How to Find Love and Hope in a Desolate Place

by Guest Author, Madison FieldsLink to Free Digital Photos.net Royalty Free Images

The modern world is a foreboding and dangerous place with different predators roaming the streets. Criminal minds are looking for their latest victims so that they could further their own selfish needs and horrendous desires. And that is why a lot of people are sleeping with one eye open and they are constantly looking over their shoulders to keep themselves relatively safe all the time. And these people are really having a hard time when it comes to trusting other folks because even the devil can hide behind innocent smiles and friendly handshakes.

But this doesn't mean that people should shun society altogether and live alone for the rest of their lives in isolation because they experienced horrible things, sometimes even in the hands of the ones who should be loving and protecting them. It is perfectly understandable that victims of violent and heinous crimes like home invasion, rape or even murder are unable or reluctant to reclaim their life and live to the fullest. And no one can blame victims of different types of abuse if they find it hard to trust other people again after all the pain and misery they have been through.

There is always a silver lining to the dark clouds that come their way because they are never alone even when they feel like no one can possibly understand what they are feeling. No one is ever truly alone and there can be rainbows and sunshine after the heaviest of rains. Here are tested and proven tips that they can try for themselves so that they can pick up the pieces of their life. It is time to move forward with true happiness and security as well as the firm resolve that their terrible past and experiences can never stop them from experiencing a great future ahead.

1. Keep a Memoir

Victims of abuse and violent crimes hold back when it comes to detailing and sharing their ordeals with other people because of mixed feelings of anger, shame and even guilt. They fear that they will be judged based on their past and their mistakes because others will not fully understand the hell on earth that they have been through. And that is why it is important for them to have an outlet where they can pour their hearts out and vent their feelings to prevent them from exploding and decaying inside. A journal, diary or even a personal memoir will suffice so that they can look back and plan ahead at the same time without relieving the horrible memories inside their head.

2. Join Support Groups

But sometimes, even putting down your thoughts with the help of pen and paper is not enough because victims need the assurance that everything will be alright despite the horrible experiences they went through. They need to realize that even if the world is not all rainbows and butterflies, it is not all bad either. And that is why they need to join support groups and meet new people who have been through similar experiences and life-changing events to prove that there is a chance for a good life despite their tragic ordeals. Sooner or later, after seeking the help, guidance and comfort that they need, they can give back by doing the same for those who are still struggling with their own demons inside.

3. Adopt a Pet

For people who just find it really difficult to trust human beings or form new relationships because the wounds on their body, mind and soul have not fully healed yet, they can go to the local shelter to save the life of a pet. This may seem shallow or superficial at first but you will be amazed that the life you saved today may in turn save your life in the long run. Being responsible for the pet they saved from kill shelters can give victims the second chance, hope and love for life that they have been looking for. Also, animals are honest with their feelings, non-judgmental and they can very well fill the gaping hole and dark void inside the hearts and lives of their owners.

There are more ways to find the light once again and people who have been through hell and back just need to stay strong and keep a firm resolve until they can stand on their own two feet again. The scars will always be there but what doesn't kill them can really make them stronger. Finding love and hope in this desolate place is not impossible but it has to start from within to be genuine and truly long-lasting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madison Fields is a survivor and she will not let anything or anyone in this world stop her from living her life to the fullest. When she is not busy giving dissertation help to her fellow students and struggling friends, she loves to volunteer in the local youth center. She wants to spread love and hope especially to hurting and lost people who feel that they have nothing in this world to live for.

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Changing Bipolar Disorder: Through Journaling

by Carley Cooper 

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In my first post I mentioned that there was a time when my mental health was in rapid decline. It was at this point when I realized that I had to change something before it was too late. But what? And, how? I didn’t know the answers. I needed some information. Though it’s no longer the case, at the time, I didn’t trust doctors. I felt that I had to do this on my own.

I was Terrified of Ending Up in the Hospital

I started doing some research on myself in order to collect the information that I needed. I did this by journaling, but it wasn’t a standard daily journal. I decided that I needed to see where there patterns in my life. If I knew the patterns, I thought, then I would know what to change. Journaling could help me do this.

My Journaling System

Each year I purchase a standard day-timer. The ones I chose have one full page for one day. Instead of writing down my future appointments as most people would use it, I write down what I am doing all day long. It takes a few seconds to jot down an activity when it happens. Because I write on and off as the days go on, it doesn’t feel like a chore to me. Along the right side of the page I drew a line from top to bottom to make a column about one quarter of the page width.

In the main section are my activities, using the times written along the left side of the page. In the column on the right, I write down:

  • my mood swings
  • my energy levels
  • how sleepy I feel (which relates back to the quality of sleep)
  • how stressed I feel
  • and my libido (for the purposes of tracking hyper-sexuality symptoms of BPD)

For each item I have a simple system of 0 to 10. For moods, for example, 0 equals feeling suicidal. 10 equals mania. For energy, 0 equals little to no energy. 10 equals high energy as usually accompanies high mania. For libido, 0 equals “don’t come near me if you don’t want t join the John Bobbitt club”, while 10 equals “I need my hubby NOW!” Stress and sleep levels are measured in the same manner with 0 equalling low, and 10 equalling high.

In the bottom right corner of the page I write the number of hours of sleep I got the night before and whether it was broken sleep or straight through. I also write down how much fitness activity I got that day.

I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, so I track details such as times of bowel movements across the top of the page. Plus, I always circle the appropriate weather symbols at the bottom of the page and fill in the temperature for the day. Weather, and moon cycles also affect my moods.

The final thing that I track is color. Or rather, is through color. I have 6 highlighter pens that are all of different colors. Each color represents something different. At the end of the day, I highlight each of these items on my page:

  • Pink represents meditation times
  • Orange represents socializing with others (as I also have Social Anxiety Disorder, so pushing myself to socialize is a positive step)
  • Yellow represents physical fitness
  • Green represents sexual activity
  • Blue represents times when I’ve been crying
  • Purple represents my spiritual time with God, or working on projects that are centered around Him.

The purpose of this color system is to help me see even more patterns. For example, if I flip through the past couple of weeks in the journal and don’t see enough pink, orange, yellow or purple; then I know I have to increase these activities… especially if my mood has been low. These items help my keep my moods up. If I see too much blue on the pages, then I know I’m too depressed. I need to change something or get some help.

Some of my biggest discoveries in patterns through this journal system has been the link between mood swings and certain food items, but details on that are a whole other blog to come in the future.

Journaling can Work for You Too!

This system is a basic system, but it provides a lot of information. It’s helped me find patterns which have guided me to changing activities and diet that have helped me go from being co-dependent to independent. If you are so inclined you could computerize the whole system which would also provide opportunities for charts, graphs, and detailed daily notes. You can also customize your own rating and color systems. You, too, can find patterns in your life through journaling. The changes that can happen as a result are amazing.

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You Can’t Lose!

 
I’m very excited to launch Breaking the Window.  First, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my story.
 

I’ve had a Rather Difficult Life, but I’ve Come Out the Other End Happy.

 

I was born in Fortune, Newfoundland. I now live in Barrie, Ontario. I was Social Phobic, right from kindergarten. Back then they didn’t have this label and they certainly didn’t know it was a disorder that needs attention and treatment. I saw it as rejection. I never asked questions in school, and usually cried if the teacher asked me one. Fear, anxiety, and feeling of not belonging have always been a big issue with me.
 
I was a sick child, and spent a lot of time in the hospital. I never thought of it as abnormal. It was just life to me.
 
I have a rather normal family (whatever that means), and a large extended family. I have two younger brothers; and my parents are still alive and married after almost 50 years. We lived in the country growing up, and I was a tomboy. I loved my dolls and such things in my room, but outside, I was riding my bicycle and building a tree-house with the boys.
 
I always felt that I was I was an outcast from the outcasts. I went into my first big depression in the 5th grade, but I told no one. From that point on I had a difficult time making and keeping friends. I was molested as a teenager for 3 years. My first boyfriend died when I was 16. He had Cystic Fibrosis.
 
I’ve had a lot of abuse from men in my life; mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, and financially. I am a survivor and proud of it!
 
I was married and divorced. In 1992 I was involved in a 6 car pileup on an icy highway. I spent the next 2 and a half years recovering.
 

If I was Strong Enough to Pull Myself Up, You Can Do it Too!

 

There was a time when my mental health got to the point I had memory gaps. I was in a rapid decline and aware of it. I had a disabled boyfriend who took care of me, instead of the other way around. I didn’t trust doctors anymore. I knew if I didn’t pull myself up, no one would. I knew I had to do something to get my life back. I believed if I landed in the hospital I would never again see the light of day. Fear was an incredible motivational force within me for the next several years.
 
I started learning how to live healthy. I figured that I can’t have a healthy mind if I don’t have a healthy body first. I focused my days on working out, eating right, and educating myself with the 1 goal of saving my own sanity before it was too late. I lost 75 lbs. Then I focused on changing my mental health. I started with positive affirmations written on index cards. After some time, it was working. Now I have people telling me I am an inspiration. It’s very humbling.
 
My Pastor also helped me realize in my quest for a healthy mind and body, I was forgetting a 3rd and vital aspect – my spiritual health. This was more than a light bulb moment. It was whole Christmas tree – with the flashers on! There are 3 parts to health; body, mind, and spirit. If one is not healthy, all 3 will suffer. Pastor also led me through the process of forgiveness which, as it turned out, I have found to be vital for my own mental health. For the first time I understood it. I forgave my abusers, the childhood friends that hurt me, and others. The bad dreams finally stopped. It was all gone.
 
Over the years I had been given a number of diagnosis’, but during that summer of 2010 that I was finally given a proper diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder – Type II. Plus, my healthy eating plan taught me certain foods were triggering some mood swings. Certain processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and fat-free foods give me bad bipolar episodes. Other foods like berries, almonds, and spinach help to keep my moods up. I have started a book project (that is yet to be given a title) outlining my whole healthy living journey. I’ve also finally found a good medication regimen that is working.
 
Now, I’m happy. I have BPD, but I’m functioning well. I live alone and I’m independent for the first time. Plus, I’m starting a new career as a writer and speaker. My motto has always been “don’t ever give up.” You may have bad days, weeks, or months; but as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will not fail! Do not ever quit! You are worth the effort.
 
Please leave your comments in the space provided below. 
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