Saturday, June 18, 2011

bipolar self help

Mindful of Internal Process= Balance?
Bipolar self help led me to manage bipolar disorder without medications after improving my education. After 30 years of bipolar experience I now view bipolar disorder as the natural response of a auto nervous system seeking natural balance, not a mental illness.
Education into my own neurobiology has led me understand the role of my autonomic nervous system in my bipolar experience.
Bipolar self help has led me into a level of self awareness beyond a reliance on medical support.

Hard won insights used with a mindful self awareness allows me to manage my energy (mood) shifts with a level of freedom, most people would think impossible after 30 years of classic bipolar history. For me bipolar self help has meant going beyond a reliance on the advice of others to seek out an education into the mechanics of my bipolar condition. In 2007 following a suicidal depression of helpless desperation from over two decades of failed solutions to mood swing problems, I bounced of rock bottom and resolved to master my own nature.

Prior to 2007 I had already undertaken education in counseling psychology, which included Lifeline telephone counseling in Sydney Australia and a degree in face to face counseling at Jansen Newmen Institute in the same city. My experience of bipolar disorder falls within that group of people who do find ongoing stability using medications, which some suggest is as high as 40%. After almost a decade with a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia, my bipolar diagnosis had been a huge relief, with the promise of real long term stability on lithium. Like so many others though the sweet promise turned sour for me with another decade of hit and miss drug trails and catastrophic manias.

The way I'd really kept myself stable between chronic depressions and manic episodes, was a constriction of my life expectations that can be summed up with the term "low grade depression." Bipolar self help has included divorce in 1998 with a series of failed relationships seemingly pushing me further into isolation, although a surface view of reality can be deceiving. In his brilliant book "Healing the Shame that Binds You" John Bradshaw talks of reenactment as an unconscious driving force seeking to correct developmental issues. In my case education and experience has led me into correcting the conditioning of my auto nervous system, at the root of my poor emotional development issues.

You wake in the morning to find life is perfect: describe how that feels?

It was a question posed during my training in 2006 which started a journey away from living too much through my mind, towards the balanced body/brain/mind awareness I enjoy today. My bipolar self help journey saw me read many boring academic tombs on brain nervous system neurology, not sure if it was helping, yet with the passage of time leading me here. Here where I finally have the peace of mind that people with a normal emotion regulation experience take for granted. Gone is the daily concern about my mood, a self fulfilling concern that maintains mood disorder by focusing the minds attention on it.

Bipolar self help has been a process of finding the critical insights which allow me a deeper self awareness of the brain/body systems which stimulate my energies, my movements, my moods. Critical to this process has been the time and space I bought myself by coming to Thailand where a lower cost of living allowed me to immerse myself in self education and improving self awareness. Immersed in the normal stress of a work a day life I would not have found this comfortable freedom of my current self awareness. Autonomic stress reactions would have kept me immersed in the same old maladjusted patterns of behavior, that produced my bipolar condition in first place.

Codependency is a driving force behind human nature, with isolation long understood as a most painful form of mental torture. The term codependent is generally applied to problematic behaviors, yet such a judgement ignores the nature of human dependency at the level of the brain/nervous system, which stimulates dependency needs by degree only. We sense our humanity in the way others react to us, in unconscious processes below the level of mind. Prior to stumbling upon the neurobiology of emotional regulation, Robert Firestones's "The Fantasy Bond : Structure of Psychological Defenses was the best observation of human nature I had read.

Growing out of the no holes barred encounter groups of the 1960's Firestone's concepts of psychological defenses are hard, honest attempts to understand human behavior as it is, and not soften it with romantic wistful eyes. In this brilliant book it is suggested that real self growth can only happen away from the affect of a close relationship. In relationship to each other we are bound by degree to the needs of inter-relationship, or inter-subjectivity as some now call it. In spiritual terms perhaps this is the metaphor contained in the legend stories of the vision quest, like Jesus 40 days and nights alone in the desert.

Having experiences of psychosis, like many people I understood the degree to which our normal sense of reality is a state of mind. The manic and psychotic experience, or any altered state of mind is judged as a loss of insight into reality. Through my education I have come to understand how our normal sense of reality is highly dependent on feedback from others in our social group, starting with our family of origin. Unconsciously immersed in autonomic re-activity from birth, the normal experience is one of easy comfort in the presence of others, unaware of the hidden activity of our autonomic nervous system.

Bipolar Self Help & the nature of In-Sight?

My journey towards the kind of insights which allow a normal management of emotional regulation, has been a decade long process of book reading self education, and experiential integration of new knowledge. I needed to find out what makes me tick at a biological level, having waded through all the subjective concepts of human behavior I could lay my hands on. Coming after two decades of failure to find effective support from a medical profession obsessed with disease models of illness, I turned by accident to the newer concepts of human development expounded by people like Allan N Schore, Stephen Porges and Peter Levine.

My experience of a medical model which used drugs to manage my crisis periods, yet failed to manage my ongoing need for stability, led me to seek my own insights. The nature of those insights has been grounded in a slow process of sighting new symbols in the written words I read, then allowing time and experience for integration. A process that has led me into a felt awareness of my objective re-activity, as I read words by sight and move on in milliseconds, pretending in mind that I understand what I have just sighted. This is the nature of my hidden autonomic nervous system motivation, and the muscular pre-tension of my thought filled mind.

Discovering how my brain/nervous system works through a process of reading and re-reading, then allowing the time for this organic computer that is my body/brain/mind to do its work, has brought me to an ease of mind and wellness.
True insights have healed my troubled mind, my unconscious motivation of autonomic re-activity, my false sense of objectivity.
Feeling the reality of my hidden motivation has allowed me to feel my real needs and see myself in others, no longer driven by an objectified sense of me & them separation. Insights like "The Polyvagal Theory" which is revolutionizing our view of human nature, beyond subjective observation.

Bipolar Self Help is about educated In-Sight for me?

You too can educate yourself about YOU! “Education is the most powerful weapon
which you can use to change your world.” _ Nelson Mandela

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Mental Illness: A Compass of Shame
Bipolar Mania
Bipolar Anger
Fear Filled Mental Anguish
Catch the Gap & Feel Your Mind
Unconscious Reactivity & the Pre-Tense of Intelligence?
Calming Your Bipolar Symptoms
Neuroception? An Unconscious Perception?