Tag Archives: mental disorder

People Are Strange. Wine Is Better.

Lately I’ve become so self-absorbed, I’m not happy, I’m not anything, but maybe that’s just how I’m meant to be. We don’t get born into this life to be happy, I guess we get born to experience, whether it be happiness or sadness or anything in between. I have no reason to be unhappy, I’ve tried enough medication to know that maybe this is just the way I’m meant to be, contained in a simple and sometimes satisfactory existence, I haven’t helped anyone, I can’t even help myself.

I miss hypomania, at least I felt something more. Instead I look calm and collected on the outside, my mind constantly trying to stay afloat among the negativity on the inside. Running away will never make anything better, I need to keep reminding myself this. It seems like humans have reached a point where we keep trying to teach ourselves how we are meant to be or feel, but this doesn’t make it right. It’s not like all the other species in the world go to extreme lengths to achieve happiness from an introspective position. I keep plastering a smile on my face, going through the daily motions of the expected emotions, I keep hoping that this will get better. Maybe it will matter later, maybe it won’t, maybe I will just keep drinking my wine, and hoping sleep comes quicker, daylight always keeping the darker notions at bay.

In the altered words of the monopoly man: “Go directly to Depressiondo not pass go, do not collect $200″. Its ok, I never win at monopoly anyway.

alice-in-wonderland-crazy-deep-depression-Favim.com-1960257

Three Months of Freedom. I’m Back.

It’s been three months without thinking about Bipolar Disorder. Three months ago my psychiatrist started to think that I could potentially be Borderline Personality Disorder comorbid with Bipolar Disorder, it’s taken me two months to even acknowledge this. Borderline Personality Disorder can often co-occur with Bipolar disorder, having numerous overlapping symptoms. My psychiatrist sees the disorders linked in some people, existing on a mood spectrum where they interconnect. I’m against this analysis, I was mad, I’m still a bit mad. I slowly began to take myself off my medication. I cancelled all my other upcoming appointments, in my mind it was a big f*** off to mental health. I was good, I was on university holidays, no stress, nothing to trigger mood instabilities, and it was nice. University went back 4weeks ago, so I took myself back to the doctors, my psychologist, in contrast to my psychiatrist she doesn’t believe I’m BPD, but reaffirmed her belief that I need to monitor my moods and stay on top of my emotions. My psychologist forced the importance of Bipolar Disorder awareness back into the forefront of my mind. I’m still medication free, but the reality of mental illness is scary.

For anyone else who is or potentially has both Bipolar Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder.

Development/Nature of the Illness:

Borderline personality disorder is a type of “personality disorder” which essentially means that it is a developmental condition – something that has evolved through the entire development of a person’s emotional/behavioural infrastructure.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that presents acutely or sub acutely (less than acute) sometime in a person’s life and is not, at least as we define it now, a condition that is part of a person’s core personality structure.

Course/Presentation of Symptoms:

Borderline symptoms are present as a person’s baseline– their difficulties with mood regulation and impulsivity, their ups and downs, are part of their life all the time. They are always up and down.

Bipolar symptoms present in episodes that must be a change from the person’s baseline – that is part of the diagnostic definition. Their episodes of depression or mania are a change from who they are when they are feeling well.

So the most annoying part of all of this: HOW CAN I BE BOTH! Uh… Having to exist on a spectrum with both, I don’t exhibit all symptoms of either.

Would love to hear from other people’s experiences.

Hope everyone has been well and happy. Love Alice.

*image by ahermin

Euphoric or Dysphoric? Ramblings… I’m Probably Nuts.

Looking at this post in the daylight I can definitely tell it’s been hypomaniacally induced. Sorry to anyone who read this post earlier, to those reading it now – it could’ve been worse.

*CRINGES* What an awful week. It’s been is an emotional riot, my emotions lashing out, stress setting them free (or the anti-depressant which has been added to my cocktail…), the dissent is definitely making itself at home.

I’m pretty sure I experienced a hypomanic episode for all of one day, I think. Wanting to rearrange all my furniture at 9pm at night and starting to sand back other furniture for my DIY projects is usually a giveaway for me. It’s like I have to do something, but not any of the things I’m meant to be doing (sorry university work, you will still be there in the morning). After recognising this and my annoying/over the top behaviour which my partner told me was annoying, not to mention talking too fast and having snowball like ideas – they are always great ideas, anyway – point being I quickly took all my medication because I didn’t want to sleep (doubling the sleep meds) and proceeded to knock myself out. Waking up the next morning I felt extremely normal, except the following days I became so discontent that I’m just not happy with anything, it’s usually furniture (I swear I can be obsessive compulsive sometimes). I’m still discontent, I don’t want to go home and deal with my head being even more unhappy. I’m currently in my university’s 24hr library at 1am, who needs sleep anyway?!

I actually had a point to this post which wasn’t meant to be drowning in my current whinging and whining state. POINT: I liked to believe that to experience hypomanic symptoms you were meant to have the episode for 4+ days, they failed to mention that these mood extremities could take place daily and leave as quickly as they came without being classified as an ‘episode’. Some people only experiencing (hypo)mania once, others (apparently) have daily mood swings regardless of their diagnosis into our ‘categories’, each individuals pattern is distinctive. My only hypomanic episode was one which lasted around a week, I’m now realising that other times I have experienced the same symptoms for shorter durations – “hypomanic episodes tending to last a few hours or a few days”. I’m under the firm belief that I don’t have rapid cycling; instead I have fluctuating moods based on stress levels.

John Preston, PsyD, Psychology: “During euphoric hypomanic episodes, people have a heightened sense of well-being and are very productive and gregarious. During dysphoric episodes, people are agitated, pessimistic, and restless.

Even people who always take their medication and are careful with their health can still have mood swings from time to time. That’s why it’s important to catch changes in your mood, energy levels, and sleeping patterns before they develop into something serious.” – What arseholes.

People with bipolar disorder are seven to eight times more likely to experience an unwanted, extended period of extreme mood shift — failure of their usual coping mechanisms — in response to a stressful life event,” says Dr. Bennett.

Ramble: Appetite suppressants have been linked to manic episodes…great, no quick fix skinny pills for me then.

Interesting abstract from a site I found:

“Anxiety, mood and energy, all waving up and down, sometimes with each other, sometimes one going off without the others:  a total mess, right?

People with such instability have big changes in their mood, or energy, or creativity over time. Here the green curve represents mood, the red curve represents energy, and the black curve represents “intellect” (speed of thought, creativity, ability to connect ideas).

KraepelinWavesAs you can see, if they all go up together — and far enough “up” — this would be what is commonly called a manic or hypomanic episode, as shown at point A on the graph. If they all come down together, far enough, that would be an episode of “major depression”, as shown at point B. But now we can see how “agitated depression” could be part of a bipolar problem, when the energy curve is up while the others are down, as at point D.

Point C represents an unusual combination usually recognized only on inpatient psychiatry units, when a person is agitated yet hardly moves, so-called “manic stupor”. But imagine what a milder version of this would look like: the person would know she needed to get moving, indeed she would be thinking of many things she needed to be doing, and she might really want (in a very powerful way) to be doing them, and yet her body would refuse to go along. She would be lying there on the couch, miserable yet not really depressed, wondering what was wrong with her and why she couldn’t get herself going.

Point B represents another very important combination we psychiatrists see commonly: the energy wave is up, but the mood wave is down (in this case, the timing is such that the intellect wave is up too, but not as high as the energy — yet there are many combinations, as you’ll see in a moment). This could be called “dysphoric mania”: energized, as in a usual manic phase, but mood is very negative.”

**********

Okay, new point:

  • Bipolar Disorder is clearly handled with medication first, bipolar-specific psychotherapies coming second.
  • Self-harm: Isn’t always about the excessive depressive/self-hate/suicidal times, sometimes it’s an attempt to ‘treat’ severe agitation or as a punishment. The behaviour often disappearing quickly when the agitation is reigned in.
  • It’s getting sadder, the more I have to face my own reality, I can’t deny Bipolar Disorder anymore, it’s becoming too blatant and overbearing
  • Caffeine can cause hypomania ‘like’ symptoms…yay…
  • Current evaluation: I get super excited for particular activities (DIY/buying furniture etc), start doing a bunch of things, only to run out of steam, spending way too much money, asking myself why am I doing this?! I have much more important other things that need to be completed – needless to say, I’m here typing instead of doing all the important things, looking up journal articles about Bipolar Disorder to seek comfort in knowledge.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive…Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly” ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭

Medication: 400mg Lamictal, 25mg Quetiapine & 3mg Haloperidol. Mostly taken consistently.
*image by angrymikko

 

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.

Playing Devil’s Advocate With Key Religious Figures And Mental Illness Correlations.

Disclaimer: Not my own thoughts, the research is from the Journal of Neuropsychiatry – The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered. This blog entry is me playing devil’s advocate to provoke debate; I’m not in any way trying to undermine a person’s religious beliefs, simply trying to encourage discourse underlying subconscious preconceptions of mental illness within religion.  


Thoughts to be considered before reading:
-Why would it be so bad if the inspirational figures in religious history experienced mental illness?
-Why do we subconsciously reject the thought that God wouldn’t work through people who have mental illnesses?
-Does being mentally ill make you exempt from God’s work and unable to meaningfully participate in worship when one in four people have been statistically proven to suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives.

The awkward moment when it becomes plausible that Jesus suffered from Schizophrenia (Just to clarify: this wouldn’t in anyway take away from his religious position, history and achievements).

A study was conducted by psychiatrists when they were presented with a concept by a paranoid schizophrenic patient, who claimed that he could read minds and was selected by God to provide guidance for mankind. The patient refused to take the medication because they stopped the voices, presenting his doctors with the question: “How do you know the voices aren’t real…How do you know I am not The Messiah…God and angels talked to people in the Bible”. The patient raised interesting questions, how does one distinguish between people with mental health disorders and those of religious figures in history?

One of the examples the doctors used in their journal article was Jesus, by examining passages within the bible they located specific areas that presented symptoms of mental illness:
Paranoid-type (PS subtype) thought content: Matthew 10:34–39, 16: 21–23, 24:4–27; Mark 13:5–6; Luke 10:19; John 3:18; John 14:6–11

Auditory and visual hallucinations: Matthew 3:16–17, 4:3–11; Luke 10:18; John 6:46, 8:26, 8:38–40, 12:28–29

Referential thought processes: Mark 4:38–40 (Figure 3); Luke 18:31

Within the New Testament Jesus exhibits behaviours that closely resemble the DSM-IV-TR– Auditory hallucinations, Visual Hallucinations, delusions, referential thinking, paranoid-type, (PS subtype) thought content, and hyper-religiosity. Through the text Jesus also displays signs of disorganization, negative psychiatric symptoms, cognitive impairment, or debilitating mood disorder symptoms. The article poses the question about whether starvation and metabolic derangements caused some of the behaviours as Jesus experienced hallucinatory-like visions whilst he fasted for 40days in the desert (Luke 4:1–13).

Jesus’ experiences appear to have occurred over the course of at least the year before his death. There is a notable lack of physical maladies which suggest psychiatric aetiologies as more plausible. There is a 5%–10% lifetime risk of suicide in persons with schizophrenia.  Suicide is defined as a self-inflicted death that has intention to end one’s life. The New Testament recounts that Jesus was aware that people intended to kill him.  Jesus took the steps to ensure that his followers were aware that his death was necessary for his return (Matthew 16:21–28; Mark 8:31; John 16:16–28). These passages appear to present Jesus to deliberately place himself in a situation wherein he anticipated his execution. Schizophrenia is often associated with increased risk of suicide.

There is a term called ‘suicide-by-proxy’, any incident whereby a suicidal individual causes their own death to be carried out by another person.  Jesus’ behaviour before his death has parallels with someone who premeditates a form of suicide-by-proxy. In the passage Mark 3: 21: Jesus was on occasion viewed as mad or “beside himself.” People from Jesus’ hometown and the religious authorities of the day also did not accept his message. Subsets of individuals who have psychotic symptoms appear to be able to form intense social bonds and communities, despite having distorted views of reality. The study analysed the religious figures from a behavioural, neurologic, and neuropsychiatric perspective. The research indicates that the experiences of the individuals coincide with psychotic symptoms, suggesting that manifestations of their experiences had a primary or mood disorder-associated psychotic disorder basis.

The_God_Delusion_by_BlackMagic26

A main goal of this research was to evaluate the influence of individuals with mental illness and their effects on shaping the Western civilization, hoping that the findings will help to increase compassion and understanding in relation to mental illness. Within the research it should be noted that they did use explicit passages from the bible, but each passage should be examined in its own context. It is generally acknowledged that biblical scholars are not unanimous about the literality of the scriptures nor are psychiatrists completely unanimous about the DSM (basically the bible of psychiatry). The research conducted a form of psychological profiling by people that aren’t saddled with the preconceived notions and biases that encumber those that have studied their field in depth, allowing a fresh take on ideas that have been overanalysed by people in the same area of study.

Only by joining multiple areas of study can any true concept of history be interpreted, attempting to remove the elitist theories that dominate popular thought. It needs to also be acknowledged that historians aren’t the sole area of study that can interpret history, other fields of study have valuable insights that historians can lack.  The article didn’t stipulate and designate that religion was the cause for psychological symptoms, neither did it go into the scientific explanation, but it still needs to be acknowledged that religion does play a dominating role for some psychoses, especially with delusions. Does the motivating factor of religion in mental illness make it a definable feature??

I’m increasingly intrigued by the article when it encourages speculation on our inability to disprove that a person who is schizophrenic is a mouthpiece of God or is suffering from psychoses. The opposing opinions from both sides need to be taken into consideration; biases from long term studies ultimately detract from the viability of the research. The study showed the correlations that religious historical figures had with the current DSM, they acknowledged their limitations, like either psychological or biblical should do, my main question is this: why would it be wrong if they had suffered from a mental illness, it doesn’t detract from their accomplishments or their religious foundations, each person’s beliefs will always be grounded, who’s to say that God didn’t use psychoses to achieve his end.

I didn’t want to post this all week, didn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I came across this article, it really interested me, I understand its controversial, I am in no way promoting and detracting from either side and hope my post won’t be interpreted as such. Thank you.

Author and Article Information

From the Dept. of Neurology, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (EDM, BHP); Dept. of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (MGC); Dept. of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA (EDM, BHP).

Murray, E., Cunningham, M. and Price, B. (2012). The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered. JNP, 24(4), pp.410-426.

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.