Last night I came across an intriguing video on You Tube about Bipolar Disorder. It is a channeled message from spirit.
For those of you familiar with Esther and Jerry Hicks you will know that they channel the messages of a collective consciousness known as Abraham (I will refer to them in plural). You can read more about Abraham and Esther and Jerry Hicks here.
Esther herself calls Abraham “infinite intelligence,” and to Jerry they are “the purest form of love I’ve ever experienced.”
Should you not have 20mins to spare to watch the video, Abraham talks about “Bipolar symptoms” not Bipolar Disorder- thereby freeing us from a label.
Instead they acknowledge that it is a scale from deepest despair to utmost joy and unconditional love, and that those with the ability to feel such a broad spectrum of emotions are thus able to experience exactly what they do not want, in order to create a life full of joy. We are capable of feeling such pure joy and passion and love that others are not. In essence, by creating such beautiful emotions, we raise our vibration and therefore add this wonderful vibration to the world! A form of healing for the earth- this is our purpose. Our purpose is not that we do such and such as a career, but that we do whatever it is we love and that causes us great joy! This is not selfish at all. We are blessed with such a task as we raise the vibration of others around us.
“So many of you struggle to believe that such infinite joy is your birthright and your ultimate purpose.
You are not to blame for your past struggles, your difficult childhoods, the traumas you have experienced. They have been planned by you before incarnation to fulfil a particular purpose in your spiritual growth. But what is so important, and this cannot be stressed enough, is that you do not hang on to these past pains. They have served their purpose, but are in the past. You are FREE beloved ones, to create the life you dream of.
Each one of you is so loved and so worthy. If you have experienced so little love and worthiness in the past, know that the time is NOW for you to open your hearts and experience the love we have for every single one of you. Allow yourself to surrender and receive this love. You are worthy. You are loved. You are safe.”
Abraham talks of Bipolar as having experienced ourselves as ultimately WRONG throughout our lives from childhood.
Our true selves experienced as children are criticised, put down, belittled. We are taught that our beliefs or imaginations or passions are strange and we may be bullied by peers or parents, so that we cause little fear for them. If we are gifted (as many bestowed with the Bipolar title often are), parents may be threatened by our talents and our power.
Children have just as much power as adults, but adults like to push it down, to make themselves RIGHT, as they were also made WRONG in their own childhoods.
Children can become a tool to be used. This is so sad and such a betrayal.
Despite their own spiritual power, children are so vulnerable as they need the love and care of their parents to survive. This love and care may be denied by the parents when they feel threatened and fearful of our true selves.
Parents may even feel jealousy and contempt. They may feel bitter at having to give up their own freedom to have us, and bewildered as to why they don’t enjoy parenthood- in fact they may hate it. The seething contempt of a bitter mother can be projected onto her child and cause what feels like a soul murder. That is how I experienced the rejection of myself as a child. I felt like nothing. I felt evil and bad. I felt shamed and worthless, except when I became mother’s pet and made her feel good, or served some useful purpose.
I myself have found this a very challenging concept to understand, and learn to forgive my own parents for ( a process I am still working on).
To allow the beautiful power of our true selves back into our lives, when ultimately displaying it as a child has caused abuse and abandonment, is very scary. It is okay to be scared by this though and to go ahead with creating our joy anyway. It is uncomfortable at first, maybe even painful, maybe even excrutiating. But we know in our hearts that this is where our joy lives.
Follow that intuition to joy. Trust yourself- something we have been taught not to do.
How does being WRONG relate to Bipolar symptoms?
When we follow our creative passions- we are experiencing a high vibration of energy. We feel determined and focused on what we want. Often this driven energy is labelled as hypomania.
But as what we want and the joy that accompanies it begins to come to fruition, the pain associated with expressing our true selves freely as children may come crashing back. This is WRONG, we are being WRONG. We believe that we must suppress our joy to remain safe. Our false selves (the repressed self- the passions and creativity we stifle to make others feel better about themselves) have been labelled RIGHT by others during childhood. We have a habit of believing this. It is safe. We haven’t been so abused as this false self. Abraham observes that we would rather be RIGHT than be our magnificent true selves.
But ultimately we are in charge of what is RIGHT for us!
We need to allow ourselves to be scared and jump into our own RIGHTNESS- not that dictated to us by others.
You will know when you reach your RIGHTNESS- it will feel natural, bring you joy, fulfilment and contentment. You will fall in love with your own life again. You will wake up with a spring in your step and excited to create some more joy, because now you can see where it lies and that you are deserving and worthy.
What about Mania and Psychosis?
Bipolar symptoms are all about balance. The ends of the spectrum are so extreme that the mind can become out of control and help may be required to bring back stability.
Know that this is a journey and learning to balance the extremes is all part of a life such as this.
What is most important for people with Bipolar symptoms?
What is most important for anybody? You are all the same!
Peace. Inner peace. Unconditional love and compassion for yourself. Forgiveness and an ability to focus on joy, creating joy. Joy is life force! With life force you can create more joy- more life force! Just learn to control this in whichever way works for you- this may be a trail and error experiment.
Focus, Joy and Pleasure.
Those with Bipolar symptoms are excellent at FOCUSING- as expressed by Abraham in the video. They are very skilled at creating the joyful life force, then using it to create more and more- it is learning to ground and contain that high vibration of energy that is important in overcoming any lack of control and remembering that you are not WRONG for expressing your true self and your true joy.
Of course staying away from any chemical substances is always advised, but is particularly important for you in maintaining control.
Other past times that will lower the vibration of your experience are meaningless sex (with no love)/pornography/becoming obsessed with ANYTHING! For some this may be exercise, for other work. Learn the fine art of balance. Seeking pleasure through these experiences is different from JOY. Joy comes from the heart. Pleasure comes from the lower senses and is a satisfaction of some more primitive desire. JOY always creates! Pleasure does not.
PLEASURE DOES NOT.
Joy will create a warmth in your heart and an inner fulfillment. It is spiritual upliftment.
Pleasure will satisfy only a physical or lower psychological desire.
Controlling the Joy
When experiencing the bliss of divine life force coursing through us in our joyful state, it is very easy to become ungrounded.
You can read more about grounding here.
Depression results when we shame ourselves for our joy at being WRONG. We shame ourselves for our joy because our parents or friends don’t have joy- therefore it is WRONG. The denial of our true selves is further abandonment- an experience so distressing to a young child that it is excruciatingly painful and traumatising. The true self experiences this soul murder all over again.
It is a trigger to re-traumatisation.
No wonder we feel so horrendous!
We are abandoning ourselves in favour of being RIGHT by other people’s standards, but also re-experiencing the abuse of our childhoods: total rejection and betrayal.
To me, the explanation of Bipolar symptoms from Abraham was something I could most certainly relate to. I remained slightly dissatisfied as to the lack of detail gone into about the experience of psychosis and also the lack of acknowledgement of the deep suffering bipolar symptoms can cause. But I love spiritual/energetic explanations- they feel much more RIGHT (!) to me than the clinical ones, and help me to see that this is what I planned for my life and that there are positive sides to experiencing such extreme emotions too.
A Positive Psychiatrist Consultation
As I’ve recently moved to a new area I have just seen a psychiatrist here for the first time. I couldn’t believe it when he spent a whole hour and 40 minutes with me- way more time than I’ve ever spent with a mental healthcare professional before.
He was an extremely good listener and would ask my opinion about things regularly during the session, which was so refreshing. I felt like a human-being! It’s hard to believe I’ve not felt this way before with other psychiatrists. He pretty much re-diagnosed me and confirmed Bipolar II, but also threw Borderline Personality Disorder traits into the mix, which I’ve suspected for years.
For more on Borderline Personality Disorder click here.
Borderline Personality Disorder
The Borderline Personality trait aspect of the diagnosis has had a mixed effect on me. I feel a huge sense of relief in that there is a reason I struggle all the time with various aspects of life, not just during bipolar episodes. It explains so much and has helped my understanding of my behaviour and intense emotions.
On the other hand, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has a stigma attached. My psychiatrist assured me that this is much more true of the past, and that views and opinions are changing. My own reading on the disorder has instilled in me a view that BPD patients are difficult to treat, manipulative, prone to attention seeking, rage and aggression. All sounds lovely! But like I said, the psychiatrist was quick to dispute this.
The parts of the Disorder which apply to me are (unfortunately) episodes of rage (a few in my lifetime), difficulty maintaining friendships (not so much with romantic relationships), emotional reactivity and hypersensitivity, dissociation, impulsivity, binge eating and compulsive spending to a smaller degree, and a difficult childhood.
Even when I don’t appear to be having a bipolar episode, I am prone to quicker changes in mood that only last an hour or two, maybe a day. For the psychiatrist to have picked up on this made me relieved. At last an explanation for why I just can’t hold down a job, and why I struggle being around people and with friendships in general.
The Positive Side of High Sensitivity
Last night I came upon a website- Eggshell Therapy– which painted a picture of emotional intensity and giftedness, and that when not handled well in early years by parents, or when the child is experiences trauma, can develop into BPD/Bipolar in later years.
It was refreshing to see that actually the problems I’ve been experiencing have a more positive side and that emotional intensity can be a gift. The website author points out many aspects of giftedness including high creativity, high intuition, high empathy, as well as a high capacity for spiritual experience and rapture- music, art, beauty can have a “profound emotional impact on you”. Also inter- and intra-personal giftedness: an ability to understand the emotions and motivations of the self and others.
I would highly recommend reading the website. It really gave me a lift to think that even though I find my high intensity challenging, it also has many gifts with it. All the articles on the site were very helpful and the following pages particularly so:
This is the best way I’ve found of receiving a diagnosis: it’s great to have acknowledgment that there is a genuine cause for difficulties experienced, but also to acknowledge anything positive that may come from being so sensitive.
My mind feels almost as slow as my body today, but I still managed to get some interesting reading done: Highly Intuitive People by Heidi Sawyer, which I feel I really relate to.
I think those of us who are highly intuitive-sensitive types are probably more prone to bipolar disorder symptoms. (Please see my guest post for Mental Health Talk: Bipolar Disorder and High Sensitivity for more on this topic).
The chapter “Cope With Others and Their Power Struggles” has some interesting thoughts about how we use our energy.
Sawyer talks about us having an aura, the energetic carrier of all that we are as a human soul- our Jiva (sanskrit word for the immortal essence of a living thing).
As our true essence, Jiva can be weak or strong depending on how much we are in connection to our true selves/our own identity. It builds confidence and self-esteem.
Building Jiva increases our emotional strength and healing capacity- surely a strong tool in coping with bipolar disorder or mental dis-ease of any kind.
We can strengthen Jiva by releasing negativity and anything else that drains us energetically. We can do the things we truly love, which light us up and connect us with who we truly are.
By strengthening our Jiva, we have a stronger sense of self, of our own identity, and need less the approval of others. We are less likely to take on others’ cares and worries on an energetic level to please them or make them ‘feel better’. We are also less likely to be rocked by criticism and disapproval in general. We approve of ourselves and that’s all we need.
The Need to Please Others- Narcissistic Families
Many of us may feel we have to please others (see People-Pleasing), and pressure ourselves into adjusting our behaviour to feel we are approved of by whoever we are with.
This is how we’ve been taught to behave throughout our childhood, often within a narcissistic family. We learn to walk on eggshells and keep the peace- this became our identity, a strong part of which was to ignore and neglect our own needs. Survival of the family- which is inherently damaged through various traumas- becomes priority, even over being true to ourselves and our own identity.
Our Jiva has become weak through our developmental stages. We let people walk all over us, give too much energy to others, make others more important than ourselves- this is how we have learnt to survive. It is not our fault.
Creating a Happy Life
But we can change things. We can have a happier life where we feel in control of what is happening to us, of how our life pans out. We’ve been taught that we aren’t worthy of a happy life. But we are!
We can create our own life! We don’t need the approval of others’, it is safe for us now to be our true selves.
We lived in a family system where the only means of survival was to submit our identities to become what our parents’ wanted us to be. We could not have emotions or needs- because they were too inconvenient to our parents, or caused significant anxiety. We could be emotional caretakers and counsellors, best friends, even to some extent surrogate spouses. We gave up our energy, our true selves. We did it to survive. (Because as a small child, it really is about survival- who will take care of your needs if you are abandoned by your family?)
We don’t need to do this anymore.
The Terror of Being Our True Selves
You’d think it would be easy to overcome this- once we realise it is safe to live the life we want to create. But I’ve found many challenges already- mainly fears of stepping away from the safety of the identity I was given.
To me it feels terrifying to identify and take care of my needs- it goes against everything I was taught, everything that is my current identity, everything that has helped me to survive a narcissistic family system. It sounds silly, but I still feel extremely anxious if I sit down and draw- “I’m being too selfish”, “I should be spending my time helping other people”, “it’s a childish pastime”.
Releasing these beliefs that have kept me alive within my family is terrifying! We still have that belief deeply ingrained that we must be that which we’ve been moulded into, in order to survive.
But it’s worth it!
When we can do the things in life that light us up- for me drawing, writing, painting, walking in nature, taking care of myself nutritionally, being with my loved ones and my dog- we strengthen our jiva. We are doing things that make us happy!
Strong Jiva will keep us energised. We will not feel the need to give others our time and energy. We will not be manipulated by others. We can identify our own needs and put ourselves first. Our health will improve.
In relation to bipolar disorder.
So part of me wonders if my current downward swing into very low energy is because I’ve been giving too much energy to others, denying myself who I truly am, and denying my emotions. I haven’t been taking care of my needs. I think this is very likely the case and perhaps is the pattern of bipolar disorder as a set of symptoms?
We find our creativity, our true self, become highly energised by this- perhaps to a hypomanic/manic state. We enter a frenzy of creativity/spirituality/ideas, but deny anything that may be anxiety-provoking. We keep busy-busy-busy to push any fears that arise as far away as possible. The upward spiral continues. But this is exhausting and the inevitable energy slump hits hard. We then experience all the emotions we were denying- guilt, shame, fear, and become deeply depressed. We have betrayed our ‘false self’ which kept us alive. This feels devastating at a soul level.
It’s just a theory- but it makes some sense to me at the moment, and I think it could be a part of helping me to understand how I can improve things for myself.
Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People– Guest post on Mental Health Talk.
I’m totally writing this for the cathartic experience, but I offer no apologies if it’s all a bit morbid and depressing. Guess what? Depression is depressing.
I spend a lot of my time when I’m depressed trying not to feel sorry for myself and trying to be grateful for the good things I have in my life.
All the personal development courses I’ve been on, and the books I’ve read, talk about positive thinking in improving our lives and wellbeing. Challenging times and events in our lives are viewed as times of growth, which I do agree with, even though I’m kicking and screaming through each one!!
But sometimes it doesn’t work.
I think there are times in life when you can’t look at things through rose-tinted spectacles. Sometimes you need to see things for what they really are and to accept the downright shittiness of them.
Like now- I’m back to a depressive episode. I can only walk exceptionally slowly and probably not further than about 100m due to psychomotor retardation. And, do you know what? I’m not gonna suck up my pissed-off feelings behind a forced smile anymore.
Without really feeling those shitty feelings, without really experiencing them deeply, there is no authenticity in the experience. There is no real grounding in the depression.
I do feel sorry for myself. I was taught not to. I was taught to always be grateful. But I really want to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to compare my experience to anyone else’s anymore. I know there are Syrian refugees going through enormous hardship out there, but trying to suppress my authentic feelings about my depression isn’t going to help them, or me, one little bit.
I think half my issues are wrapped up in the fact that I don’t let myself really feel my feelings. I was taught from a ridiculously young age not to feel, unless it was gratitude or empathy or some kind of joy that others could benefit from.
But right now I feel angry. I feel angry that I have to go through this experience yet again. Why? I’m getting nowhere fast in life. I don’t think I particularly deserve to wake up in the night with violent visions and impulses to self-harm. I don’t think I particularly deserve to feel so damn scared all the time. All the time. Of life in general. I’m so exhausted from going through this whole process.
The last couple of months have been really good. My walking speed has been back to normal. In fact I’ve felt fitter and walked with so much more energy!! To feel well was such a blessing! Now I’m back to the psychiatric-shuffle.
The Psychiatric-Shuffle (my term, not psychiatry’s)
This basically involves walking, but 20 times more slowly than everyone else. Commonly seen in psychiatric inpatients. A symptom of depression referred to as psychomotor retardation– thanks psychiatry for another fabulously empowering term.
It might sound very simple, but actually it feels like your brain and your body are working exceptionally hard to put your left foot forward then your right foot forward. Your legs are protesting every step.
It’s also highly embarrassing. Yes, people do notice. Today a child kept staring at me as she walked past holding her mum’s hand. She kept looking back at me. Bloody hell, do I really look that awful? It’s so embarrassing. And exhausting.
Back to the post……
So many great things have happened in the last couple of months- I’ve enjoyed them so much. Then a couple of weeks ago my good energy switched to bad energy and the surging prickliness and agitation coursed through me in an all too familiar way. When out in the street or on the bus I’d feel intensely annoyed with people I wasn’t even interacting with, my voice in my head became louder. I wanted to shout at people. Then it switched to anxiety about a week later, my heart was pounding, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Then last Thursday the exhaustion kicked in.
Before the ‘bad energy’ I hadn’t really considered that I was a bit hypomanic, but looking back, I had been getting more obsessed with ‘collecting’ things (this has happened a few times in the past) and had spent quite a bit of money I couldn’t really afford. I was feeling much more in touch with my spiritual life. I probably only had about a week where I was sleeping much less and still feeling really great.
Bipolar is exhausting.
Not just the symptoms of exhaustion.
I mean the endless cycle of it all.
I still feel like it’s my fault.
I’m so tired of it.
I’m so bored of it.
What is the point?!!!!
But all the years have given me the experience to get through it, to really know that it gets better. In my early depressions I felt that I was literally going to die, that I would never ever feel joy, love, peace, or anything positive ever again. But even though I’m depressed now, I know from experience that I will get better.
Stephen Fry has made another deeply insightful documentary about manic-depression/bipolar disorder- The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. It is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer here. (Warning- it can be triggering).
In it he talks about his own experiences of the disorder and re-visits the lives of those he interviewed in his previous documentary- The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive- which aired 10 years ago.
I must admit I found this new documentary difficult to watch, particularly when hearing about Mr Fry’s suicide attempt in 2012. The whole incident felt very close to experiences I’ve had and I felt suppressed memories bubbling to the surface- things I didn’t really want to look at.
The first documentary has 2 parts and is available to watch here (warning- can be triggering):
The second part can be watched here:
All the documentaries are so refreshing in their courageous look at what it is really like to have Bipolar Disorder- the interviews really get to the nitty-gritty of mental illness. Stephen Fry adds so much heart and depth with his own experiences, he is so endearing and so strong in his open-ness. I kind of love him for it!