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The Future and the Past. Wednesday July 13, 2016

Is it your future or your past you fear most?

I suppose that depends on whether we suffer nightmares, where our past revisits us clothed in hideous glory; where we run, but cannot escape our mistakes and the consequences; where the events behind us play out before us with tragic inevitability.

Then we might fear the past, because the past is our present day to day.

Or perhaps we have made a peace, however uneasy, with our past. We all make mistakes. We would all have done things differently if only we had known... And then the mistakes would simply have been different ones. So our mistakes, and the choices we made that were not mistakes but wise decisions, and just pure luck, have brought us to where we are now, the present.

For some of us it is the future we fear. A future of aging; of losing health, independence, quality of life; losing loved ones.

Some of us have lived with a mental health condition for as long as we can remember, and this brings its own specific fears.

Before my diagnosis of bi-polar, I had no particular fear of the future, because every time I crashed and burned on the cycle it was a new experience. I never once thought, "Oh, here we go again!" I just wondered why I was ill this particular time, and why I didn't seem to be able to go more than two years without some kind of debilitating illness (I have written before of the myriad diagnoses I had before my current GP, intelligent saint that she is, correctly identified what was going on).

Now it is a different story. Research into bipolar disorder suggests that this is a condition that worsens with age and my own observations and records (thank you Moodscope) suggests that is true at least in my own case.

So its unlikely things will get better. My highs are getting higher, and the troughs more frequent, and deeper.

It's not exactly fear for the future, but it is concern.

My siblings and I have all made a pact that we will not end our lives by suicide. We know this is a real issue for us and that we have to take appropriate steps to manage things if that particular spectre begins to haunt us with his cold and twisted logic.

We have GPs who know us well. We have overcome our reluctance to take drugs, because hey – the drugs work; if not perfectly, then better than trying to cope without. We have created support networks. We hope it will be enough.

We are shoring up our defences, stockpiling the sandbags, taping over the vulnerable windows. We are doing all we can. We are taking responsibility for the future.

And the future becomes the present, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Then it slips into the past.

And the past cannot hurt us - unless we succumb to the nightmares.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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LillyPet Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:02am

Hi Mary,
I guess it's the "what if thoughts that can scare me if I dont recognise them quickly and dismiss them. Something in the present may happen that triggers familiar negative feelings.My brain tries to protect me by identifying where the "threat" is and prepare me by saying, " well if that happened, where could it lead if it keeps happening? What are you going to do about it? Can you do anything about it? What can you do to change it?" etc. So it's not the actual future that scares me, it's the potential for things to upset me that are out of my control that in the moment scares me and leaves a lasting anger towards the instigater and self blame that I am affected by whatever it was.

In learning about autism, I've come across a very good word. Disregutated. These events reoccur. I know they will and when they do I'm simply disregulated for a while. It has tended to be for about a week before I settle back down from it.
The most recent event sent me into a low for a week and because I hadnt experienced mure than a day for so long, it scared me. I worked through the situation. Acted on it and thankfully a week later I woke up feeling ok again.
If it happens again at least I know that I may be disregulated for a while, possibly for about a week, hopefully alot less! So maybe that awareness will prevent me from worrying about it lasting.
I hope that you get the best possible support and advice about managing bi polar as time goes on. We are all different and your depth of understanding brings hope.

Thanks for a thought inspiring blog Mary. I'm off to seize the present moments that today brings with gratitude. It's warm and bright out there and so am I! Warm and bright wishes to all LP xx

LillyPet Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:04am

Ugh! InstigatOr! :)

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:26am

Well I admit I feel more like topping myself after reading this eloquent statement of bipolar misery. I am not aware of the getting worse as we get older prognosis. I find that scary. I would like to hear more conclusive evidence, if this is true.
I have always associated my sporadic ups and downs with life's particular challenges, and it worries me when I hear that the illness is somehow in charge and rolling relentlessly on into a bleaker future. I prefer to believe that years of stability in between bipolar episodes are again possible.

Leah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:34am

Deborah I too had not heard about bipolar getting worse with ahe. In fact i heard it was the opposite.some research seems to becontradictory.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:03am

Yes Deborah - this was a pretty bleak blog. Sorry - they go like that sometimes. I just write what is there to write. Let's all do some more research. I would like to know that what I've read is untrue - or at least unsupported. And - it is about taking steps and being prepared and taking on responsibility. With bi-polar one cannot hide one's head in the sand and hope it will go away. (Can't do that with anything really, can we?) Here are some of the sites I visited. What they all seem to agree on is the importance of treatment (probably drugs, let's face it).

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:25am

I also think I have read that bipolar does not get worse with age. Will check the book I think I read it in later. And hopefully we can learn more about self management over time so that we can get help before things get so bad or keep the symptoms a bit more under control. Hope you will be in a less grim place soon Mary. TF x

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 4:37pm

My go to book on bipolar is "The bipolar workbook" by Monica Ramirez Basco. It has lots of useful exercises to work on for highs as well as lows and was recommended to me by an NHS psychologist. Anyway it says that without consistent medication episodes become more frequent and tend to be longer as we age. I find mood stabilizers OK to take and am a great believer in sticking with medical advice so I think I interpreted this positively as there being no reason why bipolar should get worse with age. TF x

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 4:43pm

My go to book on bipolar is "The bipolar workbook" by Monica Ramirez Basco. It has lots of useful exercises to work on for highs as well as lows and was recommended to me by an NHS psychologist. Anyway it says that without consistent medication episodes become more frequent and tend to be longer as we age. I find mood stabilizers OK to take and am a great believer in sticking with medical advice so I think I interpreted this positively as there being no reason why bipolar should get worse with age. TF x

Orangeblossom Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:27am

Hi Mary, thanks for your very candid & informative Blog. It gives me a deeper understanding of bi-polar. I appreciate your insights. Love

Orangeblossom Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:27am

Hi Mary, thanks for your very candid & informative Blog. It gives me a deeper understanding of bi-polar. I appreciate your insights. Love

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:29am

Hi Mary- You appear to have some good strategies in place to manage events that could occur in the bi polar condition. " Is it your past our your future you fear most" For me it's neither because I spend as little time as possible in the past - it has told me all it knows. As for the future it has yet to happen so one's fears are just as likely to be right as wrong. " stuff happens" no matter how well prepared one can be so why not deal with it when it happens?

One should always remain hopeful of the future - new discoveries are taking place all the time and it's possible new therapies will emerge for bipolar.

Here is our laugh .

With the help of a fertility specialist, a 60 year old grandmother has a baby. All her sons daughters and grandchildren come to visit and meet the newest member of their family. When they ask to see the baby, the 60 year grandmother says, "Not yet." A little later they ask to see the baby again. Again grandmother says, "Not yet." Finally they say, "When can we see the baby?" And the grandmother says, "When the baby cries." So they ask, "Why do we have to wait until the baby cries?" The new mother says, "I forgot where I put it."

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:08pm

A rueful laugh only for this, as dementia and Alzheimer's is probably the spectre I do fear.

Rupert Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 8:39am

A brutally honest blog Mary and I applaud you for it. If we can't share our thoughts and concerns in all honesty on here then there is no hope. Your description struck a huge chord with the swirling cloud of anxiety and fear that is in my head this morning. Rupert x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:05am

Hello Rupert, how lovely to see you here again, even if you are not in a good place today. Sending you a big gentle hug. Yes - this blog came out as being pretty grim; it does that sometimes. I just hope it helps to show that we are none of us alone in our fears!

DAVID HAMILTON Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 9:59am

Hi Mary,
I understand your feelings and we've all been there, and may be will all be there again.

But I have to agree with Deborah. We must try to be more positive in all aspects of life, as I've mentioned previously, ORDER in everything we undertake, from finances, health, relationships, beliefs, not allowing negative thoughts to enter our heads, ACTUALLY CLEARS THE MIND, distracting these hurdles by serving others in need, is where we lose ourselves and in so doing FIND ourselves, does that make sense ?

I believe in the Godhead, Father Son and Holy Ghost, but going to any Church is no the real answer, it is the reason for attending.

That reason is to draw closer to God, and in Prayer ask for His help and Guidance each day, Recognising these miracles which are evident as we worship God, and in so doing lifting myself and learning how to behave, in all the facets of life, non-judgement of others, striving to be honest with myself, my feelings and honest with others. Never giving up on anyone or anything, until we see it through to a positive conclusion either way.

I have absolutely no fear of the future or even death, because I know where I hope to be in the eternities, IF I am worthy enough !

This is no religious fanatasism it's only a belief, not proven to me but just BLIND FAITH, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints...yes that's right a moron....(sorry predictive text again)...A Mormon of nearly 40 years.

But there is a difference most Christian churches share and worship the God of Abraham, so it really doesn't matter, in my opinion which church we attend.
As one day we MAY all come before God to account for our Mortal Life, because we were with Him in Heaven who chose to follow Christ, two third of the hosts of Heaven, and not the third who chose Satan (War in Heaven) we gained a body to experience how we would cope with Adversity, self-inflicted or otherwise, before returning to account to Him at our demise.

Getting the point I'm making is we need to believe in ourselves and something that will keep us motivated and to be able to cope with all that is thrown at us, not becoming like most others who dress to fashion and wear similar clothes to line the pockets of large conglomerates !

Stop going over the cliff with all the other lemmings, swim in the opposite direction.


So look around and absorb the beauty that is our world, He could have sent us to Mars !

ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING IN LIFE, that way we neither fear God NOR Man.

God Bless you Mary for your honesty,

Strive to deal with the hard depressing chores or adversities FIRST, get them out of the way and dealing with all else is down hill, not plain sailing, BUT ORDERLY.


Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:07am

Bless you Dave! As I share your faith, I too have no fear of death itself, but totally take on your points. But - order??? Dave my darling - order is anathema to some of we creative types! Positivity is fine though - what's that phrase? Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Now - there's another blog title! Thank you so much for your helpful advice. And - when are you going to write us some blogs, eh?

DAVID HAMILTON Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:11am

At 71 years of age I have followed and still follow my own counsel, one who has had Bipolar since age 17 years of age.
I say what I mean and mean what I say.
It's still only my opinion just the same......But my moodscope readings are honest at 100%, and so far 3 years...consistent in the last 2 years.

Bipolar has NOT worsened as I've gotten older, but definitely improved, off all medication for the last 4 years, so I must be doing something right.....But because I've had BP all my life, I have to remain POSSITIVE, it may return, but this year I have my physical adversities under control, and NOT through medication.

But I do have order in my life, Royal Navy discipline maybe.

I've been 50 years married in October to the same girl and three children dare I say....children.

My suggestion for that inner peace has reach several in our BP group and seeing the changes taking place is very rewarding.


Leah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:42am

Dave your words give me hope. I was diagnosed 16 bipolar so has lived with a diagnosis for over 40 years about a decade less than you have.So about 4 years t me so that is something to look forward to

Leah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:45am

my last line should read so in about 9years time acording to your numbers my life should get better and that is something to look forward to. thanks Dave. look forward to reading your blog soon.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:09pm

Then I too will hope, Dave!

DAVID HAMILTON Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:14am

Mary Thank you for your sweet kindness of heart, I have written two blogs and another on the way.
In the last 2 weeks.

Leah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:54am

Mary I am not a positive person and I don't have order in my life. my motto has been like you said Minato has always been expect the worst but hopefully best I don't see myself as a pessimist I see myself as the worst cases scenario person.
So I share your worst case scenario that bipolar will get worse as you age but I also look forward to to thinoygs improving like Dave said it has for him.
Agree about takng responsibility and prep.aring for the future as well.
My personal worst case is to find out in about a decade ime is thatmedication that is keeping me well for many years has made me very ill and shortened my life. I can live withthat because if I hadn't taken it I probably wouldn't be alive today.

Leah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 10:58am

Minarto = my motto - expect the worst but hope for the best. voice to text has a mind of its own.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:11pm

It's always a play-off isn't it? I was recommended Sodium Valproate but after reading up about it decided I would rather live with the condition than the SV's side effects. Most do not have that luxury. Go well, Leah. Minarto: I like it!

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:44am

Thanks for your comments Mary and for sharing your feelings and fears. I will check out those websites.

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:44am

Thanks for your comments Mary and for sharing your feelings and fears. I will check out those websites.

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:44am

Thanks for your comments Mary and for sharing your feelings and fears. I will check out those websites.

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:44am

Thanks for your comments Mary and for sharing your feelings and fears. I will check out those websites.

Deborah Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 11:45am

Thanks for your comments Mary and for sharing your feelings and fears. I will check out those websites.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 12:21pm

You have such a gift for writing, Mary. I always know when it's you blogging from your opening sentence. Thank you, as ever. My score today is stratospherically higher than it has been for a while so your timing of your sentiment is perfect. Go well.

The Gardener Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 1:38pm

Hello Mary - I've just sent a blog to Caroline which could be the clone of yours - very odd. The past does not scare me - it has been sad, full of watching my nearest and dearest make a mess of relationships, feast and famine (ask my kids about soup and spaghetti - family-speak for when we had no money). It has been incredibly rich (so many of you here profess to enjoy my crazy anecdotes) in experiences - many of which occurred because moniless, we did things the hard way - (driving through the alps in the winter, through the night because we could not afford hotels but could rent a palace in Positano) with 5 kids - looking back, it was hazardous and foolhardy. Yet there were magic moments - coming into Pontarlier in the early morning, all trees like Christmas trees, sparkling snow - then a warm, bright cafe, delicious coffee, hot chocolate and fresh croissants. Then 2nd son spent most of his life in the far east - with more money and using him as a base we learned Viet-nam, Indonesia (particularly Bali), Malaysia, India OFF the tourist routes. Now, the future is terrifying. The psychiatrist nurse this morning says it's high time Mr G is in a 'home'. I still have 2 houses and no free capital. She said ask your children. I wouldn't dream of it - and, just as scary - due to economic events worldwide despite their very real abilities none of them could be called 'safe' in their chosen professions, and, they have the younger generation to think of, much more important than us oldies. If you could see our two houses and their gardens you would be pretty envious - we also have our health - except - the worst spectre of all - the blog I just wrote, and Mary's above - being scared - Alzheimer's is destroying Mr G's mind, and our life.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:12pm

I look forward to reading your blog!

The Gardener Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 1:45pm

After thought re-reading - an illusion shattered - I'd got the idea that although you're bi-polar for life that the fluctuations lessened with age. I'd also though (and becoming convinced) that if you are naturally pessimistic that 'trait' will get worse (has with Mr G, his brother and two very close men friends - is it more in the male line?) - their character has always been 'grouchy' but, younger, they could be great fun as well.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:14pm

Well, there seems to be some disagreement about this - which is brilliant! I am now much more hopeful! I do sometimes wonder if my moodscope readings are more extreme because I now more sensitive to my moods than I was before... food for thought....

Hazel Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 1:55pm

I've had bi-polar since I was 15 and in my personal opinion it does no get worse with age. I've been off medication 8 years now . My worst time by far was my teenage years and early twenties. Messed up O and A levels and had to quite nursing. I accept my limitations and try to live with gratitude. Have a pationt husband of 43 years. Love your posts Mary,

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 5:16pm

Yes - I mucked up my degree because of it - and, to be honest, still carry some resentment around that. So pleased to hear you are off meds (and presumably coping well). Patient husbands definitely help. As do cats.

Nicola Wed, Jul 13th 2016 @ 9:46pm

Excellent blog Mary, thank you so much xx

Sally Thu, Jul 14th 2016 @ 10:07pm

Mary, this is my first post although I have been quietly reading everyone else's very generous contributions for years. Your voice in particular is immediately identifiable and tonight I have felt compelled to respond - your candour and strength are admirable, thank you. You have made me (and I'm sure many others) feel that we are not alone and that mental illness is random and unfair but there is a supportive community out there who understand, X

Eva Thu, Jul 14th 2016 @ 10:55pm

Hi Sally, welcome, nice to see you.

Sally Fri, Jul 15th 2016 @ 7:42am

Thank you Eva.

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