Family Secrets and the healing of bipolar disorder (or any psychotic process)

Sean from bipolarOrWakingUp has made another video. He is someone I call friend whom I deeply respect. I do not agree with everything he says, or maybe more precisely I would deliver a similar message in a different way. Ultimately I think what he is doing is right on, but I want people to know I cannot embrace all elements of how he chooses to express his understandings. However, the foundation of what he says is completely sound and I think it’s an important part of the discourse of healing naturally.

I suppose the biggest place we differ is that I think there are multitudes of ways to heal and a multitude of ways to understand the things he talks about and while I never think he’s wrong, I sometimes think he leaves out a lot of a much broader realm of possibility in healing and explanation about what is happening. This is a huge topic though, too, and no one can say all they think and believe in a short video.

The following is where we share our views completely. We are all traumatized in this world. And simple lack of unconditional love is traumatizing to a child and for some of us who are more sensitive it can be enough to make us have a mental health healing crisis. When you start dealing with the obvious traumas it’s easier to understand how children are damaged and abused in childhood, but what has to be understood is that virtually no one escapes abuse in our society today. One of the reasons Sean’s work is so important is because it recognizes that what get’s labeled sick or mentally ill is a natural response to the human condition, which is one of great imperfection.

I like that at the end of this video Sean points out that we must remember that our parents too were hurt and they were and very likely are still unconscious of how they hurt us. My response to that is that we can choose to become conscious and break this vicious cycle. This is where the hope for the future lies. The tragedy is that so many of us are being turned into zombies before we can heal and help transform this world.

All my work, like Sean’s, is in the hope that some of us will “wake-up.”

Thank you Sean, for participating in this work.

For Marian’s insightful commentary on this work click here.

12 thoughts on “Family Secrets and the healing of bipolar disorder (or any psychotic process)

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  1. I have the same problem with Sean I have with you Jane, you both speak as though your way is best…

    that is why I put a disclaimer…

    I don’t believe there is a best way and I certainly don’t believe one ends up stronger by doing it alone…though there is certainly nothing wrong with that IF that is how you’re wired…

    I’ve seen to many people do it different ways and I won’t judge the end product…

    I see flaws in all human beings recovered or not.

  2. I am kind of surprised at the ambivalence expressed towards this particular vid. I have misgivings and more disagreements on some of his other vids. This is his strongest most appealing video I’ve seen. I was very impressed at the depth and insight.

    I have some old sepia pictures of my great great grand parents and the look grim and worn down. Not like the hipster seniors these days that do yoga, eat well and go dancing on weekends. They looked battle scarred and mildly under nourished.

    It’s interesting too his pictures of the grim elders, if you go and look at the pictures of past US presidents you really see that difference. The presidents from the last 40 years all look soft. The first twenty presidents we had looked like warrior kings, some of them anyway. They are not smiling.

    In this video I found myself agreeing with most everything he said.

    Where I differ with him, and many other people as well is the requirement or advocation of supporting human contact. I am just wired differently I guess.

    It would be nice if you had the support of the most enlightened people when you were going through crisis. How many of us really had someone to lean on who was dialed into the Universe and knew what was going on?

    One of the things about having mental illness and having mental illness in the family over a long time is a distinct shortage of people you can trust or have faith in.

    In fact the closest family tends to be the source of the problem. You can go psycho in the arms of you parents (they were the abusers or enablers) and you can’t turn to your siblings because they are just as messed up as you or worse in some ways. There is no one in your family the has it together enough to grant you a safe space and emotional or even physical contact and support. It’s not even remotely imaginable.

    To add to that, if depending on your manifestation of mental illness you may be codependent on other people or they may just be your minions and you basically dominate them and they are in your orbit so to speak. When you have been sick for a long you don’t make good friends and the friends you make tend to be off in different ways too. They are suffering.

    You can have a huge family and tons of friends and be able to turn to none of them whatsoever. It’s even worse when you are the only one in your family actively raising your consciousness and trying to heal. The rest of your family is in denial or has not even started to recover. There is no one you can turn to who isn’t toxic in some way.

    That’s the kind of situation that I had. As pleasant as his ideas are that don’t fit into my reality or my experience. In the world I come from a safe, sane healthy family that you can turn to is a purely hypothetical proposition. One side of my family was utterly disfunctional while the other side was like what he talked about in his vid. When you moving out? When you going to college? When are you getting married? When are you going to start becoming an overachiever and do all those things we did?

    When you have no family and your friends can’t help you and you have no money to buy companionship, group therapy, hug sessions, whatever, what are you going to do? How are you going to heal?

    At that point you are on your own. It’s a less than ideal position and it’s hard. It’s sink or swim. You go into solitude for years and that can drive some people crazy. In order to survive solitude you have to fill that void with the light of your own unconditional love. You have to become the totality of the love of the family you don’t have.

    You have to give yourself the support you can’t get from your distant friends. In the end you either crack or you emerge a unified consciousness with no void that loves itself. Then you are complete and you did it without anyone else as a support pillar. You can stand on your own by yourself and be content.

    Those that can’t do that are at a disadvantage. Especially if a close loved one dies or they were stranded on an island or something. If your support consists of other people and suddenly you don’t have those people you are diminished and distressed.

    As hard as solitary healing sounds you end up with a stronger product so to speak that’s assuming you don’t go bat shit insane in the process. If you survive it inner strength becomes woven into your spirit. Having people around you will just augment your experience of life but not having people around you won’t diminish it.

  3. Hi Gianna,

    Congrats on the new job! I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been reading your work, ever grateful for it.

    I want to say that I admire Sean’s work. I subscribe to his site and watched it this morning, so I was relieved to see some ambivalence about this video when I read your blog. It is an oversimplification, so I hope people watch all of his videos, not just that one, even though he makes some very good points. I wish he added the family secrets and the family BIOLOGY, too.

    Mind if I go on? I need a place to write these things I’ve been thinking….

    You have to look at the psyche of your parents, but if you really want to have understanding, you can’t ignore the biology–especially those biological circumstances which affected YOUR biology! In other words, if you have your parents, you should ask them what life was like in the year before your birth to (in part) know about your own health and the health of the family. Grandma’s depression that kept her bedridden, Dad’s newly diagnosed Celiac disease which creates leaky gut and malabsorption, Aunt So and So’s dysthymia, etc…These are just some of the things I’ve learned about my own family.

    There is so much nutritionists, and docs have been learning about neurotransmitters lately, (and so much MORE to learn) that we need to look at those dynamics to understand ourselves. My mom was always sick–emotionally and physically and I carry some of her skin problems and nervousness like badges. She used cortisone cream on a daily basis to cope with lots of pain. But I became a nurse instead of a patient to counter all of the illness I saw. Take just her eight postpartum hospitalizations, for example. If you were born in the 50’s-80’s they kept moms drugged up in the hospital for about a week, while nurses bottle fed babies so mom’s could sleep…what a recipe for disaster from day 1 when a baby NEEDS it’s mother. Bonding disorders galore in our generation due to an institution we trusted. It wasn’t until the early 80’s that people came back to their senses and women fought for a natural childbirth experiences. Then we messed up a good thing again by adding all of those vaccinations, vitamin k, pku trauma, and more drugs for the mom’s! There’s more, but I don’t want to take up too much space…I just want to provoke thought and understanding and compassion for our mothers….

    Further, the in-utero experience of a baby before it is born, in my opinion, has a lot to do with those all important neurotransmitters and deserves ALOT more research into why so many of us are the way we are. I carried my son, for example, while my father died of cancer, and my mother-in-law died of cardiac arrest. I cried the entire pregnancy and I think it affected him. Working full time, should have been enough of a stressor–and I wouldn’t do it if I had understood this. I was an OB nurse at the time, and so I did everything by the book. (No smoking, ate right, blah, blah blah…) I believe that the climate of stress and high cortisol levels affected my child and created a very sensitive individual. (There’s that cortisol again–the master neurotransmitter–it has it’s place in mental and physical health!) He was born with an excessive number of mast cells–the ones that carry histamine…I believe it was his body’s response to the in-utero stress that caused his health problems today. I have seem only small amounts lately in the literature, about the before birth climate-I think it’s an area of research we need to explore. He has a bipolar diagnosis and it has not been easy….He’s the reason I read your site almost everyday. I am so grateful to you for sharing your story and your wisdom.

    He was traumatized,–there is always trauma with such illnesses, as everyone who reads your blog knows painfully well. Some of it was no one’s fault. I just wanted to share this with you because I think you understand that our sensitivities could be more than just family secrets–they are biological truths. I would encourage people to find out what was going on in the lives of their parents the year before they were born. It could be worth knowing. The compassion you gain for yourself by understanding your parents could help you heal. I think that is the same point that Sean was trying to make.

    Take care,

  4. This is powerful stuff, G.

    I do feel that my most important job is to raise a child who knows he is loved unconditionally.

    As a mother, I am doing all I can to counter the oppressive structures that would squelch my child’s spirit. It’s easier said than done and I realize that it starts with me continuing to face the layers of trauma and pain…otherwise how can I be any kind of example to him?

  5. NG,
    Sean has some awesome videos that are quite meaty…I have a post where I put his first 5 videos which comprises and hour long talk…


    his youtube channel is worth checking out as well…I’ve posted other stuff from him on this blog as well…

    He is doing fascinating work…and I really love it…I just can’t endorse everything he says.

  6. I found this video interesting, my family never tried to shut me up. I feel that they did listen and they wanted to help me.

    Well, I shouldn’t say “never” wanted me to be quiet. My relationship with my father wasn’t the best. But neither my mother or father ever really pushed the medication part on me in an effort to quiet me.

    I think Marian is on to something when she writes about consumerism and other problems of the world. If the truth I was speaking was bothering anyone, it wasn’t my mom and dad… was the outside world.

    I think my sibling and I felt a push to be successful from both parents. But I really had problems with this video. I was hoping for something a little more meaty.

  7. I agree…nothing is black and white…and I’ve put lots of Sean’s videos on here without any disclaimer because I didn’t feel I needed to…

    I’m not at all throwing the baby out with the bath water…no…

  8. It certainly can be a problem, and I can imagine both professionals and “the colonized” dismiss this very easily – somewhat more easily than for instance John Breeding’s talks on YT – as “unsubstantiated” psycho-spiritual babble.

    On the other hand, I just recently sent some high school YTers, who’d made a – lousy in regard to the “message” – 3-minute-vid on “schizophrenia” (school project… ) to go and watch Sean’s vids – besides sending them to the John Breeding-vids and Daniel Mackler’s – and I have a hope, that at least Sean’s – very entertaining – vids will make them want to investigate the non-mainstream view of crisis a little more in-depth.

    I mean, it’s often through the very simplistic, sensation-seeking mainstream media (YT included) that people get their “information”. And then the next thing you know is that they rush to see a shrink or to the ER for help, because they’re convinced, they or their “loved one” suffer from a medical condition. I somehow like, that Sean makes use of the very same tabloid-media’s effects to draw the average tabloid-reader’s/-watcher’s attention to information that – no matter how superficial it might be – is a lot more valuable than the mainstream-media’s.

  9. I choose blogging over vlogging exactly for this reason…I find trying to impart such ideas for the video crowd who only have a ten minute attention span a problem. For credibility’s sake I think our work must go deeper…

  10. I agree. Sean puts things in a rather “simplistic” way. Which, in my opinion, at the same time is his strength and his weakness. Nevertheless, I think, if he wants to reach a broader public, not just the “insiders”, he needs to be somewhat “simplistic”, or he’ll lose the attention of the broader audience.

    But you’re right. From an “insider-perspective”, his vids leave out a lot of details, that would be worth having a look at – for an “insider” at least.

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