Thanks everyone for these replies. They are good food for thought. Going in to a bit more depth, I know all too well of the dangers of drugs too. Around the time I started developing Bipolar symptoms, my father had forced me to take marijuana. He later forced me again about five times until the age of 15 - sometimes also mixed with tobacco. I can't remember for certain if symptoms came before or after that first drug use, but I certainly do feel that it is most likely the thing which started it all. I have a strong family history of Bipolar Disorder, but it is very unusual for symptoms to start at such a young age. I have only taken Marijuana one time willingly, about two years ago. At the time, I'd talked to many friends with Bipolar disorder, some who self medicate with marijuana, and it seemed clear that it wouldn't worsen symptoms - indeed that was correct, and it finally helped me get beyond that drug, as it had haunted me for a long time. I've been more at peace with what happened since, though I must admit I took an unhealthy pleasure in my father's death one year ago.
So far as medication goes - I have never missed a dose since starting. Whenever I've been uncertain that I might remember to take it, I've used alarms on my phone and the likes to make extra certain. It has made things so much better, I now worry sometimes what would happen if I would no longer be able to afford to take it (as it is not covered by public health care in my country for use treating bipolar patients, despite being the most effective drug we have today). A part of what helped me to survive through very destructive past experiences, was a promise I made to myself - I'd only move forward. I promised myself that no matter how bad things were, so long as I kept moving forward to a better place, I wouldn't give up. It was a mental structure which allowed me to endure what made suicide a very appealing idea, and it worked. Still, it leaves me somewhat vulnerable - if this medicine became unavailable, what would happen? I don't want to live that life. It is one of so much suffering, and while meditation did bring relief, it was short lived - bad thoughts would return within minutes of finishing. While possible to lightly try to meditate all day, it isn't a terribly fulfilling life, and is quite a hungry one! So, this issue too, haunts me somewhat. It is a drug I am totally dependant on, but I don't see any way around that.
I feel the characterisation of my experience with LSD as having given only short term benefit is incorrect. While it did leave me very relaxed and calmed for weeks after, and some of my anxieties and troubles returned after that - it did bring a lasting change. I feel my life was improved by the experience, and anxieties reduced by what feels like about half. I've since been more relaxed and trusting, which has improved my ability to make friends. This is why I decided to take it a second time - this lasting effect which I might be able to build upon. The hours and weeks after a trip left me disconnected enough that I could unpack issues I've been too traumatised to deal with otherwise. My usual tactic of spending a day each week digging in to myself, to think about and try to come to peace with the scary corners of my mind I usually hide from, worked for years, but eventually stopped. About a year ago, I realised I had made no further progress for a long time, because while much of that which weighed me down had been resolved, the very worst, most frightening things, had remained. Things of such intense emotional weight I would be filled with panic and fear, so much that on thinking about those things I would quickly go in to severe shock, my mind would then go quiet, and I would limply lay on the ground for about half an hour, unmoving, unthinking, unfeeling, eyes open, but aware of nothing.
I believe it is these things which LSD has helped me to unpack. Somehow, for those days and weeks after, I've been so at peace with my fears, I could just casually think about them without issue, deconstruct them, and make real positive change. The insights I gain are not so much the silly things like 'Wow, trees are amazing!' which any level of meditative practice could bring about - it is this ability to introspect in to things I normally have never found the ability to examine. I think that's real, and for me, quite valuable.
As a sidenote, I did spend a few hours each week reading and researching about the effects of LSD, particularly on people with trauma, bipolar, and on various medications, for many months before concluding that the risks were outweighed by the potential benefits for me. This is something I've become all too familiar with. One of the risks of the medication I take to treat bipolar is the development of a rash, which quickly covers the entire body, and within days leads to death. It's a frightening prospect, but far less frightening than the prospect of taking no medication at all to help with bipolar disorder.
Some specific replies:
For people with psychotic sympthoms, meditation has to be aproached carefuly (Let alone LSD!!!
Yes, meditating was very difficult for many years. It was how I unpacked some very unhappy thoughts, and is something I saw as a chore, but as necessary to getting better. While it worked for me, I can hardly draw on any of my experiences and say that I would recommend them to anyone else. I think we all need to find our own way through things like these, and meditation was a large part of a very difficult path I took.
So far as 'brain is fried', I hope you can see from the large gap between the two times I've taken LSD (aprox. eight months) that I've spent some time considering if it would be the right thing to do, and I cannot imagine ever finding it sensible to take more often than 2-3 times a year, at most! It's effects last quite some time, so as I see it, for about a month after the trip, I'm in a space where I can deal with the things which weigh me down, then, some time must be spent without that state, to be sure one is working from a 'normal' perspective, and to make sure the taking of a drug is to help bring about long term improvement, and not ever a way of running away and avoiding dealing with problems. I can see from the great variety of people in my life who have used LSD in varying quantities, that it is not something which automatically makes you a sensible introspective person, and that more is certainly not better. The people I admire as sensible intelligent peaceful people who make use of LSD are people who make use of it very infrequently.
manasikara wrote:Just wanted to add that I used to smoke weed, and I even used to meditate while stoned, sometimes. It certainly felt like I was getting insights into reality at the time, peace, calm etc. But two things about that. Firstly, the insights were not really that deep.
Yes, that sounds about right, and aside from the known link between weed and bipolar, it was this entirely unsatisfactory and shallow uninsightfulness which really left me feeling after my one willing experience, that it was not something I'd ever want to repeat. It wasn't a bad experience, but it wasn't a valuable one either, and I can see it as only being a distraction from more worthwhile efforts, at best.
santa100 wrote:Use the ones that's naturally produced by the body. Try outdoor cardio exercises like jogging, biking, hiking, etc. and the body will produce lots of endorphin, which helps easeing physical pains and increase relaxation
Absolutely! I recently took up rollerblading as a form of transport towards that effort.
DiscoFingers wrote:One other possible problem to consider is that quite often one can develop a 'relationship' with the substance of choice so that it comes to be seen by the user as their guarantee of feeling better/good about themselves etc.
Yes, having had two parents very addicted to drugs, I've been keenly aware of that, and quite careful. When I was younger and still hallucinating and the likes, I was prescribed highly addictive sedatives to help with the physical effects of stress. My mother is quite addicted to very similar opiate based medicines, and so I used them only with extreme care. I have proudly never had any issue with addiction, partly because I always research and consider the worst case scenario of a drug, and only take it if I think that worst case is something I'd be able and willing to deal with, and try always to space out dosages when possible to avoid being in the drugged state too much of the time - with exception to the bipolar meds I take now, which arguably create that 'normal' undrugged sort of state.
Alexei wrote:Did LSD influence your behaviour and way of life? Could you describe anxieties you are talking about? Are they connected to Bipolar Disorder?
I hope the things I wrote above help a bit towards these questions. My anxieties have mostly been about self image and sanity. For a long period my own mind was so untrustworthy, I developed a coping mechanism of trusting what other people say, when in conflict with my own feelings. This blind trust helped me survive when my feelings urged me to do unhealthy things, but is something I struggle against now. I often find myself getting in to situations where I am unhappy and people want me gone or want me behaving a different way or whatever else, and I know intuitively that they want these things too, but they say otherwise, perhaps out of politeness, and I believe them over my feelings. Learning to be more trusting of myself, and more questioning of other's has been really important, and is something I've yet to master. Another great anxiety is trust of other people! Having been in so many abusive relationships, I have a really difficult time opening up and being relaxed around people. I tend to be very quiet, only occasionally talking when I feel like I have something really worthwhile to say, and that negatively impacts my social life. I am frequently very anxious that relationships are being slowly ruined somehow, and I have no way to stop or repair them, or even to understand them. These are only some of my anxieties - there are some others which I won't write about on a public forum, which are more about self-image.
Thanks to everyone who replied to this thread. I've really enjoyed hearing all of your viewpoints. To those I didn't reply specifically to, It is only that I think all relevant info is in the main body of this already very long reply. I really do appreciate everyone who has shared their views.