Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Manic Episodes & Religiosity

I am curious if others have noted that some individuals could be spotted as entering a manic episode by their increased participation in church activities, and desire to go into ministry or to be called to mission work. With their behaviour shifts, they lose jobs, which in turn is a sign that well, they are called to the church, as the job wasn't right for them. With everything else, they end up sleep deprived, it just gets worse.

Now: I don't want anyone to think that those who are called, are therefore manic, far from it. (Thank goodness for discernment process)

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Pinga's picture

Pinga

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So, given that, what does that mean to a forum, such as this item, where it is open 24x7 and is a faith-based dialogue

StephenGordon's picture

StephenGordon

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Having a mother that is bipolar I know the turf. She was always somewhat religious. It got to be, I can say it because it is my mom, the word is fanatical. This was both when she was manic (feeling divine) and depressed (that God could lift her from the depths). The manic episodes were definitely more fanatical. She would be up all night.

I am sure there are those who have their manic episodes fueled by the
24-7 availability and religious nature of this site. I know if were around a few decades ago my mom would have stayed up through many a night searching out places to post.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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SG, when i read about manic episodes, it seemed that beligerence, hyper-sensitivity and rapid speech were also part of the visible symptoms.

That would also play into a forum of this nature, i would think

Alex's picture

Alex

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Good observation Pinga.

I would imagine that the online world is more of a magnet for different types of people

I use to run a GLBT BBS before the internet was popular. It seemed to me that the members who were online the most were those who enjoyed fighting. Often people were fighting in cyberspace what they needed to fight in the`'real' world, but were unable to do so for some reason.

Lack of safety or lack of partners to fight with, are both things that cyberspace fixes.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Alex, i am interested in the success of the medium, as I do enjoy conversations around spiritual topics or, how spirituality plays out in other decisions in my life.

Given that, how did you deal with that in the BBS you were a part of?

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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This was given to me, by someone who desires to remain anonymous on the thread.
**********************************************************************************
A person dear to them suffered a psychotic break. It occurred a number of years ago. Let's call him "Joe". Joe went from an agnostic to a bible reading religious person in less than 3 months.

Included in the psychosis were his seeing religious signs warning that the family was in danger. He mixed these signs up with local events that were happening in the news at the time, determining that there were people out to get them. There was a family history of this illness, and although the other relative was harmless, Joe was not. The family felt that Joe could harm them and was a threat. It was quite scary for all. (understated)

It is unclear if the site would have fuelled Joe's fire or perhaps soothed it. It is probable the former not because of what is said in the threads but because such people are simply not rational. They see innocent things and warp them into their perception of reality.

Alex's picture

Alex

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The way the BBS was setup members would chat, like on msn, and some would use the forums which were like wondercafe.

People never felt safe talking about serious and personel issues in the forums. The fights we had on the forums made wondercafe look like a picnic. I remember one fight over Kneeu(sp) Reeves in particular that led to one user leaving. After that I put most of my focus on the live chat rooms. The BBS was an experiment in community building, and we gave everyone 30 minutes free time everyday, and 60 minutes for low income people, while those who were disabled or housebound had 3 hours of frree time. After that I paid for the system with a $2 an hour fee, to pay for the BBS and the 16 phone lines.

The chat feature was a great sucess in bringing people together and breaking isolation.
We had 2000 members, and in Ottawa at that time it was the best to meet people in the GLBT community. A large number were people living with AIDs, and the large number of deaths in the community lead to some really interesting discusions around God, death, meaning, and purpose. I started it after stoping work due to illness and it gave me something to do on the days that I was well.

Nothing is so bad in the world that it can not be made worse by being alone

Smote's picture

Smote

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I'm bipolar and went through a two-year religious phase in late high school. Pentecostal, no less! Go big or go home. I got through it and going to university and hooking up with a less evangelical crowd really helped me.

I'm not sure if I feel as though I was more vulnerable to feeling any sort of religious mania (I should say that my mania is actually hypomania, sans delusions, as I'm classified as bipolar II) but I do know I was pretty caught up in the enthusiasm.

Serena's picture

Serena

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I think that manic episodes come in every facet of life not just religion. A person can get caught up in their job so much their family suffers and vise versa or even a hobby. Did you see that one woman on Dr. Phil who was spending so much money on tap dancing that she did not pay her mortgage and was losing her house?

stardust's picture

stardust

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Gosh pinga

You're making me THINK. Ouch! This is certainly an interesting topic and one I had never thought about. I'll stay tuned.....

Understatement: The net has advantages and disadvantages. In the years ahead we will be hearing more and more about its effects in the area of mental health. Its such a phenomenon I suspect many of us can't fully grasp the magnitude of communication it has brought to the world for good or ill. It moves so fast or "we do" while we're using it. I took a peek at live chats. People are pressured to respond quickly with no time to think. I wasn't surprised to find people going a little crazy.

At one time I did explore the effects of electricity on the brain; rather a complicated study. Some people are hyper senstive to electricity and get charged up so to speak; wide awake. There is also something new to science (I believe) called 'dirty electricity'.

As an aside, my sister teaches computer to groups of seniors. She tells me stories of people in their 80's staying up half the night teaching themselves to type on Word. They are just so enthusiastic and happy to learn something new. They forget to go to bed....LOL.

Serena: Good observation. I've been watching Dr. Phil and Oprah lately.

my 2 cents worth

MonAsksIt's picture

MonAsksIt

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I have a friend with bipolar that hasn't been hospitalized since her baby 2 (now 6) and she's hanging in there thanks to excellent medical management. When she was in her manic phase she wasn't particuarly violent or religious, just very verbally hyper and never on topic. Not fun to see a brain running away from itself on hyperdrive. She's pretty consistantly unitarian in her beliefs and pretty even-handed about it too.

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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Some may be interested in this site

Click here for Complete Article: Psychology of Religion Pages

I didn't read all the articles, but I did read the following one which I found interesting, probably because I agreed with it ;-o

Click here for Complete Article: Mental Health and Religion

Tyson's picture

Tyson

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As one who has manic-depression, I can say that the shifts in my moods do not and never have play a role in my religioisty. I am very involved in my church wether I am manic state or depressed state. I know that God is with me and loves me in either state I am in. I believe that God is bigger than the illness. I am now on a very good drug that controls my swings for the most part, and now I can focus even more on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is worthy of my absolute adoration and praise. To Jesus belongs all the glory. I thank Him for saving my life.

Living in His Light since 2001,
consumingfire.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Please note, that I used the phrase "some", intentionally in the original post.
I do not want anyone to think that all exhibit this trait; however, I was hoping to hear from others, who may have real-life examples of such connections.

Reason: I have read it in general interest reading on manic episodes, and have some sense of having encountered it, but, wasn't sure, if others had seemed same patterns.

In addition, I was curious, for those who have encountered the same presentation, how it impacts forum posting

For those who do have personal experience, even where your religious/faith would be not altered; how do you think your forum participation might be affected?

sighsnootles's picture

sighsnootles

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in my work on the psychiatry floor as a nurse, i would have to say that the overwhelming majority of manic episodes were religion based.

it wasn't unusual for the people down in the psych intensive care to be under the delusion that jesus was telling them that we were trying to take their bibles away.

StephenGordon's picture

StephenGordon

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When my mom was insitutionalized, there were three Jesuses. The nurses tried to make sure they were never together. One claimed we stole his Bible and he could prove it because it had his name in it. My mom carried a suitcase with a blood pressure cuff, about 1,000 post-it notes and a Bible everywhere she went. She talked to everyone she saw about the dangers of high blood pressure and living without Jesus.

She has been managed well with medications, but so many others are not or do not take their medications.

sighsnootles's picture

sighsnootles

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i'll never forget the woman who used to ride the bus with me in the mornings... when she was quiet, she'd have this glassy stare. when the glassy stare disappeared, she'd become more chatty. eventually, her chats would become louder and louder until nobody would talk to her, and then she'd begin loudly preaching at the front of the bus...

FOLKS, SEEK THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD!
THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD WILL HELP YOU PASS YOUR MATH TEST,
WILL HELP YOU DRIVE BETTER,
WILL HELP YOU GET ALONG BETTER WITH YOUR PARENTS...

on and on she would go. this would go on for about a week, and then she'd be gone for a couple of months, and when she'd return, she'd have that glassy eyed look to her again. and the cycle just repeated itself, over and over.

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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I can understand why people would turn to the church and this forum in times of crises. Both offer support and an acceptance of certain behaviours. In that article I cited above the author spoke in part about this.

The church accepts testimonials of personal experiences with God and or Jesus, indeed some churches strongly encourage them. For some one entering a manic state this can be very comforting. It helps explain their inner turmoil. For some it may be enough to calm them. For others, as the crisis heightens they grab onto that source of comfort and chase it until it is no longer rational or comforting.

I am not suggesting that people who believe they have a personal encounter with the divine are delusional or manic. I have met people who I believe are, and were, completely rational when they experienced this encounter.

But just as I can watch the news and feel drawn to a story, the person suffering delusions (and I include schizophrenia here as well as manic) will not only be drawn they will feel they are actually living it.

Fear is the over riding issue for someone who is delusional. In their minds, mixed in with all the other stuff, they know what they are feeling is not right. They just can't pin point what. They can't sleep because they are afraid something will happen once they close their eyes.

They begin to roam. Running from their fears. Looking for distractions from the chaos in their minds. The 24/7 access of the Internet can offer that distraction.

Does it help? I think for some it might, but for others it doesn't really matter because if it wasn't the internet it would be the all night donut shop or late night television.

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