The following is a guest post submitted by happygrumpymom from over at www.happygrumpymom.wordpress.com and is published with both her permission and my thanks…
Bipolar Makes A Mess: Can Counseling help?
Managing my bipolar disorder is difficult – and yes, sometimes it makes “normal” life impossible. For the times when I come out of the mess – through counseling, medication, and lifestyle choices, I am hoping to find the solutions that are right for me. I am happy (most of the time) to have the rest of my life in front of me as someone who takes responsibility for and does my best to manage my illness so I can be a positive support to my family and community.
Recently after going through the denial stage (off medication) where I experienced a few months of depression ending in a manic mixed state, a helpful friend who knew I wasn’t doing so well and also knew I would need to have good habits in place in addition to my medication, asked if I was making any progress with my counselor. He asked if my counselor makes me mad… hmmm… well… seeing that I’m already kind of in a “mad” mood – but, I knew what he meant… does my counselor push me? Does he bring up aspects that I need to change that make me uncomfortable? The answer is… at first, yes – absolutely, yes.
When I first went to my counselor I didn’t want to go back. He started out with some sheets of skills to work on that I took rather personally. In addition, I figure… these are tough chemicals… you want me to outsmart them?? But, eventually, I had to admit that there were more than a few things there I could work on. So, I kept going back, and after a while I didn’t feel so “mad” that I had needed to work on some things – rather, I just wanted to change them.
It’s been a while since I began meeting with this particular counselor and although I’ve taken more than my share of steps backwards, I’ve also done a lot to move forward. I think often, because I can be stubborn and sometimes slow to catch on, I have to go through something big in order to really commit to change and make it a reality. And sometimes I just have to accept that each day brings something new – sometimes crappy feelings I have to sleep off and sometimes good feelings I want to live for and work for.
So, yeah, I’m asking my counselor to keep making me mad and doing my best to actively make change a reality in my thoughts and lifestyle. New habits take time, and when bipolar isn’t completely kicking my butt, I’m up for the challenge.
[Editor’s Note: I am sure that many of the Guild’s members will have been through counseling at some stage or another in their journey. And some are or have been sat in the other seat and are the one’s giving the counseling. So this is something that many of us can relate to. I am very grateful to happygrumpymom for sharing this with us and would encourage members to pop across and visit her blog and see what else happygrumpymom has to share.]