Typically, Truth Tastes Funny episodes are stand-alone, surfing freely from one topic to another. However, the response to Season 2/Episode 14 with Therapy Twins Joan and Jane Landino has been so strong, that I am bookending it with Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski – aka “The Bipolar Rabbi.” Bipolar disorder symptoms can be misleading. Manic moods can lead a sufferer to believe they are invincible, that they are beyond treatment, rejecting bipolar medication. Further, as my interview with Rabbi Borodowski reveals, we are still in the very early stages of mining the mentally ill for insights that can change the game in terms of treatment for mental health issues of all kinds.
The Rabbi’s work goes far beyond mental health awareness or even treatment. “I want the mentally ill to package this knowledge and sell it to the world. I want the mentally ill to be entrepreneurial,” he says. “Those of us with mental illness have not yet bought into our own strengths. We are looking at ourselves as second-class citizens. We have to shift a paradigm about how we see ourselves. Stigma is not going to diminish because we beg for compassion. Stigma is going to diminish because we bring to the world our added value and contribution, and because we take our place as players around the table of proactive wisdom.”
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More from Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski:
“My name is Rabbi Alfredo Brodowski, Ph.D., MSW, also known as “The Bipolar Rabbi.” In June 2013, the Mamaroneck police arrested me for impersonating a police officer. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar. In the ensuing seven days, I was fired from my position as executive director of a prestigious institute and ridiculed by the press as “the Road Rage Rabbi.” My world collapsed. I then spent several months paralyzed on a couch with depression. But I persevered and thrived once again, becoming a social worker. A factor tipped the scale in my favor; I discovered Positive Psychology. Positive psychology studies the strengths that make us fulfill our potential. Knowing my strengths allowed me to overcome my negative thoughts and move forward.
My upcoming interactive book, The Exceptional Wisdom of the Most Unusual Minds, invites readers to create a community of mental illness wisdom.