World Bipolar Day

Each and every year today (30th March) is marked by World Bipolar Day, a day dedicated to the awareness and reduction of stigma of bipolar disorder. World Bipolar day is the initiative of three organisations, those being the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD), the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD). This day is appropriately shared with the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was likely to have suffered from bipolar disorder amongst other disorders and illnesses.
Bipolar Disorder (previously known as manic depression) is a condition characterised by cycling through periods of very low (depression), and very high (mania) moods which can last from weeks to months or even possibly years.

Sometimes an individual with bipolar disorder may go through times where their mood is a combination of both depression and mania, this is known as a mixed episode, and is as equally distressing as episodes of both depression and mania. An individual with bipolar disorder may also experience what is known as rapid cycling, this is when a persons mood will fluctuate from depression to mania within hours or days.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, however, it can be managed so that those who suffer from the disorder can lead a relatively normal life; though that does not mean that it ends the suffering and pain caused by the disorder, rather treatment can make the symptoms become more manageable and easier to cope with. Treatment for bipolar disorder is typically a combination of both medication and therapy. The types of medication and therapy used varies as the management of bipolar disorder will be different for each and every individual. Although rare, some individuals may find that they are treatment resistant meaning that medication will not benefit them in any way, though therapy may still be an option.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability across the globe, as well as being identified as one of the top causes of loss of years of life and health in those 15 – 44 years old. It is estimated that 2% – 7% of the population of the US suffer from the disorder, and almost 10 million people will develop the disorder sometime during their lives, yet half of them will never receive the correct diagnoses or treatment. Within the UK, approximately 723,248 people suffer from bipolar disorder, which equals to 1% – 2% of the population. On average it takes 10 years to receive the correct diagnoses, with an average of being misdiagnosed 3.5 times before receiving the correct diagnoses.
Bipolar Disorder Facts:

There is more than one type of bipolar disorder, these include:

– bipolar type I: considered the classic type of bipolar, the individual will experience periods of both mania and depression of varying lengths

– bipolar type II: the individual will experience episodes of hypomania (a less severe form of mania) as well as depressive episodes equal to that of bipolar type I

– cylcothymia: a chronic but less severe form of bipolar disorder, which is characterised by experiencing episodes of depression and hypomania that lasts for at least two years

rapid-cycling: in order to be diagnosed with rapid-cycling, the individual must experience four or more episodes of depression, mania or both within the same year

bipolar with psychotic features: the individual will experience psychosis during episodes of mania, depression, and a combination of the two

– Bipolar disorder is an episodic illness, meaning that there are typically periods of stability and normal mood in the individual, however, this varies greatly from person to person

– The types of episodes found in bipolar disorder include:

– depression: a period of extremely low mood

– mania: a period of having an extremely elated mood

– mixed episodes: a combination of both mania and depression

– hypomania: a less severe form of mania

– When an individual is experiencing a severe episode of depression or mania, they may also experience psychotic symptoms

– The median onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years old, although the onset can occur as early as childhood or at any given age

– The disorder increases the risk of suicide by 20 times

– Bipolar disorder can and will effect every aspect of an individuals life

– Bipolar disorder does not discriminate, it effects men and women equally, as well as those of all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic class
In comparison to other health conditions, those who suffer from bipolar disorder, or any other form of mental illness, are far more likely to face stigma. Stigma may present itself in many forms, some more subtle than others, however, it all contributes to the negativity surrounding mental illness. In turn, this negativity causes people to become far less likely to talk about their problems or to try and find help. Over the years, stigma has and still continues to cause vast amounts of damage to those suffering from mental illness, it is time to bring an end to this.

Firstly, begin with yourself. Educate yourself, followed by those around you, show support to those suffering from bipolar disorder or any other form of mental illness. Learn to respond to what you do not understand with kindness rather than ignorance and fear. We all have a choice in this, therefore use your own power to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. If each and every person did this, stigma would no longer be a problem.

I stand with those who suffer from mental illness, I will forever continue to raise awareness and give my support to those who need it. I am one of you, and I will never be ashamed of that.

Depression, Psychosis, and Suicide

As you can tell from my previous article, I have been far from well during these past few months. I began entering a depressive episode towards the end of July, which continued to increase in intensity for the past seven months. This lead to some rather dangerous situations, relapses, and a lot of pain; both physically and mentally.

Although I will do my best to describe the events that occurred, I cannot remember all too much as I have suffered from memory loss for a multitude of reasons, mainly due to substance abuse, dissociation, and dissociative amnesia. Therefore it is important to bear in mind that this is not a detailed description of everything that these past few months have entailed, rather a summarisation of the effects of depression and psychosis and the damage it has, and can cause.

The following excerpts are from my personal journals, which detailed my first hand experiences as they occurred. Although these are extremely personal pieces of writing, I want to share them with you to give you a first hand view of what it is actually like to suffer with illnesses such as schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar, and depression.

– I want to crack open my skull and watch everything pour out as I drift into an eternal cosmic sleep.

13:46 21/11/2016

– All it takes is a couple of seconds to relapse and a whole years worth of work has been thrown out of the window, well done. So now that I am back to where I started, I don’t think that anything ever changed in the first place.

18:01 29/11/2016

– There is something very, very wrong with me and it is not mental illness. This goes far beyond that, this time I cannot be helped.

I feel as if my head is about to explode and that my heart will crash to the floor. I found that as I tried to speak I watched everything pour out until I was left drowning within the depths of my own thoughts.

01:23 02/12/2016

– What am I? There is not one part of me that feels human, all I can see between myself and humanity is difference.

I am not like the rest of you, I never have been; I can feel it crawling through my veins. I do not believe that I can die, physically I can, but my consciousness continues as it always has. I feel as if I have lived a thousand lives and that I will live a thousand more.

There is no end to my torturous existence, in physical death I can only rest, there is no peace.

22:16 06/12/2016

As you can probably tell from the above excerpts, I was very delusional and in an extremely dark place, which tends to exaggerate my psychotic symptoms significantly. During this period I had genuinely lost my mind and the very essence of my being, my perspective had become extremely distorted. I was experiencing an array of hallucinations, those mainly being somatic, auditory, and visual hallucinations; though I found the somatic hallucinations to be the most distressing, and unfortunately, they still are.

My drug use had reached an all time high, which was the last thing I needed at the time, and definitely contributed to the decline in my mental health. I also relapsed with self harm after almost one year of being clean, which was the worst relapse I have ever experienced.

The depressive and psychotic episode I was experiencing reached a climax after months of suicidal thoughts soon became suicidal ideation and behaviour. What was once a thought soon became an action, and my life was on the line. It had reached the point where my suicide attempts were not planned, but spontaneous actions on the days that they occurred, thankfully I came out from them all relatively unscathed.

Since this period in my life, my drug use and self harming behaviours have ceased entirely, and I am doing far better now. I hope to continue down this path of recovery, and aid those who are struggling with their own recovery along the way. Helping you, is helping me; and vice versa.

Returning from my 4 Month Hiatus

As many of you may or may not know, I am finally returning after my four month hiatus away from writing and being involved in the mental health community. My previous article, Disappearing for a While, details the reasons as to why I felt it was necessary to stop writing and begin focusing on myself.

I was in a very unhealthy state of mind and felt that I could not bring anything beneficial to the mental health community at that time, and rightfully so. I spiralled into a severe episode of depression, which caused many of my psychotic symptoms to flare up, though this went unnoticed to others. I can see now that I became very delusional, and that I was extremely far away from what most would call ‘reality’. This lead to more than one attempt on my life, as a result I began taking medication once again, though due to a severe reaction I ended up needing to be hospitalised in order to recover.

Though I have ceased taking medication as a result of what occurred, I am finally on an upswing again, and will be writing about all the events mentioned here in detail. This is merely a general overview of what has been going on in the past few months, and what is going to happen from this point onward.

Although I left on relatively bad terms, I believe that it was necessary and I am glad that I did so as I am back now better than ever. A lot has occurred in the past four months, which I will definitely be writing about in the forthcoming weeks. I will not be as active as I have been in the past with my writing, though I aim to update this blog weekly at a minimum.

I wish to use this blog as a tool for recovery and helping others once again, and now that I have become far more recovery orientated with a healthier mindset I believe that I will be able to do this. Returning to being involved with the mental health community is something that I am greatly looking forward to, and I hope those I have previously associated with have been well in my absence. You are the people who continue to inspire me to do what it is that I do, so for that, I thank you.

A Schizoaffective Story Time: A Weird Experience

As all of the articles within the A Schizoaffective Story Time series are about events which have taken place a couple of years ago, I have decided to share the true story of an event that has taken place recently. This event occurred on Sunday 16th September 2016 during the early hours of the morning, 3:20am to be exact.

It all began with my relaxing as usual in the lounge of my apartment, there was not a single thing that was out of the norm, it was simply a typical night. I was alone at this point as my father was elsewhere within the apartment or its surroundings.

The apartment has large bay windows which overlooks the main road that runs into the town, as well as the river and marsh which is situated on the other side of the road; it is a spectacular view. I spend a rather large amount of time looking out of this window, observing the quiet of night; which was exactly what I was doing before the following event occurred.

One minute I was there, observing the world from the windows of my apartment, and the next I was not; everything was completely covered in darkness, there was not a thing to be seen. Although I couldn’t see, I felt as if I was wandering somewhere, not only could I sense motion, but I could also hear it. As I was wandering through the darkness, I could sense the openness and vast expanse of whatever it is I was in, which was when I began to feel as if I was walking through a Colosseum.

I began to hear the chanting of a male choir, who were repeating the words “Om, om, om, om, ne-Pierre”. I was completely oblivious as to what was going on at this point, and with a complete lack of control, I continued through the experience.

The darkness, motion, and all of the things which I could sense began to fade away. As I slowly came round, I felt a huge amount of pressure on the right hand side of my brain, followed by hearing incredibly loud and intense white noise / static also from the right hand side of my head. My entire body felt tense, and I continued to feel slight pressure and a weird feeling my head until I decided to go to sleep about twenty minutes later.

At first I believed this all to be down to a seizure, however, I have experienced seizures many times and they have never been anything like that. It would also be impossible for it to have been a seizure as when I came to consciousness, I was still sitting in the chair as I previously had been; only ten minutes or so had passed. This was a very weird experience in its entirety, I still can’t quite get my head around all of this, although it does retain similarity to both of The Murder Premonition (Part II)experiences.

I am finding this difficult to process, therefore it shall remain an unexplained event which resides in the deepest parts of my mind.

Stigma: What You Don’t Know

This article is for those without a mental illness, I aim to shed some light and clarity on exactly what it is that we experience as mentally ill individuals; and the problems which stem from stigma, misinformation, and all too common misconceptions about mental illness. Although this article is mainly intended for those without a mental illness, I would love to hear the opinions of others who suffer from a mental illness on this matter.

As individuals who do suffer from a mental illness, we hear the typical “everyone feels like that sometimes”, “we all feel like that”, “at least you’re not ______” all too often. It is the stigma, misinformation, and misconceptions that contribute to leading you to think that you know what it is like to suffer from a mental illness, which I can guarantee you don’t, whilst you downplay our illnesses as normal thoughts, feelings and experiences, which we are clearly overreacting to; we are simply lazy, unlikeable people in the eyes of the ignorant.

Here’s the thing: you do not feel what we feel, a mental illness is called a mental illness for that exact reason, it’s an illness. We are not experiencing normal human emotions, thoughts or experiences, otherwise we would not be diagnosed by medical professionals as mentally ill. Mental illness twists, modifies, and intensifies what would be normal human emotions, thoughts and experiences by a horrifically incredible amount. We do not perceive the world in the way that you do, a mental illness will affect every single aspect of your life, changing your life and the person you are entirely. However, you have to adapt to this, you have to adapt to living with a mental illness; we are given no choice. If you suffer from a psychotic disorder, not only are our thoughts and emotions being affected, our sensory perception will be affected to; leaving us to live our lives in a reality that you are not aware of.

I have found that the issue tends to be that people who do not suffer from a mental illness attempt to equate our experiences to their own, they relate our mental illnesses to the normal every day negative situations that they experience; you perceive and judge us through eyes of ignorance. Depression is not sadness, mania is not happiness, psychosis isn’t seeing something out of the corner of your eye; anxiety is not nervousness, our illnesses are not your emotions.

The following quote resonates strongly with me on this issue:

The humanity we share is more important than the mental illness that we don’t”

– Professor Elyn R. Saks

Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses should not be cast aside, declared lazy, be told that we are not trying hard enough, or that we are not ill at all; we need to be showed compassion, empathy, and care. We are all humans, our lives may be very different, we may be very different, but that does not make us inferior to those who do not suffer from a mental illness.

Until the day you wake up and know how it feels to have to fight and struggle with your mind every second of the day to simply survive, to feel the weight of the world cave in on your chest, desperately grasping to hold onto the things you know and love whilst your illness strips it all away from you, don’t you dare tell me you know how it feels. 

Mystery Blogger Award

mysterybloggerawardtemp

““Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve any recognition they get. The award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”

Oko to Enigma

Thank you to alucardeverlasting for nominating me, as well as for providing an interesting read with their nomination article.

Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

As with all rules, some are made to be broken. Therefore you may have noticed that I am using a different award logo/image as it is of higher quality, and I do not wish to use low quality images on this blog. You may also have noticed that I have not nominated the required amount of people as I simply find it too difficult to do so; I will not be commenting on the blogs of those I have nominated as I do not wish to intrude or post unrelated content on their articles out of respect.

Although I have published many personal articles about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences; there is very little information on here which directly describes or portrays the person that I am. Therefore the information I am about to tell you could be rather interesting, or entirely of no interest; as the first thing that you will learn about me as a person is that I am absolutely terrible at talking about myself and who I am. Particularly when it comes to providing interesting things about myself, as I am unaware of what information it is that others would desire. Anyway, here we go.

  1. I have always been interested and drawn to the darker side of life. Whether that be the music I listen to, the way I present myself physically, the things that I watch and read, my interests; each and every aspect of my life is affected by this, and I would never change it. Many of the things which do interest me are shun out of ignorance, which does not stop these things from happening and only reduces awareness and the truth of this world.
  2. I am a lover of nature, not of people. I am significantly reclusive, antisocial, and introverted. I do not like people or humanity in general, I do not deny that good people exist, as almost all of those within the mental health community are perfect examples of good people existing. However, this does not outweigh the negatives of humanity. I do not agree with loving everyone unconditionally, as quite simply put, not everyone deserves it. There are horrendous people out there who do not deserve to and will not receive any form of love or kindness from me. Human nature simply disgusts me, I choose not to be ignorant and turn the other cheek, rather I face the truth and accept that far too many humans are mere parasites on this Earth.
  3. Since being introduced to technology, it has remained one of the largest parts of my life till this day. Without technology, I am unsure as to whether I would have got this far. It has helped me cope with my illness and the every day troubles of life ever since I can remember. It is how I connect and communicate with the rest of the world, and it allows me to not be alone entirely. Before I left education for the final time I was playing the roles of a graphic designer, web developer, and system administrator for the company which I previously worked for; and this was to be the field I would work within for the rest of my life. Now that my mental illness has grown to such a severity, my ability to work and function within the technological field has been taken away from me; yet it still remains one of the largest parts of my life and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
  1. If you had any supernatural power, what would it be?It would most likely be immortality, or some form of superhuman abilities, such as superhuman strength, psychic abilities; and such.
  2. What’s your greatest accomplishment and deepest regret?I believe that I am yet to make both my greatest accomplishment and deepest regret.
  3. Who or what, or both, inspires you?Edgar Allan Poe has been my inspiration for writing ever since I can remember, other than that, I would say that nature is my inspiration.
  4. What would be your ideal fantasy world?If you are familiar with either Skyrim or World of Warcraft, I would happily live in either of those worlds.
  5. Describe yourself in five words:Open minded, fair, honest, introverted, and detached.

I nominate the following individuals for this award:

Peaceableme

Decoding Bipolar

Bipolar Redux

hellobipolarlinla

depressionistheenemy

Beautifully Bipolar

I highly recommend both visiting and following these blogs, as they truly do provide invaluable information and insight into the lives of those who do suffer from mental illness. For those who were nominated you do not have to participate of course, do so of your own accord.

Five questions:

  1. What is the meaning of life to you?
  2. Is there an afterlife? If so, what does it hold?
  3. Should both love and kindness be given unconditionally?
  4. If you could be anywhere in the universe at any point in time, where would you be?
  5. Would you prefer to be mortal or immortal?

Best Articles:

Suicide: A Reflection of Society

Schizoaffective Disorder: Uncensored

When is Enough Truly Enough?

When Words Fall Short

The Mental Health Crisis

Stigma within the Mental Health Community

The Journey to Recovery

BipolarLife101

Recently I was contacted by the person who runs BipolarLife101, with a fantastic opportunity to have some of my articles published on their website with the aim to increase the awareness and knowledge of mental health.

BipolarLife101 is a website that can be used to help those who suffer from a mental illness connect and learn about their illness, in a place where they can receive support from others who are suffering from the same or a similar illness. Not only is it a great place for those who are mentally ill, but also for those who are not mentally ill who wish to educate themselves about mental health; which is particularly useful for the friends and family members of those who do suffer from a mental illness. However, my favourite thing about this website/project is that it is run and contributed to by those who are mentally ill, who have the experience and insight which is needed to relate to and understand other individuals with a mental illness.

This was clearly too good of an opportunity to pass, therefore as time goes on, some of my articles will also be available to read there. If you wish to read the first article of mine which has been published on the BipolarLife101 website, please click here.

bp101

Once again I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation for such a great opportunity, and I look forward to an interesting future working with them.

Schizoaffective Disorder: Uncensored

As my aim is to provide an uncensored view into the real life thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the individuals who suffer from schizoaffective disorder; as well as those who suffer from other mental illnesses. I do this at all costs, I am allowing you the opportunity to witness the most personal thoughts, emotions, and experiences of my life. Therefore I am going to share a significantly personal piece which was written during the early hours of the morning of Saturday 22nd October.

The inspiration for this piece came from seemingly no where, yet it was written with such passion, from the depths of both my thoughts and feelings. I felt that I finally needed to write down what it is that I truly feel, rather than continuing to slumber in a pit of denial. I can no longer hide from something that has been staring me right in the eyes my entire life. This is what it is like to be me, know that.

The following is an excerpt from my personal journal where this piece was originally written:

In all honesty, I am not doing well, and I have not been doing well for too long now. Everything seems distance, as if it’s just out of reach, I can no longer connect with the world and its people. Every day is the same, I wake up, eat breakfast, exercise, write, smoke myself to sleep; repeat. I haven’t been alive for a very long time, my mind aches for peace, silence. I have grown too tired, my efforts are failing, and the cycle continues.

The pain which reside in me has grown unbearable, yet I cannot escape myself.

The truth is, my life is based entirely on the so called delusions which chose to poison my mind. The reality in which I live is obscured to the lengths that I am sure we live in entirely different worlds; I am lost within mine.

Words are beginning to fall short, there are no words which can describe the utter horror that is my life. A lifetime of torture and what for? I am the cause of my own

undoing, I am the result of my madness.

I am losing my mind, stepping further into the darkness with every second that passes; there never was an option to turn around.”

– 01:26 22/10/2016

I am not giving up, the support from you guys and the people on Twitter are what gives me the strength to continue, I can never be thankful enough for that.

Discipline

I have been investigating the difference between discipline and motivation by applying it to my life recently, and this has lead me to find some interesting things. I cannot remember where I first read about this concept, however, it has been stuck in my head ever since.

The concept is that while motivation is fluctuating and unreliable, discipline isn’t. Motivation will come and go as it pleases, whereas discipline can be used at any given time. Therefore, when you begin to struggle with doing things as your motivation has run dry, you use discipline to do these things regardless; as they need to be done whether you choose to do them, or not.

The Problem

As a person who suffers from mental illness, I am aware that it is not as simple as forcing yourself to do things. Although I have found that discipline certainly does work, it does not mean that you should continuously push yourself past your limits, as this will not end well.

It is necessary to find out what it is that you are capable of in your current state and use discipline to achieve this, without pushing yourself too hard resulting in more damage than progress being caused.

With discipline, it is extremely important to apply regular forms of self care, including giving yourself a break. You do need to be cautious and self aware when applying this concept to your life, as well as looking out for signs that could indicate that you are pushing yourself too hard. Forcing yourself to complete tasks may make things non-enjoyable, therefore I recommend applying this concept to the things that you like and/or want to do; whilst finding a medium where you can complete tasks which are necessary, but may be found to be unpleasant; such as the upkeep of your hygiene and the cleanliness of your surroundings.

There is also a big issue I have with this concept when it comes to the stigmatisation of mental illness. We are told far too often that we are lazy, and that we just need to do all the things that our mental illness prevents us from doing, and we’re cured. As anyone who suffers from a mental illness will know, this is blatantly ridiculous. There will be days, possibly weeks or months, where simply getting out of bed is all you can do, and that is perfectly okay. That does not show a lack of discipline, or lazy behaviour. You are ill, and there are times when your illness will take over; and this concept can no longer be applied. However, you can begin to apply it to your life again when you are well, there is no rush; your health is far more important than the things you do.

 

As previously stated, and with significant caution, I have been applying this concept to my life over the past few weeks or so. Although it certainly has been a struggle, I have found that it does work and that it has prevented me from giving up, and allowing my illness to take over, which is what typically happens when I begin to feel this way. After months of continuous hard work, I am seemingly beginning to get somewhere with my writing, and that is a truly amazing feeling. I am preparing for a work-filled year, where I can hopefully continue to make progress with both my mental health and my writing.

I am giving my life purpose once again.

Mashed Up Thoughts

Recently, my brain has felt as if I have put it in a blender and mashed it all up, and now that it’s strewn across the walls, I can no longer think.

My mind is incredibly disorganised, my speech, behaviour, emotions and thoughts are all over the place. I cannot initiate or maintain any form of conversation due to the fact that I cannot articulate or convey my thoughts or emotions, about anything.

Although I am managing to keep up with my current article schedule, I have found that I have become far slower with my writing. Although it is no surprise as if my mind is all over the place, it is far more difficult to put a sentence together, whether that be through vocal communication or in writing. My thoughts have left me absolutely perplexed, I feel as if I have no thoughts or that there is too many thoughts; constantly having to process all of this is incredibly toilsome.

Not only have my thoughts been disorganised, but they are also becoming increasingly abnormal and weird. I am thinking about things which I would not typically think about, however I cannot seem to get them to leave my mind, nor do I entirely want to. I am unsure as to why I feel this way, but sometimes, abnormal thoughts can be rather comforting. Many odd theories and ideas have come to me, but I know better than to act on them simply because my mind wants me to do so; that could end rather terribly.

On top of all of this, I also seem to be stuck in what I refer to as zombie mode. I call it this as each and every day that I seem to physically wake, I do not wake mentally. It’s as if my brain is stuck in limbo, continuously wandering across the vast void that is my mind.

I have absolutely no idea of what is going on any more, everything is a mess; my mind, my entire being. I ache for some peace.