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Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 13th, 2018, 11:38 pm
by Keep_Relentless
I've been hospitalised three times for manic episodes.

The first time I was 15, and suddenly felt the most intense euphoria. I cried over the beauty of nature when walking near trees. I cried over the beauty of childhood and imagination when walking into my little brother's room. I climbed onto the roof to feel the wind and the rain. I was almost incapable of sleep, missing several nights in a row. My mum remembers that I would not stop talking to her even when she was on the toilet, and my younger sister remembers making a video with me in which I speak for minutes about the virtues of a cookie. When I was taken to hospital about a couple weeks, I was speaking about the magic of Walt Disney and the integrity of Socrates, and I felt close to passing out.

My second hospital stay occurred about a year later and the cause was simple: I discovered that if I stop my medication abruptly, I got a high. I was addicted to euphoria, and after a few months of messing with my medication I had a scary hallucinatory episode and was back in hospital.

My third stay was recent. I am still recovering. I spent Christmas and New Year's in Africa meeting a girl, and had stupidly forgot to ensure I had enough medication. After I came home to Australia, we broke up, and under the stress of this I apparently was double-dosing myself. After seeing a very good psychologist, and visiting a Buddhist temple a few times, I had convinced myself that the person I was during the first episode was my genuine self, that I was repressed for six years. I was exhilarated.

During one outing to the beach, I walked barefoot on the hot pavement to train myself to stay off grass. I had much more control in water than usual, rising and falling with ease. I caught leaves midair and explored them by touch. I stopped at an anthill on the sidewalk to play with the ants and "discover how their little minds work". I went to the shop and speed-read women's magazines in full view.

Is this mental illness? Or is it me?

After a fight with my mum over my disorderliness, she proposed to take me to hospital, and I called her bluff. I was admitted for four weeks for psychotic mania. I was also given two injections of paliperidone that caused me to have an inability to sit still for over a month. This is called akathisia, and living with it has probably been the hardest ordeal of my life. But physically I am almost well again now.

Mentally, I have more work to do. I have to put my identity back together again, again. What is delusional, and what is authentic? What kind of state is it possible to live in? Is being high on life dangerous or the ultimate goal? Is a normal state healthy or restrained by social anxiety and missed opportunities? These questions are a very real part of my recovery process, and sharing your impressions just might help me deal with them.

I am consumed by these questions. Am I myself when my thoughts are slow? Am I myself when my thoughts are fast? Or am I only myself when I learn to be in control?

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 14th, 2018, 12:33 am
by BadgerJelly
This isn't really the kind of forum for that kind of post, but thanks for sharing.

I do believe some people are too quick to look to medication. In your case it seems like it has helped you. Have you looked into adjusting diet and/or exercise so cut down on the medication? Does the medication have any bad effects?

I have "mania" occasionally, but rarely so such extremes. Right now I am a bit low, but I've managed to deal with my slight ups and downs enough to live a pleasant life. When I had a peak experience I felt a complete contradiction, that is I was bursting with curiousity and awe, yet extremely focused and relaxed. I have yet to find a way to stay in that mindset for long though - the first time lasted about 2-3 months.

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 14th, 2018, 12:56 am
by Keep_Relentless
Hi BadgerJelly, Nice to see you, It has been a little while.

Lithium does help me without any bad effects. Taking it irregularly was completely by mistake. I do my best writing with it, and am my most narcissistic without it.

I have posted this elsewhere, but it occurred to me that the philosophers may be better equipped to grapple with the puzzle of where a true self can be found among all this. The highs are so extreme that they bash down my understanding of what I should expect of myself in life. I start wondering: Is it possible to feel so alive and be productive all the time? How much of it is sustainable, how much of it reflects the person I will eventually grow to become?

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 14th, 2018, 10:32 am
by Braininvat
If this stays in the philosophy forum, then we should mostly avoid discussion of therapeutic approaches, and look at the nature of the authentic self, as suggested.

I am a little uncertain if the OP might have too many personal details that shouldn't be on an open internet site. I would like to remove your name and age, KeepR, if that's okay.

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 14th, 2018, 7:30 pm
by Keep_Relentless
That's ok.

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 15th, 2018, 6:34 pm
by Event Horizon
I also have Bipolar Affective Disorder, psychotic episodes and other issues. I also take Lithium et al. Last year I was in hospital 10 1/2 months. I understand very well what this all involves. I am happy to share and discuss the issues, and am willing to discuss these things, only I agree that this is not the right part of the forum to air such things. If Brainy or other mods would decide where such a thread belongs, I would be willing to post a new OP. It should be noted that medication is an integral part of the subject as is psychiatry and psychology. I think mental health is very under-represented here as it is throughout society. I am aware the forums are completely open, but I am not intimidated by that. I've been ill on and off for 40 years now. Users familiar with my previous incarnation as Louis_B will mostly already know this anyway.

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 15th, 2018, 6:51 pm
by Braininvat
Seems like you can take the discursive ball and run with it here, if you want. I will slide it over into Behavioral science thread, where it's a good fit.


Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 16th, 2018, 1:19 am
by Event Horizon
Thanks Brainy.

I should remind folks that if you are not happy to discuss your experiences on a public forum, there are other specific mental health forums and of course we have personal messaging at our disposal. If you are uneasy about a post, I am sure the Mods would be willing to take it down for you.
I am a sex-abuse survivor - which gave me PTSD,
I have Bipolar affective disorder, clinical depression, psychotic episodes, suicidal ideation and activity and addiction.
I have taken a huge amount of different medications over the years.
And I'm still here after 40 years of problems. I beat my addiction about 5 years ago and I am aiming now to work as an outreach worker in the community.

There are psychological issues to do with loss, bereavement and isolation
And there is the art of psychiatry which is normally the first contact with MH services.

When in hospital watching other people making incredible recoveries, well it is an enduring joy. I made some enduring friendships there.

Also, we need to be able to articulate when doctors and nurses foul up. It happens, they are not Demigods. Just regular humans with the baggage that can bring with it.

On the good side is that people with mental problems sometimes turn out to be highly creative, Asperger syndrome can create amazing artistic talents, Bipolar often produces highly advanced thought. Just look what Howard Hughes accomplished while suffering crippling bouts of OCD. Alan Turing, creator of the computer and bane of the Nazis was both gay and had MH issues. Picasso, Turner, all sorts of geniuses were a bit crazy. It is not a restraint, rather a driver of mental acuity at times. Was Einstein a bit crazy? Probably.

Sometimes it's a curse; other-times it's a gift. I get commissions for my poetry and calligraphy maybe because of my problems. I will tear up a piece i've worked on for 5 days simply because I made a minor error.

Anyway, I've pretty set out my stall and will respond to everything I can.

There is no shame in having MH problems. The shame is that people tend to shy away from the subject which does everybody a disservice. ANYBODY can have problems, and hiding them serves no useful purpose. There is no shame here.

I'm just gonna let Brainy digest the above in case there is anything unwise or unsound in this post. (Other Mods are available!)

Authentic? Hell yeah!

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 1:23 am
by Keep_Relentless
When I go very manic, I get a sensation that makes me say "Now I can be the real me. I've been repressed by unfavourable circumstances, and now I can leave them behind. I've waited years for this. I grew up in a cupboard and now I am in a rainforest - and if those around me don't understand why I will do whatever it takes to breathe the air, it is none of my concern. I am awake."

If this is all delusion, it is the most powerful delusion I ever had to contend with. When I'm having an episode and believing I can influence people and will soon become an entrepreneur, I am completely faithful to it - but even months and years after an episode ended badly, I'm still seduced by a dream that one day perhaps, when I am a little older and wiser, I can slip into that heightened state and not mess up.

It's a breathtaking possibility... or a dangerous hope...

Re: Manic, Psychotic, Authentic?

PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 6:23 pm
by Event Horizon
I would say that when you are high, it's natural to enjoy it. It's a problem in other ways though, like blowing through money. Neglecting medication is easy as everything seems fine, and then you will crash.
That's an uncontrollable high to an uncontrollable low. For myself, I'm on the Unipolar end of the scale. I get big bad lows, and just the occasional high. It sounds you are at the other end.

Forgot to mention I have BPD too, just for added value.

Is it delusion, it's repeatable? It's just not sustainable or controllable but that doesn't matter when high.

Bipolar Affective Disorder is unlikely to park itself on high, it tends to cycle, and that is really frustrating. I use Lithium and quetiapine 800 & 700mg respectively, and that combination covers most of the symptoms I get, but I still end up in hospital on a fairly regular basis even so. It's intrusive, disruptive and when sectioned I loose all my human rights. I could do a whole series on MH units.

Anyway, if you grade your mood, (I find 0-20 works well), and just make a note every day, you end up being able to graph where your BP is going. Catching it early can help a lot.

I use Mindfulness techniques when I'm straying from reality a little, and that is a big help. It's a bit of respite from my demons, and helps me focus on something else for a while. Unfortunately when I'm in that state is when I'm most creative, and I can identify some very interesting new angles and alternate theories.

So yeah, it's fantastic when its seemingly going great, and terrible when its terrible. It's the nature of the beast.