Bipolar Disorder? Discover The 10/2 Equation


How’s it going for you?

Today I need to talk to you about something that is really bothering me.

You know I get tons and tons of emails, right? Well a lot of them are positive ones, and they make me feel really good, like ones that tell me how much these emails help them, and others on how much they have learned from my courses and things like that, like in all the testimonials

I have.

Those are the emails I really like, and the ones I’m used to, pretty much. But then there are the emails I get that really get me down. And I’m not a person who likes to get down, or who gets down easily.

But I got this email, and this woman went on and on and on about her problems. Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t care about people’s problems, because I wouldn’t be doing

what I’m doing if I didn’t care. You know that, right?

But it’s just that I deal in solutions. That’s what I write about and teach in all my courses, how to find solutions, and how to be solution-oriented:







Not dwelling on the problems is part of it. Being a positive person is another part of it. But definitely NOT being a negative person is NOT part of it! You can’t find ANY solutions that way! And no one likes to listen to a complainer.

I don’t dwell in the negative – I dwell on the positive, and I surround myself with positive people, because they bring me up, and keep me positive, too. I get really disappointed when people around me are negative.

Like this email I got the other day where this woman just went on and on complaining, but didn’t offer any kind of solution to the problems she was having.

To tell you the truth, after reading that email, I felt like I should have charged her a consultant’s fee, like a psychiatrist would do, just for reading (“listening to”) all her complaints!

Now again, I don’t want hate mail for this, or people saying I don’t care, when you know how much I do care.

The point is, after all this positive email I had read, this one negative email had the power to bring me down. Why? Well, I thought about it.

And then I talked to Michele (who works for me) about it.

And she told me about this equation she used when she was bringing up her kids:


Regarding negative people…

If you are a 10 and they are a 2, and you hang around with them, you will not bring them up to an 8, they will bring you down to a 4.


She used this in teaching her children how to choose their friends wisely. But really, can’t you see how it can be used in dealing with bipolar disorder as well?

Here, follow me with this, as I apply it to the email I got. I can either surround myself with positive people or negative people.

Regarding the email I got, I am the 10 and she is the 2. I could try to answer her with positive answers, and try to bring her up to an 8, but considering how negative her email was, most

likely that won’t work, and she will just succeed in bringing me down to a 4 instead.

See what she’s done already? I’m already bummed out about it, feeling negative, letting it upset my day to the point that I’m writing about it in this email!


I can choose to stay a 10 on the positivity scale in the 10/2 Equation. I can let that email go. I can surround myself with positive people. I can stay positive and NOT let negative people bring me down.

These are choices I can make.

People like the lady in the email are going to be negative no matter what. They will try to get other people to listen to them complain, because they are negative and not solution-oriented.

They just want someone to buy into their negativity and listen to them.

But we don’t have to do that. We are TENS! We have a choice! We don’t have to be brought down to 4’s if we don’t want to! We can surround ourselves with positive people!

Have you had problems like I had with this woman?

Have you found yourself surrounded with negative people?

Can you relate to the 10/2 equation?

  1. I think for the most part, to be with a bi polar person takes being a ten most of the time, but we all have our moments whereas we are affected by one of those many episodes. We cannot expect to have our full armour on all the time when it comes to dealing with someone in which we are in a close relationship who is bi polar. Your expectation is beyond realistic. In this instance, I think that you are being callous. I am somewhat disappointed by your response. You do not show empathy or compassion in this instance.

  2. David,
    I really agree with you. I am working toward a 10 after being a 1 and I can’t let these negative ppl bring me down. You seem to be a wonderful person and ignore that depressing letter. You have made a lot of ppls life better and are a hard worker to make ppl understand what is going on in their
    I finally had to understand what

  3. Hi David,

    Now I am a pretty optimistic person,however not to be critical because I absolutely am learning a great deal from your help on Bipolar Disorder. You are a whealth of information, and personal experience with the disorder makes your advice very valuable, but is there not something in your whealth of knowledge that could help this person? Think about it, you definately shoulld not be turned into a “Dear Abbey” but “Dear Experienced One” maybe should merit advice from you?

  4. Yeah! Even if you know the negative is not about you; it still infects you. I have the crease between my eyes to prove it. Just from one year of full time caring for my husband after a head and body injuries from a car accident. His migraines were so severe, no medication could relieve them. I could not find a support group that had anything positive to say. They were all venting still about how horrible their brain injured spouse was/is acting. I couldn’t find anyone that had cared for a brain injured spouse that hadn’t gotten a divorce. Because I didn’t want to pass this negativeness and complaining to someone else (not that I had anyone to talk to), I absorbed it. It’s as if…when you have no one to “share” it with that will validate (tell you it’s real what you’re feeling and thinking); you can’t help but let it affect you. I know no one wants to hear the negative and it does bring you down. But if you are listening to someones problems to allow them to voice and progress; aren’t you really being a positive. If your positive doesn’t bring up the negative around you; what will? I still needed someone to listen to my negative experience to tell me what I felt was justified and that someone cared. That’s just a fact.

  5. I think T said it right. You have put yourself out there in the virtual world to assist all bipolar disorder supporters. There are many who fear that nothing is going to change. That things are always going to be as negative as they are now. These people are reaching out to you for guidance. If you are going to be able to help, you have to be prepared to hear all of the negativity from people who need some positive guidance. That’s all it is. At some point we all become afraid, even if for just a moment, that this is it. Nothing is going to change. My husband is bipolar. I suffered through many years, praying every day. Recently, I became pregnant with our second child and he went into a bad manic episode and pushed me down with our daughter in my arms. The next day he woke up and talked to me. He had decided to finally follow through with treatment. For five weeks, he has been the person I always knew he was. I know things still can change, but I am still holding onto the faith I always had.

  6. Think about it this way. If she brought you down to a four, you probably brought her up to a four as well.

  7. Wow! I am a spouse of a bipolar — a burned out one because I have JUST BARELY found your website, and before that NO ONE could or would help me figure out how to BE in the quagmire I found myself in. Now I didn’t read the email to you, but sometimes people are negative because they have looked and looked and have NOT FOUND solutions and therefore feel hopeless. Yes, I desperately want to be surrounded by people who are 10s, but guess what?? I live with one who is a 2 and on most days am struggling to get to a 4. So, at face value, I think that if you really believe what you espouse about helping those of us who haven’t yet learned what you’ve learned, than ignoring the negative lady’s email is negative on your part. You don’t KNOW that she cannot or will not change and a kind word from you just might make the difference in her shitty day today.

  8. I think that you are wonderful Dave and I am sure that there are people that are quite negative and you are correct that can and will bring you down if you let them. Stick with the positive people.

    And bi polar people do have a tendency to go on and on.
    Frankly I know, I am one and so is my daughter.

    But we love you and hope you stay strong.

  9. Hello Dave!i know how you fill,Iam the one suffering from Bipolar Disorder,P.T.S.D.AND MY WIFE IS #10 AND IAM #1AND EVERY DAY I GET NOTHING BUT NEGATIVE to find peace we sleep in seperate bed rooms and talk with cell phone or computer.Dave, reading your letters on a daily basic bring me much release,and i have a wonderful doctor that see me once a week.thank you dave for every thing.

  10. Wow! I was really surprised at the negativity you showed in your response. Perhaps you were having a bad day. I live with two 2’s who are bipolar and in a state of depression and very negative. I can’t send them away and only surround myself with 10’s. However I can “be there” for them by just listening to them, making sure they are taking their medication and seeing their therapists. I don’t have to solve all their problems, but be their friend. I do choose to have as many other 10’s in my life as I can. Perhaps this lady just needed someone to listen. We all need that from time to time. I suggest you try not to internalize their problems. By the way, I want to thank you for the wonderful help you provide us supporters. You are the best.


  12. I agree with David. Negative people can pull us down. It is not our responsibility to pull them up. Our first responsibility is to look after ourselves what flows from that allows us to care for others.

  13. Hi David,

    I would like to thank you for your deep reflection on negative versus positive when it comes to disappointments in our lives. The point I got from you post is that no matter how much we may want to help or advise someone who is focused on the negative and complaining about everything, it is nearly impossible to do so because their negativity does not leave any opening to see the experience in a different manner.

    An example would be to see something we don’t like as something positive (although it can be difficult) like a learning experience or motivation to learn more, do more, listen more, be quiet more… I could go on and on and I’m sure others have things that could be added.

    Almost anything that can be viewed negatively can be also viewed in a positive way if one exerts a little more effort. I say this because I have found that being negative is so much easier… one does not have to be as creative but it well worth the time and effort put forth.

    The most important thing in all this (and is what I heard you saying) is that being positive and putting forth more effort is the way things get solved or if not solved entirely they can be made easier to cope with.

    Thanks for your insight as always. I hope everyone who reads your email post can understand that you do mean well and it sometimes takes the person on the other side to let go of their negativity in order to solve problems!

    Good Job!!!!!! and thanks again for your support is has been most helpful to me as I do my very best to be a supporter to my bipolar hubby. 😉

  14. Dear David,
    you are 100 per cent correct. Being around negative people pulls you down. I get so disappointed when I am around negative people. It is so hard to remain up, it is exhausting at times to remain up. My husband is negative 99.9 per cent of the time. I have learned to talk to myself even if it is out loud to counter his negatives. I also have my mom with me and she is like a minus ten …she is so negative. Too much energy on negative. I am striving for positive and your emails do help.

  15. Dear Dave,
    That old saying “misery likes company” fits in well with this conversation: when my daughter is depressed it really doesn’t matter how much positive thought I speed her way she will reject it- because we live together now with her two boys- I have had to work out exit strategies that will allow me to withdraw from conversations with her yet remind her I’m keeping a watching brief on her situation ( because I know she maybe going into a BP depression)because you are right if Im a 10 and Rachel is a 2 today I will land up a 4 really quickly . I don’t take my fears to my supporters place( in this case my sister’s place) I go to enjoy her sweet company and her laughter and her gossip for a few hours until I have refilled my positive tanks back up to the brim.Then I will return home a far better supporter than when I left.And if I can’t find a friend I will go and find a beautiful place like Western Springs park where the kids can ride their bikes madly and feed the ducks and become amazed at the friendly eels that live in the springs and we all stay there until we are filled up with positivity. And sometimes we can manage to drag along their mother so that she may become refreshed .
    When there are times I need to discuss negative aspects I search for someone like my son who will give me great advice who will validate me who loves his mum. But I am very careful with his resource and try hard not to inundate him with my woe.
    And then there are the mental health proffessionals I can always call them up for a discussion and although they are overworked themselves I might find some useful techniques and I can also alert them to my observations and fears of my daughters condition.
    You are right I can chose to be a 10.

  16. Dear David, I just wrote a post and it disappeared as I hit the submit comment button. I had poured my heart into it and it’s gone so I am a little closer to a 2 right this minute. For the most part I am a negative person but I also have a positive side. I am positive that there is a lot to be negative about! I am very sick physically besides being bipolar. I am very lonely as I lay in my hospital bed most days and I delight in talking to others who feel hopeless because I feel other peoples pain in my heart and truly can empathize with them. I share my pain and listen to theirs. I try to encourage them by helping them to appreciate the little things I call “miracles” each day. My dogs “sense” when I need a nose nudge or a good lick on the hand. I have the internet-thank God! I have cable TV so I always have company. I can look out of the window and watch rabbits and squirrels play. I have good memories of my parents and I was with them when they left this life and I was able to kiss them good-bye. I have a son that survived having half of his brain removed and a daughter that has given me 3 beautiful granddaughters. My daughter is also very sick but she doesn’t give up, she fights every day and I am thankful for that. We all have problems and we can help each other appreciate the good things we have left. I share my life with a wonderful man who treats me really good. He has heart failure and rods in his spine. We are both disabled and whenone of us gets down, we pick the other up. I have a wonderful friend 1000 miles away who listens to me complain and cry when I think I cannot take the pain-physical and mental anymore and she never gives up on me. She is also a miracle in my life. I have an adopted grandma I send cards to all the time because she too is lonely and needs my love like I need hers. I have a stepdaughter and grandchild that I text daily and am able to pep her up, too. She lost a baby last September to SIDS. Taylor was 5 months old when she went to sleep and did not wake back up. I was there to hug my stepdaughter as we laid little Taylor to rest. Now we have Maddie and she was on her way before we knew it and brings light back to her Moms eyes. We need each other because we can share the 1-10% every day because each day is different for us all and a day can start at 1 and end at 10 or start at 10 and end at 1. So if we can just make it with each others help no matter what ‘cos we are all gonna be negative sometimes and positive sometimes. We need to meet at least halfway somehow every day. I tend to go on and on, so I know you probably won’t print all of this, but you do a good job and I thank you for your encouragement to keep going when the going gets tough and to be thankful for the gifts I have left in my life. At least I do still have a life and that too is a miracle for me. Thanks for letting me share, Debbie

  17. David, I don’t know how to email you but I registered for the free Bipolar Success Package you offered and put in my credit card number and all my personal info and it kept having me back up and do it again and then said it was a duplicate order. Have I or have I not ordered and paid for this, $6.99 s&h? Am I gonna get the package or not or did I do something wrong? Is it a scam like so many others or are you for real? I can’t afford to get ripped off again from anyone because I like to believe people are decent and good but I have been taken advantage of and I am bankrupt now. Please let me know somehow what has happened with my info and if I am getting anything other than my identity stolen again. Debbie Moore

  18. Yup – brought this 10/2 equation up to my husband a few years ago and he was waaayyy too manic and negative to even understand it anyway. I say this because when he is manic he is even more negative than ever. On a good day he rains on anyone else’s parade, on a bad day there will be no parade b/c you will be in your bomb shelter protecting yourself from his nasty mooods. I tried explaining the health benefits of looking at life positively for years to him and it all fell on deaf years. Now he lives in a terrible situation and contact has ceased until he is willing to take a treatment program seriously that will help him with empathy, “the power of positive thinking” and general boundaries about how destructive moods and behavior affects other people around you (he likes affecting other people – example: we are on a wish trip for my son, we are eating in the special restaurant to meet the characters. He has us all in tears and the day is ruined because he has been negative and nasty to each of us and all of us. We lose our appetites and the pictures with the characters don’t show big happy emotionally healthy smiles on the kids. They have had their fun ruined one more time. When I reminded him that we were there to make good memories nad enjoy our time together as a family, more negative energy flowed out of his mouth. After that, we no longer took him along anywhere we went if we could avoid it or him or his negative moods, it was healthier for all of us. The “switch” is the part I don’t understand. Sitting watching a baseball game, everyone is fine and happy and all of the sudden it’s like a cyclone has hit. He gets in a nasty mood, starts abusing, becomes severely negative toward us, the tv, the players, anything and everything. It turns into us being scared of his anger each time. And I am always left to wonder, hnow in the world does that “switch” happen? Mood changes that happen that fast and then the explosions. Not fun, not healthy and not ok. He calls his manic states “passion”, we call them abuse. He can bring everyone down in a room within minutes of entering the room = he is a one, we are tens always trying to lean into the light of positive thinking, and we get sucked nad pulled down to his one and we hate it. It is exhausting and not healthy. They talk alot about this type of thing in co-dependent books.

  19. Hi David it is Maria again. I never knew that blogging could be so encouraging and helpful. Some of the bloggers are so inspiring, as you are. In some cases I was brought to tears by the love they displayed for their loved ones.I myself am very new to Bipolar Disorder and PTSD.
    But the love I feel for my significant other is so strong and deep as his is for me, that I can’t read enough about it. This is why my username is Seekingknowlege.

    David I also ordered the DVD you offered for free but I keep getting emails about ordering it. I do feel you are not scamming me or anyone one else, so can you just send me an email to confirm if my order was processed or not.

    Thanks David,for doing what you do to provide assistance and support…

  20. This is a tricky one for me, and is not as simple an issue as it first appears. I have had bipolar for about 16 years so i have had my fair share of depression. I know what it’s like to be and feel like the negative one, and maybe that’s why sometimes I find it so hard to hear it from anyone else…

    also, my mum, who is not bipolar, but does get depressed, can be incredibly negative. It’s a difficult balancing act, staying well, and positive myself in the face of her negativity. I try not to buy into or indulge her negativity, and have learned not to offer positive suggestions/solutions either as these are often thrown back in my face and not appreciated, even taken as not really caring. It does seem to be a lose, lose situation sometimes, where I become the baddie. Also, she reminds me of all the times she’s supported me when I was unwell, argghh.

    It’s hard, the more i think about it, to strike a balance between supportive listening, and staying well myself. If I’m honest I think some people just are more negative than others, and where possible I try to avoid them for my own well being. Thanks to everyone else who has shared on this.

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