Things we do or say during a mood episode can leave us feeling guilty and ashamed, and that can end up undermining wellness. Guilt can be a healthy emotion and powerful motivator—as long as you don’t let it overpower you. Some steps that may help clear your conscience:
#1 Set Boundaries
Talk with the people in your life in advance of manic or depressive episodes so they know what to expect—and you’re clear on what they expect from you. Ideally, that will minimize future occasions for feeling guilty. “Agreeing on boundaries is a big deal,” notes psychotherapist Demian C. Brown. Explore ways for those around you to be firm in their expectations without being judgmental.
#2 Increase Self-Awareness
Stress, anxiety, and rumination often go hand-in-hand, and that can send you on a guilt trip. To develop insight and become more aware of your thoughts and behaviors, consider talk therapy that incorporates cognitive-behavioral techniques and compassion-based approaches, advises psychotherapist Chantea D. Williams, PhD.
#3 Make Amends
Making amends means owning up to what you’ve said or done—or failed to do—and trying to set things right. That takes courage, and sometimes requires sacrifice, but it remains bedrock advice for moving past guilt. An inner freedom and ease can grow from the effort, along with the chance to mend relationships.
#4 Accept the past
Self-castigating thoughts are common when mistakes of wrongdoings have been made. But staying trapped in a cycle paves the way for depression. Chantea D. Williams, PhD, a psychotherapist in Atlanta, notes that mindfulness techniques can be a powerful tool to cultivate self-compassion, non-judgment, and acceptance of the past.
#5 Practice Self-Compassion
Learning from our behavior is a good thing, but it’s essential to realize it doesn’t make you a bad person. Many find that by practicing compassionate self-talk we can remind ourselves that no one’s perfect.
#6 Take preventive action
Whether you are trying to make amends to the people around you or grappling with your own emotions, taking preventive action to minimize future damage matters enormously. Just knowing you are doing something to help remedy any mistakes will help. Taking steps to learn from mistakes is beneficial. It could be speaking with a credit counselor, or apologizing to a loved one. This helps prevent future mistakes from happening.
For more read Bipolar and Letting Go of Guilt, Summer 2015
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community