Tag Archives: life

Go Away Anxiety, You Have No Friends.

Having an anxiety attack is no walk in the park, it’s really quite disturbing, you believe that something is physically wrong with your body. I begin by having non-stop over-analytical thoughts followed by light headiness, limp arms and heartburn/palpitations that can last hours (I never get heartburn unless I’m experiencing anxiety), to say the least it isn’t a cup of tea. In my own way I triggered my anxiety by having distrust in another, I couldn’t stop myself. Anxiety can be like a dictating sovereign, ruling your moves and planting seeds of doubt in your foundations. I start to see every opposing and unbalancing situation in my life as a battle, a battle that has to be won, sacrificing your casualties and making the most of the fighting force that you have left. Why does everything have to be war though, bleak, desolate and crippling.

The aftermath of a war sometimes having more devastating consequences than the actual battle. We learn from war, we learn what we can do better next time, we learn what worked and what didn’t and how to best remain afloat. To be brutally honest during this war on anxiety I was a bitch, leaving causalities strewn in my wake. Today I realized what I had done, the thick curtain of anxiety lifting, the storm had past, now I need to workout what I do and don’t have to apologize for. I’ve been trying to get off my medication, but I’ve failed and the embedded reliance and unsubstantiated belief in the worth of psychiatry and psycho-pharmacology has won out.

anxiety-girl-funny-quotes

“We Were Born Sick, You Heard Them Say It”.

Looking at the cultural sociology of mental illness.  

Mental illness can be interpreted as the most solitary of afflictions to the people who experience it, but it’s the most social to those who experience its effects. It becomes difficult to draw and define specific boundaries around mental illness and distinguish it from eccentricity or mere idiosyncrasy. It’s nearly impossible to clearly differentiate  an obvious line of difference between madness and malingering, mental disturbance and religious inspiration. Erving Goffman sought to dismiss mental illness as a purely socially constructed category, limited as a mere matter of labels. By exploring the quintessentially individual act of suicide an expansion from Gothman’s mere labels can be  expounded upon. Suicide is directly linked with mental illness, by examining this relationship the most florid manifestations of mental disturbance can be observed.

Mental illness has been interpreted as a product of sociological factors, an ‘anomie’ or the failure of sociological order to adequately regulate the beliefs and behaviors of its members. It has often been questioned whether people should take the Thomas Scheff approach, whereby the medical model of mental illness is dismissed and replaced with the societal reaction model, wherein patients were the victims of psychiatry. Advances within the cultural sociology of mental illness encompasses the progressive abandonment of the prior commitment to the segregative responses to serious mental illness and the run-down of the state hospital sector, the collapse of psychoanalysis – replaced by biological basis, the psychopharmacological revolution, the so-called neo-kraepelinian revolution, and the rise of the DSM to the position of overwhelming importance  – worldwide.

Sociology demotes psychiatry to a belief in vague predispositions to nervousness or madness, with no proven bodily cause, promoting their lack of clear-cut laws pertaining to their biological research, dealing with symptoms, not signs.  Diagnosing a person’s mental illness becomes based on the judgments generated through their communications, their treatments based off their diagnosis lacking widespread specificity. Psychiatry relying on psychoanalysis also called depth or psychodynamic psychology, proposes that the mind is divided in conscious and unconscious parts and that the dynamic relationship between these gives rise to psychopathology (the study of the manifestation of behaviors and experiences which may be indicative of mental illness or psychological impairment).

pill-person

Psychoanalysis becoming paradoxical because it’s concerned with the notion that we are all ill – psychopathology is ubiquitous, varying between individuals only in degree and type. These norms discerned within psychoanalysis mediated by the intrapsychic mechanisms. Norms within society imply that an ideal notion of mental illness exists, although it would be limited by its susceptibility to be meaningful to those only in a culture who subscribe to their theoretical premises, emphasizing its lack of unity and ineffectual distribution on a wider scale. Cultural notions of mental illness also initially linked  early biological psychiatry immediately with the mad, the bad and the dim. Sociology further attacks the definitions given to mental illness, arguing that the inter-dependent constituents are not defined or explained in relation to their classification of impairment, disturbance, disability, disorder etc.

We were born sick, you heard them say it”. To reiterate the heading and these fantastic lyrics – I think that they reinforce the schema that is associated with mental illness and to an extant the relationship/pattern between cultural/environmental influences on the etiology of mental illness.

Lately I’ve been living in the daydream just behind reality’s veiled curtain. The unsuspecting whore of mental illness, my ability to be both a victim and a rational opportunist. The victim to the triggers that my mind shudders against, the twisted opportunist that seeks the deep dark insights pertaining to the inner turmoil and joy. It’s a pretty twisted sick cycle, but its ok at the moment. It’s more of an ongoing ‘normal in training’ session. I keep wondering if my psychiatrist will ever give me a ‘gold star’ or tick of approval or whether we are all merely the embodiment of an epic psychoanalysis that perceives all as ill. Relying on my psychiatrist as my state-licensed drug dealer who specializes in ‘mood-altering’ drugs, hoping to create a balance which has to be practiced every day. Do we take the early sociological stance that no one is mentally ill or abide by the strict categorizations of mental illness that are created and regulated by so few. Life is to constantly challenge all that confounds you, rejecting the notions of those who remain unsubstantiated and to remain skeptical of those wishing you to blindly follow their ideologies.

Lemonade Is Hard.

When life gives too many lemons, say “fuck off lemons, I ordered pie.”

It’s becoming way too hard to make lemonade. Life keeps throwing lemons your way but you can’t be bothered to make stupid lemonade. When you simply lack the strength and motivation to go through the motions.

When lemonade is simply too hard to make, you know that depression has definitely set in. It usually means you aren’t leaving bed or even buying groceries.

STAY POSITIVE 🙂 buy a juicer.

 

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23.

It’s looming, coming closer, I can feel the air becoming stagnant and distasteful. I have an overwhelming feeling of unbalance filling my mind, every year it’s the same, on Thursday I will be ‘celebrating’ my birthday…*cue horror screams* Lately I haven’t felt like writing, or doing anything for that matter. Each year it feels like my life has been put up on the high stakes table where it is scrutinised under industrial lights, the winner of the game will take all. Every year I try and fill the day with activities that will divert the always impending dread. The build up to the day acts as a depressive trigger, filling my thoughts with distorted discontentment. The morning after my birthday it’s as if none of it mattered, my emotions are still a little bit dulled and muted, but I would’ve weathered the emotional storm. With each birthday people have to confront the fact that they may not have achieved all they had hoped they would in that year.

That they may not be where they would be like to, the discontentment running deep. I guess at a younger age I always had a vision of where I would be now; birthdays are always filled with both crashing disappointment and anticipatory spikes of happiness. I’m trying to make myself stop and regain sight of things, appreciating the people and things around me instead of the things that are nowhere to be seen. It’s as if a birthday malaise exists, perpetually creeping in each year, slowly whispering in your ear as the day draws nearer and the time to complete your expectations is drawing to a close. I’m not one to let my birthday pass by unnoticed, but I’m highly susceptible to disappointment.

I’ve planned small things this year, not wanting to be uncomfortable in group settings, finding comfort in close friends and family. It’s so hard to let go of being depressed about my birthday so that I can actually enjoy it, trying to release the past disappointment to embrace the present, focusing on progress and not the perfections of one’s life. I need to fix my current mental happiness block that I’ve hit head-on. My happiness has become a single defensive tower that is being attacked repetitively by soldier triggers. I’m starving off depression, the stalemate not helping either side gain the higher ground. The overshadowing queen of darkness keeps on approaching, her army gaining size whilst offering the comforting pit of morbidity as parlay.  She plays her game well. Writing this makes me realize how silly and trivial it is to monopolize a day to such great lengths that you allow it to be a tyrant to your emotions.

On Thursday I will be 23, I will try and not let depression encroach, I will try and remember all the wonderful things I have in my life and not the things I don’t, I will try and not let it dominate who I am. After all it is only a day. Thank you Blink182 lyrics: “Nobody likes you when you’re 23

Dr. Maas acknowledges the “chicken-egg” problem inherent in bipolar and other mood disorders: “Depression can cause extensive insomnia, and insomnia can cause depression—which comes first depends on the individual and the circumstance”. birthday_cat_sad

Humanity’s Icarus Complex.

Firstly a brief tale of Icarus:

Icarus needed to escape from Crete, constructing wings to fly to safety, the wings were made of feathers and wax. He was warned not to fly to low lest his wings get wet and not too high lest the sun melts the wax. The young Icarus was thrilled by the flight, but did not heed the warnings; he flew too close to the sun, at which point the wax melted and he fell into the sea.

Psychology has termed a concept the ‘Icarus complex’ which centers on a person’s insatiable ambition and the need to achieve excess in all things. To the Greeks the Icarus complex was known as hubris, the excessive pride and ambition usually leading to the downfall of the hero in a classical tragedy. The Icarus complex psychologically becomes a pattern that humanity exhibits through burning ambition and exhibitionism, often understood through the subjective lens that depicts a precipitous fall whilst craving immortality. The psychological characterisation of Icarus before his fall becomes an inevitable connection between the ascensionist and the narcissist cynosure.  Finally when Icarus has attained an excessive height he falls as his waxen wings have been melted by the sun. Stanley Kubrick taking the Apollonian stance towards Icarus’ flight: “I’ve never been certain whether the moral of the Icarus story should only be, as is generally accepted, ‘don’t try to fly too high,’ or whether it might also be thought of as ‘forget the wax and feathers, and do a better job on the wings”. Contrasting to Kubrick is Oscar Wilde and his stance that one should:

“Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all 
Is never to feel the burning light.”

The fall of Icarus becomes a cautionary tale to understand the value of moderation. Henry Murray first coined the term ‘Icarus complex’, later the complex has been associated to mania, whereby a person exhibits grandiosity or narcissistic inclinations and a fascination for heights. The tale of Icarus is to take the middle way, cautioning against the heedless pursuit of instant gratification. The concept of the Icarus complex reveals that when the gap between the idealised goal and reality is great, there is a greater chance that the endeavour will end in failure. Icarus represents the sin of hubris, which can be interpreted through biblical texts which state that pride goes before a fall.

Imagery of Icarus shows him smiling as he descends as his father watches in horror, the painting illustrates that life goes on, the plight of Icarus is irrelevant, the farmer will continue to plough and the ship captain will continue on his voyage without a care as Icarus drowns in the water. The image of Icarus conveys the joy in flight, the value in his triumph, no matter how short-lived. The complex associated with Icarus conveys the pendulous emotional polarities, mania is exhibited by flying too high, whereby he got “burned”, followed closely by his inevitable emotional crash that followed his flight of mania into depression – drowning in the ‘sea’ of depression.

It can be argued that mania can therefore be interpreted as a form of ambition, an excessive ambition that ends in disaster. Another interpretation of Icarus regards his pursuit of enlightenment by transcending the Earth, this suggests grandiosity. The story of Icarus also embodies every humans potential to have differing levels of manic-depressive states, our moods fluctuating. The psychoanalysis of Icarus suggests that he was in a manic state, dominated by hyperactivity and euphoria. Icarus’ state of mind remaining unchecked, progressively losing his sense of reality and oblivious to the potentially fatal risk associated with his flight. His grandiose belief and overestimation of his personal capabilities allow a never ending energy and illusion to drive him onwards.

“It is not a matter of indifference whether one calls something a ‘mania’ or a ‘god’. To serve a mania is detestable and undignified, but to serve a god is full of meaning.” C. G. Jung.

Fall_of_Icarus_-_Brueghel_-Museum_van_Buuren Joos_de_Momper_Icarus

Setting The Fox to Guard The Hen House. The Blind Leading The Blind. Psychiatry’s Grand Confession.

I don’t understand how I’m so late to this uptake.

Psychiatric drugs are now a commodity, consumers passively learning to live with and in many instances enjoy. Discovered by accident and lacking an explanation in relation to why they worked. Initially it appeared that psychiatry had found magical pills which ‘fixed’ depression. Doctors attributed the success of psychiatric drugs to chemical imbalances in their patient’s brains which were fixed as a result. Friedman told Times readers, “just because an S.S.R.I. antidepressant increases serotonin in the brain and improves mood, that does not mean that serotonin deficiency is the cause of the disease”.

I now see my psychiatrist as my state-licenced drug dealer. Specialising in ‘mood-altering’ drugs just like street dealers. “Irving Kirsch’s meta‑analysis of antidepressant trials revealed as being just as efficacious as the SSRIs was … heroin”. The chemical imbalance theory is a sham; used merely to reassure people.  No test result can demonstrate that your brain has a chemical imbalance. The pharmaceutical companies appear to have no idea how exactly their psychiatric drugs work, with no confirmable tests that there is a chemical imbalance.

I have always said that psychiatry and psychology were areas of grey, I misunderstood that our complete diagnosis was based on theories and not concrete scientific data. We are medicated based on our symptoms and the current DSM.  I feel violated by the advertisements, a victim of marketing programs, nicely hiding their lack of knowledge about why their treatments work. I’ve been actively sold repeatedly by the psychiatry industry on the concept that bipolar disorder was a chemical imbalance.

Ronald Pies’ article in Psychiatric Times “Psychiatry’s New Brain-Mind and the Legend of the Chemical Imbalance” acknowledges that the chemical imbalance theory is falsified, merely promoted by pharmaceutical companies even though the psychiatry community were aware that this theory was incorrect. Many patients are given the rationale that the illness is based off a chemical imbalance. The concept of chemical imbalance is definitely last-century thinking, low serotonin levels aren’t likely to cause depression as a study has shown that a normal person depleted on serotonin doesn’t become depressed, maybe an abnormality in the serotonin system instead.

Psychiatry has failed to debunk the chemical imbalance hypothesis which misled public opinion. We have been collectively labelled bipolar, restricted to categorisations and a diagnosed ‘box’ of people with a variety of different aetiologies, believing us to be all the same. It’s becoming an over-common diagnosis; the frequency of both legal and illicit drugs playing a vital role in facilitating mania and the diagnostic criteria for a bipolar diagnosis which has expanded with each new DSM.

I’m going to begin the road to un-diagnose myself, believing that I suffered from Iatrogenesis in relation to drug-induced hypomania. My hypomania was a reaction from anti-depressants, I am aware of the counter argument that I was still hypomanic after the medication had completely left my system, but I still believe there is a point to be argued. I’m going to conduct a new search for holistic well-being and medication free approaches.

FEB 2015 update: A holistic approach has currently failed,  send reinforcements.

Looking Back On My New Year’s Eve, Stupid Decisions & Stability.

The art of self-sabotage.

Just an indulgent repeat of my New Year’s Eve night, these thoughts are getting tedious, drinking is definitely not my friend. Trying to make these experiences ‘life lessons’. 

I had a few drinks; my head was swimming; swimming deep, trapped in the thoughts of the past. My present life is going extremely well, but it always seems that my past plays on my mind, slowly taking away from the joys of the present. I wonder if you can start to forget these thoughts, put them behind you, hoping for a fresh start. I know I’m stable, yet there are always these particular thoughts, amplified by a glass or two of wine. The alcohol brings the past back into clarity, who I use to be and what I use to do to myself. Binge drinker, depressed, self –harm, binge eating to combat depression, attachment issues, suicidal tendencies, un-empathetic, fitness junkie, food restriction and control freak. I think about all of this, I have time off from work and no university at the moment, I feel completely useless and unproductive, spending my days doing nothing. I know I’m stable, but this uselessness isn’t helping me. In the early hours of New Year’s day, as I slowly walked home through the worst parts of town, I knew I was out to hurt myself, I knew full well that it was dangerous to walk here. I stopped on the rickety bridge that was above the overpass, I didn’t move from that spot, wondering what my body would look like if it had fallen and hit the rocks below.

Drinking that night and being on medication wasn’t in my best interest, it was self-destructive. I type these thoughts so that I can put them behind me, hoping they won’t come to haunt me later. I pushed myself away from the bridge, the indulgent distraction led me into a drunken group of men that had been kicked out of a pub, I heard their catcalls, but I wasn’t bothered, I don’t think I cared. Their jeers continued for a while, I kept walking, not enticing them. In the morning the only thought I had about the night was the fact that my heels had allowed me to walk the 6km home without any bother. I didn’t regret the night, the adrenalin I got from my potentially dark walk home served to reinforce the negativity that I had been searching for. My friends said goodbye to me that night, asking where my cab was, telling them it was coming and that they should go back inside, I started my walk, thinking that I needed to clear my head, but there wasn’t anything to clear, just an angry voice inside that was egging me on just to see what would happen, there wasn’t any weighing up of risks, I just walked.