Monday, February 01, 2010

Bipolar Chronicles

These podcasts detail the reasons I went on a 10 day vipassana meditation course, what the course was like, how I had a manic psychotic episode followed by depression (bi-polar), and the actions which I took to come through it.

All up it's probably about 2 hours or so of audio - so I've broken it up into chapters. The first one is just an intro - 3 mins long detailing what I'm going to talk about.

Feedback welcome.

Introduction (Download mp3)

Chapter 1 - Why I went on the vipassana course. (Download mp3)

Chapter 2 - What happened on the vipassana course. (Download mp3)

Chapter 3 - Being manic. (Download mp3)

Chapter 4 - In acute psychiatric care. (Download mp3)

Chapter 5 - Depression (Download mp3)

Chapter 6 - Recovery and synopses (Download mp3)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another year, another blog post

Wow... another year gone by with naer a blog post! This has to be one of the least (regularly) updated blogs on blogger. Maybe.

Anyway.. In the last year the lithium regime has been working out well. I don't really feel like I notice any affects.. so that's good! Also, about 3 months ago I started to come off it (now down to 75% of my original level - and falling 25% every 3 months).

I am intending on putting up audio describing the whole process - plus maps of the different drugs I was on, for how long etc... but it'll probably take me another year before I get it all up on web!

Anyway.. all's well that ends well.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Well it has been a long time hasn't it :)

Wow - almost a year since my last post - thanks to a comment from Moy (whom I do not know!) I thought I should update - quickly.

So.. when I last wrote it was pretty much as I was beginning to come out of the depression - though I don't think it was really until November 2007 (almost a year after going manic) that I felt good again. And I knew I was feeling better as I was cracking jokes again :) Always a good sign.

I have since started onto Lithium - which is the classic Bi-Polar (though I am still in denial about that one) drug. Will be on that for 3 years total - and then clear of the lot.

I do think a lot about what happened to me - what it all means. For example - when I was manic I would have sworn blind that I was healing people with my thoughts. I honestly believed I was.

I wasn't.

But I completely believed I was. It does make one wonder sometime about saints & miracles etc...

I am now back in work full time - with a nice wee promotion, and generally things are looking pretty sweet really.

If I could choose again, I would not do Vipassana. This is not because I don't think there is some value in it - but because for me & my make up it obviously didn't fit well. I think it is utterly irresponsible of them to take anyone off the street onto the course with no training or preparation. It's a huge mental stress you're putting yourself under..

One laughs now, but seeing as I thought I was pretty much like Jesus (not Him, just like Him - quite normal really)... I had a go at walking on water.

Didn't work.

But imagine I'd thought I could fly?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sometimes I Despair

I dunno what it is with some people. I live in a pretty decent neighbourhood, but when I left the house this morning I found that someone had kicked over the letterbox. What compelete morons. I just don't get it - what drives someone to kick over a letterbox? I almost feel sorry for them as they're unlikely to come to any good. IT's the second time in a year that the letterbox has been vandalised. I just hope that when I fix it up this evening (If I can find time) that it doesn't just get vandalised again.

I mean come on - it's not like there's any skill or much danger involved. They probably drove by at 3am when no one is awake and kicked it over. Wow. So impressive. But what drives people to do it? Do they have any remorse afterwards?

Sigh. What hope this planet has with climate change and other problems of a global nature with muppets like this around I don't know. Saw a good film the other day called 'The Planet'. It was a documentry not completly unlike An Inconvenient Truth, but wider in scope. Definitely enjoyed it - but it is scary the picture of the future that they are painting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Music Of The Universe

Not sure if yawnign lots is a symptom of depression - but it's certainly something I am doing rather a lot of at the moment. Definitely something I need to look into.

Got away for a good tramp (hike) last weekend - it was great to be out in the hills again. One of the more fun things that I expeirenced when I was manic was that music felt so much more - intense. I felt like even the wind was blowing harder and softer in a sort of a music of its own.

It was funny - I felt like everything - every footfall, every word, every whisper of the wind - everything - was all part of the music of life. It was a wonderful feeling to feel that all that I did was part of the universes music.

The depressing thing for me is that I do feel that Vipassana is a good technique, but the fact remains that it is a very powerful technique. They say on their website that Vipassana cannot cause mental problems, but I don't feel that this is true. I have heard from a few people who have had mental problems as a result of doing the course.. Certainly I'd never had a history of mental problems - nor my family either so it did come as a complete surprise.

I think that it would be best if people who want to do the course firstly do some shorter meditation courses and become a regular practitioner of meditation before launching into a 10 day course.

I am really nervous about going back and doing more meditation. I want to because I feel that it was positive, but I am really afraid of going manic again. Though I suspect with better sleeping habits (and the mood stabalisers etc. that I am on) that it's probably unlikely that I would go crazy again.

It's funny, on the vipassana website he talks about how ultimately you'll become a being who lives a life of selfless loving, of compassion etc. And that is the sort of person that I felt I was when I was manic. I just wanted to help people, and to show people how much love there was in the world. So maybe I just achieved exactly what I was supposed to ;) Just a heckuva lot quicker than I should have!?

Who knows - not me anyway.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Long Slow Road

Well it has been a month since last I wrote. Not much has changed. I still find it incredible what has happened to me this year. Going crazy just isn't any fun at all. I'm on three lots of drugs now, having just started lithium. I'm on an anti depressant (in the morning), lithium over dinner, and an anti-psychotic just before bed. Delicious combination. Everyone should try it ;)

It's so weird this going crazy business. I had no idea you could meditate yourself crazy. I've tried meditating a handful of times since becoming manic on the Vipassana course, but I have been a little scared (understandably I feel!) to try too hard. It's a shame really 'cos I'm sure Vipassana is a powerful technique which can have positive effects.

Still wondering about what career I want to follow. I'm really not feeling the love for software any more... I think though my basic problem is that, fundamentally, I'm lazy! I'd just rather not have to work at all :) I suppose I'm not alone in this.

I think I'll also write a small piece on just what depression is like. Depression is the worst feeling I have ever had. Though I was talking to a friend the other day and she said her psychologist had said that he thought (with no scientific basis it must be said) that there must be an evolutionary reason for depression - and maybe it was that it helps us be more empathic. I must admit, I had no idea just what it was possible to go through.

For me I had a manic episode on the last day of my 10 day Vipassana course. In the course you concentrate on feeling sensations on your body. You're supposed to feel (At least this is my understanding) waves coming through your body as negative cravings & aversions are washed out of your subconscious. What happened to me was that as I was meditating I felt wave after wave coming through me, and then when I went to sleep that continued for a couple of hours. I have no idea whatsoever what was actually going on in my brain.

Then I had what felt like a chat with God in my tent where he told me a few things that he wanted to happen, before starting on about an hour and a half of chiropractic manouvers on myself in my tent. Most weird.

I then had about three days where I could (or felt like I could) feel vibrations / energy between people. For example I'd be talking to you and I'd be just sending out happy feelings - and getting them back (for the most part). It was a most wonderful (if unreal) time.

Finally I came back down to my home & job and that was where things all fell apart. I think the problem was going into my job and was obviously unable to do it. In the end my boss (correctly) called the police and I was taken into a psychictric hospital.

I stayed in there (still having visions of time & space etc) for a week in the closed ward, and a further 10 days in the open ward. Lots of fun.

After I was released (back into the wild!) I had about a month or so where I was probably still a little manic. I had days where I would make connections where there weren't any. It's so depressing not to have them any more! though I know it really means I'm being healed. I dunno, maybe I did touch reality?!?! Maybe I was in touch with something Bigger Than Us. I dunno.

Anyways.. on with the story... after all that I then progressivly sank lower and lower into depression. And depression sucks completely. If when you're manic you think you can do anything - when you're depressed it's the exact opposite. I found myself at times clenched in a ball on my bed unable to get up and face the day. I couldn't think positively about work - or life in general. While I admit I did think about suicide, I was lucky in that I never really seriously contemplated doing it. I only had mild depression. I dread to think what serious depression is like. Hardly bears thinking of really.

So I went on the anti-depressants, and that has helped things immensely. I still don't quite feel right. I'm not my usual buoyant self, but I'm definitely on the road to recovery. It's hard to know whether the Vipassana course will turn out (eventually) to have been a positive thing.. but at the moment I would say not.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Quote from a book I am reading

'Every man has the same final destination: death at the end of life's road. But the path we travel makes all the difference. Some of us have maps and goals. Others are just lost'.

When I was manic I had a definite vision. I could see my path in technicolour! I felt like I had a purpose and a goal: Doing good and spreading love and the beauty of vipassana where I could. Now I no longer feel that way - I think that's one of the hardest parts to depression - namely that you feel directionless.. that you have no purpose!. I am trying to find my way again. I think what's really important to me is family and friends. Work is secondary to that. In fact work has a pretty low priority. Well, kinda.. I do believe the maxim that "no one on their death bed ever wishes they'd spent more time in the office".

That said, I am currently going through a phase where I'm trying to work out what job I want to do. I'm really thinking of becoming a maths teacher. I dunno if I will or not - but it seems like a good job. Besides the long holidays and the reasonable working hours you're passing on knowledge and have a chance to see kids develop. Could be good.. just dunno if I could control a class. Part of me thinks I could.. and part of me is dead scared!.