My Personal Cognitive Matrix

Note: This post comes after many months of contemplation and is based upon theories which are under development, but I find very interesting and I want to share my thoughts so far on this concept I call my “Personal Cognitive Matrix.”

Keep in mind as you are reading that everyone has their own personal cognitive matrix. In this post I share examples from my own life just for illustration purposes.

Introduction To My Personal Cognitive Matrix

I used to assume that the world looked the same to everyone. I thought the way I saw the world was the same way everyone else was seeing things. I was wrong about that…

In many ways, for many years, I naively assumed that everyone also had the same values I do, felt the same rage at injustice that drives so many of my projects, looked for the same beauty I seek, desired compassion, truth, idealism, etc. – all the little pieces of personality or my “self” that make up my personal cognitive matrix.

My view of things started to radically change when I was 33 and found out I have bi-polar disorder. For the first time I really became concretely aware that I was experiencing a world in a very different way than many of the people around me.

Sure, it all looks the same, but the perceptions are very different for each of us, very subjective and subject to change.

In the post ahead I’m going to go back to the basics and explain some of the elements in my thinking process, and look at how I see my personal cognitive matrix constructed.

Personal Cognitive Matrix Defined

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else.

Cognitive – Of, or pertaining to, the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes.

Matrix – An environment or material in which something develops.

Personal Cognitive Matrix is a phrase I have created to describe the world “as I know it to be” separate from the world “as we all know it to be”  – which is  very different from the world “as it really is.”

My personal cognitive matrix is built from many things like my spirit and my relationship to the greater “super-consciousness”, but the beginning is my most basic relationships – where did I enter this world – what time, what day and where on the planet?

What were the relationships I was born into, family-wise, socially, and cosmically?

My Birth, The Stars And Then Everything…

Above: My Birth-sky – Here is a image showing where the Sun was at the moment of my birth in relation to my main planet Mercury (between the Horns of the Heavenly Bull), as well as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, my two dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor, the cradle of the slingshot of the Shepherd Auriga and the battle club of Orion, and most importantly – my birth sign, Gemini. The day after I was born Venus rose as the morning star…

I was born on Thursday afternoon, June 18, 1964 at 2:14 in Glendale, California.

My mother was checked into the second hospital in Glendale California she had been to in the last couple of days, during which time my Dad had gotten a new job, and the family moved from one house to another.

Maybe because I was born a Gemini I needed two hospitals to be born in, but when I came home I was, for my family, a new baby in a new home, son number three, and child number five.

My parents called me their “Holy Spirit Baby” because they had been “baptized in the Holy Spirit” around the same time I was conceived. This had a large impact on my life growing up.

And I was born during a time of great social change.

Born Under The Sign Of The Twins

As I mentioned (and I’m sure it’ll come up again) I was born in the sign of Gemini, with the Sun at the foot of Castor, one of the twins which make up the Gemini sign, Pollux being the other twin.

In the myths, Castor and Pollux were born to Leda after Zeus seduced her in the form of a swan. Castor was born human and Pollux was born divine.

When Castor was killed Pollux pleaded with his father Zeus to allow him to share his immortality with his twin, and raise him from the dead. Zeus agreed and together they became the constellation we know as Gemini in the night sky (this is the really short version of the story).

Anyone who has a Gemini friend knows the reality of two twins sharing an existence together in one body. We are the mercurial ones who naturally shift quickly from one mood to another like an ever changing breeze.

On my astrological chart, Gemini is everywhere – Gemini and Mercury.

When I was born Mercury rested between the horns of Taurus, the great bull of the heavens (shown below).

Spirit and Intention

In my meditations over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking of the words “Spirit” and “Intention” as interchangeable. Here’s some phrases I wrote down that illustrate this idea:

My spirit is my intention and vice-verse.

Intention is what animates us and moves the spirit in us.

The Holy Spirit is the Holy Intention of God.

When I do things with intention my spirit becomes engaged.

In my thinking I picture this spirit energy and intention as emanating from our hearts like a giant magnetic field which surrounds our whole body, and out a couple of feet – what we normally feel as our “personal space.” (see illustration below)

Spirit/Intention is different from consciousness – which includes a broad range of awareness/states we experience.

Consciousness

Most of the time when I’m sitting and thinking, my personal consciousness is engaged with the greater “super-consciousness” along with my intention/spirit, which is floating in this realm of the greater “super-consciousness”.

I see it as a morphic field without confining barriers (it doesn’t just exist inside me, but rather it’s a field that runs through every conscious thing) – like a great sea, but not of water, just created from the field of the energy of existence – also known as “chi.”

My personal consciousness seems to be anchored (primarily) with the pineal gland in the center of my brain, but each of my cells seems to participate is this process too, even though I don’t understand this very well – that’s just my intuitive feeling.

My personal connection to consciousness seems to be a complete body experience, while at other times it’s merely tethered to my body by it’s connection to my pineal gland. This is a strange science indeed – and we are just at the beginning stages of studying this fascinating part of reality.

Below: this is a rough sketch from my notebook showing the magnetic field that originates in our hearts and surrounds us like much like the Earth’s magnetic field. The wavy lines show how our personal fields tend to sublimely interact with one anther in the “greater super-consciousness.”

These two parts (intention/spirit and consciousness) seem to work together, or not, to create my individual human experience which is somewhat porous and can receive outside conscious information.

These two parts of myself combine with where I physically exist in time and space, which also includes the cosmic influences on me because of the place and time of my birth, and together, all this helps to form my Personal Cognitive Matrix I live in everyday. And everyone around me is having their own similar experience – similar, but very different.

This is the beginning of my postings on this subject – we still need to add the “soul” into the mixture, but I save that for a later posting.

Today’s Image #300

Title“A New American Prayer – Album Cover
Dimensions – square format – various sizes
Format –  digital collage
Date – 2010

This is the album cover I designed for UFOverdriver for it’s second full length epic sound collage called A New American Prayer.

This is much more personal sound collage, dealing with issues like bi-polar disorder, the civil rights movement, the power of Martin Luther King‘s speeches, the poetry of Jim Morrison, the deep inequalities in our country, and the destruction of the planet by our species.

I worked on the sound collage through May and early June of 2010 when the stories of the BP oil disaster were in the news constantly.

This album had a video called Dream Leaver

About The Video

This is a sound collage from UFOverdriver called The Dream Leaver – Track #6 from the album A New American Prayer – Release in June 2010

— Source material for this sound collage includes Dream Weaver by Gary Wright and God by John Lennon. Enjoy!

The Album Cover

The image used on the album cover was from the civil rights march that took place at the same time I was being born in June 1964.

CD Now Available!

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You can download this complete sound collage here

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues

An Introduction

Since 2007 I’ve been a member of a number of different collectives in Long Beach.

I’ve volunteered, built websites, taken photos of over 300 different strains of medical marijuana, and grown to care about a number of incredible people.

I’ve also watched one collective after another crumble under the burden of legal fees, changing city regulations and other costs associated with always having to fight to stay open…

My personal history with medical marijuana goes back much further than that however, back to when I first started using marijuana in 1983.

I’ve spent a lot of years watching the medical marijuana story get to where we are today, and in this series I share my motivation for being an activist, talk about being a collective member, and about my own medical use of marijuana.

And then there’s this – RIGHT NOW, in Long Beach, our collectives are facing the prospect of having our city council ban them on Tuesday evening, and all my thinking about this has given me the talking medical marijuana blues – Enjoy!

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

“On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two

I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

“There was a time, not very long ago, when I would often have to wait for days, sometimes a week to get my medicine. Sometimes nothing would be available from the few friends I knew, who knew a friend, who knew a friend who could get marijuana for them…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

Talking ‘Bout My Medication – looking at the different ways to use medical marijuana and how I use it…

“I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective…”

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four

Rev. Martin Luther KingWe Shall Overcome! – talking about the situation here in Long Beach, right now – about the City Attorney’s effort to ban the collectives, and how you can help!

“Rev. Martin Luther King stated over 40 years ago in a speech that “the arc of the moral Universe is long, but it’s bent towards Justice…”

During my long, personal civil rights march towards medical marijuana justice I’ve seen that this statement is true, just as I also believe that one day ‘we shall overcome!'”

Talking ‘Bout My Medication

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Three

A Life Long Journey

I wasn’t diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder until I was 33 years old. This revelation – that there was a medical reason, of some kind, behind my most confusing moods and actions – caused a paradigm shift that made me look back over my life through a new perspective.

Over time I came to see how this disorder had been with me my whole life, starting as a little child, becoming much more severe during my teen-age years, quieter during my twenties, and then finally an emotion collapse in early 1998 that lead to my diagnosis.

Making My Body Fit

For as long as I can remember I’ve lived in a very uncomfortable body – like I don’t exactly fit in my body, or as if “me” and my body were constantly twisted against one another. As you can imagine, this feeling gets horribly annoying. This is one of the on-going, daily realities I deal with as part of this thing called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder.

When I think about my disorder, this is the first thing I think about. After years of feeling this way, discovering something that makes this feeling go away for awhile was like discovering gold.

Unless you’ve lived with a chronic condition you don’t know what just a few hours a day of relief can do for a person. Many times it has been, literally, a life-saver.

Without exaggerating at all I could easily say – “if there was no other thing that medical marijuana did for me, this one thing would be worth all the money I’ve ever spend, all the time I’ve used as an activist, all the time I’ve spent thinking and praying about this issue.” This one aspect of this medicine is that important to me. But that’s not all this plant does for me.

Moods, Getting Stuck, Depressions and Hypo-Manias

Unfortunately, this uncomfortableness I experience isn’t the only symptom of this disorder. There is the ever-changing moods, a roller coaster ride of thoughts, feeling, ideas, and perceptions that move in cycles from high to low, and in cycles within the cycles.

And then there’s the relentless depressions – sometimes you just get stuck in a depression that won’t lift for weeks – like being caught in a giant whirlpool that spins you around and around while dragging you further and further underwater.

During these depressions I have a hard time getting around to using marijuana, often spending the whole day being beat up by a relentless depression before my wife can convince me to take a smoke break, to have a marijuana break.

This may seem odd, but depression pretty much wipes out all your desire to do anything to fix your misery – even the one thing that has worked over and over again.

I can not even count the number of times this has rescued a day from the hard grip of depression and brought me a few hours of relief.

With hypo-manias it’s the exact opposite – I can’t smoke enough marijuana, and I can end up smoking it like cigarettes.

[Note: Hypo-manias are a lot like typical Manias, but don’t go to the same extremes – Thank God!]

I don’t need any encouragement to smoke during a mania, but it helps to keep me from being overtaken by the moment – thanks to marijuana’s well-known mellowing qualities.

But Smoking Isn’t Medicine Is It?

Many people, including our President, Barack Obama, have stated, as if it were a fact, that marijuana is not medicine because it is smoked.

This is, of course, complete nonsense.

Not only is smoking just one of the ways to get the medicine in the marijuana plant into your body, but the truth is, smoking is a very effective and, for the most part, a harmless way to deliver the drug to the body.

Not All Smoke Is The Same

Even though this seems a little elementary to state, I will any way – not all forms of smoke are the same.

When most people think of smoking it seems they think of cigarette smoking, and without thinking it completely through, automatically equate marijuana smoke with cigarette smoke.

But just as smoke from a burning toxic trash dump is different from a camp fire’s smoke, cigarette smoke is completely different from marijuana smoke.

And like I said, smoking isn’t the only way to get the medicine from the plant to your body.

The Medical Rope Trick

Try this picture. Imagine there was a special rope that contained a variety of medicines. These medicines can do great things – if you can just get them from the rope into your body. How could you go about doing this?

Smoking

One way is to burn the rope and inhale the smoke. While you do ingest a portion of the medicine in a manner that delivers it very quickly to the blood stream and to the brain, you destroy a lot of the medicine in the burning process.

There are several different ways you can smoke marijuana – smoking a joint, using a pipe or using a bong.

Smoking, using a glass pipe is my preferred way to “take my medicine.” I happen to like the feel of marijuana smoke filling up my lungs, but not everyone feels that way though…

Eating

Another way to get the medicine in your body is to eat it.

The active ingredients in the plant are alcohol and fat soluble – meaning that you can cook the plant in a fat, like butter, or in alcohol, to break it down and use it as a baking or cooking ingredient.

When you eat marijuana it is processed differently by your body than when you smoke it. It takes longer for the medicine to kick in, and the effects last a lot longer.

I’ve seen so many different kinds of edibles over the last few years, from the standard “pot brownie” to amazing gourmet wonders, from sodas to candies, from cheese puffs to pretzel sticks to extra-virgin, marijuana infused, olive oil.

Unfortunately, I don’t really like to use edibles…

Tinctures

As I stated above, marijuana is alcohol soluble, which makes it possible to make it into a tincture. Tinctures have a long medical history, because it made it possible to remove the medical properties from medicinal herbs and plants and store them until they needed to be administered, nice and conveniently by the teaspoon.

We now have glycerines that make it possible to do the same thing, but without the alcohol.

I love tinctures! I use a brand called MJ Wild Nectars. Here’s something I posted back in 2010 about Tinctures:

Edibles Without The Sugar

Not all medical marijuana patients like to smoke or vape their medicine, but prefer the effects of edibles instead.

The problem is you don’t always want to have to eat something to get that effect… or, if you’re a diabetic than your choices of edibles are severely limited because most edibles are cookies, brownies, cakes and other sweets.

Tinctures might help you get around those problems…

Tinctures

About Alcohol Based Tinctures

In medicine, a tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance; (e.g. of iodine, mercurochrome). To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60% (sometimes a 90% pure liquid is even achieved). [1] In herbal medicine, alcoholic tinctures are often made with various concentrations of ethanol, 25% being the most common.

Source: from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture

About Glycerines Based Tinctures

Glycerines have a shorter shelf life than alcohol based tinctures and while they can sit on the shelf I refrigerate mine. Vegetable glycerine has nearly no impact on blood sugar or insulin and is very low in calories (4.3 per gram). It’s sweet taste makes the tincture more palatable than the alcohol based tincture and is a suitable substitute for those concerned with alcohol consumption.

Source: AAMJ http://www.letfreedomgrow.com/recipes/glycerine_tincture.htm

Introducing MJ’s Wild Nectar Tinctures

Fruit nectar and honey blended glycerin-based tinctures from MJ’s Wild Nectar come in a wide variety of flavors – Raspberry Raw Honey, Perfect Peach Nectar, Chocolate Raw Honey, Mango Tango Nectar and many more.

Donation amount for each bottle is only $25 and provides enough medicine for a number of doses – depending on the strength you require.

Medicating a couple drops at a time…

These tinctures are high in Cannabichromene (abbreviated as CBC), which provides more body relief than the psychoactive effects caused primarily by THC.

Application is easy – just a couple of drops on the tongue and then wait 15 to 30 minutes…

Note: Like with all herbal medicines, it may take a couple applications to judge what strength is best for you.

Vaporizers

The last Medical Rope Trick I want to mention is the one that is probably the safest and most effective, and that is using a vaporizer.

You don’t have to heat marijuana to the burning point to get it to release it’s medicine. When marijuana reaches a temperature of close to 300 degrees it begins to give off vapors – a tasty mist of medicine – while not causing the plant material to burn.

There are many different kinds of vaporizers on the market to choose from, and quite frankly, I’m not well enough informed about all the different styles to give any advice on which kind to choose.

I will tell you that the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying is the “Volcano” brand, but it’s around $500-$600 (and well worth it)  – it’s on my dream list.

Oh That Crazy Federal Government…

In spite of the numerous reports, studies, personal stories and other evidence, our federal Government’s official position is, in a hold-over from the Nixon era, that marijuana has no medicinal value.

This position is scientifically absurd and has been disproved numerous times, but it’s their story, and they’re sticking to it…

“But I’ve been to the mountain top, and I’ve seen the other side… I’m here to tell you that we as a people will get to that other side!”

Coming up in Part Four (on Martin Luther King Day, 2012) I’ll be discussing how you can help change things – Right Now – Today – In This Very Moment!

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Four – We Shall Overcome!

Previously:

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One
Includes the story: The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part Two
I Get By With The Help Of My Friends – a brief look at my personal history with medical marijuana…

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part One

Today I have a number of thoughts about medical marijuana running around my head, all of which I’ve grouped under the heading of Talking Medical Marijuana Blues in my head.

I plan on posting several articles today and tomorrow following this line of thinking…

In these postings I’d like to tell you about:
(1) my own personal reasons for being involved in this fight,
(2) the importance of collectives for regular patients,
(3) how marijuana works as a medicine for me,
(4) and the proposed ban on collectives here in Long Beach and why this is such a bad idea. (And what you can do to help!)

A Brief Look At My Personal History With Medical Marijuana

First off – Why is medical marijuana such an important issue in my life?

I use marijuana to help manage the symptoms of a chronic physical condition I’ll lived with my whole life called Bi-Polar Spectrum Disorder, which means I experience repeated, severe depressions and occasional hypo-manias. Even though this is often thought of as a “mental” illness – it’s really a “physical” illness that affects every part of me, including my thought processes.

When I first started smoking marijuana in 1983, I immediately felt relief from the extreme body discomfort I live with daily. It would still be years before I was diagnosed, but I knew that marijuana “made life feel right” to me.

Right after I started smoking marijuana the Reagan Just Say No era began and I became very politicized because of my involvement with marijuana and my rock-solid conviction that the Drug War was wrong in every way.

In 1998, because of severe bout of depression I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, and so began my long adventure with pharmaceutical drugs to treat this chronic and debilitating condition.

In 2002 I started a year and a half campaign to educate my Kaiser psychiatrist about the various way in which medical marijuana helps my condition and it’s value to me as a medicine (the only one that has work so far, by the way).

The following story was written on the weekend in November 2003 after I finally got my medical marijuana recommendation (one of the very few ever given out by a Kaiser doctor) and entered the new world of “legal” medical marijuana.

The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall

On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally.

Within minutes the herb was soothing the chemical hell of the mania I was enduring. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in my own living room, smoking pot legally. After all these years of self-medicating my disorder, finally I was legit, the doctor had given me his recommendation, no, his strong recommendation that I use medical marijuana.

I couldn’t wait to share my good news. I called some friends and shared my story of my yearlong journey with my psychiatrist and the doctor I met with today. These are people I’ve smoked marijuana with before. They know what a hassle the drug war is.

Yesterday I was one of them. This morning when I woke up I was one of them. If the Federal Government takes a disliking to me, I’m still one of them. But somehow, during the course of my conversations I realized that I had been smuggled out of the country, and now I was the man living on the other side of the wall.

One of my friends said, “Wow, that’s really great for you, Jon, I wish…” and he sounded like someone wishing for the far country. It breaks my heart. I think I can imagine what it must have felt like to be smuggled out of East Berlin into West Berlin, and knowing that people just like you should be where you are.

I didn’t realize when I walked into that doctor’s office on Tuesday morning, that it was actually a tunnel under the wall. I walked into that office from the East Berlin of the drug war and walked out in West Berlin. The city is still surrounded, but that is about to change. Freedom has to win. The wall will come down.

But for now, that wall is standing, looking as solid as ever, and I’m a confused immigrant trying to find my way around. How do I go about handling this situation? How do other people who use medical marijuana handle their situation? When and where can I smoke when I need to medicate? Do I now have a greater freedom of movement just like with the other prescription meds I take? It’s a strange new world to me, just a few days old.

So what’s it like on that side of the wall, you might be wondering? Well, when you grow up afraid of the secret police, the fear doesn’t go away over night. I still feel reflexively like I’m on the other side of the wall, I’m sure that will change with time.

I keep turning the doctors words over in my mind “I’m strongly recommending that you use medical marijuana.” When being a criminal is the last thing you want to be, those are the best words you can hear. I’ll figure out how to do my shopping in this new city soon enough, but for this moment, I’m just smelling the air of freedom.

I know the city is surrounded, and I know they have the blockade on. But I’ve been smuggled out to live, die and pray with those that breathe the air of freedom, even if it’s just for a moment.

Ich bin ein Berliner.

November 22, 2003

Next: Talking Medical Marijuana Blues – Part TwoI Get By With The Help Of My Friends

Sleep, Wake, Sleep, Wake, Repeat…

Tonight the moon is full, Orion is rising large in the east, Jupiter is straight overhead and Venus is shining brightly as the Evening Star – it’s a beautiful night on planet Earth…

The Secret Waits For Eyes Unclouded

“Can a Buddhist also be Taoist?” one of us had asked.

It was late last night, during a great conversation with Tania, and the question made me reach into the book* we were discussing and rip out a random page – it was just the mood of the conversation…

I looked at the words on the page:

“The secret waits for eyes unclouded by longing”
– Tao Ti Ching: The Way And It’s Power

Wow, that was pretty surreal, answers at my fingertips.

“Tao Buddha Baby” I thought.

As we kept talking I started to draw on the page, in that distracted way, like doodling, which tends to bring the subconscious to the surface and give it a voice.

While the conversation drifted through a number of subjects, mostly we talked about the depression I was going through and writing about…

Sleep, Wake, Sleep…

For the last week, since Tuesday, I’ve been caught in the undertow of depression – just part of the regular cycle of things. This routine is so familiar, yet it’s also a dark cloud of mystery every time it settles in on me.

This time it came in like a fog. My inner vision changed to opaque, shades of grey and black. My body took on all the effects of having something like the flu – chills, exhaustion and fatigue, uncomfortableness throughout my body, heavy sadness and repeating loops of negative thoughts…

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the repeating loops of really stupid Jon-hating crap mounted their full assault. I made my counter-move and went to sleep.

Sometimes that’s all you can do. Sleep, wake and try to sleep again. It makes for a very long week.

By Friday I felt bruised and battered from the assault and it was hard to remember any of the good stuff that happened before Tuesday. That seemed so long ago, weeks ago, so many times of sleeping, waking, sleeping and waking had blurred all sense of time…

Because depression really likes to kick you when you’re down, on Friday and Saturday endless streams of false guilt and recriminating thoughts rained down on me.

Meanwhile my inner vision remained darkly opaque – my inner vision that I rely on constantly for my creative work.

Without Vision The People PerishProverbs 29:18

The full quote of that verse is “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (King James Version)

To me this says – when faith is lost, people lose their way, but the one who keeps his faith against the odds will find their way and survive.

Faith is the thing that keeps my feet from stumbling even when my inner vision is opaque as cataracts and horribly dark in it’s shadowed thinking.

Faith is something which has been built during my lucid moments and during the day-in-day-out reality, something that’s proven itself over and over, something more solid than stone and larger than my imagination.

Sometime faith is like a talisman I hold onto, because it’s something so familiar it anchors me to this reality through the strongest storms of depression.

Familiar Routine

Because, quite frankly, this storm will pass, but another one will hit again in a week or two, and then again, and again. Sometimes in new and creative ways to drive me towards despair, and other times in relentlessly familiar ways.

During that time I might get an upswing – a period of extra energy that will eventually run out, often when I’m in mid-stride on an idea.

It’s like my system shoots me up with some amazing drug and then one day decides to make me quit cold-turkey, with days of withdrawal-like symptoms, until one day the drug returns, and then withdrawal, over and over.

This has been happening to me my whole life, and unless some miracle happens, will continue through the rest of my days.

Ever since I was diagnosed in 1998** I’ve been watched this repeating cycle happen over and over – I’ve been studying it like a cellmate, I know it’s moves, but it’s been a very puzzling experience.

Clouds Hunger For Your Very Puzzling Experience, For Example.

Do randomly selected words on a page mean anything? Can seemingly chance events be telling anything? Is it possible to reach your hand into a book and rip the answer from it?

Some things you would never choose for yourself, or anyone else. Bi-polar spectrum disorder is one of those things, but this is the path I find myself on, the story I’ve been given in this life. It’s kind of random but I’m looking to find meaning in it.

The secret waits for eyes unclouded.

So, tonight I’ll sleep under the full moon, as Orion watches over us and Jupiter hangs majestically in the heavens.

Tomorrow Venus will again shine brightly as the Evening Star and it’ll be another beautiful night on planet Earth.

Notes:

*The book we were discussing was called Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das which Tania read this last year.

**Currently, the name they use for my situation is “Bi-polar Spectrum Disorder.” It’s still a mystery to the doctors and drug-makers.

Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

There is a reason why my posts have been very limited over the last few weeks. As you can see from the title of this post the name of the monster I’ve been living with… not a nice house guest.

Many people know that manic-depression is the name people used to use for the “mental Illness” now called bi-polar disorder. The reason for the quote marks is because my experience with bi-polar disorder has me often referring to this as “a physical illness with a very strong mental component.”

There is a wide spectrum of experiences people have when dealing with this genetic disorder. Some people have stronger manias, or mood up-swings, some have stronger depressions, some people have moods that cycle rapidly, and some that live through long stretches of a particular end of the spectrum before swinging widely the other direction.

It’s a confusing, messy and very disrupting illness. It is also a chronic illness that kills a significant number of sufferers every year. Up till now the standard approach has been to find medications that suppress everything mood-wise, and that way eliminate the extreme highs and lows of the illness.

This approach can be useful when dealing with individuals that are going through the extremes of the illness and are a danger to themselves and others.

But when you’re a person who is very aware of his situation, works with all care to minimize the effects of this situation when it comes to other people, and is trying to have a healthy, creative life – the drugs become a real drag…

But I keep taking them – new and different cocktails of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers, pills to wake up and pills to sleep… because I keep holding out the hope that one of these combinations will help… one day. (read more go to the  music play list…)

About the playlist:

It would be nice and easy if I could just tell people that depression is just being sad. I wish I could just put a smile on my face, pull myself up by bootstraps, just pull myself together…

But that’s not the reality of living with bi-polar disorder. This is a very physical illness that kicks your ass in so many different ways…

 

As I rode out a very bad depression this last week as I started putting this playlist together – not for entertainment, but to help illustrate what it’s like to live through a severe depression – to help anyone who would like to develop a greater understanding of this experience.

As my wife commented – she’s thankful she can skip forward through the list when she’s tired of a song – I don’t get to…

I’ll probably add more to this later (or not), but I thought I better get this posted before another four or five days slip by…

Bupropion HCL Tab – Generic for Wellbutrin

If you’re familiar with my photos for The MMJ Project that I use on WeedTracker.com, the photo above should look familiar…

… and a related item – here’s part of my menu posting on WeedTracker.com today:

 

CCLB Menu October 22th, 2008 | Wednesday
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am to 8pm | Sunday noon to 6pm
Note:The new menu schedule is now Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and a Weekend Herb Report.

An unseasonably hot day here in the LBC…

Here’s your herb report for today

If any of you have to deal with prescription meds for your conditions, especially for bi-polar disorder, you know what a pain it can be going through the changes.

Since this last summer I’ve been going through another change, another in a long line over the last 10 years… not looking for sympathy, just letting you know where I’m coming from.

This last batch – Seroquel (mood-stabilizer) and Wellbutrin (anti-depressant) have been nothing but drug fog, loss of my hours and days to sleep, and even worse, a decrease in effectiveness of the herb… Oh, and I’ve been in the midst of a crushing depression since last week… I was wondering if anyone else has experienced a prescription med/herb trade-off?

It’s been taking me so long to get anything done, so for a short little while my menu updates will probably suffer… I took photos last night (after trying to get over to CCLB since Saturday) of the Barry White and Danny Boy, and I’m just getting around to working on them now.

Needless to say, we’re decreasing the medication so we can try something else…

I am working on getting back to regular posting…

[update 10-22-2008 | 9:45pm – still haven’t got the photos done…]