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panda


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 2:30pm Post subject: oh not again...
hiya
feeling a little manic today. anyone got any advice?
thanks
p

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 4:11pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi Panda

You have already taken the 'best' first move, you have realised you are manic.

I usually found the next best step was to 'run the energy to ground' by either literally running, walking fast, or taking some exercise. This seems to work especially well if you don't usually exercise X-D

I use the same 'therapy' for panic attacks and anxiety too.

The main thing is ( having already shown the skill of self knowledge ) - that you try and contain the high without just putting a plug in it.

* Be careful what you say, do or buy at this time

* don't get tempted to prolong the high, it feels great now - but the following low is proportionate to the how far your current high is allowed to go.

I hope I'm not sounding patronising ; you know your own manifestation of the condition best - but I just don't want you to end up a train wreck tomorrow or the week after ...

Hope that works, if not just ride it out as best you can but aim for responsible/harmless/controlled dissipation as the route to eventual relaxation to avoid future consequences.

All the best ,

Derek.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 5:05pm Post subject: oh not again...
Dear Panda, want to tell you that I haven't read the Ellen Frank stuff yet but am going to, its's in a queue, but will be landing soon.

About your post, in addition to what sounds very sensible comment from FF I wonder if this might assist -

People can learn about this for a whole lifetime, and it certainly does take months to get your head round it well, but have a short go at this.... I'll describe what to do then say the thinking behind it......


Sit comfortably and alertly (or stand, depending where you are) and look at an object ahead of you and comfortably in your line iof sight. It could be a tre, the clock on the wall, the radiator on the opposite side of the room, something that is stationary.

Allow your body to be composed and place your hands in each other in a relaxed way.

Select a point on the object (a corner of the radiator, the point omn the circumference opposite '12', or where a bough comes out of the tree trunk).

Fix your gaze on that point, and then begin slowly and consciously tracing the outline of the shape you've chosen with your 'mind's eye', follow the shape round with your sight.

As you progress along the line of the shape you're following notice the detail, the slight changes in shape, the little indentations, or changes in direction of the bough. DON'T MISS ANY BITS OUT. Follow the line assiduously.

As you are doing this and thoughts come into your mind (eg at 4 i've got to go to the postoffice, i wish i'd remembered the newspaper yesterday etc) notice that you've been distracted from thew shape you're following, but DON'T make the judgement that you've failed the task you set. Just notice that you were distracted and go back to following the line from where you were last conscious of it, or from the beginning again.

If this is too difficult to do in the moment DON'T judge yourself as 'not doiung very well etc' just leave it and try again in five minutes or half an hour or whatever. If you succeed in tracing the shape completely round, (even something as simple as a circular clocck outline) congratulate yourself and notice how your mood feels IN TRHAT MOMENT, but again don't judge that mood assassment, just notice it.

That's one version of Mindfulness.

What's going on is that by putting alll your attention to tracing the line of the shape you are maintaining yourself in the PRESENT MOMENT and therefore can not be in th efuture or the past - future is anxiety (willl iget to the post office in time, will i be able to park, will becoming manic be this, that and past is regret and sadness (often) and other emotions - if i had picked up thre newspaper i would have got that flat/job/car etc. )

By being in the present moment AND NOT JUDGING IT you control your mind and it doesn't control you, and more importantly your behaviours and emotions.

It is used as a form of distress tolerance in for example selfharm, impulsive spending reckless behaviours which are driven by extreme highs or on the suicidal front extreme lows. As part of my wonderful brilliant massively expensive NHS psychological therapies treatment that I have been undergoing for 18 months i have not self-harmed ie cut myself for over 3 months now (and i first self harmed when i was 8 years old) and i haven't suicidally ideated for slightly longer.

My highs and lows are not fom Bipolar but the result is the same. (its complex PTSD with BPD)

Mindfulness it is something well people could do as well, when they feel like cursing the taxi driver who's late etc

Give it a whirl Panda, but don't judge yourself about how well you do it. It dos take practice.

Much love Chris

sorry about the typos

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panda


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 6:36pm Post subject: oh not again...
Thanks so much for both your replies - extremely appreciated.

I am trying to keep calm. I'm certainly not enjoying it (because i realise that when it totally takes over it is really really awful, plus i agree the depression matches the severity - though in my case i think the depression comes first and i slip into mania once i'm recovering from the depression, partly because i'm relieved to be out of it and so get enthusiastic about doing everything i can to "sort it out".) so the only bits that i struggle with are, i'm doing counselling at the moment, which is going really well. though some difficult things are coming up. instead of resting and noticing when i am tired (it feels so dramatic!) i kept doing the things i wanted to do, or thought i "needed" to do.

so the hard thing is, when i'm manic i keep thinking things to do with my counselling, but i can feel it slipping over into mania, linking ideas together, etc. i think theres a chance this might not have happened had i just totally relaxed. hard when you are trying to carry on with life at the same time, c'est la vie.

i think i do this because when you realise what is wrong, you want to sort it out straight away. but i need to realise that this takes time (it is so frustrating that i have to do it slowly, but i have to. its counterproductive to do it any other way for me unfortunately). and that any thinking i'm doing when i've not had enough sleep is not really productive.

Derek - am interested in your idea about

"try and contain the high without just putting a plug in it"

could you tell me a bit more about this please? this is exactly what i'd like to do, but can't exactly think how. exercise unfortunately tends to send me a bit manic if i'm feeling tired, or manic. in fact i did some yesterday which i think i probably shouldn't have. i think lying in a dark room is good. but is hard to switch off the thoughts. i sometimes feel like the "plug" is sleeping tablets or calming medication from the doctor. both of which i have. umming and ahhing about whether to take tonight, to nip it in the bud. but then will feel groggy. but maybe not if i take it early enough. and maybe it will only be groggy in morning.

i'd like to do it naturally, with teas, herbs, supplements, etc. but if it gets too late, then i take the medication late, then the hangover is worse the next day. maybe i'll take the medication today. and experiment with the different herbs, etc. when i'm feeling a bit better, more stable.

there was something else i was going to say, but can't remember it now.

chris - thanks, will read your suggestion more fully later. it sounds like a helpful exercise.

thanks both
panda

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 6:50pm Post subject: oh not again...
Just quickly and softly the mindfulness exercises can be used at will to slow down thinking by being in the moment rather than the future, as in thinking forwards or backwards about, for example, the counselling dialogue you have.

It's slightly different from relaxing.

Just practice it slowly over the days and see how it goes. Use it when you want to stop getting into a circle of thinking.


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JVONEARTH


Member

Posted Tue Apr 17th, 2007 9:56pm Post subject: oh not again...
Music if i'm up the faster and louder the better

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Wed Apr 18th, 2007 12:22am Post subject: oh not again...
Hello again Panda,

My own interpretation of "containing the mania without putting a plug in it " is simply to allow some of it's energy to be freely expressed, but whilst doing so watch your thoughts attempting to race and gently hold them back from the furthest and fastest reaches by distracting yourself with a contrary idea/action or occupation to the one on which one's mind is racing.

Think of this pressure release as being like one of those old fashioned steam 'pressure cookers' your parents would have had. It operated at tremendous pressure and so had to have a safety valve permanently slightly open to let some steam and scalding water out in a controlled manner. If the valve jammed it exploded, if you opened the pressure cooker without first activating the valve, it blew it's scalding contents into your face. Likewise with a car radiator or steam engine etc.

Think of handling mania as being like that, either extreme is unhelpful.
( unless you WANT to take an extra dose of Seroquel for a couple of days ).

Chris B's 'mindfulness' exercises are an excellent example of how you can provide an alternative focus whilst tricking the mind into self regulation and relaxation. Whilst the exercises Chris B described have more esoteric roots and uses, they sound good in this context too.

My only reservation to using them personally is that over the years I have been found to a require rather more 'active' meditation or contemplative technique.

I need to be 'mindful' and distracted from mania and/or anxiety by doing a minimum of 20 minutes heavy weightlifting as it has such a tonic 'shock' effect on the central nervous system. Practising scales on the guitar helps too; anything that requires a lot of focused concentration.

It's also a bit like one would distract a hysterical child by showing it something else REALLY interesting.

I therefore tend to think of " not putting a plug in it " - as releasing the mania/pressure slowly - and not just trying to sit on one's own hands and letting the frustration build; - hoping it will go away.

This does not preclude the use of good medication though :

I take 100mg of 'Seroquel' / 'Quetiepine' at night and 500mg of 'Depakote' / ' Valproate Semisodium' twice a day to greatly reduce my mania trigger base level.

For me the solution is medication AND distraction.

I suppose it's all about experimentation and being open to try new ideas. The good thing ( as I said at the beginning of my first note) - is that you have insight into your own condition. That alone is a big obstacle overcome.

Good luck !

Derek.

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panda


Member

Posted Wed Apr 18th, 2007 3:46pm Post subject: oh not again...
Thank you so much for the encouragement.

Tried the focusing-on-object exercise, is helpful and am trying to remember it every time i find myself thinking circular or linking thoughts.

i also find it helps to slow myself right down. Walking slowly, reading slowly.

Very good to hear the pressure cooker idea, releasing energy slowly.

i think the compulsive part of the thinking is thinking that i might solve something by following my thoughts. this might be true in normal life, but not when feeling manic. also in terms of counselling, i think some things need to be felt, processed. thinking quickly without the feelings to match (if that makes any sense) maybe does not count! I think i am anxious to get through the feelings as i don't want them holding me back anymore. its worrying when you see what has been going on. but unfortunately that's not the way it goes! i have to go at the right pace, even if i want to go quicker, otherwise its two steps forward, 5 steps back.

sorry, went off on a waffle there. the concentration exercises remind me of an exercise i know for stopping hiccups where you concentrate so hard (on lining up your fingernails - will explain another time) you forget to hiccup.

i am now looking at my work in a similar way, as it lends itself to looking in detail at things! but maybe will keep taking breaks too. am finding it difficult to concentrate on it though, finding it boring, there are more exciting things to be doing!! will try and be disciplined.

i can relate to the hysterical child thing though. who does not want to concentrate on work! ironic because i either get manically obsessively into it and once i switch that off i find it difficult to motivate myself again.

am going to keep an eye on myself for the next week, or so (although probably forever as well!) sleeping, taking calming tabs as necessary. also have something to help with stress, and eat regular meals.

thank you so much for your help, it has really helped.

panda

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed Apr 18th, 2007 4:29pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi Panda

Thanks for feeding back your thoughts.

What you say makes so much sense, about eg 2 steps forward 5 back, and processing things.

The fingernail thing is exactly Mindfulness too, another mightbe noticing each tick-tock on a clock for say 2 minutes. It's important to just notice distractions (extraneous thoughts) when they occur BUT not judge yourself for having them (eg. i was bad to not be able to stay undistracted), but just to let them go, and return to the mindfulness.

This is a part of NHS therapy, adapted by Marsha Linehan (google), adapted from Budhism for the treatment of self-harm and improving distress tolerance.
The compulsive thinking is accurately describing an aspect of Anxiety Disorder, as we discussed before, and like most anxieties is thinking about the past or the future, ie anything but the present. This is where the Mindfulness comes in, cos with the anxiety thoughts comes emotion and subsequent actions, ie behaviour. When in the 'present' unhelpful transitory emotion is reduced, and subsequent behavioural choices, leading to a more appropriate response to the situation in hand. You're in a 'better place' to deal with whatever is causinfg the distress of that moment.

Thanks for your words, you're welcome to follow up about this anytime, and take care.

Chris

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Wed Apr 18th, 2007 9:57pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi Panda,

I can really relate to the circular thoughts or "obsessive ruminations" as they are officially written on my own medical records.

When I was working, I also did work which required a lot of close analysis. As a result it triggered internal habits of not wanting to break off or go home till the 'in tray' was empty.

You did not "ramble" by the way, it made sense and sounded very familiar.

That's what is nice about threads like this, we all learn something and find that comfortingly familiar 'common ground'.

Regards,

Derek.

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panda


Member

Posted Sat Apr 21st, 2007 10:52am Post subject: oh not again...
Hiya
Obsessive ruminations, ha ha. yes, i suppose that is what they are. funny to hear them described like that!
the mindfulness. i actually studied meditation and went to a school of meditation for around 7 years, so it is familiar stuff. however, the night before i had my most major manic/psychotic episode, i went to my meditation class. the discussion we had there kind of set off my thoughts. and the next day when i was in the throws of my episode, just before the handcuffs were put on me (unfortunately i'm not kidding) i was screaming meditation. because i kind of got myself out of my madness, and yet it was part of it. i think its hard to explain clearly, but the whole experience has led me to feel a bit weird about the whole meditation thing. i realise that its me, rather than it. although it was really helpful for a time, i've come to the conclusion that i needed something else to help me through things (i.e. a counsellor).
so the last few days have been ok. not perfect, as life still gets in the way. thursday night i didn't take the medication (for a few reasons) and ended up waking up at 5am. last night i fell asleep really early (8/9pm) then my boyfriend woke me up for supper and then i stayed up for a few hours and couldn't get back to sleep so both types of medication, natural and pharmaceutical. now i'm feeling slightly down, probably have over sedated myself. its either one extreme or the other.... nevermind, hopefully things will even out. i hope so anyway!
hope you are both well
panda

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Sat Apr 21st, 2007 1:17pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi Panda,

Thanks for the background story. I had a similar experience in 1982/3.

I was seeking the 'spiritual truths' and attending meditation classes . The next thing I knew I was in Hospital, unable to switch the whole process back into the 'material world' . Most distressing.

As I mentioned before, I now find conventional contemplative meditation (either object focused or mind stilling) - does not seem to work for me.

Like you, I feel that this is nothing against the potential benefits of meditation for certain people - just that for me it only feeds the 'wrong' side of my psychological habits. That's why I have to do the weightlifting or guitar playing, preferably the heavy/intense weightlifting, as it really requires all of one's concentration to be summoned at one time.

I can see how this itself could be defined as an 'active meditation' - but the controlled 'shock' to the central nervous system results in a tonic effect.

With regards to sleep and added stability, I have found that a single dose of 'Seroquel' at bedtime not only guarantees me very sound sleep, but has also begun to augment both my usual mood stabiliser and anti - depressant.

Thank you for enquiry after our health, I can currently report that apart from generalised anxiety states ( always the last thing to go ) I am reasonably stable.

I suppose we get so used to seeing everything as an indicator of our cyclic illness - that we sometimes forget that we are human -
( and therefore variable ) too !

I hope this message finds you as well as possible .

Regards,

Derek.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sat Apr 21st, 2007 8:01pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi. What an interesting world I live in. Everything that I read from either Fourth Feline or Panda always leaves the topic more illuminated.

For the sake of clarity then I must emphasise that as regards the above 'Mindfulness', as I am describing it. has no reference point with 'meditation' in my mind; I am not very knowledgeable about meditation but to me it implies the opposite of mindfulness.

The bottom line, which i'll put at the top so people don't have to read loads to get the drift, is that mindfulness is about being engaged in the whole of the moment you are in, be it facing a tiger that crept up on you, me cycling my bike very fast, lifting weights, listening to Eastenders, just listening to the wind outside, or the ticking clock, building a carbon-fibre race chassis, or trying to achieve a successful discussion with a salesperson in a busy shop. Anxiety is always in the past or the future, unless it's a real tiger in the present; if we had been more mindful it might not have got so close in the first place.

In anycase the point is that I am not advocating meditation as a therapeutic remedy for racing thoughts or anything else, though doubtless it is not harmful.

The point of mindfulness in this context is to be in the present, a kind of real tangible scientific kind of concept... to be in the preent, rather than the past or the future: secondly, to do this so that the 'emotional' mind is less forceful an influence in your current behaviour(s). Hence reducing at that moment anxiety/panic/wilfulness (anger), sadness, and so on. Almost by definition 'being in the moment' is the antithesis of a task aimed at removing wilful thinking, emotion presumably and being in some supreme place of seperateness fr something... the only commonality for me is the noticing bit.

The aim of being in the moment of the situation (and learnig how to easily be so, at others times for fun) is to engage with the situation as it is rather than as over-burdening emotionally-driven thoughts shape you behaviour of the moment - desperate, sad, angry and so on. That is the core of the NHS program I mentioned before, but built around that is emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness [and i hope it shows]. My point from this is that it is not a panacea for all shades of poor mental health. It is a core part of a much larger specialised psychotherapy. Much of the symptoms of the different disorders mentioned across these pages have reference points in the above parts of the p/therapy.

The bottom line, which I put at the top too, (but this is where it should be), is that mindfulness is about being engaged in the whole of the moment you are in, be it facing a tiger that crept up on you, cycling my bike very fast, lifting weights, listening to Eastenders, just listening to the wind outside, or the ticking clock, or trying to achieve a successful discussion with a salesperson in a busy shop. Anxiety is always in the past or the future, unless it's a real tiger in the present; if we had been more mindful it might not have got so close in the first place.

Lucy is a panther.

Seeya

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Sun Apr 22nd, 2007 1:07pm Post subject: oh not again...
Hi Chris,

Thank you for clarifying the difference(s) between meditation and mindfulness, I had indeed misinterpreted your earlier posts due to characteristic BP lack of concentration whilst reading. Guess I wasn't mindful enough to read about being mindful enough

It now brings to mind the writings of

Eckhart Tolle : "The Power Of Now" and to a slightly lesser degree -

Christmas Humphreys : " The Buddhist Way Of Action".

Also I recall ( after a good night's sleep ) a book I read some years ago by the last 'official' Samurai Master who died in Paris about 1986. His prowess and speed, even as an older man with large build - was entirely attributed to mindfulness.

Using your own example Chris,- the tiger never got close to him, sword wielding or otherwise.

The only 'alteration' to the mindfulness concept is when I suffer Generalised anxiety Disorder from the G.A.B.A levels in my brain being 'out of kilter' due to the BP II.

At this time ( I am given to believe ) anxiety is therefore not a by product of my anticipating a fearful future, but just that I am chemically out of balance.

To therefore live in that moment is therefore very painful and self perpetuating.
I typically have to deliberately choose a future or past moment to visualise and then live in for a theraputic period. Hobbies work too, but as you will know, feeling "uncomfortably numb" does not readily facilitate immersion in outside interests or foci .
(I can of course, smooth the way by taking the medication that makes the present more comfortable).

I do not feel this puts us at philosophical odds, because be it visualisation, hobbies, or whatever distraction my concentration permits - it then works because I then begin to eventually live in each moment.

It also reminds me of the Biblical story of Moses raising a shiny brass rod in the midst of his troubled tribe to ensure that despite their fears for the future, there was - for one inspiring moment, only the awareness of that shining object amidst the dust and pessimism.

Hope some of that made sense. If you are reading Panda, I hope you are well or at least well(ish).

Regards,

Derek.

( Oscar is a tender child )

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Apr 22nd, 2007 3:49pm Post subject: oh not again...
Yes we got the story the same.

And i fully subscribe to the medication playing the part only it can play in individual's situations. Far be it from me to argue against the clinical choices doctors prescribe or their patients choose to use.

Life for me is an amalgam of many inputs, each one tuned to a part of the story, acting together to make the most effective ethical outcome.

Shall check out the writings, and numbness, yes, has rules of its own, though of couse being disassociated and 'in the moment' are antithetical.

Get that guitar out, FF, and rapturously applaud the Blues.

Hi Panda, hope you're well.


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