The Bipolar prayer

My prayer to God the father/mother, the Great Spirit the true source of divinity. May the mystical and cosmic Christ open our hearts to the truth about reality. The reality that mental illness is often a blurred reality and God of all comfort, help our longings with your divine patience to accept this.

May the Great Spirit open and expand our consciousness in the truth, so we know we need help and support to navigate this complex existence, and we will willingly reach out to the people you empower to love and assist us. God, you know the lens we need to see this world through that will allow us to live in harmony, help us discover and wear these lens in peace.

I pray Mother God train the child inside us, the one that accepts the present moment, the one that loves the adventure life offers. Christ, our hearts can have your compassion so I pray it becomes our mantra for humanity. Also, help us have your mind and experience and live, your ways not just worshiping you or seeing you in an ideological way.

Great Spirit of comfort on that day when nothing makes sense help us lean on your understandings and trust your ways, teach us to quieten our egotistical and analytical minds. I pray we listen to our hearts and trust you are with us and we have a knowing that all things serve.

Finally Father/Mother God we know we are here for a purpose and we are valuable to You and many others, help us embrace this value deep in our hearts.

So be it.

 

 

 

 

Why fear pharmaceuticals for our mental health?

I am forty-nine and was diagnosed as most know with Bipolar disorder when I was thirty-nine. When I first was told by a lovely middle aged pshcologisits. I was surprised how she broke the news to me. I must have had about six or seven one hour sessions with her.

Before I get to the how you may wonder why I saw her in the first place? Well, back then I had a couple of beers, I am a non-drinker these days due to adverse effect with my mental illness and medications. I had a small amount of beer and woke up feeling like my nervous system was not right that simple; of course, there was a feeling of high elevation and pressed speech before this but I put that down to work pressure. However, I had no business or job to blame because of other unfortunate circumstances. So, I wondered what might be wrong with me and in Australia, the government will pay for ten visits a year to see a mental health professional.

Anyway, after a few visits, the psychologist came in with a piece of paper and said a few kind words and handed it over to me. It was a pamphlet about the mood disorder, Bipolar. I was dumbfounded, one because I had never heard of it and now having been told I had it. This was an earth shattering experience, I was expecting anxiety or stress maybe, not a serious mental illness. I was in a daze for a couple days. I had to go on lithium immediate and my local Doctor started me on a small dose and built up to therapeutic levels. Within a couple of weeks, I was feeling great and was amazed how well the medication worked for me.

I was not fully convinced I had it still, but the medication sure did wonders to calm my pressed speech and mood swings. My ex-wife at the time was amazed too, I calmed right down and started to sleep better and live life better. My sleep was still an issue but the Zyprexa at night fixed that pretty quick too. The night time tab was the smallest dose and also had a radical effect on my quality of life. I felt so good I decided to go and do a degree in theology, which I completed. My education continued up till recently when I completed my graduate Diploma in Pastoral Care.

Unfortunately, recently I felt so good I went off all medication, although typical behaviour for Bipolar disorder. Cut a long story short it was a tough six months off medications and I now I know for sure I have a serious mental illness. Thankfully, no hospitalisation or any harm done. Consequently, a big learning curve for me. I have a new psychiatrist now and decided to try out a new medication that does not cause weight gain like the old medications. Thankfully the no side effects so far and feel the best I have ever felt in my life. Moral of the story, if you need medication please take it and don’t self-medicate on alcohol or other stimulants. Please get help and follow the advice of your medical professionals, please do not fear mental health professionals, they are there to help you and they will if you give them a chance.

I know it’s tough Love Scott.

Are the uses of incense a myth or a genuine form of therapy?

If you would have told me ten years ago that incense would be helpful in my moods I would have laughed. I may have even sworn at you and said, ” don’t push your crazy stupid ideas onto me” However, less that a year ago a good friend of mine introduced me to Aromatherapy oils. I started to burn different oils in my bedroom at night time about one hour before I went to bed. I had quick results, I calmed down for sleep quicker and had a greater sense of peace in the room. IMG_0043So the next thing offered or introduced to me from the same friend was incense. You can see the wooden holder, it comes in two parts and the incense burns inside it. The box in front is a favourite incense, I use regularly. It is hard to believe, but if I have a day at home and I am feeling not so good emotionally, I just light some incense. This has a calming and grounding affect on my emotions. It just settles me down and gets me on track with what I should be doing. It certainly changes my mindset and moods. It goes back a long way, and for you people who like the bible, you would know it was presented to the baby, Jesus.

It is ancient, and for you people who like the Bible, you may have read about it.

Matthew (2:11). – 11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

“These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil. In fact, these same three items were apparently among the gifts, recorded in ancient inscriptions, that King Seleucus II Callinicus offered to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus in 243 B.C.E”

Other civilisations have used in other fascinating ways, for instance, the Chinese used it as a clock.

“The incense clock (simplified Chinese香钟traditional Chinese香鐘pinyinxiāngzhōngWade–Gileshsiang-chung; literally: “fragrance clock”) is a Chinese timekeeping device that appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and spread to neighboring countries such as Japan. The clocks’ bodies are effectively specialized censers that hold incense sticks or powdered incense that have been manufactured and calibrated to a known rate of combustion, used to measure minutes, hours, or days. The clock may also contain bells and gongs which act as strikers. Although the water clock and astronomical clock were known in China (example: Su Song), incense clocks were commonly used at homes and temples in dynastic times.”

My point is simple, some things in life are easy to use and can change our days. It is cheap to operate and is one of my simple pleasures in life. IMG_0044Also very helpful if you meditate or pray. Of course, there is the fine line between to stronger and not strong enough in the smell. However, with patience, you will find what you like. I was a sceptic but now see the many benefits of nice smells. I still use the oils in the room and also in the lounge at times. All of it is useful for me, in terms of feeling better on stressful days.

My Mental Health Challenges

Firstly, I have Bipolar and was diagnosed when I was about thirty-nine maybe forty. I am forty-nine now and manage it well considering the challenges I have faced. I have never been hospitalised or harmed myself or anyone else physically. I was in the Navy as a young guy in my late teens and early twenties.Scots-12 This experience started out as a big adventure. I got through recruit training with no issues and was selected for submarine training. I was passing everything with little effort. However, my drinking started to increase and my sleeplessness was catching up with me. My behaviour started to become erratic and unpredictable. I ended up going AWOL, Away Without Leave, twice and was assaulted and hospitalised as a result of injuries in two very short periods of time. The hospitalisation was not psychiatric. This all went unnoticed in terms of mental health issues. I even saw Navy physiologist before I got out after these bad episodes; now recognising with much-lived experience as Bipolar now in hindsight.

Definition 

“Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.”

 

I was done with military life in my early twenties. What happen till I got diagnosed at nearly forty years of age. I still worked and had a family, but I had some tough times. My moods and at times illogical behaviour was hard for everyone. Thankfully I survived and managed to get treatment finally. This is a long story and certainly no room in this short blog, however, I am giving out some general advice based on my lived experience.

Advice from my lived experience.

  1. If you are not sleeping please see a medical professional about ways to manage this better. Sleep or lack of it, can be a sign of poor mental health and even mental illness.
  2. Diet is vital in order for the body to run at it full potential. Poor nutrition can exasperate mental illness or create poor mental health.
  3. Obviously, many substances including alcohol will not help. This Includes smoking cigarettes and cannabis. You need to live clean of any type of stimulant, including sugar and caffeine, it goes without saying that mind altering drugs will drastically reduce your chances of managing your mental health well.

For me, intellectual stimulation and walking have helped. I have found writing very therapeutic and healing. You need to find the things that give your life meaning and put your energy into those things. I am a believer in God and exploring my inner life, or another way to put this, looking to my heart has helped me immensely. Having an excellent psychiatrist and being well supported by your loved ones is vital. Finlay, take your medication properly and only as directed always.

I love written prayers and here is one use regularly.  Love Scott

Major Life Transition

Lord, help me now to unclutter my life, to organise myself in the direction of simplicity. Lord, teach me to listen to my heart; teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it. Lord, I give you these stirrings inside me. I give you my discontent. I give you my restlessness. I give you my doubt. I give you my despair. I give you all the longings I hold inside. Help me to listen to these signs of change, of growth; help me to listen seriously and follow where they lead through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.

Claiborne, Shane. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (pp. 552-553).