22 Feb 06

Am I Crazy?

A quote from Herman Melville’s Billy Budd:

Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins?… So with sanity and insanity. In pronounced cases there is no question about them. But, in less obvious cases, few people are willing to draw the exact line of demarcation… though for a fee some professional experts will.

Dr Langley, an ASU professor, determined I had bipolar disorder in 2004. I refused to believe his diagnosis, I was embarrassed about it and I’ve only recently come to terms with it. Over time, my own self-consciousness has lessened.

I recently requested to see my mental-health records at the prison.
Dr B. wrote I had "Bipolar one [and] social phobia issues." On 19-01-05, he wrote I was, "In [the] lengthy middle ground between poles of bipolar." He added that I was, "Highly intelligent but emotionally immature." On 15-02-05, I was "Mildly hypomanic."
Dr A. wrote about our pyschotherapy sessions, which I have already posted. He diagnosed bipolar and anxiety disorders.

Some of the authors I am inspired by were bipolar. Charles Dickens used his manic energy to write relentlessly. Mark Twain wrote masterpieces of American literature, and developed a popular following as a lecturer. Virginia Woolf (whose The Death of the Moth I adore) was a prodigious writer until she drowned herself in the midst of a depression. Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he took his own life with a shotgun.

Now that more is understood about bipolar disorder, I feel that I can manage it using mental yoga, and perhaps achieve a modicum of success before my mind snaps completely.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

You know I wondered as much all along :)... something about being perscribed Lithium for panic attacks just didn't ring right...

Can I recommend you read "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison?... its a deeply moving book written by an eminent clinical psychologist who is Bipolar herself... its achingly honest, moving and informative,

best regards,


Anonymous said...

No more mad than the rest of us
Shaun. Thankfully, you are able to release some of your frustrations into your writing. God knows what would happen if I was in your position. Not only would I be talking to the wall, but it would probably answer back. I must say that my faith has sustained me through a lot, but not on the scale to what you go through. Enjoy the company of your dad and sister when they arrive.
God bless.
Terry B

Jonesy said...

Good grief Jon!
That (slight mental disorder) is an essential part of being a Brit!
Hoorah for insanity and carousing badgers!
That's just how we like it!

Rach x

frank said...

it's good to be bipolar. in this day and age it just means you think and care about things. my best friend, bipolar, alcoholic, and frequent visitor to merry old england ended his life with a pistol in march 2005 and everyday i experience things i wish i could share with him. stick with us, take everything the shrinks say with a grain of salt, and keep on writing!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, friend. Everyone is crazy in this world. None is "normal". I think everyone has two, three or even more personalities inside.Those who seem to be integral are just hiding the other "guys" professionally. I do sometimes, too. But, Gosh you should know how many voices I feel/hear all at once on different topical issues for me. Life is crazy, people are crazy, you never know what's in their minds and it's interesting and exciting, isn't it?
Be confident as you are and don't worry about the medical words, keep on meditating and praying. Don't let the dark side (fears) to win. Let the body, mind and soul shine.

Anonymous said...

We live in a crude and primitive fear-based system, that , in order to enforce it's domination, must divide and conquer at every opportunity. Labels are an ideal way to do this. Relatively intelligent youngsters are packed off to university, stuffed with book-learning on psychology, and then loosed upon the subject people with a mandate to analyse and label. As the system is essentially about control, there is, of course, minimal effort made to heal any supposed disorder, because too many organisations need long-term funding - and paying the mortgage is far more important than creating rapid forward movement for those in need. Growth only takes place NOW, but fear-based organisations must postpone it indefinitely. Love has a different energy - those who align themselves with it are willing to go the extra mile - and in fact as far as is needed. Growth is a definite process within the single mind that is God, and to engage the process is as simple as being aware of it, and being willing to face each fear that blocks love as it occurs. This is the purpose of life. It is simple, so simple. Zen :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree on the words above entirely. The fear and love are opposite feelings but located so near to each other, as people were frighten for such a long time (by those organizations ans systems you have mentioned) and can't now really let the Love in their hearts as it's very unusual for them (us)...
I do believe in a Great Growth, as well. I also believe that it's really "personal" stuff, but you definitely can't grow without being involved in lives of others... And I don't really know if we are capable of Growth without love? I believe that NO. The question of a personal freedom arrives here, I know, but I guess for the real love and growth it's not such a big one Q. Maybe, I've typed too much here but there is so much now in my head to ask and to share at the same moment, so I do what I do.:)