Kitchen Remodel – part 1

January started with such promise and I was doing so well, but I took two weeks off to visit my grandson in California for his birthday and my webhosting expired and I had to wait until payday to get the site back and we started remodeling the kitchen (which is a huge project and bipolar only makes it loom larger) and this site got lost in the shuffle. I’m sorry.

Have you ever remodeled a room with a bipolar husband or wife? It’s quite the experience and even if you have the skills and experience to complete the project handily, it never seems to go as smoothly as you’d hope.

My husband would never admit it, but he loves to shop. All of his projects start with him shopping for materials–usually without me–and making grand and glorious plans. We measure and remeasure and he takes all the numbers to Lowes or Home Depot or where ever and starts ordering materials.

This remodel was triggered by some sagging floorboards near the wall in the kitchen. We determined that the best plan of attack would be to remove the old sub-floor and replace it and any damaged studs we might find. We also decided that adding insulation under the floor would be a good idea. All of the supplies for that were ordered and packed into a spare bedroom.

While we were at it, we might as well replace the microwave and install a built-in dishwasher. Oh, and to do that we’d need to replace a few cabinets. And an island in the middle of the kitchen was something he’d been wanting as long as I can remember, so we can move the sink from the wall to the island–how about a new sink? More new cabinets?

Everything was packed into that bedroom and I was told to start staining the unfinished cabinets to match the ones we already had. In a room where the dogs had their kennels and where it was nearly impossible to walk? Sure. Okay, maybe not. I started hauling the smaller cabinets and drawers into my home office to stain.

Before we could do anything else, we needed to remove everything from the kitchen–right down to the existing cabinets and appliances. The cabinets that were going away were emptied and the contents piled in a corner of the living room. Other cabinets were emptied to make it easier to move them and the contents were eventually piled on every flat surface in the house including a good share of the floor.

Having bought an appliance dolly for the purpose, you’d think moving the fridge wouldn’t be a huge problem–but it wouldn’t fit through the back door even with the door removed and the only other direction was already piled with cabinets and contents from cabinets and well, we’d have to find a way to work around it, leaving it in a corner of the kitchen and waiting until we had a part of the floor finished to remove the floor under it.

We started removing the old flooring and then the sub-floor. It was all beautiful tongue and groove hard wood, but because it had gotten wet in places, it had to come out. As we were removing it, we soon realized that the stud was not directly under the wall–which made me more than a bit nervous. What would happen when we removed the floor under the wall? My slightly manic husband wasn’t the only one suffering from racing thoughts and sleepless nights.

Thankfully he was able to get the new stud in before he had to leave for work on Sunday night. I’d been praying, but without that piece of wood, I’d have been seriously worried. We built a bridge over the spaces that were open after we laid out some of the 4′ X 8′ boards we would use as a sub-floor so the dogs could get through their doggy door and outside. It might be a while before it was all nailed down, but we could survive.

I’m sure every remodel involves things normal people (not general contractors) wouldn’t even think of, but when you live with someone who gets frustrated and does impulsive things, it’s always interesting. Our bathroom remodel is still not officially done–there are areas not painted and I can’t find matching grout to finish the floor and the trim boards have been broken and lost. Maybe the kitchen project will have a more solid finish. Not yet.

How do big projects usually turn out at your house? Do you have lots of starts and stops? Do you have lots of excitement that wanes as the project stretches on? How do you handle it if you aren’t happy with the way things are going?

 

 

 

Living in Time

January is slipping past and my plans for the new year are still on track. Some of them have changed a bit, but the goals are still in my sites. I have time.

There are some things that haven’t happened because of circumstances. I haven’t had money to buy groceries yet this month and that gets hard. Still, I’m winning. How are you doing?

I joined a group for blog writers that offers support for making regular blog posts without a lot of pressure to perform. I might have already skipped a week or two if I weren’t using a group for accountability. If you are struggling with something that you want to do every day or every week, find yourself a group or an accountability partner. Even if you are just giving yourself stars on a chart, it is better than just remembering it and doing it.

Another thing I just started doing is making a list of the things I accomplish each day. Now there will be days with lots of accomplishments and days with only one or two, but I need to remind myself that even if I’m not doing everything I think I should be doing, I am getting a few things accomplished every day and most major accomplishments are really just a string of minor accomplishments that are taken together. You climb a mountain one step at a time. You don’t write a book, you write a word, and another word, until the book appears.

I decided that it is better to have a lot of colorful signs and posters around my workspace that make me feel good and encourage me to keep going that to have it look professional and neat, especially since “neat” is not a real possibility for me. If it can’t be perfect, it can still be pretty. Do you keep items in your space that make you smile and that remind you of your goals and your dreams? Have you added anything new lately?

If your partner is in a holiday episode or a post holiday episode, maybe you are feeling like all the work and will power and goals in the world won’t accomplish a thing because you are up against too much. I’ll admit, we are often swimming upstream when we have a bipolar partner and the stress of knowing that everything could be destroyed in a heart beat makes it harder to put in that effort. It’s easy to give up when we’ve done everything right and it still manages to go wrong.

But slipping into your own depression doesn’t do any good and there is a lot that you can do even while you’re waiting for things to calm down. You don’t need to change the world to have a worthwhile life. You just need to do whatever it is that you were born to do. One step at a time.

I’ve been talking about my new book (probably won’t be released until fall or winter) about making a living without having to depend on a traditional job. In that book I will be talking about taking small steps and meeting goals that will eventually put you into a job or into some form of self-employment  that is designed around your interests and abilities.  These are ideas that work for people with disabilities as well as for partners who are stressed with trying to support them.

If you can stay on task to do things you want to do for yourself and your family, you can stay on task to do things for other people and receive money for your efforts. If you pick things that you enjoy doing, you can often accomplish more than another person with more time and fewer roadblocks but who doesn’t want to be at that particular job. It does make a difference.

So even if you can’t accomplish everything you want as quickly and efficiently as you’d like, by staying with it, by keeping track of what you can accomplish and by refusing to give up, you can accomplish things that most people would assume are impossible, especially in your situation. Don’t let the fact that it’s impossible prevent you from achieving your goals.

 

 

 

 

 

Earning a Life

My work-in-progress is about dealing with money, or the lack thereof, when symptoms of bipolar are making it impossible for you or your partner to work or when you’ve had a recent episode of manic spending. Since the book won’t be available until it’s been written, edited, formatted, and uploaded, I’m including sections as I write them in this blog.

If you’re considering getting a job or another job you have probably already been through the classified ads and checked out the resources at the unemployment office and local temp services. You’ve talked to everyone you know who might know anything. You have your resume sent to places you thought you’d never be caught dead and nothing’s happening. So what are your options?  You can’t just pull a job out of nowhere, can you?

Well, maybe you can. And it just might be the job you never even dared to hope for, the job of your dreams. What do you have to lose? In your wildest dreams, what would you be doing to make a living? Quick, don’t dismiss that thought. Write it down.

Someone wrote a song “if I could make a living out of loving you” and while it’s not exactly that simple, he is making a living out of writing songs about loving someone. That’s pretty close in my mind. So, what would you be doing? If there are several possibilities, write those down, too. Writing things down isn’t magic, but it does make things more solid in your thoughts and can actually free your mind to think other thoughts.

Let’s make those dreams into jobs without losing the basics of the dream. Maybe you’ll need to get some education or training, but there are grants and loans you can get for that. Maybe you’ll need to work your way up to the dream job, but if you haven’t been looking in that field, it might actually be a possibility. Maybe you can get a low level job in the same industry while you are in training.

Would you consider taking a job that pays a little less than what you need to pay the bills if it were leading to a job you really love? Could you do it if you had other ways of making a little money on the side? It’s amazing how much better you feel about going to work and how much more motivated you are to get by when you know that you are working toward a goal.

Someone in college for accounting shouldn’t be looking for jobs in retail—better to take a temporary job doing income taxes for individuals and small businesses, or doing some simple bookkeeping for a small business. That’s the type of job that will look good on a résumé and provide some actual experience.

Someone who wants to be a writer should be spending time writing, whether that means writing content for newspapers or magazines as an employee or freelancer, or keeping a blog, or publishing books.  If you can’t get a writing job, there are ways to earn money writing. (I’ll post more on freelance writing and book publishing soon.)

Maybe you can’t be a professional athlete, the competition is tight, but you can find interesting work that makes use of your talents, whether it’s coaching athletes or working as a fitness trainer or even working as a firefighter or wilderness rescue worker.

Maybe you just need to find a way to monetize what you want to do. You can make money from almost any hobby. Besides selling art, crafts or writing, you could be designing patterns for others and selling those to magazines or directly to hobbyists, leading group classes, or teaching individual clients the finer points of a hobby.  Check local community colleges, senior citizens centers, and other community groups if you want to teach a class, or plan the event on your own and advertise in the newspaper and on local sites online for participants. It may not be a full-time job or a lot of money, but if you add it to whatever else you are doing, it can help.

What do you think is the best option for you? I’d love to know what you are doing to make enough money to live. Are these ideas helpful or too obvious? Any questions or comments?

Living on Love

Living on Love is the working title of my current work-in-progress. It’s an old manuscript that I’d set aside when other projects were more urgent and when I had a built-in audience for them. Chapters from the book will appear on this site as I get them presentable.

Are you unemployed or underemployed? Whether it’s the economy or something more local or personal, struggling to support yourself and your family can be incredibly stressful. That stress can make everything worse and can paralyze you when you can least afford to be stuck. If you are struggling because of bipolar, it’s stress that could make things a lot worse.

The book I’m working on now, Living on Love describes the methods and ideas we used to stay afloat when normal, middle class jobs were not an option. You will learn some basic concepts and thought processes that can help you to find the perfect job (or the jobs that feed into the perfect job) and some tricks to keep a little money coming in until it happens. You will learn to think about “work” and money management in new ways that actually work for you.

I’m not going to tell you to take any job that comes along or to hold out for the perfect job, but I am going to tell you things you might do differently to get to that dream job or to earn enough to live without a regular job if that appeals to you.  You may just decide that a “job” isn’t really what you want at all.

There are alternative ways to make a living. Did you know that it’s perfectly acceptable to have a variety of paying projects going at the same time and that they don’t even have to look like work? I did freelance writing (for cash and free internet access) in the evenings while I was running a family day care center in my home during the day.

Did you know that you can apply to work as a substitute at local schools and be working almost full-time if you make yourself available? I just learned that our schools fill in paraprofessionals and office staff this way so you don’t even need a substitute teaching license, though it will limit the options if you don’t qualify. An advantage to this type of job is that you can easily schedule interviews for more desirable jobs or other opportunities and then just don’t accept an assignment instead of having to request time off or work around your assigned hours.

I won’t tell you how to get rich—I haven’t learned that myself—but I will show you some tricks to live as if you have more money than you do, by cutting the right corners and finding the best deals for things you spend your money on.

When you don’t have money, you spend most of the money left after bills to buy groceries. I’m including some ideas for using more basic foods as well as recipes for making your own convenience foods. Cooking “from scratch” is not harder or more time consuming than buying prepackaged foods. I’ll show you examples of foods that are just as easy to prepare and things that can be done in batches so as to save time next time.

I don’t know what you buy a lot of, but I can tell you a few things that I’ve found really good prices on and where you might find them. Like the fact that refrigerated shredded cheese has a fairly short shelf life, so grocery stores that carry a lot of shredded cheese have to put them on sale at very reasonable prices so they don’t pass their “buy by” date, but you can toss a batch them into the freezer when they are on sale (shake them up a bit so they don’t freeze into a block) and never pay full price again. Bonus: you always have pre-shredded cheese on hand to throw on top of a casserole, pizza, spaghetti. Just sprinkle it on frozen. The heat from the hot dish will usually melt it nicely or put it in the oven for a few minutes.

The dollar store has some really good orange cleaning spray (for just $1) that gets the grease out of my husband’s sweatshirt. He’s a truck driver and grease is an issue that even some of the most expensive products don’t solve. If you need something like that check the dollar store first. You may be surprised.

Please feel free to comment with any suggestions, questions or your own favorite tips. If I use your tip I’ll be happy to give you credit (please include the name you want me to use) and I’ll email you a link to get the eBook version of your choice FREE when it comes out. If you are uncomfortable posting an email address, just email it to me at bonnie@getolife.org

 

Preparing for a New Start

The new year is staring me in the face and I’ll admit that I need a fresh start about now. I’ve fallen off with my blog posts, made almost no progress with my books-in-progress and lost way too much time to Facebook this year. I’ve managed to blame some of it on my bipolar husband and his bipolar habits, but I have to admit that nothing he has said or done has really prevented my progress–it just put me in a mood to whine and complain and not get much done.

Actually, Troy (my bipolar husband) had all of his teeth pulled a couple weeks ago and started wearing dentures. He’s lost a lot of days of work and because of the holidays, he hasn’t had work to do when he started feeling better, so he’s been home and underfoot for almost a month, which puts me all off schedule. We’re also stressed because when he’s not working we don’t have an income, and we’re going to be paying a couple bills late because of it. We should be back on track in a week or two, but stress does not play well with bipolar, so it could take longer and…

Ever feel like you are using mental illness, your’s or your partner’s as an excuse?  I recognize that as a step in the direction of co-dependence and fight to keep myself out of that mindset, but it’s hard sometimes. It may seem like a wonderful excuse for being lazy, but having an excuse isn’t nearly as good as doing what needs doing and getting on with life. Right? If you’ve been at the pity-party with me, it’s time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to living life, such as it is, whether it’s easy or not.

Do you set New Years Resolutions for yourself? While I like the idea of a clean slate and a chance to start over, I’ve learned that I’m really not good at just suddenly making a big change in my life and maintaining it. Maybe you are one of those people who makes a decision and just does it, but if you have trouble keeping your resolutions, it’s possible that you have the same problem I have. Instead of trying to make some sweeping lifestyle changes, let’s try, this year, to make some small changes that might make a difference over time.

These are the things I’m working on, feel free to post yours in the comments section–if you write it down it makes it real to you and if you post it where others can see, it can give you some additional support, so posting it somewhere has to improve your chances for something you’d consider success.

1) When I hear or see a positive affirmation or saying that appeals to me, I will take the time to copy it and post it either on the wall or online so that I’ll see it again and start to internalize it. I already have a couple homemade posters that I printed out and taped to the wall behind my computer.

2) When I grocery shop I will look for things that are healthy and that I enjoy instead of things that I think I should be eating. It doesn’t help to have lots of healthy food in the house if nobody is going to eat it because it takes too long to prepare or it’s not appealing. Fruit and nuts are appealing and easy. Things that require a recipe or reading the back of the box (when I can’t find my glasses) are not and if that’s all I have, I’ll probably eat junk food instead.

3) I’m going to go through The Artist’s Way starting on the first of the year and going through the whole 12 weeks. This is a program for creativity that should help me get going on this blog and other projects and help me stay motivated. I’m not promising that I’ll do every exercise, but I’ll read the book and do what applies to me.

4) I’m going to write something every day and write on this website at least once a week. If I don’t have anything else, I can always write about what’s going on in my own life and how we are doing. It’s still never boring.

5) I’m going to work on keeping the house as neat as possible so I can’t turn to cleaning when I don’t want to write. I have this terrible tendency to let things go when I get busy with writing and then when the going gets tough–usually when I’m starting something new or finishing something up–I decide that the kitchen is a disaster and escape into housework.

If you’re seeing a pattern here it’s because I really have only one New Years Resolution this year and that’s to get more writing accomplished this year than I did last year and maybe to not feel so stressed about it.

So what’s your plan for 2014?

Security is Overrated

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog and I can’t quite figure out why. It’s not as if I’ve run out of things to write about. It’s not that I don’t have time. It’s not even that I am particularly blocked as far as I can tell. So what’s the problem?

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and afraid to get caught up in anything lest I miss some early warning sign and the world comes crashing down around me. I can’t write because by the time I get to the end of this sentence, I might get a phone call and not listen well enough, not pay attention to his tone or his intensity. And even if there’s not a thing I could actually do, it will be all my fault when….

I have a friend who is no stranger to crises and she is struggling right now. Her husband doesn’t have bipolar, he has a degenerative brain disease with no hope for any sort of  recovery. He’s moved on and she’s going to college to rebuild her life. Like me, she has had struggles with poverty and with her children and you know how it is. Now she has learned that she isn’t getting the financial aid she needs to finish her senior year and she’s feeling helpless and hopeless and trying to find a loan she qualifies for…

We’ve all been there in some way or another. We’ve all gotten to the end of our rope and found no knot to hang onto. We’ve all been paralyzed with fear, waiting for the end and it didn’t come. Not the way we expected. Not the way we feared, though not the way we wanted, either.

Whether we have a problem staring us in the face or simply the fear that something terrible is going to happen, giving in to the fear isn’t going to fix it. We can step on up and fill out the loan forms or pick up the phone or write the article or send the letter or whatever it takes to move beyond the roadblock.

Today I’m posting to my blog. What are you doing today?

It’s Getting Hot

Troy, my husband, called today and asked me to quick look up the interaction between his medication (lithium) and the hot weather. We both remembered that his psychiatrist has warned him against getting dehydrated, so I wasn’t surprised that he was concerned.

I did a quick check on lithium and found that because it is a salt, it needs to be diluted in the body with water. so when he sweats and doesn’t drink enough water to replace it, the lithium can become concentrated in his blood and he can quickly reach a toxic overdose. I told him to keep out of the heat as much as possible, but to also keep a bottle of water or Gatorade next to him and keep drinking.

Signs of lithium toxicity are dizziness, confusion, tremor, unsteadiness, slurred speech, and lethargy. If you see even one of these symptoms or any other signs of dehydration or heat illness, call the doctor and arrange a walk-in blood test. Do not schedule something for later–this is urgent and the sooner it’s caught, the better your chances for a safe recovery.

While I was searching, I discovered this brochure that explains how anti-psychotics can affect the body’s ability to maintain temperature, making heat exhaustion and  heat stroke much more likely. If your bipolar partner or family member seems more sensitive to these hot summer days, it might be the medication.

Psych drugs are not the only medications that can be dangerous, so if you take any medication at all and haven’t had this discussion with your doctor or pharmacist, don’t go out in the heat until you read the prescribing notes for each drug or have that discussion. I found this site that talks about other drugs that prevent sweating or decrease blood flow to the skin making people more prone to heat illness. Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs for migraines, blood pressure,  allergies, and more…could make you more sensitive.

Whether or not you or someone you care about is taking any of those medications, be watching for the symptoms of heat illness when the temperature rises:

Dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting (which increases dehydration risk), cramps. heavy perspiration,

Changes in behavior, irritability or slight changes in milder cases, progressing to agitation, confusion, seizures or coma at the crisis stage.

Body temperature going from normal, to cool and rising as high as 105° F or higher.

Rapid pulse and rapid, shallow breathing while the person is moving or slow deep breathing if the person is still.

If you notice any signs of heat illness, get out of the heat. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of heat illness. Healthy people can die and people who are taking medications that make it worse or who have other medical conditions can die faster.

Respond quickly. Get out of the heat. Shade is good, but air conditioning may be better and a cool shower or immersion in a cool bath, pool or lake may be best. Add a glass of water or juice and if the person isn’t feeling better quickly(it can take a while to be back to normal, but some improvement should be almost immediate) even if symptoms were mild, call a medical professional for guidance. If you can’t get in touch with anyone else, go ahead and dial 911 or head for the nearest hospital. This is an emergency and it is entirely possible that the doctor would have told you to call an ambulance or get to the emergency room anyway.  (NOTICE: Someone suffering from heat illness should not drive.)

So here I sit in my front room reading about heat exhaustion and typing this post and I start to notice that it’s getting hot in here. Could be my hot flashes–yeah, I’m that old–but I’m taking a break to dip in the pool, just in case. Join me?

 

 

 

 

Boundaries Are NOT

I’ve been reading about boundaries in different forums and I’m afraid there are people who have totally missed the point and are abusing or misusing boundaries. Respecting boundaries is what makes healthy relationships to work. Boundaries are the points at which another person’s behavior starts to infringe on your rights. Knowing your boundaries is important and defending them is healthy, but there are some things boundaries are not. (Information about setting boundaries is available here.)

1. Boundaries are not about controlling other people. The whole point of using boundaries is that you can’t and have no right to control other people. You have a right, even a responsibility, to protect yourself and the people you love. Yes, the people who normally roll right over your boundaries may take notice and start respecting your boundaries once they know where they are, but that is always their choice. If they choose to roll right over your boundaries, you have a plan to get out of their way.

2. Boundaries are not about punishing other people. You have no right to punish another adult. You are not judge, jury and executioner. You are not God. If you have been seriously wronged, you have the right to take your case in front of a judge, but you do not have the right to punish someone yourself. You have the right to defend yourself and not one step beyond that or you are trampling their boundaries.

3. Boundaries are not rules that apply to a specific person. When you say “take your medications or I leave” you are making a rule that applies to one person. When you say “I will not live with a person who behaves badly and won’t do basic self care to get control of their behavior.” you are setting a boundary. Not only is your boundary available for anyone who might come into your life, but you leave it open to allow a variety of treatment programs.

4. Boundaries are not a one-way deal. If you want others to respect your boundaries, you have to respect theirs. Even if a person doesn’t know about boundaries or uses a different term for them, it is important that you allow them to feel safe and comfortable with you.

5. Boundaries are not always communicated. Setting and maintaining boundaries is a very personal thing and some of your boundaries won’t be respected even if you make it clear where they are, so it’s not necessary to share them. When you are too weak to defend a boundary, it is often best not to mention it because if you mention it and are tested, your weakness may be used against you.

6. Boundaries are not immovable. Life happens. Things change. Often in a dysfunctional relationship, the first boundaries are very basic and they can be moved forward as the relationship improves. It is perfectly ok to start with “I can’t allow myself to be hurt physically or verbally” and eventually expand it to include threatening behaviors and dirty looks. Sometimes you have to choose your battles and you can tolerate small improvements as long as you see improvement. Sometimes boundaries are changed as trust grows–I was in a domestic violence situation and it took a while before my husband could make any sudden moves toward me, but that’s no longer a boundary for me.

7. Boundaries are not new, arbitrary, or invented. Boundaries are really discovered. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what makes you uncomfortable or afraid. You may not know you have a boundary if it’s never been tested. You may not recognize a boundary if it’s been violated so often that you’re inured to the pain (as is common in child abuse). Your boundaries exist whether you are aware of them or not. If you learn to defend them as you discover them, you can be more comfortable and confident. You will be more aware of when unexpected boundaries are being crossed, even if you had never considered the situation.

Friends

You may have noticed that I’ve been posting more information about other authors and books lately. I hope you are finding these posts helpful and that you know that I am doing it because I find these things helpful and I want you to have other perspectives.

As I was building this website, I realized that I needed information from a variety of sources and as I located helpful books and websites, I started introducing myself to the writers. We have a lot in common and although many of them have moved past the isolation I’ve been in, they do understand. We are becoming friends.

I don’t have a lot of friends because having a bipolar partner can make it hard to get out with other people and impossible to make plans. I’m an introvert by nature, so I didn’t think I needed friends. But it’s sure nice to have them.

Maybe you’ve been isolated by being in a bipolar relationship. Even people who make friends easily can have trouble maintaining friendships when the things they are dealing with are hard to talk about or hard for people to understand. I know that. I also know that we all need people we can talk with comfortably and share our hopes, dreams, fears and problems.

You’ve probably heard all the usual advice like join a club or take a class, but it’s the usual advice because it works–if those things are available and you can get away.  If you can’t get away or there aren’t appropriate groups in your neighborhood, try making friends online. You can post on this page if you want someone who gets the bipolar thing, or any of the many email support groups. You can go to a forum online on any topic that interests you and introduce yourself. You’ll find plenty of people with common interests. Exchange email addresses with people after you get to know them from public posts and go from there.

Even if it seems like you know a person quickly online, do be careful. Sometimes things are not as they appear and it is easy to post things online that might not be absolutely true. Give it time. Check out other places where your new friend might post and see if their posts are consistent. If something doesn’t feel right, step back and think about it. Those gut feelings are usually right.

You may never meet online friends in person, but you may find that on your next trip across the country you have a place to stop for coffee with someone who has never seen you but knows you and cares about you. It’s good to have a few friends of your own.

Don’t be a stranger. I’m out here making new friends.

 

 

Radical Well-Being

I meet a lot of other authors online and occassionally come across someone in a different field who has something worthwhile for those of us dealing with bipolar. Rita Hancock MD, author of Radical Well-Being–A Biblical Guide to  Overcoming Pain, Illness and Addiction, is one of those authors. As a doctor she has found  that often physical pain and compulsive behavior is magnified by spiritual or emotional pain.

Her book offers both insight and solutions. My review is  in the next post.

 

(1) Tell us about your book!

Radical Well-being—A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Pain, Illness, and Addictions is about how emotional and spiritual stressors can aggravate physical pain problems and illnesses (such as fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neck and back pain, irritable bowels, allergies, rashes, etc.) and even cause us to fall into compulsive behaviors like overeating, consuming drugs and alcohol, etc.

In my book, I tell lots and lots of stories about patients who have broken free from these problems by addressing things like

  1.  unforgiveness toward people who hurt them;
  2.  lies that they internalized about themselves when they were children; and
  3.  areas of sin that they were refusing to acknowledge.

(2) What motivated you to write Radical Well-being?

After only a short time in practice, I noticed that some patients had physical pain in spite of negative x-rays, MRIs, and blood tests. Sometimes, those people had alignment issues or muscle spasms that caused pain. Obviously, if I found potential physical causes, I treated them. But, sometimes, even after I treated those people, they still hurt!

Eventually, as I matured in my faith and as I matured as a physician, I got gutsier and started asking patients about past emotional traumas (and even spiritual issues) in those situations. It turned out that getting my patients to talk about the “issues” of their lives made a huge difference in their stress levels and in their physical health. I figured if my patients benefitted and found pain relief and relief of stress-induced illness that way maybe others needed to hear about this, too.

(3) Did you write about yourself in any of those patient stories?

You bet! Little pieces of my own story are woven into a few of the patient scenarios I talk about in my book. I have personally benefitted from thinking this way, too! That’s why I know how good it feels to break free from the lies that we internalize about ourselves while growing up.

(4) How can this information help people with bipolar disorder or their family members?

I believe EVERYONE can benefit from uncovering the lies that we believe about ourselves, forgiving those who hurt us, and coming clean with God in regard to our sins. Specifically, in terms of BPD, I believe there could be a fair amount of guilt, anger, bitterness, and resentment among the family members and sufferers of this condition.

Many of my patients are bipolar, so I’ve had a reasonable glimpse into the stresses associated with this condition—not just those experienced by the patients, but those experienced by their families, too.

(5) What parting words would you like to leave my readers with?

No matter if you’re manic, depressed, holding steady in-between, or if you’re a family member or friend of a person with BPD, God loves you very much and wants you to be freed from emotional and spiritual stressors that might be adding to your situation. My prayer is that you and everyone else you know can find this kind of uplifting relief by reading my book, Radical Well-being.

Thanks so much for this opportunity to talk about my book, Bonnie!