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The Bipolar Time Machine – From Polar Warriors:
“When I’m having a Bipolar episode, I might believe with all my heart and soul that something is very wrong with my life. The feelings are so damn real. I get this incredible sense of urgency to do something about the way I feel – which usually leads to things like breaking up with my partner, quitting my job, or substance abuse. I have so much regret from the choices I’ve made when I wasn’t well and I’m slowly learning how to break this cycle. One of the ways I do this is through a simple technique we can call “the Polar Warrior Time Machine!”
So here’s what you do… pick a recurring problem in your life that primarily surfaces when you’re symptomatic. For example… Maybe you only go to the casino and spend money when you are manic. Maybe you only binge on junk food when you’re depressed. Maybe you’ve been working on sobriety, but you end up relapsing every time you have a mixed episode. For me personally, I kept breaking up with my partner in the early years of our relationship – every time I got depressed. A couple weeks later, we’d be back together and I’d feel horrible about the breakup. I’d promise and swear that I’d never let this happen again… Until it happened – again.
In a desperate attempt to try something new, I decided to grab my phone and make a video for my future “symptomatic self.” I wanted something I could watch when I’m not well to remind me of how I really feel when I’m not symptomatic. In the video I said things like “this will pass. You always always regret breaking up, so please don’t do this. I know how real it feels but the way you feel will change… Things like that. To my surprise – especially with how stubborn I can be, the video made a huge difference. I don’t have the best track record for listening to others when I’m symptomatic, but how could I deny what was being said when it comes from ME.
This technique can work in so many different situations and it doesn’t have to be video… You can just record audio, or write yourself a letter, but I think video is really the way to go. If you are struggling with substance abuse, make an encouragement video for yourself to watch when the cravings get strong. If you only hate your job when you aren’t feeling well, make a video reiterating how much you usually like what you do. If you only argue with a loved one when you are symptomatic, make a video telling yourself how important it is for the relationship to let it go. You can send whatever message you want in your “Polar Warrior time machine.”
I highly recommend making these videos when you are right-in-the-middle stable. You might be watching the video when you are at your absolute worst, so keep that in mind. If I’m all “puppies and rainbows” hypomanic and talking about how wonderful life is, that might not go over very well when I’m in a dark place. You probably want the video to be something kind, gentle, and down-to-earth.
Also, consider recording the video outdoors. When I’m depressed in bed, it feels better watching a video of me outside in the sun compared to sitting on my couch. If you record it inside, maybe turn on all the lights to keep the atmosphere bright and the energy light.
Another suggestion is to record new videos semi-regularly. If you watch the same video multiple times when you aren’t well, it might get old or lose its impact, so mix it up a little.
To get a completely different perspective, record a video when you are at your worst to remind yourself how important self-care is during a manic episode. You can tell yourself things like “The mania isn’t worth crashing… Please don’t go out late with friends and drink this time. Just wait a couple weeks before you buy that diamond encrusted fidget spinner.
Anyways – all that being said, I hope you found one of the techniques here useful and I always appreciate you watching my videos. If you aren’t able to join the Polar Warrior family on Patreon, you can still make a big difference by interacting with my channel… The more people like and comment, the more YouTube will show these videos to a larger audience, so thank you for helping me to help more people.”
Take good care and I’ll be back soon with more Polar Warrior videos. Stay well!
“I have so much regret from the choices I’ve made when I wasn’t well and I’m slowly learning how to break this cycle.”
WELCOME TO POLAR WARRIORS: If this is your first time visiting my website or channel, welcome to “the Polar Warrior experience!” My channel is completely dedicated to helping individuals, families, and friends who struggle with, or know someone living with Bipolar Disorder. My goal is to provide actual Bipolar tools and to discuss topics which can potentially help “Polar Warriors” grow to live a more balanced, peaceful, and fulfilling life.
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Hi Robert, thank you so much for sharing your story. I live with Bipolar Disorder Type 2.
I had a very rough week (depressive episode) and I ended up quitting my job. I don’t regret it because I felt it was the best choice for me at this time. But I hope I haven’t put extra financial strain on myself. Anyway, I stumbled across your YouTube channel the other night. I’m so grateful to you for having the courage to be honest and vulnerable with all of us. It makes me feel so much better knowing I’m not alone, especially in my darkest moments. You have helped me already – and for that I thank you. Looking forward to exploring more of your content and this community. Thank you again! From the bottom of my heart.