Somber thoughts, Somber Moment

I woke up at 4 am this morning. I’ve actually been sleeping poorly for about 2 weeks. It struck me this morning that I may be mildly hypo-manic. But what is hypo-mania? Is what I’m experiencing pathological? I have severe doubts about that. To clarify, I’m not euphoric, I don’t have rapid thoughts. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that I’m being highly productive lately. I’d like to think that is a good thing.

I had a hypo-manic blip 7 months ago, right as I did my 180 degree turn around about psychiatry and my mental health. I had my usual panic about it turning into something big, called my psychiatrist who recommended bumping up my Seroquel from 25 mg to 100 mg. I decided against it. I was actively practicing my supportive mental health habits…the diet, the nutrition and neurofeedback. I decided to see what would happen if I left it untreated. I slept poorly for a few nights, had lots of energy in concert with extreme fatigue, brought about by lack of sleep and by the high doses of neuroleptics, benzos and a mood stablizer I was still taking. It passed. On its’ own.

I immediately titrated off the remaining Seroquel once the high passed. I’ve been titrating ever since off the Risperdal and have not had another blip until now.

I believe this blip has been triggered by my mad writing on this blog. I have been unable to write a coherent sentence for about 15 years, since the beginning of my mass drugging. My productivity in the last week has thrilled me. My drastically reduced med taking has improved my cognition considerably. I again inquire, can it possibly make sense to call this pathological? I don’t think so. I will keep you apprised of where this energy goes.

On another note I was inspired this morning by a post by Philip Dawdy on Furious Seasons. I wrote a comment in response to it. This is most of it, with a bit taken out that doesn’t apply here and a small amount of editing.

Well you really made me start thinking this morning. Your thinking about the nature of happiness is something I think a lot about too. I attempted to find a quote by Socrates on happiness because in high school I was very inspired by a movie I watched in my “mentally gifted minor” class (MGM, disgusting, isn’t it) Anyway in this class we did get to consider philosophy in ways the rest of my school missed out. Every child should be considered mentally gifted…anyway, I digress.What moved me so much was at the end of the movie it described what happiness was as far as Socrates was concerned. (I searched the web for a Socrates quote that might be a synopsis for the conclusion made in this movie, but couldn’t find one and I’m certainly not a Socrates scholar, so forgive my clumsiness in recalling exactly what moved me so much…my memory is known to be faulty as well)

But what I remember is that the movie concluded that what Socrates believed was that happiness was not a state of mind achieved on a daily basis. There might be moments of “happiness” but not a constant state of being. Happiness was to Socrates the culmination of a life well lived. To be able to come to the end of ones life and know that one has lived as best as one could. A final conclusion of contentment, perhaps, in a life well lived. And I would assume that means a life lived with integrity, and honesty, not perfection or daily pleasure.

Anyway, I may be totally mangling what Socrates said, but I was moved at that young age and have always held that view of happiness in some vague way in my mind. As I struggle with depression and other difficult mood states I simply think, am I living with integrity, am I helping others in whatever small way that I can? Will I be able to look back at my life when the end comes and say I’ve lived a life with integrity and honesty? I think I can say that much now. Have I felt happy most of my life. Absolutely not. I’ve virtually never felt happy. But as I understood the movie about happiness…it’s simply not a daily feeling. And that is what modern culture suggests happiness should be.

The medicalization of anything other than happiness presupposes that life is not filled with suffering. I’ve never heard of a philosophy or religion throughout the ages that didn’t contend with the human condition being one fraught with suffering. And as I understand that, that includes all of us, not just those of us that are labeled depressed or disturbed in some other kind of way.

The New Age “religions” of course dispute this, but I’ve not run into any “practicing” New Agers that haven’t been totally fucked up in some way.

I once knew a woman who I will venture to say was totally happy. She made everyone she touched feel like the most important person in her life. She was incredibly giving. But I also know, because she was honest, that she suffered. The most giving, beautiful human being I’ve ever met suffered and I dare say she was supremely happy as well, in large part because she suffered and accepted it as part of life. She was fully human and did not pretend otherwise…..

….I’d like to add, this wonderful woman died in a tragic car accident. She died lying next to a friend of hers, who is also a friend of mine. She knew she was dying and she was mostly concerned about her friend lying on the gurney next to her. She offered words of comfort. She died in peace, knowing that she was about to die, and passed on her loving-kindness to my friend, who is another inspiring woman.

Philip’s post and then the writing of my comment actually stopped my feeling of “hypo-mania” in its’ tracks. Sure I’m still sleep deprived and feeling inspired, but I do feel calm and somber too. I think I’m simply experiencing the ups and downs of life. Perhaps I feel them more strongly then some…but that assertion may be completely presumptuous. I’ve always felt hesitant to let myself spend too much time thinking I have it harder than most people just because I have a diagnosis. I don’t think that line of thinking appreciates what I’ve said above about suffering and the nature of the human condition. Part of what increases my suffering may simply be my thinking I am unique in my suffering. That I am somehow cursed by my diagnosis and thus suffer in a way that others don’t have to contend with. Well…frankly, right now, I say that’s bullshit.

Enough for now.



About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

3 Responses

  1. Ruth

    Nope, you’re not hypomanic you’ve just got blogger’s disease. I caught it from my boyfriend, and you’ve picked it up from me and various others. Nevertheless, I expect DSM-V will feature it as a psychiatric diagnosis:

    On-line Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    A pervasive pattern of behaviour, present in a variety of contexts and extending over a lengthy period of time, as exemplified by at least four of the following:

    1. Blogging after midnight at least four nights a week
    2. Revising posts a dozen times before posting
    3. Posting material that can only be rendered comprehensible in the context of at least three other blog posts (by self or others)
    4. Inappropriate emotional investment in online communications
    5. Checking blog for comments at least three times a day
    6. Involvement in ‘flame wars’ at least once a week
    7. Being responsible for coining at least one one-line neologism (refer to Schizophrenia for differential diagnosis guidelines)
    8. (Bonus points) Having said neologism adopted by other bloggers.

    And I know how tempting it is to deduce from “my cup runneth over” that I have a smaller cup, emotionally speaking. I keep having to remind myself that it’s bullshit as well.

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