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Bipolar and God

Maz

Maz

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Joined
Jul 26, 2009
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4
Location
Scotland
Hi I was wondering if anyone can help. I am writing a book on my personal experience of bipolar and how I became very religious during my first high episode 11 years ago. I was wondering if anyone who has also experienced this would be able to share their thoughts on this and how you feel about this aspect of bipolar now. Any comments would be gratefully received.:)
 
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grace68

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May 12, 2009
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599
Location
yorkshire
hi maz

i have heard of this 'religious mania', i think it is quite common in bipolar disorder.

my perspective is a bit different, in that i was brought up in a christian home, my father is a pastor of a baptist church. i became a christian myself when i was 15, and my faith has always been important to me.

however, i was hospitalised one time, when i was manic, and i was hallucinating vivdly about hell. i was so scared of going to sleep, because when i went off to sleep, i felt like i was dying, and the vision of hell was just terrifying. i hadn't slept for about a week. the hospital doctor said i had 'religious mania' and that my faith was damaging to my mental health.

nowadays, when i am high, i do feel more intense about my faith, i'm more devout, just 'feel' it all so much more. when i am low, i doubt my faith completely, and i feel totally bereft. normality for me is just a steady life of faith, i don't 'feel' much, but i don't anyway, on lithium, i'm pretty numb.

there is another forum called 'christian mental health'.. i think it'd be really interesting for you to post your question on there as well.

i wish you all the best with your book :flowers:
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
Hi Maz - Are you interested in religious/spiritual experiences in general connected to MH?

Or specifically Christian religious experiences in relation to Bi Polar? You didn't specify a Religion in the OP.

There is to my understanding a large 'spiritual' component to a lot of MH experiences. Are you familiar with the ideas of spiritual emergency/emergence?

There is this very good Blog series on the subject of different interpretations on mental illness from more holistic & spiritual perspectives -

Here is the Spiritual Emergency Blog -

http://spiritualemergency.blogspot.com/

& the Main profile page with Links to all the Blogs -

http://www.blogger.com/profile/16283478682307609903

[Or Google the Terms; There is a wealth of information on this stuff]

I had a lot of Christian influence in my upbringing. In early teenage years I got into street drugs in a big way & Occult studies. At 17 I suffered a massive psychotic break & was sectioned. My answer to the experience at the time was to study the Bible obsessively for 4 years. Orthodox Christianity however did not provide me with the answers/solutions I sought.

Over the years I have become more & more critical of religions (all of them). Spirituality doesn't have to have anything to do with religion.

I do find it helpful to look at things from the threefold perspectives of the physical, mental (psychological) & spiritual - but the distinctions are blurred.
 
Maz

Maz

New member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
4
Location
Scotland
Hi Grace

Thanks for replying to my post.

Yours is an interesting experience in that your faith was almost blamed for your delusions. It sounds like you had quite a bad time. I had a similar negative experience during my second high episode and injured myself badly after it came into my head to "prove myself to God". It was a horrible high compared to the first and I felt like there were demonic influences at work.

I will need to research whether bipolar people who are atheists ever have any sort of religious experience.

Like you, I also doubt my faith entirely when I am depressed.

Thanks for the tip on the Christan Mental Health forum I will def look into that. :)
 
Maz

Maz

New member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
4
Location
Scotland
Hi Apotheosis

Thanks for your reply.

I am mainly looking at christian experiences as they relates closer to my own but any sort of spiritual experiences would also be interesting to hear about.

I have not heard of spiritual emergence so will have a look at the blog you mention as it sounds very interesting.

I appreciate that spirituality doesn't have anything to do with religion.

:)
 
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Twylight

Guest
before I had psychosis I had a healthy religous belief

During the psychosis the belief became terrifying - like I was baddest man that ever lived

This fear has stuck with me for more than two decades
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
During the psychosis the belief became terrifying - like I was baddest man that ever lived
It is very common, so common that it could be called 'normal' that in schizophrenia/psychosis - people assume identity as a god or Devil or Both.
 
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Twylight

Guest
yes I was in a hospital bedroom several years ago and I could see a man on a cross in the corner of the room - when I looked at the man it was me !

I thought ' Oh No, i'm Jesus and i've fucked up again ', - I had to be heavily sedated....
 
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lite_

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
11
It’s a very interesting question all of my symptoms are indeed religiously orientated in some respect. It’s also interesting that people with Bipolar don’t go to sleep, delusions/hallucinations happen when they are sleep deprived. The person may appear to be awake, walking, talking and eating yet in fact they are asleep, studies with an EEG shows the brain essentially is asleep after prolonged exhaustion.

It is also interesting when we think about religion in particular Christianity it is a set of ideas that most people relate to when they experience the mental health service, being sectioned under the mental health act is a form of persecution yet no crime has been committed, they feel morally superior. But yes it is strange how people with bipolar seemingly connect with an ineffable source of divinity or an undeniable source of evil. I wouldn’t say I have adopted the imagery or concepts of Christianity just because it is a religion but rather because it is relevant and It is working in my subconscious all the time, yet only surfaces under certain conditions.
 
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lite_

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
11
Also another interesting thing is that most people with Bipolar believe their condition is a journey of 'self discovery', yet if we read about sleep deprivation we find that a person's personality can be negatively and drastically altered without sleep. In essence using Bipolar to discover more about yourself can lead you further away from the original 'you'

It is often claimed that Randy Gardner's experiment demonstrated that extreme sleep deprivation has little effect, other than the mood changes. However, Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross, who monitored his health, reported serious cognitive and behavioral changes after breaking the world record for going without sleep. These 'serious changes' included moodiness, problems with concentration and short term memory, paranoia, and hallucinations. On the fourth day he had a delusion that he was Paul Lowe winning the Rose Bowl, and that a street sign was a person. On the eleventh day, when he was asked to subtract seven repeatedly, starting with 100, he stopped at 65. When asked why he had stopped, he replied that he had forgotten what he was doing.

On his final day, Gardner presided over a press conference where he spoke without slurring or stumbling his words and in general 'appeared' to be in excellent health. Several other people have attempted this but some cases have reported that the person's personality was completely altered and sometimes never recovered. However Randy Gardner recovered after 3 or 4 days sleep.

That being said, I am glad I did had the experience I did it was very magical

 
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lite_

Member
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Jul 30, 2009
Messages
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Oh I forgot to say that my first episode felt like I was 'connected' to a peaceful oneness I saw everything in a beautiful all encompassing way, colours were vivid people looked like angels, I wanted to help everyone and be kind to them the floors were almost like crystal, water tasted pure and refreshing. It felt like I could breath for the first time in my life, as if I had never had a single breath before. One single shallow breath felt like a thousand, it felt like I could breath but only needed to do so every couple of minutes.

The second episode was not good I started to hear voices this was an unstable and chaotic experience on a downhill rollercoaster ride of self-criticism.
 
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Cal

Cal

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Founding Member
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Apr 14, 2008
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Location
South West Scotland
i don't have bipolar but only depression with the occasional psychotic episode (hearing things mainly) i just thought i would share this because it ties in but sort of the opposite end of the spectrum because when i get the episodes it's like a demon (not the devil but a very powerful demon) is talking to me and trying to take over and i find myself seeing it's perspective and i'll stay indoors till nighttime and become very angry and even sometimes get quite obsessed with fire and blades.
 
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