Depression, Bipolar and Loss of Self

Feb 282014

Pam Hawkes 10

I have discovered working with depression and bipolar clients the importance of replacing the pattern of mental health challenges with more healthy and useful resources. It is not enough to just clear the depression.

Depression in itself or as part of a bipolar pattern is by nature all-consuming. When it clears fast and unexpectedly (especially in someone who has tried all sorts of other therapies previously with limited results) there is a vacuum in the experience of the individual who has so long identified with being who they are in that state. Last week they could not get out of bed; today they are washed and dressed with relative ease in time for breakfast and not sure what to do with themselves. Sometimes that is literally how they appear to me when I look at them energetically: as I clear what was holding their depression pattern in place, it is as if they no longer know how to be who they are without it. Often I “see” them sit, rather unsure what to do next and how to be.

When the manic phase of bipolar is shifted in this way, that vacuum is even more pronounced, and this is where an unexpected danger arises : if you are used to periods of very high energy where anything and everything seems within your reach and all experiences are of heightened intensity, who are you when suddenly you are unplugged from that high energy and are operating from the level of energy that the rest of us consider normal but for you, frankly, seems flat and uninteresting? The risk is that you continue to seek out that high through other means, such as drugs and external stimulants.

For those who find themselves most creative during their manic phases, there is also the issue of becoming attached to those periods of higher levels of productivity. I am not saying an individual would choose to be bipolar, but for some there is a fear that once the bipolar pattern is removed, that level of creativity will be lost. Of course mental health is not the only area where we become attached to our conditions and diagnoses; I just mention it here in the context of who we are without that particular pattern.

So now when I work with clients with mental health challenges I take account of all this. I build it into the sessions and, when appropriate, warn them in advance of the changes they might experience and how to manage them. In some ways it is a nice problem to have: if you have been resigned to a condition you were told you would just have to learn to live with, how life-affirming to have instead the opportunity to re-create your day to day!


 February 28, 2014  Posted by  Depression  Add comments

  5 Responses to “Depression, Bipolar and Loss of Self”

  1. YES! Absolutely point on! Thank you for putting “me” into words!♥♥♥……..and so it is

  2. Thank you, I am glad my words resonated with you, Jill ♥

  3. I have never read something so true, so accurate. Im speechless at how I feel you have wrote down exactly how I am/ feel x

    • Thanks Emma. It can be challenging to find the right words to describe what shows up in sessions. I am glad I was able to here; the more people who appreciate what it is like to experience depression/bipolar, the better the support and understanding for those who need it.♥

  4. […] Depression, Bipolar and Loss of Self […]

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