Neuroscience, Writing

The Happy Hypomanic’s Handbook

“Intense creative episodes are, in many instances, indistinguishable from hypomania” — Kay Jamison

Besides the birth control pill, I’d only ever had two prescriptions, but those two were the dyna-combo to do me in—I suffered paradoxical effects from Clonazepam, and Ambien was no joke.

It took me until 2011 to make the connection.

Clonazepam induced hypomania, and I suffered benzodiazepine induced depression and rebound insomnia.

I never took another pill, but was dismayed to learn just how long my body would take to be rid of the drug and it’s cognitive interference: difficulty concentrating, confusion, irritability.

Worse yet, it seems they’d broken my happy.

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Culture

I Googled Gidget and Windansea

Are You There God? It’s Me, Gidget.

“Nobody knows I’m a real person — they think “Gidget” is Sandra Dee or Sally Field.”—Kathy Kohner Zuckerman

@Ori would remember the night I walked and told him of all the creepy sites on those dark streets which weave the beach along Windansea into Draper Villas…

< BEGIN CONTEXT / SHIFT TO PRESENT TONE >

firefly flying quietly why she cries, no one notices me...

Authentic Non-Fiction Life

[Richard] Powers is especially effective at illustrating the way the story of the girl with “the happiness gene” spreads across the Internet and, only slightly less rapidly, the traditional media. Thassa’s mailbox starts filling up: “Strange people with Hotmail accounts want me to make them happy. One woman wants to hire me as her personal trainer. She thinks her soul needs a professional workout.”

… This review was written by Jay McInerney (“How It Ended: New and Collected Stories”) and published in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, October 1, 2009. … when I first stumbled into this story the other day, I did a double take… it read like my life…

“Meanwhile, Kurton’s research team is on the verge of publishing a study that correlates specific genetic codes with emotional well-being. But despite the large sample on which the study is based, Kurton is holding back on publication, looking for some missing datum to confirm his findings. When Thassa’s story comes to his attention he thinks he may have found it. …”

I remember listening to a Nobel Prize contending researcher detail his observations of my hyperthymic temperament…

“Kurton persuades Thassa to undergo a series of tests, and when the results are finally published — the ebullient Thassa’s genetic material having confirmed the initial findings — media interest in the Happy Gene Girl goes manic, culminating with an appearance on a Chicago talk show whose host, known to all simply as Oona, “is, by any measure, the most influential woman in the world.” In a canny elision, Powers gives us only hints of Thassa’s triumphant performance, by way of its echoes on the Internet. … “

My effervescent happiness, despite the most contrary of circumstances, led me to be taken and tested, poked and prodded, and accused many more times of being “on something”. Continue reading

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Angela Mari
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymic Novelty—On Generosity: An Enhancement

“What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments?…”

I once met a physics teacher who immediately recognized me as the main character in the play he was nearly finished writing.

“Absolutely EVERYTHING I remember is realLithium just added a layer of fantasy on it (which I could perceive even at the time).”

Born to Be Happy

After reading an article “Born to Be Happy“, I found myself emailing Hagop Akiskal, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the International Mood Center at the University of California at San Diego whose “work on dysthymia, cyclothymia and hyperthymia challenged the concept of personality disorders, led to the development of a new instrument (Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego (TEMPS-A)), thereby contributing to the worldwide renaissance of the temperament field.”

“Information may travel at light speed, but meaning spreads at the speed of dark.”

But being told that I was “hard wired for happiness” seemed a bit over simplified and “hard wired” seemed an insult to this interaction-designer-wannabe-cognitive scientist studying neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

On “Rewiring the Real

“Digital and electronic technologies that act as extensions of our bodies and minds are changing how we live, think, act, and write. Some welcome these developments as bringing humans closer to unified consciousness and eternal life. Others worry that invasive globalized technologies threaten to destroy the self and the world. Whether feared or desired, these innovations provoke emotions that have long fueled the religious imagination, suggesting the presence of a latent spirituality in an era mistakenly deemed secular and post-human.”

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Angela Mari
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget

Hello God, It’s Me, Gidget.

I was on some kind of a never ending silent treatment as if somehow God would actually read my blog and somehow respond to me—among everything else going on in this mad, mad world, including and not limited what seemed like the near blanket agreement that if one was to believe in God then it was merely a delusion which at best should be considered a form of mental illness…

As if…

“Got some attachments and baggage I’m working on leaving.”

10,000 hours, met Malcolm Gladwell at Microsoft.

“Sounds of the city on Capital Hill,
I wore cowboy boots
and did line dances on the bar
where the time went slow
while I learned to drink PBR.”

Here’s looking at you, Rosie.

You thought you could distract me from my homework? I’m going after the belly of the beast, and I couldn’t be more hungryYou carry the blood of my brothers, sisters, prophets and prophetesses.

Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven:

His authority was immense,
his glory flooded earth with brightness,
his voice thunderous:

“Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!
A ghost town for demons is all that’s left!
A garrison of carrion spirits,
garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.

All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;
kings of the earth went whoring with her;
entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.”

Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven:

Get out, my people, as fast as you can,
so you don’t get mixed up in her sins,
so you don’t get caught in her doom.

Her sins stink to high Heaven;
God has remembered every evil she’s done.

Give her back what she’s given,
double what she’s doubled in her works,
double the recipe in the cup she mixed;

Bring her flaunting and wild ways
to torment and tears.

Because she gloated,
“I’m queen over all, and no widow,
never a tear on my face,”

In one day, disasters will crush her—
death, heartbreak, and famine—

Then she’ll be burned by fire,
because God, the Strong God
who judges her, has had enough.

I am strengthened by fortified wine, I nibble on dry bread and think of the dust which composes my flesh, upon which you tread with scaled measure.

Welcome tothe Heist.”

A girl and her kite, following the lead of a boy who decided to fly his and brought her holy spirit while she bathed thinking she was alone in the world.

Time to fly guys.

Eagle is in formation.

Our virtue is in our name.

I am Christian.

I treat this like my thesis

Well-written topic, broken down into pieces

I introduce then produce, words so profuse

And then amend it, every law that ever prevented

Our survival since our arrival documented in The Bible

Like Moses and Aaron

Things gon’ change, it’s apparent

And all the transparent gonna be seen through

Let God redeem you, keep your deen true

You can get the green too

Watch out what you cling to, observe how a queen do

And I remain calm reading the 73rd Psalm

Cause with all this going on I got the world in my palm

I’m making sure I’m with the 144

I’ve been here before this ain’t a battle, this is war

Word to Boonie, I make salat like a Sunni

Get diplomatic immunity in every ghetto community

Had opportunity went from Hoodshock to Hood-chic

But it ain’t what you cop, it’s about what you keep

And even if there are leaks, you can’t capsize this ship

Cause I baptize my lips every time I take a sip

Lauryn Hill, Final Hour, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

You won’t find me in the “Kingdom Hall” on Sunday, as I no longer confuse being a Christian with choosing a Religion.

No, you’ll find me talking to the “homeless” wanderer who I can’t take home, or in the bar the true ‘neon chapel‘, not in one of the apostolic mockeries down the street.

Angie Baby, Airwalker

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Writing

Happy Anniversary — Your Freedom is Fake

Just pick up a phone and dial.

You might reach Ken Kesey.

Which will they prove true?—that I plotted and scripted the scenes, and thus am crazy, or that they are guilty.

Hint: why not both?

Good thing I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. It’s not like anyone is going to see this anyway. 😉

The Cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Posing for their photograph on location at the Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon 1974 — Mary Ellen Mark

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Religion, Truth

My Life in Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization

“…Later, at the suggestion of a friend of the family and with the approval of the school principal, the parents decided to put the youth in a clinic for the mentally ill, thinking that psychiatric treatment would make him abandon his faith.

The clinic personnel took the boy 60 miles [100 km] away in a car and injected him with huge doses of insulin and other drugs until he lost consciousness.

Upon awakening, he was completely disoriented, did not know anyone, and suffered partial amnesia. After many studies the doctors could not find any mental disorder in him. But the clinic went ahead with the treatment.

When conscious, the boy prayed continually to Jehovah not to abandon him and begged him for the strength to endure. Jehovah did protect him, and eventually he was released from the clinic.” — Watchtower March 1, 1992

Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?

The phrase “spirit directed” occurs as many time in the scriptures as the phrase holy spirit-directed organization” occurs in the Watchtower’s literature—not once.

While the Watchtower never claims to be a “holy spirit directed organization” the literature shows 23 references to their being a “spirit-directed organization”, and the references to “God’s spirit-directed organization” are only found in the baptismal candidate questions (quoted above) used as of the 1980’s.

“Only if the individual answers in the affirmative and also understands that his dedication and baptism identify him as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization can he acceptably undergo water immersion. — What Prevents You From Getting Baptized? w89 1/15 p. 13 par. 18

So we know that the Watchtower claims to be a spirit-directed organization, but has never claimed that it was “holy spirit-directed”. 

It claims that it is God’s spirit-directed organization, yet Paul acknowledged that there are many gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship these god’s.

“There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” — 1 Corinthians 8:5,6

Since we cannot be certain that this is an organization which is directed by holy spirit, as the Watchtower themselves has never claim to be holy spirit-directed, then we must wonder which god does this spirit-directed organization belong to?

The Watchtower is clear that it is Jehovah’s Spirit-Directed Organization. To make this point clear, the conclusion is simply that the Watchtower is not directed by holy spirit, it is directed by Jehovah’s spirit.

Serving God vs. Jehovah’s Organized People

Regarding “God’s Channel”: “Jehovah is using only one organization to accomplish his will.” Where is the scripture to back up the last assertion in the paragraph?

 

Jehovah has a people on this earth, and he expects us to serve him along with them. This brings us to the fourth requirement: We must serve Jehovah with his spirit-directed organization.

How, though, can God’s organized people be identified?

According to the standards set out in the Scriptures,

  • they have real love among themselves,
  • they have deep respect for the Bible,
  • they honor God’s name,
  • they preach about his Kingdom,
  • and they are no part of this wicked world.

(Matthew 6:9; 24:14; John 13:34, 35; 17:16, 17)

There is only one religious organization on this earth that has all these marks of true Christianity—Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

—What Does God Require of Us?
The Watchtower 1997 1/15 p. 22

 

The Watchtower sets up Jehovah with his spirit-directed organization above all other religious organizations on this earth, claiming that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have the marks of true Christianity. They claim that all other religious organizations and Christendom are  “Babylon the Great” as depicted in the book of Revelation.

Paul warned that the man of lawlessness “will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:4

 

Certainly if Jehovah’s Witnesses feel superior to all other Christian organizations on earth, it follows Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization openly “opposes and exalts itself over everything that is called God or is worshiped”.

The Watchtower’s world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, have been referred to as “Brooklyn Bethel” more than 500 times in the Watchtower literature (see WT DVDROM).

According to the Insight on the Scriptures book, “Beth’el” means “House of God”, and defines temple as “A divine habitation, sacred place or sanctuary, either physical or spiritual, that is employed for worship.”

Thus, in as many words, The Watchtower has defined itself as Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization openly “opposes and exalts itself over everything that is called God or is worshiped” and has set itself up as Bethel (God’s House or temple, his divine habitation), proclaiming itself to be God.

The Insight on the Scriptures book continues regarding the temple, “This “man of lawlessness” is an apostate, a false teacher, so he actually seats himself only in what he falsely claims to be that temple.”

The Insight on the Scriptures book concludes regarding “the man of lawlessness”, “by his lying teachings contrary to or superseding, as it were, the law of God, … he is a hypocrite, a false teacher claiming to be Christian, he “sits down in the temple of The God,” that is, what such false teachers claim to be that temple.”

The Bible pointed to the rise of Christendom’s clergy, describing them collectively as “the man of lawlessness” and “the son of destruction . . . whom the Lord Jesus will do away with . . . and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.”—2 Thess. 2:3, 6-8.

According to the Watchtower, “True Christians have been separated out from the “weeds” of Christendom.” — Jehovah’s Witnesses do not consider themselves part of Christendom, but “invite others to “go up” to the exalted worship of Jehovah God.

“Apostates can present yet another threat to our spirituality.

The apostle Paul foretold that apostasy would arise among professed Christians. (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

In fulfillment of his words, after the death of the apostles, a great apostasy led to the development of Christendom.

Today, there is no great apostasy taking place among God’s people [Jehovah’s Witnesses]. Still, a few individuals have left our ranks, and some among them are bent on defaming Jehovah’s Witnesses by spreading lies and misinformation. A few work with other groups in organized resistance to pure worship. In doing so, they side with the very first apostate, Satan.

Some apostates are increasingly using various forms of mass communication, including the Internet, to spread false information about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As a result, when sincere individuals do research on our beliefs, they may stumble across apostate propaganda.

Even some Witnesses have unwittingly exposed themselves to this harmful material.” — Watchtower 2000 5/1 pp. 8-12

The Watchtower itself warns, “If anyone who professes to serve God relies on his own ideas instead of adhering to the Bible… he becomes “mentally diseased.”

It’s about to be 100 years from 1914.

What was 1914? As far as anyone can see, literally, it was nothing.

The Watchtower—today—claims that it was the year Christ returned, invisibly, to earth and inspected Christendom finding the Watchtower as the sole ‘faithful and discreet slave’ (Matthew 24).

[Editor’s note: this teaching has changed again. They are now just “the slave” appointed and claim that they are faithful, though Christ has not returned to say so, and reward them.]

It gets complicated though, because in 1914, we believed he came invisibly in 1874, and that 1914 was to be the end of the last days.

It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the Watchtower’s new Jehovah’s Witnesses started teaching that he came in 1914 instead of 1874, although obviously he still came invisibly since no one knew he had come and gone—which begs the question, how did the appoint the faithful and discreet slave?

“It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the “slave” as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision.”— The Watchtower June 15, 1957 p.370

The Faithful Slave

Apparently there was much confusion there too, as Russell was believed to the be one and only faithful and discreet slave even after he died. But we don’t believe Russell was the slave, otherwise he’s dead and then what? It shifted over time to become a corporation under Rutherford into the form it’s taken as a “governing body” today.

Now, what about that ‘faithful and discreet slave’ versus the ‘evil slave’ parable? Well, the governing body is made up of imperfect men and that’s why we have to be ‘patient with the organization’ ‘waiting on Jehovah’.

In the 70’s while my dad was serving at Beth’el (meaning literally, ‘house of god’, in this case Jehovah) there were two relatives on the governing body, Raymond Franz and his uncle Fred Franz.

The Evil Slave

Raymond studied the scriptures while Fred ran the place. Raymond was assigned responsibility for producing “Studies in the Scriptures” and loved every minute preparing the material for publication.

However, what he learned from the scriptures disagreed with what the Watchtower taught, and still teaches today. His decision to stay true to the word of God, rather than Jehovah’s organization deemed him “the evil slave”.

Here’s where you have to stop and reason.

If none of these men were alive and present to be appointed ‘faithful’ in 1914, then how can the governing body be the faithful slave?

And if you can’t take it on a case-by-case basis man for man over time, then how can you remove one man from the body and call him evil, but the rest ‘the faithful’?

Wasn’t it Christ who was to appoint and reward his faithful slaves, and to judge the evil?

My dad is an ‘organization man’.

My dad vehemently defends the Watchtower as God’s organization.

I tried to ask him what if the Watchtower and the holy scriptures disagreed, but that didn’t end well.

Suffice to say he reflects Rutherford’s attitude when asked about correcting the name of God, since it’s not “Jehovah” as Jehovah’s Witnesses teach:

“At the Yankee Stadium, when giving his speech introducing the New World Translation, the Society’s president said: “…the translation committee has used the form ‘Jehovah’ because of its familiarity and because it preserves the four original letters [YHWH] of the Hebrew name. In God’s own time when He reveals the correct pronunciation of his holy name, we will gladly make the accurate correction.”—See The Watchtower, September 15, 1950, page 317 ¶ 14.

When I first tried to talk to my parents about Matthew 24 — its such a simple and easy to understand chapter! — my mother said she could ‘see me being an apostate‘.

I countered with my only hope—”please, explain to me when I’ll see my daddy again?”

You see, I was raised with a Catch 22. I had to be good enough as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain to eternal life in God’s kingdom on the paradise earth, where then I could see my daddy again, as he would be resurrected since he ‘died faithful’. (Never mind that we would both have to survive the attack by Satan at the end of the thousand years, where despite having died faithful, and been resurrected as a faithful one, my daddy or I might still succumb to Satan and die twice, three times if you include the ‘spiritual death’. Compare Hebrews 9:27)

I recalled growing up that he would come back some time during the thousand year reign based on “the last will be first, and the first will be last”. However, I had just finished reading the scriptures through for the very first time on my own, reading The Message version (read free on www.bible.com).

I had read Revelation 20:5 and it seemed simple, succinct, and it covered everything.

“And the rest of the dead don’t come to life until the thousand years have ended.”

My parents argued their “Reasoning from the Scriptures“, but the short of it is they do not believe the scriptures as written, they use man’s reasoning instead. (Mark 7:8)

Yet, this prophecy, the only book of scripture inspired by Christ himself, comes with a very explicit warning:

I give fair warning to all who hear
the words of the prophecy of this book:

If you add to the words of this prophecy,
God will add to your life
the disasters written in this book;

if you subtract from the words
of the book of this prophecy
,
God will subtract your part
from the Tree of Life
and the Holy City
that are written in this book.

He who testifies to all these things says it again:
“I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!”
I shifted back to Matthew 24.

I was begging them to explain to me how it is that we contradict what Matthew 24 says so simply—all will see him!

How is it that we believed he came invisibly then???

I also pointed out that if the appointing of the slave happened in 1914, then the judging and rewarding hasn’t happened yet — thus, the slave was appointed to feed, but had not been found faithful, discreet,—or evil!

What was ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ doing calling themselves ‘faithful’ if Christ himself had not judged them so?!

Matthew 24 parallels the same events in Revelation of the four horsemen — so isn’t the first horse that looks like Christ, but is clearly depicted as different than Christ (later in Revelation) actually the anti-Christ?

Doesn’t he ride out and conquer Christians enslaving them into his kingdom, the kingdom of the false Christ: Christendom?

Isn’t that what Matthew 24 says happens, which is also attested to by the second letter to the Thessalonians who were commended for their learning, but warned not to listen to the teachings of men over that of God’s own word, or his son, the Word?

At the Watchtower’s Annual Meeting 2012 they changed the teaching.

I remind my mother that to turn “apostate” doesn’t mean to turn your back on religion or the Watchtower, it means to turn your back on God, and the one whom he sent forth: the way, the truth, the life.

“Veritas Via Vitae.”

Please know that it took great courage for me to finally find my voice: Having been silenced for years from speaking to those I thought were my ‘true’ friends and family I turned to writing.

However, living in an atheist society and surrounded by dogmatic “IRL” friends, I kept my faith to myself.

Having been taught that “there is no where else to go” because all other religions are false religions, I no longer had any spiritual association.

It never occurred to me to find out who, among my “IRL friends” were Christian. After all, back then if someone were to ask me if I were a Christian, I’d reply that I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (And what is that but another denomination of nominal Christians in Christendom? Ah how we love our divisive sects!)

Jessica, Lindsey, Ashley, et al, it’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since I’ve had a hug from one of my ‘friends’.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

It’s been eight years, we were friends before Facebook came along.

However, my family members ‘unfriend’ me as if somehow that can change the fact that we are family. Now, you get to make the choice. You guys are it. The only ones who know me of all the people listed as my ‘friends’ on Facebook. You get to choose to love me, or ‘unfriend’ me.

I do not believe the Watchtower organization is directed by holy spirit any more than any other organization on the planet. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”, the scriptures say, and no where does it say that He (neither God, nor his Son) would come down and appoint any organization. Even still all that slave was to do was to feed faithfully and discreetly while waiting for the master to return.

He doesn’t urge “come out of her my people” just so you can hurry into the Kingdom Hall instead.

As far as I can tell, God’s Kingdom, nor Christ’s has come to earth yet.

So just whose Kingdom are you meeting in?

The Last Supper, Seattle, December 1, 2004

The Last Supper, Seattle, December 1, 2004

 

I woke up.

There’s a story there, it’s the reason I chose the specific example at the outset… But I can’t write everything from the past 33 years of my life in one blog post. 🙂

However, I’m going to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with the help of my Father, his Son, and the holy spirit.

It’s going to be fun.

You know the best part? You can unfriend me, and you can still come read the stories, on my Facebook or on my blog.

I have set everything up to be public.

Thanks for reading this far if you have.

That night of the ‘Last Supper’ happened also to be my 25th birthday.

We were there to ‘celebrate’ our last night out together before my getting disfellowshipped, not to celebrate my birthday.

I’m 33 now.

“Oh, sweet thing
Zion doesn’t love you
And Babylon don’t love you
But you love everything
Oh, you saint”

When I was 30 I went to Burning Man, a week long art festival. As I stood among all those people in the desert it was hard not to think of the Israelites in the desert dancing before the burning calf.

Outside the tents, on the festival grounds
As the air began to cool, and the sun went down
My soul swooned, as I faintly heard the sound
Of you spinning “Israelites”
Into “19th Nervous Breakdown”

“Babel” by Mumford and Sons

‘Cause I know that time has numbered my days
And I’ll go along with everything you say
But I’ll ride home laughing, look at me now
The walls of my town, they come crumbling down

And my ears hear the call of my unborn sons
And I know their choices color all I’ve done
But I’ll explain it all to the watchman’s son,
I ain’t ever lived a year better spent in love

‘Cause I’ll know my weakness, know my voice
And I’ll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
But I’ll be born without a mask

Like the city that nurtured my greed and my pride,
I stretched my arms into the sky
I cry Babel! Babel! Look at me now
Then the walls of my town, they come crumbling down

You ask where will we stand in the winds that will howl,
As all we see will slip into the cloud
So come down from your mountain and stand where we’ve been,
You know our breath is weak and our body thin

Press my nose up, to the glass around your heart
I should’ve known I was weaker from the start,
You’ll build your walls and I will play my bloody part
To tear, tear them down,
Well I’m gonna tear, tear them down

‘Cause I know my weakness, know my voice,
And I’ll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
But I’ll be born without a mask

“O’ Sister” by City and Color

Oh sister
What’s wrong with your mind?
You used to be so strong and stable
My sister
What made you fall from grace?
I’m sorry that I was not there to catch you

What have the demons done?
What have the demons done?
With the luminous light that once shined from your eyes
What makes you feel so alone
Is it the whispering ghosts
That you feared the most
But the blackness in your heart
Won’t last forever
I know it’s tearing you apart
But it’s a storm you can weather

Oh sister
Those lines etched in your hands
They’re hardened and rough like a road map of sorrow
My sister
There is a sadness on your face
You’re like a motherless child who’s longing for comfort
What’s running through your veins
That’s causing you such pain?
Does it have something to do with the pills they gave to you?
What is eating at your soul?
Was it the whispering ghosts that left you out in the cold?

But the blackness in your heart
Won’t last forever
I know it’s tearing you apart
But it’s a storm you can weather

Oh sister
My sister

“Demons” by Imagine Dragon

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Curtain’s call
Is the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl

So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At the mess you made

Don’t want to let you down
But I am hell bound
Though this is all for you
Don’t want to hide the truth

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul
I need to let you go

Your eyes, they shine so bright
I want to save that light
I can’t escape this now
Unless you show me how

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

I’m letting the demons out.

I’ve held the truth inside for too long.

And you know, “the truth shall set you free”.

Too bad we grew up thinking “the truth” was our religion, eh?

“God is love.”

What is Jehovah?

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Daniel Zackariah Rhodes: He ain
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget

He’s not Happy, He’s my Brother

What persuaded me?—It was the Word, alone…

There was a summer,
not the last,
the one before,
where it was decided
that my ignorance
should be no longer.

Fade out on scene.

I was taken prisoner.

More accurately, I was carried away in handcuffs to the San Diego Psychiatric Hospital because someone I had known less than seven days had thought I was “strange”.

I was abused, and I was amused—they were not.
It was fear, not faith that they sought in my face.

Are You There God? Fuddle & Judy Blume

I had no fear: “What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6, Hebrews 13:6)

Fickle fuddled words couldn’t confuse me.

“Do you hear voices”, she asked?
I hear them calling my name, I sang.

Wasn’t this all a scene to amuse me,
to carry me from the boredom of insanity?

Indeed it did.

San Diego County Public Health Department

Man can cuff you,
rough you, drug you
and count the hours you lay wake.

Still I thought they did it somehow for my sake.
They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t cower and quake.
I couldn’t understand why they thought I would break?

 

I felt my mind pull away from sanity
as the days lithium laden drew longer.

They wondered, ‘why won’t she sleep?’

There is no man
but the one
who came from above
who knows what it is
that is best for me.

The lithium,
only a dose of two
or three keep me awake
for more than a week.

What is meant to cause sleepiness,
sedation, to make the violent meek,
made me lose my mind
and left me with only my eyes
with which the truth I might seek.

Have you ever looked into your own eyes
knowing therein alone is the truth?

 

They’d sought to convince me
I’d never been there before.

You see, it takes quite a journey
to bring me to my knees.

The day I went in in handcuffs,
taken from the garden where I’d sleep,
three needles and they lay me asunder
in the authority of their keep.

 

I awoke to see a vision,
a woman whose eyes I needn’t seek.
What a beautiful moment of awakening—
Her eyes looked back at me.

I knew that she was Angela,
beautiful skin the color of
the nature of Peru.

I’m not crazy
and coincidence
is beyond
belief.

Her name was, of course, Angela.
And Angela, yes, is also me…

But there is another,
as I am Angela Marié

The other is Maria Angela,
or Angela Maria, as I knew her,
she explained once to me sixteen
or as many years before.

There inexplicably,
with the moment of sight eye-to-eye
she lay before me.

Only you must know that I am sane—you see?

With what it is that I knew,
I also knew it could not also be true.

Another moment of reality:
Sanity holds true.
Her name was Angela.

One day
I’ll tell you her story.
I do not worry for her,
for in her I saw me.

Our brief moments,
or at least those brief moments
where consciousness was once again mine,
were interrupted by the authority
which told me I should no longer “be”.

They brought me in, condemned,
to 72 hours of detention
but now they didn’t want me.

I believe there was something
in all I had said the night before,
when they laid me to sleep
from which I wasn’t certain to awake,
that made their soul wonder, worry and shake.

“If you can call someone to pick you up, you’re free.”

 

Drugged, bruised. I had no family.

I called someone, and he came, and we’d leave in a hurry.

He didn’t ask about what it was that he’d seen.

Some people know you,
though they’ve known you not long,
I imagine you’d believe.

 

He drove me home,
and I asked
if we could not stop
at the coffee shop
on the way?

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

I tasted the elixir which became my sanities keep,
little did I know my body knew what it was I did need
caffeine is the remedy when lithium dost thus leak.

 

Back home he left me, returning quickly to his life which he could only leave briefly.

My roommate, the Trojan, was surprised to see me. I looked into his Greek eyes and told him it’d no longer be.

At once he got out, and I had the day to open the doors wide and see what might come inside.

 

I swept his room clean, nice and empty, and there I prepared it for what I’d long since wanted it to be to arrive.

Girls came to help, friends like arriving like angels, children who’d come to play with me.

They helped me pitch my tent, safely where I could lay.

That night in my delight, I entered and slept on the hardwood floor.

As I closed the tent folds behind me, I had only that which I adore. I had carried in my bible, that one which I had before the day I was baptized, in it is still taped a hair, the one he taped the first time I considered sharing my life. I had my violin, it is a mere symbol, that it be that one or an earlier of mine, it was simply my red violin.

I suppose here I must stop to introduce the tall lanky weed with blonde hair, the child I knew was my grandfather before time thus upon him grew.

Daniel Zackariah "Johnny" Rhodes

You see the night before after the free had been freed, I decided to take the light out which bothered my sleep.

Windansea Rat

It was three in the morn when out of my room and into the street I’d sneak. I stood there midway in bright as day, equipped with a step stool and coffee mitt in either hand prepared, there’s no wonder why it is that they’d stare. The lost then wandered around the corner, and they looked on at I, as I at they and we neither much mattered if the other so much cared. I asked if they’d see anyone rustling bikes in the night, they countered—”why?”—stiffening as if I was prompting a fight. Oh, I told them, some have gone—disappeared. Since they wander in the night, perhaps they’d look out from now on? What is it that you’re doing, not so innocent yourself? I told them what it was I was up to, with night as my only stealth. The one offered to take that mitt off my hands, and the stool he’d too take, and he promised tomorrow, from sleep I would awake. I offered my home for their slumber, they walked it off waiting to drive to their sleep. While one would humbly accept the offer, the other not accustomed to the kindness of strangers, would slink away after the good deed while I slept in his promised sleep.

Roxie and "Johnny"

I woke in the morning. The cat in hat on my couch did sleep! Oh, momma, oh my! How is it that wonder did not pass by-and-by?! Is this really, could it, would it truly be!? Did he hear the prayer that my soul groaned though my knees had never relented, never ever before meek or weak?

Seuss socks for big feet

Truth I do tell, my heart did swell as the child like golden death did sleep. I slipped out the day for my plunder, and my routines to return to upkeep. I went to Harry’s, the 1960’s family diner that I adore, and Harry’s adored me as ever before. I stopped in Bird Rock for coffee, cappuccino in hand, I pressed on further beyond the border of my imaginary land. I met the mechanic, a good hearted man, he promised he fix it, “if he can”.

Boulevard Automotive

I set off determined to venture further, into the Pacific I’d determined to be, there was a bike for sale I’d ride back along the beach. But mere blocks later—who knows if it were the woman or the dog that I’d first meet?—there walked love, three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and their mommy who they lead. I asked her, who are they? A doggy I’m in need. She said, well here have one, I have one more than I can keep. She handed me the leash to the mommy, opening her heart to love to lose later and for love lost later to bleed. I said why don’t we walk the block or two towards the ocean, and when it we meet, you go the one way, and I the other—when she thus notices, she’ll turn back and toward my home we’ll walk whilst it is you she seeks? Thus it in my life full of wonder, that she did give me her child, in mere moments of meeting, and in mere moments later of meeting did part, her with love and me with her heart. Rosie was her name, a saucy red head more beautiful than anything I’ve ever loved. A red headed daughter of a black Irish man. Pure breed and with papers, she and I could ignore, we were a pair made in heaven, and heaven we’d explore.

Roxie at Bird Rock Surf Shop

We weaved and wove, wandering where the street drove, making our way back home. Along the way, as life would stray, Rosie became Roxie, and thus began what felt like the dawn of new day. She and I tired as we made our way, and eventually came upon a man who had decided he was too. He stopped jogging to walk aside us, and for a moment my heart arose. In childlike wonder, my mind did ponder, would I recognize my father if my father had aged and appeared before my eyes? He was a physicist, he taught Alice in Wonderland, and at night he wrote. He had a screenplay, of which apparently I was already the star. He stumbled and nearly fell, in a few blocks learning what was relatively little, but recognizing what it was in only dreams he had previously he’d saw. The only difference between her and me were the dreads upon her head, he said, and as he faltered it seems the sight of me nearly brought him to his knees.

I explained that he were going home, and she was going home with me. He marveled and stuttered, my life is unimaginable, or imagined by most to be a dream. He said he has a puppy, and he could go home and fetch food for her to eat. He left us at my corner, the wrong-way one-way dead end at the ocean where sky meets dreams, as he headed up the other way, climbing up the street towards the peek.

Tent

So it is that later that night as I climb into my tent content that my life is nothing like others, that which seems so bleak, there remained a child of flaxen hair, an abused spirit with a bored debonair stare, and with him in tow, suddenly, his only baggage—a guitar, and a suitcase bearing the cross marked for the Hell’s Angels, upon which a book of words to sound smart with worn edges darkened by frequent thumbing did lay. He kept Roxie, and made me a milkshake to end my day. I ate from the box, it made by some combination of who knows what but I’ll never forget; luscious, delicious and creamy with berries! I laid my head down to sleep.

Your Local Hells Angels

It seemed he’d slumber pulled asunder, an escaped angel of death, I marveled at what length he dozed. Only on the third day from this arrest was it he rose. He wore my socks, Dr. Seuss striped woven warmers of toes. So happy was me, to finally be free, the Trojan having been disposed. Alas my mind’s sass should have held back for fast it was that the next wave thus goes.

Seuss Socks

As he sat at the table which sat by the window, the writers seat looking out at sea, he gazed aimlessly at the book which lay before him his eyes suddenly I worried would be deceived. Buddha sat fat and lifeless one of those epic idols of stone before the lost child who sat listless, lonely, dejected and alone. He drank a coca-cola, and I asked he leave it alone. He wondered what was wrong with it, and to reason at that moment I was not prone. Exchange exchanged in a toss and a throw its with shame I admit, first the coke soaked the cover, before out the door, um, well you know.

Aaron and Maximilian Diaz

Anyone would be angered by the arrogant dismissal, oh you know, there’s no excuse for anyone to take someone’s possession and even out one’s own door take aim and throw. It seems somehow not much later with things much sedater that I sat on the couch, my lap Roxie’s throne. My feet up and resting, my sleep not yet recovered from drug’s dressing. Behind me a rustle, the police they entered in a bustle, no privacy no concept of domain or that it was my home.

Roxie Rests

They entered and stood over me, and their eyes I did meet, no wilting flower, what ever did they want to thus dare to interrupt my dear darling Roxie’s sleep and stand before and above and behind me?

No Wilting Flower

Oh rile me Satan and I thus shall scorn, your work at which you weary is thus on my nerves thus worn. I say get behind me, and the serpent does seethe. Reject the devil and he will flee, but it isn’t immediately he’d leave me. They picked and they lingered, loitering and looking, until finally I was peeved.

This is my message to you...

What is it, I ask, that you seek? Do you have an address book? (For what should they need an address book, indeed?) I sent them with detailed instruction to where three lay precisely, though each would give them nothing but that which they said they’d seek.

Have you noticed, my nature, gone sour from sweet? Three days after my freedom would bleed, drugged into stupor and stupidity with an edge of a nicotine fiend, they ask will you go willingly or, proverbially, shall we put you on your knees?

I noted that that was no choice at all, and with a sigh I rose in dignity the last moment of peace I recall.

They had asked a myriad of questions, each one asked I answered as fast, precise and accurately as the last. Their questions amused me, how little it showed they’d know. For instance, who asks a girl geek for an address book, not asking instead to see her iPhone? Did I drug my dog, um no? Was it out the door his book I’d thrown? Yes, I didn’t want it in my home. Did you let this man stay here, yes? Does it matter if he had no place to stay? I offered him a place for his head to lay. “A homeless vagrant” though I told them his name and his licensed address no shamed claim to fame. Thus Roxie got fleas, Daniel Zechariah Rhodes took leave, and I’d lose my home.

There’s nine days in between, but at twenty-fours of persistent wakeful sleep speed, thats more than a chapter, and less than a dream.

Suffice to say its somewhere between Angela’s eyes and a tent wander’s dreams.

Though I took the Word into my tent and slept in a wilderness of my own, it was months later I read the book which told me my heart knew I had a home.

So either it’s something in that story, which is long from being done and told, or it is simply the answer.

“I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.”

It was the Word and the Word alone.

Third World Exotic Surfboards

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Angela Glass SxSW 2009 (Photo Credit @JayZombie)
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymia != Bipolar

It was the use and consequential paradoxical effects of Clonazepam—suffering from drug induced episodes of hypomania—which lead to the discovery that I am what they call “a hyperthymic temperament”.

While it is true that patients who experience hypomania as a side effect of Clonazepam may prove to have a form of bipolar disorder that has previously gone unrecognized, drug-induced hypomania is not invariably indicative of bipolar affective disorders.

It’s frustrating because suddenly I’m facing the woes I wrote about in college regarding labeling mental illness, and the impact of the use of labels, such as “creative” or “over-achiever”.

Label it or Leave it?

Happy Hyperthymia and Hyper Hypomania

Hyper Hypomania vs. Happy Hyperthymia

Some people would include in the Bipolar Disorder category a consistently elevated mood called hyperthymia. Being constantly upbeat and always enthusiastic is not unheard of, but it is not the norm in the general population. It is more common to experience a fairly steady, neither-too-high-nor-too-low mood characterized by some contentment, some discontentment, some happiness, and some sadness — usually associated with external events such as receiving good news, problems with personal relationships, etc.

Does a long-lasting, exuberant mood that causes no problem need to be placed on the spectrum of mood disorders? In a clinical sense, no. If it poses no threat to anyone’s health, it is not a concern for psychiatrists. Cataloging and understanding a mental state like this, however, may help us better understand the full spectrum of emotional states related to mood disorders and provide clues about what can go wrong when moods become extreme.

Happy Hyperthymia

Some people always seem to be upbeat and energetic, trying new things and initiating new projects. This trait, which is sometimes called hyperthymia, is not unlike being on a “permanent high.” Some people argue that hyperthymia is a type of mood disorder that results in high activity and inflated sense of self-esteem — something like living with constant hypomania but with the crucial difference that it is not as clearly episodic. Instead, it seems to last and is without any associated depression.

While observations of many people indicate some of them have this mood trait, hyperthymic disorder is not recognized as a mood disorder by either of the two mainstream authorities, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization. It appears in neither of their diagnostic manuals, the DSM IV and the ICD-10.

On the surface, people with hyperthymia seem optimistic and full of energy. They radiate self-confidence and self-reliance; they seem to believe they can do whatever needs to be done. They thrive on new experiences that promise variety, intrigue, and novelty. Usually, they have a great many personal interests, as well as plans for the future. They also can be articulate and witty.

It might be most accurate to think of hyperthymia as a temperament or personality trait rather than as a marker of a mental disorder. Of course, if this trait causes problems, then it becomes a legitimate subject for psychological or psychiatric care.

In fact, criticism of mainstream psychiatry is often directed at its alleged predisposition to label people with problems that don’t exist. The inclusion of homosexuality in earlier editions of the DSM IV — an error since corrected — is a frequently cited example. The reality is if someone is not unhappy, suffering, or a threat to themselves or others, psychiatrists have no reason to intervene. They are busy enough treating people with serious mental problems. It is only when complaints or serious problems appear that the labels of the DSM IV are applied as part of the process for providing effective treatment. A hyperthymic personality can be satisfying, productive, and creative. But if for some individuals it is a manifestation of a part of a spectrum of mood disorders, it could be problematic. For example, some people later diagnosed with bipolar disorder first seek help with depression after they have experienced a set-back in their lives. A close look back over their lives may reveal that they have been hyperthymic. Rather than having easily recognizable mood swings, these people may have been experiencing years of constant emotional elevation and enthusiasm along with a long history of uncompleted endeavors.

Also, the lack of a healthy response to the full range of life experience might cause problems for some people who always seem to have elevated spirits. A full, healthy life for most people includes periods of elation and introspection, action and reflection. If only one pole of our emotional lives is present, we may miss the benefits of the counterbalancing half of our responses to events. Consequently, we may lack understanding and empathy in the way we interact with people and respond to events in our lives.

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Ancestry, Neuroscience

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

“I know, you’re bi-polar.”

“Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.”

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.

In the course of the last year, the woman lost her husband to cancer and then her job. But she did not come to my office as a patient; she sought advice about her teenage son who was having trouble dealing with his father’s death.

Despite crushing loss and stress, she was not at all depressed – sad, yes, but still upbeat. I found myself stunned by her resilience. What accounted for her ability to weather such sorrow with buoyant optimism? So I asked her directly.

“All my life,” she recalled recently, “I’ve been happy for no good reason. It’s just my nature, I guess.”

But it was more than that. She was a happy extrovert, full of energy and enthusiasm who was indefatigably sociable. And she could get by with five or six hours of sleep each night.

Like this woman, a journalist I know realized when she was a teenager that she was different from others. “It’s actually kind of embarrassing to be so cheerful and happy all the time,” she said. “When I was in high school I read the Robert Browning poem `My Last Duchess.’ In it, the narrator said he killed his wife, the duchess, because, `she had a heart – how shall I say, too soon made glad?’ And I thought, uh-oh, that’s me.”

These two women were lucky to be born with a joyous temperament, which in its most extreme forms is called hyperthymia. Cheerful despite life’s misfortunes, energetic and productive, they are often the envy of all who know them because they don’t even have to work at it.

In a sense, they are the psychiatric mirror image of people who suffer from a chronic, often lifelong, mild depression called dysthymia, which affects about 3 percent of American adults. Always down, dysthymics experience little pleasure and battle through life with a dreary pessimism. Despite whatever fortune comes their way, they remain glum.

But hyperthymia certainly doesn’t look like an illness; there appears to be no disadvantage to being a euphoric extrovert, except, perhaps, for inspiring an occasional homicidal impulse from jealous friends or peers. But little is actually known about people with hyperthymia for the simple reason that they don’t see psychiatrists complaining that they are happy.

Continue reading

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

my family: persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

Hyperthymic Personality Disorder – General Practice Notebook

Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorders are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement.

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Cannabis, Neuroscience

Diagnosis!

From: Angela M. Baxley
Date: May 18, 2011 1:19:46 AM EDT
To: BAY
Subject: Diagnosis!

I have a diagnosis: hyperthymic temperament with [drug induced episodes of] hypomania.

Talked to a doctor today (see below). We talked for a little more than an hour, over the phone. He ruled out epilepsy (if a concern, past as childhood) and manic/bipolar, depression.

He said there isn’t much a treatment. Continue Serofin, likely that can reduce “need” for effects of MJ. Should know in about 1 month.

Half-life for Clonazepam is extremely long and he was not at all surprised by any of my experiences.

Apparently I’ll just live with hypothymic [sic] temperament the same way Micheal just lives with dysphoria. I’m the euphoria to his dysphoria. No wonder I was so attracted to him. I always felt he gave me that other half of life perspective.

@ang @baxley

 


 

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Vishaal Mehra”
Date: May 16, 2011 3:56:03 PM PDT
To: “‘Angela M. Baxley'”
Subject: RE: Request

Hi Angela

Clonazepam (and other benzodiazepine medication) can have an atypical response in some individuals, such as disinhibition, mood changes, and activation—rather than the expected calming/sedation often seen with these types of meds.

Would you like to talk over the phone to discuss your symptoms further?

I have some availability this week

Let me know

Vishaal

Vishaal Mehra MD, CPI
CEO and Medical Director
Artemis Institute for Clinical Research
8787 Complex Dr, Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92123
Office: (858) ARTEMIS (278-3647)

 


 

From: Angela M. Baxley
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 3:35 PM
To: Vishaal Mehra
Subject: Re: Request

Hi Vishaal,

Thank you for helping. Matt is a great guy, and I appreciate all his help as well.

I have had unusual symptoms from what I can recall around 15 or so up to today. I would like to see who might be able to professionally guide my search for understanding.

I recently had a panic attack with which I took 2 Clonazepam. That sent me into a rage. That sent me to Wikipedia, where I learned that much of what’s been “wrong” may all be due to the medication.

Please let me know what you need from me.

And once again,
Thank you.

Angela

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