How I Create Internal Hope During a Serious Bipolar Depression

No one will ever understand the seriousness of chronic depression unless they have experienced it personally. This is one reason that external help for suicidal depression often fails greatly when it comes to keeping people alive.
I have a very different approach to living with, managing and hopefully ending serious depression in the lives of people with bipolar disorder.
– We must address the symptoms as an illness and use a specific strategy each time a person gets depressed. This strategy needs to be used in the same way by all people surrounding the person with serious, suicidal depression.
The strategy is not talk therapy. It’s not effective for suicidal depression, as our current suicide rate in bipolar disorder and unipolar depression makes abundantly clear.
Instead, we need to talk about the signs of depression with children in the same way we talk about the signs of a cold, the flu, a headache, low blood sugar or an ankle sprain.
This is the management plan I teach in all of my books. A calculated approach to managing our symptoms. It’s not an emotional journey or a psychological endeavor. This hasn’t worked and will never work.
Instead, when someone is ill, we must talk about illness.
For example, I woke up this morning with zero desire to get on with my day. Telling myself I have so much to live for or that I could see my nephew or that it’s SUMMER and so pretty outside is pointless. Would we say that to someone who is physically ill? Never. It’s pointless.
Instead, I talked to myself in the way I created when I wrote my first books.
Julie, you are depressed. You are depressed because you have an illness that creates symptoms. Nothing is different in your life. What is different is how your brain is perceiving and processing your life. Fight it. Get up, get out of bed, get out of the house and get on with your day and accept that you are depressed because you have bipolar.
Nothing is wrong. The world is not ending. Your life is not worthless. The Health Cards remind you that this is always what depression says. It said this when you were 19 and it says it when you are 55. It’s simply a depression recording. It’s old and it lies. Don’t listen.
What makes a difference in your life?
Being in the world
Getting out and lifting my head up to see the world around me.
Accepting my suffering as a part of being alive.
I’ve dealt with depression for all of my adult life. Even though this depression feels immediate and awful and so real, it’s nothing more than an illness. Just as mania lies and tells me everything is perfect, depression lies and tells me that everything is hopeless. I DO NOT LISTEN TO DEPRESSION.
Bipolar is episodic. Depression ends. I don’t have to do anything different than in the past I use the ideas in Get it Done When You’re Depressed. I use my Health Cards.
I dig deep and find the real Julie who has hope and always will.
I want the same for you.
PS: There isn’t much worse than being depression on a sunny Friday evening. I told myself that sleep was essential as doing too much will flip me to mania, but darn it, I have to get something done. So I made some earrings. This is a big part of my Depression Hope Chest! Yes! I am reminded of Erin McDonough who does gorgeous stained glass work. What is your hopeful action when depressed?

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