Bipolar Depression - a dirty secret

Atomic Brain   dugg 120612

You know what nobody ever says about depression...
what nobody seems to talk about when it comes
to the Big D that is so much a part of bipolar living?

It's boring.

It is so boring.

Hour after hour, day after day of feeling like nothing-
worthless, useless... a life of mistakes and no hope
for any kind of a future.

Life as a waste of time, where nothing changes
and nothing is going to change unless maybe
it all gets worse...

where sleeping through it is the best case scenario
because what's more likely is insomnia- no escape
from the certainty that you suck.

You don't think that's boring?

Try it for a week or two.
Or a month.
Or a year.


Music, madness & charms to soothe

reading about the history of madness
and the treatment (or lack thereof)
for it can a depressing and sometimes
even shattering experience.

imagine my surprise then
when i came across The Opal
and a story about music and healing...

from The Opal:

And this example of trying to step somewhat beyond
the modicum of dispensing agents for settling a "maniac"--
a person it seems suffering from a manic stage.  Doctors and attendants tried to treat the patient with an assortment of narcotics, but they didn't work; very liberal applications of brandy occurred, which caused some sleepiness, but after two days the man would be getting sleepy, anyway.  And
then came the desperate measure (so to speak):  music. 

It was certainly nothing new, really, the calming effects
of music having been know deep into antiquity.  Why it
was not more liberally applied in mental institutions,
I don't know.  The case and description are found in the American Journal of Insanity (later the American Journal
of Psychiatry) for 1858:

"The symptoms indicated, as it seemed, the prompt use
of narcotics. Morphine was therefore given in doses gradually increased, till at the end of 48 hours, 3 gr. at a time, with strong laudanum injections, had been administered. This treatment seeming to have little or no effect, was abandoned and other means, such as baths, counter irritants, stimulants, djc &lc, resorted to, with but slight amelioration of the alarming symptoms.

The patient had now continued in this state three days
and nights, without sleep, and with little or no food.
Pulse much of the time 120. Countenance anxious and sunken, presenting every appearance in fact, of approaching final prostration.

Of the means above mentioned, the administration of brandy, in often repeated and large doses, seemed to act most favorably and effectually. Under its use the pulse
came down to about 100. The patient also became more quiet* and manifested a slight disposition to sleep.

At this time, it was suggested by the father, that his son
had always manifested a remarkable fondness for music,
and that when a child, sleep had often been produced by it.
A violin player was accordingly sent for, and the effect of his art tested upon the patient, with the most remarkable and immediate favorable effects.

The nervous excitement began to abate at the sound
of the fiddle, and in a very short time, the patient was
in a sound sleep, from which he awoke in an hour or two much refreshed and nearly rational.

By continuing the brandy, and when nervous excitement began to manifest itself, an occasional quietus from the fiddle, this singular state of mental excitement was,
in a few days, entirely and permanently subdued."

read more interesting perspectives
and even download a free ebook copy
of The Opal here:


Check Your Meds - May 2012

a new round of adventures, perspectives
and bad attitudes from yours truly...
* warning - includes Ritalin, caffeine, god,
   discipline and other trace elements.*


Noise Annoys - the Joy of Bipolar Super Senses!

Pretty girls
Pretty boys
Have you ever heard your mommy scream
Noise annoys

         Peter Shelley/The Buzzcocks

the idea of "super senses" comes up a lot among the doubly-polared. it seems our experience of sounds, sights and smells is often more acute than the unpolar...

it's not a universal, but it is pretty common.

long before i was diagnosed, i learned that i was aware of things in my surroundings that other people didn't seem to notice at all. "normal" people could ignore/filter out sounds that would literally drive me to distraction - to the point where i couldn't think or write or carry on a discussion.

madness, like misery, loves company. after i was diagnosed, it was a relief to discover that there were others who experienced this too. the question recently came up again on a bp listserve i'm a part of...


I was wondering if anyone here, in any type of episode, gets very sensitive to and agitated by noises.
Now by choice I will blast music, and that's great! But in the wrong state the phone ringing (a biggie!), repetitive tapping, banging, construction outside, feel like such an intrusion and make me extremely irritable. Sometimes even the TV in the background is too much, while other times it's comforting.

Does anyone else get this way?


Even people's voices if they are too loud are aggravating, though when my mood is 'elevated' I realize *I* talk much louder! A group of cute kids love to play basketball in my street at night and the sound of the ball bouncing and bouncing makes me grind my teeth and consider earplugs.
It's not an issue with kids having fun, it's the noise sensitivity.


I am extremely sensitive to noise. I experience what you do, except I am that way ALL the time. It doesn't change depending on what mood or episode I'm in.

I think I'm so sensitive to noise because of the facts that: I'm bipolar and noise triggers irritability and anger in me; noise can trigger my migraines; and I was reared in a quiet household.


Oh yeah. I find noise very agitating. Even being in a store where they are playing loud music makes me extremely irritable. I can't stand confusion and chaos, either. For example, big family get togethers with all the noise and activity can really trigger me.


Yes!!! This is a major issue with me too. In fact, one of my medications is specifically for that very reason. The sound of chewing and speech is too much for me.

I hope you feel better soon!!!


Yes! Unfortunately my poor kiddos experience this from me. I know when it gets too much for me it is time to take one of my PRNs they help...


I love dogs but I have neighbors that let their dogs bark all day and night. It drives me nuts. Sometimes I want to shoot them. One night I deliberately tried to run one over with my car. The telephone ringing also bothers me and my wife knows I will not answer it so she always does but if she does not I have to tell her..."Please get the phone" Ughh!


Yes, yes and yes. I have noise sensitivity especially when I feel stressed and otherwise at various times. I have a really difficult time when there is a lot going on at once. If I wasn't on my meds I would have a much more difficult time with irritability.


A person chewing with their mouth open....a person picking at their broken nail....finger tapping....clicking, pinging and anything that makes a sound can get me to totally explode. People don't understand how it triggers me.

I love piece and quiet but at the same time a very quiet house is not comforting for me.

At the GF's house they are very loud/bubbly and it totally triggers my anxiety/rage. I grew up in a cold/quiet house and their energy to me seems fake and phony.


I cannot believe how what your saying sounds just like what I go through.

My husband seems to slam drawers instead of closing drawers which really upsets me. Any loud noise bothers me. Even bright lights. My husband and daughter are very annoying sometime. My daughter especially is loud and even pushy sometimes and it unhinges me.

I'm like that too about the T.V, sometimes I want it on just for company and sometimes I can't wait to turn it off because I don't want to hear anything. I like peacefulness.


I, too, am triggered by noises. The chewing is a biggie and crunching - like potato chips!!!!! Instant irritation.


Wow and I thought I was the only one!

Someone chewing with their mouth open just rubs me RAW! Among a lot of other things. I just always chalked it up to my OCD. Guess I was wrong huh?


One of the worst sounds for me is in the summer when i have my windows down in the car and a Harley pulls up next to me with there loud pipes in rings right through my whole body.
Or the other thing is when a train is coming and they blow there horn a thousand times to let people know. That one makes me clinch my teeth.

and this was my contribution...

oh heck yes!

i think it's one of those bipolar super powers. it amazes me that so many people seem absolutely insensitive to noise.

right now we're in the season of the power tool gardeners here, with weed-eaters, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc wailing all the time and it makes me very cranky... no matter how stable i was feeling just before it started up.

in the city, it amazes me how people don't even react to ambulances and other sirens going by- i feel like my skull is splitting and when i look around, no one else even blinks.

i have a similar reaction in stores to the pop music soundtrack. i like the Clash, but i don't want to hear it when i'm choosing a head of lettuce!

i wonder sometimes about the cumulative effects of all this noise on nervous systems that evolved under such different conditions, when the loudest sounds one would hear were maybe thunder, or a waterfall, or a tree falling.

not so long ago, noticing the sounds around you would have made you a better hunter, or given you the chance to escape from an enemy or a predator - ie - survive! when it's quiet here, i'm the one who can hear hear a woodpecker a hundred yards away, a deer moving stepping the bush, the waves on the beach... powerful reminders of life and how connected everything is... best meds ever!

i don't think it's a bad thing that i notice the sound of the world around me. what sucks is how much bad noise gets made, and how deaf so many 'normal' people seem to be to it all...

for what it's worth,


Willie Nelson still at it!

Thank god...

Is your drug use as heavy as it's made out
to be or is it just a legend?

Well, I smoke a little grass. But I do have a pretty good capacity for that and a lot of people don't. So they seem to think I smoke a lot. I don't think so.
I think I smoke about a normal amount for me.

read the rest of the interview here:

Nelson dips into his old music | Music | Entertainment | Toronto Sun