Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Acceptance, Part Three

Limitations.  We all have them, but sometimes illness adds new ones that we never before had to deal with.  Accepting this fact was a challenge.

When I was hit by one episode that left me psychotic, suicidal, and hospitalized I was 31 and had just been promoted to VP of Sales at the company for which I worked.  An incorrect diagnosis and my poor response to the medications prescribed, as well as my refusal to accept mental illness and my subsequent noncompliance with my doctors’ orders, left me reeling for years.  I fell into a string of small jobs, just to keep health insurance, and checked into and out of psychiatric hospitals several times.  The hole in my resume became so large, and my ability to deal with stress so frail, that it became clear that I was not going back to the executive suite, probably never.  The effect that stress had on my moods, and the moods themselves, severely limited the amount of responsibility I could handle in any job. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Acceptance, Part Two

I wrote in part one how my father and I were both sick, each with a poor prognosis.  It was our refusals to accept likely outcomes that laid the groundwork for our healing.  Or was it?

While it is true that I chose not to accept the likelihood of a dismal future, it was the acceptance of things that I had no choice about that began my healing.  In mindfulness, to accept is to acknowledge the truth of an immediate experience.  So yes, I was sick, unable to work, broke, and broken.  Those things were simple facts that needed to be accepted.  Only then could I begin to move forward and change my situation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Acceptance, Part One

I’m starting to sound like an evangelist.  “Meditate and you’ll manage your mental illness.”  “Be mindful and you’ll stay present, even as your mind pulls at you, trying to take you toward the abyss.”  Well, for years this has worked, most of the time.  But it’s not always so simple.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Spend Less, Breathe More

This article is published on my blog on PsychCentral, "Getting Older With Bipolar."  See the blog here.

Mindfulness is either on the cusp of something great, or risks becoming the latest self-help fad to perish from oversimplification.  It has, without a doubt, improved my functioning with bipolar disorder.  In working with others, I have seen similar results.  And while research specific to meditation and bipolar disorder is scarce, the effect of mindfulness on other mental illnesses is well documented, and positive.

But it’s not so easy.