Friday, November 18, 2011

Making Sense of Psychotic Mania

After reading the links I have posted, and based on my own experience, I think psychotic level mania is more than the text book definition of "a loss of contact with (consensus) reality."  For me, it is a combination of things, and I believe it is at once an illness and more than an illness.  While I am not in denial that psychotic mania is symptom of an illness, I believe that it may be a psychological breakthrough at the same time.  Perhaps arriving at a mental or spiritual state, mistakenly, that otherwise might require years of meditating.  What is considered to be a mental breakdown may be a mental breakdown and a mental breakthrough occurring at the same time.  Update:  As I explained it to my 14 year old son in 2015, who thinks not needing to sleep, feeling as warm or cold as you want, and feeling stronger and with no pain is something very desirable,  the fact of the matter is that you are also out of touch with reality.  This is probably because human beings are limited in what is possible for them based on their beliefs, as if our beliefs box us in to a limited area.  While when you are fully manic, the "box" is no longer, and therefore you are open to all or at least more possibilities.  The medical establishment and the general public, it seems to me, only see the out of touch with reality aspect.  Therefore I believe there is a huge misunderstanding about psychotic level mania.  I also wonder if anyone has been able to hone full blown mania to allow the possibilities while remaining sane.  That was certainly not my case.

I think I have shown I am a "seer" when manic, yet not in a clear way.  I believe I have tapped into a spiritual state, absent of ego or self perhaps, and there seems to be an absence of pain and suffering - as if I've reached Nirvana.  Stuff from my subconscious such as long lost values, and a psychological crisis such as a mid-life crisis might come to the forefront.  A grandiose story or mythology plays out.  There seems to be an increase in creativity as I had music composing in my head a few times.  I am also just plain delusional and somewhat out of self control.  However, belief is apparently a very powerful thing -- and when you are delusional your level of belief is off the charts.  It is therefore possible that such a strong belief may be able to affect reality a.k.a. something like the supposed Law of Attraction.

Full blown mania seems to be, in part, an amplification of mental functioning, which is a very desirable state to be in.  The full blown manic state, if it could be triggered in anyone by taking a drug, could be sold for a lot of money.  This heightened state is unfortunately combined with being out of touch with reality, in my experience and opinion, which is the "breakdown" aspect.  I don't intentionally pursue manic episodes because I can't handle the out of touch with reality aspect, and because I am fearful that they might happen increasingly and uncontrollably.  Additionally, it isn't practical for me to ride out and experiment with episodes  unmedicated because of full time job and part time parenting responsibilities.  Also, I am concerned that the depression I have the rest of the time might worsen.

Foreseeing Events
The Wikipedia definition of mania is:  "A state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/or energy levels."  Notice that there are two types of mania, the elevated and the irritable.  I myself have had only the elevated type.

Wikipedia also shows "madness, frenzy," and "to be mad, to rage, to be furious" as the Greek root of the word mania, which reflects the irritable type of mania.  But according to another  source, ( ) mania meant "ardor, rapture, enthusiasm, i.e., being infilled with a god." -- which would represent the more common type of mania, the elevated type.  This other Greek root of the word mania appears to be a sort of "lost" root, perhaps because of post ancient Greek religion, since "being infilled with a god" would be blasphemous.

Also -- there may be something to people with Bipolar Disorder being “seers,” or modern day oracles:
"The idea that the Pythia was in a trance condition may have come from a misunderstanding of how the Greek words mania and pneuma were used in connection with oracles. While today the term mania refers to various forms of hysteria and insanity, to the ancient Greeks it meant ardor, rapture, enthusiasm, i.e., being infilled with a god. The word pneuma was used for "air," "vapor" and, philosophically, for "soul" and "spirit." When the Pythia mounted the tripod she received, according to Strabo, the pneuma, the divine "breath" or afflatus, a word defined as a divine imparting of knowledge and power and of inspiration, meaning in this case the divine wisdom or breath of Apollo."
Because of that connection of the use of the word mania at it's source, it's possible that the ancient Greek pythias had mental illness.  And if they heard the voice of "Apollo," it would be equivalent to "hearing voices."  Although I realize I may be twisting around the alternative meaning of the root of the word mania, it’s also entirely possible I’m not the one doing the twisting.  Also, the definition of the word oracle is telling since "ambiguous or obscure" fits my own experience of forecasting events;  Oracle:  "An utterance, often ambiguous or obscure, given by a priest or priestess at a shrine as the response of a god to an inquiry."  I am not claiming any linkage to a god or gods of course when manic, but equating "being infilled with a god" to "a spiritual experience" seems appropriate when manic.  From the Wikipedia Pythia page; "The scholar Martin Litchfield West writes that the Pythia shows many traits of shamanistic practices...  He cites the Pythia sitting in a cauldron on a tripod, while making her prophecies in an ecstatic trance state, like shamans, and her unintelligible utterings."

In the past, I have woken up before large earthquakes happen, such as the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles County when I woke up wide awake, not knowing why, and by the time I was into a glass of orange juice the earthquake struck.  I was also looking for a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease who was lost in the mountains, with the help of my dog, while I was living in a mountain resort town, with permission of the search and rescue coordinator.  I didn’t find her, but the name “Switzerland” came into my mind.  The woman was later found on Switzerland street in the town.  I was not manic when these premonitions occurred.

As I mention in my post on my third manic episode, I may have forecasted the South Korean dictator Kim Jong-il's death, a near collision asteroid, and the use of stealth bombers, which all happened during the same year (2011.)  I also may have forecasted Osama Bin Laden being located in a compound with "high fences" accessible via rappelling (from a helicopter) as well, including the crash of one of the stealth helicopters (although I thought it was a stealth bomber that should be crashed as a sacrificial offering or something.)  If they were forecasts, they were not made in a clear way.  It is possible these things were coincidences, but it seems odd to me to have three in the same manic episode, so I think they were "obscure" forecasts.

How does the seeming psychic ability relate to the less extreme form of mania -- hypomania?  Well those of us with Bipolar Disorder I who consider ourselves to be entrepreneurial types get jealous, speaking my own mind anyways, when we see another category of Bipolar folks -- a category where there seems to be little to no depression and a lot of hypomania -- get all the attention regarding being "ideal" entrepreneurs.  But it's an easy deduction to make -- having Bipolar Disorder seems to equate to being "visionary" and creative no matter the degree of Bipolar.  And those who have a little bit of mania as their usual mood probably don't have to deal with depression as much as those of us who are depressed the large majority of the time, and also as much as those with Bipolar who cycle up and down a lot.  That could easily explain a higher amount of success, since depression obviously cuts into a person's productivity, and (hypo)mania is the opposite of depression, so it increases a person's productivity usually, as well as providing them with vision and creativity.

I personally think any degree of Bipolar would make for a good fit as far as starting a business.  And I think, as usual, Bipolar Disorder is hugely misunderstood in that NY Times article.  Us "loonies" make good entrepreneurs too.  And I think if we had something to be excited about, like starting a business with capital, we'd put in the long hours necessary, and that our mood would elevate because of the excitement.  All we'd need to do is warn some fellow coworkers that if we start to lose it, we should be referred to a hospital.  In my case, I have only been "loony" three weeks in fifteen years.  Stigma is very pervasive, even where you find an open mindedness about being "just manic enough."  Still, I suppose there is some common sense regarding the "ideal entrepreneur" with a special case of Bipolar Disorder, that if they didn't have the worsened memory and possibly worsened cognition that the rest of us that have Bipolar Disorder apparently do, they'd have the betting advantage.
Spiritual Experience
The discrepancy of the root of the word mania might actually help to explain why mania seems to be misunderstood.  If you think mania is simply "madness," then you'd lock up manics and give them anti-psychotic medication.  If you use the "lost" root of mania -- "ardor, rapture, enthusiasm, i.e., being infilled with a god," (as a mental breakthrough) in addition to the "madness" definition, rather than merely use the "elevated" definition, you might treat it like a "spiritual experience," as described in a few of my links.
It wouldn’t be surprising that mania would involve being in a spiritually ecstatic state as the brain is supposed to be, among other things, the “hardware of the soul.”  The brain/soul normally running on eight "cylinders" as opposed to say four with a depressive “mood,” and perhaps sixteen cylinders when fully manic  (I’ve never agreed with the label “mood” disorder, as I think there is a lot more to bipolar states than being in a particular mood.)
Our culture apparently sees just the delusional and somewhat out of control issues, and deals with them by locking the person safely inside of a hospital and treating them with anti psychotic medication -- seeing mania as only a negative event and trying to stamp it out as quickly as possible (treating the mental breakdown but not the mental breakthrough.)  One of the hospitals I was involuntarily committed to had different therapeutic art activities, however.  There is another viewpoint covered in my linked to John Weir Perry article that psychotic episodes could best be dealt with in a controlled facility but without medication.  That would require an ideal situation of being able to take several weeks away from work and family, in a specialized hospital, and to be able to afford the longer term and more specialized treatment as well of course.  I wonder if anything would have resulted differently if I were in a facility that didn't use medication but instead had a lot of structured meditation time, as well as Jungian psychotherapy, for instance?  Perry ran such a facility in the 1970's in Northern California.  If you search for such a facility in Google you won't find any results, unfortunately, so it appears there are today no mental hospitals that don't medicate.  John Weir Perry treated schizophrenia, however.

Update:  Check out "Open Dialogue."  It and perhaps it's cousin that utilizes peer-to-peer dialogue, sound a lot like John Weir Perry's forgotten work to me.  Again, there is mention of "first break psychosis," but mostly also of schizophrenia, not mania.  So I don't know if first break manic psychosis responds differently to that type of treatment.  Hopefully the UMass research will cover both schizophrenic and manic psychotic patients.

To their credit, I should be thankful on the other hand that in both cases when I was hospitalized for a manic episode, I did not end up crashing into depression as I did crash into depression at the end of my first manic episode (which is the one where I didn't get hospitalized.)  Since it took me a few months to get back to my normal somewhat depressed self, that is a big deal to me.  The ideal case would be no medication, just meditation, and no resulting depression -- but whether that is a realistic or not scenario would have to be tested out.

There is a new DSM-IV psychiatric category entitled "Religious or Spiritual Problem."  David Lukoff, PhD, mentions:  'The DSM-IV, specifically notes that an individual can be diagnosed with both a mental disorder and a related problem, as long as "the problem is sufficiently severe to warrant independent clinical attention" ... Thus, for example, Religious or Spiritual Problem could be coded along with Bipolar Disorder ... if the religious/spiritual content (frequently observed in manic states ...) is also addressed during treatment of a manic episode. This greatly expands the potential usage of this category since the symptoms and treatment of many mental disorders include religious and spiritual content...' 

Interestingly, although obviously controversially, the abstract of the article, "The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered," by authors Murray, Cunningham, and Price, states, in part:  'The authors have analyzed the religious figures Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and St. Paul from a behavioral, neurologic, and neuropsychiatric perspective to determine whether new insights can be achieved about the nature of their revelations. Analysis reveals that these individuals had experiences that resemble those now defined as psychotic symptoms, suggesting that their experiences may have been manifestations of primary or mood disorder-associated psychotic disorders.'  (I have not read the entire paper as it requires a subscription or a one time rental.)  I read half of the book "Rabbi Jesus" by Bruce Chilton several years ago, which is a historical take on Jesus, where the author surmises as well that Jesus had bipolar disorder.  I found the book Googling for "Jesus" and "bipolar" in fact after my first manic episode, since I felt like a religious prophet during that experience.

I mention in my post on my second manic episode about hearing a voice that I could ask questions of.  I have discovered that this new found voice is also present when I am hypo manic -- just a little bit manic -- although it is not a loud and clear voice in my head as with the psychotic level, it is just more of a normal thought kind of voice.  And I can still ask it questions.  I am not sure if you would call it my soul, my subconscious, Freud's Super-ego, or an Over-Soul / God / Universe / Higher Power.  No matter -- whatever it is, it comes in handy actually because it always gives good advice.  Sometimes it tells me the decision is mine to make and doesn't give an answer, which sometimes comes in the form of not saying anything at all in response to a question.  Other times the voice will be in agreement with my decision or just acknowledge my own decision.  My best guess is this is Freud's Super-ego, because it's sort of like having a dispatcher to a driver -- a dispatcher is a sort of supervisor for the driver, although there is two way communication and decision making.  I would say this is a benefit of bipolar disorder, unless it is normal psychology to have such a voice.  Perhaps it is normal to have this voice and if you are depressed you do not have the voice available?  As often times, perhaps most of the time,  it seems absent -- perhaps those days I am in a bit of a depressed mood.

Update:  On the same page I link to above in this paragraph - "new found voice" - the author of that blog, a PhD psychologist, in response to my comment on this topic, says she doesn't think it is the super-ego as that would be harsh and critical, she thinks it is the "voice of wisdom."  Sounds good to me, although I find it rather strange that I would only be connected to such a voice after going through psychotic experiences.  Other pages on the web when you google "listen to small still voice" refer to it as the voice of the Holy Spirit, as the quotation "still small voice" is from the Bible.  So I think what it was would be entirely dependent on your "faith"/belief system.  I think I like referring to it as "the dispatcher," because my current night job(I quit my work at home tech support job because it was outsourced and the job morphed into a lower paying one that I hated) is driving customers in long range shuttle vans to the airport, and we have dispatchers who we communicate succinctly with over radios.  Leaving open the question, then who is the "dispatcher" working for?  And the answer could be "God" or "The Universe."  Once again it doesn't really matter -- all that matters is that the voice is in fact wise and accessible and perhaps access to it is a learned skill, that may or may not require a mental disorder to achieve the ability to access it.  There is a saying, "you have to be a little cracked in order to see the light."  Perhaps this wise advisor is that "light", or a "light" of wisdom.  It is important to note perhaps that while I was psychotic and had a voice "in my head" (which was the loud and clear voice,) I think that was the same dispatcher, but that the dispatcher was going along with my delusions as if it was also delusional.  But when hypo manic or normal in mood, there is no delusion, and thus the dispatcher is also not delusional during those times.  So I think that would imply that the PhD psychologist I link to above might be incorrect in believing the voice of wisdom to be external, unless I misunderstood her.  It would be internal.  But "working for" (the external.)  And to that end I think I should just link to this Wikipedia page on "the Higher Self" and leave it at that.  (On that page you will find Christian, Hindu, and New Age views on "Higher Self."  And I guess being a bit of a curmudgeon, I might side with the New Age at this point on Higher Self, but with the addition, which may be found in some religions I think such as Religious Science, of the "working for God/The Universe" bit rather than being God/The Universe.  There is another New Age idea that it might be my spirit guide(s).

I was practicing Religious Science a few years ago, for a few years, but got turned off by it's seeming, well, attraction to the "Law of Attraction" and resulting materialistic ($) nature, which I don't suppose Ernest Holmes had intended.  And I don't really like the idea of having practitioners who charge members for healing services, that seems kind of wacko. Thus I may just stay a Western Buddhist, even though I have a belief in a higher power -- which I think is compatible with Buddha -- he may have just avoided talking about a higher power more so than being an non-believer in a higher power.  In other words Buddha is really known to have been agnostic, not atheist.  I wrote on the online discussion group right before I snapped into a manic rocket launch, "count on me to find the truth," regarding some alleged corruption within the non-profit group I was volunteering for.  Ironically, perhaps I have found that "truth" by gaining access to my higher self after my manic experiences.

Update:  As of February/March 2015, I am deciding to return to the Catholic Church.  I am just being drawn back I think because of my desire to start a project that benefits homeless children and other disadvantaged children.  So if I believe literally everything within Catholicism, using Pascal's Wager, I don't have anything to lose by believing it all literally.  And then this "Higher Self" voice may be the voice of the Holy Spirit, which is one of the three aspects of God according to Christianity.  Recently I heard a 2nd and third voice (these are still small voices not loud voices -- more like thoughts even -- but they come as if they were speaking to you.  These two other voices, one sounded older, so that could be the "Father", while the 2nd new voice referred to me as "bro", and since my name is James that could be a clue that that was Jesus since Jesus' brother was James, as Jesus is known to have spoken in parables often.  In which case I will have heard the voice of all three aspects of God.  I know it sounds hard to believe, but if I am to believe the Nicene Creed literally, why am I not to believe my own experiences literally, particularly since I am entirely sane while experiencing them?  My take on why these two other voices showed up is to encourage me to believe the literal beliefs of the Church rather than believing them metaphorically which is what I was doing essentially while dropping out of Catholicism for 30 years.  "Bro" might also be a reference to a Catholic "brother", so perhaps I could become a Brother after I get my kids to adult age and my debts paid off, serving disadvantaged children somehow perhaps.  Or teaching any type of child, probably high school.  Whether the voice is from psychology or God, or if the two are intertwined, makes no difference as the wisdom of becoming a Catholic brother / teacher is good advice.  I just need to find out what's possible at my age and whether having bipolar is a barrier (even though I consider myself to have an easy case as long as I avoid online discussion groups.)

I can believe all the Catholic beliefs more because of my mania experiences than without my mania experiences.  I had one sticking point -- belief in judgement day.  But I've unstuck that belief as follows:  I was thinking perhaps Jesus would
be on a parallel planet where we are reincarnated onto and thus a sort of heaven on
earth but just a parallel earth.  And this happens throughout eternity over and over.
Borrowing reincarnation from Buddhism.  It would be in line with recent theories
in science regarding parallel universes and what not.  And so as long as we are able
to fill in the details like that regarding believing judgement day literally, I'm good now
on all the Catholic beliefs.  So I was just being closed minded as it turns out.  Not open minded.
Know-it-all syndrome.

And God must have a sense of humor.  As I was pondering the parallel planet heaven idea, the God voice thought mentioned that something was "earth shattering", which I at first thought maybe there's an asteroid on it's way.  And in fact "God" told me that I was to "pull the trigger" (which is an inside joke with God referring to my third manic episode when I thought I was pulling the trigger so to speak to do away with North Korea's head of state (but later I determined it would have made more sense to have been Osama bin Laden as the target, not North Korea's leader) to send the asteroid on it's way.  Which I did, jokingly referring to "there's too many bad drivers" as the reason to destroy the planet now and let us get on with reincarnating onto the next planet.  But then I realized at night my cell phone was not functioning that day, which I didn't know, it happens about once a year and I have to take the battery out and put it back in, So when I got the phone working there were two voice mails, one a job offer with a place I have had about 12 interviews with and was going to give up on.  Which I think is earth shattering news since it took so many interviews and because for the most part I've sent out quite a few resumes the past 4 or 5 years only to be just about going into a "black hole" where there is no response back, with the exception of a few interviews, which didn't result in an offer.  But earth shattering as a mischievous sense of humor joking about how long it's taken me to get a job, pulling the prank about my pulling the trigger to send an asteroid on it's way towards Earth.  And I don't think my higher self would have been psychic in that I had a voice message waiting that I couldn't see until I replaced the battery, that said I had gotten the job, so it must then have been the voice of God.  With the humor provided to prove to me it is the voice of God.  As if God would like me to know that it is indeed God that I can communicate literally with. Just as "the Son" wanted me to know it was He who was chiming in in order to prove to me that there are literally three aspects of God within the Trinity.  Why I would usually hear from the Father or the Holy Spirit, your guess is as good as mine as I don't know why it wouldn't be just one voice.

I don't expect anyone to believe me about the thought voices or voice thoughts being God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  After all I'm mentally ill, right?  Even the Catholic Church wouldn't believe me I don't think.  And perhaps that is the way God wants it.

Also, the fact that my phone was just saying "calling" for a long time when I tried to call, and it wasn't working, could be a message telling me that the job I got is my actual calling or part of it and that I am on track and that there is no need to become a Catholic brother therefore.  It is indeed a job involving children, is only five hours a day and only follows a school calendar, but that may allow me to have some time to fulfill my 2015 personal mission of helping homeless children in my spare time.  There's more detail to my "mission of 2015" of course but I'd rather remain anonymous so I am sparing the details.

The question I now have is -- why me?  Why am I hearing the voice of God after 30 years of being away from the religion of my upbringing.  When there are most likely a lot of folks who have done the opposite -- being faithful for 30 years -- who do not hear the literal voice of God?

I started to read a book that was about conversing with God, the first book, some decades ago.  I didn't finish the book.  Someone I knew told me I was right when I posited that it was probably just his own self, as from what this person told me, that is how the end of the book or series goes, that the author determines it's been his own self talking to him.  Yet for me it's been the opposite, starting out thinking the thought voice was my higher self, but concluding that it's actually God, while I can tell when it's only from my self.  And I even believe "the Son" chimed in once, with the "bro" reference, while more often it's the voice of "the Father" obviously, and usually and even more often than that, the voice of the "Holy Spirit" perhaps, thusly.  I can tell based on my feelings if it was from God or just from myself, which I guess I could call the fourth voice, although sometimes myself tries to pretend it is coming from God, yet I can tell how it sounds and how it feels that those mimicries are not authentically coming from God.

Rather than try to create another commercial endeavor and write my take on that idea, perhaps I should just write it here plain and simply as I am doing now and not charge a penny.  But I haven't yet tried to document what the thought voice(s) have said.  It has just been wisdom provided for even mundane activities, such as how to treat people and how to act and what not.  As a response to my thought(s) I guess.  And I have no idea if I can ask "God" questions from other people as an intermediary.  I have asked questions from myself before though, but again I think they were pretty mundane.

I Googled the topic of hearing God's audible voice and found a Christian web page saying the only people who have claimed to have done so have been money seeking charlatans.  Another page on Yahoo is a discussion.  I created a comment on the discussion, but it required logging in with my Yahoo account, which I don't really want to use.  So I didn't post after all.  On the one hand if I were to pursue spreading the word about hearing God's audible voice(s), it might strengthen some people's faith, which might be a good thing.  However, I could also be perceived as a charlatan.  I have not heard any earth shattering revelations, just mundane stuff and some sense of humor.  So I'm not sure what I would have to pass on.  I guess if I were to write some sort of story about my experience with bipolar disorder, it would be up to the reader or watcher to decide whether they think I'm delusional, hearing my own self, or really hearing God.  I suspect God will keep it to mundane information and sense of humor and just regarding myself not others, to prevent me from becoming some prophet.  It seems in other words, ultimately a personal communication between myself and God.  Why me?  I have no idea.  There is a book out there on hearing God's voice, but I think others hear God in different ways than audible thought-voices.  So I see it as a spiritual gift as a result of having bipolar, along the lines of the "you have to be a little cracked in order to see the light" saying.  Jesus could hear God's voice audibly I believe.

Update:  I made an appointment to speak to my local Catholic priest regarding the "spiritual crisis" issue of returning to the Church and what not.  In the email I sent to him, I had mentioned my hearing a though-voice(s), although he dismissed this rather rapidly by saying he would see it as highly suspicious and coming from my own psychology, as that sort of communication with God is very rare in the Church, particularly coming from someone diagnosed with a mental illness.  I suppose that would be the expected response.  He just recommends I take my meds.  He has also mentioned that God does not issue commands, in reference to the "calling" on the cell phone bit.  But that God does make suggestions.  At any rate, I have verified that the Catholic Church would not believe me that I have gained the ability to communicate with God.  In which case it's just more misunderstanding by the general public.  Perhaps I am the only person who believes me.  Strange.  It's a bit disappointing, but again, what I should expect as a response from clergy I think.  The advice to take the meds is good advice.  And it makes sense that God would make suggestions but not orders, I would agree with that even before the priest said it.  He also said we have to make the decision to be a good person.  Again common sense that I already knew, but good advice.

However, a little bubble bursting regarding the priest not believing the thought voice(s) to be God is probably a good thing.  I was feeling a tad hypo-manic today.  And as I stated above, it doesn't really matter if the thought voice(s) are God or not.  If they provide wisdom I am glad they are there, when they do decide to show up, which isn't all that often.

I had not been taking the Abilify medication most of the time.  If I reached a bit of trouble sleeping a full night -- waking up early or trouble getting to sleep, I'd start popping the Abilify pills.  But this latest "bubble" was kind of a wake up call.  I was not psychotic, and I could work just fine and get by just fine.  But I was caught up in a bubble of grandiosity as well.  So I have started taking Abilify, one tablet a day as prescribed, again, starting with getting the bubble burst by the meeting with the priest.  I have not heard from the thought-voice(s) since.  But I think I'd rather be level headed.  I'm already wise enough, I don't really need wisdom advice chiming in in the form of a thought-voice.  Perhaps I was hearing the voice(s) because I was not taking the abilify.  I didn't have any other symptoms of hypo-mania other than grandiosity and not sleeping a full night's sleep.

I can perform my jobs better level headed, I'm sure.  So I have decided that taking Abilify is a good idea after all and I will take it daily from now on.  I will leave the above paragraphs in place just to give the reader an idea as to how a hypo-manic (seemingly although I really didn't have any other symptoms other than not getting enough sleep) "grandiosity bubble" plays out.  As well as it's subsequent "bursting" after getting feedback from someone who's opinion you trust which differs from the grandiose point of view, and once the patient has decided to take their mood stabilizer medication after all.  The downside is the Abilify has a side effect in my case of being a bit tired.  Although I work a night shift job where I can get to sleep around 2 to 4 am though, which might be part of it.  The tiredness is more pronounced when I take the Abilify.  So it may just come with the territory of taking medication that you may have side effects that cause some other minor trouble.  I went most of the time after the last episode in the mental hospital a few years back, manic episode number three, without taking the Abilify, just the Wellbutrin XL generic.  I recall I used to cut the Abilify pills in half, with the OK of my psychiatrist, so I'll start cutting them in half again, and that should help with the exhaustion side effect.

Perhaps -- and this would apply to everyone I think -- when we think the songs on the radio are "about us" they are, and when we think they are not they aren't.  Same with conversing with God -- when we think we are we are, when we think we are not we aren't.  It may be that the prophets were crazy -- at least a little bit crazy, not necessarily full blown crazy.  And that you need to be in a separate reality, to borrow the term from Don Juan, in order to communicate with God.  Most clergy of course are grounded in reality and therefore may not really be communicating with God at all.  Or to be fair they may be with their more prayer-based communication.  Who could know?  I knew a priest some decades ago who said he was "called" in part based on songs being played on the radio.  I was skeptical.  But I am thinking, again, it may be true when you are on the right wavelength or something with God.  And other times when you are just not on that wavelength.  Same with hearing God's voice and "conversing" with God I would say.  The "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" choice some ministers give to their followers is a false choice, as I mentioned I think elsewhere in my blog.  It could be Lord and Lunatic both.  Although it is highly probable that some people can master their "lunacy."  Not many people but perhaps the prophets could.

I think a realistic way for me to be a "wannabe" monk would be to be an oblate with a monastery.  I do know of one such program in the LA area -- I sent an email, let's see if it gets answered.  Many people these days seem to put up an email address but never respond.  I say that because I think I may have sent the same inquiry a few years ago to the same email address regarding the oblate opportunity.  An oblate can continue as a lay person but does follow a lot of the structure of the monks as much as they can fit into their lives.

On the other hand -- when I'm on Abilify I feel very normal and level headed.  Yet my belief wanes.  Not my belief in God.  My belief that anyone who is talking about or writing about God is really talking about God.  As in, why would I be excited about what others say God is saying when they can't literally hear God and I can?  I've become a God snob perhaps.  Although I believe Jesus could literally hear God and I'm not criticizing the Bible.  Whereas I believe my own experience of hearing literally God and getting feedback and conversing with God to be real and true.  The volume gets turned down let's say.  The bubble burst.  And then I wonder if I should be both a Catholic and a Buddhist!  If that makes any sense.  Perhaps that is where it will end with me.  That goes hand in hand with my manic thoughts that I wrote about in my post on my second manic episode, of a different kind of Trinity being Moses, Jesus and Buddha I guess.  So maybe it is the right way to go for me.

I am left feeling like I might be believing in a delusion.  But I remind myself of the "sign" I had with the humorous input from God regarding my getting a job finally being "earth shattering."  There's no way to tell if the job offer and the "earth shattering" comment were linked, but my best guess is they were, and my "higher self" is not so psychic I don't think that it would have known about the voice message.  So it still comes down to faith, even if you think you can literally hear the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, it could be internal voices from your own psychology.  In my case I choose to believe it is God speaking.  I am not in touch when I'm on the mood stabilizing medication, but I can remember the experience I had as a sign.  Also, it would imply that my new job is my "calling".  The idea that I should become a Catholic brother I think is not accurate, as there are age limits.  But if Jesus had called me "bro," that may mean that we are all sons and daughters of God.  It could mean just about anything -- including "friend."  As well of course as a reference to Jesus himself since my name is James.

My experience makes me wonder if Jesus were to magically appear or reincarnate, would anyone believe that he was Jesus?  I'm guessing they'd probably get him off to a psychiatrist or mental hospital.  Just saying...  Of course there is the turning water into wine, walking on water, healing people...  That would garner some attention, lol.  So perhaps Jesus could pull it off if he was to return.  I just doubt that entire second coming belief, as I am guessing many others doubt it as well.  But who knows what Heaven is, I believe there could be a Heaven, and Buddhists believe it as well, although they believe you go through some lifetimes before finally going to Heaven.  Along the lines of the title of the movie "The God's Must be Crazy," perhaps the prophets must be (and have been) crazy.

Update:  I am no longer attending Catholic church services, as my belief has indeed waned, after getting back on the Abilify, back to what it was, and I feel Buddhism is still a good choice for me (although I am not meditating while I know I should be.)  Much of the last part of this section of this post on Spiritual Experience was experienced and written when I was apparently a tad bit hypomanic or at least when I was not taking the Abilify.  Although I didn't have any obvious signs of hypomania other than wanting to pursue a few grandiose ideas.  I am back to my same old, slightly depressed self, with the lousy memory, lol.  Update:  As of Sept, 2015, my psychiatrist has told me to go off Wellbutrin XL because of the memory problem.  I don't agree with him as I don't see memory loss as a side effect for Wellbutrin on the web, but I'll give it a try and see.  Strange to have a psychiatrist who wants me to go off stuff instead of on but maybe that is a good thing in my case.  I will leave the above writings in place though on hearing "God"'s voice and what not just as a part of my documentation of my experiences.  I don't agree with the anti-psychiatry folks that my memory troubles are a result of taking medication.  Neither of the medications I take have a published side effect of memory loss.  Furthermore, I had the memory loss while I was not taking any medication as well.  I think it is a result of bipolar disorder or depression.  While I am not anti-psychiatry, I believe the cat may be out of the bag regarding Open Dialogue treating psychotic patients without medication.  At least schizophrenic first break psychosis -- there isn't any mention of first break manic psychosis.  Which is a good thing, since John Weir Perry's work has become forgotten.  The Open Dialogue folks in Finland are not anti-psychiatry either, they just do what they find that works.  It will be interesting to see how the Open Dialogue research currently being done at UMass will turn out, and I hope they test both schizophrenia and manic psychosis patients.  In my case I think I could have benefited from Open Dialogue, but in order to keep hypomania in check, I believe the taking of Abilify would have to continue, as it does now.  Is it a good thing I can no longer hear my guiding voice(s)?  I don't really need the guidance, so I would say yes.  I certainly don't need the grandiosity.
Update:  Cutting out Wellbutrin cold turkey has removed the anxiety problem and I think has helped the memory problem a bit, but my depression has increased, then decreased, then finally is about the same.  I did endure a few days of depression and 24 hours of headache during the withdrawal symptoms.  But if my level of depression is the same, and I no longer have the anxiety and memory problem, cutting out Wellbutrin was a good idea.  Perhaps Wellbutrin trained my brain chemistry to work better after using it for seven years, who knows.  Or -- more likely -- Wellbutrin's effectiveness tapered off over time so that it seems no different going off of it.  Update 10/2/2015.  I also tried going off Abilify but I think the feeling like I was having bad hangovers every day was more than just withdrawal symptoms so I went back on Abilify.  After reading about Abilify withdrawal, however, it makes me think I can taper off of it perhaps, very slowly.

Increased Creativity
The only evidence I can find of a link between mania and creativity in my own experience -- is that I had original classical music composing and playing in my mind, at the same time that I was trying to write a humorous play-like script via email discussion group mailings during my first manic episode.  I think that if I were a trained musician, I would have been able to compose the music on paper.  The writings may have produced a few laughs but didn’t last long, perhaps because of the inappropriate medium I was writing in.  During my second manic episode, I had a modern piece of original music composing and playing in my mind as well.  Again I had no way to compose the music onto paper as I am not a trained musician.  When I am hypomanic or battling depression with medication, I have no music composing in my head, nor do I write much of anything except for this blog.  I would like to write, but I never seem to be able to come up with enough creativity to come up with a good idea for the story, not to mention undertaking the seemingly herculean task of writing a screen play or a novel.  Even though my own life story has been pretty dramatic, follows a story structure, and would be relatively easy to write since I know the story already and don't need to dream it up from scratch, I don't think there would be enough interest in most of my life.  Perhaps there would be interest in the three manic episodes, but they only total about a month or a month and a half of my life.  Apparently, every scene in a story needs to have conflict.
Grandiose Story
The nature of manic psychosis in my experience is – in many ways you can function just fine, in other ways you have trouble concentrating, and even though you believe grandiose stories taking place in your mind, you keep the stories under wraps as much as possible, as you still realize they would be seen as crazy by others.  As Serena Roney-Dougal's title explains in one of my links, it is as if you are "walking between" two worlds. 
If I were to write a short film screen play or stage play about bipolar disorder, an important element of the presentation would be to blend reality with the psychotic  break with reality, so the audience would not be able to tell what was real and what wasn’t, just as the person with the psychosis can't tell.  The movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ did a good job of this in my opinion, when the main character was experiencing his numbers conspiracy psychotic episode.  You couldn’t tell whether the “code” Nash was “discovering” was real or imagined.
The issue of grandiosity being an element of mania could be a result of feeling that you are playing an insignificant role in life.  I believed, during the episodes, that I was tied into the US Government, the White House, the Illuminati, people in Heaven, you name it.  Perhaps feelings of insignificance underlie depression, or feeling that you have made too many irrecoverable mistakes in life, or feeling that you have not met your goals.  I have read that mania may be a response to depression.  Or it could simply be that things are exaggerated and amplified during mania.  Also, psychotic mania might be the bringing to the surface of subconscious material, as the John Weir Perry article explains.

Update:  I believe this to be true -- that full blown mania exposes and magnifies our subconscious desires.  In my case, I have had a "closet" interest in screen writing for quite some time, but I have never committed to learning the art of screen writing nor have I tried to write anything.  But my first and second manic episodes include thinking I was an Elizabethan playwright, perhaps the reincarnation of Shakespeare, and that I was "broadcasting to Heaven" while filming live through my transition lenses glasses, while also being filmed.  I have realized that I have a need for creativity in my work.  I think screenwriting may, at this point in my life anyways, be something I don't have the wherewithal to do.  I am also more interested now in serving poor kids -- spending my spare time on a project to that end.  If you think you are filming through your eyes, and broadcasting it live, you will see that it is a useful trick to put you into the present moment.  Give it a try, particularly when in nature.

While "racing thoughts" are supposedly a symptom of mania, it is closer to the truth to say, in my opinion, that a lot of things take on special meaning, and an incoherent story unfolds as things acquire meaning in real time.  Perhaps psychosis is a way that the psyche forms an alternative story in order for the patient to have higher self esteem.
Uselessness (for me) and Dangers of Psychotic Mania
The link to Wikipedia's page on psychosis includes "Findings such as these have led to debate about whether psychosis itself causes excitotoxic brain damage and whether potentially damaging changes to the brain are related to the length of psychotic episode. Recent research has suggested that this is not the case although further investigation is still ongoing."  So the argument that allowing psychosis to play out causes brain damage doesn't appear to be proven.  However, psychosis can be dangerous, such as the time I almost ran my car out of gas driving on the freeway, thinking the car could drive without gas.  Most people have jobs and family duties that a psychotic episode would conflict with as well.

This begs the question -- "why would you want to have the psychosis / full blown mania play out?" -- and for me there is no answer as I don't find it useful.  For others the answer could be different -- for artists or musicians for example -- they may find full blown mania useful.  Or for people who are into their "spiritual" or "shamanic" journeys.  Who would find the foretelling of events to be useful?  And would all of the forecasts be accurate?  Even if I were to learn how to harness my psychic abilities during manic episodes, the manic episode would be too difficult to handle.  I may be able to develop psychic ability during my normal, medicated moods as well, which would be much more practical.  Although I mentioned in the beginning of this post that it was my opinion that mania includes heightened mental functioning, it is the out of touch with reality aspect that makes it impractical and too difficult to handle.

There is the benefit as I mentioned above under Spiritual Experience of my having a small voice that I can ask questions of, my subconscious or God or my soul or higher self or what have you, while hypomanic.  It never gives bad advice.  The voice was not present prior to my full blown manic experience.  So it is a skill I have picked up because of having bipolar disorder.  I don't think it is available when I am taking the mood stabilizing medication, so it must only be present when I am a bit hypo manic I believe, although I'm not sure.

If the John Weir Perry theory, which it appears he has obtained from Carl Jung, is true -- that the psyche is reorganizing during psychosis, as a healing process -- it would make letting psychosis ride out unmedicated useful. Perhaps one could ask, while being safely hospitalized, to stay off medication, possibly on religious or spiritual grounds (based on the new DSM-IV psychiatric category "Religious or Spiritual Problem") -- if you could afford the longer term stay.  During my first manic episode, I let the mania run it's course.  Perhaps I have benefited in some way, although the ensuing crash into depression wasn't helpful, and I still have manic depression.  The other two times I've been manic I was involuntarily committed to hospitals that used medication rather than let the psychosis run it's course, so I couldn't fully tell if those psychoses were useful in terms of a reorganization of my psyche.  I would have liked to have gone to a facility like Perry's if I could afford to take that much time away from work, in case there might have been some healing taking place.  (Although Perry worked with schizophrenics, it seems to me schizophrenic psychosis and manic psychosis have much in common -- and it is possible that Perry had some patients with Bipolar Disorder I in his facility as well as schizophrenics.)  I could probably obtain Jungian psychotherapy now during ordinary, slightly depressed "mood" if I could afford it, and perhaps discuss my manic episode material.

Sometimes you hear people with Bipolar Disorder saying if they had the chance to undo having Bipolar, they would choose to keep it.  Apparently some people experience Bipolar with a lot of hypomanic or manic moods that they find useful enough to outweigh their depressive moods.  In my case I would choose to undo Bipolar, as I haven't gained anything from my three manic episodes.  My hypomanic episodes have not produced anything of value either.  And the rest of the time -- which is the large majority of the time -- I have fought depression with medication, and I feel less alive than I would if I didn't have the illness.  The memory loss and "brain fog" I deal with on a daily basis is also a definite disadvantage towards being able to make a living.
In another culture such as a primitive culture, full blown mania might be a gift, as Serena Roney-Dougal mentions in her article that I link to, but in my culture it is not seen as a gift.  Likewise, while mania may be spiritual, as discussed in the John Weir Perry article, Western culture is not geared towards dealing with mania as being spiritual.  If a person could ride out their psychosis over a long period of time in a supportive hospital setting without medication, I suppose that might be an ideal case.  There is a risk -- the "kindling" theory -- that manic episodes can increase in intensity and frequency though.  Although this is just a theory, some "don't try this at home" advice is probably well heeded, unless the person with the manic episode believes the benefits of mania outweigh the risks.

Mania and Depression Prevention
What is helping?  The Ability helps a lot, I took Buproprion generic (Wellbutrin) and Abilify, Wellbutrin for 7 years or so, but quitting per my psychiatrist as of Sept, 2015 (as an Update, to see if my memory problems discontinue without the Wellbutrin).  (And as an update, it has cut out the memory problem to a certain extent as well as an anxiety problem, but my depression level is about the same as usual.  So cutting out Wellbutrin turned out to be a good idea.  I think I should give Wellbutrin some credit though for perhaps training my brain chemistry over seven years?  Or did it just lose it's effectiveness over time so that I can't tell the difference now that I am off of it?)  I don't know if the Abilify will prevent another manic episode or not, although I hope it does, in combination with my not participating in any online discussion groups.  I don't think I need to take the Abilify, now that I know what my trigger for mania is, although I do need to take the Buproprion anti depressant or else I am depressed full time.  I play it safe and take Abilify, however, just in case it prevents another manic episode.  Abilify seems to help by being an anti depressant also, so it is a very good medication to take for Bipolar.  I will be glad when Abilify is available as generic as it costs $300 per month, even when saving by cutting the 10mg pills in half instead of being prescribed 5 mg pills.  Because I have a health insurance deductible reimbursement plan, I will be able to afford to continue to take Abilify.  I don't like the idea of taking Lithium and needing blood tests, and other mood stabilizers I have taken such as Depakote have side effects I don't like.  (Update: there is a potential new drug on the horizon that looks very promising and that should be cheap as it's patent has already expired.)
Online discussion groups are my trigger -- igniting all three manic episodes.  (Update: apparently I am not the only one.)  I can only assume that my mind (or over-active imagination?) fills in gaps regarding there being no non-verbal information.  So I have banned myself from all online discussions.  Exercise and sleep are important, as well as stress reduction.  Meditation helps to reduce stress and might help with depression, as well.  I am starting to take Omega 3 fish oil tablets.  Check out this YouTube video which mentions fish oil as one of six factors for fighting depression naturally.  (Update -- the fish oil does seem to be working as a natural anti depressant.)

Update:  Goals
It has occurred to me that depression -- of which I have a low amount of all the time now -- may cause a person to be ambition-less.

I thought I should mention this idea about the importance of having goals and having depression or manic depression, as I think it is common knowledge that goal directed activity, if we are using our strengths to achieve the goal(s), (and pursuing goals that would "make a difference?") is one of the secrets to being happy.  And that our goals may be stripped away when we are depressed and we may not even realize it.

And on the other hand when the depression lifts, it is probably a good time to set and pursue your goals.  To get the snowball rolling.

My Third Manic Episode Story - January 2011

My third manic episode story happened after I had been working in the work-at-home tech support job for almost a year.  Because of mania being triggered by online discussions, I was not able to concentrate on my work, and my supervisor noticed also, so I took a night off, combined with two regular days off on the weekend.  The mania kicked into high gear, and I ended up in the hospital again, taking about two weeks away from work locked up in a small hospital in the Pasadena area that I referred to as a resort, it was so nice compared to the first hospital I was involuntarily committed to during my second manic episode.  Luckily, my employer was fine with taking a doctor’s note and did not terminate me.  You’d think I would have learned to avoid online discussion groups by then.

During this third manic episode, I had a story playing out as usual.  I took my children to Disneyland, which is about a thirty minute drive from where my children live, buying “2-Fer” tickets, where Southern Californian’s get a 2 day deal for the price of 1 almost.  The first day we went to California Adventure, and the second day to Disneyland.  I wanted to make sure my kids had their fill of Disneyland before they grew too old.  They were 9 and 10 at the time, and when you are manic, you just put it on the credit card.  I don’t spend a lot of money when I’m manic.  I don’t have much money to spend on the other hand, so I'm not sure how much I'd spend if I were wealthier.  I don't think I'd spend money wildly though -- the most I would do would probably be to take the kids to Hawaii for a vacation.  Although it's possible I might start a business if I had some capital in the bank -- however, both of the businesses I've started in the past have been successful, and I started them without capital, so it could be a successful business.
I am quite capable of driving safely when fully manic, so I do not believe that I endangered my children.  I ran out of gas knowingly though one night however, when I did not have my children in the car.  I pulled over on the freeway just in time before running out of gas completely, while trying to drive the car on oxygen or something.  I could feel oxygen again coming through the air conditioning system, which was another hallucination.  I was trying to "fly" the car, seeing if I could levitate the car just off the freeway to be a way to drive without using gas.   I felt I could walk all the way to the lake resort town in the mountains I used to live in, the night I was taken by CHP officers to the hospital for trying to run away from them, after running out of gas.  I felt no pain – my bad knee from a high school football accident didn’t have any pain, and I was out of shape but didn’t feel like it.  I could feel warm or cold depending on what I wanted, apparently.  I stood on the side of the freeway, declaring to myself that if I could not be in the ski resort town, I’d just bring snow to the area I was standing.  I felt very cold then, shivering.  There was in fact a small amount of snow that fell to the ground a few weeks later in that part of Los Angeles County, which I drove through while taking my kids to their grandmother’s house.  It wasn’t the first time the area had snow, but it was still fairly unusual to have been that cold, especially during the day.  The altitude in those foothills is about 1,500 feet, which is an unusually low snow level for Southern California.

I do not intend to involve my children in the future if I am ever in a manic episode though, to be safe, and to shield them from my craziness.  Although judgement goes out the window when you are manic so I could try to fool everyone and take them somewhere again -- this is something I hope I don't do, and I hope I don't become manic again anyways since it doesn't seem useful to me in any way.  My kids did notice that I acted strange, during the Disneyland trip, however, and recently when we talked about the trip to Disneyland they told me I was "just staring around at things."

I drove up to the employee gate, telling the security guard that I was reporting for duty working as Goofy, as I believed I was to don a Goofy suit for part of the day.  She promptly pointed to the visitor's parking garage and picked up the telephone.  I also stopped at a bus stop, thinking a special bus or tram would be picking us up, expecting us.  My kids told me to get out of the bus stop -- an example of their helping to keep me grounded in reality.  I also used my friend’s idea from hiking, which was not such a strange idea, when he gave the trail map to my children and told them to navigate the trail system as a learning experience.  So I did the same thing, giving the map of Disneyland to my kids and letting them decide which ride to do next.  This took some cooperation between them, and they learned the best solution when arguing over what to do next was to compromise, doing what the other person wanted first, then doing what they wanted after that.  It slowed us down a bit as they walked ahead of me, being the leaders, but I’d say it was probably a great learning experience for them.  While I was inside Disneyland, I thought I was normal and not noticeably manic or crazy, maintaining my composure, although I had the story and realtime meanings going on internally.  Since my kids noticed I was "staring" at things, though, it's a good bet some others might have noticed the same thing, but for the most part I blended in.  As mentioned before, I had one foot standing in reality, and another in the manic story.
I wanted my son to be more proud of his father, so I bought him a Stealth Bomber model at the aircraft store in California Adventure, since I used to work for the company that makes the Stealth Bomber at the time the first Stealth Bomber was made (I got laid off four times in five years after college in large scale corporate layoffs, with the fifth job having to quit as the business was going under, and getting laid off from Northrop was one of the layoffs, which happened during a period of defense department spending cuts.)  I had worked as an “IT” computer jockey in a division of the company that made drones.  It was a much better job than the one I have today.  I “flew” the box of the model, pointing it in the right direction, between my legs, as incognito as possible -- without my son noticing or anyone else for that matter, hopefully, while we were riding on the Silly Swings.  I thought that I was flying the real bomber remotely or something.  Again, I was torn between my manic story and my reasoning with reality, which was really the case in all three episodes, particularly the second and third since I knew I had bipolar disorder during those two episodes.
I figured Disneyland was in part designed, especially Tomorrowland, by aliens, and I also felt that the entire Disneyland resort was acting as a balancing mechanism, balancing visitor’s minds towards World peace.  I observed some Middle Eastern women in line on one ride, thinking they must have been Osama Bin Laden’s sisters.  I envisioned how a fourth Disney theme park with a Middle Eastern bent built in Tehran would be a major contributor to world peace.  I stared at both the Matterhorn and the real Southern California mountains in the background, which were snow topped, at the same time, while riding the Ferris wheel at California Adventure, thinking about a connection between something that stood for a dream and the real world magical fruition of the dream -- about a connection between the snow topped Matterhorn model and the real snow topped mountains.  I was compelled to stare at them as part of the "ritual" experience I was going through.  I also felt the high prices for food and souvenirs was a good idea and set the stage for economic growth individually and collectively.

On the Indiana Jones ride, I thought the ride was putting me through the Skull and Bones ritual that Yale college students go through, and that I would become an honorary member of that organization, as well as the Illuminati.  When a bell rang while standing in line, I thought that to represent the killing by bomb from the Stealth Bomber of North Korea's dictator, and that I pulled the trigger to release the bomb, "ringing" his "bell." (As an update, North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-il, died of a heart attack in December, 2011, coincidentally.)  I felt saddened after believing I had pulled this "trigger," as if I had lost some innocence by killing someone, however I did not feel any guilt, and therefore I did not feel any remorse.  My answer to a question I perceived about how I felt afterwards was that it was "complicated."  I have since of course seen this to be coincidence, or an obscure foretelling perhaps of the dictator's impending death.

I think I hallucinated some benevolent men watching me at Disneyland, in a few places.  They might have been real security guards if someone noticed I was acting strangely, or they could have been perfectly life-like hallucinations.  I figured they must have been members of the Delta Force (and that I was as well now, with communications being psychic rather than spoken or written.)
During another part of my visit to Disneyland with my kids, I thought to myself that I was the reincarnation of Walt Disney, and my job was to walk around the park and give instructions for improvements.  What a great job that would be.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to not tell anyone what to do, nor to take any part of my story seriously, other than feeling I was Walt Disney.  I bought a flashing wizard stick and a Goofy sweatshirt, along with a few souvenirs for the kids, and I walked around with the wizard stick flashing, but tucked into my back pocket -- a sort of compromise between believing the internal manic story and not wanting to look weird.  I did believe I was a sort of sorcerer of course.  I also hung the flashing wizard stick from my rear view mirror in my car afterwards while driving at night, thinking it was some sort of navigation device or something.
At one point after I dropped off the kids, I parked outside of a bar, and I thought I was “moving the planet” out of the way of an asteroid.  I actually experienced what seemed to be the car slightly moving back and forth while parked, a number of times, once for each move.  There was a near collision asteroid approaching Earth at the time of this writing, which is three quarters of a year later, in November 2011.  But also, Stealth Bombers were used to bomb Libya in March 2011, during the Libyan civil war, which was part of Arab Spring.  The Arab Spring was a sort of “movement” of the planet in a way, perhaps.  There is a very small delusional part of me that still thinks I contributed to the finding of Bin Laden, that I caused the use of Stealth Bombers over Libya, and that I helped to trigger the Arab Spring (and as an update that I caused Kim Jong-il's heart attack.)  What makes more sense of course is that I foresaw those significant events of 2011, but not in a clear way.

The night after one of the days at Disneyland, I stopped at a McDonald's restaurant, and a plastic cup took meaning to be a holy grail of sorts.  I kept the cup in the glove box in my car.  When I arrived home, I smashed one of my mother's china coffee mugs as part of the continued ritual, which I also thought was the holy grail, which then took on the image of an alien symbol.  I saved it, but I eventually threw it out and bought her a replacement.  

I also thought I was flying a stealth bomber remotely for part of my drive back home, and for some reason I thought the stealth bomber should be crashed as a sacrificial offering or something after it was used to "ring" Kim Jong-il's "bell."  After or during the third manic episode, I submitted in an online form a message to the CIA, informing them that I had evidence that I was somewhat psychic, although undeveloped psychically, and that I thought Bin Laden was located somewhere related to Castle Crags, which was a rock climbing spot in Northern California, that I climbed with a friend once during college.  As it turned out, Osama Bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals in May, 2011, in a compound that was accessible by rappelling (from a helicopter) and that had some characteristics of a castle, particularly the 15 foot security walls.  It was probably just a coincidence, but I entertain the idea still, that there might have been something to my intuition about high “castle walls," rappelling by rope, and Bin Laden’s compound.  Bin Laden was killed about four months after I submitted the message.  (Another update:  As a coincidence, one of two stealth helicopters crashed accidentally in Osama Bin Laden's compound the night he was killed by Navy Seals, which had to be destroyed by explosives to protect technology secrets.  So my delusional beliefs about forecasting also include the idea that the "bell rung" was Bin Laden's, not Kim Jong-il's, and that the crashed stealth bomber turned out to be a stealth helicopter.)

One night when the kids were not there, I was drinking and doing a continuation of the ritualistic things, but it took a comedic turn while drinking as I was doing a Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean imitation, including a flop onto my bed which resulted in my bouncing off onto the floor, since Depp's character always seems a bit tipsy I guess.

I also went on a short hike in nature to a California State Park area that is near me.  I thought that there were more birds than usual and that they would fly near me - and I have always felt that way when I have been manic, that I have attracted and have been connected to animals.  I also heard a pack of coyotes howl nearby, which was odd for the middle of the day -- this could have been a hallucination or it could have been real -- I have no way of telling as the hallucinations blend in perfectly.  The delusional part of me of course felt that the animals were responding to my manic state.  And a delusional belief that remains still thinks this was, and sometimes is, the case.

The emptiness of the "grail" was supposed to represent Buddhist "emptiness," and at a fire ring at the State Park, in a model Chumash indian village, there was a metal object that looked like the top of the McDonald's cup in the fire pit.  This meant to me that the grail was empty, as the top was to be burned in the firepit.  I have since noticed that the metal object is most likely a cover to keep moisture out of the fire ring.  I also had a train of thought going where I should eat just oranges, including the skin, and there was an orange grove and ranch nearby which I thought the owner was going to give to me.  I actually started to drive late at night after coming home from Disneyland with my children, to the ranch home, but my daughter started crying and telling me not to, both kids told me not to, so again that was an example of where they put me back into reality as I promptly turned around and drove them home to get to bed.  During the second manic episode, I first had the thought of being given and living on the citrus farm.

Also during my third manic episode, I thought of myself as a "Merlin" or a druid, since I was not Native American by ancestry, but mostly Irish.  I purchased a book on druidry after the manic episode, although I have not participated by doing the rituals of druidry from the book.  One reason is that I believe you'd have to be manic (or in a trance which might trigger mania in me) in order to really create magic, due to that delusional part of me that still believes (and perhaps it's true after all, who knows?) I can be a sorcerer when I am manic, and I can't afford to be manic.  Not only is mania a bit out of control, I would lose money from not working, incur expenses from being hospitalized, and possibly even lose my job.  I also need to be able to spend time with my kids and not have my wife threaten to keep them from me because of my getting manic episodes, having poor judgement and as a result spending time with my kids while manic.  There is actually a Druid "grove" (group) nearby, that has monthly rituals, but they have polytheistic beliefs which I don't  have, and so I'm not sure if it would be a good fit for me.  I don't feel that "plugged into God" when I'm not manic, so I don't know how strong my beliefs would be in any religion for that matter while I was practicing it.  (I have most recently pursued Buddhism.  I was raised Roman Catholic, and I have participated in some Religious Science a few years ago as well, along with some Unitarian Universalist.)

My Second Manic Episode - Holidays 2009/2010

The job in LA ended after three months as the company was sold.  We were unable to pay one of our two mortgages, and our renter stopped paying the rent as well, so we could no longer pay either mortgage on the house.  We tried to short sell, but I read that a short sale is no better than a foreclosure on a credit record, so I decided to tell the real estate agent to just let the house foreclose, during the Christmas holiday season.
The stress was almost unbearable when we had the renter and we could not afford to pay the mortgage on our house, which was our only investment.  I was so stressed, I had trouble applying for jobs.  It seems to me that a person with bipolar disorder can’t handle as much stress as a mentally healthy person.  I did get a few interviews, but no job.  I tried to deal with the situation by learning about Buddhism and meditation, meditating in nature near the condo we were renting.  A few times I got to a level of real peace – where I had a spontaneity and “present moment flow” -- after meditating for an hour or two.  That state of mind was wonderful when dealing with my children.  I showed them how fun it is to clean up a room when you can re-arrange the furniture, for instance.  I could be very present with my children after meditating for a long enough period of time.  Another way I dealt with the stress was to go for a hike on a nearby trail that was not used very much.  I would break branches with my hands to caretake the trail for people to use without having to be bothered by brushing into branches or ducking to avoid them.  I took my kids on this trail a number of times and they enjoyed it as well.
My wife cut our expenses by finding a smaller, less expensive house to rent.  I started to spend some time in another online discussion group that was about religion, while I was going through the financial stress, and I went through a mid life crisis I think at the same time, which all contributed to triggering my second manic episode.  This time I dealt with the mania and mid life crisis by drinking, while also stopping my medications.  I had a story running through my mind with a military theme, because of a member of the discussion group sending me something about how military fits into a grand scheme of things, and how it’s theory applies to the business world.  I do also have a patriotic streak.  I worked at a defense contractor at one point, and I felt patriotic while working there.  I had also tried to join the Navy Reserve at the same time, but I was disqualified for admitting that I had tried marijuana in the interview.  I had considered the Navy Seals or some other Navy job after college but it was just a brief consideration, thinking I should find a regular job and get married.

(Update:  In Buddhism, part of "Right Livelihood" is considered not working in the weapons industry.  However I disagree on the strictness of this, as I believe someone on the receiving end of a weapon may just be reaping the consequences of their karma (of their actions.)  Similarly, the military man or woman doing the delivering can be seen as delivering consequences of karma.)

The mid-life crisis aspect of the manic episode had to do with getting in touch with long lost values, apparently.  Politically, I am primarily an environmentalist, while secondarily I have other values from both sides of the isle.  I think I was kind of doing my own psychotherapy during this manic episode, which is one reason why drinking was involved – to help with airing out stuff from the depth of my subconscious, perhaps.  The drinking was completely misunderstood by my wife.
While manic, I thought that the flashes I saw on my computer screen must have been my deceased father’s spirit coming through the Internet.  I also felt like I was the reincarnation of Moses, George Washington, and Winston Churchill during the episode.  My CIA name was Moshe and also Monk Seal.  At one point I also felt I was half the reincarnation of Churchill and half Hitler, with each taking one side of the brain, which would explain having bipolar disorder.  Also, that Osama Bin Laden was my counterpart on the other side of the world who was afflicted with the same condition.

I went outside one day, feeling like Moses, with umbrella in hand.  It was starting to rain, and there was a lightning strike not far away, which further fueled my psychotic beliefs.  The water was rushing through the irrigation canal while I walked over a bridge, and this reminded me of Biblical stories with floods and parting seas.  I hiked to my meditation spot and saw a black leather jacket hanging from a tree limb, and I figured it must have been Satan’s jacket, also representing Hitler, and that Steven Spielberg was involved somehow and he was the one who ripped a hole in the jacket.  There were foot prints on the ground leading up a creek bed and away from my meditation spot, which I thought must have been Jesus’ foot prints, since I had a suspicion that one of the people in the online religious discussion might have been Jesus, based on an image asking if the person was Jesus in the discussion web site, which was apparently a joke.  I had imagined myself controlling Navy submarines, blowing up an enemy nuclear weapon armed submarine.  Since I believed my father was inside the internet, and because of his being a radioman in the Navy during WW II, I figured I had the help of my father in the fiber optic lines running across the oceans as a sort of sonar net.  I hallucinated some people who were out of site behind the trees, who were hiking out of site to keep up with me, cheering on what I was doing.

While walking back over the irrigation canal, I had the idea of being half reincarnated as Churchill and half as Hitler, and while feeling like "one hundred percent Hitler" I stared at briefly and thought of jumping into the irrigation canal, which was a sick feeling.  I then became "one hundred percent Churchill," while Bin Laden would have experienced the opposite -- becoming worse than he already was by becoming all Hitler and no Churchill.  (As an update, after learning about Carl Jung's "unconscious" theories, "Hitler" apparently represents the archetypal shadow .  I originally didn't mention anything about Hitler, not being a fan of his at all, to say the least, but after learning about the unconscious I figured I should include it.  I had no thoughts of harming others during my brief feeling as Hitler.)
I then walked as (fully) Winston Churchill with umbrella open while it was raining lightly, through the shopping district and back to the house.  I have not had acting lessons, but I really felt and acted like Churchill while manic.  I learned what it takes to be an actor, although I don’t think I could act at all while not in a manic state.  I also acted the part of the person who narrated “The Secret” movie, talking to my wife about a related “law of attachment,” telling her we needed some space apart from each other.  This again was way beyond my normal self expression and acting ability.  I think again because of the powerful belief that you are being these people.  I really thought I was Moses, George Washington, and Winston Churchill, at different times.  I also believed that I caused the rain storm and the lightning strike while “being” Moses.  I still have a small delusional belief to this day that I caused the rain storm and lightning strike.  My inside joke at that time was that I was sure to find a job in Hollywood if I could make it rain.  And I believed the Buddha must also be reincarnated and somewhere near, presenting a different kind of Trinity and a different kind of Second Coming -- Moses, Jesus and Buddha.  While hiking, I hiked past an Asian man with a dog, so I figured he must represent Buddha.

At some point during this second manic episode, I thought my son had been pre-selected to be a future American president, and that the presidents were being pre-selected way in advance, by the government.  There was a reason why the guy living next door worked for JPL and why there were police officers living across the street in a city-owned property -- they were there to protect my son.  I think I even told my son that I thought he was going to become a president, which my wife used against me later, although I cleaned it up later by telling my son that what I really meant was that I thought he'd make a good leader.
While George Washington, I packed my small Toyota Yaris with some belongings, an American flag, binoculars, and a computer joystick.  I was wearing my Cub Scout leader shirt, and a leather jacket which I rarely wear.  I wanted to spend some time at my mother’s mobile home, to get some space from my wife.  She pleaded with me to stay, but I kept avoiding her contact, telling her about the "law of attachment."  I also planned on driving out to Edwards Air Force base to try to get work there.  I have a cousin who works at the base.  I remember telling my wife, “you can’t just walk into an Air Force Base holding a pair of binoculars and an American Flag and tell them you want a job.”  Although perhaps that was exactly the kind of spirit that was needed to find Bin Laden, I thought.  The joystick was from playing Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator with my son, but I of course figured there must be a more important use for it, such as flying drones.  When I worked as a substitute teacher for a high school alternative education classroom in the desert, I would let the boys play Microsoft Halo if they were caught up with their self paced school work.  The meaning this took on during my manic story was that I was also to train boys at that facility, since the school district had budget cuts and partially shut down I had heard, to be real life remote control warriors.  That is why I hallucinated a few boys who came out in the rain near the bridge where it was raining to see me, when I was being Churchill.  I also know a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk in the high desert.

On the way to a fast food restaurant to have lunch, I hallucinated, I guess, a black SUV stopping in the middle of the four lane road, with some men in suits getting out of their doors.  I stopped, then drove around the SUV into the other lane, then turning into a fast food restaurant to get lunch.  If it was a hallucination it was very real.  There was another vehicle on the freeway ahead of me with right turn blinkers on, and a woman driving, which I thought was a signal for me to merge onto another freeway to head out to Edwards Air Force base.  I had the presence of mind to continue on course to my mother's mobile home.  These experiences felt reminiscent of the movie 'The Matrix.'
At the mobile home, I started hearing a voice internally that gave me instructions.  Furthermore, I could consult it at any time, asking questions.  I was a fan of Ted Turner’s, so I walked in step around part of the golf course where I was staying, and I put out two beers on the patio, one for Ted Turner and one for Jesse Ventura, as I figured they were both coming to pay me a visit.  Since there were two military men coming (Ted attended military schools in his youth if I remember correctly from reading his auto biography,) and Ventura of course was a Navy Seal.  I went around the house tidying it up.  My mother was wondering why two opened beers were outside.  It is amazing how much I can drink while fully manic, without being affected much.  I went through a case of beer in just a few days.  A bit later there were also a chorus of voices answering my questions at the same time, who were people I was psychically linked to.  

I drove to the grocery store, and felt that I was breathing cold oxygen, while feeling a higher amount of gravity, taking slow steps to handle the increased weight.  Outside the store, I was told to stop at a spot in the parking lot, and not move, holding my cell phone to my ear, for some minutes.  Then the same thing outside of my car, when I hallucinated and saw a tree appear on my windshield while I was staring at it, as I was "cloning life" onto another planet.  I was a ground, and Senator John McCain was flying through a worm hole after being launched by the space shuttle to the moon.  I could hear McCain's voice and I was psychically talking to him while he surfed the worm hole.  He also spoke to my father.  I had joked that I was afraid of heights, so the space shuttle trip to the moon was for McCain, being a pilot, while I would be better off staying as "ground" in a submarine, being the last one off the planet, as all the people on Earth, at least the good ones, were going to follow McCain to a new planet or parallel planet or something.  There was someone from the government who represented a past Internet business customer of mine, who was apparently a trainer of Navy Seals, at the driver's seat of a car, parked near me to watch over me while I was being this important link to space.
My uncle was a volunteer at a WW II aircraft museum in town, and so I took my mother to see it.  She had never seen the museum, although she was of the WW II generation.  I thought I was being filmed for a movie by now, and that I could film and broadcast to Heaven I guess, through my Transition Lens glasses.  I had come up with a humorous line, to go after Osama Bin Laden, “give me two redundant routes of Army Rangers up the same mountain, and drop a daisy cutter down the middle.”  The two redundant routes meant Judaism and Christianity, and the daisy cutter referred to the Buddha, which was another reference to the "Trinity" that I had come up with.  It also referred to military strategy of course, and football.  I could think in various character accents, such as Popeye, and so I had some one liners like that one all to myself just in thought.  I then thought that CNN was testing me to see if I could either take Larry King’s job when he retired, or if I could be the voice of Ted Turner’s ‘Captain Planet’ cartoon.  I hallucinated some CNN news and a Larry King broadcast, all perfect but hallucinated on the TV, at the same time that there was a real broadcast.

I had a song that my mind created playing in my mind, which was really quite creative and unique music I think -- I had no way of recording or composing it as I have forgotten how to read and write music, having only played trumpet in middle and high school.  I also had a small part of Led Zeppelin's 'Black Dog' song playing in my mind, with a twist.  When I had called my psychiatrist -- I can't remember why I called him -- my song was playing as an auditory hallucination as background music on the telephone while I was on hold.  I felt I was psychically linked to Dreamworks studio, that they were developing my movie, and that I was psychically linked to their orchestra and choir, as they were making the sound track.  When there is music playing in your head while you are manic, it is not the usual background, dull music, it is loud and clear and stereophonic.
Regarding the title of my blog “Broadcasting to Heaven,” I also heard the voices of my father and John Wayne.  I felt I hallucinated making physical (cold) contact with my father's spirit.  I could put film clips of Notre Dame football games on the religious web site I was participating in, that was a social networking site, which would allow my father to watch.  Everything I was seeing I thought I was broadcasting to my father and maybe to others in Heaven, such as John Wayne and my long time friend's father.  John Wayne was acting as the "movie" director, at one point.  He also gave me coach-like encouragements.  I could really be a good listener when I was going around thinking I was filming everyone I was talking to, including my mother, who told interesting stories of what it was like for American women during World War II.  A brother of mine told me, afterwards when I told him this part of the manic episode story, that he wishes I had actually filmed my mother while she recounted the WW II days.  I left my mother’s place when I felt she was being controlling towards me regarding taking my meds.  I recommend everyone try "filming" through their eyes, particularly when in nature, and thinking you are broadcasting the filming live.  It will put you into the present moment -- a useful trick.
I had considered driving to the Air Force base in Nevada where drones are remotely flown, but fortunately I had enough presence of mind to drive home instead.  Back at the house, I ended up sending an email to my sister threatening her to not attend my mother’s 85th birthday party due to a past controversial accusation.  The threat was nonsensical, which was actually a joke in bad taste, regarding Navy Seals and Buddhism (Navy Seals are not afraid of getting their heads cut off in Afghanistan as they are not attached to them.)  It was not taken in context of my internal manic storyline, of course, so my sister contacted my wife, who in turn contacted some social workers from the County, who were escorted by two police officers.  While the social worker was continually trying to make me say that I threatened my wife, which I didn’t, I finally agreed to go to the hospital when the police officers told me I didn’t have a choice, even when I pleaded to get back on my meds, which were located an hour away at my mother’s house at the time.  I did admit that I threatened my sister by email (that she had better not attend my mother's birthday party or I would cut her head off.)  Obviously I wasn't seriously contemplating harming anyone, it was an empty threat.  Without being privy to my internal joke, it would come across the wrong way of course, in the real world.  There was genuine anger towards my sister however, surfacing from the past, at the time I sent the email.
This happened right before Christmas, so I ended up spending Christmas away from my children, locked up in a mental hospital.  I was there a few weeks I guess.  Initially I stayed overnight in an intake ward at another hospital, sleeping on the floor on a rubber mattress.  At the intake ward, I objected to being held involuntarily by refusing food and medication.  There were about a dozen of us sleeping in that room, half on the floor.  The mental hospital I was sent to the next day was in central Los Angeles.  I gave in and took medication and food at that hospital.  I seem to get along with people of all stripes and colors, so I had no trouble fitting in and making friends, and the diverse patients I should say also had no trouble getting along with people of different ethnicities and social classes, including myself.  The patients were quite friendly, most of them anyways.
One of my two roommates was having a problem with paranoia as he would sit up on his bed awake all night long, watching me and the other roommate, not getting any sleep.  We had some great volleyball games outside on the exercise yard.  There were some people who had never played volleyball before but took to the game very quickly, being good athletes.  One of the patients was going around promising everyone he would pay them a lot of money when he got out, and later he wanted us to sort of worship him or something.  He must have been manic.  Another friend I made in the lunch room told me he thought the ones and zeroes of information going through the Internet was a conspiracy of some kind.  He was a computer programmer.  He told me to watch the Truman Show movie, starring Jim Carrie, when I returned home, after I had mentioned to him that I felt I was being filmed during my manic episode.  I did watch the movie and I did enjoy it, although I read that it is not about mental illness, it is a parody on the media and culture providing an artificial atmosphere to our lives.  To me, the movie would also make sense if it were about psychosis.
We did some art projects at the hospital, and I remember doing them very quickly - hyperactively.  I made two collages, as one wasn’t big enough, for instance, during the time that others made one.  Although my wife visited me once, when I asked her to bring a change of clothes, she unfortunately refused to pick me up from the hospital when I was released.  Luckily I had a  friend I could call who came and picked me up the same night.  He also helped with my Internet business while I was in the hospital.  Although I had told my wife I wanted some space, in part perhaps because we had been 24x7x365 for fourteen years, since I worked at home, and she did my accounting also at home, I didn’t want that much space.

I had no choice but to move in with my mother, who lived an hour from my rented home.  I tried to return home after a few weeks, but my wife insisted that we were different people and she didn’t want me to return.  In fact, she got a restraining order against me, based on the emailed threat I made to my sister, which the judge did not want to grant, but did so because of a technicality in the California law regarding threatening one person allowing another person to get a restraining order.  My wife's restraining order had nothing to do with my being physically abusive or threatening towards her.  Although I have had moments of verbal abuse towards my wife, I can only surmise that the restraining order was punishment for losing the house and for temporarily taking her computer away from her to move the accounting duties of my business to myself.  The separation was also punishment for the worsened financial situation, most likely, although I will admit that our relationship wasn't ideal and needed some counseling to patch over some issues, as well.

This was a very painful time for me, and added insult to injury regarding feeling like I hadn't accomplished much in life.  I had lost my dog, my house, my job, my mind, and now my wife and, to a large degree, my kids.  I managed to see my kids on the weekends, insisting that I could take them to stay with me at my mother’s house every other weekend, at some point, which my wife agreed to.  During the summer, I would take my children every weekend.  The rest of the time, at night, I would Skype to my children, on webcam, helping them with their homework, holding back tears the first few times.  The first time I spent the weekend with my kids, I had to take them straight from their school because of my wife’s restraining order, before my wife could pick them up.  Since then she has allowed me to at least set foot on the property, but not come into the house, when I am picking up or returning my children.
I managed to obtain a work at home technical support job, which didn’t require a college degree and didn’t have high pay, but had good benefits and was better than no job or a low paying job.  As I write, I have had the job for a year and a half, so my brain seems to work well enough to be productive enough in that position.  My memory is not so great, but I write down detailed notes, which I refer to, searching in the computer document, quickly enough.  I also ask others questions when necessary.  Sometimes these questions are asked more than once due to the forgetfulness, which is a bit embarrassing.  I have managed to get a rating of 3.5 on my reviews so far, which is .5 higher than "meeting expectations" for the position.  My productivity is average -- some technicians are faster and some are slower than I am.