Do you feel that the shame connected to darker moments in your bipolar struggles is too challenging to face and recover from? You aren’t alone. Bipolar disorder can shatter your self-image and make forgiving yourself extremely difficult.
Living with the disruption of bipolar disorder can lead to replaying the situation over and over in your mind. The myriad of poor choices and relationship problems you may be facing can consume your thoughts and self-talk. Over time, such negative rumination can become a severe obstacle to some desperately needed clarity. It just foments the shame cycle.
Still, you are worthy, and you can heal. You deserve help and support.
Learning how to recover from bipolar-related behavior is valuable for tackling the sense of guilt, regret, embarrassment, and humiliation often associated with bipolar disorder. Addressing shame with an intentional plan to heal personally and reconcile with others is essential for both your mental and physical health.
The Impact of Shame
Again, our recovery is deeply connected to clarity. We cannot have a clear view of the world when we live in a state of chronic shame. It distorts an accurate perception of our memories, decisions, others, and ourselves. Shame tends to do more harm than good, triggering emotional problems and impairing function in the following ways:
- Muddled thinking
The primary takeaway? Chronic shame is not something we can let fester. For someone with bipolar disorder, this cycle must stop as quickly as possible
You Are Not Alone
Shame and Bipolar
Due to the nature of bipolar disorder — vacillation between manic and depressive phases — there is an increased likelihood of shame. When in one phase, you may ruminate over what you said or did in the other phase. Do you spiral into shame and self-loathing? Are you prone to agonizing over your own words and deeds? Do you feel unlovable or too ashamed to enter into healthier and more beneficial connections for fear of harming those relationships?
Such shame is not just uncomfortable and isolating. It can be self-sabotaging when it comes to lasting recovery. Shame walls you off from treatment and vital support systems.
Bipolar Disorder & Shame: 5 Ways to Heal
But don’t let shame fool you. There are ways to get beyond it. Consider these ways that you can both practice self-care and productively collaborate with your counselor for a happier, more authentic life.
Accept Progress of Any Kind
Shame is all about the past. It holds you, hostage, to moments you can’t undo and tries to make them who you are. Your power lies in your ability to appreciate your current moment keep moving forward. Accept the past and accept with gratitude your ability to forge ahead.
Remember, too; there is no precise blueprint compelling you to progress at a specific rate. Set short-term goals and celebrate each step.
Create a Support System
This approach is a non-negotiable for shame recovery. You’ll need others’ support to counter the power of stigma, poor behavior, and regret. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest about your sifting thoughts, relationship struggles, and current frame of mind.
Allowing people to know and understand you can make a significant difference in building and repairing your relationships. However, if you don’t currently have many personal options for support, you can also find help via useful online and local counseling resources.
Visualize the Other Side of the Shame State
To experience success and satisfaction, it helps to envision these states first. Being able to imagine yourself moving toward healing and comfort rather than “stuck in a shameful place is crucial.
There are sensations and thought patterns connected to your shame. You will likely find that it is beneficial to lean on your therapist for help when visualization feels impossible on your own.
Practice Daily Self-Care
Running parallel to your bipolar shame, recovery work is the daily need for physical and mental self-care. To create and commit to a self-care regimen serves several purposes:
- It generates a more self-aware and resilient version of yourself
- Self-care reminds you that you are valued and deserving of such care
- Your improved relationship with yourself fosters a desire for enhanced relationships with others
Fuel your self-care routines with healthy sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise and activity, and stress management. Consider stretching, deep breathing, yoga, etc., to maintain a healthy balance between your mind and body. All of this will help foster recovery and a healthy perspective
Keep a Journal
You may feel the manic and depressive sides of you are strangers. By maintaining a regular journal, you can monitor feelings, triggers, and successful approaches across the chasm. Your journal will also become an essential tool in counseling.
Bipolar Shame Recovery in Therapy
Bipolar, in general, requires the guidance of a skilled mental health professional. Hence, working through related shame will become part of this process. Your counselor will craft a unique approach geared toward your specific needs.
Bipolar shame therapy can go a long, long way in empowering you to see that you can reach the other side of the shame-filled state. If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to learn more and meet for a consultation.