“I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it’s completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.” – Catherine Zeta-Jones, actress
David’s mother called me for an appointment. She was very worried about her son who had been labelled bipolar several years ago. He was 24 years old now and his medications were still not helping. She was both frustrated and disillusioned. In his manic states, he was verbally abusive to both her and his father. In his depressive states, he moped around for days, feeling ill-used and sorry for himself. He was interested in something besides the medications, so he agreed to see me.
David was an articulate, quick witted, young man working part time in a box store while he attended a business administration program at a local college. He shared his mother’s frustration about his medications. But for him, what bothered him more was how a feeling of what he called, “dread and doom”, would overwhelm him at certain times.
“What do you mean by ‘create it’…I didn’t create it!”
I asked him to remember in detail the last time it occurred…where and when?
He said he was in his room just recently when it happened.
I said, “David, what were you doing and thinking at that very moment to create this feeling of ‘dread and doom’?”
“What do you mean by ‘create it’…I didn’t create it!”
“Of course you did David! We all do it! We create each feeling we have by what we doing and think at that very moment. It’s a natural human process to motivate us forward into the future!”
“I don’t believe that at all, Ken!” he replied with testiness in his voice.
“Probably scared…I don’t like public speaking!”
“David, you will have to get in line because there are a lot of people who don’t believe they create their feelings. So, lets test it. If your physician told you today you had terminal cancer, how would you feel?”
“Probably discouraged and depressed!”
“And David, if you got a call today, congratulating you for winning a million dollar lottery…how would you feel then?”
“Probably excited and lucky!”
“And if you doctor called to say they have found a successful treatment for your type of terminal cancer…how would you feel?”
“And, if the lottery company said, to claim your winnings, you had to be part of their marketing campaign and give public speeches for six months…how would you feel, David?”
“Probably scared…I don’t like public speaking!” he replied.
“But David, what if you liked public speaking, had done a lot of it, were good at it…it was high on your value list of fun things to do?”
“Then, I guess I would probably feel honoured for the opportunity.” he said.
“Not just your thinking, David…also your doing!”
“So, how you think about public speaking, based on your values, which comes from your life experiences, will determine what feeling you create…can you see that David?” I asked.
“Yea…kind of..!” he said hesitantly. Then he added, “You suggesting whatever I was doing and thinking at that moment created the ‘dread and doom’ feeling and if I change what I’m thinking at that moment my feeling will change too, correct?”
“Not just your thinking, David…also your doing! You need to take control of both doing and thinking to create a new feeling…this new feeling motivates us to move forward! What were you thinking as you created the ‘dread and doom’ feeling?”
“Ken, that time I mentioned…it was about my career and future! I was thinking, I’m in the wrong program and I don’t like attending school…it’s like I’m wasting my time. I kept saying to myself I should be taking the accounting program.”
Bipolar disorder, manic depression, depression, black dog, whatever you want to call it, is inherent in our society. It’s a product of stress and in my case over-work. – Adam Ant, musician
“I do feel better…the ‘gloom and doom’ actually disappear,…”
“So your values are telling you to take accounting but you are in business administration. So, lets explore how some new thinking might impact your feeling at that moment. If, you decided to remind yourself:… that now you know it’s not business administration, but accounting you want to study; and, you remind yourself, whatever business administration you have taken so far will probably be useful in accounting; and, you remind yourself, that now you have a much clearer idea of your future career which will enable you to be more motivated to work at it …and so, be more successful at accounting…does this new thinking change how you feel at that moment, David?”
“When I think about those perspectives, I do feel better…the ‘gloom and doom’ actually disappear, Ken!”
“…all humans experience mood swings.”
“David, when you take a more balanced perspective on your situation, you notice it wasn’t a mistake to create a feeling of ‘dread and doom’ because it is motivating you to pursue the career you desire in accounting based on your highest values. So, now the feeling isn’t only bad, the ‘dread and doom’ feeling is bad and good at the same time. Learning and using that duality principle is the key to getting past both depressing and elating…that bipolar label.”
“Ken, are you saying if I start using this dualistic thinking I won’t be experiencing these mood swings?”
“David, all human’s experience mood swings. The only difference is how long they stay there. Some get stuck depressing or elating for too long and so pick up a belief they can’t get out of it. They don’t know about this duality law which governs human learning. They don’t know the one question that leads them to the duality law!”
“…you used that painful feeling to motivate you forward…”
“What is that question, Ken?”
“David, the question is , ‘WHAT IS THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS SITUATION?’ …or, what am I not noticing that is equally important to me? If I only see the pain, where is the counterbalancing pleasure? If I only see the good part, where is the equilibrating, bad part?”
I added, “I’m suggesting you and I use this question to check every memory you have of ‘dread and doom.’ I’m certain you’ll find, you used that painful feeling to motivate you forward in some other important way in your life. But David, remember, it is OK to be skeptical, it accelerates your learning. Do you want to do that?”
“I sure do, Ken!” David replied with a half smile.
“Bipolar is a belief one can, and should, have only positive, pleasurable actions, thoughts and feelings. This is a delusion propagated by people who do not understand nature or its sciences!” – King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
Remember the next Breakthrough Experience™ Seminar on December 6 & 7, 2014 at our offices. Details are available Here
Send us your feedback and topic suggestions…we love to hear from you! If you have a specific question, feel free to contact me.
Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com