Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
Your question is very evocative that there is so much behind the difficult story you write.
Was there trauma or abuse in your childhood? What about alcohol or dysfunction in your family when you were growing up?
Hi, I am currently awaiting my husband to come out of groin surgery, so if I don't answer that will be why. There was not trauma or abuse in my childhood, nor alcoholism or dysfunction. I have a long standing issue of feeling rejected by my brother and Dad, who were "Dr Spock" like and ignored me. I of course had the opposite personality type, and was never as smart as they were. At age 13 I began acting out with pot and alchohol, and a black boyfriend (I am Caucasian) who I began having sex with. I got sober in a 12 step program for teenagers, became a counselor for that program for 3 years, went back to college at 21 and had a "nervous breakdown" resulting in a bipolar diagnosis and many months in the hospital feeling depersonalized. My husband is very supportive of my efforts to wean off K, and accepting of the side effects. It's just that in contrast to him I see how much "garbage" I have in my brain that he can't relate to. So I don't share it, but I end up feeling lonely because no one knows what is going on with me. I feel hopeless because I've tried so many things and they don't seem to work, and I thought I found "the answer' in The Linden Method, but now am starting to doubt that. I know this isn't very much information but I am totally open to answering questions.
Thank you for the replies to the questions and the added information. It helps a lot in understanding what the situation is. As I come back to the top of my answer, I see that it is very long. I hope that's okay, but I want to give you as many tools and I want you to be hopeful. Because what I appreciate most about the information you've shared with me is the hopefulness that is behind all your words. That is a wonderful trait and I want you to put it in the front of your mind and heart. That you are hopeful, and that being hopeful and still searching is the first step in any successful program in life. And it's also (secret) the best way to get back at the Dr. Spocks in your life (hope that made you smile).
First let me say that I can imagine how confusing, distressing and even scary this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving, caring, and emotionally courageous person. But you don't feel very strong now, it's clear. I therefore want to begin by telling you that this is not a contradiction: that you do not feel strong right now does not negate the truth that you are indeed a strong, courageous, loving and caring person.
What has happened appears to be that you internalized in your youth a great deal of anxiety on both the outside and inside with no way to express your disappointment, pain, anger, rage, hurt, sadness, etc at your father.The Bipolar Disorder diagnosis seems a bit vague, but right now stay with it and the meds as they are helping with stability. Right now let's work on the anxiety and your emotions pouring out in ways that you get overwhelmed by them.
Emotions don't just disappear: they store up and the pressure builds up. And then they begin to leak out if you don't let them express themselves in healthy ways. And that appears to be what has happened as your childhood turned into youth and then adulthoods and now that things have become more stable. So all those fears, disappointment, pain, anger, rage, hurt, sadness, etc. have learned to come out in unhealthy ways.
Therefore, we have to get you to a situation where you can let your feelings out in a healthy ways. That means a combination of work on your own and psychotherapy.
I want to introduce first a type of therapy that was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but has for the last decade been shown to be effective in helping people with many other emotional overwhelm situations. This therapy is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). I want you to learn the skills that DBT offers. So, start with the following website put together by people who aren't psychologists but who have gone through DBT themselves. Try as many of the self-help options they have. Mindfulness is particularly important for you and a good place to start there.Here's their web address:
If you connect with DBT, and feel you want to work with it in therapy, then find a therapist in your area who works with DBT. Even better, find a DBT group to go along with individual therapy. If you need help finding a therapist who practices DBT,
here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (you can see a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list anything about personality disorders or PTSD in their orientations and what they work with. And then ask them if they don't do DBT therapy if they know someone in the area they trust they could refer you to. http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/
Okay, that was important, but I also want you to feel like there are other steps you can take to gain more control of your emotions and a sense of full self. Let's work on the four ways you can begin to build a behavioral program for yourself: diet, exercise, spiritual life, and motivational reading.
Diet: cut out coffee, sugar, white flour. That may be tough. But you will see results as some of the newer research shows. And lean meats only. No fast food restaurants, no fatty foods. With diet changes you are treating your problem with respect: you are acknowledging you need to make changes to get your body feeling better. It will help you feel more in control again.
Vitamins can be useful for moods. A good quality daily vitamin, for example. One of the most important supplements is Omega 3 fatty acids, either in fish oil or capsules or in flax seed oil. Buy good quality. The clinical dosage is 1,600-3,000 mg daily. All these things you should get at the biggest and most frequented health food store and ask them for the best brands they trust in terms of quality.
Exercise: 5 days a week moderate exercise, to include 3 days of strength training as you get more used to it. What you put in to it you will get out of it. Your doctor will verify the research results showing the benefit.
Spiritual life: the medical literature is now rather overwhelming about the benefits to so many different areas of physical health of regular religious and spiritual practice. Going to church, meditation, etc. are all shown to produce benefits to the physical body. What about our mental health? Well, you will see that meditation is now a regular part of psychotherapy interventions. I don't know if you're a religious person or not. But if not, this may be a good time in your life to tune up your spiritual life. If you do not believe in G-d, that's not a barrier to your own spiritual life. Just thinking about the meaning of your life, of life in general, and studying spiritual texts and practices will help with the anxiety and depression, all those unexpressed emotions.
Then along with exploring the spiritual part of life, I want you to get really into motivational videos and books. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together for you on "motivational speakers":
Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here is one but it is only a suggestion as there are so many good ones.
This book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.
Okay, that should help you get working on these symptoms and get some relief. I wish you the very best!
Now, I want to give you a tool to use for when the anxiety is present. Here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from depression or anxiety, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't wake up with an attack so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.
I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in anxiety states is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help. So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?
My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.
What You Need: