I promised that I would go into detail at a further date about NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and today is the day to do it. This will benefit all of us - including myself, as I feel a bit blah today (nothing serious.) I have listened to the tapes so many times that I have phrases memorized and can nearly recite them at will!
What is NLP?
On the tape, Master Trainer Charles Faulkner calls it, "the study of human excellence. It helps us to understand how the brain "neuro-codes" our experiences. " He cites examples, such as skiing. Most people thought that skiing was something you had to have talent for - you either had it, or you didn't. Once someone else learns how to do something, ANYONE CAN DO IT! That's a key point to remember in your development through life. It gives us hope!
This technology allows you to use visualization strategies - to help you see yourself doing something successfully, and without fear or self-doubt. There are ways to control how you remember experiences, good and bad - to make them less intense, or more intense if you so desire. You learn to connect (associate) with good feelings, and disconnect (dissociate) from the bad ones - this alone is a great tool. You can overcome phobias using the techniques! Some are a derivative of Gestalt therapy, in that you view your prior experiences and the feelings that accompany them - but that's just the beginning.
Bend Me...Shape Me...
You can twist, distort and manipulate painful experiences that have been bothering you for years, and actually make them humorous! They encourage you to play the images backwards, add funny colors or music - to change your perception of that event or experience. I guess that you could call it like Emotional Origami - twist that thing so you don't recogize it anymore! You could be a director of your own "movies," in that you create what you think about - bringing certain things into clearer focus, and casting others away. They really encourage you to use your imagination, and get some enjoyment out of the process. Once you do it a few times, it gets to be enjoyable, and it becomes a part of you. It encourages you to think like a kid again. "Think...in your mind's eye..." is a recurring phrase on the tapes. Of course, there are many other techniques, involving seeing the other person's point of view, and seeing yourself through the eyes of love, which works tremendously as well. I strongly reccommend trying them all.
Of course, there are many variations and books dealing with NLP, but I started with the audiobook called, NLP - The New Technology of Achievement. I think that it's a great overview and a sort of primer on the entire technology - a great starting point. It works quite well in conjuction with cognitive therapy and medication. It allows you to take control of your mind, erase phobias, and to take steps in your life that you never thought possible!
A Student For Life...
I am still very much a student of all this (and will be for life,) and I do use several strategies to help me through the day when just maintaining a positive attitude is not enough - or when old thoughts come back to haunt me. That's the time to put it into practice - when you don't feel like doing anything to help yourself. For me, today is one of those crucial times.
I'll admit - for nearly a week, I've felt myself start to come down from the intense plateau that I was on for nearly a month. I'm starting to accept the fact that it may indeed have been hypomania. Regardless, it felt good, and I want to get back to it again. As I said before, I feel "blah" and somewhat disconnected, but not down and out. I told some friends how I felt, in this manner: "It's cloudy outside, and I want the sun to shine." The possibility of being depressed is there, but with what I've learned, I am able to keep it under control. I truly don't want to go back to that state of "learned helplessness." To me, that is the equivalent of the death of the mind.
The Tape Is Playing In Reverse!
I notice most prominently, that the urge to reach out and give has been reversed - I literally feel as if everything is getting sucked back into me. This causes me to become inner-focused, and I don't like it at all. I begin to think about things, and how they hurt me. I don't look at solutions to problems and challenges, but I focus on the pain. It's one thing to reflect on how we feel about things - however, it's another when you indulge in those feelings. Those that keep us "safe" and ensure that we don't do anything dangerous, (and at the same time ensure that we don't move forward within our lives.) In that mindset, risk equals sudden death. That having been said, I know why I feel like this -I've been neglecting my meds.
Admittedly, I started to feel that I didn't need them anymore (OK - go ahead and preach to me.) Anyone who uses psychotropic medications (or anyone who uses meds in general,) understands this. You get to the point where you feel that you are "cured," or "OK," and you try to live your life without "those pills." For a while, things are just fine, and you feel great. Naturally, that feeling does not last, and you start to come down - maybe even revert back to your old self. You criticize and admonish yourself for doing such a thing, which makes you feel even worse. Guess what? You're back where you started - maybe even a few steps back.
We take the medications for a reason, and we have to keep that in mind. When we feel good, we forget about those reasons - as those endorphins and other chemicals released during that time, will make us oblivious to that fact. I rationalized that I would "get more later, and I will just take them every other day until I get more..." This also makes us oblivious to the fact that brain chemicals come into play when we become depressed or manic. It's all about chemistry.
I was starting to run out of medication and couldn't get any more until I brought in my tax return. This would make me eligible for free medication (due to income.) It's so simple, yet I keep putting it off. Why? Paperwork is still a bit scary to me. I'm not totally fearless yet, but I am working in that direction. I need to stop associating so much pain and frustration to dealing with it, and resigning myself to the fact that I can't do it. My sister usually does the paperwork for me, because she knows my feelings about it. This time I want her just to be nearby when I need some help. I don't want her to do it for me. I spent alot of my life having things done for me - I don't want to be that way anymore. I'm thirty-two years old now. I'm a man, and not a child. It's time to learn to do things on my own.
But I am going to make that call to my sister, as I promised my therapy group. I don't deserve to let myself live this way. I know that I can do better for myself, and I will strive to achieve it. The demons of bipolar won't get me down - maybe sometimes they will make life a little (or quite a bit) difficult, but they won't pull me into the abyss completely. I refuse to let it happen. True, I may feel a little hum-drum now, but it could be much worse, as I have demonstrated in the past. Do yourself a favor - at least tell yourself this:
I AM IN CONTROL!
I AM RESPONSIBLE!
I AM RESPONSE-ABLE!