In Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder, psychiatrist and neuroscientist William R. Marchand provides an innovative, breakthrough program based in neuroscience and mindfulness practices to help you find relief from your bipolar symptoms. If you have bipolar disorder, you may experience feelings of mania or high energy, followed by periods of depression and sadness. These unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels can make it extremely difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks—and ultimately reach your goals. Finding balance may be a daily struggle, even if you are on medication or in therapy. So, what else can you do to start feeling better? Mindfulness—the act of present moment awareness—may be the missing puzzle piece in effectively treating your bipolar disorder. In the book, you will learn how to actively work through feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress in order to improve the quality of your life. Written by a prominent psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and mindfulness teacher who draws upon his research experience and personal mindfulness practice as a monk in the Soto Zen tradition, this book will provide you with the tools needed to get your symptoms under control. If you’ve sought treatment for bipolar disorder but are still struggling with symptoms, mindfulness may be the missing piece to solving the bipolar puzzle and taking back your life. This book will help you get started right away.
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Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder Review
- January 1, 1970MagdelanyeThis is essentially an empowering book . Clear and precise explanations are given for the practice of mindfulness techniques in everyday life. As such, you dont have to be bipolar to benefit from most of these exercises.
- January 1, 1970Ashley PetersonMindfulness for Bipolar Disorder: How Mindfulness and Neuroscience Can Help You Manage Your Bipolar Symptoms by Dr. William R. Marchand lays out specific areas for mindfulness practices that be useful in managing bipolar disorder symptoms (and most if the book is also applicable to other mood disorders). I believe mindfulness can be a really helpful thing to incorporate into one’s life, but along with the good stuff I found a fair bit in the book that bugged me as well.A note on language: The au Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder: How Mindfulness and Neuroscience Can Help You Manage Your Bipolar Symptoms by Dr. William R. Marchand lays out specific areas for mindfulness practices that be useful in managing bipolar disorder symptoms (and most if the book is also applicable to other mood disorders). I believe mindfulness can be a really helpful thing to incorporate into one’s life, but along with the good stuff I found a fair bit in the book that bugged me as well.A note on language: The author talks about things like “your everyday bipolar life”, “your bipolar self”, and “being bipolar”. If people who have bipolar disorder want to talk about “being bipolar” because that’s how they conceptualize their self and their illness, that’s totally fine, but when people who don’t have a mental illness start talking about “being” bipolar/depressive/schizophrenic/anxious/personality disordered, it grates on me. It bugs me because it sounds like they’re telling us that we are our illnesses, even though it’s not up to them to define us, our identities, and where our illnesses fit in.Ok, time to delve into the practices the book suggests.Daily meditation practice:This meditation is focused on breathing, and bringing the focus back to the breath any time the mind wanders. This noticing and refocusing is an important part of the practice. The breath serves as an anchor for all of the other meditations described in the book.Targeting bipolar depression:This chapter looks at recognizing and moving out of autopilot thinking patterns, which often serve the purpose of trying to avoid emotional discomfort. Instead, the aim is to accept the reality of the moment, unobscured by our own beliefs. By mindfully accepting depressive symptoms rather than fighting them, they are more likely to fade away on their own.The mindful minute meditation is suggested as a regular practice three times a day plus more often as needed. It involves taking an inventory of the body, autopilot scripts that are playing, and mood, and then finding acknowledgement, acceptance, and presence.Calming bipolar anxiety:The book talks about confronting one’s fears of impermanence. “Being present with impermanence is the toll-free expressway to freedom from suffering. This path leads to the solution to the bipolar puzzle and the solution to the puzzle of all our lives.” In my own experience, when I’m depressed, I’m not experiencing fear about impermanence. Quite the opposite, actually; ideas of permanence get me bogged down in hopelessness. Maybe there’s a freight train blocking my toll-free expressway.Avoidance is described as a cause of suffering, and the suggested meditation practice involves sitting with an anxiety-provoking idea. This sounds similar to imaginal exposure work. The steps in the meditation are:1) Focus on breath as an anchor for around 5 minutes.2) Bring into awareness a moderately anxiety-provoking situation.3) Observe what happens, including thoughts and bodily sensations. Notice when shifts to autopilot occur and then refocus.4) Watch anxiety begin to fade. However, don’t hold onto a preference for it to go away.Observing your thinking pattern:This chapter focuses on autopilot, an idea that’s similar to negative automatic thoughts in cognitive behavioural therapy. Autopilot learns from our past experiences, and one of its jobs is to protect us from getting hurt. While this can be useful at times, it can prevent us from taking risks and lead to us getting stuck. It’s useful to recognize how much we’re driven by autopilot, and see autopilots as just thoughts that are neither good nor bad. Rather than suppressing them, we should try to be fully present.The steps of the recommended meditation are:1) Focus on the breath.2) Expand awareness to physical sensations and then sensory input.3) Watch your thoughts like clouds in the sky.4) Relax in mindful awareness.Working with mania and desire:While desire is a major source of motivation, it can also underlie discontent and dissatisfaction. Autopilot scripts are often aimed at wanting to be different, and satisfaction doesn’t last long after desires are fulfilled. Mindfulness allows desire to be seen as empty of substance; satisfying it doesn’t lead to true happiness.The recommended meditation involves the same first 2 steps as in the previous chapter. Then you bring a desire-provoking situation to mind, imagine an open space in your awareness where it can be present, and notice what arises in you.Managing irritability and anger:In this chapter, thoughts and emotions related to desire and aversion are identified as causing the most problems in bipolar disorder. It’s important to learn to be present with these emotions rather than try to suppress them, and recognize that thoughts and emotions don’t define who we are as people.Mindfulness is presented as a way to find freedom from fearing your symptoms; it is this fear that tends to trigger autopilot. The author goes so far as to suggest welcoming your symptoms, since they’re present anyway, and this will make it more likely that they will move along. I’m uncomfortable with this choice of words, as I see a considerable difference between accepting what is and actively welcoming it to come and join the party.Rethinking your bipolar self:Mindfulness gives distance from thoughts about self, which can fluctuate and often become more frequent with depression and mania; instead, these thoughts are allowed to just run in the background. Mindfulness can allow you to be less attached to your own viewpoint, moving from an egocentric to a wider perspective.The author explains that, “The answer to suffering is to move into mindful awareness, where you can be fully present with reality without needing to fix or change it.” I think this is overly simplistic, and based on some of the other books I’ve read recently (A Fearless Heart and The Book of Joy), compassion is a major piece that’s missing here.Furthermore, mindfulness “means experiencing at a deep level that, in each moment, the universe and everything in it – including you – is perfect as it is.” From where I stand this is a load of crap. It’s quite a large leap from acceptance to perfection. If you consider the Buddhist idea that compassion is a wish for others and the self to be free from suffering, to see everything as perfect in the moment appears to deny the suffering of others and thus is an uncompassionate stance.Being bipolar and happy:In this chapter, Dr. Marchand writes that ,“Mindfulness can teach you to view your illness as a gift.” While it seems that what he’s trying to say is that there are things we gain from our illness experience, in my mind calling it a gift makes light of the very real pain and suffering people with mental illness and their loved ones experience. Acceptance of the illness can be a powerful thing, and can allow us to see that there are things we gain from our illness, but that is very different from framing it as a gift.Happiness is presented as something that “is always available to you right here and now… From the viewpoint of mindful awareness you can be happy and joyful in this very moment… That is the gift of mindfulness.” I’ve ranted before about the idea that happiness is a choice. I’m not saying that mindfulness can’t make it easier to find happiness, but I strongly disagree with the assertion that happiness is always available to everyone at any given moment if you only think in the right way. According to Dr. Marchand, this is as simple as doing a meditation that begins with the breath, then expands the awareness, and “now allow happiness and joy to arise”. The ad slogan “thanks, Captain Obvious” jumps to mind. How remarkably unhelpful.So in the end, for me the irksome in this book tended to drown out the good, but I still believe in the benefits of mindfulness, and I’m going to continue to work on incorporating it into my life.Originally published on Mental Health At Homehttps://mentalhealthathome.wordpress....more
- January 1, 1970Cecily TrobleThe BEST in its class. This you've got to read. Excellent book with tools that are unparalleled. Easy to read, definitely not boring. Written for REAL people in a way that is easily relatable. Also has meditations and anecdotes, which are wonderful. Five stars. I say get it today. Worth the investment.more
- January 1, 1970Alexis KensingtonInsightful, Inspiring. Fast moving. Leaves you with tools your didn't even know existed. My friend shared this book with me and I'm so glad I read it. Now I see why mindfulness can change everything. Thank you for writing this, Dr. Marchand. Now to decide what to read next!more
- January 1, 1970AlidaGreat read. While at times the book oversimplifies the intricacies of living with bipolar disorder, it does well on its introduction of mindfulness as a coping tool. The chapters are scaffolded to ease the reader into the elements of mindfulness and attempts to provide a clear outline of bipolar disorder at all ranges of its spectrum. At times, however, descriptions and details were drawn out beyond need. Thus, the content often dipped into redundancies. The scenarios, though useful at surface l Great read. While at times the book oversimplifies the intricacies of living with bipolar disorder, it does well on its introduction of mindfulness as a coping tool. The chapters are scaffolded to ease the reader into the elements of mindfulness and attempts to provide a clear outline of bipolar disorder at all ranges of its spectrum. At times, however, descriptions and details were drawn out beyond need. Thus, the content often dipped into redundancies. The scenarios, though useful at surface level, lacked the depth and intimacy needed to allow meaningful/human connections for the reader. The narratives do well providing context and initial meaning, but the lack of detail around the subjects’ experiences—successes, hurdles, and failures— idealize the outcome and limit/ exaggerate the possibilities of mindfulness as a coping mechanism. In some sections, this lack of detail and overarching optimism, patronized the very intricate, very intense and difficult to overcome symptoms of bipolar disorder. Granted, bipolar disorder is not monolithic, making it very difficult to outline it with exact precision. Yet, It is because of this fact that it is crucial to provide malleable paradigms when contextualizing the syndrome. I began using mindful meditation to cope with anxiety symptoms about a year ago. Overall, the book expanded my perspective in relation to mindfulness and how I can apply it to alleviate specific symptoms at specific times. Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder: How Mindfulness and Neuroscience Can Help You Manage Your Bipolar Symptomsmore
- January 1, 1970Emilythe context stood in th this book about neuroplasticity and meditation was useful, but a lot of the attitude throughout is kind of " do this thing and everything will be ok!"
- January 1, 1970Sarah-RuthExcellent, important read for anyone that wants a better understanding of their brain, meditation and how the two can help create a better life.
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