Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pressures of Life

For the next few blogs i'm going to write(or rather type) about pressure. This is something that every age group deals and struggles with. So read and be wowed (or at least slightly amused either way's good)

General Pressure

Teacher pressure is in class. Or for some students after class in detention; For those of you who may not have known there are a lot of different way to get detention the most interesting are, defacing school property, putting tacks on chairs, and starting fights almost always over a girl or guy.(I am in no way encouraging or endorsing this behavior. So if you get caught don’t say “This anonymous blogger implied it was alright”. I don’t want the cops knocking on my door at three in the morning!) Who said school was dull and unexciting? (Wait I think that was me! Ooops.) Peer pressure is everywhere outside of class, and away from the teachers. Family pressure is at home. (You can’t hide from it. It’s like one huge conspiracy. A pretty weird one too.) Personal Pressure is everywhere you are, because personal pressure comes from within you. Every other pressure is outside of you, which means you can get away from it for an extent, but you can’t hide from yourself. Everyone needs to get away from all the pressure and burden that comes with the whole life deal every once in a while. I suggest a movie at the theaters. For me there’s just something relaxing about sitting in a huge dark theater with only the sound of the movie. If you’re a girl I would strongly recommend shopping, but if it’s your friends that are pressuring you it would be a good idea to go alone. That may sound boring, but trust me it can be a relief to do something for you by yourself, I’m guilty of it. (On the other hand some people tend to go on shopping sprees when there stressed, and I strongly discourage that. Like I mentioned in my managing money blog if you’re going shopping give yourself a limit, and don’t go past that limit.) If you’re a guy you’re probably more inclined to play video games, and fix a car than to go shopping, but do what works for you. That’s all anybody can do. Think of it as a stress detoxer and a reset button. I personally love the beach, but not the ocean. I love lying on a sheet on the sand and just listening to the waves hitting the shore. Some people listen to cd’s of beach sounds but it’s not the same as the real thing. That’s what works for me, but you need to find what works for you and stick with it.

Personal Pressure

Personal pressure is the hardest to deal with because it doesn’t come from another person, who you can walk away from at any time, it comes from within you. (Or rather it comes from that miniature devil on your shoulder, and lets be honest most of the time the angel has more important things to do) Personal pressure can range from pushing yourself to get the best grade in class, to performing well at work, to any other scenario that has to do with you. Which if you think about it is every scenario. Everyone puts a certain amount of pressure on themselves, which if it is the right amount can help you, but too much pressure will hurt you in the long run. Too much pressure is unhealthy. If you’re stressed to the max you might not eat enough, or you might eat too much. Everything requires a certain amount of balance. Balanced personal pressure will help you accomplish a lot of things, but too much pressure can actually hinder your abilities. For example my younger brother wants to be the best in class, and if he gets a B+ he thinks the world is going to end. It’s good that he wants to be good at his school work, but he puts more pressure on himself than any teacher would. While most of the time he meets his personal standards it comes with a price. He stresses himself out, which makes him nervous, and when he’s nervous he chews the tip of his finger. (Weird right. You would think he would chew his nail, but he doesn’t) When he does that enough he makes his fingers raw, which hinders his ability to write. So it’s a double edged sword. Good and bad. I know there’s a lot more people who do the same thing. (To clarify I don’t mean the chewing on your finger part, just the stress part) I know I did when I was younger, but as I got older I lessened the pressure a little bit, because I realized that it was actually making me worse, because I would get sick, and put more pressure on myself to catch up, which would just start the cycle all over again. The moral of the story is most people do better with less pressure, which includes personal pressure, because their not all bogged down. There’s no trick to lightening up. It’s a choice and the better one if you ask me. If you’re not sure put it to the test do it for a month and see what happens. Then go from there.

Family Pressure

Family pressure is a lot like peer pressure. It’s there every day, and has a limitless range of pressure on different things. It’s even worse in some aspects. Like the fact you have to live with them, and see them everyday. At least with peer pressure you get a break at your home, or outside of school. Family pressure is the opposite you get sucked into it after school and at your own home. In theory you’re trading one type of pressure for another. (Insert sarcastic Wahoo here) The best thing I’ve found that personally works for me is (and I don’t mean to sound disrespectful or rude) putting it out of your mind. Listen to what they say, they are still your parents, but don’t take what they say and add it to your own pressure. Listen, acknowledge, and either apply or throw away. They just want the best for you, but if their pressure is adding more to your own then for your own good don’t add it to your collecting pressure. They don’t know how much pressure you carry around, but you do. Some unnecessary pressure also comes from miscommunication, which unfortunately never goes completely away it’s something you have to work at. It might help if you tell them that your trying to do your best, and explain to them how much pressure you have on you, which will help the to see and understand, and put less pressure on you. (That works for me. Because they have so much going on that they might not notice your woes on their own, but if you make it known to them they will work with you better.) Believe it or not they aren’t the enemy. Try talking to them; you might be surprised how far that goes. (I didn’t mean that statement to sound like a fortune cookie.)

School Pressure

Almost everyone in your life is pressuring you in one way or another. (A’int that the truth)Teachers and guidance councilors pressure you to get good grades so you can get into a good college, and “Make something of your life”. I for one disagree with that statement. I believe you don’t have to get a “higher education” to succeed. It would certainly help, but how your life turns out is up to you not your education. While they have your future in mind, and want the best for you. It is your future, and is ultimately up to you to decide what to do and how to do it. (That may be a little scary for some students) While your teachers and parents may push you to get into a good college it’s your choice which one you go to, and what you do once you get there. Just thinking about your future is almost always guaranteed to give you a headache. (I know I get one) I suggest setting short term goals if you don’t have any long term goals. If you have short term goals it will help you decide your long term goals. If you want to do something completely different than what your parents and teachers want you to do, go for it. It’s your life not there’s. But I do recommend listening to what they have to say because they do have more experience than you, and have been through some of the same things. Even if you know you want to go a different direction with your life you should still take into consideration what everyone has told you, because worst case scenario only some of it is right.

Peer Pressure

Now a days there is an insane amount of pressure on kids, and not just from one or two people. Almost everyone in your life is pressuring you in one way or another. There’s peer pressure from your classmates and friends. Peer pressure is probably the most versatile type of pressure. It’s not just one or two specific things, peer pressure has a huge range, and is worst than any other type of pressure. Stay strong it gets better, and if you resist you’ll feel better too. You might not believe this, but your peers will respect you more for standing your ground. The same thing happened to me, and when I refused to back down they treated me with more respect, and less pressure, because they knew I wasn’t going to cave. Here are some things I’ve found helpful when facing peer pressure. 1. If it’s someone you know, in your mind pretend like they’re a stranger. It’s easier to resist someone you don’t know than someone you do know. I know it may sound silly, but if your friend wants you to do something wrong than at that moment they aren’t your friend. 2. Practice saying NO! If you know a peer is going to try and pressure you into doing something practice either in your head or out loud how to respond. Then respond the same way when they ask you, make yourself say it. 3. Stand up for yourself If someone is trying to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do that person is bullying you. There are three choices on how to deal with bully’s Don’t do anything and suffer through it (in some cases that could be years) Deal with it yourself (That can either be easier or harder depends on the case) Tell someone and get help dealing with them ( Easiest and most productive route) I’ve found the last two to be more effective than the first one, because depending on the case it could be a constant thing for years. Putting up with that is bad on not only your emotional well being, but your physical well being also, because it could become so bad that you continually get sick or stop eating. I strongly recommend choice number three. Tell someone older than you a parent, teacher, or even older friend. Ask them what they think you should do, because there is a very strong possibility that person has gone through the same things your going through. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (Just don’t go towards it!!!) It may be hard to talk about or even embarrassing, but it can be worth it in the end. Try it and see what I mean.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mariette Hartley- Actress/ Advocate (Co-founder of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Mariette Hartley’s film career started in 1962 with a leading role in the film Ride the High Country. During her long acting career she has performed in almost every venue. She won an Emmy for her appearance in a 1978 version of The Incredible Hulk (Who doesn’t love The Hulk? I mean hello, he’s a Big Green Monster like person, who is bad/good. Of course she’s going to win an award in that movie. Duh!) Her versatile performance allowed her to play a variety of roles, including the famous “you can’t show your belly button on TV” part in the episode of the original Star Trek. (Again who doesn’t love Star Trek?) Mariette was diagnosed with severe depression in 1994 while experiencing a suicidal episode. The prescribed antidepressants sent her into mania. (Antidepressant’s can cause a bipolar person to “switch” bringing on a manic or hypo manic phase. Needless to say it is used with much caution for a person with Bp, but mostly is an avoided medication for.) That, she says was when she realized something else must be going on. She was first diagnosed with ADD, before finally being diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. (That is a common mistake, because, many of the symptoms are almost identical). In 1987she co-founded the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (An excellent foundation that really helps people, I would sincerely recommend it if you’re having suicidal thoughts, of course going to your doctor would be the best option.) Her father had already committed suicide in 1963, and her mother attempted suicide shortly after. She also lost another bipolar family member to suicide, her uncle. In an interview with USA Today she said something that I believe in with every fiber in my being. (And I have a lot of fiber in me; shockingly I’m not just full of hot air) In a final quote she said “ If you are on the right medication now, for God’s sake stay on it and don’t change, but if it doesn’t seem to be working, then go to a doctor and find the right one for you”. For God’s sake take her advice.

Rosemary Clooney- Singer/ Actress (George Clooney’s Aunt)

Rosemary Clooney was a gifted singer whose career was disrupted midstream by bipolar disorder. She and her sister Betty were living in poverty when they won a contest and earned a regular job singing on the radio. They went from collecting soda bottles and using the refund money to buy lunch at school to getting paid 20$ a week each to sing on the radio. (That is what I call a lucky break) They became known as “The Clooney Sisters”. In 1951 she recorded “Come on-a My House,” a song she hated. Ironically it made her a star. The album became a gold record. She played in several films, but none as popular as White Christmas. The film became the top grosser of 1954. (Put simply, made more money over the entire year than every other movie put out that year. That’s a lot of money! She must have been rolling in dough by then!) She eloped in 1953 and married an Oscar winning actor. and between 1955 and 1960 they had five children! (That automatically makes her a super mom, and worthy of the ever so popular mini van. No offense to mini van lovers, my mom has one too.) The pressure of raising five children while pursuing careers as a television, movie, radio, and recording star, plus her failing marriage led her to self medicate on pain killers and tranquilizers. (As you can see from my other blogs self medication is in almost every bio of an undiagnosed person). For Clooney the world and her mental state plummeted when her close friend Bobby Kennedy was assassinated only yards away from her. (That obviously had to be traumatizing anyway)The tragedy along with her drug addiction triggered a public mental collapse. She cursed at her audience and then walked off stage; she later called a press conference to announce her retirement at which she sobbed uncontrollably. When she heard a doctor was being summoned she ran away, and was found driving on the wrong side of a mountain road. She was admitted to a hospital, where she was diagnosed bipolar and was in therapy for several years following. In 1977 she released an autobiography This for Remembrance, which describes her illness and trials. She wanted others to know that they’re not alone, and to be able to recognize some of their own symptoms so they don’t have to go through what she did! (Nobody should have to go through what she did) Throughout her career she recorded 25 albums, and received several awards. She died Saturday, June 29th, 2002 after a struggle with lung cancer. She was 74.

Charley Pride- First Famous Black Country Singer

Charley was born March 18, 1938. Charley taught himself how to play the guitar when he was 14. He wanted to be a baseball player, but he proved to be a better musician than athlete. (Neither of which I am. L Sigh!) After a trip to Nashville in 1965 and two demos he was offered a contract. His first single “The Snakes Crawl at Night” was an instant hit. (Way to go Charley!) On tour in Detroit the story is this; When Charley stepped on stage he was greeted with loud applause, which got lower and lower in volume until near silence as most of the audience began to make the realization that he was a black country singer. (This was when prejudice was everywhere, and there had never been a famous black country singer before) But Charley’s music overcame that and after the show he was bombarded with autograph seekers and the rest is history. Charley’s singles became instant hits, and he made a joke before shows about his “permanent tan” that became his trademark. In 1969 his album of his collection of singles shot the singer up to the coveted number one position of country music sales charts. Throughout his career he had 36#1 hits singles, over 35 million albums sold, 31gold and 4 platinum including one quadruple platinum. (That really makes you sit back and say, Wow, He’s unbelievably good!)He suffered from depression throughout his career, and didn’t start taking medicine until he was hospitalized in 1989. He stayed on medicine after that and was able to maintain a remarkable career. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley. He preformed at the White House for President Clinton and his wife. He was inducted into the roster of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville--a high honor among country music traditionalists. Twenty-five years earlier, Pride had become the first African American singer to appear on the Opry stage. In the year 2000, he became the first African American member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. (That is what I call a role model!)

Axl Rose- (A.K.A.) Lead Singer 4 Guns n Roses

Axl Rose (real name Billy Bailey) was the poster boy for young teens with problems. By the age of 16 he was, as he said “A full fledged juvenile delinquent”. He was banned from his home and was in and out of jail. He changed his name after finding out the man who raised him was actually his step father. (If that’s not a trigger I don’t know what is!) Which is when he adopted the name Axl Rose (Rose was his biological father’s last name). He started the band Guns n Roses with his friend from school in 1985. (You gotta love the 80’s) Within a few years they had made a name for themselves. A few years later he was diagnosed with manic depressive, and eventually bipolar disorder. In an interview with Rolling Stone he said “I’m very sensitive and emotional and things upset me and make me feel like not functioning or dealing with people.” (Yup, that sounds about right) However, it has been said that he might not have Bp; some of his behavior could be explained through the rough life he’s had. There are also several other possible illnesses that could explain some of his symptoms instead of Bp. (There are a lot out there) Either way he has had a very rough childhood, which shows through some of his songs. (At least he got something out of it! Rock On!)

Maurice Bernard- Actor (General Hospital)

Maurice’s story is extremely similar to others who have Bp. He had problems since his adolescence, but had a major breakdown at 22, and was then diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He likes to box to ease his tension. He says “There’s nothing better than boxing!” I personally think there is one thing better than boxing….. Chocolate! (But that could just be me I don’t know.) He says the key to his stability is never missing his medication, which he says he’s been on for 15 years. (I whole heartedly agree) When asked about side effects he said “The only side effect is, if I don’t take it, I have a breakdown,” That is the one side affect every person with a mental illness automatically has, medication or not. He was recently interviewed and put on the cover of Bp magazine. (It really sends a message when a famous actor is not only willing to have his face plastered on a magazine that millions of people are going to see and recognize as him, but to also have his personal biography written for everyone to read and see.)

Carrie Fisher- Actress (Princess Leia)

Carrie Fisher was born in 1956 and is the daughter of two actors. She started show biz from an early age. It wasn’t until her role in Star Wars was she recognized nationally. Star Wars put the Star in her name. (Alright that might have been a little cheesy)But at the same time she was starting to cross over into the “Dark Side” and it wasn’t long until no force could help her. Who said princesses have an easy life? (Especially when your father is Darth Vader!) She was diagnosed as Bipolar, and after struggling with it for years and self medicating through drugs she was able to find some stability on proper medication. Now she is a speaker and advocate on the mental health circuit. That just goes to show you how easy it is to succumb to the dark side of the force, but how much better it is when you return. She says “Sobriety is the key to dealing with bipolar disorder.” (How much more true could that statement be? None) I especially like what she recommended to people with Bp. She said “Generally, if they are properly bipolar, it’s going to be really chaotic. The best way to do it would be to talk to someone who has the same illness. They’re not going to listen to someone who doesn’t have the disorder because you don’t have the same feelings.” That’s some of the best advice someone with Bp can get. I suggest you take it.

Patty Duke

Patty Duke is a famous actress, and author. Patty Duke was recognized as talented when she was 8, and started her movie career soon after. (I guess instead of reading Dr. Seuss she read movie scripts.) She has performed on Broadway, TV Series, and has appeared in 72 TV Movies. (Insert a cartoon mouth drop here :0) She received an Oscar at the age of 16, which made her the youngest person to receive one back then. Later she won two Golden Globes, three Emmys, six Emmy nominations, and a People Choice Award. (I bet her nickname was Emmy at one time) She wrote two best seller books on her struggle with mental illness. The first one was “Call Me Anna” (Which is her real name) her autobiography in which she publicly revealed her illness for the first time. The book was quickly made into a movie. She played a younger version of herself. (Who else could be that authentic?! I mean it was her life you know.)The second book is “A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness”, (Manic Depressive is what they now call bipolar, but that was a while ago) which is a detailed account of her battle with Manic Depressive (Bp). She has a web site to explain to people, who have Bp that they will not lose their creativity, or change who they are if they take medication. She says she’s more creative now because she can organize a thought. (a lot of people think that taking meds for your problems will change who you are, but as someone who has Bp and knows what it’s like to take meds and not take meds, let me tell you right now; They Will NOT change who you are they will just help you be more stable, and healthy. I feel more like myself when I’m on meds, because I’m more stable then when I’m off them.) If you’re on the right medicine you will feel better, think better, and be better. If the medicine you’re on is what works for you then I guarantee you’ll like the person staring back at you in the mirror more. Your personality, your likes, and your dislikes stay the same the only thing that changes are your moods, which becomes more stable. It’s like the difference between choppy waves and calm waves, a dark sky and the sun shining. The waves and sky are the same as they were before just in a different state.

Famous People With BP

As I’ve mentioned before there are many famous people with BP. Some prefer to keep quiet others prefer to advocate. For the next couple of blogs I’m going to write about several famous people with BP that you might know. By doing this I’m hoping anyone who thinks they’re still alone in what they’re going through will realize they are far from alone, and there are many people going through the exact same things as you are, and some probably at the same time as you are.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Do You View BP?

Sometimes the biggest difference between two people with BP isn’t their symptoms, or what medicine they do or don’t take, but how they view their BP. Do they view it as a curse or as a blessing in disguise? The disguise part of the blessing would obviously be the symptoms and the ridiculous stigma that comes with the territory. Nobody likes being unstable, it’s hard on not only you, but everyone around you too. It’s also frustrating when people label you as different. Although as I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with being different, and truthfully I wouldn’t want to be “normal”. I’ve heard from a very reliable source that “normal” is just another word for extremely boring! With all the negative things that come with BP there are also several positive things. I know most of you are probably thinking, how in the world is BP a blessing?! The blessing would be all the good things that come with the territory. For example, you can relate and have compassion for other people with a mental health issues. Also, most of the time people with BP are gifted in one thing or another. It could be a subject in school, or it could be something you don’t even think about as being a gift. If you get nothing else out of any of my blogs, I’ll be satisfied if you walk away knowing this; There will always be at least one person who thinks you are a uniquely special gift, and is advocating for you and others like you and me. (By the way that was meant as a fact, and not as a mushy statement!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Managing Your Money

Everyone knows that spending the money you have is easy, but saving the money you have can be hard. The trick is to learn how to manage it. Managing your money can be harder for someone with mood swings. When your manic you tend to buy a lot more than you need or even want, and when your depressed you may not spend anything at all. Spending or saving money can also be a compulsion for some people. Like most teens I like to spend the money I make, but I also know that I should put some into savings. Here’s a few tips I’ve found worked (most of the time anyway) 1. Put a certain amount in savings every time I put one third of my paycheck into savings every time. That way I’ll have a steady stream of income and at the same time a steady stream of savings. The same thing works for allowances. Put aside a certain amount every time, even if it’s just 50 cents, and you’ll be surprised how fast it adds up. 2. Only carry small bills If you don’t want to spend all your money at once leave most of it home, and only carry however much you feel is ok to spend. And no that doesn’t mean leave 15 and carry 50. That means carry 15 and leave 50. If you find something you absolutely have to buy and you don’t have enough money remember you can always come back later. That also allows you enough time to think about if you actually do want/need/can’t live without it, or if you just thought you did at the time. That’s a trick that helped me when I started buying a whole bunch of stuff I thought I needed/wanted at the time but later figured out I didn’t. 3. Bargain Buy When you look for bargains on stuff you want to buy you kill two birds with one stone. You get what you want, and you save money. But bargains are a two edged sword. They’re great for saving you money on something, but they also tend to make you want to buy something just because it’s on sale. When I first started paying more attention to when sale’s were going on I was excited at all the money I thought I could be saving, and I did save money. But what I found is that I actually spent more than I originally intended to because I bought so much stuff just because it was on sale. Even though it’s on sale it still costs something and If you get a lot of stuff on sale it can still be expensive. 4. Find What Works for You All of these things work for me but they may or may not work for you. If they do great, but if they don't than my next suggestion is to sit down (or stand up) and think about how you usually spend your money and what you can do to manage it better. Just doing that is a good thing, and I guarantee it will help you see things a little differently, and remember to actually put into practice what you say you’re going to in your head. There’s no point to figuring out how to manage your money if you don’t put it into practice. That’s my advice take it or leave it, and I really hope you take it. (My feelings would be very hurt if you didn’t at least try!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bickering With Your BP Sibling Part 2

See, there are so many things you can do I couldn’t even fit it into one blog. Here’s a few more tips. Tip#3- Switch the Topic If you realize you’re cooking a recipe for disaster, switch recipes. I think blissful peace is better, but that’s just me. Talk about something you know won’t be an issue. Maybe something he/she likes. Tip#4- Give Them Some Space- Just like you need your space so does he/she. Let them wind down and cool off. Go do something else, and let your sibling do what he/she does to cool down. Sometimes the things you do to calm down are similar if not the same as your siblings. For example, my brother and I both find that listening to music calms us down. So I know that when his music is blaring he’s upset. So even though I can’t stand his music I leave him alone, because I know it’ll be better for everyone in the long run. Usually he does the same for me too. So let them do their thing. I also strongly suggest not talking to them while their still upset, because that’ll just get you back to square one, or even negative one depending on the state of stability. So let them be. They'll eventualy simmer down. Tip#5 Stay Calm- I’m not going to lie, that is the hardest thing to do, but it’s also the most productive. If your not calm then their not going to be either. I know I’m guilty of losing when he’s losing it, but it try to work on it. It’s commendable to at least try, even if you don’t always get the results you were looking for. Everything depends on the level of stability you and your sibling are at. Do what you have to do to stay calm. Count to 10, take deep breaths. Or as my mom tells me to do, picture you at the beach, and listen to the soothing waves around. If that’s not your thing then picture yourself speeding down the highway in a fast car with the top down and the wind in your face. Just don’t literally do that, seriously, I’m not joking. I guarantee things will go WAY better if one of you stays calm, and that means you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bickering with Your BP Sibling Part1

In some of my previous blogs I’ve mentioned ways you can cope with your own BP, and now I’m going to share some tips on coping with your siblings BP. It may not always seem like it, but there are ways to deal with your siblings BP without messing up your own mood. It can be a challenge, but it can be done. I know that every brother/sister BP or not knows how to push their siblings buttons, but I also know that if you try you can defuse the situation just as well as you can instigate one. Most of the time it’s harder to stop an argument, which can quickly lead to a melt down, than it is to start one. If you’re like me than you could probably start one in you sleep. So, Tip#1- Know when to stop. It’s easy to take things too far. I know it is for me. You mat start out just kidding and messing around, but you may end up in a shouting match or with a door being slammed in your face. Try and gage your sibling’s reaction. If you see the situation going south it’s up to you to put on the brakes, and trust me, you will be glad you did. Tip#2- Walk Away. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to walk away. Put ice on the fire. If you leave the room the situation is out of sight, and will be out of mind quicker. While it may be the best to walk away for some people, it can be the worst for others. For example, my brother gets more aggravated if I walk away, and yells at me to stop ignoring him. That’s also an example of knowing what does and doesn’t help a situation. I know every person, who has a sibling has been in these situations before. What might help you to understand what not to do is to analyze an argument you’ve had before, as long as it won’t upset you more. Try to find out what went wrong so you’ll know what not to do next time. To Be Continued....

You and Your BP Sibling

I'm gonna do something a little bit different for the next couple of blogs. I usualy write about what i've found can help you with your bp, but for the next couple of blogs i'm gonna write about what i've found helps you cope with your siblings bp.It’s hard enough managing and coping with your own BP, but when you add in a sibling who has BP it becomes even more complicated. Just as it is with yourself there are days when everything is just dandy, and there are days when it seems like the house is going to explode from all the yelling and instability. If I had a nickel for every time my brother, who also has BP, and I fought because one or both of us were unstable I’d be rich already. Now I also have 2 brothers who don’t have BP so I know it’s normal to bicker with your siblings in fact if they/we didn’t bicker that would be more worrisome than bickering a lot. It’s a fine line between normal sibling rivalry, and unstable fighting, and as I’ve found it’s a line that’s crossed more often than not. What’s important to remember, although I always manage to forget is, your brother/sister who also has BP is dealing with many of the same things as you are. We know that, but it doesn’t always click. We both see each other as the sibling who has BP too, but we both don’t always take the time to stop and think about what that means. We’re both so focused on our own problems we either minimize or maximize each others. I’ve found it helps to stop and think about what having a sibling with BP means. It means your brother/sister has the same thing you do, and inevitably goes through many of the same things you do. What works even better is visualizing you as your sibling, because you both have at least most of the same problems. He/she is in a way you. So I know it can be difficult, especially if your siblings BP is more severe. My advice to you is to apply the golden rule. “Treat others as you want to be treated”. Just like you need some slack so do your brother/sister. So give as much as you know your going to need sometime or another. You might be surprised how far that’ll go.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Everyone Needs A Good Laugh

I truly believe everyone needs a good laugh as often as possible. I have personally found that two things help relieve my stress: 1. Crying 2. Laughing, now I don’t know about you but I would pick laughing over crying everyday. I don’t mean the ha ha very funny laugh, or the slight giggle either. I mean the loud, head thrown back, sides hurting laugh. That is what a good laugh truly means. When you laugh a good laugh for a moment you forget your worries and you can almost feel the stress being washed away, and with the way this world is I truly believe everyone should get to experience that as often as possible. With three younger brothers who love to clown around it’s not too hard for me to find something to laugh at! For those who don’t have as much to laugh at I strongly recommend reading the book Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid written by Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian (A.K.A. the Shut Up Sisters). This book was co-write by two sisters with children who have Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder. What makes this book unique is how they intertwine the seriousness along with the humor of the various situations. I guarantee they will have you bursting with laughter in no time. I would recommend this book to any and every parent of a child or teen with a mental disability, and I recommend reading it as soon as possible too, because I know you’ll find it every bit as enjoyable as I did.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stress Factor

Stress is the one thing that each individual on earth has experienced. Scary right. For people with Bp it can be scary. Stress messes with your moods, and effects each person differently. For example when my brother is stressed he gets frustrated and angry faster, but when I get stressed I cry. The biggest stress factor for teens is school. Teens have to deal with the pressure at school from teachers to excell acedemically, and to get into college. Of course the mound of homework they heap on you doesn't help. Just that is enough to cause a teen without Bp to melt down. Then add in the pressure from your peers to "fit in" and it's a recipe for disaster. Here are a few tips I've found helpful to put out the fire not fuil it.
1. Seperate yourself from the source. If a teacher or class is causing a problem ask to go to your "safe room". In my previous blogs i explained what a "safe room" is, and that everyone should have one. The definition of a "safe room" is a place where you can go to cooldown no matter what. Somewhere or someone that calms you down. You can stay there until you defuse then go back, or stay there if you know going back will get you right back where you started.
2. Do something that you know relaxes you. Putting your head down on your desk and blocking out the problem while taking deep breaths may help if you can't physically leave. That is what my brother does when he can't leave class.
What I used to do when I got upset and/or stressed at school was to wait until I got home and then let everything out at once. I usualy ended up slamming my door and screaming into my pillow or venting at my mom. My mom suggested making a list of 10 things that I know calms me down and tape it to my wall where I can see it. Then everytime I get upset to look at it and do all 10 things on the list to calm down. That helped tremendously, and I strongly suggest doing this to anyone who gets uspet and/or stressed frequently. I'll list a couple things I put on my list that you might find helpful.
1. Count to 15
2. Take several deep breaths
3. Listen to music
4. Write down what I was feeling and why I was feeling it, and then throw it away
5. Think about something else
6. If possible watch a movie
Those are a few of the things I found helpful to relieve stress at home and at school. Some of them might help you, and some of them won't. The key is to find what helps you personally. I know I say that in almost every one of my blogs, but it's because it's important. Give them a try you never know.

Monday, February 9, 2009

How Do I Tell My Friends I Have BP?

So now you've decided to tell a friend of yours you have bipolar disorder. The next question you ask yourself is "How do I tell my friends I have bp?" For most people telling your friends is much harder than deciding to tell your friends. I know it was for me. I must have run through a hundred scenarios in my head. Do I tell my friend at school? Maybe on the way to class, or in the library. Do I tell my friend when I have a sleepover? Should I tell my friend over the phone, or on IM? There are countless ways to tell your friend you have bp. I recommend a face to face conversation. That way you can watch their reaction and answer any questions they may have. I found that worked best for me. But, however you want to tell them make sure it's a setting your comfortable in. You might feel more comfortable telling them over the phone. While someone else mat not. It's your decision and it's also your friend. Tell your friends the way you want to tell them. If they are a true friend they'll support you, and stick with you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I know that anyone and everyone with BP or other mentall illneses knows what a trigger is. They are the little things that set you off. Things that other people may not think are annoying, but drive you insane! For some it's a lot of noise, certain kinds of music, lighting, the way people eat, or even certain facial expressions. Everyone's trigger is different, the key is to identify exactly what your triggers are (and i say triggers because most people have more than one) and then finding a way to help you cope with them. That's especially necessary if yours tends to be a day to day problem. I know what works for me personally is listening to music. I listen to my music and drown out everything else. I focus on the artists voice, and let it flow through me so to speak. That might work for someone who gets bothered by a lot of noise. For example, my brother gets highly annoyed at my much younger brothers whenever they make a lot of noise, because noise is a huge trigger for him. What bothers him is the stuff all young little kids do, so it's impossible and unrealistic to stop them from doing what little boys do. The way he deals with it (after he's done shouting) is to go into his room and listen to his favorite band (sometimes louder than the rest of the family likes, but hey whatever works) that immediately calms him down. Like some people he is also sensitive to some kinds of lighting, he carrys a pair of sunglasses around with him so he can dimm any bright lights, and he almost always wears a hat, which helps shade his eyes. Eash person is different and what works for me and my brother may not work for you, but my advice is to try incorporating the things you like to do or hobbys you have to help cool you down when you feel irritated, or can feel yourself starting to get worked up. Also, try to think of all possible situations where there might be a trigger, and come up with a plan on what you or/and you parent can do to help you get out of the situation without too much damage done. Because lets face it, your not always going to be in your comfort zone when these things happen especially if your like me and they always seem to happen at the most inconvienent times, so what i recommend is to have an out. Figure out a way to tell your parents your gonna go into code yellow before you hit code red and they can help you, because from personal experience when you have a melt down its not fun for anybody. So, try out different solutions to your problem untill you find the right one, and don't stop untill you do. Because things always go smoother when everyones happy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Should I tell my friends I have BP?

Your decision to tell others you have BP is exactly that, your decision. No one else can/should make it for you. No one should be forced into telling someone they have BP. Every person suffering from BP has to make the decision of wether or not to tell their friends at some point in there life. Its especially hard for teens to tell their friends they have BP. I guarentee every teen has asked themselves at one time or another "Should i tell my friends i have bipolar disorder?" i know i did. Many many times. Sometimes many times in one week alone. I was very self conscious about it, to the point where i would have anxiety attacks. In fact the first time i told a friend from school i had BP was after she wittnessed a minor melt down and asked me what was wrong. I broke down and told her everything which to my delight did not make her laugh or make fun of me, which had been my fear of what might happen, instead it made her more supportive and understanding. Ironically my brother was the complete opposite. He didn't care if everyone in the world knew. Which wasn't always good for me because he also didn't care if everyone in the world knew his sister had BP too. Thankfully my mother told him something which i think applys very well here. She said its great that your comfortable enought to let people know that you have BP, but that's how you feel. Your sister doesn't want anyone to know. If she wants to tell someone she has BP then she will, but she'll tell them herself. What i brought away from that experience is everyone is different. Some teens will have no problem telling their friends, while others may not want to tell them at all. Also, the way you feel may change as you grow older (or as your mood swings change). My brother and i switched places as we got older. Now he isn't as willing to tell just anyone he has BP, and now i obviously feel way more comfortable about it. To the point of wanting to tell other people instead of wanting to keep it to myself. It wasn't until i was older that i realized if the person i told was a true friend then i had nothing to worry about. If the person your calling a friend is a true friend then they will support you no matter what, and if their not and they do react negatively then it's their loss, not yours. But no matter what one thing never changes. The choice is yours.

New Beginning

Sorry, i haven't written anything in a while. I got preoccupied with school starting, and have been meaning to write something new. First i'd like to admit that for a while i wasn't even sure if i wanted to keep this blog up, becuase i wasn't sure if what i was writing was going to make a difference or if anyone was even reading what i wrote. Then i realized that i was being stupid! The whole reason i started this blog was so that i could help other teens with BP in any way i can, and no matter who reads this what i have to say is important and i can't do nothing when i know i can be doing something. So i'm back on track and planning on posting new blogs frequently. Just thought you'd like an update.