About

I have been diagnosed as Bipolar for about 4 years now.  I have been struggling since childhood.  I am interested in discussing Bipolar from a spiritual perspective and developing a dialogue with other BPer’s on spirituality.  I will share the spiritual tools that work well for me and invite others to add to the list 🙂

Responses

  1. Have we met? If not, you should see my videos. I think you will get a lot out of them. They totally support your perspective.
    Sean Blackwell
    bipolarORwakingUP

  2. Hi there! I recently began my own blog about living with bipolar, and I stumbled across yours from Moma Sarah’s blog 🙂

  3. Absolutely snap!!! You have very similar beliefs to me about Bipolar!! Lovely to find someone of a similar persuasion!! xxx

    • Haha nice to get that confirmation as well 🙂

  4. Very fascinating site. I’ve lived with bipolar for close to 18 years now.

  5. My perspective too.

    Last year I had a doozy of a manic mystical experience that seems to have completely healed the worst of my depression (still get low moods and energy but nothing like the disabling despair of the ten previous years).

    I no longer distinguish between psychosis and mysticism. IMHO one is just the pathologised, culturally rejected version of the other.

    “The schizophrenic drowns in the same ocean in which the mystic swims with delight” – Joseph Campbell

  6. A collection of symptoms called Bipolar Disorder is likely caused by an organic neurological condition not a psychiatric condition. Sadly research has focused on receptors and neurotransmitters. Anti-nmdra encephelophathy was thought to be rare ( about 100 cases) now thousands of people in psychiatric wards have been diagnosed correctly. All because one does not have such severe symptoms as like Susanah does not mean that my bipolar disorder is not caused by some autoimmune disorder. I have severe lethargy and tiredness and sleep all day and night at times without depression present. Sounds to me like lethargica encephalitis. Until 1994 ulcers were blamed on diet and stess and it was caused by h pylori. We have to suffer due to lack of imagination on the part of researchers stuck in a dead end maze guided by big pharma.

    • All good points…one wonders if the pharma industry doesn’t benefit more from a nebulous diagnosis. If I remember correctly, in Susanna’s case only one medication is needed long term (or maybe a couple) as opposed to the numerous meds bp folks often take. We often must switch meds throughout the course of our lifetime, as well.

  7. I seriously doubt bipolar – or any other ‘mental illness’ – is caused by any one thing. The reason they are still called ‘mental illnesses’ and not ‘neurological diseases’ or ‘developmental disorders’, etc is because generations of heavily funded researchers have been unable to pin down either a cause or physiological method of diagnosis.

    They are just clusters of symptoms the DSM committee has put a circle around and called ‘an illness’. (See the ‘Texas Sharpshooter’ logical fallacy).

    Pharma and their quacks will try to tell you depression is caused by a specific neurochemical imbalance too, but anyone with an ounce of sense knows it can be caused by physical illness, loss, sudden life change, fatigue, disempowerment and oppression, etc, etc …

    Bipolar is almost certainly the same.

    Rapid cycling bipolar is probably largely iatrogenic – caused by antidepressants and some street drugs. Clinicians never described it before they began treating patients with antidepressants and it still is incredibly rare in those who are not either on ADs or have a dual diagnosis (i.e. substance abuse).

    If you went into a doctor with sneezing, a runny nose and a headache and he instantly said you had influenza without trying to eliminate a cold, environmental causes or any number of other infections and irritations you would know you were dealing with a quack. Yet that is what p-docs have been doing for generations.

    • Hi neuro,

      I think you are probably right. It seems too simplistic to think that all mental illnesses are caused by one “thing.” I am not sure about the rapid cycling part of bp as I do not rapid cycle and have not researched it much. However, many people believe based on extensive descriptions by contemporaries that some of the greatest artistic minds of the past were bipolar or suffered another mental illness. I DO think that the diagnosis is probably much more common today due to a variety of reasons. Environmental toxicity, more stressful lifestyles, more emphasis on fitting a certain “mold.” It is possible that many cases are caused by immunological issues – please see my article on encephalitis. It appears that some of the worst cases of mental illnesses are now explained by newly discovered inflammatory issues in the brain tissue – a physiological cause. Doctors still can’t come close to understanding the physiological mechanisms of the brain.

      -J

  8. To me, the large STAR*D and STEP-BD trials of bipolar medication pretty much pinned down what some doctors had been suggesting since the 80s – that rapid cycling bipolar was primarily caused by anti-depressants.

    You can see Nassir Ghaemi’s analysis of STEP-BD results here.
    (Note that neither Dr Ghaemi nor the American Journal of Psychiatry are generally considered critics of Big Pharma).

    • Thanks for the resources! Is it your belief that most cases of bipolar are due to the influence of other types of “drugs” whether recreational, antidepressants, or perhaps even something introduced in our mother’s bloodstreams in the womb? Or do you feel this mostly applies to rapid cycling? If so, do you feel rapid cycling is somewhat removed from the general bipolar spectrum? I am honestly not sure if I was truly bipolar, or at least as severely bipolar before the docs gave me antidepressants.

      -J

  9. I certainly think bipolar symptom sets exist in people who have never been drugged. I tend to give credence to the notion that people who would fit modern diagnostic criteria for bipolar have existed throughout history.

    As far as the post 1980s ‘epidemic’ of bipolar disorder goes I think much of it can be accounted for by two things. One is the steady loosening of diagnostic criteria for bipolar – especially youth and childhood bipolar, the latter of which was not considered a valid diagnosis at all 30 years ago. The other I think is the prescription of antidepressant and stimulant medication and (probably) the greater recreational use of stimulant drugs.

    Rapid cycling bipolar is characterised by extreme mood swings that fluctuate over relatively short periods – going from low to high and back in less than six months and as little as a month or less. If it exists ‘in nature’ I think it is very rare and it is most often a reflection of drug use. Basically the body/mind ‘burns itself out’ with a rush of chemically induced neurotransmitters then goes into a ‘hangover’ state while it recovers enough for the next rush. The younger and more resilient you are (and the heavier your dosage) the faster the cycles will tend to be.

    Non rapid-cycling seems to me to be more of a self-regulatory problem – a bit like a heater with a stuck thermostat that slowly heats the room up until its too hot before tripping and staying switched off until its too cold before switching on again. Non-rapid cyclers are unlikely to see more than one or two extreme highs and extreme lows in a year. I think it is the ‘natural’ form of bipolar.

    I think a lot of people with rapid cycling are ‘natural’ bipolars who have been driven to rapid cycling by medication – especially SSRIs. But there are also probably some who would not have been considered bipolar at all were they not prescribed antidepressants or stimulants (or taken them recreationally).

    All of that said, I am not an expert. My BSc (of which psychology was only one strand) was completed in 1981 when rapid cycling bipolar was still clinically very rare and poorly studied. What little I know has come from studies and journal articles like the one I link to above.

    My bipolar has been officially classified as bipolar I and does not rapid cycle – though the ‘highs’ have of late been characterised by multiple hypomanic and/or manic phases over several weeks. More a mountain with multiple peaks than a series of mountains separated by valleys.

    Earlier this month I had what seemed to be a three day ‘mini-hypomania’ that coincided with strict fasting and purging medication in preparation for an operation. I don’t recall having had an experience like that before unless it was in my youth in the context of recreational drug use. I don’t consider it part of my ‘regular’ bipolar sequence and my theory is that an electrolyte imbalance combined with my pre-extant susceptibility to set it off. The anesthetic for surgery seemed to stop it dead in its tracks.

  10. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts to the world. I can relate to your description about how it feels to be in crowds. I had not thought about it until reading your blog, but I can remember having a similar experience at the age of 3 attending a Mormon nursery school for the first time. I guess I got over quickly or I just learned to suppress my emotions at a young age and turn the energy and information I picked up on each person, inward, and believing that my presence is somehow the cause of his/her current emotional state. I understand now though how the
    ego feeds off of trying to make everything personal and that the entire insecurity is provoked by the suppressed energy trying to express itself, which means pain (death) to the ego. By ego, I am referring to the mind’s false sense of self – the part of us that must win an argument, that needs the approval of others to feel worthy, that part of us that is never satisfied with the present moment, that’s always trying to be somewhere other than where they are. I’m u


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