Manic Times

Note: This is quite a lengthy post. I would really appreciate if you could allocate sufficient time to read it till the end. I would feel blessed if my message has been conveyed, and my efforts in this research on mental imbalances and its impact is fruitful.

Thank you in advance.

In bipolar (BPD), manic times (mania) are often characterized by extremely high levels of brain activity exhibited by racing thoughts, high level of emotional expressions, unusually highly creative levels exhibited in productive activities (unproductive activities as well), that cannot be exhibited by them in their “normal” times.

If you read about the lives of several of them with this condition, you will find this evident. I am just giving typical examples below of people, who had lived/been living with this condition that had attracted my attention:

Kurt Cobain – 1967-1994 (Nirvana) – the song Lithium, his Suicide note (When I think of suicide note, i remember the song Heavy fuel by Dire Straits with the lyric, “a suicide note on a 100$ bill” – giving an indication on the kind of life-style we are in!)

Lou Reed – the highly utopic song Perfect Day,

The highly expressive, Jim Morrison (The Doors) (1943-1971),

The prodigy, Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970),

The legendary, Frank Sinatra,

The passionate entertainer, Robin Williams (my all-time icon),

The most funny, Jim Carrey (another all-time favourite),

The great expressionist painter, Edward Munch, knows for his famous, passionate, hyper-expressive “Scream” among his thousands of paintings,

The post-impressionist quintessential misunderstood genius painter, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

The flamboyant AXL Rose(Guns N Roses) – the song Coma – this lyrics is a must-read!, Estranged (a music video worth watching, I don’t remember the zillion times I have watched, but it just gives me goosebumps, every time I watch it!), Don’t Cry , November Rain etc. – in fact at least 90% of their songs have powerful impact on the listener, that expresses the emotions of mania and melancholy in a single song.  A few examples:

  1. “And when you’re high you never ever wanna come down so down, so down, so down, yeah” – Welcome to the jungle (their very first music video)
  2. “Everybody needs some time on their own, don’t you know you need some time all alone” – November Rain (a classic that has one billion views in YouTube as of date)
  3. “I knew the storm was getting closer, and all my friends said I was high, but everything we’ve ever known’s here, I never wanted it to die”. – Estranged (Breakup and its consequences expressed, because of unpredictable behaviour (manic depressive psychosis)).
  4. “And when you’re in need of someone, my heart won’t deny you, so many seem so lonely with no one left to cry to, baby” – Don’t Cry (the video clearly shows the side-effects of anti-depressive/anti-manic drugs on the body!).
  5. “When I look around, Everybody always brings me down, Well is it them or me, Well I just can’t see, But there ain’t no peace to found, But if someone really cared, Well they’d take the time to spare, A moment to try and understand, Another one’s despair, Remember in this game we call life, That no one said it’s fair”… Breakdown. (The lyric says it all!)
  6. “You’ve caught me in a coma, And I don’t think I wanna Ever come back to this World again…..You got a one way ticket, on your last chance ride, Got a one way ticket to your suicide, Got a one way ticket, and there’s no way out alive – Coma, the most powerful lyrics I have heard of all…and the breath-taking vocals of all!!!
  7. You wanna step into my world…It’s a sociopsychotic state of bliss…I want to laugh myself to death…With a misfired synapse…With a bent configuration…You want to talk to me…So talk to me…You want to talk to me (7 times)…You can’t talk to me – My World – This is just enough!!!
  8. ‘Cause yesterday’s got nothin’ for me…Old pictures that I’ll always see…Time just fades the pages…In my book of memories – Yesterdays – Troubled Childhood!

One gets the actual perspective, if one knows the thought process that was going on while penning these highly charged up lyrics. For a layman, it’s just another song!

Sorry, I had stressed too much on these guys, because I was never the same again after I heard their first song and listened to their first album – Appetite for Destruction, and the impact of their lives had only gotten a more stronger influence, you may say I became their fanatic, but I don’t mind 🙂 I collected their memorabilia from MTV, purchased all their albums, memorized almost all their songs, purchased and read the unauthorized biography of AXL Rose / Guns N Roses in full and also keeping that book as one of my precious collection!

All I mentioned so far through AXL/GNR is just to bring out the actual thoughts and feelings that goes on in a typical bipolar mind, and its impact that goes unnoticed by others, and also the victim himself/herself!

This prompted me to explore deeper and find out more about the social stigma and the actual turmoil going on in persons of my vicinity affected by this condition and see if I can do anything to mitigate it.

Several of bipolar people have very short life spans, most of them often ending their life on their own, but several of them do survive amidst hostile conditions, both externally and internally.

See 27 club, the popular personalities who died at age 27 and you will not be surprised to notice several of them in this listing belonging to the BPD category accumulated in this Wiki page.

I would like to mention one personality within my vicinity, who is surviving and doing quite well within himself (though not as popular as these folks), through a conversation I managed to arrange with one of the mental health counsellors, who is treating him, the conversation involving him, his mother and the counsellor, for which the subjects had kindly consented to take part, just for my research.

I had been permitted to be present along with the counsellor during the session, having mentioned it is for the purpose for a behavioural study to understand the deeper aspects of the life of people living in these conditions that is often being considered as superficial and enigmatic by the “normal” people.

To give a brief introduction, people having mental disturbances are classified as: Bipolar (Multiple Variations), Schizophrenic, Borderline, Narcissistic, Split Personality (Several Variations), Depressive, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, SAD, Anorexia etc.

Marginalized, Socially Stigmatized, denied legitimate opportunities to enable them to live a normal life, pursue their profession, or education, or even to marry their romanticized ones, as the people around them call it;

Misunderstood even by their parents, spouse, children, relatives, and even by their close friends, most of them live a life of seclusion, just pretending to be alive, among the indifferent community that they are forced to live in.

Before mentioning the conversation details, I would once again like to stress on the disclaimer, that this conversation is reproduced only on absolute anonymity, having gotten full permission from the counsellor, the subjects involved, on their intended goodwill that the general public be made aware of the conditions and challenges faced by them/facing them, so that people living with these conditions will be dealt with fairly and squarely and not shown any indifference (as the subject said, compassion is not required for me, I only want a fair deal), recognize their condition and remember that anything can happen to anyone in this world of flux, a world full of stress imposed by modern conditions of living.

Here it goes:

Counsellor: Welcome Mr.X (the person with BPD) and Mrs.Y (his mother). Please take your seat. Mr.X, I have been observing/treating you for more than 25 years, and Mrs.Y, you have been his constant companion, inspiration and support all through. Here is Mr.Z, a friend of mine, in for doing a behavioural study for people living with these conditions for life, in order to bring awareness to the general populace through his study. I would be very much obliged if you could share your experiences, the lessons learnt, your challenges, and how you are handling it so far.

Mr.X and Mrs.Y: With pleasure!

Mr.X: I never get appreciation or acknowledgement for anything I do, from people around me, but I often get appreciation from unknown people. No one seems to think the way I think and look at things. I always feel calm and peaceful in solitary places. I see people around me are indifferent.

Mrs.Y: I think his experiences must be written as a book…

Mr.X: From all these years that I have faced, I have realised it is really useless to share my inner thoughts and feelings. First priority is to make sure I continuously work towards keeping my mind fit and be mentally strong, that is what is most important for me.

Mrs.Y: Sure, it is!

Mr.X: People around me have made me insane and they are saying I am insane! Only the blessed Lord knows who is insane and who is not. Nobody can understand what is truth, even if they stand upside down and try to understand it. Because according to them, they think they are only super-brilliant and that they are always right in front of me. Let them be like that! It is enough for me to think that I could change this world and this thinking has only been a source of interference to them and also to me. Because, it doesn’t look like they are going to change and I don’t find any intentions/signs of it.

(I was just thinking of this lyrics, *Some people will work things out, And some just don’t know how to change“, from the song *water runs dry* by Boyz II Men! as he was mentioning this!!)

Mrs.Y: Yes, you have become really very practical all through these years!

Mr.X: I think it is all left to their destiny. Let them experience it. Even if they experience it, they are not going to learn from it…

Mrs.Y: I think self-respect is the best thing.

Mr.X: Still they will keep coming and disturbing us. But, we just have to do our assigned duties, without getting angry or showing any negative emotions.

Mrs.Y: Yes!

Mr.X: We should never feel we are doing something great or undergoing some sort of sacrifice by being like that. But that is the biggest mistake we are doing.

Mrs.Y: Yes, that is always there!

Mr.X: We think we are sacrificing something for the world around us by being repressive, but that is only increasing our self-pity and is causing more damage than good, but again, that is for our own selfish interests we are doing it. I have internalised a lot through conscious and devoted efforts to study our literatures to understand the real meaning of life. After 25+ continuous years of consuming anti-depressants and anti-manic drugs, I have lost all emotions. If you read their side effects properly, you will know their real impact. But all are blaming me for what I am, because of my involvement in the literatures. Okay, leave it, you know everything about it, but nobody else knows. Just maintaining silence, pursuing our interests, if someone asks something, just answer to the point and not talk unnecessary things so that it does not give room for further aggravation. That is what is the lesson, I have been learning all through these years. I am in fact, gaining a lot by doing this. I am able to save sufficient time and energy to undergo all the activities that I consider as “productive”. While at this time, it is very difficult to maintain even a decent livelihood in this world, what is the need to think about detrimental things that causes further damage to the already wounded heart?

Mrs.Y: Yes (sobbing slightly), I am for you, you are for me. It’s been like that…it’s going to be like that for the rest of our life…whoever goes first…the person remaining is going to be in trouble…that’s for sure..”everything will just pass”…All is well…We just have to be positive…that’s the only medicine…We have to be good to ourselves first…nothing more than that…everything is a routine…the Lord’s way…there are a lot of things to learn to live our life…learning never stops…if it stops…that means our life is over…

The counsellor and I, both of us were just amazed to witness their calmness, poise and their thoughts they expressed during the course of their conversation, their only intention clearly indicates their confidence and that things are indeed possible, provided right awareness is created for right intentions.

I just saluted both of them and asked Mr.X, whether I can reveal his identity, or this conversation to be kept in anonymity,

Mr.X smiled and casually replied: “Please keep this conversation in anonymity for now, I will make it known to the world, when I think people will realise mental illness is no longer different or enigmatic when compared to bodily illness and when there is no bias or inconsideration or discrimination towards mentally misaligned people, because I have been a victim for so long and has been continuously experiencing it, it would be befitting for me to judge this. If you reveal it now, it will become a jeopardy for me in this society!!!”

I had to totally agree to this valid point and nodded “yes” in agreement and he gladly acknowledged it!

I thanked profusely and then we parted, but I must say, this is one of the most thought-provoking conversations that I have witnessed so far…

You have reached the end of this post.

I want to express my sincere gratitude for having reached this far, the aim is to bring forth something that is so subtle, unobservable, those unfortunate people who suffer in silence, but screams when in mania, that makes people to believe them as insane people, haunted by ghosts!

Yes, this is very much observed with people in villages, and even in the so-called “civilized” people living in cities!

In the end, I realised people with bipolar are somewhat blessed, because they are very introspective, and at the same time, more expressive when it comes to expressing their views at the right time, at the right place, and at the right circumstances, provided they are given the right opportunity and environment!

Note: The conversation was NOT in English, English not being the native language of the speakers, hence there might be slight misinterpretations due to language differences, but maximum attempts has been taken to keep that to a minimum to achieve the intended purpose.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Rajini

"Knowledge is the ultimate perfection of self-realization.". (Srimad Bhagavatham 3.26.2) Trying to seek that knowledge through life experiences that leads to compassion, dispassion and ultimately satisfaction.

22 thoughts on “Manic Times”

  1. I am really impressed. Are you working with mental health field?
    And these words really touched me “what is the need to think about detrimental things that causes further damage to the already wounded heart?” In fact that guy seems to have realized the ultimate fact of life “why things should be taken too seriously while living in a transient world?”

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    1. It’s the impact of the mental condition for 28 long years ago, the medicines ingested all through the years and the indifference of the society and people around him whose life had been snatched away when it is just about to start…the condition robbed him of everything since then. I couldn’t get into several aspects of him because this post is already very lengthy…thank you again…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are really a warm hearted soul to have the deep intent and interest to help people around you. As for me I am in the Topsy turvy IT field for nearly 23 years. You can know what I have been doing if you search my name… Rajinikanth Veeraraghavar there. Thank you for your interest. Apart from that I do a few volunteering trying to make life of these people better trying to create an awareness and enigma associated with these unfortunate people.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. yes…you got it perfectly right…if the world is transient…so is transient are the expressions..transient are the experiences…transient are the relationships…transient are our thoughts…transient are the various stages of life…if everything is transient…why is there something called life…why are we living…because death is also transient depending on how we live our transient life…to take it to the higher worlds…or to to take it the nether world…or to even take it to the place where there is point of no return…where there is no need to take ourselves to a transient world again…that’s why living in earth in transient..it’s the intermediate planetary system of the 14 planetary systems in the universe…for where we can go to any realms…within it…or cross the boundaries never to return back to the things that causes all the transient things…birth…death…old age…disease…if we are not going to solve these problems…everything is going to be transient till then…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. Yes it is! Typically symptoms under this conditions often gets triggered and diagnosed in the age as early as 18-22 after crossing the turbulent teens to enter into college life. The acute stress that gets built in over the years, probably due to painful childhood, or constant abuse by parents or anyone else. This has to somehow get itself expressed. Being away from family in a totally new environment and being under tremendous competition and pressure to prove oneself in the presence of extremely bright folks around , there is every possibility that this get expressed (or) or continue living in violent surroundings at home. Though this typically happens in 1-2% of the overall population, the graph is highly skewed for folks in this age group. Once diagnosed, the medications – a combination of anti-manic and anti-depressive drugs with continuous recycling of various combinations under an expert psychiatrist because of erratic mental conditions, this is for life or as long as they are alive and if they happen to be lucky to survive for this long to take these drugs, continuously dealing with the obnoxious side effects. That’s why i had dealt on this so deeply in my post to bring out the gravity of the situation! Typically once diagnosed at this early age and under prolonged medications, they rarely live to 45 or 50 or most of them often becomes unproductive and invalid to society depending on others for even basic daily needs! I don’t want to go into further details and keep on writings 🙂 because enough statistics are available in the internet to prove my point.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you very much. there is some symbolism in the band name itself which subtly means bipolar: guns – violence – manic/mania. roses – extreme softness. by being extremely soft, one often ends in depression unable to handle the harsh reality! what a bunch of thoughtful folks!

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