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, Mar 15 2014 06:08PM

I have been living in a blur for the past couple of months, having the odd good day but generally finding myself in a Bipolar low, struggling to operate at my normal level. I think the weather plays a very big part in the life of a bipolar person, maybe more so than for other people generally. The fact is, I need the sun to start feeling good in myself.

Now, at last, I feel that this is the start of a new awakening.....hearing the birds sing in the morning, seeing the flowers bud, the lovely Daffodils and Irises forcing their way up through the ground; it feels like life is in bloom and there is hope all around! It might seem airy fairy, but I can only write what is true to me – perhaps you recognise the way I feel and understand the difference the sunshine makes to you? I also feel more energised and motivated; lighter in step as I decide to take myself off on country walks, where nature is all around. Life is regenerating and I feel regenerated with it, gaining mental strength and feeling more resilient than I did during January and February.

This is a recognisable annual pattern for me and I have come to know from experience that I feel at my best during spring and summer. These months help me manage my mental illness and appreciate that I will come out of the darkness into the light and I will smile and embrace life once again. How do you feel this spring?

Lynn Hodges

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 saraneville, Jan 3 2014 11:02AM

It’s that time of the year when we all make resolutions....and generally break them a couple of weeks later! But why not make this year different? Take a fresh look at yourself and your Bipolar.

I was diagnosed a decade ago, and it took me a long time to come to terms with my condition. I was in denial, I skipped my meds, my moods were unpredictable and I lurched from mania to depression.

Now things are very different and I’ve been well for more than two years. Why? I made friends with bipolar. I have learnt to embrace it as a positive part of me. It gives me energy, vitality, drive, enthusiasm and creativity. But I also respect bipolar. I’ve taken time to research it, and think about the impact the condition has on my family.

Here are some practical changes you can make to your New Year with bipolar:

1. Get your medication right. If you’re not happy with your medication, arrange to see your doctor to discuss how you feel. Make some notes beforehand and perhaps take a family member with you for help and support

2. Take your meds. It’s important to give you stability and keep you well. Believe me, you’ll feel so much better for it. Resist the temptation to skip them, even for a day.

3. Discuss your key indicators with your family. This could be a tough one to go through with, but it’s sensible and will make a huge difference to you and your family in the long run.

4. Write an advance care plan. This is a document that you give to your friends, family and social worker, so that if you find you are unwell and suddenly unable to communicate your wishes, you already have them written down. It’s vital to make a fast recovery if you do become unwell. ...I know because I’ve been hospitalised with and without an advance care plan. Read more about that in my book. Click here.

5. Be honest with yourself. Living with bipolar is a tough journey but it’s so much easier if you don’t try to walk it on your own.

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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