Strategies for Balance and Resilience












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Lynn Hodges Blog

By saraneville, Apr 11 2014 05:42PM

It's 50 days since I decided to take drastic action and get my ever increasing weight down. I’m on an extreme health diet programme where I eat only 600 calories a day. So far I've lost 2 stone 4lbs. Whoop! whoop!

It hasn’t been fact this challenge has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I realise now just how much I was eating. You probably know that one side effect of taking Lithium and anti-psychotics can be weigh gain. I used to be a svelte size 10 until I was diagnosed with bipolar and put on medication. Over the next 10 years I put on a stone a year.

For years I’ve blamed being fat on my medication; and there is some truth in it, but when I think more objectively I realise I’ve been using the medication as an excuse.

Eating less and exercising more seems to be the simple answer for me. I’ve found that focussing on my goal of losing three stone and visualising what it would feel like to be slimmer, has helped me stay on track.

It’s interesting how negative people can be, saying things like ‘well, the weight will go back on after the 100 days!’ I am here to prove them WRONG. I refuse to go back to my old eating habits. I realise that food has been my emotional crutch. Well, no more I say! I already feel so much better about myself. And I’ve noticed basic things, like I can put my shoes on more easily and get off the sofa unaided, whereas before I was struggling. What a way to have lived!

If you suffer from an increase weight gain due to your medication, trust that you can still lose weight with the right health plan and guidance. The diet I’m using may not be right for you, so consult your doctor before you make any changes to your lifestyle.

I’ll keep you posted on my 100 day slimming challenge.


By saraneville, Jan 19 2014 06:09PM

It’s true to say that you expect the highs and lows when you suffer from bipolar, but the January blues for a bipolar sufferer is such an understatement. For some it's weeks of struggling through the dark days and the turmoil of increasingly dark thoughts.

Christmas and New Year is full of the expectation of meeting people, going out and celebrating and socialising on a big scale. This is not true for everyone of course, though for many including me it is.

I now find myself in January and unlike many people I have started the year with no resolutions - no goals and for bipolar sufferers it's vital to set goals.

I feel flat...I know I should have goals because they give me something to work towards and I always feel better with a structure in place. It would definitely make me feel better about myself and It does not help to hear other people speak about what they are going to achieve during the year.

I find getting out of bed and having a shower - these are two big goals that I struggle with during January. I know I am in depression though thankfully able to work.

The weather doesn’t help my state of mind, endless days of rain and wind. I long to see blue skies and the sun shining.

I know the only way I am going to get out of this state is to get some structure back into my life. I am so much happier when I am working. I have decided to see my sister twice a week and go for walks to help stimulate my mind, continue working for KCC giving speeches and workshops on bipolar. I am also going to attend workshops for physical fitness.

My mantra for this year will be ‘JUST DO IT’. One of the downsides of bipolar is spending time analysing everything you do in case it flares up the illness. I have decided to ‘live’ for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Writing this blog has helped me realise that I have started to put goals in place and with the right structures I will survive January!!!!

I hope you have the strength to get through too.

Good luck


By lynnhodges, Dec 15 2013 07:50PM

Today I was able to reach out to a newly diagnosed bipolar sufferer and say ‘you’re going to be ok.’ I meant it too.

I was diagnosed 10-years-ago when I was 42 and it was a bombshell. I was in denial for a long time, but now I am able to embrace my condition and see the positives in my life.

The person I met had just been diagnosed at the age of 53, and is in the depths of a low, coming down from mania. And although we were strangers, we were able to share stories of how the condition had affected our lives. We found, though our stories were different, there were many similarities. Both of us have had our confidence shattered and our self-esteem obliterated. And we’ve both piled on the pounds due to medication.

We chatted for a long time, finding solace in each other’s company. We found that one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the loss of your identity, due to a manic episode or a depression. Often people want to redefine you as a person, once they find out you have Bipolar.

It was interesting; I could give confidence to this person who I’d never met before, because I have suffered with bipolar for so long. Because she was newly diagnosed, she was in the early stages of coming to terms with the diagnosis. I explained that I had felt the same in the past, but over time I had learnt to make bipolar my friend and not my enemy.

I was pleased that I could pass on the benefit of my experience. And it reminded me of the importance of finding like-minded people. They will help you redress the balance of your life; you will feel that you are not alone, and also learn new ways of dealing with the illness, which can help with confidence. In time, you can learn to live a fulfilling life once again.

See how many like- minded people you meet on your journey.

Good luck



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By guest, Nov 10 2013 10:00AM

Thank you to the 22 health professionals who attended the Living With Bipolar Workshop in Maistone, Kent yesterday. We discussed so many topics, from the complexities of medicating, to strategies for helping sufferers during the highs and lows.

It seems that hearing my personal story, and listening to my first-hand experience of the healthcare system, as a bipolar sufferer really struck a chord, and was a catalyst for some powerful debate.

I often address Occupational Therapists, Doctors, Psychiatrists and Social Workers, but yesterday, for the first time, I was thrilled to welcome a number of people who either suffer from the disorder or have close family members who are bipolar. Their involvement brought new insight to the group and their contribution introduced a different dimension - well done for being brave enough to come along and speak to the group!

I've been overhwelmed by the response to the programme. Feedback like: 'Inspiring....Refreshing to attend a course run by people 'in the know' rather than being policy driven,' 'A fascinating insight into the world of bipolar from a family who have truly experienced it,' ' If only all training courses were like this!' and 'This is the best training course I have ever attended.'

What makes this programme so inspiring?...I think it's unique to have the chance to speak not only to me, as a sufferer, but also to my two sisters, who tell THEIR version of my bipolar journey. It this insight into the pressure placed on whole family units that seems to be missing from the welfare system, and is so needed by healthcare professionals.

Next workshop: Whitstable, December 10. Contact me for more @lynnhodges6.

By saraneville, Nov 8 2013 09:56PM

If you're reading this now, the likelihood is that you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.

It's a devastating and difficult time, often leaving sufferers and their families feeling isolated and confused.

The impact of a diagnosis had me spinning. There was a flurry of intervention from doctors, social workers and other agencies and I was swamped in information. So much support. And yet I was numb. Lost.

Then came the deeper self-analysis about life after a diagnosis. I had been re-defined, so who was I now? And what did that make me? What future could I have?

If any of this is familiar, I am here as proof that you DO have future and you CAN lead the life you want to lead. I have written a book about my journey, so far. It’s called Living with Bipolar Disorder: Strategies for Balance and Resilience.

As you embark on your journey, why don’t you join me? I’ll be writing regular blogs full of tips and strategies for coping with life.

Get in touch or Tweet your experiences @lynnhodges6 or find me on facebook

Good luck, Lynn