Thursday, 10 January 2019

Positive and Negative Psychosis

Many people ask me regularly what psychosis really is because it is a genuinely difficult state of mind to pinpoint and identify.  Now I am no doctor of any kind but as I have been afflicted with bipolarity for almost 15 years now and gone through 3 psychotic episodes I want to try and shed some light on this subject.  

Psychosis is a state of mind where thought and emotions are distorted to such a degree that the person affected by it loses touch with their outer reality.  Now this a very general description which needs to be explored to be fully understood. Psychosis can occur in many different ways.  It can be a positive psychosis, hence associated with feelings of happiness and enlightenment, or it can be a negative psychosis erupting feelings of sadness, upset or anguish.  When I suffered from psychotic episodes they were very much negative and even to a degree violent.  I constantly kept on hearing voices of certain people wanting to bring harm to me and my close ones.  Now in this case I was only able to deal with these psychotic voices by letting them run through my head and hang on to the positive belief that indeed one day the voices would stop and I would get better.  Now it's easier to say all this than to actually practice it but it worked for me and I'm still alive here writing about it.  I even tried to stop my thoughts but naturally came to an agreement it was physically and mentally impossible.  As long as you hang to the positive feeling that one day you will feel better and overcome psychosis you will have fulfilled the motto of "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  The medication does work and a good doctor can help you.

Now with regards to the positive psychosis I believe it is a state of psychosis elevated by mania where the subject is in fact deliriously happy all the time and can be brainstorming wild ideas about business or socializing (or trying to socialize) persistently with anyone they can and the voices may tell them that they are close to a prophet or a god of sorts and that there is nothing they cannot achieve.  This may seem like an all powerful permanent adrenaline rush that everyone desires but it does not work out that way because it is not in touch with the external reality of these individuals.  Great harm can come by upsetting the wrong people or even to the individual who suffers from this type of psychosis because it is a sort of delusion of thinking that everyone will agree with you.  Yet there are some people with positive psychoses who are brilliant businessmen and women because they think of out of the box ideas but this does not mean it is easy to live with this condition.

I think the most important point to take out of all of this is to accept that you are bipolar and that you need to take medication to control it.   If you have past issues consider a therapist as well.   And for the love of all that is holy please don't take recreational drugs (marijuana included) or excessive alcohol to control your moods.  It doesn't help: It only makes you worse.  Then again there are people who live very healthy lifestyles and are able to control their moods so that they don't flip into psychosis but still it's a very small minority of people who can succeed with this type of routine.

Identifying someone who is in psychosis starts with the person who is afflicted by it to take a moment to step aside and agree that perhaps there is something wrong with them and that they should seek guidance from a psychiatrist.  A positive psychosis can quickly turn into a negative psychosis and bring harm to you and others around you.  If you know someone who you think is in psychosis but who do not seem to acknowledge that anything is wrong with them give them time to come to their realization.  This case may differ from person to person but a person can only receive help if they want to be helped.  Stay strong brothers and sisters!   

     

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Psychosis Simulator: Hellblade - Senua's Sacrifice

In this blog post I want to look at the multi-platform game Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and how well it captures the feeling of psychosis which mostly many of us bipolar people have experienced.


Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a first person game that is a first of its kind in how it unwraps how we endure psychosis.  The developer of the game is Ninja Theory and the game itself has accumulated dozens of awards.  During the development of this game they worked closely together with people who had experienced or were experiencing psychosis and the end product is fantastic. 

The game is set somewhere during the Viking era in a bizarre world and you are a young woman journeying towards saving your dearest love from the clutches of Viking hell.  While you journey you can constantly hear inner voices just as you do in real life psychosis and you have to distinguish symbols which have meaning in them.  The symbols are representative of how when we see "signs" that mean nothing in reality but in psychosis have meaning for us and in the game they similarly unlock your progression in the story..

The game really captures the dark and light moments of psychosis where you see scary images and hear a booming dark voice during dark times and when you experience lighter ecstatic times.  The contrast between emotional states is very accurately represented, so much so that I would not recommend you to play this game if you are recovering from or experiencing psychosis currently because "Yes! It's that realistic". Moreover, at some points of the game you have to sword-fight these possessed Viking men which I assume are a figment of her imagination but these parts are a welcome addition to the continuation of the game.  Here's a video I captured while fighting some of these Vikings.

The game has great meaning for us bipolar people because it is an opportunity to demonstrate to people who are unaware of what psychosis actually is, to step into our shoes for a moment and witness it for themselves.  Indeed it is set in a historic-fantasy setting but this aspect doesn't subtract from its value as a simulation of someone enduring psychosis.  As I mentioned previously the small studio Ninja Theory has picked up many awards for their efforts to show this emotional-state and I can certainly say they have rightfully earned them.     

    

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Back to the Blog! Nice to see you!

So I've decided to return to writing articles on my blog again as usual about the condition I am afflicted with AKA Bipolar disorder.  It's been just over 7 years since I wrote my last blog post after which I had major writers block and subsequently worked primarily as a translator.   During this time I have not been going to a psychotherapist but I am still piously taking my medications and having routine blood test checks every 6 months to a year.  I've had two more psychotic episodes but I've recovered thankfully and now I am stable but wishing to write more about what I have learned and experienced.

Bipolar disorder is not something that has a cure but rather it is something that can be controlled.  Some bipolar people can continue their lives as normal with a healthy living style (eating fish and fruit and doing exercise).  Other bipolar people are continually struggling with this affliction and have difficulty dealing with extreme highs and most importantly the lows.  I've found that taking medication most certainly helps regulate these moods but it doesn't outright nullify them.

The most important factor here is that as a bipolar person we must accept that we will have this
condition for as long as we live and that we must face the unfortunate things that it brings to our lives and deal with them in the least harmful way possible. It's true that all human beings feel lows and highs but many people fail to understand the depths of how bipolar people feel these emotions.  One small trigger can send a bipolar person crashing down into a slump in their armchair or raise their awareness levels rocket high awakening them for days on end. Yet the key is to keep track of one's emotion levels and be aware of whether you are in danger of becoming psychotic.  In other words monitor yourself as best you can.

In conclusion I am ashamed I couldn't keep committed to this blog but as you all know people are unpredictable sometimes especially bipolar people.  I just hope my previous articles were useful for you albeit from a younger and less refined version of myself.  Hope to see you once more in the posts to come but take care for now.  Good to be back!     

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2


Being bipolar for 5 years now I have come to realise that there are varying degrees in people's moods and that one can be bipolar 1 or 2. Subjects of bipolar 1 generally have higher peaks in mania and lower drops in depression than bipolar 2 subjects do. Therefore when bipolar 1 subjects suffer from psychosis their psychology reaches a level that is close to god (or whatever you call it) and their depression drops to a low abyss.


I am bipolar 1 and if I don't take my medications I could become Schizophrenic. So the motto continues: Always take your medications even if it damages you physically or someone unqualified tries to persuade you otherwise. Stay strong.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Star Wars and Bipolar Disorder

Isn't it funny how the bipolar phenomenon resembles the dilemma of the Jedi and the Sith described in the Star Wars saga. The reason I mention this is because of the characteristics.

Jedi are very wary of the dark side and sometimes the Sith must also be wary of light side as described in Sean Williams book "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." People similarly can switch from the dark side to the light side and vice versa although this always has to be triggered by a moment.

The Sith are commonly described to be driven by anger or hate and Yoda puts it along the lines of "Fear is the path to destruction. Fear leads to anger, anger leads hate, hate leads to suffering." So therefore everything we feel is sometimes due to the fears we have and that makes us Sith in some respects.

There is a sense that Jedis are trying to control their extremes by using the force in a fair manner and the Sith use the force to destroy things around them. We are at war with ourselves and others when we are in psychosis and balanced when we take our medication.


(Edited) The Star Wars Saga is very much resemblant to our every day lives and perhaps why we love it so much. Did you know Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) was also bipolar. 

(My deepest condolences to the Fisher family and friends.)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Bipolar Work and Stress (Restarting Life)


One of the most important things for a bipolar person is to control stress while earning money. It took me about a year to enter a job again and start taking my own responsibility and together with this there was a significant amount of stress.

When we are bipolar it is very important to control your stress levels because stress for us is higher than in most individuals. After suffering from psychosis or a nervous-breakdown or whatever you want to call it, we have to eventually face up to our responsibilities.

What I have seen in myself and my other bipolar friends is that we need a job and while working we need to take breaks once in a while and not work too much.

We have to create limits for ourselves as to what we can and can't do. The theory goes that bipolar people can be successful and after two years of medication I feel that things really do seem to be getting better.

In my article Mental Handicap = a gateway to paradise I found that taking medication was a handicap. But I realized after psychosis and later hospitalization that taking medication does actually make you better. Without our medication as Kay Redfield Jamison describes in her book Touched with Fire we will perish by the age of 35 if we don't take the medication prescribed to us.

So if you are bipolar in order live a healthy life: work (but don't work too hard), take your medication and keep up your own responsibilities. Basically look after your mental (i.e take holidays) and physical health as best you can. Bipolar people are mostly overachievers and therefore it is important to balance your own moods when necessary.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Shyness

After major breakdowns during psychosis most of us experience difficulty in adapting to normal everyday routines. Although the ultimate goal is to "get a job" and continue with life, its not as easy as it seems because we have to take baby steps during our path. Making friends, remaking friends and making new friends takes time. In this article I will summarise some of the points necessary to overcome shyness based on articles Ive read over the internet and from my recent experiences.

One thing I reccomend is to take a trip if possible so that you force yourself into a situation that you are not comfortable with. At the beggining it might be best to visit a good friend or relative so that you can get things into perspective. The task itself may seem daunting but believe me when you get going everything seems much more simple that it appears.

If you've been on a trip or you just dont want to go on a trip, then I suggest you begin with small tasks such as going shopping or taking a small walk around your local area. You can leave the house for a small while but as long as you've left the house each day, then you will feel much better believe me.

Still not convinced! Then maybe you can try checking what other people are doing on the internet through social media websites such as facebook and friendfeed. Play a game, read a magazine or cook your favorite dish.

No matter what always take your medication even if someone says otherwise. The medication is also a gradual stabiliser in your emotions and it can help shape you in to a better person than you used to be. Start a new tommorow every day and dont despair at how terrible your life is or has been. Everyday you will get stronger and the medication will become a part of your routine life.

I myself am not a very social person either but Iam working towards it by learning to be by myself and by challenging myself by talking to others.

Bipolar people all go through tough times and shyness comes together with the devasting affects of psychosis. It takes time to defeat shyness but it is beatable.