Sunday, 18 November 2007

Fantasy or Reality?

Sometimes we bipolars do not know whether we are living a moment of fantasy or reality, but I believe that no particular one is preferable at any given moment. My therapist sometimes asks me to tell her about the dreams that I have and I try to tell her at every opportunity. But I feel like I do not want to share them with her. Other times I feel that if I tell my therapist about the dreams that I have, then she will take me back to reality. As a result I always feel like I am being pulled back and forth by what I believe or what I should be believing.

I think dreams tell a person about what they are thinking subconsciously and this can sometimes be extremely disturbing or upsetting. People who are distraught by a past experience have frequent nightmares and feel that they cannot escape. In my case I sometimes see things that are hidden in my subconscious but I do not want to see those images. In many respects then I suffer from nightmares but I do not want to admit to that because the images I see cannot be understood by the people around me. For example when you are in psychosis how can you persuade someone that everyone can read your mind and your mind alone? What do you do when everyone around you is a psychic? How can you stop every single thought process in your brain so that the others around you cannot tell what you are thinking? How can the logical person in front of you respond to what you are trying to tell him/her? When do we choose or try to choose fantasy over reality?

Living in a fantasy world is what my therapist describes as being in a child's mind and I must admit that sometimes I just want to be like a child. Everybody wants to be a child again because everything is much simpler. At the moment I am also trying to be like an adult by applying for jobs and looking after the house much more but still I feel like I don't take life so seriously. I feel that I am still only 21 and that everything will be okay. I have applied to many companies and so far I have been' good.' I take my lithium, seroquel and risperdal tablets everyday and I just sit at home. I don't drink alcohol and I drink 3 jugs of water everyday. So does this make me a child?

One problem I think is that I cannot confess that I am bipolar. Bipolarity is not an excuse for anything because people don't know what that is down here. I cannot hide behind a disability act when I want to get a job and that's why I was trying to imply that we are a secret society. There are of course some ways round bureaucratic measures but those are frowned upon. Gabriel talks about how it would be better if we were in a wheelchair but I don't know how it feels to apologize about the way I am. I never have to apologize about the way I am because people don't know what bipolarity is about anyway. At least the people around me. The Turkish government is making some improvements towards a disability act but we all have to raise awareness. As a matter of fact bipolarity is considered a disability because it is an illness that is extended over many years that also include childhood. Perhaps we do not know much about bipolarity yet but I will discuss this issue in another post.

Overall I feel that people should acknowledge that sometimes bipolar people do live in a fantasy world but we are all trying to adapt. For me and most bipolar people reality is fantasy. Somehow we have to add bits of reality to our world of fantasy. I don't believe that I am a child. I am a child of the new generation.


Gabriel... said...

I'm not sure I meant being in a wheelchair would make it easier to find a job, it was meant to be a comment on how much easier explaining a disability is when there's a physical component to it... at the same time, however, in most ways someone with an untreated mental disability/illness has a much harder time functioning within society than someone with a physical disability. Yet most government programs are aimed at those with the physical disability.

"There are times when I believe that being in a wheelchair would be easier. There’s nothing amorphous about having no legs, or having no use of my legs. You’re a cripple. You sit for the rest of your life. You will never walk again. People ask “what’s wrong” and you point to the obvious. How do you answer when someone asks “what’s wrong, sunshine?"

The "fantasy world" you believe we live in is mostly the disease convincing us it has some value. Untreated, or even during the first stages of treatment, the disease will convince us it shows us a world in which our disease makes sense. That sense the disease has some worth is something you have to fight against.

One thing I've found to be vital is to stop referring to oneself as "a bipolar". We "have" bipolar... personally I prefer bipolar disease rather than disorder. A disorder can be cured with a few books and maybe a new outlook on life. Bipolar, or Manic Depression, is a disease which -- until there's a cure, or as long as we're medicated -- we'll have until we are old and decrepit.

Being treated properly, accepting you need to be treated, does not make you a child of any kind. Living in a safe environment is paramount to your treatment. If you were in recovery from alcohol abuse you wouldn't live with alcoholics. You need to be safe and with people who understand what you're going through. If you're with your parents, make sure they have reading material and web sites which can help them better understand what you're going through and that you are in recovery from a disease which fucks with the chemicals in your brain.

Congratulations on starting the blog, I've found mine to be a vital tool in my recovery. It has also brought me together with many people around the world who are also in recovery, and the understanding they've found in their lives has brought some to mine.

I'll be very interested to find out what the recovery process is like in Turkey. Keep moving forward, dude. It's the only way to get out of where you've been.

jon percepto said...

Although I have never been diagnosed with bi-polar disease, I have suffered depression, sometimes for a few days, and other times for weeks. I also have friends with the diagnosis

At times I feel as if my waking state is really a repetitive dream, and my “dream state” is the real me, but I don’t remember enough of it when I “wake up”, and that makes it less accessible . Other times I know I’m connected, but I can’t sustain it. So I have come to the conclusion (for now, at least), that my expectations have affected my ability to consciously connect.

My expectation of happiness has always been that it’s sustainable, to some degree, and that I have some conscious effect on keeping it going. Although I simultaneously am aware of the uncertainty that I’m experiencing at that moment, and that it is reasonable to have it since life really has uncertainty in it. And that’s enough to maintain ambivalence. Then there is hesitancy to interpret what’s happening too quickly, thinking I can “prepare” a range of actions for things that happen, especially when it’s fast and unexpected. This then becomes a struggle over indecision and procrastination.

I have found writing does provide a cathartic way to clarify many things. Best wishes and continue your progress in recovery.


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John Gutz said...

Any escape for people with bipolar disorder, whether fantasy or lithium, have my full admiration. Good luck. I pray for your peace, but despise your wonderful comments.

I won't be so lucky. This disease has tormented my life and will relent only after I'm face-down in the dirt. I hate myself. Just the truth.