Ep 7 - Anonymous Questions Answered: Bipolar, Dailies, & Shame

“Hyper-sexuality is beyond lust. It is insatiable. 57% of Bipolar depressed during their manic phase are hyper sexual. You are not alone” - Todd

For our 7th Anonymous Questions episode, we brought back a favorite guest Todd Olson, LCSW. Todd is one of the founders of LifeSTAR and practices here in Utah. He will address three questions we received. The first one is about dealing with sexual addiction while having bipolar disorder. The second one is about dailies and what they are. The third one is about shame. Shame is such a big topic that we will be covering that in a future podcast. As always we commend the courage of our anonymous question-askers for being willing to reach out and be vulnerable.  

Question: Does hyper-sexuality in those with Bipolar disordered have any relevance here? The urges to act out to feed that sexual desire can be overwhelming. At this point, sex is not fun. It is more of a compulsion. It can lead to affairs, excessive masturbation ( sometimes many times in one day, and more). How does one overcome this- especially since bipolar disorder is a lifelong disease? How does one reconcile breaking the commandments with such a serious sin and feeling the shame and fear that this will happen again?

Answer: Todd explains that it is good this “caller”  has an awareness that they have a version of bipolar disorder and they are aware of their symptoms. He also talks about how their story needs to be heard. Just like how all of struggling with addiction don’t battle alone. Those struggling with bipolar disorder also need support around them who know their story and what they are struggling with.

Todd goes on to explain the different types of Bipolar disorders. There are five different types: Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Mania, Bipolar Mixed, HypoMania, Dysthymia. The nice thing about this mental health disorder is it can be managed and there are three things that will help a person with Bipolar disorder manage it:

  1. Get Help from a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or an advanced nurse practitioner.

  2. Get on the right medications - This is the most important!

  3. Have a trusted friend to walk you through this

Bottom Line: Everyone’s story needs to be heard and bipolar can be managed, although it’s not easy. We are praying for you! 

Question: I’m a recovering addict to pornography as well as an ARP missionary. I did my recovery a little backward because I got called to be an ARP missionary, got inspired to make changes, and started working the steps. I feel like I’m fairly new to the 12 step recovery scene. My question is about “dailies”. I hear people talk about doing their dailies and I’m not exactly sure what they mean. I understand the importance of daily communion with God and meaningful scripture study but is there more that I’m missing? Can you explain what people mean when they talk about dailies?

Answer: What are Dailies? Why do addicts need them? How do I know if they are working? Normal people do dailies. They do not think about it. It is a part of their routine. We as addicts have gotten off track and the addiction has hijacked our brain. 

Dailies are activities that will help us connect to God. As addicts, we have disconnected from God because of our shame. He cares about the addiction because He knows that real connection is so much better. The dailies are a way for our brain to heal itself and help us stay on track. “Dailies are a temporary brake system to stay on track while their brain heals”.

The biggest thing about dailies that we need to remember is that they cannot be so rigid. We need a variety of ways to connect with God. Sure reading scriptures and saying prayers are great ways to connect, but they don’t always work. If we stay rigid, we will just go through the motions and fall right back into the addiction because our heart is not in it. Also, do not have too many dailies. If you get overwhelmed because of your dailies, you are not connecting. Connection is a big way we feel God’s love for us in the deepest of levels. If we don’t consciously strive to feel connected to His love daily, we will fall back into the addiction. 

We also need to remember that our bodies need rest and exercise. If we are not getting enough rest or exercise our brains do not function properly. Our brains need oxygen. Rest,  exercise and water are great ways to get oxygen to our brains. Our brains need these to heal the addiction. 

Bottom Line: We need three things to have successful dailies: creativity, excitement, and relaxation. 

Question: What are effective tactics in breaking the shame cycle? I understand that there's a difference between shame (I am bad) versus guild (I've done a bad thing) but I'm spinning my wheels trying to break free from shame. What have folks shared that you've found helpful on this aspect of addiction?

Answer: We must become an expert on shame to know how to deal with it. The cycle starts out with the control phase. The person is trying to get control of their life. Examples are cleaning, exercising, and getting healthy. Basically we want to manage the outcome. We will blame, placate (go with the flow), we are going to read the scriptures better and study harder. But that is too much to ask of anyone. It winds the person up and then they fall.

When we fail, we are taken to the release phase. The release phase is where all the addiction comes out. Lacking self-control, acting out, are all part of the release phase. That is where all the shame comes into play. When we have shame we decide that we are going to do better and try harder. This is a setup. Nobody will be able to withstand this cycle.

James and Chris talk about how they broke the shame cycle by understanding who God was and how much compassion Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us.  When they saw that Heavenly Father wanted to love them without boundaries, they started to have self-compassion. 

If we are looking to manage the outcome, we must let go of that. Shame hates exposure but honesty is the only way out of shame. Learning not to manage outcome is the way into true freedom. When we do that, we are ready for the next step.

The final step is figuring out what healthy shame is. Learning this and applying it to help us want to change through asking for help or clarification on something is extremely freeing. Then, we must ask ourselves where this came from? It came from how we were growing up. We needed to manage how people viewed us. It was a way to survive. Todd equates the vulnerability and letting go of control as a form of a death experience. It is scary but it is worth it.

We hope this helped answer your questions and again commend the courage of our anonymous question answers for helping all of us in recovery with their vulnerability. Thank you!