EPI 18: Bipolar: How Do I Overcome My Past Mistakes To Help People Today?
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Welcome to the Bipolar Excellence Podcast. Episode 18: How Do I Overcome My Past Mistakes To Help People Today? This is another episode in the Life Of An Outsider series. You’ll find the link to the series in the footer of my website, bipolarexcellence.com.
Okay. So good news. Your past mistakes are going to be the very reason, the meat and potatoes of how you help people.
And being that they’re your past mistakes, you’ve already overcome them in a certain way. So you’re already on the path to helping others do the same. And before I forget this thought, let me just add it quickly, you don’t need to go from, I’m making $300 a week and living in my car and living on Cheetos and drinking from a neighbor’s garden hose to Tony Robbins overnight.
That’s not how it works. You need to figure out how you got out of the car and into, even if it was a shed, at least you’re no longer in a car. You just need to know a little more than the people that come your way, because they haven’t figured that little bit out yet. You’ll already a help to somebody, if we can just help you figure out how to reach them.
That’s the good news. You don’t need to be stellar, awesome, fantastically fantabulously the best, the greatest. You don’t need to have earth shattering discoveries to be of use to people. You just need to be doing a little better, somehow, than the people that come your way because they want to know how you even did that.
So let that give you some hope and increase your faith in yourself to do whatever it is that’s landed you listening to me, that you’re trying to figure out how to do. You can do this.
I guess then the problem becomes your past mistakes weigh on you.
One of the first things I realized I needed to stop doing, way, way back when I was still just coming out of bipolar. Back in like 2004 or so was, I used to have a ritual, as I went to sleep at night, of running down all the things I screwed up that day and all the people I’d hurt ever. And all the bad things, the really hideously, bad things I’d ever done in my life and still carried regret over.
I’d obsessively run through that list every night.
And the longer I did, I’d find new things to add. And I pummeled my self esteem and my sense of wellness with this list of things, until I read somewhere to stop doing that. Apparently it’s a common thing, with people. If that’s you, you know, obviously stop.
How do you stop? Well, it comes from awareness. It comes from awareness. How do you get awareness? One of the best ways I know to get awareness is to use Holosync from centerpointe.com. That’s Centerpointe with an E .com.
You can know that a thing is bad on a certain level and still do it. Like smoking.
Unless you’re completely out of your head or you got hit in the head with a cinder block and can’t think straight, you know if you smoke, you should not be smoking. That’s inarguable. There’s no way to defend smoking. You just want to smoke. And great. I did it for a few years, myself, along with a slew of other things, but you’re not kidding yourself, you know it. You know that you shouldn’t.
Now while you’re enjoying it, you’re enjoying it and you don’t care. But, at some point it becomes… it bothers you. You know you should stop, but you don’t. You keep smoking. That’s how smoking works. Why is that? You have not become aware of the evils of smoking, in the way, which I am speaking of.
There’s a deeper awareness where once you get it, once you get comprehension of it, you cannot allow yourself to continue doing that thing. That’s the kind of awareness I’m talking about. I know that there’s many ways to get there. I just happened to use Centerpointe.
Once you get it in your heart and soul taht a thing should no longer happen, you literally won’t be able to continue. It’s going to change. In my case, everything started turning into panic attacks. Even smoking.
I chewed tobacco even longer. I chewed tobacco for like nine years. I started that over in the Gulf War as a Marine, because we had to go sober from drinking.
We were in a, you know, Arabian lands and that’s against their religious law and stuff. So we had to stop. There was no alcohol. A fair amount of us were alcoholics. So we all got into nicotine, cause we needed something. And then that became a nine-year habit for me.
Now I knew the whole time I shouldn’t be chewing. Of course. I didn’t care for the longest time, quite a long time. Towards the end, year 7, 8, 9, I knew it had to stop. And I couldn’t really. Tried to quit a number of times and nothing really changed until I went to something… I became a felon for DWIs in New York. Got two of them within five years, oh, back in 2004.
That was the last time I was ever in trouble. And it made me a felon. And something happened with probation. And I had to go to the VA as a vet. Something happened up there that probation needed someone’s signature. So I go talk to this guy. Therapist type, older than me, super nice guy, big heart.
He looked at my face. When you chew your face gets distended in the corner, under your mouth, where you hold the wad of chew. He could see that. He’s like you chew. Right? And I’m like, yeah. And he got this deep sadness about him. And he was like, I really wish you wouldn’t.
I’d never experienced whatever this was that was happening between me and him. And he was like, I seen guys come in here younger than you, early twenties, late teens. They’ve been chewing for years already. They get cancer of the jaw and we got to remove their lower jaw and they got to go through the whole rest of their life with no lower jaw.
I pictured that in my head. And for some reason that freaked me out and I quit chewing really soon. I think it was within that week. His words hung with me and bothered me like never before. And I quit chewing. Now granted, a handful of years later when bipolar showed up and got really… well, I’m mixing up events, bipolar flared up.
Nope. Nope. I’m still mixing up events. I hadn’t quit chewin’ yet. Right. I kept getting panic attacks from chewing. It was stupid to chew and I kept trying. And there was no joy in it. I’d get no relief. I’d get nothing out of it that I used to. And I was still doing it. It was in that time that I met that guy.
So my body was already fighting back. My mind was fighting back and just robbing me of the enjoyment of the chew. But not until that guy talked to me, did I get that awareness that I’m telling you guys about.
When you get that awareness, you can turn it in something like what I just did with you. Maybe I just helped you quit nicotine or some other drug. But you take a negative and turn it into a positive.
It’s your mistakes that are going to allow you to help people the most. So let your faith in your abilities to help, grow on the back of that news. Know that there’s going to be a lot of work involved.
It’s sort sorta like what I said in episode 17. You’ve got to become someone a little different. In this case to stop guilting and shaming yourself, hideously over your past mistakes. So that you can get on with the work you’re meant to do in his life.
Have I gotten over like, do I have no regrets or shame or guilt?
I can’t say that. There’s things I did that were so bad. I don’t think of them constantly. I don’t dwell on them when they hit. I pretty much move on from them right away, because they’re very destructive to my sense of wellbeing. But there’s things I did I wish to God, I never did. I can’t take them back and it’s a bit too long of a list. Don’t even like thinking of them.
Cause I was a different person when these things happened, but that doesn’t help the people I hurt when I was that other person. I could drive myself insane mulling on those things, which I used to do. I refuse to do that to myself anymore. I can’t fix what I broke in those areas.
I can only take what I’ve used and help you by sharing the things I’m sharing now. And obviously I’m not the same person I was then, but I look for even smaller ways in which I could be doing something more harmful to someone than necessary. And I catch myself.
You know, we all have training, we all have habits and patterns. Every now and then I’ll slip into an area where I’m just not paying attention. I just don’t care. I’m tired. I’m going to say something that’s going to be just too hurtful. And I’m at a point where I can’t allow that like constitutionally, like my inner self won’t allow it. If I slip into it, I’m much better at… it’s rare.
But if I slip into it I’m much better at quick repair and saving the moment in the moment, usually.
But… so I don’t know what to tell you there. I haven’t completely walked clean and free out of my past mistakes, but I don’t dwell on them. I don’t feed them. As soon as they hit, I do have that skill that I can just walk away from them instantly and just keep doing what I just said and doing what I’m doing now with you.
It’s not a perfect thing. It’s not a perfect thing being what we are, I think, particularly with bipolar, because we have a lot of fuel and a lot of creativity to aim at doing things that never should have been done. We can be more hurtful than most people just because we’re more highly skilled in communication and action taking.
You’re with me now, alright. If you’re one of those people, you can not only, I don’t want to say fix, you can learn to come to terms with it and you can learn to use it for good. That’s all I’m trying to do with you here today. Okay. Be well.