It has been well documented that seasonal changes and changes in sleep patterns
can affect people with bipolar. As the days get shorter and nights get longer
people in general seem more prone to depression. Looking back thru my journals I
see a pattern of starting the downward slope right before Halloween.
Fortunantly this year I have better understanding of what’s going on.
I looked around the web for some info and found this article may be of interest.
The spirit of Isaac Newton walked through me twice.
On the seventh day, God rested and had a dream of me. My sleep is broken and my beloved cat died on the day before yesterday. I pace back and forth but I can’t get back in time. It is strange dealing with life after you have dealt with death. I look around for you but you’ve gone on ahead. Have you any aspirin? This book of poems has an untouchable headache. If I could cry, I’d know the weight of my cowardice in milligrams, and I’d know better than to call out for you now. I will not ask for another word – but I will ask for aspirin.
For now, I think I have just lost my footing.
And you cried.
I thought is would be interesting to shed some light on substance abuse. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) includes substance related disorders. The categories in these disorders are Substance Abuse and Substance Dependence. They include drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, special-K, crack and others. It may be surprising that they also include caffeine and nicotine.
Since I have both bipolar disorder and substance abuse/dependence disorders they categorize me as dual diagnosis when putting these two together. Most doctors today compared to views in the past understand that marijuana has beneficial effects that out way the negative side effects of lethargy. All other drugs are considered harmful. And of course this is true of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, morphine, benzodiazepines, narcotics such as oxycontin or hydrocodone, and especially crack. According to the latest studies addiction is a genetic disease as are many other mental illnesses including bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
I have at one time or another been addicted to most of the substances that are tranquilizing such as heroin, morphine sulfate, benzopiazepines, oxycontin, hydrocodone and of course the cheapest and easiest to get alcohol. The unfortunate problem with all of these drugs is the development of tolerance in the receptors of the brain. So is the case of heroin, or morphine and others. Alcohol is the most prevalent and a tolerance is developed and more is needed to get the same affect. An alcoholic may start out drinking a few drinks at an early age. As the years pass a few drinks turn into eight or nine drinks and this can end in some bad situations, fights, DWI, losing of girl friends or boy friends or wives or husbands and so on. When an alcoholic has been drinking for 20 years they no longer have the euphoria or the high that they had when they were younger. Now drinking is just to try to feel normal or at least without pain, and the consumption escalates to a point where the individual is being poisoned by the substance. Heroin and morphine act in the same manner. One needs more and more until many die of an overdose.
The bottom line is that it addiction is a genetic disease that can be overcome by several different solutions. AA and NA are helpful to many people – the belief in God is the Rosetta stone in this approach. Substituting other drugs that reduce stress and anxiety is another approach. Personally I only believe in God and Satan metaphorically so they are no use to me. I need a drug which will reduce my my heart palpitations, anxiety, and sensitivity to stress which has gotten worse as I age. When I think of dependance on alcohol I always think of Ernest Hemingway who lost his health and his brain and his last resort was to kill himself rather than go through the pain of being hospitalized and treated. I want to live a little longer so finding a doctor who is understanding, compassionate, and sensitive is my only way out of the quagmire I am in. – John
creation can't happen without destruction it is a hollow wall that grows on one side and dies on the other it is not divisible i sit under a tree my back against the bark my legs crossed hands cupped together my eyes lowered looking at green grass ants dragon flies the leaves of grass fade away i see birds flying without moving in air that is a billion years old i am ancient thousands of years old sitting against a tree which does not exist with me or without me tide water rises and falls and the wind blows nowhere my eyes see nothing that matters the flash of life is too fast to envision there is a universe in the tide pool i reflect in was it yesterday time contracts it could have been long long ago but I sit beside it now when we are born we are already dead and living again in a world that will not change with us or without us we are already ghosts sit still under the bodhi tree and see without eyes to see the truth
2). Answer to the question–can I work when I’m depressed? No. Picture yourself hanging on to the ledge of a 125-story building with your fingers..slipping slowly. You close your eyes and hope you don’t fall–no desire to capture that moment in an art form. At least not until the depression passes. And you didn’t fall.
1). I’ve found that I’ve been my most creative and productive at peak
mania. Unfortunately, my medication has essentially eliminated
my manic states. Producing artwork during peak mania is
effortless. Producing artwork without mania is work.
Sue Mifsud is writing a paper on the relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity. She thought we could lend our insight and answer some of her questions. I’m putting this out to anyone of us to answer and give her some feedback. You can send your answers to her directly or post them here . email@example.com
1). My question is then while some people can only work in a balanced state or during the initial stages of mania, is it possible for people to work while at the peak of mania? Do people’s experiences of mania differ so much that some retain the focus and concentration to continue working?
There are two types of mania: hypomania and mania. Hypomania is a milder form of mania. People with bipolar disorder with hypomanic symptoms are very capable of tackling a heavy workload, or getting deeply involved with producing a lot of creative work. Individuals with manic symptoms can do the same, however when the symptoms include psychosis, it is usually then that the break with reality interferes with all aspects of the person’s ability to function and consequently they are usually hospitalized.
2). As I mentioned in question one, everyone I have read about says that they are unable to work during depression. Does this however also offer a source of inspiration once the depression passes?
Almost all people with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) cannot function when “clinically” depressed, which exhibit the most serious symptoms of depression. I don’t know of anybody who can work under these conditions. Plus there can be psychotic symptoms also. The experiences vary widely but during a depression there is a distortion of reality. Some people feel and think they are going through hell, they see demons, they may suspect there is evil in everything they see and suspect others of plotting against them. Delusions of paranoia are experienced by many and this is also the case with mania with psychotic symptoms. The extreme pain of depression the feeling of losing one’s self, the fatigue, the anguish and the feeling no one can help causes people to commit suicide because they feel there is not exit. If they survive many artists do and can express this in their work.
3). When going through mania with its quick mental associations and intensity of emotion does this serve as a main source of inspiration?
The simple answer is yes, if they are able to focus on the creative task at hand.
4). Redfield Jamison says that ‘some artists resist entirely the idea of taking medication’ because it ‘interferes with the clarity and rapidity of their thoughts…level of enthusiasm, emotion and energy’. Does the medication therefore take away a part of the ability to create?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are many different medications that are used to treat bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type). Some work well for some people, others may never find the “right” combination of medication to treat their symptoms without major negative side effects. But generally Jamison is correct. Of all the mental disorders people with bipolar disorder are the most likely to stop taking their medication simply because they enjoy feeling manic even through they know that they can slide down the slippery slope into depression. Many artists if they are tolerating their medication well – meaning it hasn’t turned them into a zombie – can lead a creative life as you can see by the work published on www.bipolarartists.com
5). Do you think that manic depression can guide a person into a creative profession because of a need that person has to express their extreme thoughts and emotions?
Sure they could probably be very good at making music videos – professions that aren’t mainstream.
6). The highest percentage of people suffering with a mental illness in the arts are writers and poets; around 30%. The reason for this I believe is that the medium (pen on paper, computer word processor) is open to everyone and only those who are illiterate would have to learn a technique to create output. Where as a painter, ceramist, sculptor needs to learn a medium and its a associated techniques to be creative making it a step less feasible. What are your feelings about this?
Well there is a lot to learn about writing well, be it a novelist, poet, songwriter, screenwriter, etc. I think it is just as challenging as other creative endeavors.
7). There is always a hovering question ‘Would an artist suffering from bipolar disorder have still been artistic were they not suffering from the illness?’ Do you have any reason to believe that you personally would have been less creative?
Who knows, I don’t.
This morning, I woke up dry-eyed again. For crying out loud, can’t I show some emotion for once? My mother weeps for me. I am speechless.
I could not care less what you say or do. You shake me; you could shout. Is there any point? I have no feelings either way. It is the rising water of apathy and numbness. I am caught out in the cold. I do nothing; I cannot feel myself think. So what, who cares. I am a number puzzle but I do not count – I have nothing to add as my life is taken away.
Beings removed my heart yesterday and replaced it with a simulation. The electrical impulses are used to alter my actions in history. They move me every so often. But yesterday is but yesterday. This morning, I woke up dry-eyed again.
The ‘negative symptoms’ of schizophrenic-spectrum disorders are when characteristics which should be present are not. They include: apathy (lack of interest in life), affective flattening (a blank facial expression and an inability to express emotion), anergia (low energy), avolition (low motivation), anhedonia (loss of pleasure even in activities previously enjoyed), alogia (poverty of speech, often due to poverty of thought), and social withdrawal/isolation.
Sufferers of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are being brought together in a major new study to determine the diseases common genetic causes.
For the first time, sufferers of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are being brought together in a major new study investigating the diseases’ common genetic causes and manifestations. UNSW researchers believe the study will challenge the traditional classification of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as separate diseases. They hope the results will aid the early detection of a cognitive vulnerability to psychosis in adolescence, facilitating early intervention and the development of drug treatments that can be personalised according to genotype.
Recent molecular genetic and epidemiological studies in Sweden and the US have suggested that the disorders share some common genetic susceptibility, but the results have not been definitive in determining which genes are shared and what they code for. “The international diagnostic manual for the classification of psychiatric disorders is currently being revised and it’s being considered as to whether schizophrenia and bipolar disorder should be grouped together. It’s very controversial,” said study leader Dr Melissa Green, from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry.
“There’s not been enough evidence so far to support that change – this study will provide good quality evidence on this issue,” she said. Dr Green and her team will integrate data from genetics, functional neuroimaging, cognitive testing and physiological measurements to pinpoint shared genetic susceptibility to the disorders, which may manifest in common cognitive and frontal brain dysfunctions. “We’ve spent over 100 years trying to work out what’s causing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and many people believe that maintaining these conditions as distinct diseases has been holding us back,” Dr Green said. “Already some medications are shared across the two disorders, and are aimed at treating overt psychotic symptoms. With more information, new drugs could be developed to improve the enduring cognitive deficits as well.”
Dr Green was recently named as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, with her project attracting close to $700,000 funding over four years from the federal government. The study is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Schizophrenia Research Institute, the Black Dog Institute, the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, and Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Provided by University of New South Wales
This coming weekend we are going to start the process of reviewing all image content on www.bipolarartists.com. This will be the first major review since the site was launched. We expect some minor and major changes to take place. We will be looking at artists for their continued participation and/or imagery for it’s uniqueness and expression within the framework of our project’s mission. We will appreciate your understanding as this process and change takes place.
October 8, 2009
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania mental hospital worker who showed a patient how to swallow nails has been sentenced to two years of probation.
Former Allentown State Hospital aide trainee Athena Marie Sidlar apologized at her sentencing Thursday.
Sidlar says she has bipolar disorder and swallows nails and other metal objects. She says the hospital knew about her disorder when they hired her.
Sidlar pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in August. She admitted to giving nails to an 18-year-old female patient and showing her how to swallow them. Four nails had to be removed from the teen’s stomach.
Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos ordered Sidlar not to seek employment at a psychiatric facility.
This butterfly will not dream up hurricanes again. I promise.
There are no thoughts. I can no longer move my own thoughts. It is all static. You have watched me snap. I am glassy-eyed as the poisons and pins will be brought.
There was only an idea of freedom before you. This breath of breeze quite throws me. Where will the wind blow from here? A storm starts somewhere. I don’t know – I have been caught for such a long time that I now believe even butterflies die.