I’ve made no secret of the the struggles I’ve faced over the years caused by my drive and will to succeed. I’ve come to realize that much of it was caused by expert’s flawed advice and biased or ill-founded wisdom.

For instance, the practice of goal setting is unquestioned. I didn’t question it for many years as I was struggling to come to terms with my demons. Eventually, I realised that conventional goal setting is a very dangerous. Conventional wisdom will have us set BIG, audacious goals, impossible to achieve goals that simply set us up for a fall.

After realizing this I set up my own system based on the principle of progression and reward and now things are very different. I really enjoy the challenge.

As I struggled with business I navigated these emotions and tried to compartmentalize, come to terms with, or beat down the the enemies. I turned to experts for help. I was handed pills and strategies that did more harm than good.

We’re animals trying to make sense to a modern and alien world. It’s often confusing and trying to make sense of our emotions often results in anxiety, fear and self-doubt. Theories are formed and we passed on.

I discovered mindfulness, which is all about living in the moment, clearing the consciousness and coming to terms with feelings. I struggled with it finding that if I was not feeling too bright at the time, the negativity would flow into the vacuum. I then had an interesting conversation with a contact on Linkedin who studied the practice and had formed a number of disturbing conclusions with the current methods. She had a number of students who having sought solace from living in the ‘now’ they had become afraid to venture out.

Meandering through the chaos is so difficult.

My wife has been studying mental health for some years now in relation to a close family member. She has watched their journey with unease as they worked through diagnosis after diagnosis, treatment after treatment. So much of it was flawed, so much treatment was based on poor research, poor communication and misunderstanding.

The family member was once prescribed with a large dose of Vitamin B as the GP had concluded they were suffering with SAD (lack of summer light). within twelve hours they were in A&E with kidney poisoning! There were prescriptions for depression which made her hyper-manic, there were prescriptions for mania, that made her suicidal!

The brain, body and soul is complex beyond comprehension. Throw into the mix our modern conditioning and it’s no wonder solutions are hard to find.

And the point of all this?

Wifey spent several hours the other morning telling me how interesting an article about Bi Polar she’d discovered was. She was excited because it gave clarity to much of the confusion she’d seen with the relative. And as she recited paragraphs I too realized there was a lot of sense in it. The article is a paper based on twenty five years of research and contradicts much of the ‘conventional wisdom’ published across the net and self help doctrine.

It details how extraordinarily complex our symptoms are. Too happy and we’re in hyper-mania, too low and were manic depressive. Winter light hours don’t just make us feel a little down, they affect our entire being. Horses will stop their season when the light hours get short as it’s the wrong time to conceive. Breeders put mares in light rooms to break this. We’ve put ourselves in the light and it seems to have broken our primal cycle.

We’ve moved so far away from nature, the seasons, the energy that created us, there’s no time or place any more to make sense of it all.

The table below shows just how complex the emotions can be and how difficult it is to make sense of it all. Having said that I do believe that the work by Chris Aiken, MD gives great insight into matching the symptoms we face in business life with the real and tangible classifications of mania.

Classic hypomania is difficult enough to detect. These euphoric states are brief, rare, and easily forgotten. Mixed cases bring a different set of challenges. Mixed features cause intense desperation. Rather than missing their appointments in a carefree, hypomanic bliss, these patients often call for urgent appointments. The issue is not that these states will be forgotten, but that they’ll present with symptoms that resemble those of many other psychiatric disorders.

Highs and lows are a part of everyday life, a little too high or too low and we seem to be straying out of the comfort zone. The table will hopefully help us better come to terms with our feelings and as a result, deal with them.

Features of hypomania
Features of hypomania