Today’s Episode of Fearless with Shawna Clingerman is coming to you in 2 parts:
Part 1: Life with Bipolar – Experiencing the Highs
Part 2: Life with Bipolar – Surviving the Highs
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About This Episode:
This special episode of Fearless With Shawna Clingerman is a 2 part series, all about living life with bipolar. These episodes are extra raw, and super honest, recorded in the middle of a high or “manic” phase of my own Bipolar journey.
Over the series of these two episodes I will share:
- A short history of my mental health diagnosis
- Where I’m currently at in my mental health journey
- What it feels like for me to live with bipolar
- The symptoms I have come to recognize as signs of a bipolar “high”
- AND the strategies I use to help me cope along the way.
Basically – during this episode, I just hit “RECORD” and shared, in real-time, how it feels when I am experiencing a more “manic” stage in my bipolar cycles.
Although I am NOT a mental health professional, and I know firsthand that the mental health experience doesn’t always translate the same for everyone, I truly hope that this little peek into how my brain works will be helpful to you – either as a person who struggles with your own mental health or as a person who wants to love and support others through are struggling with their own mental health.
Please note: I am not a mental health care professional, and this episode is not intended to be a replacement for getting an actual diagnosis OR as a replacement for being under the care of a mental health professional. If your mental help is suffering please reach out to an actual professional TODAY.
Knowing my warning signs helps me recognize when this “shift” is happening. And knowing my warning signs, so that I can proactively keep an eye on my self – that’s a part of my job as someone who has mental health struggles.
Want a handy typed-up list of the coping strategies I talked about it these episodes?? Well, friend, I’ve got you covered below…
Here are some of the things that help me the most when I feel my mood getting “manic”:
- Non-judgemental self-awareness
- Noticing, Accepting, and NOT JUDGING my experience as “wrong” or “bad”
- Tracking my moods especially when they start to feel unstable: I use the Dailyo App
- Watching my calendar and setting benchmarks for when I need to take steps to elevate my level of care
- ie: “3 Weeks from today I will schedule an appointment with my therapist if things haven’t stabilized”…
- Paying attention to AND honoring my own needs
- Physical needs like rest or food.
- Emotional needs like perhaps time off from work.
- Soul needs like connecting with people that I can trust and lean on.
- Leaning into my strengths
- Even in my chemically imperfect brain, I know that the way that I was made is special, so I try to think of how I can really use my hypersensitivity, my emotional alertness to soak in goodness in the world.
- What can I write down that will help me remember this experience in the future?
- What does and doesn’t help me?
- What I’m feeling – in the moment, even if it is intense.
- Sharing honestly
- With Family and Close Friends, that I can trust.
- Also, publicly when it feels safe and I’m grounded enough to do so.
- Tallying my strengths
- Even though emotional instability can be a real weakness, I try to keep my eye on the ways that this can also be my greatest gift.
- My heightened sense of feelings connects me to the world in a whole new way!.
- Remembering what I’ve Overcome
- This story of my mental health, it is the story of a fighter, a warrior. Knowing that story helps me stay strong even when things are feeling extra out of control.
And here are A few things that didn’t make the episode, but that I’ve added to my toolbox over the past few weeks:
- Physical Sensation – Focusing on physical sensations helps me process through the extreme moments…
- Hot showers and VERY COLD showers can reset my brain in ways almost nothing else can! I start at a nice warm temp, and then after I’ve soaked in that sensory experience, I dial it back, quarter turns at a time until it’s as cold as I can stand. Usually, I can actually FEEL my nerves release.
- Less extreme, but the same thing can work with washing my hands in the sink.
- Physical and tactile activities – similar to the touch sensations above, working with my hands can really help to release the pressure in my body – try working with relatively mindless tasks, and choose activities that you can FEEL in your body/hands
- Scraping paint
- Puzzles especially if you are sorting through physical puzzle pieces as you work
- Mindless but somewhat productive tasks, but focus on things that are easy to start/stop
- I rainbow ordered all of my bookshelves, I also started entering data into some super simple spreadsheets… sometimes sorting things just calms the nerves…
Truthfully there are so many strategies that I have used throughout the years, staying healthy and keeping yourself safe when your mental health is on the fritz is not a simple “if-then” type of task… Instead, the job is to keep coming back to focusing on what will ACTUALLY take care of YOU.
Friends, I truly believe that shame grows in the dark – which is why I wanted to show up for you, even in this entirely messy, kinda manic, and entirely imperfect way…
I share these things is because I believe that things are better when we’re not going through them alone… And if there is one thing I know for sure about mental health – is that we are truly never in it alone.
Friend, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave me a review over on iTunes, or leave a comment on my social media posts on Instagram or Facebook – or simply leave me a comment down below!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights. How have these episodes resonated with you?
If you feel like what I shared today was impactful for you or that it could be meaningful to someone you love, I would LOVE for you to share this episode!
When you share on social, be sure to use the hashtag: #fearlesswithshawnaclingerman and tag me @shawnaclingerman so we, (both myself and the rest of your fearless friends) can connect, get inspired, and encourage each other along this podcast journey!!
Important Resources and Links:
- Dailyo App: https://daylio.net/
- My full Mental Health Story (please do know that this is a pretty intense series of posts – respect your need to avoid reading through if you fear it might be triggering for you)
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