Mustard and Gentian are Bach Flower Remedies which can be helpful in healing from depression.
So today I’m finding it more of a challenge to feel positive.
Today I’m feeling the effects of the hot weather here in the UK. I’m extremely tired (probably through poor quality, broken sleep) and cranky and my energy feels low.
It is on days like this that I find my spiritual and positive intentions more difficult to achieve.
And I think that is very normal- even though I’ve spent portions of today letting my mind run with thoughts of: “why can’t I just get on with things?”, “why am I so lazy?”, “why am I so unmotivated”, “I feel so useless”.
Okay, so I really am just being very normal. I may have been brought up to believe I should always be grateful, and joyful and have a smile on my face, but this is totally unrealistic, and not a match to who I truly am.
It’s ok for me to feel fed up and frustrated with myself. It’s normal!
But I can feel better if I want to.
And that’s where my post from two days ago fits in (see Abraham Hicks on Bipolar Disorder). I strongly recommend reading this first before continuing here.
At the end of the post I asked a few questions that I intended to answer in further posts. Well, here I am considering the question:
How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?
To answer this a familiarity with The Emotional Guidance Scale as offered in Esther and Jerry Hicks book Ask and It Is Given.
As you can see, the scale lists different emotions and they are ordered as such that the emotions at the top of the scale are those that will feel good to us, and those at the bottom will feel bad.
There is a continuum implied whereby number 9: Pessimism will feel better to us emotionally than number 10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience. Number 1. Joy, will feel better to us than number 5. Optimism, which in turn will feel better than number 7. Contentment.
Of course, this is a much simplified perspective of our complex range of human emotion, and what feels good or bad to each person is going to vary.
You might argue that some people feel good when raging at other people, or harming them in some way- they get some kind of energy or kick out of it?! But this may only feel good to them in comparison with how they were feeling before- extremely guilty perhaps?
So too, I would add the emotion of shame to the bottom of the list, and peace to the top of the list. We can all tweak it in a way that speaks most accurately to ourselves.
Moving Around the Scale
So yesterday I shared the experience of mania as described by Abraham:
“If you didn’t eat for about a week and someone turned up with a pizza, we’d see mania.”
I love this!! Suddenly we have the most enthusiasm for pizza we’ve ever had in our lives.
Abraham is talking about pizza as us being in alignment to who we truly are, about being in alignment with Source energy. To us this may be being in the creative flow of writing a book or making art, or feeling a sense of peace, joy and being at one with the world, after a period of us somehow blocking this flow- perhaps due to feelings of unworthiness, lack of self-belief etc. So when we get back into this flow- wow!! It feels so good!
I know this feeling! Suddenly I feel I have purpose in my life again when I allow that stream of energy to flow. When I don’t block it with my beliefs of my own limitation. I feel free and alive and everything feels so right and the sense of euphoria can be so intoxicating!
But if we do block it again, maybe with a belief that this wonderful feeling can’t possibly last, and become scared of losing it- we then plummet into the lower energies and completely disconnect from Source energy, from who we truly are.
So, back to the question I posed earlier:
How do we reduce all this bouncing around (emotionally) and allow ourselves to be more balanced?
Well, to me the answer seems to be to eat pizza more regularly, so we don’t get hungry.
If pizza represents the actions that align us with who we truly are, with Source energy, then we won’t ever be completely disconnected.
Quite often for those of us labelled with bipolar disorder, our powerful flow of energy goes against the grain of society. We may love to do unconventional things with our creativity for example, but have been criticised for this- which encourages us to stop. Stopping equals being out of alignment with who we truly are, with Source energy. It may be very challenging for us to be who we really are!!
The energy of someone with bipolar disorder I see as a wild, powerful stallion running free. To be able to ride the horse or use it purposefully, the stallion needs some kind of taming and training. The energy is directed. (This is just an analogy and I’m all for horses being wild and free, it just makes sense to me this way!)
We can manage our own energy by learning to take ourselves up the emotional guidance scale. We need to “be ourselves”, allow our creativity etc. often, regularly! We need to feed our hunger for being in alignment with source energy, so that we don’t become ravenous with hunger for it!! If we do this then we will be able to stop and rest, rather than stay up for nights on end writing or creating in any other way. We won’t become so “high”, but our positivity will remain more stable and manageable. Our energy won’t increase so intensely that we want to clean our houses all night or be so manically optimistic that we make unwise decisions with our money. Just examples of course. No doubt you’ll have your own particular manic ways!!
Therefore we are much less likely to dip so low into depression. We will come to realise that we are never truly without Source energy expressing itself through us- we are always living as our true self. There is never any loss of connection with it- which is where depression comes from.
This all makes sense to me, but if it doesn’t make sense to you please feel free to comment and I will try and explain as best I can.
I do realise that these concepts are pretty “out there” in terms of modern-day psychiatry and societal understanding. If it resonates with you- great! If it doesn’t, that’s ok- just move onto whatever does! (Just please don’t tell me. )
The Emotional Guidance Scale
So, instead of us bouncing from a 1 to a 22 on the Emotional Guidance Scale, we can use it a bit more gently and learn what feels a bit better (not a million times better).
We can learn what brings us up from a 1 to a 2, or from a 7 to a 9.
These may be simple action steps such as taking a shower, or chatting to a friend. They may be more profound and involve creating or learning in some way.
I’m definitely still learning this, but over the last 18 years of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and yes I am on medication and would never recommend coming off any you are taking without consulting your doctor), things have got easier.
I know I feel better when I go for a walk in the morning with my dog.
I know I feel better if I eat toast for breakfast rather than chocolate.
I know I feel better when my hair is freshly washed.
I know I feel better when I’m playing the flute.
I still have days where I’m lower down the scale, but I think I’m better at getting myself back up the scale again at a more gentle pace. So that means no spending loads of money on my credit card on beautiful things I don’t need- that puts me up to a 1, but only lasts for a short time!! Then I feel worse at the accumulation of debt, and have probably forgotten all about said beautiful things which are now crumpled up at the bottom of my wardrobe. Back down to 22 we go!
I think it’s all about us learning how to use our powerful energy in a way which feels good to us all the time. Not amazingly, overwhelmingly, euphorically good, but a more gentle, fulfilled, positive kind of good, which is way more manageable.
We need to keep asking ourselves “what feels better than this?”, even if it’s just a little bit better.
Abraham Hicks on You Tube
10 Lies Depression Tells You
1. You’re not good enough: at anything.
2. You’ve failed: at everything.
3. You’re a burden on your family/partner: they’d be better off without you.
4. You don’t deserve such a great partner.
5. You don’t deserve all the good things that have been given to you- they’ll be taken away from you.
6. God doesn’t care about you- he’s given up on you.
7. There’s nothing in your future to look forward to.
8. You’ll always fail.
9. You might as well give up.
10. It’s Your Fault You’re Depressed: you’ve done all the CBT, mindfulness, counselling, etc. You should be free from depression by now. It must be you- you’re bad.
They are lies! They are not truth! We can change our thoughts!
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.