Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Writing Style Equals Mood

It probably would not be hard for anyone to go back and read several posts here in succession and notice a pattern of what mood I was in when I wrote it. At least it is easy for me. The type of font, size, color and above all the subject and "tone in my voice" changes often. Sometimes I review a page and think to myself "you have got to be joking!" What makes it worse is when I visit a couple of my favorite blogs and see how professional they look and how their writing style and 'tone' flows the same one after the other. I came close to deleting over half of the ones I wrote.

In just about every category there is including writing, appearance and needful information this blog does not rank very high. No two people are alike and especially no two bipolar people are alike! But I have said several times this is just me. I KNOW how to organize my thoughts and subjects of what to write beforehand; I even have it outlined it out for the next several months but as I sit down to type (this is where people do not seem to understand!) I look at my notes, type, and then the mind takes over and no matter how hard I try, I suddenly just have to write what is going through my mind that very moment. Suddenly it's like "you must write that or nothing!" Do you understand? I cannot explain it no matter how hard I try.

But listen...this will far almost none of the above was what I was going to say before I sat down here! It definitely was now HOW I was going to say it...and as I hit the next keys on the keyboard, I do not know how it will end. I know how I THINK I will finish it, but I cannot be sure now...

But, I will continue to plug along with the hopes that if I keep going something good may come of this. I will however try to keep some of the pages appearances the same as you read but...who knows about that either?

I am tempted, very tempted to say what I want to write about in the next several weeks, (Remember, it's all outlined out!) but I have tried that before and it did not work. Just remember you are reading something that a person on the other end of your computer wrote who is suffering from Bipolar1, and the last several months my mind went from a few years of stable, almost predictable, to all the wires shortening out again and no one knows why...and I don't like it.  

"My Mind"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Erratic Behavior

Erratic Behavior

I have a lot of catching up to do with my current condition, but I have been putting it off for a couple of reasons. First, I have been on such a roller coaster since I published "You Are A Total Wreck" on July 21st. I was hoping I could at least get on level ground so I could concentrate on writing about it. I was bouncing like a ball from severe mania to severe depression and back again -from the mind traveling a million miles an hour to extremely happy, extremely depressed,  and then explosive rage and irritability  --all changing in not only a matter of days apart, but in some cases just hours. Secondly, I was putting off writing about it because I could not, and still have not got to the point where I am able to write what was going through my mind - my actual thoughts.

Should I? How explicit and honest should I be here? Do you really want to read how this stage of bipolar I took over my mind stronger than it ever has before, even to the point that the doctor was on the verge of putting me into the hospital before the thoughts that continually, over and over, played like a record in my head became a reality? This is why I have been avoiding talking about my situation. I do not know if it is appropriate to write it. Then again, it is one thing to think it to myself but to actually tell someone is almost confessing.

This has been going on for over a month now! I don't know what I will say later. Either way, I may try to see if the current change in treatment will settle me down where I will be able write about these feelings in more clear state of mind.

If you wish to give your opinion, you are welcome to leave a comment.

My Mind   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quote: "Depression Never Closes Shop"

What an explanation of "Depression"! Anyone without any knowledge of bipolar reads this would come away with at least a basic understanding of the nature of depression. I read this over and over, and each time I am amazed how much information was condensed in one paragraph.

"One of the many things I hate about the word “depression” is the assumption of blankness attached to it, as if the experience of depression is as absent on the inside as it looks to be from the outside. That is wrong. Depression is a place that teems with nightmarish activity. It’s a one-industry town, a psychic megalopolis devoted to a single twenty-four-hour-we-never-close product. You work misery as a teeth-grinding muscle-straining job (is that why it’s so physically exhausting?), proving your shameful failures to yourself over and over again. Depression says you can get blood from a stone, and so that’s what you do. Competing voices are an irritating distraction from the work. No wonder depression doesn’t get invited out much. Not because it’s not the life of the party, it knows it’s not that, but because self-absorption as a work ethic is so prickly and one-eyed. That’s okay with depression—it figures, who’d want to be friends with it, anyway?"

–Lesley Dormen, “Planet No”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comments Now Welcome


I am going against what I wrote not too long ago and will now as a “trial” basis will be welcoming comments on each page. I am excited and look forward to hearing from you! Please be considerate of others. I may from time to time, republish a comment and expand on it in my next post. All Medical Professionals are encouraged to participate.

I hope this works well, and we all benefit.

“My Mind”

From My Heart...But Controlled By My Mind

On September 27, 2010  I wrote a piece entitled “I am Analyzing this too much…”  Well, I am back at it again. I am doubting myself - what I should write or not write; how far do I disclose my thoughts - the mental process then, and even now, including some possible disturbing stories and information?
 I have realized while I do not by any means have a large audience, it is a mix between three groups; Physicians; Bipolar Patients; and those who are wanting to learn more about Bipolar. I have received emails from two of the three groups and this is where my dilemma starts.

 Physicians: I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have a few well known experts in the field of Bipolar read this blog from time to time. Without a doubt, the high point since I started this was an Psychologist commented he liked my blog! That did more for me than anything you could imagine! So far, no responses were really negative, but one in particular told me I may want to stay away from the “blood and guts” {Suicide - Homicide} stories and experiences and lean more pages gear toward trying to help people and give them information. I have thought about the deeply.

Patients: A lot have many questions regarding their situation and I believe it helps them to talk to someone. I am here for you. As I mentioned, I can only give advise based on experience, but I will do my best to direct you to an article or website that might help you. I have written a few, like the recent one: Bipolar--The Creative Side-Famous People”; "Starry, Starry Night" which was two of my favorites. I thought these were interesting and informative - they let us all know we are not alone.

Before I started this blog, I had never designed a website in my life. I had never written an article before. What you see here today is a lot of work, many changes, and I am still learning. But I started this blog to tell my story; share information from time to time; and hope that in its own way will become a form a therapy for me. The added benefit I hoped to achieve was that it may help someone else. 

 Now, in analyzing the above, my background and mental condition does not “qualify” to write a blog that is strictly for helping other patients. What would benefit “me” to change the style more professional and write articles what I think people might want me to write? There are hundreds of such blogs out there like that, what’s one more? I may as well just close shop and let the others write.
      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So, my dear friends I am just going to be me… good, bad or ugly. The energy I spend writing here comes from my heart, but the master is my mind. Yes, I may write about difficult; painful; horrible unspeakable topics, but that is the reality of a serious Bipolar I Manic Depressive mind controlling what is really a good, kind hearted person.

 I may not have many readers. I never thought I would have as many as I do now…but I can deal with that. I will set here at my desk and open my mind for all to see... and just be me.
This is my mind… 

Monday, August 15, 2011

"The Change" Quote From: Kay Redfield Jamison

"There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible.

 Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity.~~Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality."

Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bipolar--The Creative Side-Famous People

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in Newsweek titled “Madman in Chief.” The article was based on the new book “A First Rate Madness” by Nassair Ghaemi, director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tuffs Medical Center. He argues that what sets apart the worlds greatest leaders isn’t some splendidly healthy mind BUT an exceptionally broken one, coupled with good luck to lead when extremity is needed. “Our greatest crisis leaders toll in sadness when society is happy,” writes Ghaemi. “Yet when calamity occurs, if they are in a position to act, they can lift up the rest of us.” He states that what we need for these calamitous times is a calamitous mind, a madman chief in chief, someone whose abnormal brain can solve our abnormal problems. The doctor isn’t saying that all mental illness is a blessing. Only that the common diseases of the mind-mania, depression, and related quirks-should not disqualify one from the top position of the country.

Ghaemi is not the first, by any means, to claim that madness is a close relative of genius. Many poets, painters, actors and composers throughout history have had depression or mania. 

“Men have called me mad," wrote Edgar Allan Poe, “but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence...whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought..."

Many people have long shared Poe's suspicion that genius and insanity are entwined, writes psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, international authority on mental illness. Many poets, painters and composers throughout history have had depression or mania. Some researchers believe that mood disorders allow people to think more creatively and to experience a broad range of intense emotions.

Here's a glimpse of just a few of the gifted and successful figures of our times who have lived with mental illness. (1)

Anna Marie Patty Duke Pearce, Award-winning star of television, Broadway and film; author and spokesperson for mental health: After years of turmoil, she was diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar disorder) "She credits Lithium with keeping her symptoms under control. "No more crazy highs, no more suicidal lows. It's given me a life!" Anna said about her successful treatment.

Winston Churchill 1874-1965, Prime Minister (U.K.): "Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished," wrote Anthony Storr about Churchill's bipolar disorder in Churchill's Black Dog, Kafka's Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.

Brian Wilson, founding member, producer, composer, and arranger for The Beach Boys: "I went through times that were so scary that I wasn't sure I'd make it through," he recalls in a story in The Los Angeles Times: But he returned triumphant to the stage, having "emerged from his darkest, most paralyzing blue period to again celebrate his music - and the human spirit - with his fans."

Robert Munsch, beloved and best-selling children's author, of such delightful and irreverent books as Mortimer, The Paper Bag Princess and Love You Forever. “About grade seven or eight, things started getting weird and wonky,” he says. “I'd feel great for two weeks, then horribly depressed for two weeks.…" Munsch says he's not classic bipolar, “I'm depressed more than I'm up.” Antidepressant medication has worked well for Munsch, softening his moods but not stifling his creativity.

Art Buchwald, writer, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist: Buchwald's career, built upon his razor-sharp wit, includes 30 books and syndication in 500+ newspapers. He talks openly about "the black pit" of his mental illness, having been hospitalized for depression in 1963 and for manic depression in 1987. Since his recovery, he has used his high-profile status to educate the public about mental health issues, especially about stigmatization of mental illness in the workplace and the ways it affects employee promotion, job security and work relationships.

Carrie Fisher, actress and author renowned as Princess Leia in Star Wars and daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, was diagnosed as manic-depressive at age 24. In her book Postcards from the Edge and the film it inspired, she wrote about her rehab, electroshock treatment and recovery from her illness and her drug addictions. She has started in countless films and television shows and her memoirs and novels have been best-sellers.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States:  In Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, author Joshua Wolf Shenk writes: "Sometimes, a impenetrable fog seemed to settle around him... [At times] Lincoln sunk into a deep depression which deeply worried his friends and led in 1841 to aggressive medical treatment which probably made him worse.

Ernest Hemingway: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1952), and the Nobel Prize in Literature (1954), the novelist's suicidal depression is examined in The True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him by Denis Brian.

Mike Wallace, Co-Editor of 60 Minutes "On two or three occasions, I came very, very close [to suicide]. But, when I got the right help and treatment, I was able to put that behind me....There's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good….[Having battled depression] I'm more compassionate, I'm more understanding and, ultimately, my life has been a lot fuller because I experienced this," he says in an interview with CBSCares.

Dave Matthews, chart-topping musician, composer: "I was depressed. It was not a good time for me," he told Rolling Stone magazine. "I was feeling remarkably alone… I don't want to be someone who writes about how sad I am, I'd rather write…with some sort of strength. Otherwise, I don't think there's any gift - or offering - being made. I would like to be an inspiring force." A new album, with an entirely new sound, essentially saved Dave's life; he finally felt good about what he'd accomplished.

Judy Garland, singer, Oscar-winning actress: Performing from the age of two, she starred in countless musical films and thrilled audiences with her live performances. She led a life of great highs and deep lows; through it all though, her inestimable talent shown.

William Styron, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist: After being fired from McGraw-Hill for tossing balloons out an office window, he co-founded the Paris Review. His books included The Confessions of Nat Turner, about black slavery, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968, and Sophie's Choice, which was made into a powerful and moving film.

After "having trudged upward out of hell's black depths," he wrote Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness in 1990, an uplifting and probing look at depression. He died in 2006 of pneumonia.

Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals pitcher, winner of the 2009 American League Cy Young Award: Greinke says he'd prefer to remain anonymous when he's not on the mound. He quit baseball for six weeks in 2006 when he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, for which he received treatment. Still extremely shy, he says he’s uncomfortable being around people. "I really don't like having a bunch of attention.”

Emily Dickinson, Nineteenth century poet: In her later years she would sometimes refuse to see visitors that came to her home, only talking to them from behind a door…After the late 1860's, she never left the bounds of the family property, occupying herself with her poetry, letters, baking, and tending the family garden. The most prevalent speculation is that Emily Dickinson suffered from some form of agoraphobia or anxiety disorder.

Kim Basinger, Academy Award-winning actress: `It can hit at any time,'' she says. ``You feel like you're in an open field, and there's a tornado coming at you. And you're just consumed by it.'' Even though her career was booming, she felt crippled and became so depressed she considered suicide. "My therapy was about awareness and education. And it lessened those horrible panic attacks,'' she says, adding that she has learned to face her fears and has regained control of her life.

Carly Simon, Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer-composer: Anxiety, depression and stage fright have haunted her for years. An early '80s concert tour was suddenly canceled when the pop star collapsed backstage. "I was lost. I really was lost." After surviving personal losses and cancer, Simon continues to be successful." I hope that people will be subtly changed by what I've said or written or composed."

Charles Schulz, cartoonist, internationally renowned creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip: He won the Reuben Award, comic art's highest honor; International Cartoonist of the Year award; and an Emmy for "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Despite the success, Schulz struggled with depression and anxiety, according to his biographer, Rheta Grimsley Johnson. But the struggle only improved his work, she found, as he poured those feelings of rejection and uncertainty into the strip and turned Charlie Brown into Everyman.

Eugene O'Neill, famous playwright, author of "Long Day's Journey into Night," and "Ah, Wilderness!” came from a deeply troubled family background, suffering from clinical depression the greater portion of his life. His most famous plays were written between 1935 and 1943 despite persistent mental illness. He is the only American playwright to have won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, prof. of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, author of many books on mental illness. Dr. Jamison has bipolar illness herself and has attempted suicide. Her book "Touched With Fire," lists and describes many famous persons whose lives have been changed by bipolar illness.

Isaac Newton, most famous mathematician of the 17th Century was responsible for many scientific discoveries we take for granted today such as the "corrected" Gregorian calendar date. Newton’s greatest mathematical discovery was the gravitational relationship between the earth and the moon, and of centrifugal force. Newton was well educated, had access to the best knowledge of his day and was wealthy in later life. He suffered from several “nervous breakdowns” in his life and was known for great fits of rage towards anyone who disagreed with him which some have labeled Bipolar Disorder which was unknown at the time. In 1705 Newton was the first Scientist to be knighted by Queen Anne for his great scientific contributions.

Jane Pauley, NBC news broadcaster, since the age of 25, talks candidly about her depression and bipolar illnesses. In her new book, "Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue."she tells about her childhood and family problems, and how she discovered her need for medication to control mood swings.

John Nash, Nobel Prize Winner in mathematics, has faced a lifelong battle with schizophrenia. He was known as the “Phantom of Fine Hall” at Princeton where his reclusive, ghost like figure could be seen roaming around, leaving messages of his mathematical genus on the boards of empty classrooms. His struggle was well documented in the book "A Beautiful Mind," by Sylvia Nasar which was later made into a movie by the same name.

Linda Hamilton, actress, has gone public with her diagnosis of bi-polar disorder diagnosed at a young age. Hamilton, well known for her part with Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" movies explains how helpful medication has been for her and that she understands she will have to be on medication for the rest of her life.

Lionel Aldridge, a football player for the Green Bay Packers during the 1960's, developed paranoid schizophrenia and was homeless for 2 1/2 years. “Once I accepted and cooperated with the treatment, I started to beat the illness.” he said. He now speaks to groups to help them better understand mental illness. He states that he is completely symptom free and that helping others understand mental illness is “therapy” for him.

Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, had bipolar disorder which some have said gave him such creative power that his compositions broke the mold for classical music forever. He was a child prodigy which his father tried to exploit. His “manic” episodes seemed to fuel his creativity. He wrote his most famous works during times of torment, loneliness, and suffering psychotic delusions.

It took him 12 years to finish his last and 8th Symphony in total deafness. He then medicated himself with the only drugs available in that day to bring some relief opium and alcohol and died several years later of liver disease.

Vincent Van Gogh, famous painter and artist was labeled peculiar with unstable moods most of his short life. He suffered from epileptic seizures some believe from excesses of absinthe, very strong liquor popular among talented people for inspiring greater creativity. Many have tried to give a definitive diagnosis of his illness through reading his personal letters. From them it seems clear that his depressive states were also accompanied by manic episodes of enormous energy and great passion. Van Gogh committed suicide at age 37.

Virginia Woolf, the British novelist, born of privilege, experienced the mood swings of bipolar disorder her entire life. She wrote to make sense out of her mental chaos and gain control of madness; and was greatly admired for her creative insight into human nature. She was tolerated by friends and family, receiving great care and understanding during her entire life and because of this, never had to face institutionalization, the only medical “treatment” in those days. She died by her own hand by filling her pockets with stones and walking into a nearby river. The cause of death was determined as "Suicide, while the balance of her mind was disturbed."

Vivien Leigh, actress made famous by her leading role in "Gone With the Wind" and her creative genius for stage and screen, suffered from serious bouts of manic depression, tuberculosis, and poor health her entire life. It was, in fact, because of her illness, that she was frequently cast into roles that required a personal experience of the torment that comes from the experience of this disease.

Vivien was once able to make a full recovery after shock treatments, only to succumb some years later. A nervous breakdown associated with a miscarriage proved to be the unraveling of her marriage with actor Lawrence Olivier who continued to be a devoted friend. She was finally diagnosed with cyclical manic-depression with hallucinations and had to be confined to a nursing home only to recover and return to the screen for her last movie. Leigh finally succumbed to the tuberculosis at the young age of 53 of while filming “The Ship of Fools”. She became known and admired for her ability to fulfill her passionate dream for stardom despite her TB and debilitating manic-depression.

William Styron, author, writes about his own depression in his book, "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness," and his decision to seek help. His earlier works which he wrote prior to his diagnosis and admission of his illness described with uncanny accuracy, the symptoms and the problems he would experience later in his life. He was one of the first to write about other famous persons who struggled with mental illness and for explaining the almost unexplainable experience of a brain disorder to those who had never experienced it in a way which gained their sympathy and admiration.

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain who, as one of the “Big Three” (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) to lead the world to the defeat of Hitler in WWII, told in his own writings of suffering from “black dog” Churchill’s term for severe and serious depression. Less often talked about are his writings of how he often self-medicated with alcohol to deal with these times. Like so many other famous people with a mental illness, he was able to make the great contribution he did through sheer personal determination. There was a nation, he said, and a world depending on his efforts to lead Britain and the world in the defeat of their common and formidable enemy of Nazism.

See! We need to keep this article in front of us at all times! Does it mean that we are also geniuses? No, of coarse not. But, if nothing else, it gives me hope knowing that the greatest people of all times experienced exactly what I am going through everyday. Maybe there is hope for me after all. I still have not found “my special talent’ but who knows?

Just maybe….


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday--Depression Quote

“The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come--not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying--or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity--but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes.”

William Styron (novelist)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quote for Wednesday

"Our minds can work for us or against us at any given moment. We can learn to accept and live with the natural psychological laws that govern us, understanding how to flow with life rather than struggle against it. We can return to our natural state of contentment."

Carlson, Richard

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ralph Barton's Last Words

I was going to post a “Quote of the Day” when I stumbled onto this quote. I saved it and went on to other quotes, but it kept coming back to me. So I thought I’d share this with you. First a little background:

Ralph Barton (born August 14, 1891, Kansas City, Missouri, died May 19, 1931, New York City, New York was an American artist best known for his cartoons and caricatures of actors and other celebrities. Though his work was heavily in demand through the 1920s and is often considered to epitomize the era, his personal life was troubled by mental illness, manic-depressive disorder and he was nearly forgotten soon after his suicide, shortly before his fortieth birthday.

 This is his suicide note:

“Everyone who has known me and who hears of this will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it. Practically all of these hypothesis will be dramatic--and completely wrong. Any sane doctor knows that the reasons for suicide are invariably psychopathological. Difficulties in life merely precipitate the event--and the true suicide type manufactures his own difficulties. I have had few real difficulties. I have had, on the contrary, and exceptionally glamorous life--as lives go. And I have had more than my share of affection and appreciation. The most charming, intelligent, and important people I have known have liked me--and the list of my enemies is very flattering to me. I have always had excellent health. But, since my childhood, I have suffered with a melancholia which, in the past 5 years, has begun to show definite symptoms of manic-depressive insanity. It has prevented my getting anything like the full value out of my talents, and, for the past three years, has made work a torture to do at all. It has made it impossible for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that seem to get other people through. I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from myself. In doing so, I am very much afraid that I have spread a good deal of unhappiness among the people who have loved me.”

Ralph Barton’s suicide note (American artist)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quote of The Day

"Sometimes it's harder to attain inner silence than outer silence. The dog stopped barking and the kids have gone to bed, but your mind has a lot to talk about and it knows you can't pretend you're not at home." ~Linda Solegato