Pat's Sanitarium
Pat's Sanitarium
A retreat for the well-being of my mind from the insanity of the life that is mine.
Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm Not Crazy! YOU'RE All Crazy! 


Mood: Bored, mildly depressed, and a tad sick (still)
Currently listening to: Dissolved Girl - Massive Attack

Dissolved Girl

Shame, such a shame
I think I kind of lost myself again
Day, yesterday
Really should be leaving but I stay

Say, say my name
I need a little love to ease the pain
I need a little love to ease the pain
It's easy to remember when it came

'Cause it feels like I've been
I've been here before
You are not my savior
But I still don't go

Feels like something
That I've done before
I could fake it
But I still want more

Fade, made to fade
Passion's overrated anyway
Say, say my name
I need a little love to ease the pain
I need a little love to ease the pain
It's easy to remember when it came

'Cause it feels like I've been
I've been here before
You are not my savior
But I still don't go, oh

I feel like something
That I've done before
I could fake it
But I'd still want more, oh.

Yeah, so i'm feeling a little down at the moment but what else is new right? Still, a pretty apt song to listen to (in most places anyway) and it really does liken itself to the general mood...

Oh dear, whatever could be wrong with Pat?

Well, the term 'Bipolar Disorder' HAS crept up annoyingly often (along the course of my frequent visits to various mental health personages in the last year or three), and the even less mentioned S-C-H-I-Z-O... Come to think of it 'mildly psychotic when uncder the influence of alcohol' has been another staple since my last birthday as well... *sigh*

Hrmmm... Bipolar Disorder. Wat be dat?

Lets see what a google search comes up with...

Excellent! We have a topic! Lets learn about Bipolar Disorder today kids!!!

*does his little Zoidberg dance* (hah! Who says you can't learn anything from my blog?)

Lets get an overarching excerpt first:

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:

-Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
-Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
-Extreme irritability
-Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
-Distractibility, can't concentrate well
-Little sleep needed
-Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
-Poor judgment
-Spending sprees
-A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
-Increased sexual drive
-Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
-Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
-Denial that anything is wrong
-A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:

-Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
-Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
-Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
-Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
-Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
-Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
-Restlessness or irritability
-Sleeping too much, or can't sleep
-Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
-Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
-Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
-A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there) and delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person's usual cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania; delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is ruined and penniless or has committed some terrible crime, may appear during depression. People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness.

Woo... a lot of that DOES sound familiar doesn't it? Not sure about the hypomania but the psychosis section does seem applicable given my occasional drunken state of... ah... 'revelry' (sorry guys), sleep walking patterns (sorry Jan... oh and Abe), and that horrible month in Melbourne when i could swear that there were voices in my head blabbering to me in French (sorry... ah... strange French personality thing in my head... [Pas de probleme grenouille! ;p] Eep!).

Descriptions offered by people with bipolar disorder give valuable insights into the various mood states associated with the illness:

Depression: I doubt completely my ability to do anything well. It seems as though my mind has slowed down and burned out to the point of being virtually useless…. [I am] haunt[ed]… with the total, the desperate hopelessness of it all…. Others say, "It's only temporary, it will pass, you will get over it," but of course they haven't any idea of how I feel, although they are certain they do. If I can't feel, move, think or care, then what on earth is the point?

Hrmm... check!

Hypomania: At first when I'm high, it's tremendous… ideas are fast… like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear…. All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there… uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria… you can do anything… but, somewhere this changes.

Hrmm... occasionally (although i wish it were more *sigh*)... but doesn't it happen to everyone?

Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many… overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… you stop keeping up with it—memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened…. everything is now against the grain… you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.

Whoa! No i don't think so... at least not for any really long period of time...

Hrmmm... other interesting tidbits to store away...

...The classic form of the illness, which involves recurrent episodes of mania and depression, is called bipolar I disorder. Some people, however, never develop severe mania but instead experience milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with depression; this form of the illness is called bipolar II disorder. When four or more episodes of illness occur within a 12-month period, a person is said to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Some people experience multiple episodes within a single week, or even within a single day. Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness and is more common among women than among men. [I'm effeminate? ;p]

...People with bipolar disorder often have abnormal thyroid gland function.5 Because too much or too little thyroid hormone alone can lead to mood and energy changes, it is important that thyroid levels are carefully monitored by a physician. [Interestingly enough i HAVE been previously diagnosed with a problem in my thyroid glands - which has resulted me being forced to brush my teeth with a hideously vegetable tasting toothpaste ever since i arrived back in November... Yeeeuch]

...As an addition to medication, psychosocial treatments—including certain forms of psychotherapy (or "talk" therapy)—are helpful in providing support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Studies have shown that psychosocial interventions can lead to increased mood stability, fewer hospitalizations, and improved functioning in several areas.13 A licensed psychologist, social worker, or counselor typically provides these therapies and often works together with the psychiatrist to monitor a patient's progress. The number, frequency, and type of sessions should be based on the treatment needs of each person. [*waves to current counselor* Hi Sharan! ;p]

...Alcohol and drug abuse are very common among people with bipolar disorder. Research findings suggest that many factors may contribute to these substance abuse problems, including self-medication of symptoms, mood symptoms either brought on or perpetuated by substance abuse, and risk factors that may influence the occurrence of both bipolar disorder and substance use disorders.24 Treatment for co-occurring substance abuse, when present, is an important part of the overall treatment plan. [*whistles innocently at the memory of meeting an AA counselor for the first time*]

And so on and so forth... if you're really interested you can find out more here. That, and i'm kinda sure that most of the people i acquaint myself with can liken more than a few of the symptoms to themselves (to lesser or greater degrees of course)...

Pfah! Enough of the psycho babble! Lets move on to something else like...


Erm... how about i resolve to resolve? ;)

Ok, seriously now, this year i've decided to keep it simple with three 'easy' objectives to adhere to for the remainder of the year:

1. Quit smoking.

Yes, snickering aside from the lot of you i DO plan to break the habit during the course of this year... i have to! Its getting too expensive! Have managed to cut myself down from one pack a day to 6 odd cigs a day... That, and each time my brother catches me smoking i give him RM1... Wish me luck, this is the SIXTH year running that i've resolved to quit smoking. ;p

2. Graduate.

Fucking obvious. Think about it, i've been in uni since i was 16 and its all been downhill since then... c'mon, stuck at TWO ELECTIVES for the last two years is... is... AAARGGGHHH!!! I truly believe that much of my current problems will disappear once i get that blasted piece of paper that has ruined oh so much of my life thus far!!! One more to go, and the world will follow... *repeats to himself mantra-like*

3. Leave the country.

An ongoing frustration (ie: purpose, or the lack thereof) aside, i still plan on leaving Malaysia for good, or at least a significant period of time, by the end of this year... by hook or by crook...

The plan? Armenia is the most promising as well as being the best option at the moment, followed by Vietnam and the Phillippines. Should these options not work out, more desperate measures should be considered such as the Peace Corps, French (or EU if it happens by then) army, UN, or even... yes... the French Foreign Legion. :(


Is it really 5am now? Shit, here's my ultraquick weekend update:

Friday: I can only recall meeting up with Gib, Ken, Al, Leonard, Felicia and Chen Hoe for mamak at Agros, followed by coffee at Coffee Bean (where i bumped into Nurul *waves*), LAN gaming at VA, and more mamak. Points of note: I roxxor at Unreal, and Felicia mentioned that she might try setting me up with her friend Melissa... Cue conversation with Al:

Pat: "I don't trust Felicia's biased opinions of her friends, lay it to me straight buddy - what do you think of this Mel-Eesaa?"

Al: "I think she's too good for you."

Pat: "Sign me up!!!"

Saturday: Restarted my dance classes - we're learning how to jive. Spent the rest of the entirety of the day annoying Albert (who was VERY sick with the flu) and playing Halo 2. Leonard swung by after work and we both got kicked out by an (obviously) irritated (and sick) Al at around midnight. Had nothing to do and nowhere to go so we actually drove around aimlessly for an hour, decided on having mamak, cried about how single we both were, phoned Selina (who had SMSed us that she, all the way in KK, was bored as well... coincidence!), and swung by Souled Out for beers in a desperate attempt to make a night of it...

Sunday: I honestly have no recollection of this day, aside from playing PS2. I also think that i played squash with my brother. And lost. Horribly.

Monday: Spent the whole day at home typing emails and bumming around while everyone else just whizzed by me. My aunt from Adelaide arrived today - she'll be staying with us for the better part of a week... also got to meet my uncle Kwan (who drove her up here from Singapore) and we all had dinner together. Except for Paul, who went for his friend's birthday clutching RM40 worth of roast duck.

Went out with Leonard for mamak and bought some DVDs for my 'godbrother' (is that an actual term?).

Tired now.

Good night you bunch of existential voyeurs. ;)


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Name: Patrick Pincon
Age: 27
Studied at: Monash
Work: Business Development
Nationality: Malaysian/French
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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