Ken was diagnosed with bipolar disorder eight years ago. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by shifts in mood from periods of extremely high energy levels to strong depressive episodes. Additionally, Ken suffered from anxiety disorder. Anxiety symptoms included the constant presence of worry and mental disquiet. Acceptance of these conditions was one of the greatest tests of Ken’s life.
Ken’s days had been fraught with difficulty. At one point he took it upon himself to skip his medications, completely against the treatment plan of his psychiatrist. The result was that Ken suffered from a devastating psychotic break. Weight gain turned out to be a major side effect of his disorder: at one point he weighed 313 pounds.
Ken’s wise summary of this period: “denial happens!”
One year ago, Ken decided to try yoga. Ken is wholly drawn to the Yoga Tune Up® body, mind, and breath therapeutic and consciousness raising self care practices. Through the experience of deep relaxation and conscious sedation that I introduce in class, Ken created mental positive intentions, known as sankalpas, to inform and guide himself to healthy mental states and self acceptance.
With the support of his psychiatrist, Ken has learned to manage his bipolar disorder, and he is clear that he must continue the bipolar medication regimen to stay stable. At the same time using the self-care tool of yogic complete breath in everyday life, he manages his anxiety disorder. Ken has actually stopped a potentially devastating public anxiety attack!
Last month, Ken shared the wonderful news that his psychiatrist has given him permission to completely cease his anxiety medication. All of us face stress from everyday living. As Ken has demonstrated, these challenges can be managed with tools such as the audio CD Breathe In Bliss Out.