Monday, December 31, 2012

Psychosis? A Waking Dream---Nightmare?

What is, A Lucid Dream & A Nightmare Psychosis?

A waking Dream or waking Nightmare?

"The best way to describe having a psychotic episode is like a waking nightmare, where things are crazy, bizarre, frightening, confusing. With schizophrenia, you have delusions and hallucinations and disordered thinking.

Like, I was on the roof of the Yale Law School, and I was saying, "Someone's infiltrated our copies of the legal cases. We've got to case the joint. I don't believe in joints, but they do hold your body together" -- so, loosely associated words and phrases.

But, experientially, the -- the feeling is utter terror." _Elyn Saks, author, "The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness." (see: here)

Is Elyn Saks predominately negative and Western worldview of psychosis an objective fact or a subjective opinion energized by a personal/cultural fear of madness, and a lingering ignorance of the reality of its organic process? Are psychotic episodes the product of a mysterious brain disease, or are they generated by a profound dis-ease, within the body? A profound dis-ease which can stimulate a profound psychic pain subjectively represented within the mind, by nightmarish sensations and images, yet can also stimulate a psychic balm represented by glorious sensations of oneness and images and feelings of love. Is there a positive aspect to psychotic episodes? And why do so many claim its like a waking dream or nightmare?

Is REM state dreaming a proto-type of waking consciousness?
Can this, evolutionarily older brain mechanism shed light on the organic nature of psychosis and origin of our minds, subjective experience? Does a personal/cultural fear of the raw power of instincts as the roots of our human emotions and intelligence, promote a socialized denial of our own existential reality? Please consider;

The Dream? A Container of Existential Reality?

Why do both the negative and positive experiences of psychosis feel like a waking dream or nightmare? Why is the dreaming state, considered the very crucible of Madness? Consider Jaak Panksepp’s brilliant, “Affective Neuroscience – The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions,” and a chapter entitled;
Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Madness & The Effects, of its Fear Affect?

"Nothing is terrible except fear itself"
"There is nothing to fear but fear itself" _Franklin Roosevelt.

A paraphrase of the line "Nothing is terrible except fear itself" by Sir Francis Bacon

Is fear an Affect! With a contagious Effect?

Is there an "unconscious," fear of mad people?
As if, Madness is Contagious?

Two simple words, Affect & Effect? What exactly do they mean, and why do they cause so much confusion about the true nature of our mental health?

Do we now understand the unconscious mechanisms of both fear, as an innate affect and our social need to deny the very existance of innate affects and the primary processes of the body. The body's evolved nature and the foundational aspects of our self-preservation and therefore our instinctual-intelligence? Consider;

"The body initiates and the mind follows. Hence “talking cures”  that engage the intellect
or even the emotions, do not reach deep enough." _Peter Levine, Ph,D.

It takes a momentary suspension of our normal reasoning, to imagine an unconscious nervous system, mediating much of our everyday social behaviors, as the evolved nervous system we share with all other mammals. As an evolved aid and defense of survival, mammals have an innate ability to feign death as a last ditch, instinct for survival. When there is no possibility of fight or flight, no possible means of escape from immediate and overwhelming threat, mammals escape into a simulated death state. (see: Madness & the Chaotic Energies of The Trauma Trap?)

Humans share an evolved autonomic nervous system with other mammals, although evolutionarily adapted to our unique needs. If we imagine such human reactions as shock, fainting, freezing in fright or even in the sensations of acute embarrassment, when we feel that desire for the ground to open beneath us. It becomes possible to see a "continuum" of instinctual motivation, in our shared mammalian ability to feign death and the instinctual roots of mental illness, caused by "intellectually" denied, innate affects?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Lonely Birthday & Other Physiological States?

Wanphen, in Thai dress, for a traditional dance festival, with her old falang.
December 27th 2012: Happy Birthday! I said to myself, as dawn crept into another lonely room.

Memories of Laos and Thailand came to mind, as a normal morning state of low metabolic resources, threatened a meloncholic yearning, I could easily work into a sense of depression.

"A Physiological State?"

"The depressive urge is not really psychological, after all," I told myself.

I must admit the urge to dwell in that low metabolic resources (see: Mental Illness - Its Metabolic Energy Shifts? state was tempting. Knowing I could easily fill it up with thoughts of loss and separation, decades of depressive thinking could have swamped my mind, as my low physiological state, "toned" my head space. Yet whatever it is that I've learned during my three year sojourn in Thailand, is holding fast, despite my current circumstances. Almost as if this trail by existential circumstance, is an affirmation exercise. Not an affirmation of mind, like some mystical chanting or the visual imaging of new age philosophy, not a triumph of mindful ascension, as 2012 slips towards history.

As I write, its 3pm, here in Sydney Australia, midday in Thailand where Miss Wanphen will be working in the three storey shop/house we shared till October 26th. Leaving her behind to arrive here, courtesy of my oldest child, on the 27th, by coincidence? Dates are meaningless though, aren't they? Coincdence is never meaningful? My questions fueled by melancholy, or this reasonable, "loneliness is such a sad affair," sang Bette Midler. "Will there be any contact from anyone," is a question I'm prompted to ask myself, as I wonder what to write here? Still! At 3pm in Sydney, here at the Matthew Talbot, its hard to ignore the proximity of my oldest child, probably three streets away right now, if he's at home? Yet of coarse, I'm guilty as sin, when it comes to ignoring birthday's, and playing this isolation game.

Sadly, there have been decades of this self-obsorbed obsession by now, the why, why, why of having bipolar disorder, and the even tougher to deal with, failure of one hopeful medication trail, after another. This personal quest to understand it from the "inside out," damming me to exclusion rather than inclusion, as the prophetic words of 2007, come back to huant me once again;

The AFFECT of Neuroception, in Mental Illness?

Neuroception? An "subconscious" Perception?
Our vital need to feel SAFE, & its neural perception?
A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety.

Ideally, a baby’s neuroception of her environment shows her a safe place to explore. 

But even if her perception warns her accurately of danger from a “frightened or frightening” caregiver, the baby can take some defensive measures, even though they are likely to be ineffective and are almost certain to be psychologically costly.

What happens when neuroception itself is impaired? From a theoretical perspective, faulty neuroception—that is, an inability to detect accurately whether the environment is safe or another person is trustworthy—might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders: (see: NEUROCEPTION: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety)

So what exactly is, SUBCONSCIOUS perception?
• Areas in the temporal cortex that are assumed to inhibit fight, flight, or freeze reactions are not activated in people with autism or schizophrenia, who have difficulty with social engagement.

• Individuals with anxiety disorders and depression have compromised social behavior; difficulties in regulating the heart rate, as reflected in measures of vagal control of the heart; and reduced facial expressiveness.

• Maltreated and institutionalized children with Reactive Attachment Disorder tend to be either inhibited (emotionally withdrawn and unresponsive) or uninhibited (indiscriminate in their attachment behavior; Zeanah, 2000). Both types of behavior suggest faulty neuroception of the risk in the environment. _Stephen Porges, Ph,D.

How does SUBCONSCIOUS perception, result in Mental Illness?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mental Illness - Its Metabolic Energy Shifts?

We see a world "out there," while unaware of a "metabolic" world within?
We make image symbols like this, yet don't understand, holistic functioning?

"Socio-affective experience-dependant elicitation of internal chemical regulators of mitochondrial differentiation directly influences the observed postnatal changes in organelle morphology and function that underlie the transformation of energy production responsible for critical period phenomena, the effects of these events are long lasting.

Mitochondria play an essential role not only in structural circuit formation but also in neuronal functional activity in the mature brain." _Allan N Schore. 'What the?'

"Socio-affective?" "experience-dependant?" "internal chemical regulators?"

This is the kind of language that began to change my understanding and sense-of-myself, back in 2007. That was when my journey of medication free, mental illness recovery, began in earnest, through self-education? Stumbling on Allan Schore's amazing work, set me off on a personal quest to understand just exactly what the word "affective" actually means, in relation to my socially challenging, bipolar, affective disoder? 'It just means emotional disorder, affect is just another word for emotion,' several psychiatrist's told me, when I asked for an interpretation of this mysterious word "affective." Mysterious, becuase it does explain a more holistic sense of our reactive energy states and moods, and is becoming increasingly understood as the very foundation of our sense-of self? Hence the title of Allan N Schore's penultimate work "Affect Regulation & The Orgin of The Self."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Medication Madness & We Homeless Malcontents?

Homelessness & Medicated Mental Anguish?
Upset for a couple of days now, he's been "acting out," his Mental Torment, Otherwise known as Mental Illness?

Early last week though, his head was mostly grasped firmly between his hands, in that common symbol of defeat, and despair, the homeless and mentally ill, so often share?

'So why is he ranting and raving now?' Asked a homeless brother, as we sat down to lunch today. Funny! The homeless men here use Brother, rather than the Aussie vanacular, "G,Day. Mate!" All Brothers & Mates here.

'They need to give him more, freaking medication!' Said another brother, from across the dinning hall table. We all burst out laughing at the pun. 'freaking medication - Get it?' Said our self-anointed lunch time jester, emploring more laughter.
From depressed despair, to agitated mania in a week?
Ah! The magic of those medication pills?

Its funny in a macabre sort of way? Black humor, allowing us to cling to threads of sanity, so daily challenged, by living in these often difficult, existential circumstances?

'Existential circumstances! - Yeah, yeah, I met his brother, the other day. Existential Angst, is his name, and he wears a freaking face, like bloody red thunder!' Said, you know who, from across the dinning hall table. As we laughed, the supervisors gather around our "acting out" brother, and usher him towards the exit.( please see >> Mental Illness & The Face - - Heart Connection? )

'Go for a walk,' they tell him repeatedly, although camly and firmly. He knows the rules too. If he escalates this "acting out" into physical actions towards another brother, or staff member, his walk outside to calm down, will become a search for other accomadation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Madness & the Chaotic Energies of The Trauma Trap?

Madness & Chaotic Energies of a Trauma Trap?
Of coarse, Real-Life, Is a Hollywood Movie?
Is a new understanding and appreciation of Trauma, re-defining our view of Madness & Mental Illness?
Is the experience of Mental Illness being re-defined, as The Trauma Trap?

Does the Human Mind, actively block a Natural Process, of Trauma Resolution? Resulting in the signs and symptoms of Mental Illness?

Its hard for us humans to give up our egoic conviction, that the mind is the center of the known Universe (no pun intended, of coarse). Yet are we entering an era of science research and spiritual yearning, which may be ushering in the golden age, so many Mad Euphoric's, have long predicted?

Is Religious Ecstasy, for example, one of the positive symptoms, now considered an illness in our objectively rational, modern era? Of coarse, the negative symptoms of mental illness, still holds sway, in our normal judgment.
Sadly, our shadow, is still taller than our Soul?

Peter Levine, PhD.
40 years of Trauma Resolution Wisdom
Trauma and Spirituality:
In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations.
Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them- emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. _Peter Levine, PhD. Author of the quintessential guide to trauma resolution;
"In an Unspoken Voice."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

bipolar depression

No Bipolar Depression Now?
Its been over five years since I experienced my last episode of classic bipolar depression, back in June/July 2007. I have been dealing with bipolar disorder for 32 years now and since 2007, three episodes of bipolar mania have not been followed by depression.

After all these years, I may have altered my classic cycles of manic-depressive  - bipolar disorder. Altered with important insights gained from self-education and the organic integration of three, six week long, manic psychoses. Over the last decade I have made a concerted effort to educate myself, hoping to find a better way of self-managing my bipolar condition, my over-sensitive constitution, without psycho-tropic medications. Of coarse, only time will tell?

After thirty two years experience, my bipolar experience is not following a classic manic-depressive, bipolar cycle. Leading me to question whether my hard won education insights have allowed me a natural integration of episodes of manic psychosis? There has been a five year period, free of the shame filled, self-stigmatizing, self-defeating label, of a mental illness? Three times since 2007, I have experienced mania's euphoric psychosis, hoping to benefit, by allowing an episode to run its full coarse. That is to say I have allowed the experience to unfold, after educating myself beyond the common belief of mental illness, as a disease of the brain.

Since 2007, I have not sort any kind of help from the medical profession and I have kept myself away from judgments of my experience as a mental illness, requiring medications. Consequently I am finding far less mindful intrusion of the kind of shameful memories and self-stigma, which used to trigger a depressive rebound reaction, after previous manic episodes of such length and emotional intensity.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Gathering of Gods & Goddesses, Perhaps?

In November 2009, an Australia team of surgeon's performed an operation to separate conjoined twins.

The twin girls were born joined at the head, sharing blood vessels and brain tissue, and were successfully separated in a marathon 32 hour operation .

It got me to thinking about the nature of miracles, of Gods, Goddesses and the hidden process of emotional projection? It also led to a blog thread on & 6 weeks of Mania.

When the relieved, happy and smiling doctors were presented to the media I remember thinking it was a modern day miracle. I wondered how such an event would be perceived by a two thousand year old Greek historian, a Roman soldier or a Talmud educated Hebrew priest? These thoughts and the excitement phase of a manic bipolar mood swing led me to post my thoughts on, under a blog heading in the spirituality forum, titled;
Of Gods and Goddesses. It was the 17th September, 2010.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mental Illness & The Face - - Heart Connection?

So What is the Face -- Heart Connection?
The Facial Reactions of our Primary Emotions, which Cannot tell a Lie?
And What is the Connection to Mental Illness?

Safety! & "Autonomic-Unconscious" Nervous Reactions.

Safety, as an inner sensation, not a mind-based concept. Its that feeling of inner-security the late, great, John Bowlby and developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth called our "secure-base," and our fundamental need of attachment to others, for healthy physical and emotional/mental, functioning. Consider;

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mental Illness - Psychological & Physiological?

The Buddha - His Serene Face  - Free of Muscular Tension?

Discover Your Inner Self?

Recover from Mental Illness?

"My teaching is neither theory nor a philosophy, but the fruit of experience. Everything I say comes from my own experience, and you too can confirm it by your own experience. Words do not describe reality: only experience shows us its true face." _Buddha.

Since 2007, I have been discovering more of my own inner-self, through a process of self-education and a daily practice of deepening physiological self-awareness. Discovering more inner security and an increasingly confident recovery from three decades of mental illness experience.

Using a method similar to the famous Buddhist practice of meditation, I have increased my inner-awareness of sensations and the activity of my body/brain nervous systems, becoming more aware of the physiological foundations, to my experience of mental anguish and altered states of body/mind. A journey of self-empowered recovery, captured as succinctly as I could in: Bipolar Recovery This post provides excerpts from the reading material which has had the most influence my recovery journey, and the critical insights, of which I write in: Bipolar Recovery

The Physiological Foundations of Mental Anguish?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time for PEER Support to be taken Seriously?

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For
Connecting & emPowering restores a person’s vitality.
"I had a dream several years ago: I was sitting in a circle with others with lived experience of extreme mental states. (a term we prefer to mental illness). We might have been in a self-help center. We were intensely sharing, listening, commenting, supporting and being with each other as we have been learning is so vital.
Gradually I started to notice that all around us the “normals” were running about helter skelter, looking wilder and wilder and more and more distracted. From time to time they would stop and stare. Then they started to ask us what we were doing to stay so centered and calm when they were feeling so distracted by fear, doubt and insecurity. We said we were having our weekly self-help group." _Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.

The Peer Support, of Real-Life Experience?

It seems we may be entering a real transition phase in mental health, with an increasing recognition that we need to pay more than just lip-service to the notion of real-recovery from the experience of mental illness? For many years now, people in the survivor community of recovered persons, have been frustrated by the mental health system's condescending "lip-service" to recovery, as little more than "medication compliance?"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bipolar Anger & Toxic Shame?

Fighting the SYSTEM "Out There," or a SYSTEM Within?
She was "acting out," angry at the SYSTEM!

'The system's F..... Man! I been waiting for an hour and these jerks just keep messing me around.

Later: I watched her storm out of the office area towards her waiting children, yelling abuse towards the SYSTEM once again.

'Your all a pack of F.....g B......'s, and you can all rot in F.....g hell.'

Many sat around me cringed as her tirade towards the office staff continued. Something about her social security benefit's being reduced unfairly, in her eyes.
'Wow! She's really pissed off, at them, eh?' Said a person sat behind me. 'She's sure crazy now, man!' Said another.

It seemed so patently obvious that she was angry because her benefit payments had been reduced, and the office staff were to blame, they were the F.....g System. Simple cause and effect thinking? Plain commonsense? Right?

Yet was her "acting out," stimulated by a reaction towards the world "out there," in our everyday cause and effect reasoning? Or was she fighting a system within, in an effort to control her own, deeper feelings of shame-humiliation? Is our mind's "objective" sense of the world "out there," really a true reflection of the reality of our nature, and our internal motivation? It is said by many psychologists, that the best emotional antidote for feelings of shame, is the emotional energy of anger-rage. Was the need of an antidote to feelings of shame and humiliation, the real cause of an angry lady, unconsciously "acting out?" Blaming (anger-rage) the staff in the office for a deeper sense of shame, she could not afford to consciously acknowledge? Consider an explanation of "unconscious" shame reactions;

Friday, November 30, 2012

Discovering a Paradigm Shift in Mental Health?

Prof, Stephen Porges - "The Polyvagal Theory"

Understanding the Face-Heart connection, and hidden vitality affects, in human health?

The paradigm shifting discovery of a “polyvagal” control of the heart, explains just how, those of us suffering from unresolved trauma experience, become locked out of the social system of group survival, in our inability to self-regulate unconscious survival reflexes,
ie, freeze/flight/fight?

The theory shows just how “unconscious, spontaneous, social reflexes,” are inhibited in those of us struggling to cope with unresolved traumatic experience, so often diagnosed as a mental illness. In a computer analogy, its like having two distinctly different operating systems, (1) survival, (2) social. If our unconscious spontaneous social reflex functioning is “turned off,” by unresolved trauma experience, we cannot form the kind of healthy human relationships, so vital for our physical/emotional/mental health. See; The Polyvagal Theory Stephen W. Porges, PhD. Brain-Body Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bipolar Mania & its Re-Birth Experience?

A shift into mania & weeks of sleepless nights
"Wow! Wow! Wow! Has God just touched me on the shoulder? Is this a religious experience?"

I'd sat looking into a mirror in 1980, yearning for a new direction, something I could feed with a sense of dedication. I prayed sincerely, promising I'd do whatever was required if he’d just show me the way, give me a sign, help me please! Nothing happened for what felt like minutes as I sat there in hopeful expectation while looking at my own reflection, looking into my face.

Then it began, a new sensation, a feeling at the top of my head which flowed down slowly, down through my face, into my shoulders and down through my chest, down into my pelvic area. I sat with a sense of "what is it” wonder, although more felt than in any thinking sense.

A sense of wonder that was similar to the out of body experience when I was fourteen, except this slowly descending calm was the polar opposite of the sudden sharp elevation, when I'd seemly left my body. It felt like I'd been sitting in a bath of water that was over my head and someone had pulled the plug. I sat there as calm descended slowly from head to toe, as if a mind numbing tension were being drained out of me, like waste water flowing down and out through my toes. Next came a mindful realization of the experience in a pleasant and very welcomed surprise. I felt unburdened somehow, refreshed and excited, happy and new.

This was not like the out of body incident when I was fourteen years old, which had lasted for less than a minute. Here was a shift in mind-body awareness that was lasting beyond minutes, with a mellow yellow kind of pleasantness that was intoxicating, I suddenly felt more alive than I had ever done before. Feelings of muscular ease were most notable in my stomach, with an expanded sensory awareness that included a freshness on the surface of my skin. Perception changed, with room colors appearing deeper, brighter and every object seemed to have more depth too it. Background sounds were clearer, easier to perceive and define, like the rustling of leafs just beyond the open window. I could hear birds singing too, their music bringing an easy attention awareness to a degree I’d never experienced before. You could say I bathed in this new experience for a good few minutes, while the “what is it” wonder gave way to thoughtful questions about the seemingly heaven sent nature of it. I walked around the house retaining this everything feels so new perception before spending time in the garden, where I simply sat and listened to the birds sing.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

mood swings bipolar & suicidal ideation?

Mental Anguish & its Metabolism Within?
Letting go of "subjective states" is my salvation.
I feel it once again, attachment loss, as I gaze out the window of my room, here at the homeless men's shelter. Thoughts about Phen of coarse, my Thai partner of the last two and half years. Images of the shop/house come to mind, as I realize the time over there is now 3pm, "what's she doing," I wonder, finding myself in an unconsciously stimulated fantasy of attachment need. "A Fantasy Bond of Love Me Knots & Self-Nurture?," I remember writing on the first floor, just above where she will now be working, I assume. I lay my head down in familiar despair, with old thoughts of suicidal escape, my current pillow mate.

The Fantasy Bond in the Adult:
Establishing an imaginary connection with another person can become a major defense against unbearable anxiety. The illusion of connection to others is a dynamic formulation of a primitive, defensive inner world. Anxiety arises whenever this inner world is intruded upon, and especially when the fantasy bond, the imaginary connection, and one’s pseudo-independence is threatened. Anxiety aroused too, whenever there is awareness of one’s separateness and mortality. As humans, we are torn between pursuing an assertive goal-directed life, and depending on passive-dependant machinations that assure us of a fantasy bond.

How we resolve this basic conflict determines whether we have a free-flowing, changing existence or a static, rigid, defensive posture. The primary fantasy bond is the core defense underlying our resistance to change. It is the major barrier to a full, rich existence.” _Robert Firestone. “The Fantasy Bond.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bipolar Cycles & An Ongoing Process of Recovery

I return to Australia, after my Thai visa renewal is denied.
October 27th 2012: 9am, and I've arrived back in Sydney, fourteen hours after a very emotional farewell to my Thai partner of the past two and half years, and an abrupt end to my South East Asia sojourn.
As I waited inline at immigration the anxious butter-fly's in my stomach rose to higher flight, in respect for an increasingly imminent, family greeting.

"Stay grounded, resist replaying the scenes from the same arrival two years ago," I told myself. Considering how my oldest son James was waiting for me again, after agreeing to bail his father out of a self-imposed "fix," and fly me back to Australia. "No money, no home, no resources of a material kind, how could my children, not see me as having hit rock bottom?" I wondered, and would I get the chance to explain? Life is paradoxical, I thought, as I walked into the arrivals area carrying 15 less kilo's of luggage than I'd taken to Thailand almost three years before. Materially lighter, stripped of all possessions save for my precious laptop, six books and 20 kilo's of clothes. Objectively speaking, should I deny, my life appears to be going backwards? "Your a sad looser!" I probably would have told myself a decade ago, yet I feel more comfortable in my own skin than at any previous time in my life, ready, willing and able, to face the undoubted challenges to come.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sensitivity-Psychosis & Blue Sky Mining?

Five years on from a high point in Psychosis
Blit. 1 - Blue Light is True 1?
Five years after seeing Blit. 1 written in the sky, immediately after a strange synchronous experience, do I get to see what it really means today?

Is this just New Age nonsense? Delusion?

Does it mean anything in a personal journey, drawing on both science & spirituality to understand my psychosis experiences, as my nature "acting out?"

Wednesday 4th April 2007:

Of coarse I was emotional that day, the reality of loss was pounding my heart on that particular Wednesday in 2007. Following the incident at the Hawkesbury river with that stone, I’d immersed myself deeper into the heart felt, take me where you will, nature of a euphoric mania. Everyday reason and objective logic is forced from the mind as deep emotional wellsprings rush up from the heart, you just go with its flow. All the normal wary suspicions of self-preservation dissolve, as an innate bias of negative judgment towards the unknown, seems to disappear. It’s a bit like sleep walking in a way, an acting out of deeply unconscious meaning, once you get past the instinct of fearful negative reactions, not so much yours, but other people‘s. In this dreamy “I’m not sure what this is, but I think I‘m getting some answers,” I drove away from the river in a triumphant blaze of heightened emotion. I’d accepted the sign of that second splash as a message I needed to hear. “Its all true, your alive, you’re here, embrace your being in this present now,” although the life history of my subjective experience filled this new now, with thoughts of God, good and evil and that number one boggy man, the Devil. A subjective sense of the experience that wasn’t helped by a freak unseasonable hailstorm either. What can I say, when your in this state there is a powerful sense of resonance with all nature, and like people bending spoons with the power of concentration, did I somehow cause that second splash in the water?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Atmosphere of Moments

William St, Kings Cross, Sydney, Australia
"We do not remember days; we remember moments." _Cesare Pavese.

‘I’ll have you fucking sectioned myself, this time!’ He said, stabbing his rigid forefinger close to my face.

"Jesus! This is tough," I thought, along with the memory of holding his hand when he was seven years old.

In one frozen moment I watched his top lip curl up in an involuntary snarl, as time seemed to encompass different dimensions in this one space. Photo like images cascaded through my mind, as flash bulb memories of me pointing up at a star field milky way, quick glances at his boyish face to check if he was following the line of my arm. I sensed my emotive intent back then too, like a soothing balm allowing me to bare the shock wave of this unexpected attack. Self soothing memories of impressing a sense of wonder upon my first born child, while here my boy was so forcefully impressing his cruel intent upon me. It wasn't the actual words that cut me to the bone though, that fueled a wave of numbing shock. It was the intonation in his voice, the forceful finger stabbing and the image of his flushed, snarling face.

Suddenly a wormhole in the fabric of time had opened up, bringing back to life the heritage of my red headed, Viking blooded, father. The generational divide of body and souls seemed to collapse, with the whiff of something else in that snarling lip, a brute force of nature bursting through an otherwise gentile guise. I closed my eyes involuntarily, overwhelmed by a sense of loss and down spiraling dissolution. A painful recognition of guilt too, in my culpability of inappropriate anger and rage when he was young. Ambushed by an unconscious emotional learning, returned to haunt me in the murderous expression of my own precious child. After years of therapist training and counseling others, my own child’s lack of empathic connection in this moment, was stunning beyond belief.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 2

Metaphor-Myth & Life's Deeper Meaning?
Parting a Red Sea? Or The Brains Twin Hemispheres?
From Gut Instinctual Reactions to Metaphysical Mind?
At the height of manic euphoria the Christian Bible and the Meaning of Life always consume my minds attention. Its been that way since 1980, on or off medications, regardless of the trigger and my more normal, rational desires.

A gushing sense of spiritual oneness overwhelms me every time, even though between episodes, a return to normality wishes it would just leave me the hell alone. I just want a normal life!

Objectively it makes no sense that Biblical references should flood my over emotional experience when I'm high. Euphoria is treason to any normal sense of reason?

I've been a democratic socialist for Christ's sake, with an Atheist disbelief in God during long periods of my everyday social sense of normality. Yet in times of manic flight, biblical stories mesmerize me with their sense of something deeper, something beyond their literal setting in external reality. In heightened states of euphoria I catch sensation glimpse's of deeper meaning, in these metaphor'd stories of human existence.

In the Belly of the Whale. William Blake.
Our Shadow Taller than our Cosmic Soul?
Sometimes it feels like I'm right back there under those star filled, dark desert sky's, filled with a sense of awe and wonder? A trick of the light perhaps? An illusion of form, and an earth bound sense of time? How could this current moment be an eternal now, for God's sake? Isn't everything separate, isn't this just my dream? You go and do your own video log, as Jake Sully advises in a very popular movie? Yet inside this belly of a cosmic whale, just what is dreaming within our collective perception of life?
Is the task of maturing self awareness best described in Joseph Campbell's defining of the hero's journey, upon which so much movie making is based. Jake's journey to a heart felt maturity begins in the belly of a spaceship. Is this an objective dramatization of a subliminal metaphor? In William Blake's painting of the belly of the whale, we see the cosmic serpent so universally described in primitive creation mythologies. (see Mad Visions part 1)

"And as we wind on down the road. Our shadows taller than our souls." _Led Zeppelin. Is it only the instinctual shadow of our evolution that prevents the transcendence of our Cosmic Soul?

Part 2 of an analysis of a month of manic euphoria; its metaphors & meaning?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2007: 1st of four full term PSYCHOSIS

Your all mind and no heart!

I shouted at him before storming out the door of our pokey two bedroom apartment, here in the Sydney suburb of Mortdale.

Groaning in frustration I stomped down the stairs to the ground floor, slamming the entrance door to our three storey apartment building behind me, knowing the pain in the ass reverberation it would cause within this cheap brick, concrete and tile block.

“They don’t want to know, nobody wants to fucking know!” I told myself as I walked across the carpark at the rear of the building . Pity! I’d felt the manic energy subsiding before his brother told me about the paranormal séance.

‘Someone came up to him and put a card in his hand saying something about a message from Pa, and that someone in the family needed counseling.’

After weeks of mania and battling the dream like altered states of mind so common to the experience of bipolar disorder, more evidence of paranormal communication? Was this contact from my dead Father-in-law more proof of a paranormal connection, I’d been demanding for two weeks? It had been another one of those days, wondering around in a dream like state, finding associations to my special paranormal connection everywhere. It was Easter Monday, April 9th 2007, a month after another relationship loss had triggered a steady rise into full blown mania. This one was different of coarse. Well, I would say that wouldn’t I?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sectioned- On The Road to Redemption

This old man and his four sons.
April 12th 2012: Today is an anniversary of sorts, five years on from April 12th 2007. By the fate of the calendar’s cycle it’s the same day of the week too, it’s Thursday.
The day I was sectioned for the first and only time, in my thirty two year experience with this profound dis-ease know as bipolar disorder.
Confined within an acute care ward and then released with profuse apologies a week later.

The experience speaks volumes about our subjective states of mind, and the reality of mental health diagnosis. On that Thursday afternoon I’d sat opposite a young psychiatrist, as guilty of projecting a subjective state of mind onto immediate reality, as I was. I’d seen his involuntary reaction the previous Thursday while watching him read a young psych grad’s evaluation notes. Watched a whole body shift as his posture suddenly stiffened, and a pronounced look of concern transformed his face. His mind seemed to become fixated from that moment on, “this man is unstable and needs medication.” Over two brief sessions he repeated the same mantra some half a dozen times, “your in a hypo-manic state and without medication you will become hyper-manic.“

‘I’m coming out of the hyper-phase now, I’ve been in the hyper state for a couple of weeks.’

My explanations of emotional context and relevant developmental issues, like childhood trauma did not register at all with him. My twenty seven year history of bipolar only confirmed a rigid mindset, “unstable - medication.” I might as well have been experiencing my first episode of psychosis, same procedural approach, same firm belief in a disease of the brain. Discussing emotional context was counterproductive in his view, “loss of insight is a standard feature of this illness,” was his most empathic response during our first meeting.

Long Night of the Soul, an Invitation to Depression

May 8th 2012:
A no thrills hotel room in Laos, 2am and the mechanical hum of an old pedestal fan accompanies a grinding ache in my stomach, thoughts of defeat and a fraudulent sense of self won‘t stop buzzing around my head.

Almost two and a half years into my self discovery sojourn here in South East Asia, I fear I’m running out of time with dwindling finances and visa restrictions, becoming pressing concerns.

“I’m just kidding myself that I understand anything about the processes involved in mental illness. The fantasy of writing a book just rationalizes a life’s unconscious default pattern of withdrawal and isolation. Follow my heart notions are a mania fueled romantic joke, leading me to ruination not salvation.” After five years with no return to a cyclic pattern of depression and no need for medications of any kind, I’m feeling the old familiar sensations of defeat and collapse here. There‘s a pressured sense of doom inside my head, as a continual loop of disaster thoughts hold my mind in a vice like grip of driven compulsion. “It’s a physiological state and my mind is amplifying it,” I tell myself. “Then face it and stop running away from it, the negative thoughts are stimulated by a core feeling, its innate fear-terror.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mythology & Metaphors of Our Species Evolution

The Cleft & Our Metaphors of Evolution?
Inspired by;

From When The Dream Becomes Real:
the inner Apocalypse in mythology, madness and the future, By Michael O’Callaghan

A notion that, Attachment, Separation & Loss.
Is perhaps the ultimate challenge to deepening awareness, for a sentient species, in our current global challenge to deeper individual self-awareness, in our 21st century A.D.

2012: "The ascension is not a rising to “above” it’s a Fall, just as its always been, when you seek awareness of the Universe within, & truly feel the presence of this Eternal Now. In Eastern mysticism, such experience is known as a Kundalini awakening, or in the “stillness” of the great Prince, Buddha being?"

Perhaps not the most beautiful photo to represent a story about mythology, science, spirituality, and our species evolution. Yet this is the normally hidden reality of that most precious organ of species differentiation, our brain. Its neural evolution and its role in the life of the mind, particularly the mind's relationship to our body, which is I believe what so many of our mythological and metaphor stories, and tales are actually about. This particular blog post represents the culmination of a five year self-education journey, with four full term euphoric episodes of spiritual Ecstasy.

A journey that has led me to believe that Science & Spirituality are Converging Now? Not this minute, this week or this year, yet in this, our 21st, coming of age century. What follows is a timeline of unfolding euphoric vision, and my explanations of why science, spirituality, metaphor and new meaning are currently emerging, within our species journey of, Cosmic evolution.

PSYCHOSIS: A Journey, documents a five year unfolding of a natural process, of self-revelation. Being with the fist of four full term psychosis. In 2012, this year of great yearning for a spiritual ascension, this particular post will dovetail into Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist: movies, to show a misinterpretation of "the system" out there. Innate affect/emotions are the keys to our future and the realization of heaven, right in front of our eyes. When we honor and do not deny our instinctual evolution, and the millions of our ancestors who have suffered and sacrificed to bring us to this point in our sentient species journey.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Science, Spirituality & Psychosis

Are Science & Spirituality Converging Now? 

 “Andrew Newberg and his colleagues have, in their seminal book “Why God Won’t Go Away,” brought together a vast amount of research on the brain substrates underlying a variety of different spiritual experiences. The application of this type of brain research to trauma transformation is a rich area of further research and exploration. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) gets its name from being a relatively autonomous branch of the nervous system. Its basic, yet highly integrated function has to do with the regulation of energy states and the maintenance of homeostasis.

The ANS is composed of two distinctly different branches. (Although the parasympathetic branch is dived into a primitive (nonmyelinated) and an evolutionarily recent (myelinated) branch.)” _Peter Levine, “In an Unspoken Voice.”

It is this myelinated branch of parasympathetic stimulation of the heart & therefore metabolic rate, ventral vagal complex (VVC), which is metaphorically eluded to in the mythology of the Christian Bible. “The Ark of The Covenant.” Put very simply, it’s the secret of your Smile, and those two hundred muscles of your head & face.

And of coarse you don’t want to know about this, inside your Cartesian “mind-set” awareness of being, because life truly flows in “unconscious” spontaneous, physiological reactions, like when you feel the pure joy of being alive here in heaven.

The ascension is not a rising to “above” it’s a Fall, just as its always been, when you seek awareness of the Universe within, & truly feel the presence of this Eternal Now. In Eastern mysticism, such experience is known as a Kundalini awakening, or in the “stillness” of the great Prince, Buddha being?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mental Illness Labels?

My Illness Labels are Metaphors for ???

Its been 32 years and counting, since my first experience of psychosis was labeled as schizophrenia within 15 minutes - an all-too-quick reaction that left me bewildered and re-traumatized by the subsequent heavy-handed use and sole reliance on psychotropic medications. The ruddy-faced 30-something psychiatrist never did find the time for an empathic human communication during our 3 year relationship. His self-soothing reliance on preconceived notions always stood like an implacable wall between us.

I can remember wondering how this guy came across in social gatherings as he often stared at the carpet during our 30-minute, keep-taking-the-pills, prescription encounter. Over a 20-year experience with the “medical model” of a disease-like illness, only one psychiatrist was interested in creating a human relationship not based on a perception of superior status.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mad Visions or Mental Illness? Part 1

Myth & Metaphors of Personal Meaning
If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor” _Joseph Campbell.

The Universe saves itself from a Dark & Silent Fate?

By Evolving into a form that can act upon Itself - You?

Euphoric Senses Fall into Awareness of an Eternal Now?

Heaven is Felt as The Eternal Now Emerging Within?

Metaphor, Myth, Meaning & The Hidden World Within?

Its about the transformation of reactive energy states, not objective labels (metaphors)?

"Yeah right! - You've been away with pixies again our David," I hear my Uncles say.
"Told ya to leave those magic mushrooms alone! - Oh! Sorry I forgot, you don't need any, you nut job!" I hear ex lovers bemoan.
"Tut, tut, we warned you about mental illness, off medication," I hear psychiatrists refrain.
"Yeah I know its a very touchy subject, madness as mental illness is a debate with a wide variety of individual experience and objective professional judgment." This is my particular experience though and I don’t paint with a broad brush here, suggesting a universal application. Or do I?

Do the post headlines speak of mental illness & psychosis, a break with normal reality, or personal revelation? Not that I think I'm a messiah, although that may have been your, at first glance judgment? Perhaps more a further dissolving of personal identity, once euphoria energized sensations, enabling intuition fades? Or are these simply the mad notions of a diseased brain, and what do they have to do with everyday normality anyway?

A two part essay in analysis of a month of manic euphoria; its metaphors & meaning?

Where is the objective sense of normality in linking Led Zeppelin's song "Stairway to Heaven," with William Blake's famous painting of "Jacobs Ladder," you might ask? Its just a song, its just a painting, and there cannot be any method or purpose in the experience of madness? In this two part essay I explore my own altered states of perception from the viewpoint of metaphor and meaning. Exploring the hidden nature of my internal energies, my DNA's double helix and the double bind of a mind-body split that can't see the shadow on my cosmic soul?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mental Disorder & The Felt Sense of Self?

From Felt-Sense to Felt-Self:
Neuroaffective Touch and the Relational Matrix. _Aline LaPierre, Psy.D.
As a long term sufferer of an affective disorder (Bipolar Disorder 1) as its subjectively categorized in the DSM 1V, a more primary communication with others has helped me stabilize cyclic energies & discover a lost, felt sense of self.

Merging a subjective, cognitive sense of self with a felt sense of self is helping me find an increasing sense of wholeness and well being?

Now living in a culture where interpersonal communication is based more on emotional connection via gesture, facial expression and voice intonation, than sophisticated dialogue, I'm daily invited to feel more than think? Involved in a relationship with no shared language, we are forced to communicate via our primary sources of inter-personal contact. Look's and touch are our means of reaching common understanding, as we discover the surprising depth of connection and communication involved in our mutual gaze and eye contact?

The flashing language of our eyes seems to speak more than a hundred words can say, and my troubled soul is finding its way home again? "Don't you miss the more sophisticated conversation from back home," a fellow expat asked me recently. "Sometimes, but I really needed to discover just how much I avoided myself in all that clever dialogue," I replied. Squinting eyes signaled his perplexed response, with no real need to say, "what do you mean?"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unconsciously Unsafe leads to Mental Torment?

Behind closed eyes, a dreamer's in-tension?
I froze for a split second, faltered in my approach to her. I recovered quickly, acting out the ritual "how are you." Yet the damage was done. The scene set for an exchange more uncomfortably tense than relaxed and spontaneously flowing.
"Dam! She's so beautiful and I'm aching to get close to her," I remember thinking as I re-ran the scenes in my head and the way it might have gone if I could only get over it. This ice in my gut that tensions my shiver of flight. Or is it fright?

Its the slightest effect, flashing through my whole body in an instant. Always there, no matter how much mindful rehearsal I do beforehand. All those affirmations of positive intent, never dissolved its unconscious nature. An involuntary reaction that I couldn't control. Over the years, the pain of miss-tuned connection drove me mad! Down into the hell of fearful isolation, even in a crowded room?

Over the years my mind seemed to amplify the effect with the worrisome concern of, WTF is it? The frozen pool that should have been the health spa spring of emotional well being, became a beast of torment, the bad me within. The "my fault," guilt, shame and self blame, became the rage of a beast that eats from within.

Over the years I tried everything from pills to spiritual affirmations, mindful meditations of followed breath and gratitude for the smallest blessings. There were periods of calm and steady progress, always interrupted by unexpected "got ya" moments, which set the whole shame blame feeding cycle of again. Looking back on my darkest hours of torment, I can well understand how notions of being possessed come to mind.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Body Language & Mental Illness?

The Body & The Wisdom Tree of Life?
Bipolar Disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain? Science research tells us so because we discovered that emotions and moods are stimulated by chemicals in the brain & nervous systems. Chemicals that are produced by and facilitate cell function within our body/brain. There are even cells that are labeled bipolar to describe their millisecond "on/off" electro-chemical signaling function. Its a (+ -) polarity thing, like a tiny dry cell battery, to use an object analogy?

"Common examples are the bipolar cell of the retina, the ganglia of the vestibulocochlear nerve, and the extensive use of bipolar cells to transmit efferent (motor) signals to control muscles."

Hence we don't use the older term Manic-Depression in official jargon anymore because our emotional life is far more complex than we thought. Yet does research ignore the body & its sensory feedback systems?

If you say the two terms to yourself, "bipolar disorder," "manic depression," which one rings truer for you? Which of these self descriptions, "I'm bipolar or I'm manic depressive," captures the fullest sense of your personal experience?

Some people answer this question in two parts, "bipolar gives an instant impression of the opposite extremes, while manic depression seems to trigger a more emotive sense of it." Some say the older term, has a gut feel to it that doesn't require much cognitive explanation, "you kinda get it, but you can't say how or why?"

The body has its own energy "language," beneath the minds cognitive language?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Illness or Instinct in Manic Euphoria?

What forces stimulate a euphoric sense of cosmic oneness?
November 15, 2011.

In the great legend of the FALL, where are we now? Apple i-pads, Google & the Tree of Knowledge? The Eternal Now keeps on Emerging as we keep learning about ourselves? ( status post)

Should I feel ashamed to have acted on the impulse to make such thoughts public?

Should I view another episode of manic euphoria as mental illness or madness?
Should I judge this recent episode a relapse into illness or part of my journey of self discovery in a maturing sense of self?

Where is the sense of objectivity in such nonsense, others might ask? Surely such simple emotive associations as Apple I-Pads with the Biblical tree of knowledge, make no sense at all in our 21st century AD? "Just another dickhead with a messiah complex - A loony tune psychotic," would be understandable quips. Many psychiatrists would suggest a disease like illness, affecting a chemical imbalance within my brain?

Others see the madness experience as a right of passage in the challenge to maturity, and part of the birthright of a maturing species. Some suggest that bipolar & schizophrenia have survived the evolutionary process because they serve a purpose, for beyond the routine of normal survival, some kind of visionary intuition is required to guide the way forward. Hence the high number of creative's with bipolar and from a destiny point view there has been sensitivity in leadership during darker times.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recovery or Self Discovery?

The Sojourn begins, January  2010
12th January 2012:
The 2nd year anniversary of my sojourn here in Thailand.
A day that invites a review of my journey, with its self challenge of uncovering the deeper nature of what most consider to be a disease of the brain, a mental illness. A day that comes hot on heels of plunging back into the work-a-day life of pressing needs. Six weeks that made my soul searching contemplation's seem like a self absorbed irrelevance. I guess circumstantial context and individual experience determine what is relevant in our daily life?

'I wan my shop back!' My Thai partner demanded in early December.
'Mama say 16 & 17 good luck day for open shop - she ask a monk!' I knew full well the added reference to the monk was meant to underline the depth of her need, and that rational protests about previous agreements would trigger the emotional equivalent of very miserable weather into the foreseeable future. 'Ok darling,' was all I could say in response.

I'd been writing the first draft chapters of a memoir throughout October and November, with an expectation that January was the month we'd finally face up to the exhausting task of re-establishing her beauty shop. 'You sit and write while I do no thing! - I hate this! - and sometime am hating you too!' Had been part of her opening gambit, proceeding the coup de grace of "mama say." Like all agrarian societies the matriarch of an extended family wields an authority here that mere men always comply with. As a stranger in my own version of paradise, who the hell am I to defy such deeply rooted tradition.