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Replying to Topic: Bipolar 2- Self Confidence
Created On 4/14/16 2:53 PM by Lev Ish


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Lev Ish
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4/14/16 2:53 PM
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Hi- just found this group. Seems like this page is not active- but who knows.
I was diagnosed almost two years ago with Bi polar 2. Basically I had periods of depression for days at a time. And 10 years ago I was diagnosed with depression and took an anti depressant that made me go a little manic- I would say a little hypomanic- doing and saying things I normally wouldn't do-
Anyway, I have been in therapy for almost two years. I'm on medication.

My self confidence is an issue. Hard to describe, basically a feeling of sadness that I am subject to how the wind blows. Whether my mood, how people treat me, etc.
I'm wondering how I could feel more secure and confident in who I am.
Working on it with my therapist, but I am looking for some peer support.

Thanks
Lev Ish


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Worry in man's heart, speak it out- Mishlei
 
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keep climbing
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4/14/16 6:05 PM
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Welcome! I think you can read the other pages that are active-basically we're all in the same boat.
Are there areas where you feel more confident? Sometimes you can build on that.
 
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wishtobehappy
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5/12/16 9:13 PM
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Hi and welcome Lev Ish.

This site hasn't been active in a long time and many people stopped coming on here as a result.

I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. I've been diagnosed with Bipolar II a couple of years ago, also after having been depressed on and off for many years. The prevailing sadness is also a big issue for me, and self-esteem has been too, but I'm doing a lot better on that front. Spirituality, and developing a deeper connection with Hashem has helped me loads, but it's still a struggle.
 
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Lev Ish
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5/13/16 8:24 AM
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Hi, wishtobehappy,
You're the first person I have come into contact with who has bi polar 2! I have a similar story, depressed and mood swings for many years until I finally made my way into a shrink's office and starting working on things. I am also much better. I started taking lamictal about 1.5 years ago and added 900 mg lithium daily about 6 months ago. The lithium really helps me slow down my mind from the racing thoughts and the negative ones. It helps me realize the negative thoughts are just thoughts- and I shouldn't pay attention to them. My spiritual path may be different. For so long I think my judaism was a form of self medicating. My wife has mentioned that I get hypomanic over religion. I would take things to the extreme. Now I am learning to love myself first, and appreciate my connection to Hashem through things I enjoy about judaism. It has been quite a journey to say the least and I hope to find some comraderie with these types of things. Too bad this site isn't active. I think its an old school format. Perhaps moving to a private , secret group on facebook would be more productive. Not sure.
Anyway, I wish you best on your journey only good thoughts and positive things!!!!
Lev Ish


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wishtobehappy
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5/13/16 4:25 PM
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Glad you're doing better and the meds are working.

It isn't easy to come by people with bipolar II. I do know one or two, but I'm sure there are many more hiding in the shadows.

The forum is an old school format indeed, but not sure if that's the reason there's been so little traffic lately. One of the users who also had bipolar II started a mental health awareness facebook group about a year ago. She lives in Israel. I never ended up joining the group because I'm not on facebook, but you can check it out if you'd like.

I've tried several meds which only made me feel much worse. In the end I was put on Lamictal too, which helped, but I ended up getting off it due to side effects. I'm very sensitive to drugs in general, and was so fed up, so I ended up looking into alternative options. I've tried numerous things. Nothing was a magic cure, but I found what works for me and have been sticking to it for a few years. It's still very tough at times, but I've realized that I'm tough too and can weather the storm.

Spiritually, I don't think we're that different after all. I've had my ups and downs in Yiddishkeit. I come from an ultra religious background and also used religion to self medicate. When I hit rock bottom it wasn't working for me anymore and I dropped a lot due to pent up resentment and anger from my childhood. It was a very painful time in my life and it affected my marriage greatly. I had to redefine everything and rebuild my foundation, and eventually I was able to develop a healthier and deeper connection to Hashem. I also had to pick and choose because I believe it's important to enjoy Yiddishkeit. Ivdu Es Hashem B'simcha is just as important as many other Mitzvos. At this point, my husband and I have learned to respect each other and get along very well despite our differences.
 
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Lev Ish
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5/15/16 9:00 PM
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I think people may hide because, for myself at least, I struggle a lot with the idea that I really have a problem. I am not sure what to make of that. Sometimes I just think I have a serious self esteem problem. then I wonder about all these meds I'm taking. But then there are times when I feel good and attribute it to all the work I do in therapy and the meds. I'm hoping I can do like you said, weather the storm. In therapy we call it a wave. Just got a ride it and wait to make it to the shore. Its tough when the fatigue from having kids and the barrage of negative take their toll on me. But who knows, maybe I just have low self esteem.
On the other topic, I dropped a lot of Jewish practices I used to do with a strict routine. But I did it for my shalom bayis and my own mental health- to not be so hard on myself. I hope I am in the process of rebuilding the foundation. It feels like it. Just worried that things aren't always how they feel. Healthier and deeper foundation sure sounds good. Serving Hashem through Joy. I see that as a very deep concept, cause each person can only know Hashem for his/herself. My wife and I also are on diff paths. But we have talked about it and seem to be working on good compromises to keep us both happy and the kids healthy. It's also a struggle.
thanks




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Worry in man's heart, speak it out- Mishlei
 
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wishtobehappy
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5/16/16 8:50 AM
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I hear what you're saying about struggling with the idea that you have a problem and can really relate. I've have the same thoughts very often and although sometimes it's a relief to know that what I'm feeling has a "name," most of the time I consider myself to be a perfectly fine person with very human struggles. I was fortunate to have a great therapist/doctor at some point who has a holistic approach towards mental health and he helped me see myself through a completely different lens.

My understanding at this point is that life (the cosmos) itself is bipolar - meaning, rhythms. Ebb and flow. Day and night. Dark and light etc. It's related to the Kabbalistic concept of tzimtzum and expansion when the world was created. Very often, spiritually sensitive people get affected more and pick up these vibrations very easily, hence the imbalance in moods and emotions. Even more so in times like ours where the world is full of upheaval in every area, it's almost impossible not to be affected, even for those who normally aren't sensitive to these shifts.

Most often there are a few factors at play. People with bipolar (especially II) are usually sensitive to the circadian rhythm (the daily 24 hour cycle of the body). And some things such as stress, lack of sleep, hormones, diet, and food sensitivities, that affects the majority of people in some ways, but they can get away with it, however, in sensitive individuals it has a huge impact and can make the world of a difference. Personally, if my body is slightly out of balance, I often feel low and fatigued, or nervous and jittery to the point of not functioning. There are some foods such as chocolate and dairy that wreak havoc with my moods and it took lots of trial and error to figure it out. Same goes for stress, sleep, and hormonal imbalance.

Some stressors be it physical or emotional are unavoidable and for many of us, medication is necessary in order to function properly. Whatever works and keeps us on an even keel is the way to go.
 
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Lev Ish
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5/16/16 2:27 PM
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Thanks for empathizing. That sounds great to have a therapist with a holistic slant. I my therapist has said that I am more emotional and sensitive to emotions than average, so I like your explanation of being sensitive to the ebb and flow of existence. I can understand the tzimtzum analogy. Its actually a nice positive viewpoint- cause being sensitive has its advantages as well. For sure, stress and lack of sleep are a constant in my life that disrupt my rhythm. Diet is also a factor me but not as much as sleep and stress. It is clear to me and my wife that when I am tired, overworked, stressed, that I get super cranky and irritable to the point of not being able to interact in a positive way. Having positive thoughts and saying positive things- I always thought those were cliches- from working to become stable I have experienced that even a positive thought, all the more so words or actions do have an effect- to the point where I can say those negative thoughts I had before- they aren't real, just nuisances. Thank G-d I have had happy moments with my family where I can say I am truly blessed and can bring those feelings to other aspects of my life like work. I also benefited greatly from ACT videos (acceptance and commitment ) I watched online about accepting the negative thoughts, not trying to fight them, letting them stay quiet in the background , and instead focusing on the positive thoughts that can happen at the same time.
Thank you for the support. Its great to hear what I already knew reinforced and to learn more....


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Worry in man's heart, speak it out- Mishlei
 
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wishtobehappy
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5/16/16 4:40 PM
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Sounds like you have a knowledgeable and understanding therapist. Being more sensitive is really hard but you're right, it does have advantages. Makes you a nicer, more empathetic and caring person in general. I also find that I have heightened intuition because of it and can pick up others emotions and thoughts almost like they're my own. Get overwhelming often. Thinking positive is really, really powerful. Not cliché at all. Though, it's often a huge struggle for me. More often than not I tend go into negative mode by default. I believe positive thoughts and being grateful can change reality on different levels. In addition to making us feel better, it brings more blessings into our lives.

I never heard of ACT, will check it out. It sound similar to DBT which also teaches you acceptance, and to ride the waves without getting sucked into them. Lately I've been looking into the three principals of "Innate Health" which is also along the lines of our thoughts affecting consciousness. Something about our original essence always being connected to the source where there's only joy, peace, etc. and our thoughts getting in the way and distorting our perceptions. By being in the moment we and not attaching particular importance to our thoughts we can reconnect with our essence. Haven't mastered it yet, not by a far shot, but it sounds interesting.

Here's another thing that can boost your self-esteem
People with bipolar tend to be very creative, even gifted, and usually have above average intelligence (as well as emotional intelligence). That's what my therapist at the time made me aware of when I was feeling hopelessly negative and full of self loathing.

Also back to the kabblalistic theme, another concept that's helped me a great deal with self esteem, is that the more light we have (light in Kabbalah stands for goodness, love, joy, knowledge and advanced consciousness, etc.), the more the darkness fights back - the more resistance there is. And every time we fight and succeed in overcoming it, we expand and build our light. This has sometimes comforted me during dark times. I once saw a quote, I think it was from a Chabad website, "When darkness fights back, it means that there is something worth fighting for." It means there's hope.

Mainly we deserve a lot of credit because it's tough.
 
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his8sn
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5/17/16 11:02 AM
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Hi everyone
My husband has recently been diagnosed with bipolar and i can totally see him in the symptoms you describe. It's so nice to have some support. I feel the hardest part for him is that he feels like he's alone in this. and truth to be told, bipolar does have its advantages in addition to the struggles. I was just hoping to hear that with meds and therapy he will one day be okay. That there is light at the end of the tunnel and one day the struggle will be over. But i wonder if that's the case or is it a life long struggle?
 
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Lev Ish
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5/17/16 11:22 AM
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Hi his8sn,
I can only speak for myself. I'm on the other side, since I have bi polar 2. I'm not sure if you know the difference between 1 and 2. 1 has full manic episodes followed by depression. 2 is more of depressive states, with some episodes of less intense mania called hypomania. These are all just terms though- I would think it is diff for everyone. I am new to this board as well.
First of all, I applaud you for coming on here looking for support. It shows me you care about your spouse and want to be there for him. with love, everything is better.
I found out a year and a half ago about. I made slow progressions with therapy and meds. I can tell you know there is light at the end of the tunnel. But it turns from a tunnel, to a wave in the ocean. that has been a main theme with my therapist. I have ups, downs, but the main thing is to ride the wave. I have found that if I do that, I can really appreciate the good things in life and be balanced in a happy, stable way.
So I want to give you support to know that it can be hard, but with the help of professionals, and working in therapy, there is a A LOT of hope. The knowledge of professionals is so robust- the knowledge of this disorder is real and studied by doctors. They CAN help. Its just a matter of finding those you trust to help you go in the right direction.
I hope you can find solace in those words and can see that people with this disorder can live healthy,happy, and meaningful lives.


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Worry in man's heart, speak it out- Mishlei
 
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Lev Ish
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5/17/16 11:27 AM
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Thanks so much- This is the first time I reached out for peer support. You are awesome! It's different when it comes from a peer to know that there are others like me in this. Not just a Doc helping.
I hope can all continue to help each other.


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his8sn
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5/17/16 11:54 AM
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thank you so much for your support it is so appreciated. I can't speak for anyone but ill admit it's precisely the bipolar that makes our marriage so wonderful but as i said it does have its downsides. I'm not sure what you meant by waves though, actually that's the state he is in, constantly struggling not to fall into full blown episodes. will it constantly be a struggle or will things stabilize and just start flowing?
 
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his8sn
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5/17/16 11:59 AM
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just wanted to add-my husband also has bipolar ll
 
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wishtobehappy
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5/17/16 12:16 PM
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Hi his8sn!

I'll echo what lev ish said. You sound like a great wife.

To answer your question, it's a different reality for every individual. For many it's a constant struggle in the beginning, but eventually things settle down and you fall into a predictable routine. Once you learn how to deal with the ups and downs they become a lot less threatening and interferes less with daily life, but it's often still there in the background. You might have a different experience though.

There's another user with a similar screen name to yours - he has an 'm' instead of the 'n' in yours, who's been on here for years. Just wondering if that's your husband because we've corresponded on the forum at some point. If you don't feel comfortable answering, it's perfectly understandable and okay. Just being curious here We discussed depression and OCD at the time.
 
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wishtobehappy
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5/17/16 12:18 PM
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Thanks Lev Ish. You're awesome too Give yourself a thumbs up for being a trouper and fighting in this battle.

 
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Lev Ish
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5/17/16 1:06 PM
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For me the wave means, hangin on till its smooth sailing again. Not sure its a perfect metaphor from actual surfing....But when things are tough for me, like if the negative feelings feel like a big wave about to crash on me, I try to re-arrange my thoughts and say to myself: this is going to pass. I have had real good moments, with my family, succeeding at work, etc. and those are going to return. I am just going through a wave right now. I'm going to ride it the best I can and not fall off the board. It will pass and then I will be back to smooth surfing again. That along with deep breaths and re-directing to positive thoughts, actions, make the the wave pass.

I want to add that these techniques became really helpful for me after I started taking a medication about 7 months ago that helped quiet down the negative racing thoughts to the point where I could settle down a bit. At a certain point, the thoughts I had were quite crippling . I think I have come to the realization now that all negative thoughts are from the unholy side. As human beings, that side is a part of us. I guess it's supposed to make us grow, by fighting it and getting to a higher place.

If you want to you can google ACT videos, acceptance, committment therapy videos. I found it extremely helpful to recognize the enemy- I always would try to get rid of my negative thoughts. And get frustrated when I just couldn't. These videos helped me realize that I can get them to quiet down and sit at the back of the bus. I can never throw them off the bus, but I don't have to let them ruin the ride. I can get them to talk more quiet, move to the back of the bus, and let myself enjoy the ride, even though there is a small hum in the background. Getting rid of them is a battle not to be won.

This is the first time in 1.5 years that I have found some peer support. I find it very helpful so far and I guess I am being a little cathartic at the same time. Its great to know that I am not alone and that we all fight the same struggle, each in our own way.




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Worry in man's heart, speak it out- Mishlei
 
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his8sn
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5/17/16 1:13 PM
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yes-same here, been in this for almost 2yrs. but was misdiagnosed in the begining.
I must say he wasn't so bad to begin with, He just gets frustrated as to why he needs to take the medication if it's not helping him get rid of the waves. I'm starting to think that maybe it's just a perfectionist issue. He wants things to run smoothly ALWAYS. I'm afraid that's not going to happen. He's dealing with the emotions and can handle it but wants to get rid of it completely.
 
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his8sn
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5/17/16 1:22 PM
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no-it's not my husband. Actually i don't know why i chose this user name. I think it was the first one i saw and it matches my initials somehow
 
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his8sn
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5/17/16 1:26 PM
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and by the way, I thank you all so much for your support. It's been so difficult keeping it all in to myself and pretending everything is perfect. Everyone around me is always busy on what a wonderful husband i have, and he really is wonderful but it was just so hard when things were tough to smile and not tell anybody the dark secrets. It's a real support to be able to air it out for a change
 
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