Feelings vs. Reactions

Learning to act with wisdom no matter how we feel.

One of the first steps toward getting “Bipolar In Order” is to learn the difference between what we feel or experience and how we react. In our first workshop and in our support group meetings we have an exercise that helps. I want to share it with you here and see how it works without as much guidance or background.

One of the main stumbling blocks to getting Bipolar In Order is the belief that we have no choice in how we react. When presented with the fact that we do, I always hear “what about the times when it is too intense?” or “what about when I go to bed happy and wake up depressed?” “Surely we have no control then?” While it is currently true for most people, with training and practice we can learn to have the choice in an ever increasing range. Eventually we can get to the point where nothing is too intense.

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Why I Am Against Bipolar Meds

Bipolar Meds

The extremes both for and against bipolar meds give new meaning to the word bipolar.

Many people say you should not discuss politics or religion with your friends because you might not be friends much longer. If your friends are Bipolar or associated with it in any way you might want to add meds to the list. The extremes both for and against meds give new meaning to the word Bipolar. The poles often seem further apart than the most intense debates in politics or religion.

I have been speaking with groups about Bipolar for almost fifteen years now and have tried my best to stay out of the debate. But many in the audience won’t let me. At the end of my talks I am frequently accosted by members of one camp or both. It is pretty clear that neither side even heard what I said and the only thing they listened for is whether I took their side in the only thing that matters to them. I didn’t validate their extreme point of view and they are furious with me.

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How To Achieve Bipolar IN Order

Bipolar IN Order – Advanced Assessments, Tools, and Stage Specific Plans for Bipolar and Depression.

This video is from a public television program called “Moving From Bipolar Disorder To Bipolar IN Order.” It explains what bipolar is and the difference between disorder and IN Order. It details the six stages that one goes through as understanding and functionality improve. The video also outlines more complete assessments geared toward success, advanced tools that supplement existing tools, and stage specific plans that accommodate the needs of each of the six stages.

I would love to hear your feedback on it and where on the scale you think you might be at.

Bipolar Makes People Perfect

bipolar person walking on water

Bipolar may be the fastest path to perfection known to man!

I noticed it when I was first diagnosed, but have been watching the phenomenon ever since. I have seen it happen in so many people that it might be true in three quarters of the cases. What is even more amazing is how fast it happens. Bipolar may be the fastest path to perfection known to man!

I have been working on more thorough assessment programs for my new book and think that I have found a breakthrough. Through the assessments I have it traced to the exact moment that it happens. I wonder if you can help me verify my research with your own experiences and share your ideas on how to improve upon it?

As soon as we are diagnosed, everyone else becomes perfect! All of their flaws are instantly wiped clean and every relationship problem is blamed on our illness. Now that we are deemed crazy, our behaviors are purely a result of our illness and have nothing to do with the behaviors of those around us. Has this happened to you too?

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Choosing Depression or Mania Without Disorder


Learning to choose our states changes everything we know about bipolar disorder. Choosing mania without disorder is an option people want but believe impossible. Choosing depression without disorder sounds like something nobody would do but you might be surprised what a difference it makes.

Do you have bipolar disorder or know somebody who does? What would change if you could learn how to turn depression and mania on and off whenever you wanted to? The entire way we look at bipolar disorder would change in profound ways. Some of them are beyond most people’s imagination, but a simple illustration will help you to see why some of us say bipolar is an advantage that we do not want to give up.

Please understand that I am not talking about people who do not know how yet say “snap out of it” or any other offensive phrase, but the actual ability to do it which is an incredibly advanced skill.Continue reading

High Functioning Depression, a New Breakthrough

Bipolar IN Order has been an incredibly interesting journey. With each new year come new insights that build upon breakthroughs from previous years. Although it feels like each breakthrough is the furthest that we could possibly go, the next year always proves that there is more to learn about depression and mania. And this year is no exception to the rule, I discovered what it truly means to be in a state of high functioning depression.

My breakthrough this year is that even in my deepest depression I can be just as productive as in any other state. So can you.

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No Longer at the Mercy of Our Moods

At the mercy of our moods

We should not be held back by a 19th century view of ourselves that claims we are at the mercy of our moods.

I recently watched a movie about the life of Jackson Pollock. (Sony Pictures, Ed Harris, 2000) It left me thinking about how a generation of young artists were taught the mythology of the Abstract Expressionist painters, not just the concepts of their work. What got passed down along with the art history was the Modern American version of the myth of the tormented artist. The same mythology has been used in mental health.

“At the mercy of her moods” was a very 19th century expression. That phrase along the the term “hysteric” was often used as justification for why a woman could not achieve or do certain things. Emotion and mood were used to keep women from equal status with men as they were portrayed as weaknesses instead of the strength that they actually are.

The expressions were also applied to 20th century artists. The implication in all cases remained that the person was somehow taken over; that mood was stronger than their ability to handle it. It was someone of a sensitive, delicate, and susceptible personality who was prone to these episodes, illnesses, or disorders. The literature about artists in the 19th and 20th century is replete with these concepts.Continue reading

The Gifts of Depression

Gifts of Depression

We need to make room to cultivate an appreciation of the gifts of depression before we can thrive in all states.

I have been trying to let everyone know that it is possible to find value in all states, including depression. The following was written by Margaret Miller and it so captured what I have been trying to say that I asked her if I could share it. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Manic-depression left a decisive scar across generations of my family. For each of us who bears that mark, moods have conferred advantage, as well as disability. I don’t mean the energy of hypomania. That’s a fun enough ride, while it lasts. But it’s nothing compared to the unexpected and enriching gifts of depression, like patience, humility, insight, and empathy.

Once I got a handle on surviving my shifting moods, I began to think about using them. This came into sharp focus while I was taking Tom Wootton’s Bipolar IN Order class. Most fundamentally, the class offers a framework for deepening our awareness of mania and depression, and it demands a formidable level of introspection. For most, the eight-week experience was a bit like putting on prescription lenses after a lifetime of blurred vision. What we saw differed from person to person, but the excitement was shared by all.

A good measure of my excitement has been in response to Tom’s explicit belief that our moods—ruinous and painful as they sometimes are—have value. I’ve thought about this for years, but I never tried to articulate it. So I dug deep and wrote a lengthy post to the class discussion forum, trying to express my experience:Continue reading

How I Found Ecstasy In Depression

I have been meditating for over 60 years. I started when I was five years old when I became fascinated with watching my breath go in and out. I intuitively knew that this and other meditative practices would bring me to a state of ecstasy. It didn’t take long before pursuing that state became the most important thing in my life. I did not know at the time that I would not find what I was looking for in meditation; I never imagined I could find it in depression.

Although I got incredibly close through my efforts in meditation, it wasn’t until I looked for ecstasy in depression that I truly found it. My hope is that sharing my experience might help others to find the same insights that I have.

At a very young age, as I watched my breath go in and out I found some dramatic changes in my state of consciousness. I would detach from my body and find myself floating above and looking down at myself sitting there. It was a very pleasurable state, but also very profound in how I viewed the world. I believed that part of me was untouched by the physical world; the part that I now call my soul.

It wasn’t long before my soul separations started encroaching on my waking states. I would often find myself turning the corner and suddenly being in a long tunnel with a light at the end of it. Time would stand still or at least slow down dramatically during those experiences. I interpreted these experiences as seeing God.Continue reading