a DIFFERENT OUTLOOK ON BIPOLAR DISORDER – Ups and downs to Buddha State by Benjamin Nemopode

bi polarA … what’s the word I want here?  Brave?  Sad?  Desperate?  Hopeful?  …. little autobiographical book describing the journey of a young man through the world and psych wards as he battles crippling depression and the harrowing psychosis of the bi-polar personality.

He loses pretty much everything – his jobs, his friends, his relationships with his mother and older sister, his money, his center.  He tells us:

Bipolar disorder is a terrible disease and I will never stop saying so.  It is, on one side, the suffering brought in by episodes of melancholia, having nightmares while being wide-awake.  It is so difficult to describe, beyond words:  continuous pain and an irrational intensity.

He becomes convinced somewhere along the way that Siddhartha and Jesus Christ were bipolar, were

manic-depressives who have succeeded.  They succeeded in that they were able to live with their state of mind.  And then to manage to leave such traces of their passage.   The person suffering from bipolar disorder is a kind of hero as he is often alone against the world, to be with God therefore gives him companionship and a reason to live.

He then decides that he is actually a Buddha, and sees visions of himself as a Blue Buddha, and has affinity with the Hindu religion as well as Buddhism.    He sees synchronistic events as proof of his Buddha nature.

So that was it, so  I was probably a man-god, too.  That’s why I was feeling it.  That’s why I sometimes died.  Because I was not made for this world that seems devoid of spirituality, that’s why I was constantly sinking.  Finally everything made sense.  Maybe I was a Buddha, anyway I felt presences, I was reincarnating and I was sometimes retouching enlightenment.

He describes how his life disintegrates, improves, disintegrates, and doesn’t quite see that the state of his life is due to his own behavior.  He doesn’t seem to see just how crazy he must appear to others.  He spent a lot of time homeless, and living on the charity of others. although he had some money in the bank, and his sister helped him continuously, as did his mother.  But he had an argument with his mother and became estranged from her for a long while.

He examines from time to time the notion of ‘reality’, what it is, and if the bipolar person doesn’t see a more real ‘reality’ than the so-called normal world.

….it may be that he [the afflicted person] is the one sensing a reality that we do not know yet.

I wish him well on his obviously not-completed journey.  I have heard all of this same stuff, from the god-delusions, to the defense of their own reality vs. the reality of others;  from the stories of synchronicity of disparate things, to the complaints and accusations of incompetence, stupidity and total disinterest of the various therapeutic professionals he has been treated by.   It is a sad book in that his thoughts and feelings really are not unique, but quite a common symptomology of his condition.

Not a terribly long read if you want to get a look into the mind of someone struggling with this difficult disorder.

 

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