This morning I had an idea, a way to maybe help teenagers understand mental health. My idea was to offer to talk to a class or year at my daughters high school. It felt the right thing to do to try reaching a few. To help more understand mental health and how it can affect us. I ended up talking myself out of it through fear most of today. That is until I figured I should just do it and push myself out of my comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with fears especially if we try to face them. If we face them they often aren’t anywhere as bad as we had told ourselves. I’ve never given a talk or spoken publicly. I’ve had opportunities but, through fear, always said no and made my excuses. Often the excuse being that if you give a talk then people think you’re an expert or authority on the subject. Having watched lots of ted talks I realised it’s not about being an expert but often about personal experience. I know I need to push myself and my boundaries more, in the right way of course.
So it’s got me thinking about my fears but also how much I would say if talking to 13-15 year olds. How could I explain psychosis? How could I explain going to a mental health hospital for a first appointment while seriously unwell? How could I make them aware of others mental health and especially their own? How could I help them understand it’s ok to not be ok and that it’s ok to seek help? It’s given me lots to think about even if going in to school to talk never comes off and it’s made me start to face my fears in life. This is what I wrote in the email:
My name is Darren and my daughter ( name removed) is a year 7 student at ( name removed of school). I’m writing for a couple of reasons.
Firstly to ask about school policy regarding mental health and mental health awareness.
Secondly with a possible suggestion. I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder 1, I run my own business, I live a healthy lifestyle and I also blog about my own mental health and living with bipolar. My blog has over 4,000 subscribers and I have also made a couple of YouTube videos about bipolar and bipolar recovery. I have been level for a while now and it is a relief but it’s also made me aware of others and what I could possibly do to help other than blog. My possible suggestion is regarding talking with students to help them understand mental health from the perspective of someone living with it daily. I’ve never spoken in public to an audience before or a class but if you think it might be of benefit to some students maybe we could talk about doing something.
I am quite happy to share my blog with you so you can look through if it’s of any help. www.thebipolarbuilder.com
Everything is good and I’m very busy. I do have the start of a head cold though so finished early yesterday even though my moto now is to push forwards. Sometimes one has to step sideways to move forwards further.
I’ve realised I need a mid term goal to aim for as well as daily, short term and long term goals. Maybe my 4 month and 8 month goals need to come to the forefront of my mind more. I’ll get there. I just need to keep some good sharp focus while also not going too far with goal obsessions, although it is healthy being obsessed about my goals.
It’s all good. I do expect wobbles and sideways movement. Keeping a good balance and not overworking and getting unwell are good goals for me.
I’m tired and it’s affected my focus a little. It’s made me realise how important sleep is yet again. It’s also made me slightly doubt myself with my goals for the future.
The brain amazes me at how it can try to revert back into past thought patterns when trying to build upon new ones. Sometimes just a small something said by someone can affect things and although they say they’re just trying to keep you grounded etc it can be slightly detrimental. It can switch the brain into the self doubt thought process again, as I’ve noticed a little bit today, but I’m not accepting it. No. I’m pushing through it and keeping my goals in sight. All of them from short term to long term. It’ll be ok though as I’m not letting it creep deeper.
I had a call during the week from someone about some building work they need doing. He had the same last name as the Dr who first sent me for the emergency psychiatric assessment. I thought how funny it would be if it was actually him. I’ve just been to meet him about the work and it was actually him. We chatted a bit and he thought I looked familiar. He said how well I look. It was nice to see him again and he’s one of a few people who I ho early think have saved my life. I’m going to do some work for him so it’s kind of strange but good. Almost role reversal in who is helping who.
This morning on my way to work there was a diversion which lead down a single track back road. I had a car in front. It was frosty and the sun was low behind us. Then there was a lorry coming in the other direction. We hardly had anywhere to go. The car in front pulled into an opening on the side. I couldn’t quite get in so I figured I’d have to reverse up and pull up the bank. I checked my mirrors. I couldn’t see anything. Started to reverse and after moving maybe 3’ I hit something. I checked my mirrors again and couldn’t see anything. I jumped out. There was a woman in a car, a car narrower than my van, right behind me in my blind spot. I told her I’d pull over once the lorry had passed. So I did. She got out almost in tears. She’s American and said how England has been so hard on her and asked for a hug so I gave her one. I told her things will get better. My van has no damage and her car just has a piece of plastic that’s popped out. I chatted with her and said how things can seem really bad but that they will change. I explained how I couldn’t see her in my mirrors. We had to move so drive down the road to give our details etc. I told her that it’ll be ok and to go get it looked at and that I’ll pay for it to be fixed. She’s just bought the car and is struggling in life. She was amazed at my kindness and my help. She shouldn’t of been so close but shit happens and it seems like she’s had more than her fair share of it. I’m hoping that by paying for her car to be fixed her luck changes. I know we create our own luck but sometimes when something good seems to happen it changes our perspective and starts setting us up for good things. I think I’ve helped her in more ways than one. I’m glad I could.
I’ve been giving thought to success the last few days or so. My business is doing really well and I’m pushing things along and it’s made me wonder a few things. What is success? How does someone define success? Does everyone want to be successful? What is successful to one is just routine for another isn’t it?
For some getting up, getting dressed and just having an ok day is a success. For others success might be setting up a multi-million pound business and they still don’t think they’re being successful.
I think that im successful now I’m getting on with things again and staying level. Keeping work very manageable, although I’m doing 10+ hour days and Saturdays, is really good too. I’m loving work again. I’m loving challenging myself again. It’s still in the back of my mind not to let it tip or slip into something more but my drive is very focused and has been for a few months. The focus is helping so much as it’s a good focus and not a a bad obsession. I’ve realised obsessions CAN be good if they’re the right kind and healthy. I know that sounds like a contradiction too.
So am I successful in my own mind? I think I am getting there. Maybe it’s a hindsight thing. Maybe when one looks back at tough times and realises they got through them they know they’ve been successful. I guess it’s about keeping going through the tough times.
I’m sitting here taking a quick break and pondering if I miss episodes. I know it’s possible that one can come along anytime but what’s got me thinking is that I’m very very productive at the minute, I’m working really smart, I’m pushing things along, things are going really well, I’ve realised how far I’ve come and how much effort it’s teally taken to get here and I’m planning a few things ahead in the future once I’ve cleared lots of debt. So it’s made me think how I might be, or where I might be, if I were in an episode.
Initially I missed the high that I lived in most of the time once I levelled out but then being level grew on me and my normal energy levels came back but without any craziness. I don’t miss mixed states AT ALL! I don’t miss deep depression that has lasted for several months. I don’t miss the really crazy mania either.
What has amazed me is that my future plans do encompass some of what I tried to do while high, like buying land etc and moving, but it’s a future plan rather than ‘fuck it I’m selling our house, we’re buying a farm, I’m going to climb Everest, buy an Audi R8 and fuck it all!’ Now it’s a lot of careful planning, lots of goals for each day, week, month and year by year.
I know I have lots of subscribers yet I don’t know how many actually read this. For those who do I sincerely hope you get level. I want you to know it is possible. I want you to try making some goals. And I want to help. I hope that I do help. When I first blogged I figured if I could reach and help one other person it would be worth it just by sharing where I am and how I am. The last 10 years have been shocking, horrific, amazing, crazy, mind blowing and very scary but I think it’s helped me more than I yet know. I don’t want to go through it again but if I do get unwell I have lots of things in place.
I wonder how I could help others even more? Maybe just keeping going and writing is helpful. Who knows? I wish you all a good day and that you keep going because it can, with hard work, get better.
I’m feeling tired today. I started at 7:30 on a job I’m doing after the main job I’m on. It was just a case of a quick tidy up then onto the main job I’m on. I’m doing days of about 10 hours or so plus most Saturdays at the minute. It’s why I’m a bit tired. So I’ve come home for half hour away for a quick break. I know that it’ll make me more productive too. Plus my stomach area aches as I’ve been hunched over laying oak flooring the last 2 days. It’s not the most comfortable position to be in. I might take a 10 minutenap too. Then head back to work and smash it.
I’ve added a Patreon button to this blog. I had pondered on it for some time as this blog isn’t about money. It’s about bipolar and my journey with it in life. What I write is just about me and I hope that it might be of help to others. Each year I pay more to keep the blog online and to pay the web host. I always pay it but of someone helped even a small amount that would be great. If not I’ll still keep going.
Things are going well and I’m mentally very stable now. I’m not about to rush out and do anything stupid either. I’m looking at ways to make life better for myself and my family and clearing my own personal debts is something I’m facing up to and working hard at. I’ve got my business out of the overdraft for the first time in about 3 years and it’s made me realise how debt has also kept me unwell. A lot of my debts are caused by myself and I’m facing up to them now and can plan a bit further than that as well.
To feel level is awesome now. To start with it felt strange and unnatural. Others are noticing that I seem really well and my hair is growing longer. It’s been a few months since I cut it and for 4 years or so I’d kept it close to bald or fully bald. It was drastic to cut it and I always used to have slightly rough flyaway hair. It’s getting a bit scruffy again but I like it. Soon I’ll go and get a haircut. A proper haircut. Not just shave it off.
So many things have cropped up lately in my mind and in life. I’ve realised how many times my dad used to tell me that “you’re just like my brother. He was just a dreamer too” etc etc. I’ve realised how damaging this was, and I say WAS because I’ll not let it stop me achieving my plans and goals now. No more niggling in the back of my mind from, or caused by, others. It’s interesting that now I’m getting stronger and in ‘recovery’ that I can face so many things and accept them for what they are or were.
Life goes on and is getting really good. I wish I could share this with my subscribers and help them to feel how I do now. Recovery is very possible.