The peace and solitude of creating artwork can help you develop self-control. It can also help stop racing thoughts, commonly associated with manic episodes.
One person suffering with mental health problems described it as like someone wringing out your brain (i.e. like wringing out a washcloth). When you have bipolar disorder, your moods fluctuate between ecstatic highs and plunging lows, either over longer periods of time or more rapidly. Your moods need to stabilize, and your mind needs to quiet down.
The constant stimulation that the mind may receive from the media (i.e. media violence, including violence on the news) needs to be turned off. Art is a natural mood stabilizer. It has an added advantage of being, generally, side-effect free. It is good therapy for ADHD, bipolar disorder, and OCD. Moreover, those with anorexia and bulimia can benefit from creating art. It fills the void for visual stimulation, and it produces peaceful, soothing images in your mind.
In addition, sketching and drawing can strengthen your concentration, and improve your brain function. Oil painting is especially soothing, as is painting with water colors, but painting in acrylics can also accomplish the same thing.
Taking a little time every week or even daily, to create art, and develop your latent abilities can regulate your moods. Also, learning how to create portraits is especially beneficial because painting human subjects, pets, wild animals, etc. helps you develop compassion and a personal interest in others. Art also has the added advantage of contributing to self-esteem. As you develop a skill or talent, your self-esteem and self-confidence increases.
Professional art therapy is also a viable option. 6. Read to Strengthen Your Mind
Reading strengthens your mind. It can also improve focus in a way that TV cannot. It stimulates the imagination. In fact, reading positive material can improve bipolar disorder symptoms and mood.
Reading is gentler on the mind than watching television and has therapeutic value.
Reading for the news can provide more insight into current events than simply watching the news nightly. Reading also bridges the gap between passive viewing and truly comprehending what the material is about. Furthermore, reading takes more mental effort than passively watching television; therefore, it has benefit in general mental health and for those with bipolar disorder.
Read the newspaper and news magazines for the news
The news can be depressing for many, as well as violent. It can accentuate feelings of trepidation and isolation. Reading to keep up with world events is not only gentler on the mind; it can strengthen brain activity, comprehension, reading skills, and memory. Be selective and mix reading about distressing events (never a shortage) news media with positive reading material. TV is not a necessity, but it is a 20th and 21st century luxury that you can learn to do without. For some, it can make a big difference towards good mental health.
7. Keep a Daily Diary, Journal or Blog
Keep a diary, journal, or blog. This can help you to organize your thoughts and clear you mind. Some find if helpful to write in their journal before going to bed as an aid to better sleep. Keeping a daily journal helps circumvent and control racing thoughts, a symptom identified with bipolar disorder. It can also help you find an emotional outlet, to decode events of the day, and interpret personal interactions and relationships.
Additionally, some people with bipolar disorder have used a diary to identify patterns in thoughts and behaviors, as well as identifying triggers to depression and/or mania. Identifying triggers is a first step towards gaining control and relapse prevention.
8. Write for Self Expression as a Stabilizing Therapy
Clinical studies indicate that when those with depression engage in expressive writing it forces them to identify and focus on the source of their emotional troubles, which results in a shorter recovery period; the same can be said for bipolar disorder.
Writing can be positive for those with bipolar disorder because it helps you to gain insight into your thoughts, behaviors, triggers, and emotions. It can result in stress relief and help you organize your thoughts. Writing in a journal provides opportunity for self-analysis, to capsulize your own small victories as well as your mistakes, and make positive, deliberate choices in the future.
Writing has proven to be an effective therapeutic self-help technique, and an catharsis on numerous levels for many. Dr. Liz Miller who documents her success in full recovery from bipolar disorder (medicine free for 15 years), attributes her recovery, in part, especially in the beginning stages of her self-help mission, to extensive self-directed writing therapy, for all of the reasons mentioned above.
For some, poetry can be a healthy form of creative expression, that has cathartic, healing mental results. Reading and writing haiku poems can be especially helpful for those with bipolar disorder, as the poems are very compact in a nature, and force the mind to visualize, as well as to exercise restraint. Reading and writing haiku poems is an excellent mental self-control exercise, and helpful for bipolar disorder.
See author Sherry Reiter, PhD's page on this site. Her book Writing Away the Demons: Coping with Depression, is one among several excellent books on the subject of writing therapy. The book is based on Reiter's personal experience in experiencing relief through writing. Reiter is a Registered Poetry Therapist.
Commit to periods of daily relaxation. Experiment until you find the relaxation technique that is right for you. You should schedule at least 20 minutes a day to wind down, and actively reflect on your life (i.e. journaling and/or prayer).
Relaxation may include: leisurely walking (as opposed to vigorous exercise, which can also be beneficial), communing with nature, relaxing reading (in contrast to deeply purposeful reading such as studying for a school test), creating art, gardening, visiting places of interest such as art museums, botanical gardens, or zoos.
Find out what works for you and program regular wind-down periods of relaxation in your daily/weekly routine. Getting off the treadmill can be a stop-check for the mania associated with bipolar disorder.
What to Cut Back on or Avoid
10. Unplug- Movies, Video Games, Television
Unplugging the TV, as well as reducing the number of movies you watch and time spent playing video games can help symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. If we want to talk about unhealthy ways to stimulate the mind, we can start with these three things (overstimulation from movies, video games and TV). It is also important not to forget about the effects of the Internet, depending on how we use it.
TV programs with commercials are generally very fast-paced. They stimulate the mind with rapidly-paced programs w/sound byte commercial clips. News programs tend to capture the audience’s attention with reports of violence, and TV programs, in general, cater to self-indulgence and a sense of instant gratification.
ADHD is at least in part accentuated, if not caused (in some cases) by an overexposure to TV. Movies and music can affect emotions, stimulating emotional highs and lows.
Action movies can have a roller coaster effect on the mind/body connection – affecting the chemical balance of the brain by contributing to the release of adrenaline, and an increased rate of dopamine in the brain at a rate that nature did not intend. Video games can have a similar effect. Eliminating or reducing the amount of time spent watching TV programs, movies, and/or playing video games can not only help your mind recover and regain its proper balance, but also put one’s life back on track into a more-productive zone.
Furthermore, movies are can be powerful tools of emotional stimulus, but the film-aficianado is a passive participant, and, like a drug, when the movie is over, the virtual stimulus is over, potentially leaving an emotional void. Films can take the mind through emotional highs and lows.
Similarly, the Internet can become both a preoccupation and addiction, and contributes to an addictive type of personality in some. Those with compulsive or addictive personalities may do better without continuous access to the Internet.
For those who are addicted to the Internet in a damaging way, or those who become addicted to Internet pornography, it may be best to use the Internet at the local library. Using the Internet away from home may prevent the Internet addict from becoming consumed with the Internet.
There is a plethora of research on teens and the Internet, but proper parental controls, supervision, and placing computers in a public place in the home are necessary to keep an eye on teens’ Internet usage. Children and teens need to have limits at home and at school, and also need to be educate in using the Internet in healthy ways, while avoiding the potential danger zones.
11. Media Violence Can Destabilize
Watching or virtually participating in violence for entertainment of any kind on a regular basis, in movies, video games, television, the Internet, on the news to an excess, and/or during violent sports, can affect the chemical balance in your mind, specifically your dopamine level, the neurotransmitter affected by cocaine use.
If you overindulge in violent entertainment, for those who experience symptoms of bipolar disorder, it may be contributing to the mood roller coaster ride. Media overload excites the mind, pushing it beyond limits, and mind may have a hard time turning off. This can especially be true of young children, teens and young adults.
In addition, spending time indulging in violent entertainment as a way of life, can be displaced positively by spending time with nature, creating artwork, and/or helping others. These positive ways to spend time can contribute to a better mental health profile, one that is not in constant response-mood to artificial stimuli.
12. Avoid Pornography and its Effects
Avoid pornography and break free from pornography addiction. Pornography can contribute to depression and mania, the two hallmarks of bipolar disorder. While some psychologists have condoned pornography as a healthy outlet for sexual desires, it has been noted that addiction to pornography can be as strong as that or illegal drugs, which can ultimately lead to depression.
Additionally, for some, pornography addiction and other forms of over-indulgence in sex, or hypersexuality, may be a contributing factor for symptoms of bipolar disorder, or part of a vicious cycle that leads to mood swings, erratic behavior or even self-loathing. Pornography can destabilize and isolate those who become addicted. Pornography has become infinitely more accessible to adolescents through the Internet.
See: Pornography - Is It harmful?
Love is one of the greatest single factor in maintaining good mental health; pornography has been described as being "anti-love." Pornography teaches you to satisfy sexual desires at the expense of others. It also depicts and teaches an unbalanced view of sex – with others as mere sex-objects. This way of thinking can harm real-life relationships. Learning to avoid pornography and finding positive outlets to occupy free time can be of value in overcoming the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Music and Bipolar Disorder
13. Healthy Choices in Music Lead to Greater Stability
Music is a powerful force on our emotions and mood. It can lift our mood, excite our mind, and propel us to action. It can also inspire us or depress us. Listening to music directly affects the dopamine levels in our brains. Cocaine provides a “high” by means of dramatically increasing the dopamine level in the brain. Listening to music can’t give you the same kind of “high” that a drug like cocaine can, however it can affect the emotional and physical components in our brain chemistries.
Music is used for therapy for those with bipolar disorder on a professional level. It can also be used as a self-help therapy.
Two things need to be considered when listening to music as a way to promote peace and tranquility.
1. The amount of time we spend listening to music, and
2. The type and intensity of the music we listen to
Because bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, and music affects moods, if we are struggling with a mood imbalance, too high or too low, to the point that psychiatric intervention is needed, we need to carefully consider the amount of time we spend listening to music. For some teens, one hour to 12 hours a day listening to music is not uncommon.
Listening to too much popular music is linked to a higher rate of clinical depression in teenagers. This may be the case for some adults, as well. In addition, taking anti-depressants can lead to manic-like symptoms for some, and can even be a contributing factor towards an eventual bipolar diagnosis, especially if core issues are not addressed during the interim.
For those with bipolar disorder, or with symptoms of bipolar disorder, music should be enjoyed moderately, in measured doses. Avoid overindulging in music. Even classical music can have a profound affect on your moods.
It was more difficult to overindulge in music during prior centuries. In fact, David Byrne (of the Talking Heads) notes that music has never been as accessible as it now. In the past you had to play an instrument, listen to a family member play, or attend an event to listen to music. Today, music is available literally 24-hours a day in various formats. The mind simply was not meant to assimilate so much mood-affecting information, with, what is often, highly emotional music playing in our brains on such a continuous basis. Moderation and self-regulation are necessary.
The type of music we regularly listen to also is an important element to consider. Music can be joyful or angry, happy or hateful. It does affect both our emotions and our ways of thinking. Choose music that is positive; be careful not to over-stimulate your brain with too much high-intensity music. Perhaps tone down the type of music you listen to one of a less-intense level. Listen to different genres of music, some with a more-relaxed pace. Give your mind long intervals to rest—days of silence, rather than constant stimulation.
Healthy choices in music is one of the keys to greater stability, and a greater balance in moods can be achieved for many with bipolar disorder by giving attention to this modifiable aspect of life. While this is especially true for children and teenagers, it is also true for many adults.
In another slant on music, learning to play a musical instrument strengthens your mind, and helps you to build self-esteem. It fills vacant or passive hours with a positive activity. Playing a musical instrument may be linked to positive emotional-social well-being.
Social Strategies for Bipolar Disorder Self-Help
14. Don’t Isolate Yourself - Maintain Positive Personal Relationships
Mental Health America, a mental health activist group, encourages 10 basic principles for managing life’s pressures and for preventive medicine, listed here:
Connect with others
Relax your mind
Get enough rest
Know your limits
Keep a journal
Watch your negative self-talk
Get involved in spiritual activities
Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week
On the topic of connecting with others, a Mental Health America information flyer states:
"You don’t have to cope with stress or other issues on your own. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you feel better. Spending time with positive, loving people you care about and trust can ease stress and improve your mood.”
One famous rocker once poetically noted, "Don’t stand alone, you might turn to stone." We need others. We need association, encouragement, rub shoulders with, and bounce ideas off of. We need companionship. Developing positive friendships is beneficial for our mental health and well-being. Don’t be an isolationist.
Improve your mental health by cultivating and maintaining positive relationships with others, spending time with family, developing friendships, and doing things for other people.
15. Strive for a Peaceful Family Life
Maintaining a peaceful and stable family life is also important for good mental health. Giving and forgiving are two key elements in maintaining healthy family relationships. Family therapy is helpful adjunctive therapy for those who have one member suffering with a mental health disorder. For bipolar disorder, studies indicate that family therapy contributes to a more-rapid recovery rate than any other form of psychotherapy.
16. Consider Your Choice in Work
Your choice in work can make a difference in your mental health. If your job is purposeless, repetitive, and/or isolating, it can contribute to negative thought patterns that may spawn or contribute to mental health issues.
For some, work that involves using your hands (i.e. designing, illustrating, creating art or building houses can be of value. The mental and visual challenge of creating something is fulfilling, and may function as an outlet for creativity that is conducive to positive, stable, and balanced thought patterns.
If diagnosed with a mental health disorder, do everything in your power to continue working, to remain in the workforce. Keeping productive, and remaining self-sufficient helps fill life with a sense of purpose and self-esteem. Part-time or volunteer work may be a good option.
17. Anger Management
In John McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web, he elaborates on the point of anger and how it can be a part of the bipolar disorder symptom profile, and along with that thought, the need to take steps to manage and control anger.
"People prone to anger tend to experience events as more stressful than others…adrenaline and cortisol are pumped into the system, priming the body for flight or fight, appropriate for caveman daily living… but not for most situations we find ourselves in. Anger is an adaptive response to threat, arousing powerful aggressive feelings and behaviors…the excess adrenaline and cortisol set off a cascade of destructive cellular reactions that result in the brain being unable to cope."
Anger management is an element of bipolar disorder recovery. While anger is not part of the core symptoms of bipolar disorder in the DSM-IV or DSM-V, the closely related symptom of "irritability" is; what is more, most psychiatrists and psychologists link anger to a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Anger can range from mild irritability to rage.
To help control anger, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance recommends learning to recognize triggers to anger; plan for these situations so that you can better control your reaction; if necessary and to the extent reasonably possible, avoid situations that lead to anger. Additionally, it encourages, "identifying specific [positive and balancing] things you say to yourself, [as well as] physical relaxation [i.e. deep breathing or prayer], or actions you can take to interrupt the anger [like going outside and walking, giving yourself a ‘time-out’].”
For more on anger management, see the page: Anger Management Online - Tips, Strategies, Therapy and Techniques (on-site) as well as the eBook, Meeting the Challenge of Bipolar Disorder: Self Help Strategies that Work! by the AYCNP.
18. Develop Balanced Self-Esteem
A first person account considering bipolar disorder describes the potential link between low self-esteem and bipolar disorder, and the value of maintaining a balanced view of oneself.
Michael, who works full-time in law enforcement, deals with bipolar disorder, which he describes in terms primarily of depression, as well as insecurity, and a lack of self confidence. He states, "I have learned not to be too hard on myself. I have learned to be aware of my mood changes, warning signs and respond appropriately before I cause further damage."
He indicates that he benefited from a self-esteem course that he describes as life-changing. "Bipolar doesn't have to be the end of life as you know it. The self-esteem course was one of the biggest changes in my life." (2010).
In the context of bipolar disorder, it is easy to see that going to extremes in self-esteem can be part of the symptom profile of a bipolar diagnosis. The key is to be tolerant of our own (and others) weaknesses and imperfections, and at the same time maintain a balanced view of ourselves, without hyperinflating our egos. Balance is the key. Being tolerant of our weaknesses and imperfections doesn't mean we need to be complacent, we can continually strive for bettering ourselves, but it means we don't whip ourselves for our perceived failures in the meantime.
By leading an active rather than passive lifestyle, engaging in productive activities whether it be taking a college course and attaining a degree, developing a new skill such as art or music, learning a new language, becoming a public speaker, losing weight, or creating a successful blog, bettering ourselves, becoming successful in some sphere of life, and developing our skills contributes to healthy self-esteem.
Balanced self-esteem is stabilizing and helps us to avoid self-flagellating ourselves; it is balancing and takes the some of the edge off the emotional highs and lows of what is interpreted as bipolar disorder.
19. Be Honest
Honesty contributes to better mental health. Lying solves one problem only to create two or three others. Learn to be honest rather than lie as a way of life. Being honest contributes to self-esteem.
A pattern of lying to one’s parent, mate, boss, workmates, friends, leaves a trail of deceit that often comes to the surface, hurting personal relationships. Lying can make you feel like you are living life on the run, that no one understands you, and can isolate you in your own little world. Lies are like spilling oil on the kitchen floor, they may be hard to see, but easy to slip on—it creates a mental battle to remember our lies or deceit, necessitating other lies to maintain the original lie.
Lying is ultimately destabilizing. Honesty, by contrast, leads to better relationships, and in addition to greater self-respect, honesty leads to others respecting you as well.
Practical Strategies for Overcoming Bipolar Disorder
20. Develop Balance, an Essential Element of Recovery from Bipolar Disorder
Try to find balance between work, spirituality, family life, and recreation. It is important to understand that as much as you would like to do everything - you can’t! We all have limits, and we have to learn to live within those parameters. Being reasonable with ourselves can help us avoid the extremes of mania.
21. Prioritize and Do Not Take On Too Much
It is common to take on too many responsibilities, leaving you scrambling for time and frantically endeavoring to keep up with unrealistic commitments. Sometimes this can be a way of attempting to overcompensate for previous or current perceived failings.
Keep a balanced, slow, but steady pace rather than trying to do everything idea, albeit good, that comes into your mind. An African proverb states: “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.”
Prioritize your tasks and obligations, dropping those that contribute to too much stress or that are less essential.
22. Financial Stability and Debts
Owing money that you cannot or will not pay back can be destabilizing and also demoralizing. For some mounting or seemingly insurmountable debt contributes to depression and even suicide. Debt can also lead to unrealistic or impractical ways to dig oneself out of debt, perhaps in a frantic or manic pursuit. In getting a handle on debt, balance and responsibility, slow and deliberate, rather than frantic pursuit, is more practical and productive.
Try to get a handle on your finances in a balanced and rational manner. Seek out practical assistance if possible. Getting out of debt is easier said than done, but steps in that direction promotes stability. Getting rid of credit cards can help be one positive step towards controlling unregulated overspending binges, which can be typical for some people with bipolar disorder.
Endeavor to keep a steady work schedule, and daily/weekly routine. Being employed in itself is stabilizing, and structure is an important stabilizing element for anyone struggling with bipolar disorder.
Be deliberate in your choices and decisions for employment. Write down your ideas, and go over them with someone that you respect before taking action, if you are in need of employment, or feel it is necessary to seek different employment.
In addition, hiring a life-coach may be a good investment for those who can afford it. A life coach provides practical assistance in many aspects of life and can help keep you on track as you work towards goals. Additionally, a coach that specializes in bipolar disorder (not as easy to find as ADHD coaches), can provide needed stabilizing and practical support.
24. Focus on the Practical and Avoid Fads & Miracle Cures
Avoid fads, extremes, and miracle cures when pursuing help in overcoming bipolar disorder. Although placing your faith in an unproven “cure” may temporarily inspire hope, the let-down when fringe medical theories do not offer the long-term results you expected can actually perpetuate the cycle of mania and depression. Try to stay away from unproven fringe medical solutions and focus on practical, realistic steps towards recovery. Numerous small steps may prove to be more productive than one gigantic leap, or pursuing unrealistic cures.
Realize that recovery seldom comes overnight, and that it can take months or even years to partially or fully recover from bipolar disorder, even with medical and other support. Learn from any setbacks, and keep your arrow pointed in a positive, forwards moving direction; be willing to make adjustments, and take note of every step towards recovery
Work towards structure and organize your life. Keep a schedule and appointment book, (whether it be physical or electronic), and maintain a regular daily schedule. Eat and sleep at regular times. Maintain a structured sleep routine—a simple, but essential aspect of recovery from bipolar disorder.
Keep a clean, orderly home, room, and car. Better organization will help you achieve greater stability and a feeling of being in control. Again, a life coach or bipolar disorder coach can help you to develop better organization skills, and coaches tend to be less costly than a psychologist or therapist. A life coach may prove to be a valuable part of your support team.
If you have trouble locating a suitable bipolar disorder coach, a certified ADHD can help with matters of organization and is professionally trained to offer assistance in this area.
26. Maintain Cleanliness & Personal Hygiene
Keep your person, belongings and home or apartment clean. Practice good personal hygiene. Cleanliness and good order are essential elements for a balanced and orderly mind. The adage, Cleanliness is next to godliness has an element of truth in it.
Admittedly, keeping all of our personal belongings in order can be a constant challenge, however cleanliness and order is stabilizing, it contributes to self-respect and self-esteem. Cleanliness, orderliness, and personal hygiene also will help you get a better night's sleep, which further contributes to greater stability.
Schedule a regular time period each week to clean your home and car, if you own one. Enlist the help of your family.
If you need further help—ask for it! If you still need help, search out support from a coach—a bipolar disorder coach, a life coach, or an ADHD coach (ADHD coaches are usually professionally trained in helping clients organize). Keep your home, car, and personal belongings clean and orderly, and strive to always be organized. An uncluttered environment contributes to an uncluttered mind.
Spiritual Strategies for Those with Bipolar Disorder
27. Be Involved with Positive Spiritual Activities
According to Greg Murray, author of “Self-Management Strategies Used by 'High Functioning' Individuals with Bipolar Disorder: From Research to Clinical Practice” and Life and Social Sciences professor at the Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia et al., "reflective and meditative practices, [which includes] journaling, inspirational reading, exploring spirituality, and praying are one of the keys to bipolar disorder recovery."
Find times to regularly pray; talk to God; develop your spirituality and inner person. Associating with a community or congregation in spiritual pursuits can reduce feelings of isolation.
Mental Health America, a non-profit organization focused on education and activism in the arena of mental health states:
Studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, such as greater coping skills, less anxiety, and a lower risk of depression. Spirituality may also provide a sense of hope, meaning and purpose in life, a way to understand suffering and illness, and a connection with others.
For those with bipolar disorder, a balanced practice and viewpoint towards spirituality is essential. There can be a tendency to go to extremes in spiritual pursuits for some with bipolar disorder, which can be destabilizing. Some may give undue significance to ordinary daily life-events to the point of mind-disabling superstition, and this also can be a cognitive obstacle to overcome.
Spirituality is one cog in a multi-faceted wheel. While giving consideration to spiritual needs, be careful not to neglect other important aspects of your life. Strive to maintain balance.
28. Read the Psalms for Periods of Emotional and Spiritual Refreshment
Read the Bible Psalms for inner peace; reading the Psalms can be both calming and anchoring. The Psalms were originally songs, most of which were written by King David. The emotions that David evokes in the Psalms he wrote are wide-ranging and easy to identify with. One reader comments that she experiences soothing relief when she has been in periods of turmoil in her life by reading the Psalms. If reading is difficult, listening to audio versions of the Psalms, or reading while listening to a recorded transcript can be of even more benefit.
A routine of reading spiritually and emotionally enriching, positive material, such as Psalms (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred scriptures-the Zabur) or the Gospels (Christian, Islam refers to as the Injil) , can contribute to emotional stability and be meditative, relaxing, and offer periods of emotional and spiritual refreshment. Moreover, it can provide strength and perspective needed to overcome some of life’s trials, taking our viewpoint to a higher level, and contributing towards satisfying our spiritual needs.
For those in the giving professions, teachers, nurses, mental health professionals, ministers, social workers, etc., it is essential to fill up the cup as it empties. Constantly giving emotionally, spiritually, or in some other way, without refilling the tank, can lead to burnout and/or instability. Taking time to fill our emotional/spiritual cup helps us maintain balance and have something to give to others.
29. Spiritual Choices - Be Rational Rather than Overly Emotional
Consider your spiritual choices, and don’t venture into or gravitate towards spiritual extremes. It is important to note that participating in faith-based services that emphasize “emotionalism” over “rationalism” can be destabilizing for some.
Additionally, no matter what spiritual path you are on or choose, try to tone down the emotionalism and keep yourself balanced. Spirituality is one aspect of life that contributes to happiness and fulfillment, but it needs to be balanced out with practical areas of life as well.
From another angle, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals need to be careful not to interpret legitimate spiritual experiences as "psychotic." While psychiatry has historically taken an atheistic view of mental health, or at the very least, one that is completely separated from any religious belief system, one man's psychosis is another's legitimate spiritual experience.
Shaman and visionaries from all cultures, including Judeo-Christian, are revered in diversified religious communities, but their experiences might be considered psychotic or schizophrenic when considered from the angle of modern psychiatry. However, not all religious or paranormal experiences can be written off to mind-games. The views of individuals who interpret metaphysical experiences from within the context of an established belief system cannot simply be written off by mental health professionals as "psychotic."
At the same time, both family and mental health professionals need to encourage a balance in the spirituality of those who may be demonstrating symptoms related to bipolar disorder. These professionals may also need to encourage the individuals in question to avoid extremes, and to untangle reality from religious experiences that may not have a basis in reality. It is an area of life that can be adjusted, sometimes gradually, so that it becomes a non-issue. Adjusting towards greater balance in approaching spiritual matters is something that can be achieved through cognitive behavioral therapy as self-help, or while working with a professional.
30. Avoid Extremes in the Supernatural, Spiritualism & the Occult
For some people with bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety, avoiding the supernatural, spiritualism and the occult can be destabilizing. This can especially be the case when it comes to children, pre-teens, teens and young adults.
Reality and fantasy combine in the world of the supernatural, and some may find it difficult to disentangle to two, which can be the case for those who are not well-grounded spiritually, including most teenagers.
31. Mental Health and Spirituality: You Have Value
Life is not all or nothing. There are varying degrees of good and bad. Most people have at least some good festering inside of them. This “goodness” can grow and influence others positively. One of the lessons of cognitive behavioral therapy is learning to overcome all of nothing thinking.
From a spiritual or religious perspective, focusing on the merciful qualities of God, rather than the judgmental aspects, helps us to be balanced. Never give up trying. Realize that God views us mercifully; this can help us develop a balanced view of our successes and failures. Considering God in terms of the apostolic verse, “God is love” contributes to a positive attitude and positive view of ourselves.
Positively working on our weaknesses is more productive than any tendency towards self-destruction or self-loathing. If we suffer with emotions of self-loathing, try to identify the source of those feelings, and do what we can to address them.