bipolar

“Meditate?! No way, I couldn’t do that!“

That is a summary of the typical response I usually receive from folks when I talk about meditation.    I can understand their response.    Most folks believe that it is difficult, or have some excuse why it’s not for them.   I know when I was an undiagnosed bipolar the mind was out of control, and I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

When I talk to people I mention my simple meditation methods, and they still think it’s too difficult for them.   I never learned formal meditation techniques when I began to look for relief from suffering.   I read a little blurb in a book that simply talked about being relaxed, sitting comfortable,   and keeping still.     That’s it.   I have practiced other techniques; where you have to sit a certain way, the posture needs to be in proper alignment, you have to have your hands in a special position, and using proper breathing techniques.    It was complicated!  A complicated process will taint some opinions on meditation.  They made it more difficult than it needs to be.  A simply technique is enough to develop inner peace.

Here is a recent conversation I had with someone.

“Have you tried meditation?”

“Meditate?!  No way, I couldn’t do that!”

“Why not?”

“I could never sit still.  The mind is too busy.”

“Okay, it’s not that hard.  Do you want me to show you how simple it is?

“No,  it’s not for me.”

“Okay that’s fine, tell me what do you like to do?”

“I like to jog.”

“That’s great!   Tell me about your jogging.   What are you thinking about when you jog?”

“I think about how John is going to call me to ask for money.   Or about somebody that made me pissed off.  Or wondering what kind [...]

“Tell me about yourself”

What happens when you hear this from a person that wants to know more about you?   You mind will tell a story of you.     The story will be shaped according to the setting or the environment.  If you are at a job interview, you will most likely talk about your education or similar past job.  If you are at a parent/teacher conference and the teacher wants to know more about you.  Your story will be shaped to tell how good of a parent you are or bragging about your child.    There is nothing wrong with these stories, but how did these stories come about?

The mind creates a perception based on prior things that happened throughout life.    As a baby,   you had no story of you.   You couldn’t even talk.   All you could do was be an observer.   You looked to your parents to understand the world.  If they saw a spider and screamed, you learned that behavior.  If you see a spider today you might scream.   On the other hand if they said “hey look at that!  It’s a daddy long-legs, isn’t that interesting.”  You would not scream; you would find it interesting.

Experiences in child hood that we do not remember have a large impact on our life.   When I began therapy I never understood the reason why they were so interested in my childhood.   I was never taught that our brain is like a computer.  It takes all of our experiences throughout life and builds a program.  This program is frequently accessed to interpret the world that we perceive.

Growing up I was a very sickly boy, from these experiences I learned that I had to go to a doctor to fix me.   To [...]

Recovering from multiple sclerosis

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis(MS) in 2004.

This is a disease that impacts the nervous system in which the myelin sheath around the nerves is damaged.   The sheath around the nerves is necessary for sending signals to the various parts of the body.  This causes impairments to the senses, movement and cognition along with any other body functions in which nerves are involved.    Imagine the body as an electrical system and the wires become damaged, then you pour water on them and the electrical system begins to short out and fail.

I was diagnosed with relapsing and remitting form of this disease.     In this form you have a relapse or reappearance of your MS symptoms,  and then you remitting or return to your “normal”  baseline.      MS had a significant impact on my life.   It caused walking and balance issues,  tingling sensation on the whole left side of the body,  extreme fatigue,  and many other unpleasant affects.

I was taking a MS injectable medicine to prevent a relapse from ocurring and that was effective.   In addition to medicine for muscle spasms,   urine retention,  and fatigue.   I needed a whole lot of medicine to survive MS,  not to mention all the medicine I needed for my bipolar disorder.  I also needed a cane on occasion as I was disabled.

A primary tool to recovery from MS was yoga.     There are many different types of yoga with many different branches.     I will discuss the exercise portion of yoga or asana’s.   The other branches helped with my mental state (bipolar).   Before I was going to a traditional gym;  lifting weights and cardio machines.  Typically in a gym you are isolating a specific muscle or muscle group.    In asana [...]

Breaking free from the bipolar mind

As a young boy,   I was deeply introverted and kept everything to myself.

I suffered many anxiety attacks as a child. In one instance I lost a quarter of my body weight.    I had intense thoughts about everything.    A majority of my thoughts were self-critical which only added to my beliefs that I wasn’t worthy of anything.   I can remember my classmates calling me four-eyes and a nerd since I wore glasses.    This added to my already self-critical thoughts on how I should be.   I was unable to accept who I was and the world was not offering kindness.   I had no self-esteem and I saw the world as a very harsh place.

The harsh view of the world only added to my suffering with anxiety.      These anxieties lead to a diagnosis of Bipolar as a young adult.   I had suicidal thoughts at times which resulted in being hospitalized.   Around 15% of folks commit suicide from this disease.

I suffered for decades with intense thoughts that were creating my own hell on Earth.     The thoughts had completely taken over my being and I had no inner peace.   One day, I discovered meditation and found inner peace.

In the beginning meditation was difficult.    I could only sit for 5 minutes a day, before my thoughts convinced me that it was a “waste” of time.   I had plenty of things to do besides “wasting” my time.   I knew that for me to escape the  mental prison of thoughts I had to continue with a meditation practice.     After a few months of practice the mind was growing quieter and a new sense of peace arose.

Meditation gives you space or separation  from your thoughts.    When you have space [...]