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Bipolar and religion

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Posted

Hi there,

Today my t-doc and I were discussing religion and my relationship with it. I have a hard time participating in any kind of organized religion or church, we were discussing how my mood disorder has affected my relationship with G-d or any form of spirituality.

I feel at times abandonned by G-d and at other times, not important enough for he/she to care. At other times, when hypomanic I felt that it didn't really matter at all so why bother...

Well...we got to the conclusion that part of my reluctance and resistance towards religion comes from the guilt I feel as a result of wrongdoings during my episodes (drugs, suicidal thoughts etc). Sometimes, when depressed, I feel really guilty and unworthy from feeling so bad when there's so much horror in the world....

So...I was wondering how you guys's moods affect your relationship with your spiritual self.

Also, does having a religion/belief system help you cope with this disorder?

Sorry if this post offends anyone, it's not my intention to create controversy.

Thanks

P.

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Posted

Hi there,

Today my t-doc and I were discussing religion and my relationship with it. I have a hard time participating in any kind of organized religion or church, we were discussing how my mood disorder has affected my relationship with G-d or any form of spirituality.

I feel at times abandonned by G-d and at other times, not important enough for he/she to care. At other times, when hypomanic I felt that it didn't really matter at all so why bother...

Well...we got to the conclusion that part of my reluctance and resistance towards religion comes from the guilt I feel as a result of wrongdoings during my episodes (drugs, suicidal thoughts etc). Sometimes, when depressed, I feel really guilty and unworthy from feeling so bad when there's so much horror in the world....

So...I was wondering how you guys's moods affect your relationship with your spiritual self.

Also, does having a religion/belief system help you cope with this disorder?

Sorry if this post offends anyone, it's not my intention to create controversy.

Thanks

P.

Interesting question, its something that I've been kicking around for a while.

When I am depressed, I feel like there is a barrier between me and God. I feel no connection to the Holy Spirit, and I suppose I could say "abandoned" even though I know that is only my perception and not the work of God. When I am "normal" or swinging to the manic side (I don't go very manic), I feel a much stronger connection to God, and feel the work of the Spirit in my daily life.

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Posted (edited)

I actually had a much easier time dealing with my BP once I was outside of any sort of organized religion. Outside religious dogmas I have been much more competent to deal with the donkey-kong BP induces in a clear and rational manner. Much less judgmental and more plainly accepting of my situation... and that of others.

I still get the occasional yahoo from back in the day who resurfaces to remind me how Satan is punishing me with BP for my apostacy. Ummm, yeah. Such a relief not living in that craptasm anymore.

Edited by JackBQuick

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Posted

I've never been one for religion. I did experiment for awhile w/ all manner of quasi religious/metaphsical/new agey stuff. Now, I'm a member of a Unitarian Universalist church (I consider myself a spiritual atheist) and have been for about a year. My membership in this church has done LOADS for my self acceptance. They are so open and welcoming to so many different types of people, they support the gay and lesbian community, we have atheists, druids, Christians, Liberals, Libertarians, pagans and all manner of others. The connection w/ other people on a spiritual journey, prone towards activism and able to whip up a pretty mean pot-luck dinner has been awesome.

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Posted

I was raised serious Catholic growing up. Went to catholic school for 5 years,

Shortly before my BP was diagnosed, I had an at-odds with G-d. How could heaven exist and hold all those people? How bad do ou have to be to go to hell? Why has my life been total shit with everything imaginable happening to me if G-d was omnipotent. So I srayed away from religion.

Then my dad got cancer. And I watched him suffer more than any person should have to suffer. And I really gave up on G-d at that point, because if there was a G-d who loved his children and helped them in times of need, he never would have let what happened to my dad happen.

Now I have theoreical questions about G-d and heaven. How can it be so big? Aren't you just "no more" when you die and get buried?

I try not to think about it much.

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Posted

I am an animistic pagan.

When I feel an episode coming on (unfortunately, I don't always), I find it helpful to go out to the woods and just soak up all the energy around me. It calms me if it is a mixed episode and it also uplifts me if I am sinking.

Usually it helps, but not always - if it did I wouldn't need my crazymeds.

I don't believe in heaven or hell or the devil or some nameless faceless god who judges everyone, so maybe that is why I do get comfort out of my beliefs.

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Posted

The key to being able to participate in organized religion given our uniqueness is to come to acceptance that God is undefinable. Once you define God, then humans begin building structures all around the concept and sooner or later misery results. I enjoy participating in my local catholic church, but I do participate my way. Attempting to define God can be seen in some sense as the definition of "original sin." Also because I am aware of the pantheon of my inner universe. 4 goddesses define me.

Alexandra, Goddess of war, anger and survival. Her symbol is the river or stream. In the Greek pantheon her name would be Doric (Doreese).

Neen, Goddess of Desire, fear and play. Her symbol is the ocean, simplest but largest. In the Greek pantheon her name would be Corinth (girlish and sweet).

Samantha or (Sammy), Goddess of Intellect, Wisdom, Knowledge and Communication. Her symbol is ice, most structured yet most brittle. In the Greek pantheon her name would be Ionia (Elegant and intellectual).

Alma, Goddess of fertility, healing and life, mother goddess to the other three. Her symbol is rain or mist, life giving water. She is more related to Amaterasu of the Japanese creation pantheon than a Greek goddess.

That's me. So naturally Samantha is doing the typing for me. Pleased to meet you.

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Posted

I was raised serious Catholic growing up. Went to catholic school for 5 years,

Then my dad got cancer. And I watched him suffer more than any person should have to suffer. And I really gave up on G-d at that point, because if there was a G-d who loved his children and helped them in times of need, he never would have let what happened to my dad happen.

Oh Gizmo. Are you sure there is no "wrath of Gizmo?" How terrible for you. I went to Catholic school for 11 years actually. And I watched my Grandfather die in a similar way. They amputated both legs then he had a stroke and... watching him linger on for a year after was so painful. He was a fine man. I also don't want to compare our pain or minimize your suffering in any way. I guess, can you, or would you consider that despite our intelligence humans actually are truly small? We are such tiny motes of existence in a universe of eternal patterns. And we struggle so to keep from drowning because of the shadows we believe in, when letting go and sinking into the deep ocean of patterns is so restful. It speaks to how much you loved your father and his uniqueness that I can feel your pain so intently. Just in your words. I will add your father to my "remembrance walk" this weekend to memorialize the people who died on September 11th. One step for every person lost.

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Posted

From a child I was always reaching to God..as I grew I found hope in Christianity and for many years walked in that way. At 50 all that I would do and pray and feel was condemnation and desiring death. I was fortunate in my longtime spouse recognizing I needed help and making me get it.

I was lucky or blessed that the medication took the suicidal thoughts away but also the close relationship of felt most of my life with God.

I mistrusted my faith and it took years to get it back. Never will I have it as before but I am still a believer even now.

I found myself very careful to get to know people before I disclose. Good Christian people are no different than most and have to be educated as the the nature of having a chemical imbalance of the brain.

Not able to partake in the way I always have still I find a certain peace and purpose for my life in the church and my faith..

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Posted

I have really struggled with the question of whether the BP symptoms are truly medical, or are they spiritual symptoms due to some failing on my part (sin, not enough faith, lack of prayer or bible study). The answer is it's medical. Wise christian counsellors say it's medical. I KNOW it's medical. But every once in a while I let the unrealistic guilt take over and think it's due to my spiritual failure.

I keep a prayer journal, but I only really journal during the extremes. So I'll have an entry full of praise and worship and thanking God for His blessings. Then I'll have an entry full of pain and sorrow and crying out to God. It's actually a really good recorded history of my mood cycles.

I have my best spiritual times when I am hypomanic. I spend lots of time in the bible and in prayer, gaining wisdom. I see God working in all things. I feel Him with me, very close.

In my deepest depressions I cannot feel Him near at all, and my prayers (if I can bring myself to pray at all) seem worthless because nothing gets better. Due to the spiritual growth during the hypomanic times, I have the head knowledge - I know about God and His promises - but the heart knowledge evaporates and I feel separated from Him. To me that is literally hell on earth.

This is actually what drove me to the doctor finally - I saw that I was doing everything I needed to do biblically (confession, thanksgiving, prayer, etc.) for depression, outright begging God to meet me where I was, and nothing was changing because this was not ultimately a spiritual problem.

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Posted

Simple question to answer. When I'm depressed, God goes away and ignores me and vice versa. When I'm manic? He works for me. And if He doesn't like it, he's free to find other work.

When I'm stable, I have what most could call a normal healthy spiritual life and practice........but its been awhile since THAT happened.

"God? Get me outta this one or you're gonna have me on your hands..."

HS Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Mahalo.

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Posted

Then my dad got cancer. And I watched him suffer more than any person should have to suffer. And I really gave up on G-d at that point, because if there was a G-d who loved his children and helped them in times of need, he never would have let what happened to my dad happen.

I had a similar belief, that if there is an all-powerful God, how could he allow so much suffering and I lost my faith.

I don't belong to any organized religion. During a manic episode I had a sense that all the universe was inter-connected. I took from this that there is an energy that runs through everything. That is my God now, a powerful energy. It isn't a being that is all-knowing so it can't control things like suffering.

I believe in what my friend calls molecular re-incarnation. That we decompose and become grass and soil and then our molecules move through the food chain. We are part of nature.

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Posted

I believe in what my friend calls molecular re-incarnation. That we decompose and become grass and soil and then our molecules move through the food chain. We are part of nature.

That's where I'm at as well.

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Posted

I believe in what my friend calls molecular re-incarnation. That we decompose and become grass and soil and then our molecules move through the food chain. We are part of nature.

That's where I'm at as well.

Hey cool....

per wikipedia: "The first law of thermodynamics is an expression of the principle of conservation of energy.The law expresses that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed."

I dig it!

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Posted

I am and always have been an atheist. Living with this disorder has always been a struggle for control and a connection with reality. I see spirituality and religion as a fantasy and I can't allow myself to give in to it. I have to be in control of my emotions or my emotions will control me, and handing myself over to a lifelong game of make believe would lead me to madness I'm sure.

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Posted

I've been confused about religion since my manic episode and diagnosis this past year. I went wildly religious, Old Testament prophet style, calling a sleazy politician classmate of mine to repentance, just in time for Lent. (He opposed the public option in health care reform -- his wife is on the board of the largest health insurance company.) I played this gospel version of the miserere constantly:

It sounded so transcendent at the time, it brought tears to my eyes. Now... meh.

In my right mind, I'm a mild-mannered skeptical Tibetan Buddhist. I believe in unskillful action (karma), not sin. But manic, I could suddenly appreciate the prophets and kings worldview I had always disliked in the bible. I could understand why people felt compelled by God to fight injustice. Now? Seems like craziness. Back to quiet, loving compassionate action.

The Tibetan view of religious ecstasy is that it is just a meditation experience, or nyam. Inspiring, perhaps, but just an experience. Getting attached to it or reading too much into it is counter-productive.

Experiences are like mist. They will vanish.

Theory is like a patch. It will come away.

Realization is unchanging like the sky.

-- Great Perfection quoted by HH Dudjom Rinpoche

It's so sad. I hate thinking that my one really mind-blowing religious experience when I first met my lama 16 years ago was probably an undiagnosed two day mini-mania, rather than a great spiritual revelation.

So it's back to the non-transcendent basics for me. Devotion and compassion. (That would be the two great commandments, for you Christians) If anything transcendent happens, I'm calling my shrink and upping my lithium. Sigh.

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Posted (edited)

never put into words, but here goes...

i too think everything is about energy. when positive, your energy is more positive. you can also send positive vibes. (i call it goodwill wishes, not prayer). that is why "prayer" seems to work. just a quick "hope everything is going to be ok" when seeing someone changing a tire on the side of the road.

i think religion is about stories. everything is so amazing and its creation cannot be answered. you cannot define it. there is no name such as god. you just believe in it and immerse yourself in it. appreciate it. religion can be destructive. (can) too many interpertations.

just effing be nice. we are all alike in many ways. someone who treats you bad was treated bad/bad life. show empathy, compassion, tolerance in all you do. i actually think poor behavior has been passed down from generation to generation because of the failure of society to teach theses things.

Edited by stable not balanced

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Posted

I am an Atheist. There is a lot of controversy in this definition. I lean towards the most pragmatic one- an atheist is a person who, despite being presented with data, sees no evidence for anything supernatural.

I became atheist about 5 years ago, but I spent 5 years seeing both sides and reading from both sides. I no longer feel any ties to any sort of religion, supernatural ideology, etc.

I think my bipolar disorder helped prompt my search for reality, since I was an attractive, very intelligent 17 y/o who was facing a life of taking 5 different medications a day, weekly doctor visits, hospitalizations, lost productivity, medication side-effects, etc. for no reason. "It wasn't fair," you could say, and I said. But, then I realized that in the scope of the universe, our little lives are just the happenings of life on a random planet.

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Posted

Etkearne, I can't help wondering, what exactly do your attractiveness or intelligence have to do with your atheism?

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Posted

Etkearne, I can't help wondering, what exactly do your attractiveness or intelligence have to do with your atheism?

Since I was attractive and intelligent, then turned into being overweight and slightly dumb. It made me face reality that life isn't perfect, and I used that as a springboard into questioning my religious beliefs.

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Posted

Heh. I was thinking that the link between intelligence and atheism/agnosticism was self-evident, and that attractiveness was correlated with intelligence(it's an indicator of health), so...Kevin Bacon...attractiveness was also associated with lack of religious belief.

*slinks away*

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