Copyright © New Therapist
TW: Would it not be best to surround oneself with “normal” people who can act as a reality check on our delusional thinking?
What I am suggesting is far more dangerous than brainstorming crazy ideas. I am talking about actually facing our experiences instead of avoiding them. The common fear is that we are too weak to handle it and will kill ourselves. I believe the opposite to be the truth. By not understanding depression, we never develop the ability to endure it and are at great risk when the inevitable depression comes again. Don’t misunderstand me. Depression is a very dangerous and deadly condition. All the understanding in the world may still end up useless at some point, but has anyone ever compared the risk factors between people who have been professionally trained to understand it versus those who only avoid it? Ask me in a year or so and I will have some University-sponsored studies for you from our pilot. My own personal experience is that the extreme pain of deep depression does not go away. When we understand it, it does not affect us the same any more. My last depression was exquisitely painful, yet I found it rich and profound instead of something I previously thought as unbearable. “The Depression Advantage” covers this in great detail. I am talking about a fundamental shift in the way we see our experiences. “It is not the hardships we face that matter, it is what we become as a result of facing them.”
NT: Others might argue that you are commercialising emotional problems and exploiting the emotional distress of sufferers. They might cynically suggest that the next in the series is something like “The Eating Disorders Advantage” or “The Obsessive-Compulsive Advantage.” How might you respond to this?
TW: There are tremendous advantages to those who master obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Might even be enough to write a whole book about. Eating disorders on the other hand... I guess that is a book for someone else to write :-)
I have thought long and hard about whether I should continue to give free workshops as I had for the first several years and determined that I cannot reach as many people if I don’t make it a viable business that generates the funds to effectively market the message. Our company is providing income for three full-time people who share my bipolar condition and we intend to provide jobs for many more. More importantly, the whole project has gotten me to change myself into a better person. In the final analysis, if we want to make the world a better place, the first place to start is with ourselves. If running a commercial enterprise keeps me on a path of growth and encourages others to do the same, then perhaps we should be targeting cynical thoughts and comments to those that are truly exploiting the world for no higher purpose than greed.