Contagious Mental Illness?

June 7, 2011

Is depression contagious? Are negative people really emotional and psychic “vampires” draining and infecting another person? I guess it depends on the people involved.

 

I’ve had many relationships with people that drain me emotionally. Some say I let it happen. Others believe that some people “feed” like vampires off of other people they perceive stronger or even anyone that will let them in.

 

I have always attracted people that drain me because I like people and I see qualities beyond what other’s see. In theory it’s a nice thing but in reality it’s a no win situation. I have found that despite my innate self-absorption, I am extremely sensitive to other people’s moods that surround me.

 

It’s been written about in psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and personal experiences books, novels, poems, studies and blogs for years. Self help books emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with the people that have what you want. Experts suggest that if you hang out with people that are happy and successful you can develop their qualities. The 12 step programs have a saying “Stick with the winners”. That is quite the ironic statement. It implies I must judge people as winners and losers. It also holds some truth.

 

I have always had an attraction to people labeled as outcasts, freaks, misfits, weirdoes, creeps, and anyone different from the norm. As it turns out these people are all emotionally damaged on one level or another and can be a negative influence on my life. Being sensitive to the energy, vibes and emotions of people that surround me I tend to compare myself to them and sometimes take on their negative qualities.

 

As human beings we are all naturally attracted to people that have similar qualities to ourselves. Myself. I spent years relating mostly to mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, abused, socially abandoned people. In my estimate it was my way of relating to and understanding my natural Paranoid Schizophrenic mother. I know this about myself and I still act upon it.

 

As I’ve written and expressed many times in the past I have increasingly become a recluse in the last 3 years. It is getting to the point of agoraphobia. Some of my friends are sick of hearing about at this point. As much as I want to be alone and don’t want to leave the house when I am in a social situation whether it be a trip to a convenience store, visit with family or even my room mate I can be extremely social out of habit. Most of my life I’ve been social and extraverted.

 

The past 8 months I have lived with a fellow mentally ill friend. Other people have suggested that living with him could be bad for me. Since I am sensitive to other people’s energy and moods I find myself feeding off of him. When he is aggravated it aggravates me. When he is depressed I get depressed. When he is manic I get aggravated. We do have times when our moods are centered and we get along but over all I am uncomfortable living with someone when their moods affect me. It’s not anyone’s fault. He once reminded me that about 95% of his moods and whatever he is going through has nothing to do with me. I try and hold onto that and move on.

 

I need a new life.


Thank God I’m an Athiest

April 12, 2011

A religious rant? Maybe. Maybe not.

Does it really matter what I think or feel about religion? I rarely talk about it but her goes nothing.

Actually, something happened today that got me thinking. I ask questions on formspring.com and I ask things that I’m curious about in people in general. Sometimes I’m silly, sometimes I’m curious and sometimes I’m serious. I asked about 130 people that I follow whether he/she believes in God or a “higher power”. It was interesting. The most interesting answer I got was confrontational.

“Do you believe in God or some sort of “higher power”?” I asked.

“Better question: Why is it that in our culture it is completely acceptable for a total stranger to ask some one the details of their spirituality? Why is it that we do not treat that information like the intimate thing that it is? People often structure their personal morality on their religion or lack there of, so it stands to reason that it should be a much more in depth conversation than “so do you believe in God?”. Honestly I think it is vulgar to toss out that question as simply as you might ask some one about the weather. Short answer: That’s not something I discuss with some just any one.” She answered.

I wasn’t trying to be deep or intrusive. It was pretty much a yes or now answer type of question. I was really curious as to why it seemed personal to her. I’ve asked way more personal questions like “What is the first thing you do after sex?” and there were polite answers from people that did think it too personal. I don’t feel attacked by the god answer but it threw me off.

Personally, I never cared much about the existence of God until I was introduced to the 12 steps where I “had” to find a “higher power” to help me recover. I kept it simple and call Him God but my interpretation or beliefs are flexible. I know that God could be anything. He could be Jesus, Buddha, Allah, nature etc. I’m open enough to believe that it could just be something in my own head that I “pray” to. It worked for 20 years. To a certain degree my non-descript God is still working. Like any human I lose faith. I also gain it. I keep on truckin’ despite my persona;. Emotional and physical problems and I still depend on a “higher power”. It’s just changed. I know that I am in control of some things and I have no control on others.

I just heard a great comparison to Bipolar disorder to the weather. It’s a daily thing. I rarely check the weather reports. I open the door and check the weather and then I know how to prepare for the weather. My mind is like that. I wake up depressed and I know the things that I have to do to prepare for the day.

This is how I explain my belief in God. It varies day to day. I don’t expect things to change. I just want to be prepared for what’s ahead of me and the ability to accept and change it. That’s my belief. I don’t think everyone should have the same view.

I used to bash various religions especially the one’s that seemed pushy. I hated religions that had the “holier than thou” attitude or “believe what I believe or you are going to Hell”. I could go on about all of the wars in the name of God and tear apart the hypocrisies of the members and clergies but that doesn’t help me. My personal beliefs help me. I don’t know if any religion is right or wrong. I do know it’s wrong to judge someone just because they do not believe what I believe. That is my only problem with religions. Every religion, atheist, agnostic, organization or group has it’s good points and bad points. They all have members that set a good example for the above-mentioned groups.

I don’t have any answers. I am open minded to believe that any belief could be the right one. There may not be a God. There might not be a heaven or hell. I may be my own God.

I never overanalyzed it like many people I know but I was pretty judgmental. I was lucky that religion was never pushed on me. I was raised Catholic. My first natural family weren’t real consistent with it so I found church boring and uninteresting. I was “adopted” at 11 and my new mom was (is) an ex-Catholic nun and my new father was and Agnostic Jew (ex-Jew). They raised me with my options open and I chose not to choose. I did what any self centered teenager might do. I lived for the moment. Instant gratification was my middle name. (still is sometimes). In college I wrote a paper about God for a philosophy course. That was the last time I really gave God or spirituality a thought. I received an A on the paper but was failing life.

As I mentioned already I was encouraged to find a “higher power” when I stopped drinking at age 24 by 12-step meetings. It changes as I do. He or She changes as I change.

One point I took a brief interest in studying Anton LaVey’s Satanism. It preached more peace than I expected. I was curious because LaVey seemed such a charismatic character. He was witty, intelligent and convincing. Then I realized that his distaste for the Catholic Church made his “religion” pretty much the same as any other. I don’t judge it or any religion at this point.

The individuals of various religions and the Atheists are the ones that get to me. The “haters” from each organization religious or otherwise are the ones to give what they claim to represent a bad name. If you are that convinced that your way is right for you then the need to recruit and convince others your way is the only way then you should live your beliefs not preach hate.

I am not committed to or hold anything against any religion or belief system unless it involves hatred and violence.

I think I had a point with all this. If not oh well. I haven’t written a blog for a while so here it is.


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