#291 – Managing Mania With Alfredo Borodowski

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode. Today, we have Alfredo Borodowski. Alfredo, welcome. It’s a pleasure to be here, Thomas. It is a pleasure to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. You know, my, my professional label, my professional card is I am a rabbi by, by, you know, and I’ve been a rabbi for, for over 30 years. Uh and I was a very successful rabbi here in the United States. Although I was born in Argentina in Buenos Aires, I, I came to the United States to study, I studied a phd in philosophy. I taught for many years. I was doing great. And um I was a rabbi of a very large congregation with Chester New York and I was the executive director of a Foundation International Foundation.

And everything changed, I would say in 10 seconds, that was on July 19th of 2013 when I was arrested uh for Impersonating a police officer. Uh At that point, I had a badge, friends and family badge that the retired policeman gave me. And by the way, Thomas, we could have a long conversation about how in the United States policemen uh officers give to their friends and family replicas, replicas of the badges. OK? And you know, in the society of equality, uh you tell me what those budgets are about. The only reason you give them is when some, when a colleague, another officer stops you that you Hey, by the way, I am part of the family.

Let me go. Ok, then, uh, that is horrendous. And in my case became really horrendous when I assumed the persona of a police officer and began basically telling people how to drive. And I had the luck of telling how to drive the girlfriend of one of the policemen in town. Ok. Of all the cars I could have chosen. Ok. And that’s how, 10 seconds after I show my badge to that lady, I had basically half of the police patrols in town behind my tail. And I was arrested and my life, my life changed radically. You know, II, I imagine I will tell you in this conversation, what happened to me uh in detail but really, really overnight, I was for being a rabbi, a successful rabbi.

I became the Road Rage rabbi. I was baptized, the rabbi was baptized by the press with a new name, the Road Rage rabbi. And I was fired from a job. I have cameras and TV, on the doors of my house. Uh I couldn’t walk out of my house. Uh and I was hospitalized because I was suicidal. And at that point, it was discovered that there was bipolar something I did not know. And I had been manic for a couple of months with grandiosity uh trying to bring, bring law and order to the universe. And when they gave me the badge that basically propelled me to the maximum of becoming that law and order and that narcissistic, you know, grandiose person and never touch anybody.

Thomas ne never really was violent, you know, just told people drive this way or drive this other way. And, and uh also something that I want to mention is that I went to the psychiatrist before all this happened and I was manic and because I love my mania and that’s something that people who have a mania or listening know how much we love our mania. It give us some superpowers. You know, I was sleeping three hours a night and having all the energy in the world. Then I went to my psychiatrist and I told him that I was depressed and I played the depressed part. Then he gave me an antidepressive and within my mania and an anti depress the present. Then really the fire of mania went all the way up and that’s how I lost control. Um Sorry, just to clarify. That’s um before or after um the, the road rage incident.

Yes, I went to the clearly, I had some weird behavior before this happened. Like, like, like I, I sometimes I was very irritated. Uh I, I had lack of judgment in some things and my wife basically told me you must go to the psychiatrist. OK? And I went before all this happened. But there II, I lied to protect my mania to protect my energy. And I then I lied and they gave me an antidepressant which with the menu, I was having it exacerbated to the point. And at that point I was given to the badge. Then it was a perfect story. I was manic anti the present and a badge. You know, as you probably are aware, there are all sorts of, uh, side effects from, uh, brain medication.

Did you look into that after, uh, the medication you took? Was it part of people ask me, people ask me more medication. Look, it is very rare. And I want to tell this to everybody who is glistening or that has a mental illness disorder. It is very rare that they, the first medication they give you is going to be what you need. We are today when it comes to psychiatric medication, a trial and error basis, we were by approximation until they find the right combination. It didn’t happen to me with the first cocktail. Certainly, I was taking an antidepressant while be may manic. Ok. That’s basically sabotage self sabotage. But then one, once I was diagnosed by Polar, then we began testing different different drugs. And it took me like I would say six months until we found the right ones.

In in fact, one iiii I took, I don’t want to say the name because II, I don’t remem I don’t want to mislead people. But I remember that one morning Thomas, I woke up with hives all over my body but I, I really was scary and I went to the emergency room and three different doctors looked at me and they could not identify the root of the hives. I had all over. And suddenly my wife said to me, wait a minute. Isn’t that new medication you are taking? That one of the, the side effect was that you may have a rash and is dangerous, actually, very dangerous. And you should stop immediately and I immediately called my psychiatrist and he said stop taking it. Ok. And actually that was a medication that was being very effective until they increase the doses and it became dangerous. I I took lithium for a while and my vision shook, I have like kind of shaking on my vision.

Uh, ultimately was not doing well for, for my kidneys. Then we discontinued, then, then it is trial and error. Ok? You need patience. Ok. Uh you know, I spent, I was hospitalized five times and one of the most difficult things is people in the hospital trying new medication and staying in the hospital just waiting to see the medication works and to be in a hospital is not fun and to be in a hospital waiting to see if the drug way you know, works and changing from drug to drug is tortuous. Then on medication, I am a pro medication in terms of medication has done well for me and I take my medication every night at 8 30.

Then I have a routine. I have a ritual and this is what I tell people make out of taking your medication. A ritual. Then every night at 8 30 I take it, I have blood test very frequently to see that my liver and kidneys are ok. And it worked for me. Uh, but it took patience and perseverance until we found the right combination. Well, that’s, um, certainly a positive thing. So I think, uh, well done for, um, for going through that process of trial and error cos I think a lot of people do, uh, give up, um, after perhaps if it, if it doesn’t work once, then I’m not gonna carry this on type thing. Um One follow up I had was around, you said about the mania. I think people can, um, understand what it’s like to feel energetic and also extremely tired. But I don’t think people have a concept I might be wrong, but I don’t think people understand what that, what that is or what that means.

Um, in terms of how it would affect your actions and then how it feels. So, would you able be able to explain that? First of all, I invite people to know the rhythm. I, I, at least in my case, I have my, my, my mania works according to cal to the calendar. My mania in its wildest form comes to me around May, the month of May and stay until September and what I, I have learned that my mania is connected to the sun, the light, the summer. Ok. And, and almost like the weather ignites my mania. Then one thing that I invite people to do is to try to know themselves because I think if you look carefully, you begin to detect patterns. Ok. In your mania, then I know around, I know around May that they had to be extra careful.

Ok? And for those months of the summer and I was arrested during the summer, II, I checked myself, OK? I am self-aware. And after so many years, I already there are certain things I do which tell me many eyes here. I give you an example. I begin inventing words, something I did and the words of Millenia, I created my own language. Uh And, and that’s part of the way of grandiosity. You speak a language, others don’t you have control, you create reality through your own language. Then then, then when when May comes and if I say something strange, my wife already knows and says, OK, what’s going on here? OK. Then now as I said, many a seductive, I, during my, my before I took medication and I was wrongly medicated. I was sleeping like I said three hours a a night, I woke up with energy.

I was writing three books. At the same time, I was getting to my office earlier than anybody else and leaving later, late later. Than anybody else. I felt full of energy. But by the same token I was losing weight. Ok. I was irritated, have lack of judgment. Uh, I would not listen to anybody but it was, eh, it was euphoric at the same time. Uh, I have also manic depressive episodes in which I would be in a roller coaster of being very high and very low, you know, and mixed, mixed episodes. But, but, uh, you know, I, I read biographies about people with, with mental illnesses and there is a commonality of falling in love with the mania, falling in love. I mean, like who wouldn’t like a lot of energy to be upbeat? I mean, it’s, it’s a, I mean, a coop. Ok. And, and to be super creative.

Ok. And, and, and wake up in the mor and, and sleep less and achieve more, it sounds a little bit like, um, when you use words like euphoric and, um, the extra energy and everything, it sounds a little bit like it would be, um, taking some form of drug which, uh, in the short term would be really, uh beneficial, but in the long term is gonna be detrimental to you. Is it, is it like some sort of drug? I think that it’s a good analogy. I think it’s a very good analogy. It’s, it’s, you’re hooked to it, you’re hooked to your mania. Uh, certainly until you get to know yourself. And unfortunately sometimes you get to know yourself and you crash. It takes some time, you know, the good, the good thing would be to avoid crashing and learn about yourself in a productive way. But in my case, I really had to go through a traumatic experience to begin the process of self-awareness.

But until you get to self-awareness, you’re not even reflexive, reflective about having the mania. You are in the mania then differently from a drug, let me say you don’t take it. Ok? It comes from inside out. Then it’s, it’s very different, difficult to detect because it’s like you’re immersed in the mania. It uh it take, it becomes who you are and but, but yes, it’s pure seduction. It’s a and you don’t want to give it up, give it up and, and you want more of it. So if there is someone who is listening to this and they saying that’s a bit like me, meaning they haven’t had the burn out but they um enjoy the mania. Um or perhaps they don’t use those words, but they’re in a similar position in the sense that maybe they’re sleeping a few hours a night, they’ve got loads of energy and they enjoy that process. What would you say to them in terms of advice? OK.

Look, first of all, III, I am a believer on having a team that helps you. II, I like the analogy of when you see a race, a car race and they stopped by the side and they change the tires and they put the gas and they had this team, you know, that cares about you and, and you need a team around mental illness. Ok. My team is my therapist to whom whom I see weekly. I go to a psychiatrist, an average of once a month to see that things are ok. I go to the gym basic daily. Ok. We know today from studies that communities are tremendously, tremendously important. I have a religious community that I belong to. There are other kind of communities like groups, OK?

Then then, and the people who care for you, your family uh and friends should know, OK, the ones you trust who you are and should be a sounding board for you. Then, then, then you put the team in place and you take your medication. The, then then you have a ra a high chance of managing OK? I say high chance because there are different degrees and I don’t want to, to imply that somebody who doesn’t get better doing this is a failure. OK? Each story is very different. Um But the challenge is, as I said, when you’re in it, then it’s very difficult to break the cycle and do something. But this is what I would say. Even in the worst mania and even in the worst depression, there are moments, moments in which you regain control and calling the sparks.

There are sparks, moments ok. There are moments and I had moments, there were moments in which I show my badge to people. And at some point he said what they’ve done, ok? And that’s why I take full responsibility, ok? Because, because there were moments of awareness, ok? You’re not 24 7 on the menu of depression. Ok? On that, on those moments you take, you need to take full advantage of those moments, full advantage to talk with people who care about you for advantage of making a phone call to your insurance and get it, get an appointment with therapist. OK? Then, then, then there are, there are like moments, they’re very short sometimes, ok? But they are the greatest opportunity we have. Ok, then, uh and usually what we do in those moments, Thomas is we fall into the Nile either because we want the mania to come back or because you don’t want, we don’t want to think anymore about problems.

You know, we want to dwell in the comfort of those moments of peace, ok? And then we look the other way, but those are the moments to look straight on the eyes of the situation and to try to do something on that window of opportunity. I think that’s really good advice. Um I did want to ask about, you said that you got phd in philosophy. Um I am what I would uh call an aspiring philosopher in the sense that um I pick little bits up of um philosophy. Uh but you’ve, um you know, I would definitely call you a philosopher. So from the perspective of your story, what, what do you make of uh if you were to sort of hear that story as an objective philosopher, what would you make of it, the actions first and then also uh how you were treated after, what would you make of that particular story? Yeah, just to clarify, my phd is in Jewish philosophy specifically.

But, you know, I move into, you know, as part of it, I’ve done a lot of general philosophy. Uh and I studied, you know, my phd actually is on the applica application of philosophical theories to the reading of the Bible. Then how, how different philosophers read the Bible more specifically on the topic of miracles. How did they read miracles? How ar how they use Aristotle, how they use Plato, how they use mysticism, how they use, use a Muslim Islam to read the Bible. OK. And the debate they had, and, and, and then it moved into personality type and positive psychology. It’s, it, I made a move, I found medieval, which was my initial philosophy. II, I love it. I love it. But then I began asking how all those questions and, and, and issues translate on a person today.

And I got into the phenomenon of spirituality and modernity. OK. And the revival of theism in the modern world after I was arrested and I had eight months of depression. It took a long time until my, my cases were settled because of the police. The Commissioner of the Police Association in Westchester said we must make an example of Rabi Brodowski. And once he said that my lawyer said we are here in a tough situation. We cannot make a deal with the prosecution. We cannot, you, you, you Alfredo are they want to make an exemplar out of you? Uh We are fighting a political situation. Uh And for eight months, Thomas, my lawyer basically froze my situation just to let things settle a little bit. The world the most eight terrible months. He was on a couch depressed. And one day I go up to my desk and I found something that I tell you, I don’t know how it was there because I don’t recall putting it there.

Sometimes you think about forces of angels. You know, I am, I don’t want to be too irrational, but I tell you, I don’t know how I got there. They were my results of a test on positive psychology. I had taken two years earlier and I tell you, I don’t know how they got there. And positive psychology is the science of our strength. It’s a new kind of psychology about what, what works in the person. And I read my top trends and the way of creativity, love of learning, curiosity, perseverance, and bravery and in the middle of the storm of legal cases and depression. The week after that, I enrolled in social work school, I went back to school with, with the case is still open and I became a social worker. Uh and, and, and what, and, and through that then I became a certified positive psychologist and, and, and, and what I do today, I use philosophy.

I think that philosophy is a, is a good tool for me. I, I love it and I keep reading philosophy. I love ideas. But what I’ve done, I had translated all these philosophical theories and ideas more into the strength of people using positive psychology. How do people think, how, what are the strengths that make people acquire, fulfill the full potential? Uh Then I have transitioned a little bit from the world of theory to the world of fulfillment. Like, like I wrote II, I, in one of my uh a book I wrote, I said most of my life, I love books. Now I love people. What they have found that the life of people are more interesting than books. I’m lying a little bit because I am the kind of person who reads a book at a week.

I mean, I am a voracious reader but, but, but I read them with how this is going to affect the life of people. Uh But yes, when I talk with people, I, you know, I, I used to teach a class on evil, the Odyssey OK, that, you know, and, and I apply much, you know, I have a philosophical approach. I like ideas how people think. Uh I need to go deep, but I have given in the last couple of years, the va which is the instrument on positive psychology and your strength to over 200 people. And I can see how their eyes opened when they discover their own strengths and people with mental illness who feel that they have nothing to give, who feel that they are a failure, a footnote in the world. They take the va with me the values in action, which is the instrument of positive psychology.

They look at the top five strands that the instrument gives you. And they said, wow, I did not know I had these gifts and there is like 100 and 80 degrees from feeling completely defeated to finding a purpose, which is what happened to me. I was depressed. I found my 55 friends and I went back to school and it was, you know, I was 50 something at that point. OK? I mean, you know, and I was depressed, going back to school wasn’t like, you know, some easy to do, but one is iii I discover my strengths doing. It became, became a natural, a natural progression from who I was. Thank you for the answer. Um The follow up, I wanted to make about uh the thoughts that you have about your story. I would imagine that you have a, um you’ve learned a little bit about how the media treats people uh through your experience.

So what um what is your experience of that? What are your thoughts about the media as a result of your story? The first thing I had to say is apology to my father bless his memory. He was a journalist. OK. Uh And I grew up in a home where my father had a, had a magazine. OK? And, and, and the magazine was much of it was produced at my home. Then I saw all the aspects of that and I think that my father was an honest journalist who respected people and respected the truth. My experience was so negative. They made the circus out of me. They had no regard for my life or my family. They, the, the first, the first articles were called things like the rabbi made a non kosher arrest. Ok? They make a satire of me. They produce a circus around me. They depersonalize me and object by me and every possible way to sell my story, they exaggerated in terms of yes, I impersonated the police officer but I didn’t touch anybody.

I wasn’t violent. They made it look like I was a terrorist of some nature. My story went front page in Japan in Ireland. We’re talking about, you know, a person in Westchester New York showing a badge which wasn’t fake. By the way, the police announced also to the press that they were using a fake badge in order to protect themselves. Imagine if the police says something like a man, a man person is Impersonating a police officer with a badge that we give to our family and friends. Then the first thing that happened is that they denied that was a badge that the badge was was legit. Although I know that they called the policeman who gave it to me and they asked him if he gave it to me and he said yes, then they exactly knew that it was a badge that was legit. Ok? A a replica of the badge you give to to friends and family. Then once my, my lawyer issued a statement about me being bipolar and being hospitalized, then the the press didn’t know what to do with it because the story wasn’t as juicy juicy as before.

Now I wasn’t just a criminal. I was a mentally ill criminal. And then my actions were not motivated for but you know, for being by being a criminal but by an illness, then the story wasn’t so juicy, what did they do? Thomas, they included the mental illness in the story but almost at the end of the article like a footnote to the article, they minimize my condition. Ok? Because that was was taken away from me being a ma a mal you know, a malice terrorizing person. Then look, um I understand that we need to sell the news. Ok, I understand the economics and I understand what people want, but my experience with the, with the press was awful and then I try to get into some newspapers.

You see the way it works here is that some central agencies like the associated press sent releases your story and goes to all the different newspapers. Ok. They are central agencies. Then let’s suppose that when it was at, at the end of the day, I want to go and ask the Google for example, to remove some of the negative stories about me. In Europe, you can solicit Google to remove your story and actually you can go to court. OK? And the court must, may rule that Google has to delete something that interfere with the development of your private life. Ok? And many people want the cases here, you cannot sue Google or request Google to remove stories because that’s basically would be an infringement of the freedom of the freedom of speech. What you have to do. Thomas is to go to every newspaper and ask individually to every newspaper, to each newspaper to remove the story.

OK? Then imagine basically you had to basically say, ok, I’m going to end my life today and I’m going to dedicate, I’m not going to work anymore and I’m going to dedicate all my life just contacting every newspaper in the world until I get to somebody and ask them to remove the story or to change the story. Ok. And, and, and I can’t tell you how many companies call me to do that job for me. Ok. Sure. Company that specialize on cleaning your image. OK. And, and what’s interesting? First of all, they talk, they told me it’s going to take a long time. We cannot remove things. What we can do is bury them tens of thousands of dollars. And people may say, but Alfredo, you done this live with the consequences of your actions. Yes. And I live with the consequences of my actions. But there is a difference between having done something wrong. I’m creating a system by which not having touch anybody.

Basically your life and your image is ruined forever. OK? On every search that people make of you, ok? And I think that our society had to find some balance and I think that Europe, you, I think that Europe on that matter is way ahead of us where people have a little bit more of control about who they want to be in society as long as they are not dangerous, ok? Or endanger the life of others. The life, the right to have a life is a very big, the right to have a life should be a very high right in our list and especially people with mental illness, ok, who certainly will do something or may do something, ok? And they should not be hostages or some mistake. They have paid dearly for the rest of their lives. Well, thank you for sharing that. And um I think you’ve been really transparent about your story.

So um I appreciate that there are some um should we say questions in your profile which I feel like would be um very beneficial to get your answers on? Um One of them is about loneliness. So um how to defeat loneliness. How, how would you answer that? Working with people with mental disorders, reading biographies. By the way, II, I am writing a book. I mentioned a book I have written, I, I spoke with you but I writing another book in which basically what I am doing. I’m taking hundreds of biographies by people with mental disorders and trying to find what are the common issues is like a detective work, taking all these experiences and systematizing them, by the way, Thomas, that’s my going back to philosophy. And you know, you asked me about philosophy, that’s what the philosopher would do, would take all these experiences and trying to create a system out of it, out of them. Then loneliness is there. But loneliness is an issue of postmodern.

OK. We used, we, we, we are human beings, gregarious animals. And we have done everything we can in the postmodern world through the values of autonomy and individualism and self-made. OK? And success. We have done everything we can to increase self and diminished community. There are a lot of good things about this because I think everybody has the right to build a journey and find fulfillment fulfillment. But the price is enormous. You know, they, they just keep, you know, the, the longest study on, on, on human fulfillment by Harvard that began in 19 thirties of on a group of over 600 males just came out a book. I forgot the name of the, of the head of the research of both of the longest study on well being.

And the conclusion of the study is that the number one, number one factor on happiness is community day people with mental illness already feel like freaks. We don’t belong. OK. We have issues of self definition. Do we belong to humanity? Are we out on the margins of the cosmos? OK. Are we an anomaly? I would like sometimes run on a parallel universe. OK. We don’t find work. We feel still alienated. There are many of us living their lives in a room, isolated, fearful of communicating. OK. Then in a world of loneliness for everybody, we are loneliness, over loneliness, over all loneliness. You know, the deepest loneliness.

I don’t like social media in many ways. But I know many people who have found communities through social media and then my advice for them is find the right community. Mhm OK. I don’t think that social media is bad. I think that you have to be selective and smart about which community you engage with. I am still believing that faith communities are very powerful. Ok. Maybe you’re not religious, maybe you don’t have a strong belief but to have a place to go where people are nice and people care. Ok. Wow. That could be healing. Ok. Then try to find a place with good people. Ok. Uh, I go once in a while to a group. Ok. One, you know, therapeutic group. Ok. Is wonderful. Sometimes I say I don’t want to hear problems and, and I don’t go this week because I have enough with mine.

OK. But some sometimes to go on to hear that you’re not alone. You know, that, that, that’s saying that the pain of others doesn’t diminish your pain is wrong. Unfortunately, the pain of others diminish your pain in terms that you are not a lonely voice in the universe, you touched on happiness. Um D does the does happiness and loneliness um correlate in terms of if you have a community, you’re also more happy. That’s what the study show study after study after study, find a correlation between community and happiness. I mean, it’s established scientifically. OK. Is there is no question about it? And you’re talking to somebody who is not the community oriented person. I am a reader, a medi meditate. I like to be mostly by myself. OK. Uh But, but the power of community is it’s uh is proven uh has to be a healthy community.

OK? It has to be a community of people who care has to be a community of people who respect you who are there for higher values. OK? It’s not just being with people although there is value to that too, OK? You are isolated to go and have a you know, a drink with your friends. That’s good too. But on an ongoing basis, there are communities that are, they are empathic. OK? But, but no question that it has been shown today beyond dispute, that community is essential for the well-being well-being of the person. And at the same token, people with mental illness are the most isolated people. Then here you have a terrible potential dynamics. OK? Of the condition with us, isolate you and solutions which are connected to community uh make community go whatever that is OK.

OK. Then on your list of goals about getting better one, it should be. How can I increase my community approach? Oo OK. Don’t think that you’re going to get out of this by yourself. Al Al although I am in that way, I always, I always think that the journey to getting better begins with self-awareness but but but community is so important. We saw it on COVID by the way, you know, we are we we, you know today after a year after two years of being isolated and suffering. By the way, I think that we should be a society where community is self evident if we don’t understand the power of community after being isolated, OK? And restrained from others to freedom from others, then we will never learn. OK. The depression that took that, that rampant in this country, OK?

Through COVID. Then then in some way, Thomas, you know, I, I should be preaching to the choir here in terms of the power community. Well, that comes back to the uh self reflection thing, right? If you’re uh if you’re conscious of why things are happening, then you, you would admit that that’s the case. But if you’re, if you’re not self aware, then you probably wouldn’t notice, right? That’s why I am a, I am a champion of positive psychology and I, and, and you know, I’m going now to Chile uh Argentina and Mexico on a very long trip of over, you know, a month and a half and I’m going to be talking about mental illness and my, my book, which I in a few minutes, I’m going to, to invite people to download for free. Um Then you stay to the end of this. By the way, you’re listening, wait to the end, you’ll get the book for free. Um uh Then I’m going to be traveling to those three countries on a crazy schedule.

I’m going to be talking about mental illness uh at the new book, but it’s all going to be from the perspective of positive psychology. Could you give a summary of the difference between normal psychology and positive psychology. Yes, that’s a great question. Po psychology was born in 1998 is relatively new by Martin Seligman Psychologist who upon was the president of the Association of Psychologist in the United States. And differently from traditional psychology party. Psychology is psychology. What works? Ok. Traditional psychology work with work with neurosis trauma. Ok. What is not going well then Martin Seligman said, wait a minute, that’s not all who we are. Our psyche also has good things going on. Flourishing, happiness, courage, resilience, optimism. OK. These are all part of our psychic system and we are writing articles and doing everything to try to fix problems instead of learning how to maximize what works.

Why we don’t have papers and studies and experiments on flourishing. Why we don’t have those experiments or how to become more optimistic and a revolution was created. And now we have hundreds thousands of studies of, of, you know, just to give you the power of this positive psychology was the most attended class at Harvard. Ever more than business. More than technology, more law school. This was taught by psychologist Talvin Shahar at Harvard. Positive Psychology, the most attended class. Why? One of the reason reason is that studies show that 45% of college students feel depressed to the point of being dysfunctional. 45% we are a depressed society. OK? And then all run to the positive psychology at Yale Lori Santos at Psychology also taught posi positive psychology.

25% of students at, at Yale took the class. Ok. Then now we have all this body of evidence about the science of flourishing, the science of being happy. And we have an instrument called the va The Values in action that takes only 25 minutes is found at the website via dot com via institute. Is it via institute dot org or via institute dot com? I don’t recall, but you just Google via instrument and it’s free. You can take the instrument for free and we’ll give you the, your 24 strands of positive psychology in hierarchical order. And the top five strengths are your signature strength, which are the ones at the core of what works in you. And then instead off spending our energy on seeing what doesn’t work.

We spend our energy flourishing in. It’s like I tell people imagine that you are 5 ft and an excellent runner at the Olympics. Ok. And a coach comes and says, you know, something do long jam. If you work at it for the next five years, you’re going to get great at it. But you are 552 and you’re running well. Ok, then, then yes, you could spend five years trying to jump long, but you are already good at running. It is better to spend those five years at being even better. What you can do that you’re trying to become what you are not good at. And what we do, usually we think that we are going to get better at fixing problems rather than at being the best we can be at what we are already good. We are, we have this fixing problem mentality and that depresses us.

Then what I do with people is help them to discover what they are already good at that. I don’t know that they don’t know because we don’t, we like we dwell in the problems then with people with mental illness. Imagine Thomas, everything is dark. I am good at nothing. My life is a complete failure. I have no skills and we take the d together. Boom. I did not know that. Curiosity what my top strength. Then the next question is OK. What can you be curious about? And we shift from immediately from lowering our strength to the question of application and it’s a natural move once you know who you are and your strength. The next question is what do I do with them immediately? And I, I’ve seen magic especially not on therapy, so much on coaching.

Clearly, you still need traditional therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy to solve the issues which are traumatic. The positive psychology does not replace traditional approaches but for coaching, for immediate objective making goals making, OK, change your mood, change your self perception. Beginning the journey of self-awareness. I do not know a better tool on my book. Let me, let me you know on my book and let me just invite people. The book is called The Wisdom of Mental Illness. Finding Strength in your struggles. The wisdom of mental illness is free. I wanted this to be for everybody. No barriers and it’s interactive, Thomas. Every chapter, each chapter at the end, there is a link, you can click on the link, go to a dedicated website and an, an anonymously if you want, just share your wisdom.

And it can be found at my website bipolar rabbi dot com. That’s two Rs two rs bipolar rabbi dot com, Raba with two B’s OK, bipolar ra dot com, you can download it. Uh And in one of the chapters, uh Thomas I have in one of the chapters I have the 24 strands of positive psychology. And I have uh an exercise about finding your, your strengths and questions about creating goals based on your strengths. Then then even either you can go to the website of via, you know, the institute where the, the instrument is. But my book also has one chapter, helping people use, they find their strength. But the book also uh just to give you, this is a book about getting to the next level in your journey.

Then there is a chapter on acceptance. There is a chapter on exhaustion, how to deal with exhaustion. There’s a chapter on wholeness. There is a chapter of prayer on prayer. Should we pray? What prayer? Which kind of prayers, how prayer can help. There’s a chapter on diagnosis, how to deal with diagnosis if diagnosis good or bad. That’s a big debate. There’s a chapter on pills, taking medication. What are the pros and cons of taking medications? There is a chapter on uncertainty. How do we deal with certainty? There is a chapter on shame. Ok. How do there’s a chapter of normal? What is normal? Is there a normal, By the way, this is also, you see, I am very philosophical. You asked me about philosophy is a little bit different from other books. You know, this is a book that, that has a very issue which are with mental illness, like diagnosis and pills, but they have a lot of existential issues which are at the core of mental illness. OK? There is a chapter on, on the self. What is the self? OK. How do I look at myself? Because one thing I find that people cannot define who they are to mental illness.

Am I myself or am I my illness? OK. Then, then each chapter is built the same way I begin with testimonies of people with mental illness and my own testimony. Then I go into a definition of what we are studying, a definition of acceptance, for example. Then I go into scientific evidence. I bring two or three summaries, very short of scientific journals about the topic we are we are talking about. Then I bring around 20 quotes from different people with questions. Then you can read the quote and connect it to reality and work with the quotes. Then I have a section of spirituality specifically how to deal about these issues spiritually. And then I have exercises and then the interactive part, then all the chapters you can read the entire book or you can take OK, I have a problem with acceptance. Boom.

I have a problem with exhaustion. That chapter. My friend, my daughter, my son have a problem with uncertainty you can give in that chapter. OK? And because it’s free and I tell you the book came out 10, 10 days ago, I haven’t done yet the campaign and I have already over 100 downloads. OK? Just without having done anything yet. This is a book that you can give to people, you know, they need help is also for caregivers. OK? Then the caregivers, by the way are the heroes of this story. OK? Then it’s also for them. Uh And, and, and uh I hope if many people participate, Thomas, then I go to gather all that wisdom. OK? Your wisdom, the wisdom of people who usually they’re isolated and we are going to put it all together and defeat and kill stigma by adding wisdom to the world.

Here is our voice. Here is our wisdom. OK? You thought, you thought that we have nothing to say that we don’t have any depth that we don’t have any wisdom. Actually, we know our courage. We know our resilience. We want, we know our darkness. We know our light light more than the average person because we’ve been there. We have experienced what no others have. But now we are coming back to the world telling you, sharing with you all we have learned. Well, congratulations uh on becoming an author and uh all the hard work that goes with that and, um thank you for putting it out for free because I think um I more people will almost certainly benefit from uh from the immediate access to it. So um well done there. Uh Do you have any closing thoughts for us today? Yes, I do. Look. Uh I, I believe that everybody no matter what you are and how you are and what you feel and what you experience, everybody had strengths.

The research shows that two thirds of people on this, on this earth suffer from strength blindness. This is research, serious research that people do not know the gift they have. And even in the midst of despair of darkness, those trends remain within you. This is like somebody who goes to your plumber, going to fix a pipe at your home and you have a flood and forgot the toolbox. Everybody has a toolbox with at least five tools. We do not know we have it, forget about using them, forget about having the energy about using them. We are now at the point in which we don’t even know. We have the tools. I invite everybody to explore the book to go to the va site to discover there.

Tr tr that moved me from a couch back to school. OK. And to change the paradigm, III I believe that you’re not defected. You are not a footnote in the universe, you are not a failure, you are the owner of strengths that you do not do not know. And, and by the way, once I get a substantial download of the book, I am going to offer a seminar workshop. People who will follow my got in the book will get my newsletter once a month. And I’m going to begin offering uh workshops on positive psychology and mental illness, discovering your strength for free. OK? Then, then I, I am a man of my person of my world, but I am telling you, I will help you find your strengths. OK?

That’s for me, my commitment. OK? And I am all the way into that. Well, thank you again, Alfredo for telling your story and uh being a great guest today. Pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity. II I, you made, you gave meaning to my day, Thomas.