Skip to content

A Crisis of Faith and a Decision


I had heard the term crisis of faith but never really thought much about it. If you have read any of my posts about church and sitting on the fence, deciding to go back, deciding that I really didn’t know what I wanted and I’ll just ignore it. I never associated all my actions and lack of actions as being a crisis in faith. About 18 months ago I came to the conclusion that I had to make a choice and get off the fence and had to stop jumping back and forth from one side of the fence to the other. I hung in as long as I did for a wrong reason, because my daughter was going to get married in the Temple and I didn’t want to hurt her. Once that was all over, I actually said I was done, I told my husband and at first he put it off as being “another phase of going back and forth”. It took a while for him to actually hear what I was saying, I really was done. I told him that I wasn’t going to try to get him to follow me and that I wasn’t going to bad mouth the church. I did sit and try to explain my reasons. I won’t get into all those right now. I will say that having made that decision was a huge load of my shoulders. I was no longer pretending or trying to be something or someone I wasn’t. I didn’t do it so I could run around and do things that I wasn’t “allowed” to do before. I did it for me, because it was the best thing for me. I left a lot of guilt behind when I decided to leave.

The fallout–

Friends–I was very worried about what it would do to my relationship with my two close friends. I had to say “I have made a decision to no longer attend church, this is a final decision after years of going back and forth. I am worried about what it will do to our friendship. Please don’t try to sway me.” I took the easy way out and texted them because I did not want to be looking at them if they said it was over. I was met with love and told by each of them separately that our friendship was not built on my being a member or not. It may have been how we met and became friends but it did not define our friendship. Strangely, I have not told my best friend who is not a member of the church, part of my bipolar brain says she is going to say I told you so, even though she has never said anything negative about the church.

Family–My husband has made some kind of peace with it. I have only talked to one of my kids only one of the four is active and I haven’t talked to her. I haven’t told my parents, it will hurt them and I don’t want to hurt them. Maybe disappoint is a better word than hurt or maybe it needs to be both. I have debated back and forth on who I really need to say anything to.

I told my RS Pres. that I was done, that she didn’t need to come VT me anymore. I told her not to make me a “project”. She asked if I wanted her to tell the Bishop and I told her that it really didn’t matter to me if she did or didn’t. We had a small friendship based on a common friend and she has tried to remain in my circle of friends. I still consider her a friend but I always question whether stuff is done out of friendship or a way to check off a box at church. I have been told it is the first, but my bipolar brain over reacts and I struggle to believe that and as a result I have pushed her away.

It is interesting for me to read what I just typed, I never really sat and put all my thoughts on paper per say. There are definitely a lot of holes in this long story, maybe as time goes by I will find it important to fill in the blanks. For now, this is enough.

Crisis over.


Catching Up


I had put this blog so far on the back burner that for a while I had forgotten that it even existed. I have been playing around with the idea of writing again, of updating what I am doing and what has changed in my life.

There are so many things that have changed in my life since I last wrote. One child divorced, another married, two more grandkids and one on the way. The loss of my mother-in-law. The way I see myself and others. A lesson on what forgiveness of others is and more importantly what it is not. We are now “empty nesters”. We are at a place in our lives that we have some money to do some things we want to do, not just what we have to do.

I spent 4 weeks as an inpatient on the psychiatric floor of the hospital. First a one week stint, then two weeks later I stayed for three weeks. Many medication change attempts and just as many failures. Six months later and the side effects of the medications are pretty much gone. I was seriously manic in a way that I had never been before. I was self destructing in a way that literally could have gotten me killed. Things that could have destroyed my marriage. Things that I will never heal from. I had been hypomanic pretty consistently for about a year. Some days worse than others but I was pushing my way through life. Then I got physically sick, antibiotics and a steroid based inhaler. Then more antibiotics and a steroid shot. Then a “let’s try just a dose-pack of corticosteroids and see if that works”. No, didn’t work so time for the big guns, antibiotic shot, oral antibiotics and Prednisone. If you know anything about steroids and bipolar disorder, you know it is a recipe for disaster. And, disaster hit me smack on the head, only I couldn’t see it at first, then I didn’t want to see it. Who would want to see the mania rear its ugly head? I fought as hard as I could to not go to the doctor as my therapist wanted me to. I blew her off because I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I finally went to the doctor and then fought her when she said I needed to be hospitalized. I don’t live in a state that they can involuntarily hold you unless you are a danger to yourself or others. I wasn’t suicidal or homicidal so no mandatory 72 hour hold. It was up to me to accept the help. It finally came down to me scaring the crap out of myself with my actions and being willing to vocalize what I was doing.

One good thing that came out of my mania, the spending money like it was going out of style part, was a wonderful week in Cancun with all kinds of activities and trips because I paid for it all and we might as well go since I did. The bad part, we went after the first week in the hospital (part of me agreeing to go into the hospital was because I wanted to come down enough to enjoy the trip). Unfortunately the medication that I was sent home with turned me into a zombie, my husband even called the psychiatrist from Cancun and he almost never gets involved in my medical care. I did taper off of it, but I really don’t remember most of the trip. We have great pictures (I paid for every picture packet for everything we did of course). I can see in those pictures what we did and that I was having fun, you could see it in my face. But, you could also see the zombie eyes pop out after taking the meds. I look at the pictures and see proof that we went and everything that we did but I don’t have any tangible memories. I now want to go back in a “normal” mood and enjoy it and create memories, not just pictures.



The Parade of Masks


Fake it till you make it–well I’ve faked it for so long I don’t know who I really am. The faking, the wearing of masks starts out so innocently–a smile when you really feel like crying because they forgot your birthday. A nod yes, everything’s ok when maybe you would rather rip someone’s head off for something they said to you–probably just in passing. Yet, it hurts just the same. We all have masks for different situations–sometimes these masks are just guidelines for certain situations, the code of conduct for where you are. The problem begins when you never lie down the mask and be the real you. When you are with close friends and family you should not have to wear a mask. Your real feelings should be acceptable and you should be comfortable in expressing those emotions without fear. Whether it be excitement, confusion, rage, depression, joy or anger. This should be a safe place to express these feelings.

As I look at the mask I wear, I realize how heavy a burden I am asking myself to shoulder. Years of wearing the mask has rendered it virtually un-removable, at this point even I do not know what lies behind the.mask. I think I am scared, no, I know I am terrified to take it off and see the scared defenseless little girl who hides behind the mask. The little girl who believes it is her job to make sure everyone else is well and happy, no matter the expense to her own well-being. It’s the little girl who feels that it does not matter how she feels or how things affect her, the only thing that matters is making others happy. Now this little girl has spent decades pleasing others and she would like someone to please her, to make her feel loved and wanted because of who she is and not what she has done. Yet, at the same time she does not  believe that she is worthy of such respect–after all, she hasn’t always done the right thing or said the right words. These feelings have built those prison walls, the long conviction of worthlessness built strong walls, walls that must be taken apart piece by piece, a slow process, especially as other things happen that build the walls at the same time they are being taken down.

It is very hard for the bearer of the masks to see the face that is so easily viewed by others. Only by listening and observing their reactions can we begin to see what they see. Sometimes a mask is put on with one purpose in mind and the outcome is totally different. This often causes a sensation of failure in the wearer.

Written in 1997

As I return and reflect upon the writings I have kept throughout the years, it saddens me to sometimes find myself back in those very places. I think I have dug out my entire arsenal of masks lately, although some have become worn and cracked. I would like to say that I just threw those away and told myself I didnt need them anymore.

I have fixed or updated a lot of these masks and the pile of bricks seems to be growing smaller, not larger right now. I am putting up more walls than I am taking down. I know I am not in a good place, but I do not care enough yet to follow through on all the help I need to get out of this place. It is too overwhelming of a task.loved

Trying to Level Out-How am I going to do this?


Over the many years of ups and downs, even I have no clue where I am. I have a difficult time seeing anything that is outside of my brain. I have all these wonderful resources available to me, yet in my deepest time of need I don’t trust them. In my recent manic phase I started digging stuff out of drawers and purging again. I came across a notebook that I apparently tried to gather together sayings, techniques, and anything else that might help. I opened it and started reading, with the thought of “why am I even bothering? it never works anyways”

Here is what I found:

a quote from Lori Deschene called Just Breathe on the cover of the binder. Obviously at some point this must have resonated with me.

To just breathe. To concentrate solely on the experience of nourishing our bodies with air and in doing so foster a deep sense of internal safety.

This reminds us that no matter how catastrophic things may seem, we’re alive. We’re okay. We’ll get through it. We are still here, still strong, still breathing.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just breathe. Forget for a minute about everything that needs to be done, and take it all one slow step and deep breath at time.

If you’re feeling worried, just breathe. Forget for a minute about everything that might go wrong and create what can go right, one slow step and deep breath at a time.

If you’re feeling scared, just breathe. Forget for a minute about everything that might hurt you and take care of yourself, one slow step and deep breath at a time.

Oftentimes the world inside our heads is far more chaotic than the world outside it. We have immense power to calm it by remembering to just breathe.

I open the notebook to find worn and ragged 3×5 cards attached to scrapbook pages. Nothing fancy, I think I was just looking for a way to get them on paper. Like so many other things in my life I don’t remember making this. My hope is that at some point having it all together gave me hope that I could get through this and come out on top.

Here are some of the things I saved. I am separating each card with the lines


~Self-Soothe Positively

1-Tighten then Loosen

2- Distract with sight, sound, smell, taste and touch

3- Remember Grandma


Good Morning, This is God,

I will be handling all your problems today. I do not need your help. So, relax and have a great day!




Write down what is going on through my head when everything starts spinning around crazy and won’t let my brain stop. Some of my examples to replace the craziness were church, walk, schedule, stop negative thought, visualize what you want, Keep track of disassociating. It is easy to write these down with Cathy’s help, but not easy to even consider doing in the middle of the storm. Sometimes what is written on the cards doesn’t make sense to me now, out and away from what was going on when it was written.


-connect emotionally and physically




I want to be worthy and this is how I am working on it.

I have made bad choices but I can make other choices.

I am learning to trust myself. I will continue and can continue practice trusting me.

There is hope and with practice I will find it.



1 Change negative self talk to positive- use mood log after calming down.

2 Visualize what I want to have happen.

3 Crawling- crossing mid-line is the best way to stop anxiety.

4 Tap foot or hand to try and match the rhythm of my heartbeat with the rhythm of my hand/foot.


Are you aware that the more the enemies find you, the greater the indication that blessings are on the way? The enemy fights those who know who they are and know WHOSE they are.




Sayings, self-soothe

What do I need?

It will pass.


Anxiety -what to do

1-Create-scrapbook, sew, computer, just create something.

2-Physical-get up and go for a walk or clean house.

3-Turn around and see what I am afraid of-face my fears.

Measured action calms mania


I am doing the best I can right now. It’s going to be ok. I can learn from my mistakes.


How does the story fit this?

1 Inability to trust myself

2 I sense shame and zero shame on others

3 I expect perfection from myself and zero perfection from others


“All truth that is old is new for the person who discovers it the first time within himself (herself).


I can choose balance, it will bring peace.


“We don’t know what we know until we write it down…”

Sooo…. Write, write, write!


How to surf

1 say a prayer and ask for help

2 look at the feeling, what do I need right now?

3 look at feeling, acknowledge it, and say “it will pass”. I’ll be ok.

4 look at feeling, dissect it, analyze it.


There is hope, I will find it.


Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse, but look at him as he were what he could be and then he becomes what he should be. – Goethe


“Someday, I pray, when my life is sung, I’ll be in tune with the Holy One. And when he asks how my life has been, I hope I proved that I could blend in. And when the pain of remembering all missions rushes in, And I turn away from him, He’ll tell me that he paid the debt and all my sins he did forget. When he forgives, all is forgotten-It’s nice when some things are forgotten” –Michael Mclean


When I was young, I was sexually abused in a ritualized situation that included drugs and brainwashing, most likely by someone who at some time had some connections or at least knowledge about the church. Since that time there have been a lot of things in my life that I have done, that most likely would not have occurred had the abuse not occurred. I understand that I still had free agency, but it was clouded by the brainwashing, the abuse and that fact that I have Bi-Polar disease.


1 disclose

2 trust

3 revelation

4 loss of shame

5 healing

6 self acutalization

3 and 4 can be reversed


Notice the triggers for Shame-what, where, when, how?

Take care of the little girl inside


from a friend

How can you fail? and if you do…which I don’t see happening, what happens? Now ask the same questions with the word succeeded in place of fail. Let me know -J


The congregation sang “Lord I would Follow Thee”, One line hit me, It said what I want to learn–“Savior, may I learn to love thee?


Wish things would stop hitting me in the head so fast!!!!!! I don’t have time to process.


A friend told me that if I was sitting on the fence to just jump in with both feet and see what happens, guess I don’t have the courage to let go. Afraid of setting myself up to fail.


I don’t know where to begin or where to end.


As it is, it’s only later, after I’ve had some distance from what I’m going through that I can find it in myself to be grateful. I like the imagery of God carrying us through a storm.


I keep waiting for that “I’m proud of myself”…look to come over my face when I look in the mirror…


Take on this mantra for me… “I know with help from he who strengthens us” and repeat it like 1 million times a day.


“and all these things shall give thee experience and be for they good. The Lord has gone below them all, art thou greater than he?”


I am sure that God wants me to learn a few million things on this one and I know I will find the strength to tell him “Thank you, God”…because I know you understand why I need to learn this one, thank you for this storm! And you carried me all the way in my heart thru every wave… I am sure in the next life, this will alb so simple to understand. But right now…It’s back to step by step I’ll make it…as I stand up once more for whatever is coming my way next.


Found the perfect quote for how I feel lately–“I try to take things one day at a time, but lately several days have been attacking me at once!”


Consciously think about how to get from limbic brain to frontal brain

love=physical action

Shame vs. Guilt

Bad vs. Good

“You should be ashamed of yourself!” Stop saying it.


Faith, whatever you need it to stand,for it stands for, it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t have to make sense, that’s why they call it faith.


Lose the shame, find the acceptance


Part of you is angry and wants to yell bad words

part of you is sad and wants to cry

part of you is scared and wants to run away

part of you knows you have made a mistake and it is going to be ok


Religion is man’s way to reach God, Jesus is God’s way to reach men


I will stop here, the rest is interesting, but helpful in a different way and I will save it for another post.

It is interesting to me to see the same theme repeated multiple times during multiple sessions. Definitely lessons I needed to work on then, and definitely still need to work on them.

Productive Mania vs. Destructive Mania


The manic extreme of my Bipolar can be very destructive. It can be very productive. It is a place I like to be. It is a place I hate to be.

When I am manic I
• I can accomplish so much done
• I have so many more hours in my day
• I have little sense of right and wrong
• I lose touch with any spiritual feelings
• I love myself, I hate myself
• I have a tendency to rapid cycle when I get manic, a whirlwind of activity then a crash of depression
• I self-medicate or abuse prescription drugs
• I have mixed feelings about staying manic. The logical part of my brain says I will have to deal with the fallout at some point. The illogical side says who cares.
• I do things I would never do when I am not manic
• I am hypersexual
• I cope in inappropriate ways

In the last two months the majority of the time I have been in self-destruct mode. I have done things that I am not proud of. I can fully see that now, but I also don’t want to give up some of the things that I am doing. I have a hard time understanding why my brain doesn’t want to “be normal”. I like the high I get when I do some of the things.

It is hard to explain how I can feel the same feelings when I am being destructive or productive. I told my therapist I do a lot of it because I just want to feel something. She disagrees and says what I am really doing is trying not to feel. I have a hard time being able to name my feelings. I have spent so many years numb, that if you ask me to name a happy memory, or a scary one, or frustrating one I am at a loss at coming up with something. I look back and say well, I guess when I was in the car accident I must have been scared. Or, when I had my kids I must have been happy, but I cannot attach a “feeling” to it.

I have blogged before about my destructive mania, but I would like to address my productive mania. In and around the destruction I have been causing in my life I took my garage from having only pathways to being able to put my car in there. (it is the second time in 14 years it has fit in) I was able to spend hours sorting, organizing, moving shelving around until I looked around and there was a huge open space. My house is cleaner than it has been in months. I have planted flowers, trimmed trees, picked citrus, and many more things I cannot even remember right now. These things are what make me want to stay manic or at least in a hypermanic state.

I know in the long run I must come down from my high, but right now I am trying to stay where I am, which just doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

Back to Where I Once Was


It’s been a long time since I have written, thought about it a lot, but have not had the follow through to do it. This part of a previous post basically describes where I am now.

The following refers to sexual abuse, and other sexual issues. Please skip the section between asterisks of this post if it might trigger you.


My go to relief of pent-up stress and tension tends to be sexual in nature. I know that in the long run I will eventually regret my actions, but in the short-term I don’t care. I’ve said before I would rather have temporary relief than no relief at all. When I get to this point I feel that there is no going back. hate to use a catch phrase, but until it “runs its course” I don’t seem to be mentally strong enough to pull myself out of the darkness.

I have bladder issues, potentially from the abuse. I have had surgery to repair it, but it was only partially successful. Often in times of high stress I will wake up having wet the bed, or find myself unable to control my bladder. This combined with the early mental conditioning, grooming or brainwashing, whatever you want to call it, can lead to heightened sexual arousal. I was taught that it felt good, to pee in inappropriate places, and to wet my pants and to wear a diaper. These things lead to a need to relieve the sexual tension in my body. Rather than do it in healthy ways (I am married so I do have this outlet available without breaking the law of chastity) I choose to take care of it myself. I will masturbate daily, a proven self-soothing technique in my formative years. I will read erotica, read about masturbation, scour the internet for explanations for why this happens to me and end up at websites that do not answer this question, exposing myself often to pornographic pictures, further feeding this need/desire to masturbate.

Notice I said choose. I realize that there is a choice, not that I am always in a place mentally and emotionally to make a good choice. My world becomes black and white, I am either good or bad. There are no shades of grey. And to my mind, illogical as it might seem to a “normal” person, once I have stepped into this other realm of coping I might as well dive in because I have already blown my time of being good. And if I am not being good, I might as well enjoy being bad. Totally wrong my logical mind says, absolutely right that other corner of my brain says. I feel as if I have no choice. In a way I don’t. I have given control of my life over to someone/something else.


When I try to dig myself out of this vast canyon of despair and self-depreciation I have to admit I cannot do it alone. I realize at some point I must go back to my therapist and work through the pain. Work through the guilt and the shame. Allow myself to be a good person again. To make healthy choices. To feel spiritual. To feel worthy of the love from family and friends. I have once again put up a brick wall and walled myself in. I have to, one by one, brick by brick, dismantle this wall. Oh, it is so easy to sit here and type this. Action requires so much strength. My plan of action, has to, must be put in place. I sit here willing myself to use my plan. Rely on that part of my brain that says I can be forgiven, I can feel loved and worthy. Letting that part of my brain once again take over.

I must tell myself that once again I can put this behind me. That I can use self-soothe and calm myself in ways that make me feel happy and good about myself. Reminding myself that I am able to go longer and longer in between these periods of slipping up. As my therapist reminded me, this behavior was a “normal” part of my life for so long, I have to override the need to hurt myself! I look forward to the day that I will be able to handle stress without going to this dark place. That healthy habits will come naturally. I must remember that I am worth it!

Freaking Out!


tearing hair out picture
image credit

I just got a phone call, from some secretary or receptionist at the psychiatric clinic I go to. “We need to reschedule your appointment that was on Thursday because Dr. X is no longer at our clinic. We will get you in with a nurse practitioner….”

I didn’t hear the rest, I went into major panic mode, major anxiety. I am sitting here with my insides all torn up. I finally got it together enough to ask where she was going…

“well she was only seeing patients here on her flex days and now she is going full-time at her home clinic”

“umm, where is that?”

I don’t want to switch doctors again. I like her, she gets me. She listens to me and allows me to be a part of the choices on meds etc.

“At x (which is a clinic on the other side of a major metropolitan area) you will have to talk with your case worker and file a request to transfer clinics.”

“I have a case worker???”

“yes, let me find out who it is and I will transfer you.” I get transferred to the wrong case worker, which I find out after I try to explain what I want. She asks “are you on the “x” team??”

“Team? I didn’t know anything about a team. What are you talking about?”

“Let me find out who your case worker is. It is x. I will transfer you.”

The phone rings and an answering machine picks up with a generic message. I stumble to leave a message, “I hope this is x, I don’t want to have a new doctor, they told me I had to talk to you to fill out some kind of paperwork. My name is x, phone number xxx-xxxx” I hang up only to realize that in the process of shutting down after the first part of the initial message I didn’t even get the who and when I was supposed to go see. I will have to go, I will need refills on my current meds. I hope this guy calls me back soon, I really don’t want to have to call and say someone called me and said something about seeing someone else and I shut down and didn’t even hear the who and when.

An hour has passed, the anxiety is building. I break down and call my therapist and say that I am panicking, really freaking out. Can I see her today instead of tomorrow? I pray she gets the voicemail. I told her it wasn’t about all the crap that I was already freaking out about and not handling appropriately, this was something new, like I really needed to add something else to my pile of crap. Please call me back, even talk to me on the phone might calm me down enough to get to tomorrow.

I had it all worked out in my head. I would see the therapist on Wednesday. We would try to come up with some kind of plan. She has been trying to get me to go see the doc early and get on some kind of temporary med to help me through this. I have been resisting, knowing I had the appointment on Thursday, and knowing that I have been here before with meds, trying so many to find something that might help. I stopped everything except the Lamictal, Lorazepam (Ativan), and Ambien. I finally stopped gaining weight day by day. I have lost nearly 30 lbs. and am so scared that going back on something else will trigger that weight gaining side effect.

I don’t know what I am going to do. I want to run to the store and buy alcohol, to have a drink or two or three and numb away the anxiety. I know it will just make it worse when it wears off, it is only a temporary fix, but I will take temporary over nothing right now.

Going, Going, Gone…


bottom of cliff
image credit
The walk to the dangerous cliff is over, I have officially fallen off and hope to hit rock bottom soon. I keep thinking that I have, that I can stand up, brush myself off and begin the long climb back up to stability only to find that the bottom seems to have been moved on me. I have given up a few times in the last few days and allowed myself to crawl into some pretty bad places. Done things I will regret forever. Done things that can be fixed and others that can’t. At this moment, I see a small dot of light in the distance. If only I can keep my eyes on it and my body faced towards it, I may find the way out. I am tired, tired of taking one step forward and two or three steps backwards.

Kids, Kids, Kids…Prayer




As your children are growing up, you think once – I get through these crazy teen years and they are adults my parenting will go away or at least be less intense. I think it gets harder, especially when you can see that they are hurting themselves and/or their kids and you are basically powerless to help or initiate change. I watch in fear, fear that my grandkids or my child will be hurt, psychologically or physically or both. I do not want my grandchild to come to me and say “Grandma you knew this might happen and didn’t stop it, why?” Why? Because although I am aware of the possibility, my hands are tied because your mom and dad are still your parents right now and they feel that they are making the right decisions to keep you safe. Child Protective Services seems to be in agreement at this point and unless things change there is nothing more I can do but keep a close eye on you and watch how you are acting carefully.

I was given the advice to let this go and put it in the Lord’s hands, that if it is to be prevented, he has the ultimate power not me. I was told to pray and turn it over to him and then ask him to see what I need to see, hear what I need to hear and understand what I need to do.


Pray–I think I have said this here on the blog before–if only it was that simple for me. I have severe trust issues, especially with men. I do not believe that I am worthy or deserving to pray and have prayers answered. I feel like I need to be in control, then only I can disappoint myself. Hence the difficulty in praying. Oh yes, there is that intellectual part of my brain that says this is all rubbish. The emotional side overrides that and takes over, I know, I know–practice the skills I have been shown and taught to help override this fear, somehow all it does is make me want to run. Run as fast as I can, as far as I can and hide. Good old flight or fight response.


Cognitive Dissonance


distortion Picture Credit

Dissonance sounds negative, like being dissed (acting or speaking in a disrespectful way toward others). At least that is what comes to mind for me when I hear that word. I don’t even immediately hear the word cognitive before it, my mind directly jumps to dissonance. In the phrase cognitive dissonance, dissonance is used to mean the inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions and one’s beliefs. Add the word cognitive, meaning–pertaining to the act or process of knowing, perceiving, remembering, etc. So, combining the words into the phrase cognitive dissonance based on the two individual definitions I come to a single definition–knowing or perceiving the inconsistency between what one believes and what one does.

According to Wikipedia “In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions.” On psychology site it states “The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs.” Basically the same definition, with a little more specific examples of cognitions. also states: “When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.” So, what must change? Either our belief or our behavior must change. We must decide if our belief is unrealistic, too extreme to be possible to attain, is it our belief or is it someone else’s that we have been forced or coerced into accepting? Or, we must change our behavior so both our belief and behavior are in line with one another. An important factor when looking at this is that our behavior does not have to be 100% in line with our belief. Maybe 80% is sufficient. Maybe 90% or even only 60%. Remember perfection is not possible, if it were, there would be no reason to be here on earth. Only one person on this earth has been perfect.

By virtue of my religion which I believe in, I should not drink, period. there is not a clause in it that says only on special occasions, or one drink a week is ok, or when you go out with friends go ahead and drink because it is socially acceptable to do so. Any time I take a drink, I cause cognitive dissonance. My behavior (taking a drink) is not aligned with my belief (that I should not drink at all). In order to resolve the dissonance I either must not drink or change how I feel about drinking. In this example the answer is black and white. I will or I will not drink, unless for example, I change my belief to 1 drink per week is ok. Only after changing my belief will I not cause cognitive dissonance as long as I have 1 drink or less per week.

I believe that for my health I should exercise 5 days a week for an hour each day. If I look at this belief and say that 45 minutes one day would cause me to have failed to meet my belief I will cause myself to feel cognitive dissonance. Is it necessary to cause this discomfort over 15 minutes? I don’t think so. I am happy with achieving 75% to 80% of this goal. In my life this doesn’t have to be black and white, there is gray area here. What if I only do 40% of the goal/belief? I am learning it is not the end of the world and next week I will try to do better. My discomfort is there when I only meet 40%, but at a lower level.

You do not have to have a mental illness to have cognitive dissonance in your life. Everyone does, whether it is recognized or not. I am acutely aware of it because of how my brain sees and interprets things due to my mental illnesses. I have dissonance that is out of proportion to the general population. My world is so black and white, I expect so much from myself, too much in fact. I experience discomfort at the slightest “infraction”. A level of discomfort so high that I cannot function, I have severe panic attacks, I beat myself up mentally and withdraw from the world.

A lot of my cognitive dissonance is directly related to my cognitive distortions. From feeling shame when it is not necessary. This raises my stress level exponentially.

The Persistent Platypus

Life's journey may not always be easy, but being true to your unique self and finding laughter in the small things makes the adventure unforgettable!

Who needs normal?!

Ramblings from a crazy, cluttered mind...

A Depressed Mormon Mommy

Being LDS, Leaving LDS, BiPolar and Living Life

Depressed (but not unhappy) Mormon Mommy

Being LDS, Leaving LDS, BiPolar and Living Life

PPD Turned Bipolar Mom

Trying to stay happy on a rollercoaster of mental illness...

Through Another Lens

Books, reviews, articles etc.

Bipolar Jane

STIGMA: Randomly sinking, treading or swimming...

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.