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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

How We Keep Bipolar Disordered

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 18th 2010

Tom Wooton opens up his book Bipolar In Order: Looking At Depression, Mania, Hallucination, and Delusion From The Other Side with a quote by George Carlin "Those who dance are considered insane by those who can't hear the music." This is certainly an interesting quote to consider when we jump to judgments if we haven't experienced the same mental health issues as others.

I've worked with people whose partners have called them crazy or even sinful in respect to their depression, anxiety and bipolar symptoms.

Wooton makes a really good point as he redraws a graph from the perspective that many of us see bipolar disorder to the way it may really be. In other words, when many of us think of bipolar disorder, we think of someone who mainly sits in depression or mania and at times has respites in feeling more level.

Wooton redraws the graph to reflect that at times there is experiences of depression or mania, but for the majority of the time there is a feeling of being more level. The issue comes in the way our minds see these events.

Because the experience of depression and mania can be traumatic to the individual and the family and friends surrounding the individual, it is focused on more, gets talked about more and so it is given greater weight. Therefore, when we look at the person who has bipolar disorder, our perspective them is imbalanced in seeing the disorder rather than the order.

As then stigmatization occurs.

What would happen if we began to focus more on the order of individuals, while holding the fact that states of mind occur that also lend themselves to disorder.

I am not trying to sweep the very real and serious pain that can come with bipolar disorder. We do not want to ignore the symptoms because they need to be addressed. However, I am very aware of how trauma works with the mind. It lends itself to rumination and creates a false outlook on reality that keeps the individual and those around him or her in a cycle of selectively attending to the trauma, giving it greater weight than the rest of the person's life.

Just something interesting to consider.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.  

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

At last! Common sense prevails - playwrite27 - Mar 5th 2010

Wow, I wish more people felt like this. Unfortunately, having what I call an "invisible" disability carries the burden of dealing with the paranoia, ignorance and impatience of others. The only way I can be treated like everyone else, is if I don't tell anyone I have a mental illness.

Interesting - - Feb 24th 2010

Looks like an interesting book Elisha.  Thanks for sharing.

thinks the same - - Feb 19th 2010

I have a close relative whose wife also thinks same, but I have realised he manipulates and lies because he cannot face the situation or people in any other way.

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