chemical lobotomy

I’ve always been a bit dubious about pharmaceuticals, and I’ve written about feeling like I dodged a bullet when I was able to refuse antipsyhotics during a spiritual emergency. There’s an interesting documentary called The Marketing of Madness: Are we all insane? about the history of drug (ab)use in psychiatry. And I’ve just found Peter R. Breggin, MD, talking about how, as I was referring to in my page about Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening,

all of these [atypical or second-generation antipsychotic drugs] are nonspecific lobotomising agents that disrupt biochemical neurotransmission to the frontal lobes.

Yep, “nonspecific lobotomising agents”.

He says it again at Mad in America:

In my decades of clinical experience, many if not most victims of involuntary treatment experience it as torture. They know it aims at breaking their will and they physically and mentally resist, resulting in even more dire consequences. Involuntary treatment humiliates and demoralizes people, reinforcing their feelings of being worthless, powerless, and helpless. It leads to outrage, which is then crushed by psychiatric drugs. The neuroleptic drugs cause a confusing combination of emotional numbing and apathy along with feelings of acute physical discomfort and agonizing akathisia and agitation; but they inevitably produce docility with a chemically lobotomizing disruption of the brain.

We used to talk in school about how we’d prefer to have “a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”, and I’m sure Ginsberg was alluding to this at the beginning of ‘Howl’ when he said, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”: was it the LSD they subjected themselves to, or the psychiatric drugs they were subjected to?

lobotomy77 (2)That people are subjected to nonspecific lobotomising agents at all is an idea I am now investigating ~ it has to do with questions of personal authority / autonomy and the right to self-governance, the right to be free from the psychologically violent coercion I experienced in the psych ward.

 

a brave and inspiring account of Bipolar II

My friend Cristina shared this post on Facebook recently (and I share it here with her permission). Her post inspired a discussion of how these experiences may be humans developing superpowers ~ the idea of pathology being a healing mechanism advancing us toward a new kind of humanity is one that fascinates me. 

Brown eyed Hypomanic curling into the deepest void ~~

* trigger warnings *
Living with Bipolar II has been a challenge and a half; and like with all in depth processes there are a lot of contributing factors as to why that is… I have chosen to share a week in my inner world displayed with careful but dramatic articulation through words appearing on your screen at present.

Bipolar III’ve had control problems since I was a young child; so being diagnosed with this ‘dis – ease’ of the mind was a greater shock to my ego than I would’ve liked it to be because ultimately – bipolar prevents me from having control over my mind. *cue screaming * the movements of inconsistency that swirl through me are truly suffocating, limiting and extremely embarrassing. At some point last week I started waking up at 5am every day.. requiring little sleep… and by 8am in those days I was very aware of the fact that I was entering a hypermanic cycle. I had been running around non stop, didn’t stop talking, felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t exactly choose to orchestrate, I was very observant of the fact that I was laughing about 50% of the day, I didn’t feel the need to eat because I was riding a high that tasted sweeter than heaven on a plate.. and that delights my eating disorder! How wonderful! ultimate bliss…. I felt like an empress… a glowing light beaming brighter and brighter by the minute, my self confidence was elevated, my thoughts didn’t disturb me… it’s sort of like feeling high – but once you realise you’re high ~ you can make yourself feel higher and higher at your own accord. Your senses heighten, you can feel people’s energy different – things look brighter, you feel alive … you have no problem going for a run at 5am and then another run at 6pm and still have energy pumping through your body all through the night.

It feels superhuman really, almost like some alien being woke me up in the middle of the night, passed me an energetic bubble of abilities and then flew away back into the cosmos with a cocky smile and a familiar glint in its eye. It feels like getting a beautifully wrapped present – one that I rip open as quick as possible because my heart and mind knows what’s inside. The gift of hypomania feels like electricity fluttering through me, like an endless tickle with a feather just below the surface of my skin. I’m jovial and invincible, I feel the need to comment (or interrupt everything) I’m productive as a person can be, I start new projects…feel inspired. I feel helpful and giddish….

One of the most prominent symptoms of my hypomania is this incredible urge to create something and follow it through to completion to the exclusion of anything else…. this could be anything! For me – it’s often romantic relationships, but it can also sometimes turn into something that would be classified as a ‘psychotic breakdown’ (yes, I’ve tried to ‘break’ reality multiple times) and as you can imagine … going through that path is quite literally other worldly – it feels like you are on mushrooms 24/7…. best part is – I’m overly optimistic about everything! My energy is infectious.

Many of my romantic connections or profound friendships start when I’m in these states – and I can see why people are drawn to me during that time…

Sounds phenomenal, doesn’t it?

Well… well well….
The greatest part that hypomania brings is the dread of its inevitable end. (Please note my cynical humour) We know it won’t last forever, but we want it to. We want to feel that electric energy and invincibility just one day more… and sometimes we are willing to risk just about anything to keep that hypomanic euphoria, even if our symptoms lead us to do dangerous or careless things like drug use (stimulants) or promiscuity, or over working yourself. We crave that sense of elation so much we are willing to risk it. Nothing bad will happen to us, right? We are invincible!

But eventually…. we know the gift of hypomania must be put back into the box and returned and our days must go back to the looping darkness that is depression. We’ll wait patiently for the next gift from the glowing … but cheeky alien passing us the wrapped package of hypomania. The depression swoops up out of nowhere and it passes you a red hot ball of humiliation as well… one of the other downsides of mania is the fact that because we roll through it like an actual cyclone of energy ~ we can often destroy things without realising.

I’ve destroyed relationships, close friendships, job prospects, my body, other people’s feelings… without even being aware of it… one of the reasons for this is because at the back of our minds we still know that at some point or another we will come crashing down; hardcore so we can overdo the mania in hopes to cling to the sense of freedom before the cycle turns again.

I feel almost unconscious when I’m manic, so falling back down to depression (saturns void I call it) is so humiliating because I don’t recognise anything I’ve done or what I’ve done. I’ve often developed Romantic connections in mania and then as I come back down from the high I don’t remeber how it happened, or what we connected on – and I push the person away out of fear of them seeing me in my hole. I do this to my friends too – when I’m about to go down I unconsciously destroy my connections so that I’m alone when I go down. I can get aggressive emotionally and intimidating – and I can watch myself morphing into a strange person but cannot do anything about it.

Earlier in the week I went to my friends house for dinner and I couldn’t stop moving, cleaning things compulsively, jumping up and down at 8pm after a full day of intensive excerise… and work and uni …. she looked at me and told me I was manic and I joked – but my mind was angry because I cannot stand admitting it. I’ve fallen back into a depression now… they usually start with me feeling overcome by vulnerability, fear, paranoia…. feeling isolated and alienated or having a dissociative panic attack (one where I get so out of my body that I cannot recognise where I am location wise) and then …. I become the spiral. I can’t move out of bed, my muscles ache and my whole body feels like I’ve been bashed and left on the side of a road, my eyes get covered by the heaviest fog and I can’t see hear smell properly, I either eat a lot of food, or eat nothing at all (both ruining my self esteem) simple tasks like getting up and changing clothes become an effort, I can’t look in the mirror, I sometimes can’t even talk, tears flow out of my eyes endlessly.

It’s petrifying… I could be laughing one day and the next I’m isolating myself from my family and friends – spitting poison darts at them to stay away because my head replays vile thoughts (you’re worthless, you should be ashamed, stay away from people) I become easily irritable … have panic attacks at the smallest things (the other day I broke a vase on purpose and sobbed in the broken glass for an hour because I couldn’t find my keys) Like with my mania – I can see the impacts that my moods and changes have on people but I can’t do anything about it…. last month I hit a very bad low and ended up on my best friends balcony sobbing for the whole day because my mind was SCREAMING at me to end my life – when I say screaming I really mean it … it feels like your brain is failing you and gets hijacked (by that cheeky little aliens present haha)

I shape shift into a fucking petrifying demon looking thing on the hunt for my own misery. The process is tasteless – and it feels like eternity when I’m in it. It scares my friends away sometimes – which feeds the depression demon more … the depression feels like broken glass is moving through my blood stream … my heart reaches with fear but I’m somehow numb at the same time. I acknowledge silently that there are very few people who know how to help me. Not many willingly plunge themselves into a storm. Those who do, have their battles of their own too.

Understand this this expose of my inner world is not a call for sympathy. I’ve found some solidity and acceptance in the chaotic ebb and flow that is my own – I have chosen to share this as a way to shed light on a ‘dis – ease’ of the mind that is often heavily misunderstood… with a hope to potentially assisting in educating some people who might have bipolar friends / family in their lives… and to share with my friends … so they can ease some of their own confusion ❤

I want to mention also, if you experience any mental disorder – know deep and true in your heart that itdoes not define you. If you managed to read all of this – thanks! I appreciate you. — feeling exhausted.

psychedelic research + Bitcoin

Massive anonymous Bitcoin donations to Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) may be creating “an opportunity for people distributed all over the world to create accessible, alternative models for economics and for healthcare”, especially in the realm of treating PTSD with MDMA. Read the article from Inverse here.

>

psylocibic mushrooms and depression

Compared with SSRI anti-depressants (which tend to numb our emotional receptivity altogether), according to this article, psilocybin may actually increase our capacity for equanimity.

I’ve never used pharmaceutical anti-depressants, and it’s always seemed a bit strange to me that we should treat depression with an anti-anything … surely the trick is to promote greater acceptance of all emotions, especially the “bad” ones, using either mindfulness or … this:

The researchers don’t know for sure why that is, but after the experiment the patients reported “a greater willingness to accept all emotions post-treatment (including negative ones)”, whereas they felt their previous depression treatments [with SSRI anti-depressants] worked to “reinforce emotional avoidance and disconnection.”
“I believe that psychedelics hold a potential to cure deep psychological wounds,” Roseman told PsyPost. “And I believe that by investigating their neuropsychopharmacological mechanism, we can learn to understand this potential.”
It’s time we anti-demonise the shroom and learn how to use it wisely as the medicine it has always been, a medicine that grows in poo, as the lotus does.

the brutality of insomnia

You wouldn’t think so, but insomnia is fucked, absolutely brutal.

As a kid I vaguely envied Stephen King when I learned he was an insomniac ~ I thought cool, just stay up writing all night. By my early twenties I discovered Peter Carey, who said something like, “All good writers are necessarily mentally unwell, so be careful what you wish for.”

Insomnia is a mental illness. My mind feels like a V8 engine with only one spark plug and a leadfoot at the wheel ~ it would be revving its tits off if it wasn’t spluttering, farting and stalling with every attempt at cognition. I turn back to the fridge with a bottle of milk in hand and think, Shit, what was I doing?

This is profoundly painful for me, who so heavily identifies with having a powerful intellect at his disposal most of the time. When my mind begins to fail me like this, I get scared, knowing that belief in your correct perception of reality can fall away in an instant, given sufficient stressors, plunging you into the Chasm of Chaos … but,

I’m getting ahead of myself ~ it’s not that bad yet, at night four, but by night seven when it starts to feel like my body is falling apart, shit could get real. At night six during one bout, I told my friend I was scared, and she said (ever the ironically jovial supporter), “You know that by night eleven you will go insane and die?” I believed her then, and I believe her now.

Sleep is precious like water, my dear loved ones ~ don’t mess with it. Don’t ever take it for granted. I used to say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Real clever, Gung-ho Gonzo. If you’re reading this and the birds are chirping, go to bed, have a wank, and do some sleeping for me, okay? Do it for the children!