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Did I do that?

Guest nejiwhopper

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Hello Neji,

I have an (adult) child with a diagnosis of bipolar/schizoaffective. During their manic stages there have been times that they forgot aspects of their behavior, which was very much out of character for them but apparently, a part of them too.

There are many different methods of interpretation but from a Jungian perspective, it often seemed to me that "Shadow Possession" would be an accurate description of a manic episode.

Somewhere around here I have a link to a detailed analysis of the story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I'll have to see if I can find it. If I recall correctly, the author made the case that it was the goodness of the one that had produced the badness of the other. Maybe more to the point, it would have been the unacceptability of the "bad" that caused those behaviors to be split off from the "goodness" of the Persona (the face we present to the world) and relegated to the Shadow.

Working to dismantle the power of the Shadow often means working to understand and tame some of our "less pretty" characteristics, emotions and experiences so that we can master them instead of becoming enslaved by them.

See also:

- The Shadow

- Movie Trailer: The Shadow Effect

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Hi SE and Neji,

I sort of feel the same way with my mood swings. I have ALWAYS said I get into such a depressed "funk" that I dont think or feel "normal" and this has all happened in the last 4 yrs. Its not like I have had these moods swings all my life but I think I had a very functioning mild case if it can be called that with just some off days or a day where I just didnt want to do anything.

But i can't remember this dysfunction as it is now. So we are looking more into the "trauma" or PTSD piece. Maybe a combination because there are distinct times when there are no triggers or I am literally in the middle of doing something and I flip into a flat depressed state.

I totally agree Neji, I have the same memory issues. I thought it was the ECT maybe a part of it, maybe a little bit of hormonal stuff and maybe a little bit of bipolar. There are people I forgot I knew, events that i have forgottten and there are emails I have written as well and I read them and they are so darker then I usually am. (usually to my Dr or therapist) I guess it is a fact in writing the change that goes on our heads.

I am real tired of trying to figure it out but I am very consious of it and the changes, and I can say this now because I am in the hypomanic mode where I function without dysfunction and production.

I am so totally new to the Jung that you are all having a discussion on. I am not religous and not spiritual so I am trying to follow along as best I can and trying to decipher the words into meaning... :(

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Hello Neji,

I don't consider myself an authority on Jungian thought by any means but I believe that when we're talking about the Ego/Persona and the Shadow, we are talking about everybody. If you've ever exploded in rage, joined in with mob psychology, or perhaps done something under the influence of some drug or alcohol that you normally wouldn't do... you have known what it is to be "possessed" by your Shadow, however briefly. In a Freudian model, we're probably in the territory of the personal unconscious and the Id. Jung's model is larger than the Freudian because it also includes what Jung called the collective unconscious.

We can't post images here which is a bit of a drag (perhaps there's a desire to preserve server space?) but to get a visual presentation of the Jungian model of the psyche, try here: Archetypes & the Individuation Process

I'm curious, if someone is DID, are their other personalities then shadows?

I try to stick to that which I feel I know and in spite of having an abundance of "characters" that showed up in my experience, I would continue to maintain that this was evidence of psychic functions, particularly: Shadow, Animus and Self. Meantime, this excerpt struck me as a good explanation that differentiates between the functions of one psyche and what occurs when one person develops multiple forms of psyche.

Is Schizophrenia 'Split Personality'?

Yes . . . and No! Imagine, if you will, that a 3-levelled house represents the structure of the psyche.

- The top floor, consisting of various linked rooms, represents consciousness, in all its bustling, interacting complexity.

- Immediately below is the cellar, which represents the personal unconscious, or dark 'shadow' side of the personality.

- The lowest level, the basement, is the oldest part of the house and contains dim, godlike and archaic figures, personifications of what Jung called 'archetypes', universally occurring, powerful energies and forms of behaviour and thought, which make up what Jung called the 'collective unconscious', and which often take on mythological, religious, semi-human, divine, animal or natural forms.

What we call 'split personality' involves the conscious personality forming split off, distinctly separate personalities, so it's as if the upper floor rooms become completely isolated from each other, their doors all locked.

With a schizophrenic split, or fragmentation, however, it's as if the house's floorboards (foundations of the conscious personality) are split, or shattered as invading archetypal figures from the basement rush up to inhabit, or displace the upstairs (conscious) inhabitants.

As Jung notes, whereas the healthy person's ego (conscious self) is the subject of his/her experiences, the schizophrenic person's ego is (therefore) only one of several subjects. The nature of the schizophrenic 'split' (which I've called 'split subjectivity') in other words, arises from the splitting of the archetypes of the collective unconscious into a multitude of figures that invade, or usurp the weaker and far more fragile conscious personality.

Source: What is Schizophrenia

So, if I've understood correctly...

- With Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia we are dealing with one psyche in one body that may be vulnerable to possession states by another part of the same psyche. (In addition to Shadow possession we can also see Anima/Animus possession and possession by the Self.) How the individual responds may depend very much on the state of their Ego in relation to that other part.

- With DID we are dealing with multiple psyches within one body. I'm not certain but it seems reasonable to presume that each of those psyches might also be prone to inflation, deflation, possession states, etc.

Please don't take those words as written in stone. They are my best understanding at this time but as I learn more, I understand more and my thoughts may change as a result.

~ Namaste

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Hi Neji, can I ask how old you are? I'm in my late 40's but this started in my mid 40's. I had screwing cycles as a teenager as far as my oeriod and they said after I have a baby it will correct. Well I had 7 and it didn't correct itself. Then finally about a year after is when I finally for the first time had a 30 day cycle but thats when i think my depression and mood swings and memory loss became much worse. Very mild mood swings but becoming much more noticable.

After I have exhausted all psychiatric meds my pdoc started me on a low dose birth control pill and after one month which was about 2 months ago I developed 2 large clots in my lungs and the Pulmonologist said I was lucky to be alive.

So even that med gave me side effects. And I was also taking tamoxafin(breast cancer med) for delivering the estrogen differently(sorry cant remember exactly :D) and my Gyno was very upset because my pdoc was trying to fix a life threatening situation with me(suicidal) and the gyno said I had a great chance of developing uterine cancer so he was going t make it a life threatening situation for her. So with all the conflict I stopped it.

So I understand the conflict between medical Dr's and Pdocs, and that wasnt the first time dealing with side effects that led me to other specialists for more problems. Needless to say I am not on any psychiatric meds...

SE: I am enjoying trying to understand what you write. It seems very interesting but for me, and I am college educated and not at all familiar with any writings as you are posting but all I know is that bipolar illness is a result of chemicals in the brain not properly working. And deprending on where the misfiring is in the brain depends on the success or not of meds. And nothing I say or do can change it...

But keep writing maybe eventually I will be able to understand how it is all connected :)

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Linda, a book you may find informative and helpful is Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect and Doctors Ignore.

This link offers up a detailed review: Book Review: Screaming to be Heard

Meantime, it may be worth emphasizing that the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is just that -- a theory. The supposition is that people who are depressed have serotonin levels that are too low whereas people who are psychotic have dopamine levels that are too high. It's a simplistic explanation as based on the mechanism of the drugs in the body but that hasn't borne out when these levels are actually measured in the cerebrospinal fluid. For example, some people who were depressed did have lower levels of serotonin but so did the normal group they were measured against. Just as surprising, a number of the people in the depressed group had serotonin levels that were higher than normal and they were still depressed. What's more, this higher percentage also matched the normal controls. Dopamine studies produced similar results.

... a societal belief in chemical imbalances has remained ... and it has led those who have investigated and written about the history to emphasize, time and again, the same bottom-line conclusion. "The evidence does not support any of the biochemical theories of mental illness, " concluded Elliot Valenstein, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Michigan in his 1998 book Blaming the Brain. Even U.S. surgeon general, David Satcher, in his 1999 report Mental Health confessed that "the precise causes [etiologies] of mental disorders are not known." In Prozac Backlash, Joseph Glenmullen, an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, noted that "in every instance where such an imbalance was thought to be found, it was later proved to be false." Finally, in 2005, Kenneth Kendler, coeditor in chief of Psychological Medicine, penned an admirably succinct epitaph for this whole story: "We have hunted for big simple neurochemical explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them."

Source: Anatomy of an Epidemic

The long and the short of it is, we know that neurochemistry plays a role in emotional states and even in states of consciousness but we're a long way from unequivocally stating why and how that is.

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Thanks for the link SE

I will check it out.

I'm not sure of your educational background or where these resources are from but I have read and researched quite a bit myself and I'm sure there are studies to be found that can contradict both theories.

I dont want to start a new controversial topic here but I believe just because we cant exactly find the "how" and "why" doesnt mean that the theory is incorrect. There are many illness's, diseases that we still don't understand as to the "hows" and "whys" of them...

It is the opinion of many professionals that there is not yet enough known about the complicated brain and although there are many studies of brain scans and autopsy findings that there is a difference genetically and physically of a brain with a person with an illness such as bipolar, autism etc.

In the mean time, I will continue to search and find what is the appropriate means for me from the knowlege and expertise of professionals in the field to help guide me through a difficult illness and the trials of treatment...


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Hi Neji,

Im sorry you are going through this without any support from the Dr's. I'm afraid I have to plead ignorant about knowing the culture and medical situation you are faced with and what is or isnt available to you for help.

Is there any type of womens help there? Is there any therapist or pdoc that can help advocate and communicate with the other Dr's? I know for me that was important with having them help me by talking with each other.

Sometimes being a mental health patient doesnt always help with being taken seriousely with physical illnesses. Or they try and blame it on the meds prescribed by other Dr's. Been there with that one.

But we have to be our own best advocates and decide what is best for us and keep looking until the right physical and mental health supports are working for us. So keep looking for a Dr sometimes they are not always right in our backyards...

In regards to the short post you mentioned. Can you recall and try to fit the timeline and figure out what type of mood or if there was anything going on that would allow yourself to write what you say is unlike you?


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Linda: It is the opinion of many professionals that there is not yet enough known about the complicated brain and although there are many studies of brain scans and autopsy findings that there is a difference genetically and physically of a brain with a person with an illness such as bipolar, autism etc.

I think we're essentially saying the same thing, Linda. We don't yet thoroughly understand. As for me, I speak always as a peer, meaning someone who has personally experienced these states -- specifically, what would be called psychosis or schizophrenia in this culture. Occasionally, I also speak as a caregiver to a family member who has also experienced such states -- I also have a child with a diagnosis of bipolar/schizoaffective.

I do agree that we should seek out our own sources of knowledge from trusted professionals and that we have to be discerning in assessing that information. As but one example, one of the most quoted "schizophrenia experts" in the west is an individual who believes that cat poop is the cause of schizophrenia. Given that he does not have a history of producing recovery for people, he's not made it to my "Favorites" list.

In terms of the source of those quotes, they are noted in that excerpt. The author of the book is Robert Whitaker, a journalist who specializes in medical issues. I've found that when he quotes a clinician or study in the field, when you follow up it is as he presented it to be.

Meantime, Neji, it sounds as if that book might be of use to you as well although it may be very challenging to get appropriate medical care in that particular culture. I do recall reading your intitial post but I don't recall all the specific details. I'll have to take another look.

~ Namaste

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  • 2 weeks later...


Yes I have a son diagnosed with Autism and maybe when he gets older the diagnosis will change. Genetics is clear as I have found it to be on both sides of my family. So as I look at my 7 children who are all very functional and growing appropriately in this difficult world besides my son, I think it is our responsibility to advocate and learn as much as we can and not get caught up in a world of fraud and misguided treatment.

I think we all have good and bad stories of professionals and also professionals who can be considered "quacks" Luckily we are capable enough to sort through and find professionals who can be our best advocate and the best partnershp we can have is the one who will work with us and help us find hope and treatment....

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