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Words of Wisdom on Marriage, thank you BP magazine



Marriage & Bipolar: Words of Wisdom
​Consider this heartfelt (and humorous) advice from a veteran wife who has worked through many of the special challenges associated with being married with bipolar disorder.

By Laura Yeager

​I’m no psychiatrist, but maybe I should be. A little more than 10 years ago, I got married, a big step for anyone. But marriage was a bigger leap of faith for me than most of my friends because I have bipolar disorder.
My husband, Steve turned out to be a great partner, and I’m fairly certain he’d say the same about me. Everyone knows marriage teaches you a lot. But being married and bipolar means learning about yourself and your spouse in ways others can’t always understand.
Sharing the challenges of living with bipolar can bring you closer together. It can be an avenue toward real intimacy that comes when a married couple shares their deepest feelings.
Consider this heartfelt advice from a veteran wife who has worked through many of those special challenges. For now, forget the professionals. Listen to words of wisdom that have worked for us.
Life as a comedyKnow any jokes? OK, even if you don’t, remember humor can often defuse difficult situations. It’s better than bitterness, defensiveness, paranoia, anger or sadness. Be aware of the comedy in your problematic scenarios. Too depressed to take a shower? Try joking with your spouse about how terrible you look; you might feel better and get in there.
And remember living with someone gives you a front row seat to what he or she thinks is funny. One time, I thought my husband was stealing my money.
“No, I wouldn’t do that,” he said when I asked him about it. “I’m stealing your credit cards.”
Taking it easyWhen I begin to feel ill, I take a day or two off from life. I go to work if I must (I teach at a local college), but I try to stay inside and slow down. This usually helps me reclaim my equilibrium. For me, being mentally ill is like being physically ill. In both cases, I limit my activities until I’m better. Your spouse might appreciate the intermission as well.
The ‘new’ and ‘old’ youSpend time with friends you knew before you got sick. It’s nice being with people familiar with “the old” as well as “the new” you. This way, your spouse sees you had a life before you became ill.
And don’t tell everyone about your disorder. Sorry, for many people, the mental illness stigma still exists. Scope people out. Can they handle the information? Will they use it against you? Does your spouse want you to be more discrete or open than you would be? Respect the difference.
Perfection? Yeah, rightAccept each other’s flaws. Obvious as it sounds, no one is perfect. Not you, or your spouse. Be tolerant of each other’s foibles and eccentricities. Last year, my husband told me something really beautiful.
“Perfection isn’t what it’s cracked up to be,” he said.
And don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself. A diagnosis is not a death sentence. Treasure your marriage. You have so much to give. Your spouse is lucky to have you.
Keep an “attitude” journal. Record what gets to you, analyze problems and how you work through difficulties. Now that I’m in remission, I’ve gone back and read my “crazy” thoughts from years gone by. I feel for my younger self, how troubled I was. My journal reminds me how far I’ve come.
And don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself. A diagnosis is not a death sentence. Treasure your marriage. You have so much to give. Your spouse is lucky to have you.
Talk, talk, talkUse your spouse as a reality sounding board. Does he think Regis is really talking directly to you on the television? Trust your spouse’s ability to observe your moods and suggest how you can keep your balance.
Hold a weekly family meeting to discuss your issues. Ours were called the “Eat My Shorts” sessions, in homage to Homer Simpson. We took minutes and covered everything from shampooing rugs to gifts for in-laws. These meetings actually got us talking. After holding them diligently for years, we’ve stopped; now we talk all the time. Success!
An expert at humanityHere’s something I say from my heart: I am a good wife. I keep my family together. I wash their clothes, feed them, drive them where they have to go. I earn money to support them. I play with them, hold them when they’re crying. Most importantly, I nurture and love them.
Remember, you, too, can be a great partner. As a person with bipolar illness, you bring so much to the table. Think of what you know about being alive, about pain, about joy. You are irreplaceable. You are an expert at humanity.
And don’t you forget it.


Demi Lovato releases a new video in her Be Vocal campaign



Through the lived experience Demi speaks often about her life with mental illness. To her credit, she is helping to push back against stigma directed toward those with mental illness. Her very successful campaign released this new video.

March is National Brain Injury Month



March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time to recognize and support the more than 5.3 million Americans who are living with traumatic brain injury-related (TBI) disabilities. A large number of injured veterans live with brain injuries. Those suffering from traumatic brain injury can display a wide variety of symptoms based on the severity of the injury. Common signs and symptoms include headache or neck pain; memory loss; slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading; getting lost or easily confused; fatigue and mood changes; blurred vision; and ear ringing. Signs and symptoms of TBI may be subtle and might not appear until days or weeks following the injury, while some symptoms can be missed altogether. For more information, visit the U.S. Army TBI webpage at www.army.mil/tbi/, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center website at dvbic.dcoe.mil/, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury website at www.dcoe.mil, the Deployment Health Clinical Center website at www.pdhealth.mil/TBI.asp, and the Health.mil website at www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Conditions-and-Treatments/Physical-Disability/Traumatic-Brain-Injury?page=2.

A healthy spiritual life is a huge help to one's recovery




I recently came across some ideas about spiritual naturalism. I found them similar to my writings and teachings on how one's spiritual life is as natural as breathing. So, I encourage others to relax and be their natural, spiritual self. Know that we are connected to a Source greater than ourselves.  

Religion is not required for an adequate explanation of the seemingly "eternal" part of the self. Here are some thoughts from the underlying thinking of spiritual naturalism. I attribute these explanatory ideas of spiritual naturalism to online discussions and postings: There are some philosophers who believe the human self is an individual, unique entity that is constantly changing. For example, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated, “you cannot step in the same river twice.” This idea of an impermanent self is similar to Buddhist teachings. However, this notion of the self doesn't account for a part within us that seems to remain constant, unchanging. Heraclitus recognized this and later wrote “you both can and cannot step in the same river twice.” 

Many ideas are offered to explain the constant, enduring part of ourselves. In the West, many believe we each have an eternal soul. In naturalism, the enduring quality is attributed to the “laws of nature”-the regularities we observe in the world expressed in mathematical form. Nature works with fundamental parameters that include various particles and forces within the sphere of space and time resulting in a self-organizing cosmos. From the naturalistic viewpoint, every individual life arises out of the larger processes of nature, is sustained by them, and in the end is absorbed back into them. 

If a human life is viewed as a process, the experience from conception until death involves constant change, both physical and mental, yet there is a regularity to this change. The physical body of a person at age six is very different from the body at 60, yet there is a continuous narrative history of that body throughout it's life. The constant flux of a life seems to take place in an orderly and patterned way. This process of life is part of other process. The human body is part of metabolic processes which integrate with ecological process. Energy we metabolize from food is affected by nuclear processes in the sun; the sun comes from galactic processes which originate from what is currently thought of as “the big bang.” Each cell in our body is a form of little self in constant, orderly flux. The cells comprise organs which comprise systems. The body itself is like a little universe of inter-related processes. Our selves are also a part of cultural processes too.

The human self appears to be rooted in things other than itself, in otherness, though this is not a common naturalistic idea. The idea that we are rooted in otherness is a common notion in many spiritual traditions. Christianity holds that we have an eternal soul that is independent of the world and its processes. Within the mystical writings of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, there is the notion that the kingdom of heaven is within us, to be experienced here and now, not after death. To enter this kingdom of heaven, one must give the self over completely to the otherness which some call God, of which one is ultimately a part. The great religious traditions of the East teach something similar, some with and some without a personalized deity. For example, in Hinduism, union with self and the Divine is Samadhi.

Perennial Philosophy includes the idea that the spiritual goal and fulfillment of a life is for the self to merge with a timeless reality. Aldous Huxley has written about Perennial Philosophy and how this philosophy is contained in the great spiritual traditions. In his writings, he includes an expression from the Upanishads which translates to “That Art Thou.” “Thou” represents the individual person. “That” refers to the ultimate, enduring reality, an otherness. I believe we are completely rooted in this otherness. And I refer to the otherness in terms of a personal spiritual worldview.