Submitted Date 08/14/2019

Good afternoon all. I hope you are all having a fabulous week. Today I find myself in a bit of a need for help from you my readers. As many of you know I suffer from bipolar and in such try to promote a positive outlook on life and support throughout my posts and in my everyday life. I have found that it helps me immensely to overcome the symptoms that I face.

This works for me, most of the time. Until recently, I have found that helping others and writing daily helped me to keep the nagging depression that accompanies my mental illness at bay. However, the last few weeks have been really pushing the limits of my positivity.

Actually, if I am honest, I feel like I am drowning and cannot find my way to the surface. Here arises my need for your help today.

I know I am not the only person who suffers through these battles. I have done the research and understand the vast number of people who deal with the effects of bipolar in worse cases than mine. So, I thought I would reach out and find out how others deal with the complications their illness causes them.

While therapy is always the recommended place for conversing about these matters, I find it a bit cold and counterproductive at times like these, when I have reached my limit. I have turned to my faith and find it struggling in this particular crisis as well. I know that there is nothing our creator cannot overcome, however, I think he is sending me a sign that I need to reach out and not fight this battle alone.

For those of you who are not familiar with bipolar, here is a brief explanation of my illness. First, I must say that each person's illness is different and I am not by any means saying that mine is typical of what everyone else goes through with this disease.

My Bipolar

Bipolar for me is a daily struggle with depression, fear, insecurities, happiness that is followed by unexplained anger, mood changes in seconds, racing thoughts and hyperactivity followed by the lack of desire to even move much less function. For me, this disease has been an education in self-awareness and reading my own signs of distress. I have days where I feel normal, then there are the days where I can barely pull myself out of bed. I have manic days and depressive days.

Manic days are those when I feel like I am on cloud nine. The world is mine and I have so much energy that I feel I could go forever. During these days I have an immense joy for the life I live and the gifts God has brought into my life.

Then the depressive days hit. These days are those in which getting out of bed is almost painful, literally. I cry for the tiniest things, my moods shift from moment to moment. These are the days that make me feel the worst. Not for myself, but for the damage it does to my children. While they all know about my illness and understand parts of it, they do not understand when their mommy is laughing and happy then in a matter of minutes screaming and blinded by anger over nothing at all.

Thankfully, through treatment, meds, and an amazing group of friends and family, I have been able to have fewer and fewer of these mood changes. However, of late I have noticed that that black cloud is forming and I cannot find the silver lining.

I feel like I am letting my children down, my work is suffering and most of all I am letting myself down. For this reason, I am turning to all of you and asking for help. How do you cope with life? We all have days when life gets to us and we have to find a way to overcome the feelings. You do not have to be bipolar to suffer disappointments, depression, or any of the other things life throws your way. I want to know what helps you get through those days that seem like nothing is right? How do you find your silver lining?

To those of you who are suffering through any kind of mental illness, know that you are not alone. We need to support each other and understand that this is not just a self-pity party. Mental illness is real and support is the key to overcoming its destructive patterns. Thank you all for your continued support and may you have a blessed and inspired day and rest of your week.

As always, inspire to be inspired.

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  • Tanya Marion 4 years, 1 month ago

    Sending love and hugs, Mary! One thing that always helps me is a little tradition I started with my daughter. Every night we say the “Everything We Love Prayer.” It’s something I came up with one night when she asked me how to not have bad dreams. I told her before she goes to sleep, we will think about everything in our lives that we love. I started this to help her, but the funny thing was I found that it helps me, too. By the time we’re done saying our Everything We Love Prayer, I usually feel much more relaxed and happy. I hope this helps, even if only a little 😊

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 1 month ago

      Tanya, thank you fo much for your kind words. I will definitely try this idea. My son and I have a special prayer session just the two of us when we lay down to go to bed and I think this may be a good idea to incorporate into our routine. Thank you for the continued support. You have always inspired me and cheered me on and I am eternally grateful.

  • Barbi Green 4 years, 1 month ago

    Hello Mary, You are not alone in your struggles. We each have different struggles to contend with in this fallen world. And, it is great to hear that you are trying to hold onto your faith even when your body is telling you differently. One question for you or two - are there specific things which seem to trigger your symptoms of depression? Such as trying to do too many things over a period of time - which brings your body down over time causing more episodes? Are you having troubles with your sleeping cycles? You know more about your body than I, but thought I would ask. I will be praying for you and lifting you up through this time in your life. I am here if you need to talk - I do work away from the home and online. But, send me a message if you need to. I will get back with you as soon as possible. Sometimes, even knowing you have someone to listen to you brings some sense of peace and knowing you are not alone in your journey. I totally agree with you when you say a support system is so important:0)

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 1 month ago

      Barbi, thank you for your support. You are right, knowing that there are people out there to talk to, helps tremendously. I appreciate the prayers more than I have the words to express. To answer your questions, 1) I have noticed that my depression is triggered more often when I am stressed and overdoing things a bit. However, I just took 2 weeks off of work and tried to work on just me, and that seemed to make it worse. I think because it caused a feeling of guilt for letting down my employer as well as my family. 2) I also find that sleep deprivation causes more frequent episodes. Which I have tried to address in these last two weeks. I am currently working on a self-evaluation to try and find other trigger points. Thank you for the suggestions and concern. I find it inspiring to know that there are so many people in this world who would take a moment to help a stranger in finding their way. I may take you up on that offer of messaging you in the future. Have a wonderful evening and thank you for taking the time to provide me with a bit of hope.

  • Ceara 4 years, 1 month ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and being so candid. I'm' sorry to hear you're having a tough time right now. Mental illnesses suck, it is so hard coping with them. To answer your question about finding silver linings...well, I try to think about what would happen as a result of whatever negative happened and consider the result of if it hadn't and tried to see how it would domino into other things - hopefully good things. Does that make sense?

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 1 month ago

      Ceara, thank you for your comment, constant support, and feedback. Yes, your idea does make sense. I think that it is a good idea to think of the possibilities and what good could come out of the situation, good or bad. Thank you for this idea. Have a wonderful day and a fabulous weekend ahead.

  • Cat 4 years, 1 month ago

    Mary, trust me, I feel you. Although I do not personally suffer from bipolar disorder, I do have depression and severe PTSD. Writing is my haven. Having said that, there have been plenty of moments when I have become so overwhelmed with everything I feel as if I am drowning and suffocating in the vastness of it. So, positive mindset yes, great and works. Yet unfortunately it is not 100% proof. My advice, may not work for you. But if you can find a place outdoors in nature or a park/yard. Where it is quiet, and sit down. Take time to close your eyes, breathe slowly. Concentrate not on each slow breath, but the sounds and smells around you. The sensation you’re feeling on your skin, like sunshine warmth or the breeze cooling it. Keep reminding yourself that this is here, this is now. And it is a moment that is yours alone. No one can take this from you. That you have control over this moment and collect a beautiful memory. Slowly you will find yourself relaxing and sagging spirits picking up. Open your eyes, and take time to soak in that which you see around you. It’s a very old technique of mindfulness and I find it works great for me, and others that I have passed it on to. I truly hope it works for you too. Big hugs! You’re an awesome person, so never stop believing in yourself, even if all others do...good luck and I hope you will feel better soon.

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 1 month ago

      Cat, thank you so much for these words of encouragement. This is a fabulous idea and I will definitely be trying it. I have never tried this approach and hope that it will be useful. I can not say thank you enough for all of your support. Have a fabulous evening and a marvelous weekend.