My monkey has noticed a remission of bipolar symptoms since beginning experimentation with salvia around two weeks ago. This blog will be a log of his observations to determine whether the plant is responsible for this remission, contemplations on the potential reasons for such an effect, and general thoughts on the matter.
2.0 Case History.
Subject began showing symptoms at around the age of 16 with mood swings, grandiose thinking, and other typical bipolar trademarks. The disorder reached it's fruition when subject was 22 years old. He had a complete breakdown, which he does not remember very well. He came to believe that he was the devil and that he had come to earth to set mankind free from the shackles of the false God and to redeem Truth by a pure form of heresy. If this does not make sense, don't worry, it is typical irrational belief of a delusional manic episode.
After he had blown all of his money, ruined his credit/been kicked out of his bank, quite his job, and dropped out of school under the impression that such mundane matters were inconsequential, he crashed from the manic episode and fell to a depressive state in which he attempted to cut his wrists but was found by his roommates who made him contact his parents concerning the situation.
He moved back to his home town to live with his parents while trying to figure out a therapy and maintenance plan. During this time he was put on various combinations of psychotropic medications; mood stablizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and anti-convulsants. Some of these medications worked in curbing the symptoms but had numbing properties that subject found unacceptable, feeling that "if you feel nothing in life, you are not actually living".
After a while of keeping an eye on his moods and thoughts he started going to the community college and moved in with a girl whom he was engaged to marry.
Following a procedure during which he was taken off all meds for two weeks he again had a full blown mania fugue in which he came to have similar delusions of being a prophet or something and broke of his engagement, quite his job, etc, ultimately leading to him being back with his parents at the age of 27.
Since then he has continued use of only Valproic Acid to keep from going into full manic episodes but refuses use of anti-psychotics and other medications due to the horrible side effects and lack of helpfulness.
Over the past year he has been doing fairly well outwardly; he is about to graduate on the deans list, he has a job and he has a fair social life.
However the scene is not quite so well inwardly. He continues to be plagued by suicidal ideation, shows obsession with finding value and meaning in life, still frequently has irrational thoughts along the lines of being haunted by a demon, being a great spiritual revolutionary, and other mostly spiritual-centered delusions and grandiose thinking (common among bipolar sufferers) and shows avoidance of dealing with mundane matters such as figuring out what to do for a career, and what to do after moving out after graduation (his parents have let him stay with them while finishing up these last two semesters).
3.0 Enter Salvia Divinorum.
Subject has long held that psychedelic drugs have great potential to help people with psychological issues. For years he has been hoping to come across a local source for psilocybin mushrooms, as they helped him when he was in his late teens. Also cannabis had proven repeatedly to take him out of swings and irrational thought patterns. However subject no longer is "in the scene" and, living with his parents, smoking pot and growing mushrooms has not been a plausible option for him.
Following several months of recurrent suicidalism and feelings of extreme alienation and isolationism he decided to try salvia, not really knowing what to expect and not having much hope; thinking it would most likely at least provide an enjoyable diversion.
He purchased a gram of 10X extract from his local headshop and began experimenting with it. It proved to have effects very unexpected.
4.0 Initial results
He does not really enjoy salvia, finding the experience lacking in the spirituality and insight of mushrooms, as well as being rather jarring and unpleasant in general.
However, during the two weeks following the beginning of his experimentation with the herb, there was a drastic remission of bipolar symptoms mentioned above. He feels as though during the experience he is torn apart briefly and thrown back into his identity, viewing it more objectively, cleared to a large degree of the habitual mental patterns that exacerbate and instigate the mood swings and irrational thoughts.
His overall satisfaction with life has gone up, though he still faces the same general situation. He has shown an increased interest in his life, beginning to put together concrete plans for post-graduation life (moving, business ideas, etc).
Subject does not feel "high" but does not feel low and lacks the "numb" feeling that comes with more traditional pharmaceutical interventions.
5.0 Tentative explanation of results
It is thought that perhaps the effect of smoking salvia in aiding remission of subjects bipolar symptoms may be due to the temporary break-down of ego. As subject comes "back from salvia-land" and becomes aware of himself again, he feels much more objective, establishing basic things--"I'm this person, in this general life situation, etc".
Subject likens the principle to electro-shock therapy for extreme depression: the brain is sort of rebooted. The mental-emotional clutter accrued by habitual perception and thinking are to some degree wiped clean.
Thus far he has smoked Salvia perhaps 5 or 6 times. He never looks forward to smoking it and personally finds it's recreational use to be next to nihil though the experience is very interesting in terms of metaphysical acrobatics. But he will continue to test for continuing correlation between remission of symptoms and use of the substance.
We'll keep any interested parties posted on the progress.
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