Meet Frank Rowley, one of Alex's friends in Bali who is diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Frank shares in this episode his inspiring story of living with bipolar disorder and the challenges he faced along the way. Frank now lives mostly medication free and is a coach. He works with entrepreneurs and supports them in transforming their stress and supercharging their productivity. You can learn more about Frank on his instagram account, @frankrowleycoach .
Hi, friend. This is Alex Mcrobs, founder of The Mindful Life Practice, and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23, and I never went back. I got sober in 2019, and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga, and change their lives through my online Sober Girls Yoga community. You're not alone, and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.
Hello. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am excited about this show because I actually don't think I've had anyone on the show. I don't think I've had one guest the entire time who is living with bipolar disorder, which is so interesting because living with bipolar disorder is something that I have in my past and I have been dealing with and overcoming. And that's actually how I got connected to Frank. And Frank Rowley is here living in Ubed, Bali, with me as well. And we had a mutual friend, I think maybe two years ago now at this point who connected us. And we went for some walks, went to some yoga classes. And it's just really cool to know someone else here who's had a similar journey. And so I'm super excited to have him on the show today and hear more about his story with his mental health journey. And he is a coach now as well, and he coaches entrepreneurs who are overcoming mental health struggles. I think he'll be an amazing guest to share his story. So welcome, Frank. How are you doing?
Thanks so much for the invitation, Alex. I agree. It's a real blessing and beautiful opportunity to connect with someone who clearly has been on a similar path. When you're bipolar, you get it. There's really tough times and there's really good times. I think we all intuitively know that there's good times and bad times, but for bipolar, it's basically just more extreme. I like to think of it as a blessing because it gives us perspective on the full range of human emotions, which not many people have the opportunity to experience, especially the manic side, as dangerous, of course, as it can be. Thank you for this opportunity, and I'm looking forward to sharing my story and hopefully inspiring and encouraging and empowering some other beautiful souls to not only overcome and manage their mental health conditions, but I like to even think of transcending the mental health condition to really just realize that we are not our mental health conditions. We are much more, let's say.
I love that. Love that use of that word transcending, and we're so much more. That's so true. When I was first struggling with my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I really identified with myself as being bipolar when really it's just one facet of my journey and my story.
Absolutely. Exactly. I mean, it's undeniable that it is a facet. Of course, a lot of people with bipolar, a typical first reaction is denial. It's like, No, I don't. I can't have it. There's no way. You got it wrong. I'm not going to take meds. This is too overwhelming, which is understandable. But then the way I see it is that you deny, but then you accept, and then you just see it as reality. But for me, again, as I've been now, it's been 22 years since I was first diagnosed, and so it's been a real journey. I actually was targeting specifically wanting to help people with bipolar disorder to see the light in a way. Not that I've completely overcome it, I certainly have my depressive, my manic period still, but just to have a different relationship with these mood swings, different relationship with ourselves during and after them.
How old were you when you started experiencing depressive or manic symptoms and what was that like?
It was very concerning for my father, actually at the time, as well as for myself. I have this vivid memory of frying on the kitchen table, just putting my head down and crying. My father asking me what's wrong, and me not knowing what was wrong. I didn't have any words. Looking back, I can think of reasons why I was very lonely boy. I didn't have the the skills for attracting women at the time. I was a great friend. I got a lot of great friends with women, but that's a different story. But basically, I remember going for a beautiful walk in the forest. My father was like, Yeah, okay, let's go for a walk in the forest. I didn't cure my depression by any means, but I remember feeling a little bit lighter and a little bit more connected. Ever since then, my love for nature has blossom. Now there's this beautiful, beautiful, just angelic, magical, picturesque spot here in Bali, just two hours north from where we are here in Ubu called Mundo. The last time I went, I cried when I arrived and I cried before I left. That is how emotionally attached I am to specifically the nature there, but really just the connection with nature for me is just no words for how much it has helped me.
But anyway, long story short, I had a psychosis about a year later when I was 15. I think when I was... I was crying, I was 14, I was diagnosed when I was 15 after having a psychosis, going psychotic and being hospitalized. Actually, they were amazed by how quickly I recovered. They were like, That's very, very odd that you recovered so quickly. Again, this has been my... Maybe I'm lucky in a way, but when I sleep enough, fundamentally, I recover from my manic period very, very quickly. I think they sedated me. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in the ambulance. I just felt my mind was racing, but my body was just like shutting down because of all these drugs they gave me. But of course, I'm very grateful for all the drugs they gave me because it helped me to come back to this reality that we have, which is different from the reality of someone who's having a manic episode. Sometimes it can be hard to tell. This is again, my philosophy on life is that life is... I think that people who have been can relate to this is that we have such crazy, outlandish, wild, creative ideas and thoughts about the world and about ourselves that coming back to this reality can make, at least for me, it made me question, how do I know what's really real?
Fundamentally, I still don't know the answer to that question, but this has led me to the philosophy of saying, Well, if I don't know what's real, then why not just treat life like a game which A, I want to enjoy because it's no fun playing a game you don't enjoy, and B, why not try to win the game? Because it's more fun to try to win than to just play without any end goal. I try to have a good time and also win in the sense that I feel proud of my achievements in the past. I got a little philosophical there, but it gives you a little clue into the way that I like to think about the world.
Yeah, thanks for sharing. That sounds like it must have been a really challenging and scary time when you experienced psychosis.
You would think so, but I had what's called megalomania. During the time I was over the moon. I literally thought that I was God. That is not like I was God. It's so hard for someone to understand this who hasn't been in the state of mind. It's not like I thought I was like, Oh, I thought I was... I was God. That is what makes this experience so incredible. It's very similar to a lot of people who do hard drugs, really. It's absolutely mind-blowing experience and it has positive and negative after effects. But fundamentally, I did not dislike the experience of being manic. The experience I disliked was, or which I struggled with certainly, was the after effect of, Oh, I'm not God, and my parents were scared to death, and I have to take medication now. That part was obviously a very... Well, it's funny, traumatic is honestly too strong a word. I remember being very embarrassed about an uncertain about what to say to people in school. I was taken out of school for a few weeks, and I just thought, What do I say to the people who are in school? I had my manic episode outside my house in Luxembourg, so people saw me doing some strange things.
I certainly felt some sense of embarrassment about that. Looking back on it, reflecting back, this is exactly why I'm so happy we're having this conversation, because I want to be part of the solution. The solution is to talk about these problems, to normalize them, to be like, Hey, you know what? Some people are manic, and it's not their fault. It's just how they're born. There are things that you can do to decrease the severity and the regularity of these episodes. But fundamentally, a lot of it comes down to luck and genes and your environment, how you were raised. But the important thing is to talk about it, to not stay in the dark and to be like, Hey, you know what? I have this condition, and if I acted this way, I apologize. This condition is not an excuse for that, but it is, at the very least, an explanation to help you understand why I acted out of alignment with the values that I aspire to live on.
Yeah. What did you say? Went to your friends at school? Were you open about living with bipolar or was it something that you kept to yourself?
No, I certainly wasn't open about it at all for years. I think one or two friends, certainly I told, yeah, one or two of my best friends I remember tellingthem, but certainly I kept that very close to my heart, and the expression. I kept it very... I didn't know, basically. It was years before I started telling people openly about it. Actually, really, since I started specifically helping people with bipolar, I started thinking about my journey with bipolar. It was only when I started doing that where I was like, Actually, I'm really grateful for this condition. I can name the several reasons off the top of my head why I'm grateful for it. That's when I really started saying, Okay, you know what? Now I'm just going to tell people I have bipolar, like telling them that I have a cold. That's literally how easily I will share it. That's a beautiful thing. For me, that is the path towards transcending. It's just being like, You know what? This is what it is. Listen, I understand that some people have bosses who they have, they would be in danger if they're told, and it's not always wise to tell everyone.
I don't advise people to just go and tell everyone. But certainly for me, it has been an incredibly freeing experience to do so. There are some risks for me as well. People are liable to judge me. Not liable. It's entirely possible that they're judging me or that they won't give me the same opportunity based on thinking, Oh, well, I know someone's bipolar and they're like this, so you're maybe like this. Fair enough. Let them think that. For me, it's just how I want to live my life at this point.
It's super courageous of you. I really admire how open you are because I know what a... It's a scary thing. I know I definitely for a long time... I had an experience in my childhood where relatives of mine lost their job or were unemployed because of living with bipolar. And so it was so in my head, like something and something that I was told by other adults in my life do not tell anyone that you have this. And so it was something that I had with shame for so long. And it's interesting because around the time that I started talking about it, I mean, there were so many things that happened at the same time, so you can't really put one thing, but I don't really experience the symptoms anymore, and I don't take medication for it anymore. And that all happened in conjunction with around the time I started talking about it as well with people. So I think the shame of the illness definitely worsens it because you're living in this own little... I mean, at least I was in the shame spiral of like, Oh, my God, I did this. Bla, blah, blah, blah, what will people think?
And now I don't really have that anymore.
Yeah, that's beautiful. And exactly. Maybe it's a magical coincidence, maybe. But I'm almost certain that, yeah, exactly. As you say, it's hard to be ashamed about something which you're just telling everyone about. That's precisely the shame feeds on darkness. When you bring it out into the light, it's hard to be lost in that emotion. When it comes to not experiencing symptoms, Imean, this is what they call euthemia, I think, is the word for it when you're in a period of stability. It really comes down to how long will it last. I watched this documentary with Steve, Stephen Frey about bipolar. It's fascinating. One of these psychiatrists... She had bipolar and she was hospitalized several times like absolute type 1 bipolar. She's been stable, according to her, for 10-plus years. She credits it well, obviously to routines, but largely to her diet. It's obviously a multifactorial reasons for why we end up being stable. But the way I see it, there's always something that I can do to try and maximize the chance that I will be stable for longer. To be perfectly honest, I also don't mind the possibility that I will be hypomanic or that even I'll be depressed at some point in the future.
In some ways, I feel like maybe my life would be less interesting. I would lose perspective on what it means to be human if I were to be stable for the rest of my life. I look forward to challenges and struggles because I view them as growing opportunities. I view them as opportunities for me to feel more compassion for people. I view them opportunities for me to apologize for if I've acted to humble myself that I am not in control of my future and that's just to embrace the uncertainty, basically. I'm very grateful that you've had this stable period, and it's something to celebrate, honestly. I think anyone who has bipolar who has been stable for a long period of time, especially without medication, is a clear sign that you've done a lot of work on yourself in many areas of your life. So a heads off to you. That's really something to celebrate. Thank you.
You mentioned that there were things that you... Practices that you put into place to keep yourself stable. You mentioned food and sleep. What are those things that you do? What's in.
Your toolkit? Oh, okay. Well, the real question is, how do I not talk about this for three hours? Okay. I gave a workshop about habits for productivity a month ago here in Ubuid. I'll tell you what the… I'll start with the number one golden rule for energy, which I talked about, which I use myself personally, which is to sanctify two hours of the day or two time periods of the day. Free sleep, post waking up. Free slumber, postawakening. Basically, the way I see it is... Well, it's not the way I see it the way it is, life is made up of periods of sleeping and periods of being awake. If you want to get good at life, basically try and win the game, as I mentioned before, you need to prepare your sofa these transitions. And so, especially with a mental health condition, but even just generally speaking, most people struggle with some sleeping problem at some point or even regularly. For me, the key has been to... For example, we are finishing this conversation and I asked you how long will it take. The reason why is because I know that at 8:00 PM, unless there's something really urgent, that's it.
My devices are off and that is my hour to prepare for sleep when I sleep around 9:30. That is sacred for me. I use that time to read, meditate, to journal, to play with my cats and dogs, to talk with my partner, drink tea. I love that time and I'm grateful for it and it's very important for me. Similarly, the first... And that prepares me for sleep. I'm preparingmyself for, and I have to think of sleep as death in some ways. I'm preparing myself for the next stage of life, this mystery, the unknown, there's so much we don't know about sleep. I want to honor it by preparing for it. Similarly, when I wake up, it's like, okay, how do I want my day to go? How do I want to feel today? What person do I want to be today? What challenges am I likely to face today? These are some of the many prompts which I have in my morning journaling practice, another practice which I do. This sets me up for a day where I'm more likely to act in alignment with my values. What else in the morning? I love getting up actually just before dawn.
There's something so magical about time when it's dark and quiet and peaceful. I feel like I'm in a place where time is stood still and I can do whatever I want in the hour because it's free time, which I've created out of nowhere. It's something very magical about the darkness just before the light. Yeah, first hour, no Internet. The device is okay as long as it's offline for journaling purposes, playing with my dogs, some exercise with music, possibly walking my dogs, journaling, all that good stuff. Yeah. Like I said, I could go on, but I'll just stop there and let you continue on.
I love that. For me, that's speaking of the devices and the internet and all that, this is like my biggest problem, which I've been actually thinking about potentially digitally detoxing for the rest of August because it is such an addictive cortex for me. I was just thinking to myself earlier today, I was like, Man, this is the ideal time for me to quit because I have this other job, so I don't need the income generated from my social media presence. So maybe I should just get off of it. But anyway, so I love the way you're able to honor your mornings and your evenings. That's super impressive. And your daily journaling prompts, I know what you're talking about because I've screenshoted them off of your Instagram. I saw your questions a month ago, and I actually think about them sometimes. I'm like, Man, I need to go look at... I need to find those in my phone somewhere, these questions that I screenshotted that Frank does because I just thought they were so reflective on the challenges, what are the goals I want to get done today? I think that that would be an amazing daily practice to set myself up for success.
Absolutely. And what are my goals today is a very common question and certainly a necessary evil, I would say, in terms of like, What am I going to do today? But again, what I told people during this workshop, what I've learned from Atomic Habits and also Brendan Brashar's Six Habits for High Performance... I forgot the exact... No, High Performance Habits is the name of the book. They both touch on this idea of we're not motivated by the things that we do in the day. If we want to get stuff done, if we want to perform at a high level, we need to ask ourselves, more importantly, is what person do I want to be today? How do I want to feel today? For example, if I have a lot, if I want to work eight or nine hours today, let's say that's my goal, I want to have eight hours of work dedicated to my business, well, then I want to be a productive, resourceful, intentional person. I want to feel proud at the end of the day. I want to feel a sense of accomplishment. Who do I need to be on my A-game for?
I want to do this because I want to serve my clients. I want my clients to achieve the similar success that I've had in my life to overcome their mental health problems. I want my partner to be provided for. I want my parents to be proud of me. These are questions which really get to our soul and fuel that desire to actually follow through on our intentions to achieve our goals.
Yeah, I think it's really cool and inspiring to be around people that are doing this work and having this type of reflection and conversation and practices because I think back to when I was young and beginning to struggle with my mental health, I didn't have any role models for these practices, like these daily rhythms and routines and reflections and reflective questions to journal and set yourself up for success. And it's just it's really inspiring to be around other people that are doing this work as well.
Yeah, I love being around people who are doing growth. I mean, you're obviously growing so much, have grown so much like being off meds and having the business that you have. It's really inspiring to see the work that you do. I love being around people such as yourself who are taking people out of the depths and bringing them into the light. It's such an affliction to be cursed with addiction of any sort. In alcohol, obviously, is an especially destructive one. I personally struggled with a pot addiction for seven, eight years. Every day I smoked a gram a day, three, four times, really properly addicted. Even now, if I go back to Europe, I have to spend a lot of time thinking about how I'm going to plan my time out, who I'm going to spend time with, how I'm going to get the support I need to prevent myself from falling back into that habit. Thankfully, in Bali, I don't even think twice about it. It's just not for a number of reasons. But yeah, I think it's funny. I saw this Instagram post the other day where it starts by saying, you probably heard probably a lot of people have heard hurt people hurt people.
But then it goes on to say, Healed people, heal people. It continued on with a few ones I don't remember, but I liked it and it went on to say, like enlighten people, guide people, that type of thing. It's true. Once you've grown the natural and you come out of this misery, this deep depression, deep mood swings, massive addiction problems, it's such a beautiful and natural transition to be like, Okay, well, now I've done it for myself. Now I want to do it for others. You're quite a lot ahead of me, I would say, in the journey of really putting yourself out there to help others. It's inspiring to, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to chat with you.
I have a question for you. You mentioned earlier we were talking about living with bipolar and taking medication, and you were saying that you're not taking it all the time, but sometimes when you need it as a preventative or a support. And I'm just wondering, what was that journey like? I know I was told that people with bipolar disorder would have to take... I would have to take medication every day for the rest of my life, was what I was told. And so when did you decide to make that shift of this way of living and what was that process like for you?
Okay, I'll answer that. I want to first of all, touch on this thing that you were told, because that is something which triggers quite a few emotions in me, and I was told exactly the same thing. You will have to take medication your whole life. Now, I want to start by acknowledging why the psychiatrists say that, and I understand why. The reason why is because people like to think, Oh, I've been stable for a while, therefore I don't need meds. This is why they don't want you to get in that mindset. They try to put you in the mindset, Hey, this is it for life. Secondly, the people who have had the most success in overcoming... I did some research, of course, when I was helping people in this niche. The people who have had the most success in having stability in their life and bipolar are people who are on meds every day. That's why they say that, but it's not true. You don't need to be on meds every day to have long periods of stability to have a fulfilling life. I know that for a fact because I haven't been certainly not on daily meds, and I know you, I know another friend of mine from the UK and another friend of mine actually in Ubert, who also recently is bit by bit coming off the meds.
He's tried a couple of times now. I think it's the second or third time, and it is possible. But it takes a lot of emotional work. You have to prioritize your health above everything else. That's one of the reasons why I'm so grateful for Bipolar, actually, is because it's given me the motivation, the incentive, the drive to just want to live a long, healthy, happy, joyous, deeply fulfilling, meaningful life because I need to if I want to not be a slave to medication my whole life, basically. That's the only way. The way I see it, I have to exercise every day. I have to meditate every day. I have to journal every day. I have to prioritize my sleep. I have to not overindulge in substances which are going to influence my mind, like alcohol and other similar ones. Now I've actually forgotten the question.
The question was just, yeah, what was that process like of going off of medication?
The process was... So it was actually inspired, thankfully, by one open minded psychiatrist I saw about six or seven psychiatrists over the years because I traveled to many countries as an entrepreneur. One of them, he was like, You know what? You seem all right. How about you try decreasing the meds? I was like, Oh, that's the first time a psychiatrist has ever said that to me. Then I decreased them, and I think I went to about 25% of my original dose after a few months. It's funny, I don't quite remember if it was... I don't think it was him who said like, Go up completely. But there was one night, actually incidentally, I was drunk that night, and 12 years ago, and I thought, You know what? I usually use meds to get to sleep. That night I was like, I am so tired. I came back 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and I was like, What if I just don't take the meds? I'm going to sleep anyway. I'm wasted, I'm exhausted. Then the day after I was like, I think that inspired me to be like, Okay, what if I just don't take meds at all and just experiment with that?
It so happens that I was able to lead. That's not that I never had depression or mania since then. I have had manic and depressive episodes over the past 12 years. But I like to call them conscious episodes in the sense that when I'm manic, I like to think of it as conscious mania. If I'm being perfectly honest with you, right now I'm hypomanic. I slept five hours last night, and this morning I woke up, I got to sleep around 1:00. I woke up around 5:30, just full of energy, full of ideas, full of inspiration, motivation. I had a workout and all this. But I'm aware of this, and I'm notTonight I'm going to take a pill to help me get to sleep. What will most likely happen is what's happened in the past. I take the pills like about once a month or so when I have a period like this where I get a bit over excited. What happens is I sleep about eight hours and the next day I'm like, Oh, I'm calm again. I'm good. Then I just don't need the medication anymore. I'm very lucky, I suppose you could say.
I do think that it depends on the genetics of the person. I certainly don't want to advise people to not to go off their meds. I'm not a doctor. I don't pretend to be one. But for me, my personal story is that I do really benefit from the meds on occasional times, but I don't need them on a regular basis to have long periods of stability. The manic and depressive periods don't affect me as much as they used to. When I'm depressed, I'm like, yes, I feel sad and I feel hopeless, but I have this very good memory of what happens in the future. I'm able a much better-able to have perspective. Whenever I tell people, I feel low, I feel bad, I feel like this, I'm like, I almost always remember to say, But I know this is a period, but I know that I've had huge success until now. Sorry, I've made huge progress until now of overcoming these periods in the past. I'm really proud of all. I'm really grateful for a lot of things. I'm always able to balance these emotions. Similarly, when I'm hypomanic or manic and I have these ideas, I very often say, You know what?
This idea is probably rubbish, but this is it. I'm able to be aware of my state of mind and correct, and therefore not overidentify with whatever thoughts or feelings I have in the moment. I think that perspective has helped me a lot. The number one habit, I think, for growth, if you want to have a growth mindset, is to journal. Because you mentioned this practice of self-reflection. Really, you can read all the books that you want, but fundamentally, you have to obey the Greek maxim, which is to the test of time, 2,600 years, to be precise, inscribed on the walls of, I think it was Athens, very concise, know thyself. To know yourself, you have to use language, you have to write, you have to reflect. Who are you? What are you doing here? Why are you feeling this way? What is your history? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? What is your purpose? It's a deep question, existential question. It can create a lot of stress. But these are questions which I have the answers to for my life. It's taken 10, and I've been journaling for 20 years now, but certainly very consistently for about, I would say, 10, 12 years now, every single day.
I have many different journals. I have a digital journal on my computer with the prompts, which has a morning journal template and an evening journal template based on different prompts. I have a written journal, which is very useful for a number of reasons. It's more personalized. The thoughts come out in a different way because I have to write more slowly, I think more carefully about what I want to say. I can highlight things. I have a self-love journal, which I use, especially when I'm depressed, to access a state of what I like to call the essence of love, which is this voice you could say, which comes from my head, obviously. But then again, it's a reflection of everything that I've experienced in the world, which always says kind things to me. It's my superpower, you could say, of loving myself. My superpower is that I love myself unconditionally and I always will, and no one will ever love me as much as I can love myself. I will never, ever give up on myself. I will have my back until the very end. No one else can say that. That is the most beautiful, empowering, inspiring thing that I've ever realized that I've ever...
It's only through journaling and of course, reading books on self-compassion and being inspired by the works of Kristen Neff and Christopher Garner, great researchers in this field. But they, of course, take a slightly more scientific view and talk about it as self-compassion. I like to take to the next level and bring it also to the spiritual realm of using words like love, which are more abstract, harder to define, but just have more power to them and more meaning to them, especially unconditional love. That is a very hard thing to feel for oneself. I certainly don't always feel it. There's times where I'm like, Oh, I'm ashamed. But then it's an opportunity for learning to love myself and for... That's fundamentally my philosophy. How would I... Well, I know you're going to ask me this question at the end, so I'll answer it then. But I.
Loved hearing about your different journals and I want to ask you about the one that you have on your computer after because that sounds really cool with the prompts. If I go ahead with my digital detox, I'm going to need some resources for myself in that time.
Yeah, it's a perfect opportunity to reflect the digital detox. I'm doing one myself, actually. Well, I'm doing a retreat. I haven't set the specifics yet, but in principle, I use that time to read, and write, and walk in nature, listen to books and meditate. It's really good to just switch up. Honestly, it's good for business. That's the truth. I was reading this book called The Effective Life, and it's written by the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, who's a super incredible bestseller since many, many years. I haven't actually read that particular book. But the point that this author says he has also this incredible bond with nature, and he conducted many business retreats in nature. He's just like, You know what? If you want to have the answer, it's not in a computer, in the notebook, or the business partner. It's in nature. It's literally out in no man's land, in the wilderness, in the openness. Our brains need this just complete disconnect from certainly from digital world, but even from our thoughts and other people to just be like, Oh, wow, this is where I came from. This is me. We are all one in the sense that we came from nature.
We are... I like to say that nature is a miracle, and so too am I a miracle of nature. It's true. We are all beautiful miracles of nature. It's incredible. Every single one of us has just... There's so many questions, and there's no other way to describe it. We're all miracles of nature.
I know it's getting close to your device, Sundown. I'll ask you one last question, Frank, which is if you had any advice or wisdom to give to someone who's maybe starting a journey with mental health struggles, what would that.
Wisdom be? Okay, so I would distill this into three main points. Actually, I made an Instagram story about this today. Number one is to reframe past stresses and even potentially traumas. Don't take it from me, The Upside of Stress. It's a fantastic book by, what's her name? Kelly McGonigall, I think. She's a health psychologist. This has really also changed my life the way she talks about this is that every struggle that we've been through that you've been through is a potential for learning. It's a potential for enabling you to be more compassionate towards yourself, towards others. It's an opportunity for growth. To really just not get stuck in this idea that every stressful past event is only negative. Yes, acknowledge the negative, the parts, the hard feelings, the lost opportunities, but don't view it in a black and white type of way like it is. Well, certainly don't view it in an only black type of way. Try and see the YTS as well. That would be the first piece of advice. The second one is to always have a growth mindset, or at the very least, try to exercise a growth mindset. Carol Dweck is, of course, the main famous for her, for promoting this idea with her book, The Growth Mindset.
It's such a valuable, invaluable tool to grow and to overcome mental health conditions. To always say, okay, you are not defined by your mental health condition. There's always something that you can do to stabilize your brain chemistry. Whether it's exercise, whether it's meditation, whether it's improving your sleeping habits, whether it's discovering your purpose, which is not an easy task, but again, it can be done. I am living proof and my purpose changes. It has changed three times over the past 10 years, but my purpose is to empower people to lead meaningful lives. I derive so much meaning from this, and this is what saves me from suicide, the suicidal thoughts, if I'm being perfectly honest. I haven't had them ever since I discovered this purpose of mine. It's taken years and years of self-reflection to discover. Number one, reframe past stresses. Number two, have a growth mindset; and number three, this might be the hardest and also the most important, learn to love yourself unconditionally. Not only in the present, not only your past self, but even whatever you do in the future, if you don't love yourself, there's no hope. With no hope, there's nothing.
You are worthy of love, kindness, and respect no matter what you do, or where you go, or how you influence others, or what mistakes you think that you made. Because if you don't love yourself, things will only get worse for you and for everyone else. Whereas if you love yourself, then you have the opportunity. Like if you love yourself wholeheartedly, authentically, and mindfully, where you're also questioning what you did and how you can maximize your love for yourself in the future, how you can... The art of loving it by Eric from has really inspired this line of thinking for me. That love is a skill that can be learned, and it really is. But fundamentally, on a more spiritual level, you don't need to do anything. You are perfect. You're perfectly imperfect. You're perfect. You're imperfect. It's all the same thing. You are absolutely beautiful and fine just the way you are. I know this conflicts somewhat with a growth mindset where it's like, Oh, how can I change? How can I be better? How can I adapt? How can I be smarter, wiser, kinder, more stable? That's the thing. It's true in some ways it does because there are one mindset is completely accepting the present moment for what it is.
Acceptment and commitment therapy is big for a reason. The other one is, you know what? I accept it, but I also accept that I can change and I can grow and I don't accept that I'm always going to be like this. Yeah, reframe past stresses, adopt a growth mindset, and learn to love yourself unconditionally.
That was amazing. I love that answer. It's such a great note to end on three real tangible practices and takeaways that I'm sure anyone that's listening to this show can get great insight and value from. Thank you so much, Frank. This has been amazing. Such a great show and episode, and I really appreciate your time, and I'm just grateful to be connected with you. You're a super inspiring person.
Thanks so much, Alex. I really appreciate your time as well. It seems like almost like it was meant to be. I finished those three points. I looked at the time, I'm like, It's exactly the right time. Yeah, it's been a very beautiful experience to share this. I've talked about all these things in different contexts before, but somehow you asking all these questions one after another has just helped me put it into... I feel grateful for the opportunity. I feel grateful for the possibility that anyone listening to this could just be like, Oh, there is hope. There is a way forward. I don't have to just stay in this mindset of thinking that this is just a curse and that can never be changed or overcome in any way. So I'm incredibly grateful for that. And that's thanks largely to you, Alex. So for the platform that you've created, all these people that you've helped, people that you've inspired that have decided to follow you and listen to you. So thank.
You, Alex. Thank you so much, Frank. And have a great evening. And I'm sure I'll see you soon.
Okay. Fantastic. Take care. Take care, Alex.
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