How I Healed My ‘Bipolar Disorder’

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When my sister took me to the emergency room of the psychiatric hospital in January of 2013, I was simply a mess. I had barely slept for weeks, having visions of an evil, black shadow hovering over me and telling me to kill myself. All of this made me so paranoid that I began slipping deeper and deeper into suicidal ideation, which scared everyone around me.

The previous three years had been very tough on me. I had been through a separation from my cheating husband, which left me to care for my two small children alone. A severe hand injury threatened my career as a portrait artist. In addition, I had also undergone the stress of moving cities with the family. It was like fighting a battle from all sides without a break, and the constant repression of my own needs so depleted me mentally and physically that I lost my balance.

I started having mood swings that made me feel like a different person from one day to the next. Some days I felt like I was on top of the world—invincible, without the need for sleep. Other days I was a complete failure without energy or motivation and experienced a paralyzing lack of hope. The abrupt swings from euphoria to dysphoria and back were tough on me as well as my family. As an artist, the hypomanic phases usually seemed great at first because I got a lot of projects done working through the night. However, once completed, I felt as if I were burnt to ashes.

Being a highly responsible ‘perfectionist,’ I still managed to function well as a mother, taking care of the house and children. But it became more and more of a struggle as I found that I could only cope with life by using my angry and aggressive side, which was huge. I found myself transformed into a very tense, high-strung person who was constantly agitated, pacing around the house and losing my temper over nothing. The only short period of relaxation I could find was through drinking wine. In the end, I could not even recognize myself.

At the hospital they gave me the diagnosis of ‘Bipolar Disorder II, type Rapid-Cycling.’ There I was, helpless and labeled as a mentally ill person. I was devastated.

My hospitalization was the beginning of a real odyssey of searching for the right medication to stabilize me, since I had strong reactions to the drugs they tried. Most of the medication either caused severe side effects (which were life-threatening on two occasions) or they made me feel dull, which I could not accept because I enjoy being an active person. So I was in and out of the hospital and day clinic for nine straight months. The drugs simply could not get a hold of my rapid cycling in a way that I could live with.

The depressions were strong, but once I regained my sleeping pattern, my determination to heal this ‘disorder’ became stronger. Being a born competitor and former Karate world champion, I was never going to give up this fight. I was desperate to get off the medication. I wanted to be in control of myself again; independent and capable. The label of Bipolar Disorder made me feel like I was seen as a crazy person who did not fit into society. I wanted my dignity back!

As the health system is quite good in Germany, I was able to experiment with a variety of different therapies such as CBT, art and occupational therapy, as well as several physical therapies. I found something inspiring in each therapy: the creative therapies helped me express my true nature better, and the educational group therapies helped improve my awareness about my issues. It was also the first time in my life that I was able to focus only on my inner self, not having to think of my family responsibilities. It gave me a break, eventually.

After my release from the hospital in December of 2013, my closest friend came across Sean Blackwell’s book Am I Bipolar Or Waking Up? and suggested I read it. This book certainly made it sound as if there was more to ‘Bipolar Disorder’ than it simply being a mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance.

The book was impossible for me to put down—I read it all the way through in one night and went into hypomania right away. I had finally found a plausible explanation for the cause of my breakdown! It seemed that the impact of major life changes had caused a ‘Spiritual Emergency’ which greatly contributed to the mess I was in.

I was so enthused that I went to Sean’s YouTube channel and watched all of his videos. For the first time, I saw light at the end of the tunnel—a hope that I could be med-free and healthy one day.

Since he was looking for translations of his videos, I started translating them into German. Shortly after that, I got in contact with Sean who told me of a healing retreat that he and his wife had created for people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Since he would be in Europe soon, it was THE opportunity for me. I wanted to heal, and was desperate to show everyone who doubted I would ever heal that I could beat it! I was convinced that this program was the missing piece of the puzzle for my healing. The therapies that I had tried so far had helped me function better again, but none of them could erase the underlying cause of my ‘disorder,’ which was mainly rooted in childhood trauma.

In November of 2014, I had a private, two-week retreat with Sean Blackwell at a house that I rented in the German countryside. My closest friend from the USA came to help support me through the program. The retreat was life-changing. It mostly involved using spiritual techniques that are known to release trauma, such as Vipassana meditation and Bipolar Breathwork (an offshoot of Dr. Stanislav Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork). Bipolar Breathwork is a form of voluntary over-breathing accompanied by special music, where the person breathes deeply and rapidly to get into a non-ordinary state of consciousness—this allows previously unprocessed subconscious material to become conscious and integrated. Through these techniques I was able to release many of my inner tensions, energy blockages and traumas.

The most significant breakthrough came during the fourth session of the breathwork. After three painful sessions, all of which seemed to bring up more traumatic material, everything came to a climax during one powerful session in which I accessed repressed thoughts and feelings related to my history of child abuse. Horrific memories surfaced that I had buried somewhere deep inside myself decades earlier. Not only were the memories and emotional pain excruciating, the huge release of physical energy was also quite tough to bear. I often found myself quivering as hot and cold sensations took turns surging through my entire body.

But by the next day I already felt much better. I felt as if a weight had lifted inside; I was peaceful and confident and ready to proceed with the work. Everyone with me could see a shiny new glow on my face.

During the following session, I felt that another big change was happening within me. I had my first enlightening experience in which I could feel cosmic oneness as well as a deep reconciliation with my past. I could forgive my abusive father, who had died 19 years earlier, for all the pain he had caused me as a child. It was as if a heavy curtain was drawn back from the window of my soul and I could see my true self in the light for the very first time.

Right after the retreat, I was able to get off my antipsychotic medication without having any side effects, which seemed like a miracle—in previous withdrawal attempts, I had experienced severe side effects with even the slightest change in dosage. With the antipsychotic out of the way, I tapered off the mood stabilizer more slowly, just to be on the safe side. However, in truth, by the end of the retreat I felt that the medication was not needed anymore as all of the tensions and traumas had been washed out of my body.

For the first time in my life I felt settled, calm and peaceful. The retreat helped me discover the ‘real me.’ I found my true values and strengths. The urge to put myself down all the time vanished completely, and I can appreciate myself now for just being me. This helps me get back my inner balance whenever it is challenged by life circumstances. Life has not become less demanding, but it cannot harm me as much anymore—and this makes all the difference.

After one year off medication, everyone involved in my healing process is confident that I will stay episode-free in the future. Still, just to be sure, I had another retreat with Sean last year. On this retreat even more unprocessed subconscious material was released, much of it related to birth trauma. This latest experience has brought me an even deeper sense of peace and relaxation than I had before.

The whole thing was such an incredible experience that I decided to share my story. I want to give hope and courage that there is a way to heal ourselves, we just have to find the right access to our own inner healer.

Being an artist, I created a film series of my seven breathwork experiences which can be watched on YouTube. I hope that by adding a visual element, I can give more insight into what is a very important inner process that cannot be seen by outside observers. I would like to encourage people diagnosed with ‘Bipolar Disorder’ to overcome their fears and doubts and believe in themselves. I know that healing is possible. We just have to be willing to do the hard work to get there.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Incredible Story!
    Thanks for sharing it, Moni!

    I´ve used similar techniques and also succeeded to come off the meds and improve a lot. I must admit though, that I´m far from considering myself to be “healed”. Phases still come, especially under and after (emotional) stress, though they are rarer and much less severe than in the past. Moreover, my work capacity still is considerably reduced. Didn´t know of Sean Blackwells book and Therapy yet. Although I don´t consider myself to be traumatized, I think, I´ll order the book. Won´t make me more stupid, I hope. As we say in German:)

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    • Thanks so much for taking your time to read my story and commenting on it. I’m so grateful for getting the chance here on MIA to share my story!
      It’s great to know that you could come off meds by similar techniques and improve your life. It was a long, tough journey for me, but using breathwork to clear out my traumas and blocked energies was the right fit for me and really changed my whole life, views and beliefs. I can only recommend to give it a try. I’m grateful for the whole experience that will help me when working with clients in the future once I’m a certified therapist.
      I hope you’ll enjoy reading Sean’s book, since you might have some ‘aha’-moments there like me. And as you are German, you might be also interested in my German youtube channel ‘BipolareSeele’, where you find very informative videos by Sean with German subtitles.
      I wish you all the best on your personal healing path. 🙂

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      • Moni, well done! I’m very happy for you. I had never heard of breathwork and will check out your videos. Your approach sounds intriguing. Is the bipolar breathwork specifically for that condition, or is it versatile enough to help others in psychological need, too? I will definitely look at it.

        I’ve had a fascination with trauma-based techniques for years, after I recovered from the trauma that once fueled my own severe depression. I used the works of Dr. John Sarno in my healing journey — your mention of the word “perfectionist” reminded me of his approach — but I don’t favor his approach over anyone else’s, or vice versa. The bottom line is that there are a number of very effective drug-free approaches to deal with trauma, but sadly, so few people who are suffering from emotional issues are ever told about them. The mental health care community simply refuses to believe that so many psychological issues are directly caused by trauma.

        The mental health care system is a mess: far too much drug dispensing, and misguided approaches to psychotherapy.

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        • Thank you for taking your time to give me your feedback. I’m so happy that my story seems to give hope.
          The Bipolar Breathwork is not only for people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder but for everyone suffering from life traumas and psychoses. It’s one working approach to clear out energy blockages that cause a lot of these ‘bipolar symptoms’. It worked for me and I would recommend to try it, but everyone should try the approach that feels like a ‘right fit’. That’s important for the healing. I went with my intuition and it was good I did.
          You are right about the current mainstream psychiatric system, and it will take a bit until things improve, but that’s why I chose to do an education as a an alternative psychotherapist now that I’m healed, because I would like to help make a difference. Thanks again and all the best for you!

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      • Moni,

        I love your videos on YouTube. I’ve been working with a psychotherapist for 5 years to heal my delusions, paranoia, dissociation and depression. All after a drug induced marijuana panic attack. I don’t think psychoanalysis targets trauma healing to its roots. It focuses on understanding dynamics and analysis and trauma definitely, but i feel like I’m not getting better. I recently started working with a somatic therapist which invoked a lot of breathwork, it’s called CRM, the Comprehensive Resource Model. Is Sean’s work based on the trauma stored in our bodies also? I want to do it, but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to tap into the deepest parts of my trauma or that I’ll have a breakdown afterwards.

        Is there an email I can reach you at? I’d love to discuss more about your healing if youre confortable with that.

        Thanks

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  2. Lovely Positive Story, Moni.

    I’ve heard before, about the holotropic breathing exercises from people that made full Recovery from Bi polar after being on lithium for years.

    I’ve practised the Buddhist Breathing observation exercises and they brought about a shift in me. What’s been around for thousands of years and costs very little, still works better than “medicine”!

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    • Thanks to you for reading and commenting. Breath contains all healing and there are several approaches on working with breath and I’m glad more and more people rediscover what already has been around since ancient times. We have to discover the inner healer in us. We can only heal ourselves. That’s so great about my experience with breathwork, I did everything on my own and Sean was just facilitating the healing process. That was key for my healing.
      Thanks again and I wish you all the best!

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  3. Thanks for taking your time for reading and commenting! 🙂
    This summer I had the chance to support two people who did a retreat with Sean and who were on lithium for years. After the retreat they both could get off medication and could feel a new balance they had never experienced before. They have back their lives and even in a better way! It’s amazing what energy work can heal!
    All the best for you 🙂

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  4. Wonderful story, Moni, very inspiring. I agree, energy healing is amazing, and it works on everything, because everything is energy. Whether individual issues or world chaos, at the core, it is all energy, as is each human being on the planet. When we learn to tap into this awareness and apply it, we discover our personal power on a whole new level.

    And best of all, it is available to EVERYBODY, equally. Energy is not limited, nor do we need to buy it. It is free, and can be accessed by anyone at any time. No discrimination there, nor politics. It is based on our individual and unique selves and journeys.

    Best wishes on your continued work in this area.

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    • Thanks for commenting; so true, we are all energy and surrounded by energy. It’s the challenge to deal with these energies so that they have benefits and don’t harm us. Everyone can heal themselves, because like you said, it’s available to everyone! But it’s not easy to find the access to the inner healer, so I’d like to encourage everyone to keep looking! 🙂

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      • I agree wholeheartedly that to find the inner healer is to find our higher selves, and along with that, our grounding, clarity, empowerment, and freedom–abundant well-being.

        I also went from “bipolar” diagnosed, lived with that for about 20 years, and then redirected my thoughts and shifted my beliefs around this, from my own lived experience and what was happening to my health and my life as a result of trusting that “DSM-psych drugs path,” as it was all I knew, only to realize years later that this was an illusion, at least in my case it was.

        Very long story which I’ve shared often over the years in a variety of ways publically, but in the end, integration and healing was possible only by way of working with energy, including family healing, which is at the core of my story, along with withdrawing from tons of psych drugs, and healing from all that, as well, learning and applying the principles of energy.

        Studying and applying a variety of perspectives led to all sorts of new discoveries in healing and other things, far and away from anything I had learned in psychology or anything else up to that time, it was a whole new world. Although family systems work is part of my story as well, so that was helpful to learn and apply.

        So yes, in the end, I also believe that we are our own healers, guides, and gurus. We can only guide ourselves to how we want to address the diverse energies which abound around us. I think that’s where things become so individual, and we simply gravitate to that which we prefer, while separating from that which makes us feel bad. That’s how I do it, in any event, guides me perfectly.

        So much to learn and explore here, I think this is a new age of healing. I see it all over the internet, and it makes perfect sense to me when I apply it and see the results for myself. We have so much more power over our reality than we think, and I believe now of all times would be a good time for people to awaken to this.

        Thank you so much for sharing this information. Personally, I think it’s revolutionary, and much needed right now, this new perspective. All the best.

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          • Hi Fiachra, oh that money thing is an issue in so many ways. Lots to say about this tricky topic.

            Mostly, your post makes me think about how much money I have saved our government by eschewing their services years ago, and doing it my way—which is considered too out there for the mainstream, so why fund it?

            Had I stayed with that “mental health” lifetime of services they seemed to insist upon for me, from this illusion of a “chronic disorder” and toxic pez meds they were feeding me at the time (sorry, I don’t mean to offend anyone who is helped by this, but this is exactly how it felt to me in my experience, and for me it was the exact truth, so this applies to me and others who I know feel the same way), I’d be costing the taxpayers more than I can imagine. The cost of all those psych drugs alone would have trickled all over the place, ultimately to taxpayers, not to mention from frequent Dr. visits of all kinds, including psychiatrist et al, as had been the case for years, until I woke up to the fact they were keeping me hooked on the system and chronic “mental health care,” and how they were doing it–rather insidiously.

            I’ve had none of this for the past 10+ years, thanks only to the energy healing work I did, and all that I learned that guided me away from anything mainstream health (and my dad was a physician, so that took some neural re-programming, too, that had been my world) along with the family healing and spiritual work, etc.

            The system’s way for me would have been so costly for everyone concerned, only suffering for me, total grief for my partner, and no end in sight, until I passed. My way, which they shun, has cost them absolutely nothing, and I’m fit as a fiddle and enjoying a good life, finally. Figure that one out! THAT’S what I’d call a sick society, and not terribly competent, to say the least. It ain’t me, babe.

            I don’t want to sway too far off topic or from this story, but I do see economics addressed in this discussion, and I think healing and money are often a core issue. Much is held in that equation, and people have all kinds of perspectives to offer. At this point, I think the more perspectives we hear the better. Obviously, our current global economy situation is not working for at least most people, so I believe we need a shift in perspective here and it’s a complex issue, not black & white, especially when it comes to healing.

            I think a lot of healers these days are trying to figure out what feels most comfortable for them, we experiment. Overall, I believe the world is seeking a new economic system, as the current one has failed us miserably. Knowing about energy makes a big difference here, it can be applied.

            Just to add—personally, I believe trained healers have every right to charge what they feel is fair to them and reasonable for a client. This is hard work, and takes focus and energy. I offer guarantee–no results, don’t pay. But that’s never happened, in 12 years of practice.

            It’s totally reasonable to expect something in return for services rendered. Why not? I’ve known people to scoff at this notion, so I felt compelled to express this.

            Given that I went through the disability system after graduate school, and money became a dire issue in my story (the system drained me financially, as it does to anyone, while ruining my health, go figure), I run my practice in all sorts of ways, financially, creatively mostly. My intention is to not make it about money, but more about fair exchange of energy, which can mean a lot of things. My practice is based specifically on healing through creativity, so this becomes part of all that. The healing is what matters the most, obviously, that’s always my priority.

            Although indeed, the practical side of life calls, so I consider this a flexible area, ongoing, depending on what best fits the situation. With each client or group contract we see what is doable for them and reasonably fair for me, although I usually wind up on the short end, which is totally fine. I love my work so much that it’s always just a pleasure to do it, and the energy work I do answers to the money thing, and compensates. Part of the fun of working with energy 🙂

            Didn’t intend to be so vocal here but a lot from this blog speaks to me and my experience, and I’ve enjoyed this blog and discussion, so thank you again, Moni . I think these are ground breaking issues to explore. I think the concept of what is truly and authentically “healing” is changing in our society, thank God! We’re seeing way more of what is possible now, and that’s a really good thing.

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  5. Interestingly, many practitioners are saying that chronic PTSD is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, because the symptoms are remarkably similar, particularly when trauma is triggered by later events. It’s one of the most under-diagnosed mental illnesses, and treatments for it don’t come in pills. It sounds like this was the case for you.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Moni, mine is remarkably similar. I am also an artist who was diagnosed as “bipolar” by psychiatrists who like to deny and profit from ignoring child abuse concerns. My artwork has many of the same images as yours, lots of eyes, and I experienced the feeling of being one with the universe and God so I, too, dealt with a spiritual journey, rather than mental illness. The energy I felt while in recovery was amazing, others even claimed to feel it too, and my healing journey was staggeringly serendipitous. I’m glad you were also able to escape the label, I was quite pleased when a doctor finally took the “bipolar” off my records, too. A quick question, were you on an antidepressant prior to the “bipolar” diagnosis? Congrats to Shaun, too, I know he’s really happy he was able to help you heal. Best wishes, and I love your artwork.

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    • Thanks a lot for your inspiring feedback. It’s so good to hear you could get rid of the label, those labels really add so much to the suffering!!!
      I was not on meds before I was diagnosed, but I had a spiritual awakening prior to it.
      I’m glad you liked my videos and art, I feel blessed to have art to express my true nature.
      Thanks again and best wishes to you too!

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      • I agree, having creative outlets greatly helped me survive the psychiatric defamation and torture, too. It was a query regarding a spiritual dream, actually blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by a supposed “Christian” psychologist according to her medical records, that resulted in my “bipolar” misdiagnosis as well. Then I completed my spiritual awakening once I was weaned off the drugs. But as mentioned, that was quite an exhilarating experience, rather than a bad one, as the psychiatric community deludes itself into believing.

        I do agree, the psychiatric labels do add so much to the suffering, including problems like not being able to get health insurance for oneself and one’s children, that was a hassle. But I was glad I was able to finally find a doctor who was intelligent enough to comprehend that the common symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, which were initially misdiagnosed as “bipolar” in my case, is specifically excluded in the DSM-IV-TR from being a proper “bipolar” diagnosis. And my psychiatrist didn’t know how to do anything but create anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning with various “bipolar” drug cocktails, according to the drug interaction reports of the drugs he prescribed, and anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning is not “bipolar” either. It was amazing how many doctors it took for me to finally find a doctor intelligent enough to understand this, and take the “bipolar” defamation off my medical records, however. The white wall of silence is really shameful, as are too many within today’s US medical community, like this now FBI convicted psychopath that I was medically unnecessarily shipped to and “snowed” by:

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-sacred-heart-hospital-verdict-met-20160304-story.html

        Glad Germany’s medical industry is much better than our criminal US medical industry. Hopefully, Trump will bring back the rule of law in the US.

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  7. Very interesting article. I’m also an American living in Germany. Since living here, I’ve had my second diagnosis for bi-polar 1, rapid-cycling. I didn’t believe the first diagnosis 21 years ago, and it took time to accept this latest one. Off-and-on meds for so long … many didn’t help … many had terrible side effects. At the moment, I don’t take any meds. Needless to say, I am suffering greatly as the illness is getting worse with the passing years. Talking to (or even locating a doctor) is EXTREMELY difficult. My German isn’t so bad, but when it comes to this illness, I can’t articulate what must be said, in the German language. Plus, I live “am Arsch der Welt,” and finding the right doctor is proving to be a problm. I’m going to research this method of healing further. I am a firm believer in not stuffing my body with medication anymore. As I said, it has never helped, and the entire process is a complete nightmare. I really hope to find relief soon.

    I wish you continued success! 🙂

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    • Thank you for writing and I feel bad for you, since it is so difficult for you. Are you interested in contacting me privately, especially because you live in Germany, we might be able to exchange experiences? You can contact me via my website or youtube channel, if you want to. 🙂
      I wish you all the best!

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  8. Well, Sean Blackwell has been trying to promote this single “success” story for a while on various channels, I’m surprised to finally see it published on MIA and not marked as an advertisement. There are other clients of his who have undergone the same expensive (they are not even allowed to reveal the cost) retreat procedure and the results are rather disappointing. It seems such conmen are just the other side of the same coin. If you think the mainstream psychiatry is based on a very bad science, please think about what this holobreath/lukgroff/prevatt cultish mashup is based on.

    With that said, I can’t agree more with the comment made above: “What’s been around for thousands of years and costs very little, still works better than “medicine”!”

    Moni, wish you a very good luck. I myself have turned away from all this more than four years ago after a rather long encounter and I never looked back.

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    • Hi Marek,

      Why do point out the word “success” like that? It seems that you’re skeptical about the story, in my opinion the word success is little bit too light (soft) for this story.. You’d better call it a life-changing and mind-blowing story, because this woman Moni definitely had a huge switch in her life, made possible because of Sean Blackwell’s approach. I can say this because I worked with the two of them, this September, as a client.

      Why are you surprised that this is not marked as an advertisement? This story is personal, honest and not even focused at all on advertising for Sean Blackwell. Maybe it’s advertising for the possibilities that can be generated by breathing, but then you can say almost every article is an advertisement. Sean doesn’t picture himself as a guru or a guy with special powers, he just creates the atmosphere and let it happen.

      And about the money thing, I found out about bipolarawakenings 2 years ago, had several FREE conversations with Sean on skype, so he could hear my story. In these conversations I was talking to warm-hearted person who takes all the time in the world to listen and talk with you. The information Sean’s representing helped me a lot to connect all the missing dots of my vague and blurry experiences/memories. It gave me hope.
      Of course the retreat costs money, but he’s totally open about it. You can download all his PDF’s, watch his videos and read his book… for free! And other than that, I followed a 10 day retreat program (which costed my less than 3000 euros) where he was very flexible, because normally it’s a 14 day thing. These 10 days made such an huge positive influence on me, when you’d compare that with mainstream psychiatry.. in 10 days I had my life back, I went of lithium.. Whilst 2,5 years of experiences in psychiatry made me confused and zombyfied, empty and nowhere near the person I am today.
      3000 euros is something yes, but the focus is all on you during a retreat, in a private setting. I’m not even going to start about the cash/h rate a psychologist asks or one bed/day in a psych ward costs. 3000 euros to get your life back, or maybe even a new life, sounds like a fair deal to me. Staying in the mental health system will eventually get you (emotional) bankrupt.
      More success stories (online) will definitely follow, but it’s not that easy to get the opportunity and be able to share a story like this (like Moni did). Most people are still busy with integration and not that outgoing to share it. If I’ll be given the chance to share my story I will grab it with both of my hands, and you can ask me anything if you want.
      Anyways I just think some parts of your comment are misplaced, I’d hope that I could give you a new perspective about it.
      One last thing: what did you turn away from? From the mainstream psychiatry or breathwork/”cultish mashup”? And how is it working out for you that you’re never looking back?

      Greetings,
      Tim

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      • Dear Tim,
        Unfortunately the beast is much more sophisticated than the bad newageism presented in Sean’s and Moni’s videos. I’ve been meds free for 5 years after my encounter with Sean’s videos (I too did some subtitling). Then relapsed, now I’ve been meds free again for 2 years.
        To me, say, Sean does to understanding bipolar what Moji does to understanding non-duality. A great misguidiance.
        Take a very good care of yourself and let’s hope you don’t miss the €3k next time you’re down there.
        I wish you (and others) could hear it. Peace.

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      • Thank you for your support Tim,
        I’m a little surprised that MarekT could be so disappointed with the results of my healing retreat, considering that he has never been a client of mine. He is also in no position to know about the retreat results as he knows only one of my clients, who is actually quite happy with her long-term outcome and plans to work with me again. For 2016, I charge $300/day, information which is plainly available in the Bipolar Awakenings Retreat PDF, which can be downloaded on my website. While the total cost of a ten day retreat may be significant, I’m earning less per day than a psychiatrist makes in an hour. My book and videos are all available for free. I hope this clarifies any doubts readers may have about my work.

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        • Hi Sean,
          I’m glad you’ve recently changed the policy of being secretive about the cost to state it publicly, it surely makes it easier for you and consequently for anybody else involved, and your venture now fits the common pattern.
          On your comparision with professional rates, I agree. But then you have no publicly recognized education, hundereds of hours of field training and most importantly supervision, so I think it evens out.
          Best
          Marek

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          • Fees have always been transparent. I’ve also recently complete my certification as a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator with Grof Transpersonal Training, and they have recommended my retreat for people who are not suited to the holotropic breathwork format. I’ve been supporting people in anomalous states since 2007, helping them work through their processes in the peer-oriented style of Loren Mosher’s Soteria House.

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    • Thanks for taking your time to read my story. I would like to say that I’m not the only success story of Sean’s, but I’m one of the very few people that go public with such a sensitive and personal story. I spoke to a lot of people and they thought, I’d be courageous to expose myself like this. But my healing was so personal to me and such a life changer that I had the deep wish in me to encourage people, who are told that bipolar disorder can’t be healed and have to be medicated for life, to keep looking for activating the self healing potential.
      I found it so important to explain the healing process of mine that I put a lot of energy in artistic videos telling about it. It makes me happy every day that people write to me and say that the art helped them to get an idea of what it was like and feel inspired and encouraged. That’s all worth sharing it on such a great platform like MIA.
      And I don’t know where you get this idea from about clients not being allowed to talk about retreat prices, all info is available to the public as a pdf on Sean’s website. I paid 3000€ for my first retreat that healed and changed my life ending my horrible suffering! Believe me, it was all worth it for me!
      Good luck to you for your own path and thanks for the good wishes.

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      • Hi Moni,
        I absolutely hear how life changing this has been for you and you’ve done a very brave thing sharing this openly. I’m also very happy for your current wellbeing.

        I must say (jokingly) that I totally admire your face morphing skills http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxY4XG48sEE&t=2m0s ( 😉 cheeky subconsciousness)

        This is perhaps something you may only return to much latter on or never, but for instance the article “A Critique of Stanislav Grof and Holotropic Breathwork” by Morten Tolboll very accurately describes the problems I’m having with this whole breathwork circus (http://mortentolboll.weebly.com/a-critique-of-stanislav-grof-and-holotropic-breathwork.html).

        Take care
        Marek

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        • Hi Marek,

          nice that you like my art. 😉
          I read the article about Grof’s work and I have the impression that this guy never had a breathwork experience in his life. I cannot agree with some things he says because of what I experienced myself and in the work with others. However, I’m not here to convince you or others of the healing potential of breathwork, all I intended was to share a true story that gives hope and inspiration to those who seek some.
          It would be nice, if you didn’t condemn something that has worked for many people in a beneficial way. Hope that you’ll find your peace one day, wishing you the best of luck! 🙂

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          • The heavy use of the word ‘experience’. Where have I read about that ?

            Thank you for the good wishes. As someone who comes from Grof’s motherland, where the local Diabasis has been using Maitri Breathwork for more than two decades with the only tangible result being that they now believe an Angel has spoken to them and wants them to save/wake the planet through their sponsored Order, I might not be particularly lucky, but at least I’ve mastered the art of discrimination.

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    • Dear Marek,

      Hope you’ve not forgotten about me. Remember I translated all of Sean Blackwell’s work into Romanian and you gave me your support in this work for the first videos?

      I also did two healing retreats with Sean.

      Probably, I should have shared with you my results as well after these retreats.

      I am off meds for more than a year now. No signs of mania or hypomania since then. I run my own business and this year it turned profitable. I lost 32 pounds and got back in shape. In short: I GOT MY LIFE BACK!

      And think of where Sean Blackwell actually started with me: I was hospitalised 10 times, 10 years in a row, each time on heavy meds and with severe episodes of mania that lasted 2 months almost everytime even under heavy medication. I already lost 5 jobs and was unemployed for over a year. My life had no meaning whatsoever anymore and I was on the brink of commiting suicide. This was the moment I found Sean Blackwell’s work online and this was my salvation!

      Were the healing retreats expensive? Well, I think the right question is: were they worth it? Well, what do you think? I will repeat myself: I GOT MY LIFE BACK. So yes, the two retreats with Sean Blackwell are priceless. I can’t measure in money their worth to me.

      Hope I was able to change a bit your perspective on Sean’s work.

      All the best.

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      • Hi HFB,
        I’m very happy you are doing better, I have of course noticed on FB that you do.
        My recollection of the events sequence varies from yours slightly but never mind, I’m very glad your life is back on track now.

        Best
        Marek

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  9. Some of us need meds, in the end. I’m bipolar 1 and have been hospitalized while off the meds. Not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but the illness, and it’s various treatments, don’t fit into a nice box. I’m truly happy that some of us are able to live med free, but that doesn’t mean it’s a solution for all of us.

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    • Thanks for giving your insights here. It’s true, there is never one solution for everybody and therefore we all need to try finding one that is the right fit for us. I was so very unhappy with the medication that I swore to myself that I would not stop searching for a way of healing myself instead of accepting my meds as the final solution. I’m very grateful that I found my right fit.
      I wish you all the best!

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  10. Hi Bunn. I totally get what you’re saying. I truly wish they (meds) worked for me. It’s such a nightmare. In 22 years, nothing has helped (so far). Or, if they help even slightly, I am left with horrible side-effects. I’m getting tired of this. Even the thought of seeing yet another Psych doctor fills me with dread. I am sure that I too, will end up back in the hospital soon. It gets worse and worse. When I read this article, it brought me a bit of hope … maybe it is something, maybe not. Heck, maybe it isn’t even an affordable option. I must research more. You’re absolutely right, there is definitely NOT a one-size-fits-all solution.

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    • Hi Casey, I’m sorry you’re stuck in such a difficult situation. I would recommend looking into body energy related work, which helps a lot with blockages that lead to tensions and inner issues like people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder most often face. My experience was that talk therapy and medication helped a bit to function better, but it didn’t resolve the roots of the problems. Please, don’t give up looking for alternative solutions. Wishing you all the best of luck!!!

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  11. Hey, Casey. Yes, it’s a horrible illness. Don’t give up hope, meds or no meds. I’ve tried to keep myself at the lowest doses possible in order to keep functioning. I have a doctor who listens to me when I tell her I’m not going to take high doses…I refuse and, yes, sometimes pay the price. Hang in there. Try meditation and cutting down on stress. It helps. Be good to yourself. You’ll make it!!!!!

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  12. Hi Folks,

    I think this is a very interesting exchange.

    I had two problems after I stopped strong meds – melancholy and anxiety. Meditation and philosophy definitely worked for my melancholy. But I needed a bit of psychology and trial and error also for the anxiety (and I was lucky as well).

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  13. Moni,
    Well done for finding your own way and not accepting wholesale the disease model conceptualizations of psychiatry. It’s hard to do that in a world where it seems like the majority of people and institutions are forcing the “you have a brain disease” model down your throat. I had the same struggle. But for me, as I found alternatives that worked, I became ever more sure that “schizophrenia” and “bipolar” experiences were not incurable brain disorders, not chemical imbalances, but were understandable, human, and heal-able problems.

    It’s cool that you had athletic success that gave you some confidence that you could beat this. Do you know Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, the MMA fighter and karate black belt? I really like him.

    I myself was an advanced tennis player even before I began to have severe emotional problems, and being in and around the game, even during some of the worst times, really helped me to get better.

    Breathwork to help with emotional issues has a long history too; I wonder if you know about it. Wilhelm Reich (Character Analysis) and Alexander Lowen (Bioenergetics) are too of the early writers who analyzed muscular blocks and constrictions of breathing in different types of serious emotional problems.

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    • Thanks for taking your time to read and comment. It was so wonderful to read about another healing experience of a person. 🙂
      I heard about Thompson and I assume that it helps being a competitive person when it comes to determination. It was this trait and the ‘never give up’- stance that helped me find the right healing method. I had so many backlashes, but in the end determination and persistence led to my healing success.
      I know a bit about Reich and Lowen, since they are part of my therpapist education. 😉 It’s really interesting and learning about all these things is enriching my life every day. From today’s perspective I’m grateful for my whole experience, although I don’t wish anyone the pain and struggle I had to go through.

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  14. One less person trapped in the psychiatric system . . .and one more crack in psychiatry’s glass ceiling. Thank God Ms. Kettler got out of psychiatry before it damaged her life over the long-term. I only wish I had the skill to hack into the APA’s and NAMI’s websites and post this article on all of those sites’ webpages! LOL! Moni’s arricle is just that good!!! By explaining how excessive stress can bust the psyches of even the most capable people, it PROVES that Madness is socially created. Bless you for sharing your story with us, Moni.

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    • Thanks so much, I got a good laugh out of this. What a pity that you have no hacking skills. 😉 Lol.
      It’s wonderful to get so much positive feedback from sharing my story. I do hope, more and more people get out of the mainstream psychiatry trap! It would be even better, if one day mainstream psychiatry means healing people with more effective methods than just what they see as helpful today. That’s why I’m doing an education as an alternative therapist, I would like to help make a difference in my environment. It’s just a little drop, but we have to start somewhere. 🙂

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  15. Moni, I’m glad to know that things are going better for you now. But there is no such thing as Bipolar Disorder or Mental Illness, there is only an industry of Psychotherapists and Psychiatrists who have been able to convince the public otherwise. The concept of mental illness is just a way of delegitimating people.

    The right place to ground our own experiences is in political and legal action, undertaken with a network of comrades. This is the only way that wrongs can ever be redressed.

    A therapist is not this network of comrades. A therapist may hold similar sentiments, but a therapist is a therapist because they are committed to the view that problems and their solutions reside inside of someone’s own head.

    Nomadic

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    • Nomadic, we should always go for what our heart tells us, my heart tells me to go the path of an alternative psychotherapist, I’m learning plenty of methods now that deal with helping a person to find their own way of healing and I think, my own experience will help me with it. I wish you all the best and thanks for leaving me a comment. 🙂

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  16. I was misdiagnosed Bipolar II in 2008 – though I failed the S.C.I.D. for this disorder in Spring 2012 – the only time any psychiatrist ever used any kind of “objective” diagnostic tool for any diagnosis in a 20-year period.

    Though I never had a “psychotic” experience, I believe my “bipolar” symptoms were related to a serious anxiety disorder compounded by 20 years on benzos, antidepressants and sleeping pills, which crippled my nervous system. Instead of recognizing that the medications caused the symptoms to worsen, my psychiatrist at the time simply diagnosed me with a worse “underlying condition” and placed on even more medications. When I questioned how can you tell the difference between the cure and the disease with this many medications, all the possible side effects and interactions…Wow! Did I get a lecture? I sure did. How dare you imply that I don’t know what I am talking about!

    He was incredulous and insulted. As it turns out, he had no idea what he was talking about, but I did not have the expertise or information to fight back at the time. After I was disabled, I took some online courses in the interpretation of clinical research data and bio-statistics, and performed my personal clinical literature view on this topic.

    The jury is in, folks.

    Brain-scanning technologies – despite their flaws – consistently demonstrate meditation improves and strengthen areas of brain previously thought inconceivable, including the amygdala, the prefontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex (Zeidan et al. 2013).

    Though some might counter that these benefits imply that people who meditate embrace healthier lifestyles in general, the evidence suggests there is so much more to it. In prospective studies, meditation apparently has induced neuorgenesis in regions of the brain previously considered impossible, within an eight-week period (Lazar et al. 2011).

    Below, I have provided a link to one article about one study on the Harvard Medical School website. I also suggest that you try pubmed.gov and type in the key words “meditation and neuroplasticity” – there are currently 45 hits from all over the world, covering a range of methodologies and examining the benefits of different meditative practices.

    http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

    As I unraveled my relationship with psychiatry, at the same time I lost my father to a violent and delusional battle with dementia – I started to absorb and write about all the information from psychiatry and medications to the neurosciences and even contemporary theories about human consciousnesses, including quantum physics.

    The more esoteric theories about the mind led me to take the course in Transcendental Meditation (TM) two years ago, which brought me full circle to prayer and deep relationship with the divine. I meditate now an hour a day (plus I exercise five days a week, combined with nutrition, water and good supplements). I have found it so much easier to taper from multiple medications than my peers in the same situations.

    My former practitioner had prescribed me 20 milligrams (four times the FDA maximum) of zolipidem. But I was able to stop taking it in less than three months. I was deeply concerned, given the horror stories I had read online. Now I am down to ten milligrams of Valium a day and counting….then I am done.

    It’s great to read a personal testimony from someone who has been through a similar experience and healed by adopting a commitment to meditation. I believe it’s part of an integrated, holistic approach (after all your brain cannot focus or function much less recover without proper hydration) Its way past time that we brought meditation out the shadows. I gives me such a deep sense of peace.

    I cannot imagine my day without it.

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  17. Hi Moni, thank you for sharing your recovery story.
    It is my belief that at least for bipolar mania – one of the diagnoze I have, it cannot be found a cure or a true medical treatment without our own understanding of what is considered abnormal and without our agreement and active participation.
    It is hope generating your shared experience and also a guarantee that the retreats you explored and support are a valuable alternative.
    I am not initiated in retreats and I have no idea of what it means what I be quoted below and how is happening.
    “On this retreat even more unprocessed subconscious material was released, much of it related to birth trauma.”
    Could you please offer more details? Which is the process in practice? How can this be accessed? By who?

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  18. Hi HFB.
    Please be so kind and share where the materials in Ro can be found.
    I am from Ro and had bad experiences with the system of drugging with prescriptions.
    I would like to inform myself about alternatives of healing bipolar symptoms, specially of mania.
    I almost cry when I read about other people gained the battle with current health system, thinking I was and maybe still am blinde and with no support of trying alternatives.
    Anyhow, I do believe that what works for one it does not necessary work for others due to the multitude of possible mix of symptoms. Also, unfortunately, the psychiatrists say that episods can occur even after 10-15 years so 1 year or 4 of freedom from “medications” is not a scientific or statistical evidence. Please correct me if I am wrong. It is just I am desperate to find a solution knowing that psyhotrop treatment is not acceptable for me, at least not for long term. It is abnormal how the so called meds are creating dependence and it is harder and harder to discontinue them. Not to mention the weight gain as it is too painful for me.

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  19. Hi Bunn. If you want, please share what you mean when you say you payed a price for taking lower doses of prescribed drugs.
    One of the psyhiatrists I have visited sugessted that I will end with dementia if not taking drugs as prescribed. This sounds so manipulative.
    I am suffering because no one explains me what is so abnormal with me, because I do not understand why I am manipulated and lied by the ones stating they love me and why no one seeks alternatives with me even if the risk for relapse would be real.
    Energy healing is to explore for sure. I consider some events in my life traumas. I would like to find ways to forgive forever and not to suffer so much in the future no matter what.

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  20. Hi Moni

    Thanks so much for sharing your story – it is incredibly inspiring. I wonder if you could help me with my initiative as to how to reach out to more people?

    I am developing a storytelling and mental health platform with the ultimate aim of curating a museum exhibition. Soul relics Museum is a platform for people to read and tell stories of mental health through objects that help them connect or express to a present or past experience they have had with their mental health. The object can be anything personal to something in the system. It’s a unique and creative idea to help people come forward and share with others what mental health problems have been like for them and a safe and constructive way to read of others experiences while being brave enough to share your own. Together, we can create a collective voice in raising awareness and education on mental health!
    All you need to do to help is to take a look (http://soulrelicsmuseum.me ) and write a short personal story (http://soulrelicsmuseum.me/Contribute.html)!
    If you agree with the initiative, I would be super grateful if you could help me promote it (eg. share on social media and contribute to the discussion) as me as an individual can only do so little in unifying people’s voices.
    Let me know if you have any thoughts!

    With Solidarity,
    Van

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  21. Good Morning Moni,
    I live in Greece where unfortunately the crisis is driving everybody a bit more mad than they would be in a usual state.
    I just realised that my partner is having a bipolar disorder, and thankfully his analyst, who is also a psychiatrist, recently put him into meds after seing that he enters into a mania phase.
    I happen to be a yoga therapist and a yoga healer, and I heal a lot of people, included my self, through the intense practice of yoga, with a special care on breath work and relaxation. I came into your article here by researching on the alternative cures of the disorder, that I believe are the deeper ones. I am very interested in the breath work, as I use myself every day for myself and my yoga students a lot of breath and can see the deep healing effects of breath.In yoga, we do not believe in “labels”, but we think that all imbalance can be somehow minimised by the regular rhythmic and deep practice.
    Unfortunately my partner is not practicing yoga with me, and has hardly time for it (being a liberal profession in Greece with the high taxes makes everything much harder) but I believe I could convince him to start a practice with me. I am very worried and also very keen to help and I feel i can help him, and also, as you surely know, the loved ones are the first ones to suffer from this condition.
    I must say I went to the site of the person who healed you, and the prices are, for us who live under the heavy crisis, way to much for us (I imagine that if a one hour of a skype session is 100 euros, the real cure would mean spending 1000s of euros which we can’t afford as we are already at the very hedge of things financially). I was wondering if I can get some tips, though, as I am already a practitioner, in order to help the person I love, and who deserves better than the actual misery we live with.
    (Have you heard of Kapalabhati breath ? It sounds like the breathing exercise you did is very similar to this breath we use in yoga. )
    My deep Regards, and my admiration for all the way you’ve walked till now.

    Laya

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