me off it.

I’m overwhelmed by life. I don’t know how much more of this I can take, or how much I want to take. Aside from my mental health diagnoses, I’m also diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder disease. The treatments that I am using for it are called “installations”. Basically, every three weeks, I get catheterized so medicine can be put directly into my bladder. I’ve been doing this for over a year now. Most patients can go longer in between treatments, but since stress is a huge trigger for pain, it gets really bad every time I try to stretch out the treatments. However, because my stress has been greatly increased lately, so has my pain, so my doctor is having me do treatments every week for three weeks. The treatments help somewhat, but I still have a lot of pain and frequency problems.

Every four weeks, I also get to go to ECTs (electroconvulsive therapy treatment), and tomorrow is that lucky day. I hate doing it; I don’t want to go. Even though I admit that it was extremely helpful and was a big part of getting me out of a depressive episode I had last year, I still don’t want to continue with this treatment. It’s too much for my body; the past few times it tends to hurt more and more. My psychiatrist said since the treatments are further apart, my body isn’t used to them anymore. I also have a lot of memory loss from the treatments, but it has gotten better than when I first started. However, I don’t stop them because I’m too afraid of what will happen if I do.

A relationship of mine seems to be changing a little; it seems more strained than normal. This friend means a lot to me, to my entire life, and I guess the stress on the relationship is scaring me. I just thought I would say that, because I haven’t actually said it until now. I don’t let a lot of people in, so I don’t have a lot of friends; hopefully I’m not the one pushing this person away.

Well, I just needed to vent today. It was a rough one for me, but at least now it’s close to bedtime. It just seems that crap keeps happening; over, and over, and over again. I just wonder when it’s going to stop. I try to be positive all the time, whether it’s real or not, hoping that it will help, because I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do. However, someone today told me that I don’t always have to put a face on, and I really appreciated that. So I decided to be 100% honest and admit that today, things suck. I have been extremely stressed out, very frustrated, overwhelmed, and I still made it. I even was able to clean my entire house, that’s how I like to get out my frustration. I’m unsure if tomorrow will be any better, but at least I’ll start with a clean house.

Maintaining Relationships

Maintaining Relationships

Relationships are particularly difficult when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder. Personally, I struggle when it comes to reaching out to those I care about. I prefer having just a couple close friends that I can trust, than having a large group of friends. It takes a lot of work to remember to reach out to friends and family. In fact, if I want to reach out to someone, I have to put it on my to-do list. Currently, I have a couple of close friends that I try to reach out to on a regular basis, and thankfully, they also reach out to me. My family members are not diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although my friends are almost all diagnosed with some type of mental health illness.

Having friends that also battle with mental health disorders is both positive and negative. It’s wonderful to have friends that understand what I’m going through, but that also means that these individuals deal with the same things that I struggle with, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I have had several friends of the past decade that I became close with; I will always be grateful for those relationships; however, I may be doing okay and my friend begins to go through an episode and distances themselves from me. This is difficult to handle, but I understand how and why it happens. It’s important to remember that when this happens, it’s usually due to their bipolar and mental health episodes and not because of me. I have had this happen to me several times, and I have also done this to others many times depending on state of mind. When someone who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder backs away from you, it is important to know that it is most likely because they are struggling, it’s not personal.

I’m currently attempting to reach out more to my family. I believe that family is the most important thing in life; no one will ever love and support you like your family does, at least that is my experience. Someone recently asked me how my relationship was going with one of my family members. I told him that it was improving; I have decided to reach out to them more often. The conclusion I have come to is that I cannot expect others to put forth any effort in our relationship unless I am willing to do the same. If I want to have a relationship with anyone, I need to work at it. Surprisingly, it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Even just a text message to say hello can mean a great deal to another person.

I’m working on reach out to my friends and family in many ways. Most of it is because of the support I receive. I use the following methods to help maintain my relationships:

  • I write on my to-do list who to call or text that day so I make sure it gets done.
  • I put things in my phone’s calendar as another reminder.
  • I listen to my husband; he often suggests appropriate things for me to do.
  • I make ‘dates’ with friends and family. Once something is scheduled, I’m very unlikely to cancel it.
  • I tell my loved ones how much they mean to me. I go through periods where I can’t express this at all, so I make sure to do so when I can.
  • I try to support and encourage my friends. Treat others as you want to be treated.
  • Relationships are hard for me; they’re also hard for others. I have to remember to cut others some slack; keep the expectations to a minimum.

Using these techniques, I have been able to maintain friendships, and I am happy to say that I have become closer with my family. Friends and family provide support, which is vital to my mental health.