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bipolar or waking up?

Last post 12-01-2007, 1:48 AM by desrice. 50 replies.
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  •  10-26-2007, 8:56 AM 30681

    bipolar or waking up?

    I have been recently diagonosed bipolar and have been to multiple psychiatrist and been told I need to be on meds and as I have also posted before I have had very spiritual experiences when i was much younger up to twelve that i didnt rember until i was 19.

    but then recently I found a youtube channel that really challenged the whole idea of bipolar and said that the "mania" just needs to be experienced properly and is part of the waking up process and the meds are like the doctor "sticking a sock in your mouth to stop you from throwing up, when you really need to get it all out"

    http://www.youtube.com/user/bipolarorwakingup

    I hope you can check out at least that intro video

    so I was wondering what others thought because it seems like such a new/ tricky issue and Im hoping to gain as much knowledge on the subject as possible. thanks - chris
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  •  10-26-2007, 7:37 PM 30694 in reply to 30681

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    Chris, be VERY careful with this line of thinking.  While there are indeed 'spiritual emergencies' or 'existential crises' that need to be worked through in order to reach a more whole and integrated state of being; Bipolar disorder is a SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS that can seriously wreck your life and/or kill you if you do not manage it. 

     

    Before medications, Bipolar disorder was observed going through its 'natural course.'  This course is generally a serious bout of mania or depression followed by a period of normal mood then another bout of mania or depression followed by a normal mood, etc.  What happens though, is that while the first few episodes of mania or depression appear to be related to clear stressors or 'causes,' once the disorder 'gets going' the episodes increasingly happen with little or no correlation to external events.  Cycling can become more rapid and disregulated.  Also medications may be less able to prevent future episodes later in the course of the disorder.  The problem with this episodic course is that individuals with Bipolar disorder may believe that they are 'cured' if they have good inter-episodic recovery, when in fact it is just a temporary symptom-free time.  If the disorder really does 'ramp up' (the 'kindling' theory), then each subsequent episode makes it more and more likely that the individual with Bipolar will experience more frequent and/or intense episodes as a result.  Given this, psychiatric practice has aimed at doing everything possible to stabilize individuals with Bipolar disorder and prevent future manic and/or depressive episodes.

     

    A note on data...  I only watched some of the videos by the individual you referenced, though I believe I am fairly familiar with some of the (abundant) anti-psychiatry literature.  Ken Wilber himself makes a clear distinction between mystical states and pathological states.  In fact, he was criticized for making this point painfully clear in his article in the Spring 1989 issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology when he famously said: "Eighty-three hallucinating schizophrenics couldn't organize a trip to the toilet, let alone Japanese Zen."  I mention this, not because Wilber is the final authority, but because in at least one of the bipolarorwakingup videos the speaker alluded to the fact that Wilber (among others) lend support to his theory.  Regarding statistics on Bipolar disorder, the DSM-IV-TR notes the following about type I: 10-15% of individuals with it complete suicide, lifetime prevalence is 0.4-1.6%, average age of onset is 20, 90% of individuals who have one manic episode will go on to have future episodes, studies conducted before medications for Bipolar disorder were available suggest an average of 4 episodes per 10 years.

     

    On a personal note... I have worked with persons with a Bipolar diagnosis for years.  I have never seen anything that looked especially 'spiritual' or like a positive transformation in the works when it comes to Bipolar disorder.  I have encountered some persons who may have been misdiagnosed (they never had full manic episodes), but they were usually diagnosed with Bipolar type II not Bipolar type I.  Some persons with Bipolar disorder really can go on creative streaks while manic, but this is the exception not the rule and even then days of little or no sleep rapidly takes its toll (Vincent van Gogh has been cited as a possible historic case).  From my experience, real Bipolar disorder is not just being unorthodox, misunderstood, eccentric, or even making grandiose spiritual claims etc.  A full manic episodes is unmistakable if you ever witness one.  And a 'mixed episode' is something I wouldn't wish on anyone.

     

    So Chris, maybe the diagnosis you were given was incorrect.  Maybe it is correct.  Seeking several (professional) opinions would not be a bad idea.  If you do in fact have this disorder, take it as seriously as you would a diagnosis of cancer.  Read everything you can about the disorder, ask questions, and become a fully informed consumer.  If you can work with an existentially or integrally oriented therapist they may be better able to sift through issues of meaning and not mistake transrational experience for prerational pathology, or vice versa.  Also, just because a few people on YouTube had a certain set of experiences in no way means that their 'results' are generalizable to yourself.

     

    I truly wish you the best of luck.

     

    Mark

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  •  10-26-2007, 8:29 PM 30698 in reply to 30694

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

     

    thanks chris for sharing those vids

    first i watched the powerful 'raging against psychiatry' a continuous flash of mystical artistic images

    then his five part story .. and find him articulate and intelligent

     

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  •  10-26-2007, 8:41 PM 30700 in reply to 30698

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

     

    he said two KEY things .. (one) it's YOUR life .. and (two)go off the meds only if you can do it without hurting anyone including yourself 

     

     

     

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  •  10-27-2007, 12:47 AM 30714 in reply to 30700

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    fairyfaye:
    he said two KEY things .. (one) it's YOUR life .. and (two)go off the meds only if you can do it without hurting anyone including yourself
    i would add, with regard to the second, that it's easy to be mistaken about this, and not just for those with bipolar disorder.

    by coincidence, the first part of kw's IN interview of joe perez aired this week, and the second part will no doubt air next week. the first part ends with joe telling us about how his life came unraveled in his twenties, culminating with psychotic delusions as a result of what was diagnosed as bipolar disorder. he went into this in much greater length in his book 'soulfully gay', which was published by integral books, with a forward by kw.

    of course, he is only a single individual, albeit a remarkable one, but the message i've taken away from him and kw is that we need wholeness in our life, and if we are fragmented, bipolarity being a stark example, then it's vitally important that we integrate those fragmented parts.

    chris, i feel mark and, indirectly, kw are giving you good advice. an important thing to keep in mind, imo, is that the meds for bipolar will not, of themselves, effect the desired integration. you still need to do that yourself, but the meds, wisely prescribed and administered, can provide you with a better environment, so to speak, in which to do it.

    i hope that helps,

    ralph

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  •  10-27-2007, 7:06 AM 30722 in reply to 30714

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    sean's story to me, sounds like he had a "psychotic episode" or a "mystical experience" or perhaps a "plunge into the subtle realms" or was "caught between two worlds" by whatever name

    spurred on by the intensive self-exploratory workshop he was participating in, and especially induced by reliving the near-death experience he had had while scuba diving

    so am not sure why he is calling that bi-polar, as i thought bi-polar is an ongoing thing .. where sean seems to have had an isolated experience

    i think i may write him and ask

    regardless, it was fascinating listening to him describe his version of what was happening

    and hurray for his brother's response

     

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  •  10-27-2007, 8:28 AM 30727 in reply to 30681

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    I am in the process of watching all of the videos on wakinguporbipolar and will comment a little.  I will comment some more, later, when I have finished them all. 

     

    I will just note a few quick things.  It only takes one Manic Episode in order to receive a diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder.  While about 90% of those with one episode go on to further episodes (often many more), about 10% do not. 

     

    The guy in the video is in some ways an atypical presentation.  His 'triggering stressor' was a personal growth seminar (not a negative life stressor etc.).  His onset was about 30 (notably later than average for Bipolar disorder).  While he did not go into it, it did not sound like he had the 'loaded history' most persons who eventually get diagnosed often have (was a 'high-strung' child, 'accident prone' teen, school behaviors stood out from the norm in retrospect, etc.).

     

    Some old 'clinical wisdom' about psychotic episodes is that the later the initial break is the better one's prognosis.  People who have a sudden, intense, break that they fully recover from may be less likely to develop a chronic condition than those who have an early and slowly building disorder that just keeps getting progressively worse. 

     

    Last (for now), in the series of videos the person talking displays a real lack of understanding about the similarities and differences between his experience and schizophrenia.  If you have ever worked with or interacted with an actively psychotic individual with this disorder, it is so clear that they are not in the realm of the transpersonal.  Only the most unsophisticated of pre/trans fallacy would mistake schizophrenia for the spiritual.  On a very superficial level they both talk about realities that are not disclosed to most of the general population, may involve non-logical statements, and refer to energies/forces/experiences outside of those merely given in a physical/material world.  The delusions are concrete and real (not symbolic and allegorical).  In my experience, persons with psychotic processes actively going on are not making 'deep' assertions when they say that the Nazis or Communists are plotting against them.  They are not expressing 'mystical code' when they worry that their thoughts are showing up on peoples cell phones or that all the voices talking are keeping them from sleeping.  Schizophrenia (like Bipolar) is a disorder that shows up everywhere.  When the average layperson sees it they know 'something isn't right.'  Also, while intense existential breakthroughs can be 'messy' affairs, a skilled therapist can usually quite clearly see the difference.  An integrally or existentially oriented therapist would be your best bet in that case.  While there are many excellent transpersonal psychologists and therapists out there, there are also some who are thoroughly confused with regard to pre/trans and may well tell a person what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

     

    Mark

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  •  10-27-2007, 10:44 AM 30746 in reply to 30727

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    Thanks a lot Mark, Ralph, and Fairy for the responses. So ya my experience was very similar to seans as far as how he described it as a "middle world" and i really thought it was a mystical experience and such but unlike sean I was not as comfortable with the feeling for most of the time, it also occured after a 5 day self exploratory seminar (avatar) but I dont think this was this initial trigger just the tipping point. My complete ego collapse happened at college and leading up to college with a near death experience with a one time drug use with a drug called salivia while I was drunk.

    But anyways I am hoping that thhis is an isolated experience like him and that I am in that 10% because so far I'm just coming out of that one episode and its been a week and I'm hoping for no cycling but i know its too early too tell. Ive already been to three phychiatrists and they all say bipolar 1 but I really want to give this time and see because I really have never had any enjoyable "mania's" and the doctors had to strectch to find a four day period where I had excessive energy.

    So do you guys think a psychotic experince can be triggered from severe stress and anxiety alone because my freshman year was out of this world traumatic , i just think I wasnt ready for complete ego collapse. thanks again. -chris
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  •  10-27-2007, 11:30 AM 30763 in reply to 30746

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    chris i agree with mark that your best bet would be to find an integrally-informed therapist

    it is interesting to note that it says (on p155)in the book "irreducible mind" published this year, that the american psychiatric association now considers experiences such as religious and mystical visions to be nonpathlogical

     

     

     

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  •  10-27-2007, 2:41 PM 30774 in reply to 30763

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    ya just still not sure if this vision was completlely healthy because I was talking irrationally and had drinking a lot of water almost to the point of water toxicity.

    Where can I find intergrally informed therapists bty?

    I would also like you guys too check out this post from awhile back about bipolar being "all in your head" and no such thing as hereditary illlness.


    "Re: Transcend and Include
    Reply Quote Favorites Contact
    PelleB and MonkMonk,

    Thanks for the responses. Your thoughts are representitive of my own personal perspective(s) in comtemplating this issue. I have been thinking about this, and I believe that what makes it so tricky is that the idea of transcending a specific "mental illness" would, at first, be based on the premise that the "mental illness" in question is merely a psychological condition, as opposed to a biological health issue. Then of course, if we solve the root of the psychological issue, most likely through work in the upper left, then the symptoms dissolve. Conversely, if we have a real health issue, as was pointed out with Ken as the example, then we can not solve this through a strictly upper-left approach.

    However, the more I have thought about this over the years, the more blurred the lines become. And I ask of us all - what is the REAL distinction between and "biological/hereditary" dis-ease, and a "psychological/environment" one? Do not both these condtions, though seemingly different, have equal presence in all quadrants? From the point-of-view of healing, then, what is the difference?

    Does not traditional Taoism literally assert that for *every* disease of the body there is a corresponding dis-ease of the mind? Is that not an ultimate view of eastern mystics - that in essence ALL disease is psychosomatic? If one subscribed fully to this assertion, then even Ken's condition would have a specific correspondence in the upper-left, which, if liberated, would simultaneously liberate the upper-right. On this basis, even terminal illnesses such as cancer could be alleviated. (I know this topic is not all that novel, but i've never actually heard it talked about in an integral context). In in the case of a severe illness, if the measurement of the quantifiable condition in the upper-right is at all an accurate reflection of what is in the upper-left, then we would be dealing with a very deep, and very inaccessible kind of imprint. So inaccessible that it would appear set in stone, and most of the time miraculous healings only occur on accident - because we really dont have competent enough healers to facilitate changes that are imprinted so deeply.

    Just a few thoughts here - I always hoped the future of integral would be incredibly profound, and I find it really exciting to see what happens when we begin to point the integral laser beam at these kinds of questions."
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  •  10-27-2007, 7:14 PM 30784 in reply to 30774

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

     

    regarding finding integrally-informed therapists, u could get a list of therapists in your area and start calling and asking them .. this would most likely take some time and effort but would be worth it

    also, i believe i-i is working on a yellow pages .. not sure where they are at with that .. maybe ask member services ?

    i hope it works out for u

    xo

     

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  •  10-28-2007, 9:11 AM 30819 in reply to 30784

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    I emailed the sean and heres my more detailed backstroy just incase anyone is interested. Its long though.

    Hi Sean, My name is Chris Emerson and I had a very similar situation to yours and I am currently in a very sticky situation now.
    For a little background, I had a very spiritual experience at the age of 12 when my family moved to San Jose, then night we moved in was similar to what you described as a perfect darkness all around me that I felt almost had a purple tinge to it and then the next morning I woke up, went downstairs and expereineced a oneness with everything that was so simple. Keep in mind though that at this age I had no reference point at which to judge this expereiece. I just thought it was "cool". And as Ken says the "gateless gate" by other names, is all you have really known so it dosent fell particularly special. so i didn't tell my parents or anything and actually just forgot about altogether because of how the world is I just never reflected on something like that.
    I was a normal kid throughtout teen years except for a huge people pleasing and conforming to social norms problem (wouldn't be true to myself). My "ego collapse" happened leading up to college and then completly when during college. I had some bad trips on some drugs before college that really scared me and one was a near death experience on a drug called salvia that I had done with alcohol and blacked out bad. Once college started my identity shatterted into pieces and I still found myself with the old habits of people pleasing when I should have been packing my bags for home. This year at college (last year) really messed up my head because I repressed so much stuff and anxiety and stress were at dangerous levels, I had racing thoughts all year about anything and everything. I even Halluncinated a couple times there (just would see shapes of white in my eyes if i concentrated). And it was there that I even first recalled that my experience at age 12 was differerent from other kids, I had completly forgotten. I even recalled That when I was really young I would still be consious in deep dremless sleep, even up to age 7 i think.
    Once summer started my parents wanted me to get help and get my life straightened out so they let me go to a self introspetion course like you (mine was called avatar). All this summer I was still having racing thoughts so It wasn't a good time to take this course. During the course I had a breakthrough where I was looking into one of the guides eyes and then felt his energy surge into me and cripple me and I startted moaning and crying for a while then it got very similar to your story. Very high energy towards the end of the course then flew home, had to go straight to a wedding where I had to leave early because of my energy and irrational toughts and then the next day is when I had my psychotic episode.
    I had been drinking water all night long and trying to "piece the universe together" with anything I found to be symbolic that I had ever heard. I was drinking so much water because my mouth was extremely dry and I was taking Ken's "One Taste" to mean something about drinking water too at the time. well in the next morning I began to talk very irrationally to my parents and then I followed a noise of a coffee maker downstairs where my aunt was and I didnt know she was over and I halluncinated my moms face on hers. This is when I entered the "middle world" experience you referred too and so I wanted to go walk out side w/ my dog and thought my friend lived next door and turned out he didnt and then my mom made me come inside and said were going to the hospital.
    I was talking a lot about ken and treya and about how thier essence is everywhere, I was even calling my dog treya when we were running down the street. I had just read grace and grit not to long back. But at the hospital I continued to be irrational and I was running to the bathroom to drink water so I could throw up. This was very instinctual, I felt the need to throw up everything. I kept thinking of that scene from team america world police where the guy leaves the bar and keeps throwing up in the alley until he is surrounded in his puke. I also felt the need to pass irrational note to every that made sense to me at the time that i thoutght would set them free.The difference I think with me is that it felt more like an obbligation and not as enjoyable as your experience but this may have been becuse of the environment I was in.Since I kept running to the bathroom and locking myself in they strapped me to the table. My parents were very supportive throughout this process, It was weird I would hear their voices but they sounded as if they were in a different dimension or "middle world" with me. I also thought I has died when I took the saliva almost a year back and had been in a coma the whole time. So then I pied the bed a lot and then they gave me the shot that doped me up and I went to stay at an in-patient hospital for four days.
    current situation- I have seen three psychiatrist who have all diagnosed me as bipolar 1. Im taking 10 mg of Ambilify for mood stabilazation and see the doctor tomarrow to see what else to put me on. I believe that I'm out of that first episode and Im hoping that Im in the 10% of people who dont become cyclic and can get off meds that way which proper lifestyle changes. I'm wondering If the process has to be as extreme as you say were its possible a month of "throwing it all up" and integrateing it. Im only 20 and know I need to do more research on this but my dad says we are gonna get one more opinion and that is that final word. And bty my dad has studied all of ken's work. But he says he believes in double blind studies and not testimonials. He said I just got some bad luck from nature this time around. Please, any advice/knowledge helps, thanks for letting me share my story with you. -chris emerson
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  •  10-28-2007, 11:35 AM 30825 in reply to 30774

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    Hello Emerson,

    The particular post you quoted above on the the "Re: Transcend and Include" thread was written by me, and i'm glad you bring it up. To cut a long story short - I have my own personal history with bipolar and mental illness. I have explored and dabbled for years in a multitude of self-development, therapy, and transformational systems that are designed to liberate humans from their vices. I have found them all lacking, some of them dangerous. So I set out to discover what is really going on with mental illness, using pure reason as my guide, as opposed to the so-called knowledge of so many "health experts" today. It was nearly a decade ago when I said that if they can't heal me then I will heal myself. Well I have succeeded to a large extend, and in the process I have acquired a lot of self-knowledge and cut through the large majority of my own mental illness - including bipolar. I have integrated bipolar into my life in a way that it is allowed to exist and to empower me without throwing me off balance, so to speak. Sometimes managing it is intense but I have gone nearly two years now without a single suicidal depression, or mania, taking me by surprise. They still happen but I am able to contain them in my consciousness and so they become entertainment for me in a sense, instead of something that ruins my life. I got a good job at a big company and i've worked here now for over a year (that is a record for me) and plan on staying. I do not take any medication, I don't even take tylenol. I do not take shit from people who are clearly biased and confused (eg. the vast majority of "experts"), and I think it is absolutely tragic that so many thousands of people in the united states are being taken advantage of and hurt badly by an industry they turn to with trust and dependence for help.

    I am not completely clear yet about what exactly it is I have been doing to manage my bipolar, but I do have a sense of having to be always at odds with myself while still being accepting and in harmony with myself, in order to manage it. I have recently written this little poem to describe what i'm talking about:

    If you seek to be still, you should move. If you seek to move, you should be still. Movement frees the mind to be still. Stillness frees the mind to move.


    I would say that bipolar is defined by the exageration of usually normal human cycles of mood and emotion. We are talking about the exact same natural cycles, but once they exceed the individuals ability to manage them, we stamp a label on it, call it bipolar, and give them drugs. My alternative is to engage in "extreme" practices that allow me to expand my own awareness and experience to encompass and include my own exagerrated cycles. Does that make sense? Including the "bipolar" into my psyche this way, allows me to expand and grow rapidly as a person, as I am capable of feats of extremity and intensity that it might take most "non-bipolar" people years to get to. Also, training myself this way, I am capable of staying grounded and present through extremely intense situations. So for me, for someone with "bi-polar", engaging in these contemplative practices has been the same fundamental awareness training with being present - although i've had to approach it a little differently because you could say that my bi-polar mind is hundreds of times more wild than what is described in typical meditation instruction. See my post called "holding the buddha hostage" for an example of the kind of "freestyle" practices I have been engaging in. I know its not for everyone, but i've had to find a way to deal with this thing on my own terms.

    Finally, at the risk of making myself vomit, i'd like to say a few words on the mental health industry:

     I have always had an intuitive distrust of the mainstream mental health industry, although, I have spent a couple years listening to their stories and eating their drugs, just to prove the point. In retrospect, and to sum it up nicely - it is clear to me that the vast majority of mental health "experts" are complete idiots. They have a lot of serious confusion about what is going on. They sell their drugs and push their dogma, and ultimately perpetuate and intensify the very problems they intend to solve. The industry is pure madness. If I spent enough time immersed in that industry again, there is no doubt in my mind that I would return to becoming sick and disturbed once more. Understanding though, that I was not truly pathological. In my humble opinion only a small fraction of the patients in the United States being prescribed drugs and such, are truly pathological. Only a very, very, small fraction even need to be there. Spending too much time in that world will make you completely sick and dependent. So beware. If you decide to get treated, then my advice to you is to be sure you ask A LOT of questions. Hold nothing back. And - if you are not satisfied with the answers - then shut your mouth and get the hell out of their as fast as you can, and never look back again.

    -egg

    "Like the legendary Ko-ko bird, we follow our own tail around in ever-narrowing circles, but unlike that mythic bird we never complete the process by flying up our own rectums and disappearing."
    -Robert Anton Wilson
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  •  10-28-2007, 1:21 PM 30832 in reply to 30825

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    thank you living egg very helpful and I will check out holding the buddha hostage
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  •  10-29-2007, 10:12 AM 30878 in reply to 30681

    Re: bipolar or waking up?

    Hi, Chris - I like this topic a lot and think it's important - I'm moved by its implications. I so agree with you that it's a tricky issue. I think it's cool that you are exploring this, that you are questioning authority, that you have been so open in this thread to various input, that you asked the questions aloud and shared them here. I watched the one video you reference, and I liked it, I felt respect for the guy, I didn't feel that he was over the top. I also think it's good that Mark and others presented some good sobering information so as to present a larger picture, including some real experience in seeing "bipolar" in it's messiness. I like that when Mark started out with what seemed to me a pretty strong, conventional and very respectable presentation, erring on the side of caution regarding risks, that he added his last paragraph. That's why I italicized Mark's comment below that I especially appreciate.
    "So Chris, maybe the diagnosis you were given was incorrect.  Maybe it is correct.  Seeking several (professional) opinions would not be a bad idea.  . . . If you can work with an existentially or integrally oriented therapist they may be better able to sift through issues of meaning and not mistake transrational experience for prerational pathology, or vice versa.  Also, just because a few people on YouTube had a certain set of experiences in no way means that their 'results' are generalizable to yourself."

    Your questioning seems truly legitimate to me, wondering whether to accept the medical prescriptions for treatment. I think you also evoke questions about the psycho-diagnostic system itself as science and medicine. It's a huge topic but I want to say briefly some of what you probably already know. Though science often likes to and needs to reduce things for study so that those things can be examined within manageable, controllable contexts, then maybe quantified, and unleash science's powerful though limited potency, often binarily, as in correct and incorrect diagnosis, unfortunately in my opinion this can be quite questionable and misleading.

    It seems particularly questionable with this very difficult complex question of how best to treat AQAL human beings. (I'm thinking big mind, big phenomena, big life, big humanity, big cosmos.) Science (and downstream practitioners), with the varying degrees of reduction can benefit from explicitly and often acknowledging the complexity of our multidimensional, multiplex lives, interiorly, as social systems, and as "nested" within larger contexts in which many scientists and mental health practitioners (well, many of us people) can't really reliably hang out and understand. So, we everyday people tend to follow the step-wise protocols laid out before us, we tend to reify abstract constructs as though they are more real than they are, and we have trouble with the ambiguities, contradictions, uncertainties, messiness, and potential danger to our careers, identities and senses of self. I guess that means that we as people, scientists, and health practitioners are fairly limited. So good for you for questioning it all. After all, it's your life, your liver, your kidneys, your thyroid, your navigation through and riding within the currents, patterns, rhythms of your neuro-endocrine-plus system. Yes, your behavior and presence impacts others, but I doubt if it often does criminally. Below, maybe I'll remind you of what one, and for me one of the most important, of the diagnostic criteria for bipolar, and for most diagnoses says that relates to this social issue.

    In addition to the good input so far here, if you haven't studied the DSM much, you might look at wikipedia - it looks quite good, quite comprehensive as usual. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-IV

    I have liked and have been stimulated by all of the people that that fellow in the video mentioned. I don't remember him speaking Thomas Szatz's name. He of course is the famous MD who wrote The Myth of Mental Illness and other books. Since we do live in a huge mind, a huge AQAL world, this thesis is open to examination and question too - it's bound to be a yes/no/maybe/plus topic. I heard him speak a few years ago and he reminded us that "social science" is a metaphor. I think of psychological and psychiatric theoretical framings, which lead to actual treatments, as metaphor. (This might not be a bad thing to remember in regard to AQAL mapping, color-coding spiral dynamics and such, as well, since our minds have tendencies to constellate into fixed, predictable patterns, to reify, and then to defend tenaciously those mental structures.) He also spoke about psychotherapy's "cruel heroism", the archetypal-like drive to slay dragons,  like psychiatry's attempt to stamp out "depression" and such.

    It's alluded to in the wikipedia, but I want to place a quote that I loved hearing by Allan Francis who I believe chaired the majorly enormous project of overhauling the DSM, moving from the DSM III to IV. I can tell that Mark and others have some sense of this by how they speak, but I think it’s worth reminding again.
    "I think it's important to recognize that very often the descriptive diagnostic system is trying to describe and type what are phenomenon that really have a continuous distribution without clear-cut boundaries; and in artificially trying to force patients within the categories not recognizing their boundary status can lead to difficulties not only in diagnosis but also in management. It is crucially important to try to see patients as they are and not unnecessarily force them into categories."
    This is a modest statement. The tendencies alluded to here are subtle and perhaps insidious, depending on your mindset when you think about it. To lithium, or not to lithium; that is the question. To Depakote, or not to depakote; that is the question. With all of the substantial complexification that happens to systems when these affirmative decisions are made.

    He commented on a drawback of the DSM III, and the implication is that the IV has solved or lessened some therapeutic error and damage. It probably has, but our mental tendencies being tenacious as they are, and the changes maybe not being as significant as he hoped, I think these serious issues about diagnoses continue.
    "The major disadvantage of the DSM III system was reification, that many clinicians took the system far too literally and too seriously and expected patients to fall neatly within the boxes of the diagnostic criteria. This would lead to disappointment in the system, in the patient, or the clinician might feel disappointed in themselves whenever patients did not fall neatly within the boxes."
    Another modest statement. The downstream pharmaceutical decisions and mental/imaginal framings based on a diagnostic system might be seen as a very big deal for us human beings.

    Most of us have heard of or seen glib, though not necessarily un-caring diagnoses made when the physician is on a roll or in production mode or operating inadvertently in small-mind, maybe science-mind. I have and I'm thinking of one very educated, qualified and confident sounding psychiatrist who has his biases. One of his favorite terms, that has some basis in reality, was "mood leveling", or what could be called regulation of neurochemical imbalances. "Mood leveling" has kind of an intuitive and benign feel to it. And it can sound as though it makes a lot of sense when explained within the context of our hectic societies and overstressed minds and limbic systems. Well, depakote just happens to be able to do that task (in addition to other less specified and less understood and maybe unwanted tasks). Lithium has got its strong points.

    Facetiousness aside, this doctor tends to see people in terms of this imbalance. My and other people’s sense is that Bipolar Disorder and Mood Disorder NOS are a couple of his favorites. My and other's sense is that sometimes he seems to try to tap the proverbial square peg into the round hole (or is it visa versa - smile). He also has a modest reputation for this, not just with professionals, but also with a few lay people in the community. Some patients actually get quite pissed as he tries to cram them in, with much articulate rationale. As mark says, get other opinions. I would add that there are some biases so woven into medicine, and psychotherapy that often strives to be a "science", too, that exploration and questioning is very warranted. If we have a disorder that is troubling to the tenuous mental balance and internal regulation of those around us in families, communities, and belief systems, let's keep our eyes open kids. A very persuasive case for fixing us to "fit in" might be made; strongly.

    I want to add here that wikipedia is good to mention. A very important criteria for many diagnoses of "Disorder" is whether there is "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning". Who decides? Is there any subjectivity here that might cast the diagnostic science and art into question?

    Anyhow, I may have gotten a little intense here. I am moved by the topic. Wishing you well, Chris. And the rest of us. ambo


    Ambo Suno
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