Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 30376

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fuggedabowdit!

Posted by bob on April 17, 2000, at 23:14:43

In reply to A witch doctor's reply, posted by boB on April 17, 2000, at 21:39:48

Hobbes describes the life of Man in the State of Nature as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

So how has Society improved on this? Well, now it's "nasty, brutish, and long." Ah, the marvels of modernity.

You ask me, I say it's been this way since the Cro-Magnon rubbed out the Neanderthals. Given the last 10-20 thousand years or so, on a geologic scale of time, it looks like "intelligence" as an evolutionary mutation is still in its "fair test" stage. We're now at a stage where we can turn the tables and mutate nature instead of it mutating us. Perhaps the problem, tho, is that if we want to go monkeying around with nature, maybe it is our own nature we should monkey around with first.

Given most people won't touch a genetically-engineered tomato, I have my doubts about anything further up on the food chain....

my two cents,
bob

 

THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS

Posted by kellyR. on April 18, 2000, at 17:35:07

In reply to Do you think its just the age in which we live????, posted by sick of it all on April 17, 2000, at 18:02:05

> did you ever just sit and think , what did people like us do back then (1800's or so) they certainly didnt have the meds we have today, i think our lifestyles have become so accustom to "quick ,hurry up i gotta go here or i gotta do this now , that we forget to just appreciate life and thank god were all alive, it could be worse. i dont think people back then really cared to much about the things we all worry about today. i dont know just something to ponder on.
>
> s

MIDDLE AGES,this time religion came to dominate western societies in a way it had not done in ancient times. The results was that abnormal behavior was once more attributed largely to supernatural forces. This was not always the case-some physicians suggested that strange behavior might stem from natural causes; but those physicians were ignored,or worse. The results of this shift in views was that persons with serios psychological disorders were seen as being punished for their sins by demons & devils. Thus, they were subjected to often painful EXORCISMS-efforts to remove these demons- & were often beaten,starved,or worse.
With the Renaissance, which began in Europe in the 1400s, the pendulum began to swing again. For instance, the Swiss physician Paracelsus suggested that abnormal behavior might stem, at least in part,from the influence of natural forces such as the moon-hence the term LUNATIC to describe behavior. As the Renaissance continued & knowledge of anatomy & biology increased, the view that abnormal behavior was a disease-a kind of illness- began to take hold. Up until the 1700s, many mentally ill persons were kept in madhouses designed as much to keep these distured persons out of society as to protect them from harm.Conditions in these so-call ASYLUMS were brutal. Patients were shackled to walls in dark,damp cells,were never permitted outside,& were often beaten & abused by their guards. Indeed, the public sometimes bought tickets to view the inmates & their strange antics, just as people would pay to visit zoos.
Change,however, was in the wind. As early as the 1700s, a series of reformers- for instance,Jean-baptiste pussin & Philippe pinel, physicians in charge of a large mental hospital in Paris- began arguing that patients with psychological disorders were suffering from a kind of illness,& that they would do much better if freed from their chains,moved to bright,sunny rooms,& permitted to go outside for exercise.These change did produce beneficial effects, so thes ideas soon spread & did much to reduce the suffering of patients in such "hospitals".How times have change or have they?
kellyR.

 

Re: THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS

Posted by Lunatic on April 19, 2000, at 2:26:27

In reply to THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS, posted by kellyR. on April 18, 2000, at 17:35:07

People are still practicing exorcisms. At the Church I go to, we believe demons exist. What exactly they are is not clearly defined. Some people may think the idea of demons is ridiculous and only dull witted people would believe such things. The Priest of our church also has a PhD in physics. I don't think we have a complete grasp of the totality of reality. An id impulse and a demon are equally abstract ideas. What exactly they are and where they come from is unknown.

In our state, there seems to be a trend towards closing down state hospitals and moving the residents to group homes. I am unaware of anybody being dumped on the street. I think this trend is in part being driven by the HMO's and cost control. I am not sure this is a good thing. Sometimes patients are bounced back and forth between short term hospitals and group homes with no real improvement.

I think the medications available now, although there has been some improvement, leave a lot to be desired. Some of the social movements, for lack of a better term, seem somewhat counterproductive. For example, parents can get in a lot of hot water for physical disipline of their children. Concurrently you have tragedies like the one at Columbine. I think it is a mistake to take the parents right to punish their children, within reason, by order of the benevolence of the state. The rights of the family and the individual should not be unnecessarily encumbered by the state, especially if it has a net negative effect.

 

Re: Lunatic

Posted by Mark H. on April 19, 2000, at 15:18:48

In reply to Re: THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS, posted by Lunatic on April 19, 2000, at 2:26:27

Thank you for your interesting and informative post. I have hoped that we could open more dialog with schizophrenics (as you've self-identified in your other post, "Schizophrenics Corner") on this forum, because (I think) we all have so much to learn.

One problem in discussing schizophrenia, it seems, is that schizophrenics often want to write about external phenomena rather than about their own experiences. Although not schizophrenic, I still have to watch every time I post here that I don't talk only about "outside things" and forget that a lot of what I have to contribute involves how those outside things affect me. I know I don't always succeed!

I remember a very brilliant schizophrenic college professor speaking on public television a few years ago, explaining what his first psychotic break was like, and what he did about it. He said that when he was a young officer in the US military in Korea, he was badly sleep-deprived. When he had his "break," he said he became convinced that the North Koreans were slipping over the lines at night and putting small amounts of poison in the food served to US servicemen. He said, "I didn't think, 'Oh, I'm having a psychotic break.' I thought, 'I've figured out something extremely important and urgent, and I'm apparently the only one who sees what the real problem is here.'"

In other words, he was unable to determine, internally, that he was delusional -- in fact, quite the opposite: his internal perceptions seemed MORE real than what everyone else there was experiencing.

He was sent home from Korea and put on medication, and by maintaining his medication regimen he was able to complete his education and go on to teach. Today he has enough self-knowledge to recognize the symptoms of delusional thinking and to seek assistance when it happens. But I suspect he's exceptional in many ways, and that people with even more severe forms of the disease have a difficult time reconciling their experience of reality with the majority opinion of "reality."

I would find it useful and informative to read more about your internal experiences with schizophrenia, if you're willing to share them. Most of the people on this forum are good about stating their honest opinions without being too judgmental.

Sincerely,

Mark H.

 

Re: THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS

Posted by boB on April 19, 2000, at 19:54:30

In reply to Re: THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS, posted by Lunatic on April 19, 2000, at 2:26:27

Kelly's post seems to imply a natural, linear progression toward understanding of mental disease as an organic phenomenon. But as is explained very well in articles referenced in Cams post, below, Psychology of Alternative Conventional Medicine, even our modern scientific view of disease if tainted by the prejudices or our time.

The physiological assesment of mental health is especialy guilty of denying social factors that are undermining mental health, and in quietly discouraging efforts to address those factors.

We tend to consider social patterns as immutably normal. Children are expected to be alert and ready to learn by 8 a.m. If they are not, they need Ritalin for their ADD.

Cultural expectations can cause mental disorder. The disorder can be measured biologically. The history of violence and abuse I summarize in the Witch Doctor post left psychological injuries in our population that medicines can only partly cure at best. And the religous superstition Kelly mentions has been replaced by a scientific confidence. People at all times seem to want to be "in the know" and believe themselves to the the residents of the original enlightend age.

For my part, I consider the brand of psychiatry that says mental disease is strictly organic and cannot be treated, either immediately or systematically, with behavioural and linquistic training, to be criminal. I reach that conclusion because such a view seems constructed to preserve for itself a pool of diseased people to which they can sell medications. Many of the scholars who teach this view no doubt hold stock in the companies that profit from drug sales. They are certainly dependant on pharmaceutical companies for research funding, and the research is not aimed at utlimately irradicating the disease from society.

Medicines clearly work well for a lot of people, in part because they can address specific parts of the brain. But language, behavioral training, and social influence can be also be very specific. The failure of sciences early efforts to devise psychological cures for mental diseases does not mean we cannot find such cures. We are in a better position now than ever, because of our more advanced understanding of the biological implications of language, behavior and social environments. We need to integrate this knowledge in a more wholistic science of mental health.

As a footnote, sorry about the poor organization and careless grammar and spelling of so many of my posts.

 

different ages, different demons

Posted by bob on April 20, 2000, at 1:22:14

In reply to Re: THE MIDDLE AGES/REMOVING THE DEMONS, posted by boB on April 19, 2000, at 19:54:30

> For my part, I consider the brand of psychiatry that says mental disease is strictly organic and cannot be treated, either immediately or systematically, with behavioural and linquistic training, to be criminal. I reach that conclusion because such a view seems constructed to preserve for itself a pool of diseased people to which they can sell medications. Many of the scholars who teach this view no doubt hold stock in the companies that profit from drug sales. They are certainly dependant on pharmaceutical companies for research funding, and the research is not aimed at utlimately irradicating the disease from society.

gee, that's a pretty broad generalization to make about the stock thing -- though I'd bet that one could find statistics to support it (just look for where TIAA/CREF puts its mutual fund money, then eliminate the middle link between academic institutions -- TIAA/CREF -- pharmaceuticals).

[The other problem, tho, is that most psychopharms are paid for by HMOs and Insurance companies, not the "diseased" people themselves. Sure, a chunk of my salary goes towards my coverage, but there are a LOT of "healthy" people out there paying for my meds. On the other hand, it's ME who is footing most of the bill for my talk therapy. Your line of logic would suggest its the TALK therapists who are supporting a model of "mental illness" that keeps them in business ... it sure ain't Oxford, the Empire Plan (BC/BS ... yeah, right, BS indeed!), or "Value Options" (whoever the hell they are, the stingy b*st*rds) who are keeping the lights on at my therapist's apartment.]

you get the same effect, in the end, from properly "scientific" work anyway, since Science is still "run" by a collective mindset that strives for isolation of variables instead of coming to grips with how they interact. Worse yet, that's the attitude for potential variables within the same "category" of measurable effects -- asking Science to deal with social and/or economic and/or political and/or cultural issues ON TOP OF neurochemical issues is asking more from Science than it can grasp at once.


besides, if you're a pharmaceuticals researcher already, you've got your stock options (perhaps) no matter what and little control over the company's bottom line since the finance department will do the calculus to turn pills into profits.

On the other hand, if you're at a research university, you DEFINITELY have a different set of demons to deal with ... tenure review panels, journal review boards, deans and college presidents who hand out real estate and slave labor (grad students/post-docs) on campus based on your funding level. I lived with some organic chem grad students while I was studying psychology ... most of their funding, perhaps across the department from what I understood, was based on the flimsiest claims that the compound they were investigating, whatever it was, had "anti-AIDS" properties. With the way that funding for basic research (with non-military applications) has dried up over the last 20 years, you gotta go where the money is.

That is, unless you want to spend the rest of your tenured life teaching "Chemistry for Poets" and using an antiquated fume hood in the fourth sub-basement of the OLD chemistry building as your office/research space.

cheers,
bob


PS to Lunatic-- if you want to see the mentally ill tossed out of one state-run facility (hospitals) to land in/on another state-run facility (the streets), come visit New York City. Rudy Giuliani's done a wonderful job of it during his tenure here (just think of what he can do for the REST of the country as a senator! My apologies if that sets of any panic attacks). Actually, Giuliani has moved a good number of these folk to yet another state-run facility (Riker's Island) as the homeless are denied medication and, if that doesn't push some over the edge into committing some punishable offense, arresting them for "Quality of Life" crimes.

 

Re: Lunatic

Posted by Lunatic on April 20, 2000, at 0:55:41

In reply to Re: Lunatic, posted by Mark H. on April 19, 2000, at 15:18:48

"I would find it useful and informative to read more about your internal experiences
with schizophrenia, if you're willing to share them."

Its isn't real clear to me what you mean. My illness consists/consisted of primarily delusions, not much in the way of hallucinations, and at times severely disorganized thought, (during active psychosis). Over the years, I have been able to recognize and label and defuse some of my delusions. A lot of my delusions in some way revolved around religious ideation. Therefore, the Church has helped me in some ways to come to terms and recognize some of my delusions by becoming more familiar with the dogma and seeing the erroneous nature of the delusions. On the other hand, some of the beliefs held by the wider Church, (right, far-right), would sound to most people delusional. I can only suspend judgement, because based on my experience many obvious truths have turned out to be false and vice versa. I also have a degree in a hard science and I am a little sceptical about the exact nature of reality and our ability to perceive it.

In my day to day experiences I may overreact to external stimuli. I see good and evil at work, by my perceptions, and if the radio is playing "Sympathy for the Devil", I turn it off. My perceptions that you may find questionable are based to an extent on learned symbolism, (rectus,sinister etc.) that I sort of sum up to how I perceive reality, which I might revise from time to time. Its a sort of loose association of similiar ideas. If, for example, someone asserts, "There are no such thing as demons!", then maybe from the framework of their perception of reality this seems entirely reasonable, but if I know that within a group such as the Church this is pretty much common belief, (that demons exist), and it is easy for me to see that there is consensus in belief only in certain fractions of society in general, I would question their assertion and my beliefs would be unchanged. So I would have to disagree with the idea that certain religious ideas are "delusions" unless they are inconsistent with the dogma of the individuals claimed belief system. I can see one other advantage to believing in demons vs. id impulses. Demons are seen as external while id impulses are seen as arising from unfulfilled desires or internal. Since the actual reality of the situation cannot be known, (I think this is reasonable), then the belief in demons rather than unwholesome aspects of the self relieves the person of unnecessary guilt. I find it troubling at times to realize that the reality of a situation is for all practical purposes, unknowable. This prevents me from throwing out paranoid ideas. But based on my experiences, having been burnt too many times, trust is foolish and illadvised.

 

Re: Lunatic

Posted by our20 on April 20, 2000, at 2:14:42

In reply to Re: Lunatic, posted by Lunatic on April 20, 2000, at 0:55:41

Sympathy for the devil. That's easy. It is E, D, A, or is it E, A, D?
Either way, I'll remember when I sit down to the keyboard (I hope).

Beautiful moon tonight. Thanks for the insight, Luna.

Funny how somebody so opposed to the devil bears the name of a light reflecting astral body

Kidding. No disrespect for your faith. I have an inkling of faith too. It is terrible what happened at Waco, and at OKC, too. I hope Elian gets to know his dad, and they have a wonderful life. I hope Castro and Jimmy Swaggart mend their differences.

Peace.

 

Re: Lunatic Lyrical aside

Posted by Cam W. on April 20, 2000, at 6:38:40

In reply to Re: Lunatic, posted by Lunatic on April 20, 2000, at 0:55:41


Actually 'Sympathy for the Devil' is a nasty shot at God, if you listen closely to the lyrics:

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name...."

"As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer, as I am in need of some restraint."

The song lyrics do make sense in this context, but it is only a song, quite probably written under the influence of one or several drugs. So, you have to consider the source of the lyrics and realize that this group only wrote the song for publicity (and thus, therefore profit - controversy = many copies of the album 'Beggar's Banquet' sold = profit). One shouldn't let a profit-motivated band influence what they listen to.

Turning off the radio if a song comes on that annoys or disturbs you is a good thing (I do it when Bobby McFarrin's 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' is playing).

I hear that Keith Richards is really dead and his stage presence is really the latest in Disney animatronics. - Cam W.

 

Re: Lunatic Lyrical aside

Posted by bob on April 20, 2000, at 8:24:54

In reply to Re: Lunatic Lyrical aside, posted by Cam W. on April 20, 2000, at 6:38:40

> Actually 'Sympathy for the Devil' is a nasty shot at God, if you listen closely to the lyrics:

Sounds like a much nastier shot at mankind, verse by verse. Mick's singing about someone in an observatory role in many of those incidents, or someone who along for a, well, "joy"ride.

> "As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer, as I am in need of some restraint."

And the next line is more of a "don't blame me -- it's your soul that's in peril" comment.

> ...So, you have to consider the source of the lyrics and realize that this group only wrote the song for publicity ... One shouldn't let a profit-motivated band influence what they listen to.

Unless you buy into the "Paul McCartney is Dead" conspiracy theorists, who say this particular tune is the Stones giving the Devil his due, and an acknowledgement of the "Here come the Rolling Stones" message on the cover of Sgt. Pepper.

> Turning off the radio if a song comes on that annoys or disturbs you is a good thing (I do it when Bobby McFarrin's 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' is playing).

Ah, but what's so wrong with getting a little sunshine blown up your butt? Repeat after me, "I, [state your name], have a Cheerful and Sunny disposition." Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

;^)
bob

 

Re: Thank You, Lunatic!

Posted by Mark H. on April 20, 2000, at 11:21:21

In reply to Re: Lunatic, posted by Lunatic on April 20, 2000, at 0:55:41

Dear Lunatic (is there another name you'd prefer I use?),

What a beautiful, sensitive and intelligent response to my awkward questions. That's just the sort of information that helps to deepen my understanding, respect and compassion for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

For the record, I'm supposedly not schizophrenic, yet I have seen and experienced my share of what some call demons. I dealt with multiple voices and personalities in myself by seeking assistance from spiritual counselors instead of medical doctors, beginning about 21 years ago. I had several years of highly disciplined training under two excellent and responsible teachers, the primary focus of which (for me) was to have "just me" in my body and to be able to "turn on" and "turn off" at will my then-random ability to see and sense things that most people are not aware of. Eventually I offered intuitive counseling for seven years, and even made my living at it for a couple of years, using these skills and abilities to assist others. I mention this because if I presented the same symptoms and perceptions to my excellent psychiatrist today afresh -- without years of training and practice with which to provide a context -- he would probably find them delusional.

My disorder is called bipolar II, which means I have mild, pleasant highs and black-hole lows, and I'm helped greatly by medication and cognitive therapies. Manic depressive illnesses, including mine, often involve increased religiosity, and I'm no exception.

After studying Buddhism for almost 30 years, I finally settled on Tibetan Buddhism, which is the most elaborate, formal, demon-and-god-filled, "high church" sort of Buddhism there is. Experts in manic-depressive disorders would say, "Of course Mark chose Tibetan Buddhism!"

But I also fell into another, darker form of "religion" seven years ago when my first fully debilitating depression hit with such fury. Instead of turning to a spiritual practice for help, I read and absorbed "Listening to Prozac," which sent me into reading all sorts of other technical references on the bio-mechanical model of mental illness. This model, as compelling as it is, reminds me of the post-war existentialism I read when I was very young -- by making it all a matter of neurotransmitters and irreversible brain damage, it's very difficult not to become cynical and doubtful about the meaning of everything we experience, including the most exalted feelings and perceptions we have.

In Buddhism, we believe that within this "relative reality" that is the sham we call samsara, there are relatively better and relatively worse feelings, thoughts, words and deeds. It may all be an illusion, but within this illusion all of us experience profound suffering. Whatever we can do to relieve that suffering is good. Positive, virtuous thoughts and actions are better than negative, harmful thoughts and actions.

There is one person on this list, my respected friend boB, who is trying to save me from my blind acceptance of the medical/biomechanical/psychopharmaceutical religion I embraced with such "scientific" certainty. He never claims there isn't value to the help I'm receiving, he just begs and prods me in every way he can to begin thinking outside of this box I've put myself in. Slowly, slowly, I'm beginning to open to additional possibilities.

Empirically speaking, trust is probably foolish, as you say. However, one of the illusions I choose, is to trust a great deal more than I feel comfortable with. I live in a basically safe world of basically good people, some of whom have suffered so much that their minds have become almost totally non-virtuous, but who can be helped by our prayers, kindness and positive thoughts for them. Am I kidding myself? Perhaps. But over time this particular delusion is more positive and useful (to me) than giving in to my fears, anger and projected negativity.

Thank you so much for engaging me in a dialog. I am learning a lot from you. If you decide to change your list-name, please let me know so I can still follow your posts. You may be schizophrenic, but you are no lunatic to me!

With warm regards,

Mark H.

 

Re: To: Lunatic, Mark H., and anyone else...

Posted by CarolAnn on April 20, 2000, at 18:59:24

In reply to Re: Lunatic, posted by Lunatic on April 20, 2000, at 0:55:41

I've found the dialogues you two are having very interesting. The question of what "reality" really is, fascinates me. I've read so much stuff trying to find answers, Philosophy, histories of the major religions, even books on quantum theory and Physics(the last two, only if written in layman's terms).
I also went thru a period of delusional belief, it was in the early to late 80's. At that time, I didn't know that I had "depression" and could be helped. I just thought that I was strange and different from other people, and miserable because of that. So, (big admission here), I developed the sincere believe that at some point in time, God would let me go back to a certain point of my life and "start over" as a normal person. Every single day I would fantasize what my new life was going to be like, and every night I went to sleep, believing, absolutely that I would wake up to this "new" reality. I have to say that this particular delusion probably saved my life many times. Not knowing that I suffered an illness "depression", I had no way of knowing that I could be helped with therapy and meds. So, my only hope for future happiness, was in my delusion of getting to start my life over. Therefore, without that delusion, I am absolutely sure that I would have been overcome by the hopelessness, and would not be here today to tell the tail. Whew! Well, I just wanted to share my personal experience of having an alternative "reality" as a coping mechanism, at a time when I didn't know that help was available, let alone how to seek it out. Sorry this got so long! CarolAnn

 

Re: Realities / CarolAnn

Posted by Mark H. on April 20, 2000, at 19:49:03

In reply to Re: To: Lunatic, Mark H., and anyone else... , posted by CarolAnn on April 20, 2000, at 18:59:24

CarolAnn, Thank you for contributing to this discussion. Of course I loved the movie "Groundhog Day," in which Bill Murray's hard-suffering character is required / allowed to re-live one day of his life repeatedly until he gets it right. Your "delusion" seemed to spring from the level of myth and archetype, a saving grace to tide you over until help could arrive in a more tangible form. It is a beautiful story. I appreciate your sharing it.

Fondly,

Mark H.

 

Re: To: Lunatic, Mark H., and anyone else...

Posted by Cass on April 20, 2000, at 23:15:50

In reply to Re: To: Lunatic, Mark H., and anyone else... , posted by CarolAnn on April 20, 2000, at 18:59:24

Fantasies of a new life have also been a coping mechanism for me. I can't say that I ever fully believed that my fantasies would come true, but I have consciously tried to suspend my disbelief for the sake of escaping reality. For awhile, I tried hard to get rid of the fantasies, believing they were neurotic, and that I would be more constructive about my problems if I got rid of them. Now I'm not sure that's true. I like the fantasies. I just have to keep in mind that they are temporary escapes and not necessarily potential realities, but I also believe that they have truly saved my life at times. Here's to fantasy!!

 

Re: realities

Posted by Rebecca on April 21, 2000, at 17:28:20

In reply to Re: To: Lunatic, Mark H., and anyone else... , posted by Cass on

Part of my depression has involved big philosophical issues like religion and the nature of reality, but my experiences of a different form of reality have made me suicidal rather than hopeful about staying alive. it's difficult to explain, especially in retrospect. but it's like experiencing the true nature of reality and knowing that I should exist, truly belong, in that realm but can't while I exist corporeally.

to make a long and convoluted story short, after I told my then-psychologist about a situation earlier that week when I would have tried to kill myself without second thoughts if I'd had a quick and easy means, I ended up with a psychiatrist appointment the next day (he's one of those people who is booked 6 weeks into the future) and got antipsychotics to supplement the ADs.

but I've got mixed feelings about it all. I fully and absolutely believed that I had the opportunity to experience true reality, while life itself was something provisional, so in the grand scheme of things, killing myself was not inherently bad--it was in fact a good thing. I can't accept the idea that I was delusional due to screwy neurotransmitters, so I'm left wondering if that sort of experience is something that I want, knowing fully that it could result in me killing myself.

 

Re: realities

Posted by Mark H. on April 21, 2000, at 18:24:52

In reply to Re: realities , posted by Rebecca on April 21, 2000, at 17:28:20

The well-marked path of Buddhism suggests that killing yourself is not the way to get to that state of awareness and reality to which you refer. In fact, I'm told that it pretty well guarantees you won't even glimpse that state again for a long, long time. Darn.

Those who know say that it's right here anyway, that it's not somewhere else beyond this corporeal existence; that it doesn't exclude anything, including our depression and being stuck for awhile with a body. In fact, those who know say that this human life is the most favorable and precious opportunity a being can have to move toward realization, and that to waste it is a tragedy. Hmmmm... what if they're right?

I deeply long to be one with the all-that-is, whether I call it the nature of mind or God or the universe. I've experienced it for brief periods of time. If I thought I could get there by killing myself, I'd be out of here in an instant. But it doesn't seem to work that way.

So, I'd just like to encourage you to stick around and see how it goes, right up to your natural end. Your perception of the larger reality may be spot-on, but the conclusion you've drawn from it (that you might as well kill yourself) sounds like "depression thinking" to me.

Besides, if you died, Rebecca, you wouldn't get to play regulation Frisbee with your new-found friends at the Psycho-Babble annual picnic. ;-)

With warm regards,

Mark H.

 

Re: realities (of killing one's self)...

Posted by CarolAnn on April 22, 2000, at 8:16:26

In reply to Re: realities , posted by Mark H. on April 21, 2000, at 18:24:52

I have to agree with Mark. I also think that our being here on earth has some purpose even if it is to experience this kind of pain. In fact, The absolute primary reason that I've never killed myself, is that I just know for sure, not exactly that I'd be punished, but that I would have to (in some way) *pay* for not learning whatever it is that I'm supposed to be learning here on this earth in this body. So, no matter how close I get to ending it all, I know in the deepest corner of my being that I cannot just give-up, I have keep looking for the answer to being "me" and I have to keep trying to figure out *how* I am supposed to be living, in order to know the joy of being alive. Does this make sense? CarolAnn

 

Re: realities (of killing one's self)...

Posted by gail on April 22, 2000, at 11:18:44

In reply to Re: realities (of killing one's self)..., posted by CarolAnn on April 22, 2000, at 8:16:26

> I have not been suicidal but have wondered what is our purpose. However, my Father commited suicide 6 years ago and I am still feeling the pain. I cannot describe to you the pain my family has gone through for his soul and wondering if we could have done something, anything, would it have made a difference. Obviously his inner pain was too difficult to overcome but I know if he had just made it another day he would be here now with his Grandchildren and a daughter who loves him deeply and misses him every day. Please always allow yourself to think of the innocent ones who are left behind in pain who just want to put their arms around you and say "I love you, I appreciate you and I need you in my life".

 

Re: realities (of killing one's self)...

Posted by KarenB on April 22, 2000, at 12:16:32

In reply to Re: realities (of killing one's self)..., posted by gail on April 22, 2000, at 11:18:44

I just wanted to share this:

I was just talking to an old friend on the phone last night who is seriously depressed - and untreated. I was encouraging her to see a doctor and she promised she would. During the conversation, I mentioned my children (two boys, one almost 5 and the other 2 1/2) and she said she thought God had "protected her" by not allowing her to be a parent. I in turn told her that I thought God had protected ME by allowing me to be one.

You see, staying in bed all day is not an option when you have small children. Having them has literally forced me to live, when I haven't felt like living. And, I have NEVER heard anyone say that their parent committed suicide and they had "gotten over it," that they had dealt with the pain and it just didn't hurt anymore. I love them too much to leave them with that.

Those sweet little guys have saved my life. I thank God for them.

Karen

 

Re: realities--Mark H., CarolAnn

Posted by Rebecca on April 22, 2000, at 16:17:03

In reply to Re: realities , posted by Mark H. on April 21, 2000, at 18:24:52

Mark H., CarolAnn,

I'm not sure that the sort of trancendental experiences I've had would be of the Buddhist take on ultimate reality. I contemplated grad school in Buddhist Studies for a while in college, but spent the second half of my religion major concentrating more on dead white guys like Kierkegaard. You're in the Tibetan tradition, Mark H., right? I started taking a Himalayan Buddhism class, but ended up dropping it when I fell way behind as a result of spending far too much time on my senior thesis (which was on a couple of dead white guys). So I'm not so familiar with the Tibetan Buddhist take on things.

My own religious beliefs are pretty fuzzy (I certainly wouldn't claim them to be self-consistent)--religion was never brought up in my family; what I believe is based upon weird experiences I've had while depressed and my studies in college. It's really hard to describe said experiences after the fact. I can't entirely remember what I experienced (most recently last October); it's not like a dream, since the "me" dreaming is the same as the "me" awake--when I dream I know my thought processes and logic. But when I experience what I consider to be ultimate reality, ordinary logic fails. I thought that by killing myself I would be giving up the specious and temporal for the true eternal reality. Sort of a "shuffle off this mortal coil" kind of thing. Ordinary ethics wouldn't matter--Kierkegaard asked whether there is a teleological suspension of the ethical, and I must answer with a resounding "yes".

I thought that I was experiencing the ultimate truth and didn't want to return to the false world of appearances when the experience ended. But I didn't have a quick way to kill myself (and -- intentionally -- still don't), so nothing happened.

I don't know. There was a time in high school when I thought that I should kill myself for the sake of the higher order of the universe. I remember sitting in history class, trying to convince myself to kill myself, repeating over and over to myself that I was an awful person and didn't deserve to live. Not exactly what the mental health folks would consider healthy behavior. though proof of the power of hours and hours of repetition.

I wrote the above this morning... today I'm having problems with external reality--if I just relax and go with the flow, it's ok and I can deal with my surroundings and their existence. but it's all to easy to find it all very unreal and disturbing and too much stimulation and feel a need to lie down somewhere quiet and close my eyes and be alone and pretend that nothing outside of my head exists.

I think all I've done is muddy the waters in this post.

 

finding someone who has tried to.....

Posted by Deb R on April 23, 2000, at 8:09:40

In reply to Re: realities (of killing one's self)..., posted by KarenB on April 22, 2000, at 12:16:32

>And, I have NEVER heard anyone say that their parent committed suicide and they had "gotten over it," that they had dealt with the pain and it just didn't hurt anymore. I love them too much to leave them with that.

I still have vivid memories of my Mum's attempt at suicide when I was 11 - we found her in the garden with her wrists slashed. This is an image which has always remained with me.

 

shouldnt have posted that -

Posted by Deb R on April 23, 2000, at 8:29:53

In reply to finding someone who has tried to....., posted by Deb R on April 23, 2000, at 8:09:40

> >And, I have NEVER heard anyone say that their parent committed suicide and they had "gotten over it," that they had dealt with the pain and it just didn't hurt anymore. I love them too much to leave them with that.
>
> I still have vivid memories of my Mum's attempt at suicide when I was 11 - we found her in the garden with her wrists slashed. This is an image which has always remained with me.

I shouldn't have posted the above, my Mum would be mortified to think I had spoken outside the family about it. Secrets and guilt weigh heavy in our family and I'm just so sick of it all. I shouldn't have said anything, I know we are all virtual strangers but its a big thing for me to do this. I truly think I am way overdue in going to speak to someone about these horrible memories. Since posting the previous post all of 5 minutes ago I have a head full of stuff that I feel will burst out and I wont be able to stop it.

 

Deb R

Posted by Janice on April 23, 2000, at 11:17:34

In reply to shouldnt have posted that - , posted by Deb R on April 23, 2000, at 8:29:53

I think this is the perfect place to try to air your experience. In the sense that you will probably never meet us, we will always be anonymous. I don't think you will find a better place to shed some light on your horrifying experience. I imagine you are right, that you will never forget those memories. I have a hard time even trying to imagine it myself--a child discovering her mother in this state. Have you ever thought of EMDR therapy? It is suppose to be especially effective for traumatic memories. take care Deb R and I think you probably took a step in the right direction. Janice

 

Re: shouldnt have posted that -

Posted by Brenda on April 23, 2000, at 11:22:44

In reply to shouldnt have posted that - , posted by Deb R on April 23, 2000, at 8:29:53

> > >And, I have NEVER heard anyone say that their parent committed suicide and they had "gotten over it," that they had dealt with the pain and it just didn't hurt anymore. I love them too much to leave them with that.
> >
> > I still have vivid memories of my Mum's attempt at suicide when I was 11 - we found her in the garden with her wrists slashed. This is an image which has always remained with me.
>
> I shouldn't have posted the above, my Mum would be mortified to think I had spoken outside the family about it. Secrets and guilt weigh heavy in our family and I'm just so sick of it all. I shouldn't have said anything, I know we are all virtual strangers but its a big thing for me to do this. I truly think I am way overdue in going to speak to someone about these horrible memories. Since posting the previous post all of 5 minutes ago I have a head full of stuff that I feel will burst out and I wont be able to stop it.

Dear Deb, Bless your heart. It is soooo hard to release ourselves from the rules of our childhood. Your mom's suicide attempt not only affected her, but most likely affected you more. You have every right to talk about what that did to you. My god - you were only 11 years-old at the time. If there was no one to talk to about it then, there sure is now. The "stigma" (for lack of a better word) of your mom's attempt isn't about you in any way. You were just a kid. There's no way an 11 year-old can bear the responsibility of that.
Your heart is in the right place in wanting to look out for/love your mom, BUT your peace of mind comes first. Now and always. I'll keep you in my thoughts.
Brenda

 

There are no accidents!

Posted by Todd on April 24, 2000, at 1:08:39

In reply to Re: shouldnt have posted that - , posted by Brenda on April 23, 2000, at 11:22:44

This is perhaps one of the best threads I have seen in quite some time. These discussions are brilliant, particularly those submitted by Mark H. I am bipolar/manic, meaning I have had a major manic episode and a few fleeting hypomanic states and near misses, but no instances of clinical depression. I guess I am one of the "lucky" ones, but we all have our crosses to bear. Being bipolar in a "normal" world is not always a picnic.

I think boB put it best - modern psychiatry today puts far too much emphasis on medicating so-called mental patients. Not nearly enough emphasis is put on good old-fashioned psychotherapy, but more importantly, spirituality is an aspect that is almost completely ignored. To say our conditions are merely biological is to completely ignore the very real possibility that true healing may actually occur, and that we hold the key to that healing within ourselves. We are not JUST a body, or a mind, or a soul. The three are intricately and inextricably intertwined. Anything that is off in one aspect will affect the others.

I had my big manic episode over 10 years ago while I was in college. It was preceded by a lot of internal religious questioning. It was a classic textbook case, with all of the grandiosity and euphoria and sleeplessness and reckless behavior that usually accompanies a manic episode. But in the wildest highs of that mania, I experienced some startling revelations and touched a truly beautiful place. I babbled endlessly about all sorts of spiritual things to my family and friends, and alll of a sudden, life seemed to make SO much sense. Of course, the way it came out of my mouth was enough to land me in a mental hospital. I really felt that "I" was the sane one, everyone else was crazy, and spent all of my energy trying to convince everyone that they could be happy. Of course, what I experienced was described as delusional, grandiose, and once the lithium kicked in, the vividness of it all faded into the background. Thank GOD! I couldn't handle all of that energy running through my system, and thank God I had loving family and friends that knew something was amiss. Lithium works well for me, and I lead a completely normal life, if you want to label it that way.

The point of what I am getting around to saying is that in the years since that mania, and in the process of coming to terms with and embracing that aspect of myself, I never forgot the visions and the "understanding" that I experienced at the time. It was all too real at the time and made too much sense for me ever to forget. So for years I kept my little ideas in the back of my mind, vowing to validate them with personal experience as I continue to walk my path. I have done a lot of reading in spiritual matters since then, trying to find a framework for my ideas. I have since become a big fan of metaphysics and the concept of the chakra system.

I am not here to "convert" anyone, just to share my ideas and hope a few benefit. When I first came across these ideas years ago, I dismissed it as New Age bunk. I have since then had enought personal experience to convince me that there is a lot of validity to the concept. Even if you don't buy the idea that we are all walking rainbows, you'll find a lot of wisdom here. The whole premise is that within our body there are 7 centers of energy or "processing" centers that universal energy runs through. Each center represents a different level of consciousness or viewpoint on "reality." In order, from the bottom, survival, emotions, will, love, creativity and expression, vision, and divine connection are represented. If there are any issues or "blocks" below, energy cannot reach the higher levels and make us feel "whole." One cannot be emotionally healthy if they have survival issues, and one cannot love uncondionally and receive unconditional love if there are unresolved emotional issues. Very simple in theory, but very complex in reality, since everyone has a completely different set of issues to unravel and deal with.

For the most part, the issues we have to resolve are largely unconscious, and stem from patterns that were set in motion from birth to about 4 or 5 years old. Early childhood traumas are buried and sent into the subconcious. This is what some would call the "inner child." A great deal of everyone's modes of behavior are actually governed by the inner child. The whole idea is to revisit the inner child and make the subconcious concious, so that we no longer get sucked into the same patterns. We have to take the inner child out of the driver's seat. The inner child aspect of ourselves will always remain, but once we meet the inner child on his or her own terms and understand him or her, we then have the ability to CHOOSE a different behavior and stay out of the self-destructive patterns. Meeting your inner child is NOT easy.

I truly believe that anyone suffering from depression has the inner child running on overdrive. If you think that your fear, guilt, sadness, or anger is irrational, it IS. Your subconcious is processing all of your input through a confused child's eyes and sending all of the sensations back to your conscious. You experience all of the symptoms of depression and are powerless to stop them or to understand why. The reason the inner child is subconcious is because the original pain you suffered was too great to deal with on a conscious level, so it was buried. You processed the information as best you could with your childlike understanding and it became your mode for survival. The problem is, you still use that internal program everday without even knowing it, and that internal program is hopelessly inadequate to deal with your adult-life situations.

We all have to re-examine our childhood in a loving way. The fact that you feel your depression is a sign that you are already loving yourself. I truly believe that we are all here on this earth to heal ourselves, and feeling all of the pain is the first step. The next step is to relate the pain you are feeling now with similar situations you encountered as a child. Re-examine the way your parents raised you, and the way they made you feel. Realize how their shortcomings and attitudes and mistakes affected the way you felt about yourself growing up. Your parents weren't perfect, but as a child, YOU thought they were. That makes a huge imprint on our psyche. Realize that you were born innocent, and at your core, you are still! REALLY! Treat yourself with love and respect. The process could take years or a whole lifetime, but if you really look within WITHOUT being critical of yourself, you will eventually get closer. Once you realize that you're NOT a bad kid, you can start to find out who you really are and start to shine your light into this world. I have only just begun.

As far as my mania is concerned, I have come to believe that a manic episode is really a tapping-into of Divine knowledge, with no ground for true understanding or integration. It's way too much energy being sent into a system that has too many unresolved issues. It's the inner child falsely thinking he knows everything and can manipulate the world to his advantage. Of course, that isn't reality. And that's why mania is mania. But there is a great deal of truth mixed in.

We are all interconnected. Everything we do to interact with other people continues the chain of cause and effect. We are all here to learn our lessons, to grow, and to heal. I believe there are NO accidents - every single waking moment, we all get what we need to accomplish that task. I really believe that we are here to love each other and to make the world a better place. But we have to love ourselves first. Then there will be plenty to go around.

Sorry this has turned into a novel. When the muse takes me, I run with it. I hope I have piqued your imaginations, or maybe I made you laugh out loud. I'll quote Lennon - You may say that I'm dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I'm looking forward to your responses.



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