29 October 2012

Hyper Religiosity and other obsessions

Hyper religiosity is a known symptom of Bipolar Disorder as well as quite a few other psychiatric conditions.
I think I have suffered from it. If you replace religion with spirituality, it comes to the same thing.

Where one is so drawn to religion, spirituality etc in order to feel special, feel unique, make sense of life, and it's problems. Where one feels that nothing else can explain so well that which you are feeling at this moment, than what you believe to be the answer. When you know that what you believe should be known by everyone. That it is the one true "faith/belief/salvation" That as long as you follow it;s statutes to perfection everything will be okay.

As long as you submerge yourself in the teachings you will find peace and happiness. That there is no other way to explain life than the way you follow.

These days these kinds of Hyper beliefs, are not limited only to religion. Also Parenting, health, etc is filled with them. Breastfeeding vs Formula, Anti-Vaccination groups, Spanking vs non spanking.

Where ever you get a group of people who so overly passionately and obsessively condemn the other side, and obsessively live their own philosophy to the exclusion of all others, there you find mental delusion.

Most people who are hyper religious end up in Cults. There seems to be some kind of an attraction to small groups of wackiness.The rest seem to just gravitate to Facebook these days.

I think I have often suffered from the above, but in various interestingly different ways.

From my spiritual period, right up to my anti-religious one, I can recognise my illness in my thought processes. Where it becomes slightly feverish and compulsive. When it's so very important, exciting and impossible to not share. There are quite a few of my older blog posts where it shines through. I'm leaving them up for now though.

So what obsessions have I had that I managed to overcome?

It would be way too embarrassing to list them. Suffice it to say I have been there. Looking back it is much easier to say "that was an unnatural obsession" than when you are right there experiencing it.

Even though it is not limited to Bipolar disorder, and I am sure everyone has it from time to time. It seems to be a recurrent theme on the bipolar spectrum which I keep seeing in my BP Friends. It's not the kind of thing where you can point it out and say. "Hey You're being delusional"  That doesn't come across to well.

It's a bit of a relief, not feeling that obsessive drive at the moment, even though it does make life seem a bit bland right now. I now know what BP sufferers mean by the meds making life very boring.

25 October 2012

Death and a six year old

I'm not sure if I have posted about my "death talk" to my daughter. It's something that has come up in the past. I've tried to explain the circle of life to her. At the time she found that satisfying, and she liked the whole concept, and it led us to talk about birth, and evolution etc.

Then later we came back to death, and she was quite upset. She was scared that her dad and I would die when we're really really old. She was scared that She would die too.

She wanted to know from me if we can come back and be babies again after we die. I told her that different people believe different things. Some people believe we go to a happy place called Heaven, and some people believe that we come back as babies again. Inevitably she asked me what I believed and I said I don't know what happens when we die, but I don't think anything happens. We go back to how it was before we were born, and we are all stardust, and stardust never dies.

She wasn't satisfied with that answer, but we got some books. The "Born with a bang" series, and by the time we finished them she was okay. She was the universe, and the universe was talking to her, but I believe a lot of that went over her head.

Then flash to last night in bed, where out of the blue she starts crying and going on " I don't want to die, I don't want to die" Hysterically sobbing. She was in such severe emotional pain that at that point I could have converted to a religion just to give her some peace of mind around death. But of course I can't.

I don't know where I went wrong. I struggle with death myself. As someone with depression it is something I have thought about a lot. To the point of obsession at times. I don't like that there is nothing after we die. I would love to be reincarnated, or go to some holiday resort in the sky. I just can't be so naive as to think they are real.

So how do I make my daughter feel better about a subject I myself don't like so much  I mean for goodness sake, one of the reasons I stopped smoking was because I fear death so much.

So she screamed and cried, and was so very very upset. Then she asked me if Jesus will bring us back to life again, and we can live again. At that point I was ready to lie, but before I got a word in she was sobbing she doesn't want to die again, so I didn;t say anything and just held her, and told her everything is okay. She is not going to die now. Everything is fine.

Eventually she fell into exhausted sleep. I still don't know what to say though. Obviously she is hearing some upsetting and conflicting things between school and home, and it's causing her great emotional pain. How do I handle that?

17 October 2012


I was just gonna quickly post something to say, I'm changing templates again, so don't be alarmed. Then I typed in the title and thought: "Hmmm. People are gonna expect this to be about something else"

This is a topic I have not even thought about writing on because I just don't really want to discuss it.
Since I stopped smoking a year ago I have gained 30 kg's. That all happened within the first 6 months.

As soon as my weight stabilised, and I stopped gaining, I went on my medication, which I have started to think might be the reason I struggle to lose the weight again.

The other reason is of course that I'm not terribly disciplined, and when you have a very very VERY low budget for groceries, it makes it incredibly difficult, and nearly impossible to actually buy healthy. And anyone that says otherwise would have to come show me exactly how to do it.

I've been to a dietitian in the past and I know the tricks of the trade, but find myself unable to buy what I need in order to stay on the right eating plan.

That's all the excuses out of the way. Now how does it make me feel? It makes me feel ...it makes me not want to feel. I can not describe how lonely and unworthy it makes me feel. For someone who already has self esteem and negative self talk issues, to also have this, has been absolutely unendurable.

It makes me feel that I don't want to leave the house. I don't want to see other people, I don';t want to be out there to be ridiculed  I know what people think, and say. I hate feeling like this. Normally I'd not have such a hard time to lose this weight, but this time around nothing wants to help. I've been on glucophage, such high doses that it messes up my digestive system. That hasn't helped in the least.

If I had the money I'd see a dietitian again, but unfortunately that is out of the question right now. I'm not really looking forward to summer.

In any case. wallowing over. I'm playing around with the looks of the blog. At least that's much easier for me to control. Hope you like it, if not pop me a comment.

15 October 2012

Medication Pro's and con's

This is not a medical blog and I very rarely post any real facts. It's all just opinion and my point of view.
After a long journey to find the right dose of medication I was extremely happy when it happened. I'm on 1mg Fluanxol, and 200mg Epitec.

I've felt quite stable on it, but I had also been seeing a psychologist. Those who've been the meds and psychologist route knows how well it can make you feel to be able to unload every week. To get a good dose of reality check, mixed with pep talk, and some really hard self exploration.

So I want to say meds came first and then came therapy, but I'm not sure. My psychologist is very skeptical of my bipolar diagnosis, and I don't blame him. The Psychologist who saw me before meds is quite convinced about the diagnosis, so a bit of a catch 22 situation.

For the 10 weeks I saw my psychologist I was pretty stable. Had some little lows and one little high, but pretty much stable. I felt okay. I managed to snap out of any moods relatively quickly, I think. My concentration has been getting better. My productivity has been getting better. I have improved in a lot of ways that have little to do with strictly mood, and I'm not sure what the effects of psycho therapy has on actual physical concentration issues.

So all in all one has to say that the medication has had a positive effect, and an actual chemical issue has been, if not solved, at least improved.

The test of Bipolar II in many cases seems to be "If the meds work, then we know for sure" It seems it is a very slippery one to diagnose, especially when, like me, one is on the lower end of the scale. The problem is even the lower end of the scale has a big influence on your life, happiness, and ability to lead a satisfying existence. It influences your relationships and it contaminates every thought.

The problem is I am experiencing some apathy. I've always despised apathy. I just can't seem get out of it, and it is becoming more noticeable  Great when it means I don't go into a really low down down deep depression, but it doesn't seem to be able to completely prevent that. It just prevents me from experiencing Joy and Excitement, and steals my happiness.

I constantly feel just subnormal. If normal was 5, and hypo manic was 10, and deep depression was 0 I feel like I'm on 4, most of the time. I can go up to 7 and I can go down to 3. But it would be an angry 7, I don't seem to be able to do a happy 7. But I am stuck on 4, and have been for some time.

The question I need to ask is: " Is it the medication, or is it my crappy life and history?" My psychologist is convinced it is the second, but like I discussed above, there is proof or at least soft signs, that the medication is there, and is doing some good. Might it not also be that the medication could be having some negative effect. Or is this what normal feels like. Is my natural mood pessimism?

I have heard Bipolar sufferers complain about that exact effect of the medication. I now have to figure things out on my own because my medical aid doesn't pay for more psych visits till next year, and I can't afford any visits either.

I'm trying to take some positive steps to improve my situation. I need to fix some of the big obvious crappy life issues, in order to find some success and happiness. I have worked hard to grow my experience and knowledge, so it might be time to give up on being self employed, and look for an actual paying job. I feel slightly more able to deal with other people,in a work situation, so I am hopeful that this will be a possibility. Unless of course my current workload increases sufficiently to provide for us financially.

These are the thoughts I struggle with at the moment. The apathy is making it more difficult to write as well, so I might be slower with that for a while. I find at least I can fake some enthusiasm with most people, but not myself. I probably just come across as really relaxed, but I can't describe this as relaxation. Inner anxious dialogue is still there. I just don't feel it.

11 October 2012

Losing a Favourite

I don't know about you guys, but I have quite a few sentimental favourites from my younger days. Be it music, movies, books that I loved with a passion when I found it the first time, and some of it I still love today. But every once in a while you re-read a book, or re-watch a movie and thing "What was I thinking"

I guess this has to do with growing up, gaining experience in the world and maturing tastes.

I used to really love Dean Koontz as a fluffy fun read. I'd read some heavy exhausting books in between, but always returned to Mr Koontz. It felt comfortable, reassuring, and fun in his world.  His bad guys were really bad and the good guys were good. But the good always triumphed, in some way, and that was enough for me.

When I met my husband he had such a huge Dean Koontz and Stephen King collection, that I sometimes tease and say I married him for his books.

So what happened?

For the first time in about 7 years I picked up a Dean Koontz book. 77 Shadow street. I'm about 2/3rd s through and am still waiting for an original sentence. 

The characters are one dimensional.  The same crop of characters he always writes. He has every bad guy and every good guy he's ever come up with in one book, but it's still the same ones that he wrote about in other books.

Nothing new happens, but now it is thrown in with a healthy dose of sappiness  and pseudo spiritualism and refutable creationist philosophy . I'm struggling through this book, and wondering what did I ever see in his books? Why did I always look forward to reading a new Dean Koontz. I'm too scared to re-read an old favourite and find out it was always like this, and I just never saw it. Now it's corny and depressingly monotonous. 

I guess we sometimes grow out of our favourites when we grow. I'm gonna miss this one, but this is the last Dean Koontz book I will ever read. I'm a bit sad, but looking forward to new favourites.

It seems that unlike King, he has been stuck in the same formula for so long he just can't grow and come up with new ideas. The only change is the pseudo spiritualism is becoming more and more blatant and in your face. 

No Mr Koontz I am not a bad person just because I choose to put my faith in science instead of myth. There is more to people and life than your one dimensional portrayal of them. There is more to Good and Evil than that. 

In the black and white of the unforgiving Dean R Koontz universe, there is no space for the many facets of grey in this world. It saddens me to know that I'll never be able to curl up and enjoy one of his books again.

08 October 2012

The painful truth of it

I'm trying to name this exact mood I'm in right now. It's on the low side. It's quite tired, a bit numb, but has all the negative self talk.

It's not completely out of control but it's there.

I don't like this particular one.

I know the why of it.

It's hard not to feel this way when, like me, you have had to count penny's for so long you forget what it is like to have enough.

I'm exhausted. It's not something people want to talk about, and it is not something I feel comfortable talking about but we have been living from hand to mouth, and scraping by on pure luck, for so long now.

The unpredictability of my financial situation has a huge influence on my mood. When I have R200 in the bank, and no idea when I will be able to get more, and trying to think how do I make that stretch for as long as possible. Where will I get school fee's from this month? How will I afford my medication, my daughter's medication? Do I buy Petrol or electricity? That's when it is impossible for me to feel upbeat, happy and positive.

It's impossible to explain to anyone without sounding like a charity case though, so I underplay it. I've been trying really hard to work for myself, build up a client base and move forward, but it is happening too slowly.

When do I give up?

I might be there now. I'm sick and tired of living in complete poverty when I have spent 3 years studying, worked my arse off, and am intelligent enough to not be in this situation. What is it that I am missing.

What part of my personality is so flawed that I can't financially sustain us?

I will try for this mood to not get too low, but I know I have no control over it. Unless finances improve it's gonna stick around. And that has nothing to do with Bipolar disorder. No medication helps for a shitty life.

01 October 2012

Books: A Song of Ice and Fire

Also Known as A Game of Thrones, the series A Song of Ice and Fire, has grabbed my attention, and got me hanging onto Mr George R.R. Martin's every word.

If you missed the TV series which started in 2011, go check it out.
The series, A Song of Ice and Fire currently consists of 5 books, and are awaiting 2 to be finished. The first book was released in 1996, and book 5, A Dance with Dragons was released in 2011, but you can find all the details on wikipedia

I had the first 3 eBooks in my extensive eBook library, and picked up book 1 a couple of times, and just couldn't get past page 3 or 4.

I had been struggling since stopping smoking with concentration issues, so it didn't surprise me much. It also just couldn't hook me, even though it starts off in a very gripping way.

Then I saw the series, not knowing it was the same story, but realising half way through that this looks like it is based on a book. Ta Daaa. So after watching both seasons of Game of Thrones this year I decided to challenge myself and pick up A Game of Thrones to see if I could get through it.

It was a difficult choice for the first book to read since my concentration issues reared their ugly heads, but it has been quite a worthwhile journey. Book one and two followed the series, which made it a lot easier to keep track of the multitude of characters and intrigues, and divergent story lines. These are not simple books. They are rich in texture, and filled with a lot of information, but worth the immersion.

By Book 3 I could not put it down, even though I still struggle with attention issues from time to time, I was completely hooked and started dreading reaching the end of book 5 and having to wait for Mr Martin to catch up with writing.

Well I'm busy with Book 5 now, and I am trying to savour every moment. It is tough when one grows so accustomed to a set of characters, to then face losing them as part of your life. I always get a little sad when I finish a series in this way. Harry Potter was the same

One feels a bit like you are drifting and unable to go straight to another book, as you'd be cheating.
So I will sadly finish the series so far, in a couple of days, and I hope Mr Martin will be inspired to finish the next 2 books in super fast time, even though I appreciate that a tour de force of this nature will take a lot of time and effort,

What books do you not want to finish and live without?