Category Archives for "Results"
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.
If you want to learn how to be hypomanic without losing control, there are four steps that lead to hypomanic success:
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
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.
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
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
I have been meditating for over 50 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
This week, we had the nightmare of our presidential election in the middle of one of my deepest depressions. My understanding of and ability to live with depression has once again proven to be a real asset for me. It again helped me through a very difficult time and gave me a clarity that helped me to process the anxiety, fear, and pain many of us felt throughout the whole ordeal. It also helped me better understand the other side of the debate.
This election-infused depression was not normal for me. Because of the prevalent election anxiety among so many people on the left and the right, I was experiencing levels of anxiety that I never had before. I also got the chance to explore my states in a way that has led to a better understanding of both anxiety and fear. My better understanding led to better choices on what actions to take. Instead of being controlled by my states and acting out in unproductive ways I used them give me insight for how to live up to the person I want to be. Such positive outcomes are available to all of us when we see our states as sources for insight instead of things to avoid.Continue reading
A common refrain in the bipolar disorder community is “I’m doing the best I can.” Every time I hear this or a similar phrase my heart weeps. I know all too well the feeling of despair and hopelessness that comes with it. There were so many times, while in tears, I used the exact same phrase. Whenever I hear it now, I want to reach out and empathize with the person so she does not feel alone. I know it feels like the best results we can possibly get and how frustrating that feeling is.
But at the same time I find myself conflicted. I know from my own experience, and from helping so many others, that the results we based the statement on was not the best we could do. Not by a long shot. That part of me wants to say, “you are stigmatizing yourself into accepting a life that is far less fulfilling than what you’re capable of.”Continue reading
I know depression. It destroyed my life in my thirties and almost killed me in my early fifties. Back then, had anyone dared to tell me what I am about to say to you, I would have gotten very upset. I could not imagine that there was anything good about depression. Can you? What you are about to learn could change your mind. By using a new approach to working with depression, I had prepared myself for probably the most extreme crisis our family has ever faced.
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I wholeheartedly bought into the idea that depression is a dark hole from which the only hope is to escape. It was certainly impossible to function well during deep depression. To function while deeply depressed meant to stay alive and minimize the harm it was clearly causing in my life and in the lives of those around me. High-functioning as related to depression meant that I needed to find ways to get out of it and back to a state where functioning in any productive way was possible.
Finding agreement for such beliefs is easy. Finding someone who challenges those beliefs is difficult. Even more difficult is letting go of society’s belief that it is impossible to function while in manic or depressed states. But once you become open to the possibility that you can learn to function during manic or depressive states, your life will change in ways that you cannot imagine. You will come to understand something that few people do. You may well consider it the most important lesson of your life.
I learned that lesson several years ago and continue to learn more as time goes by. I now teach people how to do this. I want to give you a sense of what life could be like once you accept the possibility and do the work to change. I want to share with you a very personal example of how functioning highly while depressed enriches my life and that of my family.Continue reading