My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Not quite philosophy discussions, debates, various thought experiments and other topics of interest.

My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Postby Alan McDougall on June 22nd, 2017, 11:24 pm 

My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Very short excerpt [MODERATOR NOTE: Full version is linked 4 postings down the thread]

I am prepared to help anyone who has battles with this monstrous illness


Shortened version without very personal parts

I began to spiral uncontrollably upwards into a maelstrom of total manic psychosis. I was, however, completely unaware of this danger at this stage and felt certain I am in absolute control of myself. Mania is so delicious seductive, pleasurable, euphoric of the early stages, especially the feeling of omnipotent God-like power and supposed God-like intelligence and wisdom.

I am sure no drug could give as pleasant high I wanted to spend eternity in this happy glorious joyful beautiful state, where I became unusually loving to my wife and anyone I met.

It became an absolute imperative, in my mind that nothing should interfere with this bliss and ecstasy and I had to sustain it no matter the cost. This mild form of mania also exists in a large number of great and creative persons.

It was of these remarkable people that had the huge energy of mild mania one saw in people like, Winston Churchill, Ludwig Van Beethoven, William Blake, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Jack London, Robert Cowell, Michelangelo, Mozart, Isaac Newton, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Vincent Van Gogh, King David, and King Saul.


Looking back now and after much careful reflection, I note that the trigger my mania was caused by very unbalanced brain neurotransmitters, causing my brain to race and race and begin burnout like an overloaded fuse. Thoughts, came with non-stop obsessions and uncontrollable trying to know the inscrutable?
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Re: My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Postby BadgerJelly on June 23rd, 2017, 1:35 am 

It isn't a high. It is not an illness just a difference.

The worst of it is trying to equate it to common personal mythos (like religious teachings. such a thing is delusional)

I had what was called hypomania ... it became quite clear that the doctor had no idea what he was talking about though. I am VERY concerned by people who have literally no idea of what these experiences are like diagnosing them.

Of course extreme cases are illnesses. I truly believe the biggest factor of this is due to environment and personal beliefs.

All I know is what I experienced was truly remarkable and more "real" than anything else. The weight of truth feeling is what the major danger is and the tipping point. It is very easy to get consumed by it. This is not to say the actual experience is bad at all though, I believe the opposite and wish every could have it (and I believe they do at some point in life no matter how briefly or whether they recall it or not.)

Manic Depression is just a term for a whole spectra of similar conditions. Some have a more physiological distinction than others, but they are often confused with each other because we don't understand them.

In a state of mania and openness the harm is you'll see a doctor and likely believe anything you hear. Maybe not depending on your current psychological condition. It is a big worry though given that you are likely to be the only person in the room aware of what it is you are going through.

When it comes to medication they are usually just guessing. They have no idea what is going on and just treat symptoms.

Whatever your situation is good luck.

Before any says what I am saying is irresponsible (go *insert expletive" please) Maybe I am wrong, but I sure as hell have a better perspective than most in this matter and I am not saying medication is NEVER an option, only a last resort.

Alan -

The subjects you bring up on this forum tell me you're looking for an external explanation to this. Some universal property.

Have you ever considered that you were in control and that now you are not? I certainly didn't feel Godlike power, but understand how it can be seen as such. That I put down to my general upbringing and non/anti-religious upbringing.

Racing thoughts, yes. It is a bit of an overload, yet I was personally very calm and serene too, and also VERY amiable and empathic to everyones emotional condition. There was a thirst to share and explore any knowledge, yet I was not rambling on and realized how important it was to just listen and be myself rather than impose my will on others (meaning tell people what I was really experiencing). Ironically it was both isolation and integration. I did not by any means know everything, but saw all the questions in a completely new light which was a highly elating experience (I was excited and calm at the same time.)

I think it was Mirea Eliade, or maybe Clifford Geertz? who describe religious experience as a "sacred experience" in which the person feels like everything is more REAL. I can relate to this. I strongly believe it is precisely these kinds of experiences (also induced by general stress that certain members of the population can enter more readily and easily, or uncontrollably in your situation) from which religion came into being. The unfortunate thing is that th experience cn be so mind altering that delusion is prevalent. The hallucination may never been understood by many as an expression of self and seen only as some "otherly" force, be it gods, demons or aliens. It is here where I found Jung usefulin understanding this experience a little better with his theory of Archetypes and The Unconscious.

I remember walking down the street and wanting to tell everyone they were "gods". By this I meant not they they were all powerful, but that they were capable of a whole lot more than they realized. That together humanity could do extraordinary, and usually considered, impossible and/or impractical things. I was not frustrated though, more of an observer of the very human condition in myself. My hate toward someone was revealed to myself as haet toward myself as a human, knowing I could just as easily be the most hideous human on Earth as I could be the most praised. A very far reaching and fearless empathy. Fear was absent. That was what fascinated me more than anything. I was not worried about anything simply curious and observant.

I tried to describe this experience more fully on here and ti was the reason I joined this site and started researching. I think the thread title was called "Explain This!", or something like that. You may find some of the comments from others useful and I am sure you'll relate to what I try to explain, obviously failingly - as you'll know!
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Re: My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Postby BadgerJelly on June 24th, 2017, 8:01 am 

You did a good job of expressing all this. It is probably impossible for people to understand this which is really the most difficult thing to grasp.

I was diagnosed as "hypomanic" and being "type 2 bipolar". It didn't take me long to realise the doctor was an idiot though. I did have two psychotic episodes, the first one was accidental and the second one was forced by myself (the need to get back to the first elated experience.)

My story is very different. I am luckier. I am not on medication and don't even consider myself to have been suffering from manic depression. My symptoms were more like a mild form of schizophrenia.

I can relate to the "God like" power in a way maybe? I just experienced this in a different way and my personal perspective was not the same. I was already actively exploring my "inner" self (my psyche) when I first had the break through. I viewed the experience as a temporary thing, and expected it to end after a few hours, then the hours turned into days, days into weeks and weeks into months. The period was about 2-3 months. Then about a year later after researching the courses of these episodes I forced another episode which was a stark and hellish opposite.

The biggest problem I see in this is that people don't really understand it. Even doctors who study this all their lives really cannot come close to contemplating the extreme experience this phenomenon is. There was a very interesting documentary about this with Stephen Fry. He found it quite incredible that nearly everyone he spoke to with the condition (officially they now say "brain disorder" rather than "mental illness") said if they could take it away they wouldn't. There was a tragic case of a woman who suffered only catatonia and the depression, never the manic bliss.

When you talk about headaches and such I have wondered a lot about the connection. I have had, since I was a teenager, been misdiagnosed with "migraines", it was during the second forced psychosis that I couldn't sleep due to these "migraines". It turns out it was not migraines, I had a trapped nerve, and do occasionally have to get my neck cracked to fix it.

In my first experience I didn't sleep because I forgot to sleep, and I didn't eat because I often forgot to do this too. I was too fascinated by the thoughts and stubborn to let go.

In the second experience I couldn't sleep because of pain and eventually I was hearing voices that would not let me sleep.

An important factor in both experiences was my regard for fear. In the first I had no fear, I "broke through" a wall. In the second one I was consumed by paranoia, but was lucky enough in this briefer experience to realise the voices were me and then had a damn good conversation with myself. There is most certainly a lot of involvement with the idea of "ego" in all this and social anxiety plays a major role it seems along with an often boundless empathy.

It is because of these more positive aspects that I remain very interested in this. I can see so many benefits from this and have come across cases of people who also find good use of these things. Recently I was watching a documentary about micro dosing. There seems to be some use in psychotropic drugs that lessen the extreme highs and lows of depression.

In my honest opinion I think you experienced SANITY not INSANITY. The confusion and ideas to kill people were, in my view, just misattributed ideas enforced on you due to the general insanity of society. I know what I experience was more real than what I experience day-to-day. The "depressive" state seems to be something like the brain trying to balance out somehow.

If my reality then felt more real than my reality now who is to say it was "insanity". Logically I would say if something seems more real than the real then it is more real. A lot of these thoughts have led me onto the path of language and philosophy, interspersed with neuroscience and many other topics.

I looked within myself and searched for a reason to live beyond the common expectation of society. Without a partner or a children, without a job or base desires, without want for this or that product or some material possession, I asked myself repeatedly what is there that I need/want from life? The answer was obviously LOVE. Then the exploration continued and all I can really say now is that LOVE is a drive to find meaning and relation, a drive of both destructive force and creative force. If I read a book I feel like I am cheating on the other books, if I have a thought I feel like I am cheating on other thoughts, the guilt felt is just an illusion of societal conditioning I believe (or rather it is emphasized by societies and social interactions.)

The apparent sameness of "self" and the difference of tomorrows is what we constantly fumble with in there contrary appearances.

I have also described the "high" side of these episodes as not being merely "bliss". TO me it was as if I could see joy and happiness "below" me and they looked laughably silly and pointless, like egotistical devices that were very poor shadows of the greater being of life. All emotions from that position looked like silly and superficial illusions. I guess the term "bliss" is meant to express this feeling, but it has been used so much that people just think it means really, really happy, or insanely happy. The happiness is an insanity and what I felt was sanity ... haha! I am well aware that one person insisting they are sane and everyone else is mad is pretty much the definition of an insane mind.

Again, great job in sharing this. I hope you find the time to share this on a dedicated website for others to reflect on. The big issue is that it is not a very common thing and this automatically creates a tradition of taboo in society. Many of these extreme experiences have been literally "demonized" in human history, so it has not been something, until quite recently, that people are willing to show in the open. Today it is nice to see society changing and coming to understand the many wonderful differences within the human species and from individual to individual. Because of this I remain very hopeful about the situation in the future for people like yourself. A large part of the torture involved, as you express, is the shame involved and the rejection by others. Ironically, I truly believe that if people were more accustomed to these experiences they would stop seeing them as "bad" or "illnesses" and that would be the turning point for everyone. I think there is more to gain than lose. If these "brain disorders" were "cured" the human race would likely cease.

Fear will be overcome. Then people will wish to understand rather than destroy that which they fear, they'll realise their stupidity and embrace knowledge above destruction.
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Re: My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Postby Alan McDougall on June 24th, 2017, 9:07 am 

Thanks Badger for your detailed response.!!!

I also enjoyed the "Highs" and would stop taking my meds in an attempt to stay in this state of extreme joy and euphoria.

I blame physicist for much of my suffering they turned me into a zombie and got me addicted to the benzodiazepine group of drugs in which to get off or them I had withdrawal symptoms so severe that I had epileptic seizures in which I required hospital care.

What people do not know about benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium is that they are much more addictive than the opiate type drugs.

In my account that you have just read I brushed over the terrible depressive episodes I had as well, mainly because I do not want to visit that place of desolation again.

During my manic phases, I became extremely spiritual even psychic. I would like to be manic but also in control of myself, because we manics are usually extremely intelligent and creative.

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Re: My battle with the brilliant madness (Manic Depression)

Postby Alan McDougall on June 24th, 2017, 1:48 pm 

Here is the link

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My suffering with Manic Depression.odt
Manic Monster that almost killed me
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