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BIPOLAR DISORDER, PSYCHOSIS AND PARANOIA

anonymous

This will be my coming out article. I am going to admit something I have been reluctant to divulge and that is the fact that my bipolar disorder was accompanied by delusions. This is something I have refused to admit to people because of the perceptions it creates and it has also been my understanding that it rarely occurs with Bipolar disorder – most often accompanied by mania. However, over the past year or so I have been in contact with people who also experienced delusions about reality and that has encouraged me to breach this subject matter. I believe it could be more common than thought. And to be sure, my delusions sometime occur just as easily in depressions as they do in manic episodes. It seems to me that they are a separate symptom and not dependent on other factors. Regardless, this article is what I wrote to myself as a way to begin working thorugh the madness and regaining my sense of reality. I hope that it might work for others who suffer through from these problems.
 

There are certain people who are prone to having paranoid thoughts. Usually they are highly imaginative and creative types who let their imagination create their own reality. Sometimes the world they create for themselves is threatening and inhibits the ability of the individual to function in a normal capacity. When this happens the individual will often find themselves seeking help from a psychiatrist. Afterward the psychiatrist will most often diagnose them as either psychotic, delusional of schizophrenic. Actually from a medical standpoint all forms of delusional thinking are now labeled under the term schizophrenia manifesting at various levels. Essentially though the label does not matter. The important thing is what has happened and that is that the imagination has created a life that is both fearful and debilitating. This article is constructed to help the individual regain control of the reality he or she is creating and relinquish thoughts that are paranoid, delusional or schizophrenic.

I certainly don’t claim to know how this process works. However I am very familiar with it since I experience it on a regular basis. At certain times it just seems that my mind takes one facet of life and then extrapolates from there until suddenly everything is connected and I find myself living in a world that is both fearful and frightening. After experiencing this numerous times I have been forced to conclude that what is happening is an imaginative fantasy rather than reality. I know this because the fanciful conclusions I create during these times never end up manifesting in reality. Therefore I realize and understand that it is an alteration of my perception that is taking place.

Human being as a species always attempt to find meaning and purpose in the events that they experience. For certain individuals this becomes neurotic. Rather than finding normal and rational connections between things they begin to find imaginative and irrational connections. Then everything seems to build to a point of critical mass and the individual finds themselves living in a reality that their imagination has manufactured. Often the end result is an unhealthy withdrawal from society and excess stress induced by fear based on the reality they perceive to be experiencing.

An individual can learn to control this process and free themselves from this type of behavior. It takes discipline and effort and a great deal of time. I know it is possible because I have done it myself. It does not stop the psychosis from happening but it does allow the individual experiencing it to distance themselves from it and accept the fact that it is an imaginary reality and not the real world. Once this understanding is accepted the delusional thinking will begin to diminish on its own power. Medication may still be needed but the important thing is that the process restores in the individual a feeling of power and control in the world, which is necessary for a healthy human being. Living only at the effect of everything that happens around you is a very fearful and unhealthy way to live.

There are common aspects to this behavior that need to be understood. It is readily apparent that all forms of paranoia or delusional thinking manifests itself in certain common forms. These various forms are as follows:

1. Intimate thoughts, feelings and acts are thought to be known or shared by others.

2. The individual often attributes events to the workings of natural or supernatural forces. (i.e. aliens, god, “the government”, spirits, etc.)

3. Auditory or visual hallucinations often occur at the height of the delusion.

4. Irrational connections are often made between disparate events or objects where a rational individual would see no connection.

5. Numbers, names and symbols often take on a life of their own and take on an inordinate amount of importance in the mind of the individual.

6. Perception is often disturbed in some manner whether it be auditory, olfactory or visually.

7. Everyday situations and events will often come to have a special and sinister meaning unique to the individual.

8. Thinking becomes vague, elliptical and obscure.

9. Hypergraphia often manifests itself, which is the unusual need to write things down and record experiences taking place.

10. Events often contain religious, philosophical or spiritual overtones and these disciplines become a focus for the individual.

11. The individual experiences thought echo, thought broadcasting or thought insertion from outside forces.

12. The individual often feels that they are somehow “special” or “unique” as compared to other people. Somehow the individual feels “chosen”.

Now that we have an idea of what the problem looks like lets formulate some basic principles for overcoming this type of thought process.

The Ten Laws of Overcoming Paranoia

1. Paranoia always manifests by a narrowing focus on reality. Thus paranoia can be reduced by taking a larger focus than that of the individual.

2. Paranoia is always focused on “ideas”, “concepts” and “thought forms” as opposed to being focused on tangible and concrete physical reality. By engaging in physical activity or experiencing reality in a tangible way we can reduce paranoia.

3. Paranoia usually manifests as a belief that the individual experiencing it is somehow chosen as special. Therefore paranoia can be reduced by focusing on the fact that one lives on a very large planet with billions of people and that any thoughts of specialness are simply unrealistic.

4. Paranoia is always ultra-serious regarding its focus on reality. Therefore by engaging our sense of humor and making light of our perceptions of reality we can reduce paranoid thoughts and behavior.

5. Paranoia tends to focus on the past or on the future. Very rarely does it deal with the here and now. Thus by focusing on being present at this particular moment in time we can reduce paranoid thinking. The past does not matter and neither does the future. All we have is the here and now.

6. Paranoia is always self-obsessed. Therefore we can reduce paranoia by empathizing, listening and experiencing others. The more we move the focus off of self the more the paranoia reduces as well.

7. Paranoia places emphasis on states of “being” or mental reality. Reality however requires “doing” and action. By engaging in tangible physical action we reduce our focus on the mental aspects of life and as a result reduce paranoia.

8. Paranoia always contains a very high level of judgment. It separates the world into black/white, good/bad, master/servant. Reality however is always gray. Therefore by accepting the fact that most people do not fit into simple categories we reduce paranoia.

9. Paranoia always forgets the daily necessities of ordinary life. Therefore by doing the simple necessities of life such as taking out the trash, taking a bath, feeding the dog, paying the bills or anything else we reduce paranoia.

10. Paranoia tends to believe in abstract notions of reality such as parallel universes, spiritual manifestations, alien intelligences, spirit guides, angels, gods or the devil. However whether these concepts are true or not does not change your physical reality. Physical reality remains the same regardless of what you believe. Thus by focusing on physical reality we reduce our paranoia.


THE FALLACIES OF BEING SPECIAL


On the road to paranoia one of the first landmarks is the belief that somehow or another “you” are special. Many subsequent paranoid thoughts will center around this one particular belief so in many ways we can interpret this belief as being at the center of the paranoid universe.


We all have a need to feel special and unqiue. And the truth is that we are unique in many ways. Our beliefs and our personality and our outlook are for a large part unique to us alone. However the paranoid definition of unique is not the same. For the paranoid unique means unique in the sense that other people do not experience reality in the same manner as you do. For example, it is only the paranoid person who is able to see the spirits, aliens, interdimensional creatures or whatever else. This type of unique is simply unlikely and therefore based on failed logic.


One of the first things we notice in the world is the way in which we can count on things to have continuity in our lives. When we see a rock we know what it will feel like and how it will behave because we have experiened similar rocks in the past. By the same token we know what to expect from a cat or a dog. Of course there may be small differences in personality and behaviour but for the most part they are the same. Meaning that they experience reality in a similar manner and interact with the world in pretty much the same way. The paranoid refuses to believe that this is true for the human species in general and for themselves in particular.


First of all lets look at the facts. For one thing there are almost seven billion people in the world. Therefore if you are unique in some manner then that means you will be one out of aproximately seven billion people with this attribute, ability or characteristic. From a pure statistical standpoint this is just highly unlikely.


Many feel that they have been “chosen” by some higher force or enitity to receive a particular message. However, this belief causes pause for thought. For one thing assuming such an entity or being exists we can assume that if it is intelligent enough to contact you then we can also assume that it is intelligent enough to recognize the social structure on Earth. Thus the question becomes why you as opposed to say the president or the head of the UN or the rock star or the super athlete or someone else of similar stature? I mean if you have been contacted by such an intelligence can’t we assume that they must be seriously lacking in judgment and intelligence to have contacted you in the first place? Continuing with this line of reasoning you can prove to yourself that it is simply illogical that you would have been contacted by something or someone out of seven billion people on the planet.


Another thought that paranoids often come to believe is that they somehow experience reality in a different manner than everybody else. Is this likely? The first thing to consider is that we are all given the same basic biology and sensory apparatus – eyes, ears, mouth, nose and tongue. These organs function in the same manner in every individual on earth. From this we can conclude that it is highly unlikely that we would have different perceptions in reality. However from medical studies we can understand where this belief may come from. Medical experiments have shown that when certain areas of the brain are stimulated certain effects are generated in the mind of the patient. Thus there is evidence that supports the fact that any experience of reality that is different than that which others experience is most likely caused by the brain itself processing or misprocessing information.


Hopefully this will give you the courage to evaluate your belief that you are special and give pause to the notion that such a belief is possible. Refuting this belief is one of the first steps on the road to overcoming paranoid thoughts.


MENTAL CONSTRUCTIONS V. PHYSICAL REALITY

The paranoid personality always gets caught up in mental constructions of reality. What is a mental construction of reality? It is a reality in which the underlying power or arrangement is ordered and ascribed to various powers or effects that cannot be experienced and therefore must be imagined. For example, a primitive sees a lightning storm and imagines that it is sent by a thunder god who is angry with the local populace. This is a perfect example of a constructed reality. Another example would be the individual who perceives diverse events such as a strange phone call, a magazine left at the door and a chance encounter as all deriving from government agencies that are monitoring their every move. Notice that in both cases there is no perceptual evidence for either of the powers behind the given events. In both cases the individual must have “faith” that such influences exist. Therefore we conclude that the main fault with mentally constructed realities is that they require a person to have faith in something that does not exist.

As a comparison let’s examine physical reality. Physical reality is the reality we experience with the physical senses. Here are some excerpts from the book “Constructive Living” by David Mitchell:

Reality is truth. Ideas and interpretations and preferences and ideals may shift around from time to time. Whatever happens with them you can be pretty sure that if you face a blank sheet of paper and don’t write on it, your term paper won’t get written. You can count on your car getting older year by year. You can trust the truth that you will die someday. You know that when it is hot outside you will feel hot or when it is cold outside you will feel cold. “

“But in another sense, no matter what my friend Carlos Castaneda writes, no

matter what theoretical physicists write about space within and between atoms, every time I thump my hand against the desk, my hand hits solid reality. It hurts.”

Again and again we are called to put away “ideas”, “words” and “beliefs” about

reality and to simply accept reality for what it is. Reality is the wind blowing on

your face. It is the snow blocking your driveway. It is the tree shading your yard. It is the moon sitting high in the sky.
 

Notice how all of these things need no mental constuction to understand. We can see them, touch them and feel them. We do not need to create them out of our imagination.

THIS is what we mean by physical reality. Whether I am a buddhist or a Christian or a Hindu or an Alien or a Genius I still have to go the bathroom when nature urges me. I still have to find a shade to cool down in when I am hot. I still have to physically move my feet to get from here to someplace else. No matter what I believe or how I interpret the events around me I am forced to deal with reality in the same manner as everybody else. Mental constucts, words, ascension, crystals, energy bodies or past lives do not change the manner in which I interact with reality. In fact reality could care less what I believe or don’t believe. Reality will still keep coming regardless of what I do or how I define it. This is a truth that one can count on. This is the truth that is beyond language and ideas. This is the Truth with a capital “T”.

 

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