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+<article xmlns="http://docbook.org/ns/docbook" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" version="5.0" xml:id="index" xml:lang="en">
+ <title>Dealing with Hypomanias</title>
+ <uri type="homepage" xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/">Shlomi Fish's Homepage</uri>
+ <holder>Shlomi Fish</holder>
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+ <license rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/" />
+ <dc:title>The Case for File Swapping</dc:title>
+ <dc:description>An essay that explains why Internet File Swapping (using Peer-to-Peer networks, etc.) is not only moral and ethical, but also should be legal, and cannot be banned. Discusses other issues.</dc:description>
+ <dc:creator><Agent><dc:title>Shlomi Fish</dc:title></Agent></dc:creator>
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+ I'll discuss some of my experience as a person with Bipolar
+ Disorder (or Mania-Depressia), and how I deal with the various
+ periods of "hypomania": periods of strong excitement and
+ feelings of self-grandioisity.
+ <date>30 May 2008</date>
+ Forked the template from a previous work and working on
+ <!-- TODO : Rephrase -->
+ Have you ever entered a mood where you thought you were a bad person,
+ that all your past achievements did not count and were bad? Did you
+ find it difficult to perform many tasks that you could do normally,
+ found it hard to concentrate, was flooded with bad thoughts, and had
+ problems going to sleep? If so, you may have been
+ <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder">clinically
+ depressed</link>, or clinically anxious. In addition, people who
+ also known as "Bipolar disorder"</link>
+ (like me) also tend to get into opposite states called
+ <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomania">hypomanias</link>
+ or Manias. While "hypomania" contains the word "mania", they
+ are actually below mania, and the person is still in control to some
+ extent, and, with some awareness, may realise he's in a bad mental
+ Clinical depressions are not everyday "I am depressed."
+ or "being down" depressions, but rather a feeling that one is bad, and
+ being consumed with guilt, with a tendency of being less communicative
+ and less able to perform one's responsibilities.
+ (or "Bipolar disorder") because I had a
+ single "Great Mania" and a few shorter manias, because I have frequent
+ Hypomanias, and because I have been clinically depressed or clinically
+ anxious at the time. So I'm writing about this from experience.
+ <section xml:id="symptoms-of-depression">
+ <title>Symptoms of Depression</title>
+ Quoting from <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_depression">the
+ Wikipedia</link>, the symptoms of depression are:
+ Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
+ Loss of appetite and/or weight loss or conversely overeating and weight gain
+ Insomnia, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
+ Restlessness or irritability
+ Psychomotor agitation or psychomotor retardation
+ Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness
+ Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
+ Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
+ Thoughts of [[death]] or suicide or attempts at suicide
+ Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
+ Withdrawal from social situations, family and friends
+ Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down" or sluggish
+ Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive problems, and chronic pain
+ Decrease/Feeling in motor-speed (time seems to slow down)
+ These are mostly the external symptoms. While the exact thoughts
+ differ from person to person, here is how I felt:
+ I felt I was bad and evil. That I was a bad person, having a
+ bad influence on the world, and that "God hated me".
+ I felt this was my true state, and that my happy, capable,
+ intelligent and active state was due to "a pact with the
+ devil" or something along these lines.
+ <listitem><para>I found that the thoughts haunted me, that I couldn't really sleep, and
+was afraid of thinking.</para></listitem>
+<listitem><para>I believed the entire world was bad and kept perceiving everything as bad.</para></listitem>
+<listitem><para>I had trouble communicating with others, and was afraid to tell them how
+I found it harder to do things that I normally find easy to do. For example,
+I spent hours on end solving a single math problem. I kept convincing myself
+that it should be easy which made me feel much worse.
+I was consumed and overwhelmed with guilt. I felt guilty for many things
+that I perceived as wrong.
+ <section xml:id="symptoms-of-hypomanias">
+ <title>Symptoms of Hypomanias</title>
+ In regards to hypomanias, Wikipedia <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomania">gives the following symptoms</link>:
+ Pressured speech; rapid talking
+ Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;
+ Decreased need for sleep;
+ Flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
+ Easy distractibility and attention-deficit (superficially similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
+ Increase in psychomotor agitation; and
+ Steep involvement in pleasurable activities that may have a high potential for negative psycho-social or physical consequences.
+ It's a pretty good description of me when I'm hypomanic.
+ <title>People I Know who Suffer from Depressions</title>
+ Many people (mostly computer developers) I've talked with admitted to
+ have been clinically depressed:
+ One of my best friends has admitted that she used to have many
+ depressions. Whenever I met her in real life, or talked with
+ her (on the phone, on instant messaging, etc) she seemed very
+ cheerful, fun loving, intelligent, and rational.
+ She claimed that when she is depressed she tends not to
+ communicate a lot and also cannot achieve too much at work,
+ which she said only makes her feel worse. I can relate to both
+ of these, as I recall that that was the case for me on both
+ accounts when I was depressed.
+ I talked with a programmer, well into his 50's (and still
+ active) who admitted to having got into depressions several
+ times in the past. He again seemed normal (if somewhat
+ One time on irc.oftc.net someone joined and started speaking
+ <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet">l33t-speak</link>,
+ asking how he can become a "haxor". People thought he
+ was a troll, but I ended up PMing him and it turned out he was
+ depressed. I spent the afternoon trying to help him.
+ Eventually, during his (and mine's) evening, he claimed that
+ he was feeling better and parted. (It is known that often
+ depressed individuals feel better in the evening and at night.)
+ A fellow programmer I talked with admitted to having got into
+ depressions in the past, and that she tried to function
+ A fellow Perl monger I talked with said that he sometimes
+ exhibited some of the symptoms of hypomania. He seemed
+ very hyperactive to me, so I wasn't really surprised, but it
+ may also be plain excitement and not a medical condition.
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.mental-health-today.com/bp/famous_people.htm">A
+ list of some famous people who had Mania-Depressia can be
+ Bipolar disorder is relatively uncommon and many more people are
+ only "Unipolar" and only have depressions and anxieties. Depressions
+ and anxieties are considered the "common cold" of mental illnesses,
+ and are exhibited in a large percentage of the populace.
+Someone told me that he read a study that said that roughly 50% of the
+authors in the English language today have Mania-Depressia. I haven't been
+able to find it online and would appreciate any references.
+ <title>Dealing with Clinical Depressions</title>
+There is a lot of mis-information and dis-information about depressions in
+the public. When I was depressed and hypomanic as a teenager I didn't know
+how to call these "conditions", or how to effectively deal with them. If,
+after reading the description on the Wikipedia, you feel that you have been
+depressed in the past, read on.
+The best advice I can give on dealing with clinical depressions (and possibly
+also as a preventitive measure or just to understand what people think) is
+to buy <link xlink:href="http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-Therapy-Revised-Updated/dp/0380810336">the excellent book "Feeling Good"</link>.
+ It is a self-help guide for <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy">cognitive-behavioural therapy</link>, that was
+originally written in English and was recommended to me by my therapist.
+Just reading it helped me understand the source of my hypomanias, and I found
+the exercises recommended there to be helpful as well.
+One important omission from an earlier draft of this essay was that I did not
+summarise the "Feeling Good" book here, while I should have tried to in order
+to give a taste of the book here (because I know I always hate "go read X at
+some place because I don't have the nerve to explain it to you."). So I am going
+to summarise "Feeling Good" here.
+Note that if you are depressed, (and if you're feeling suicidal even more so),
+you need to consult a cognitive-behavioural therapist for a session, as
+soon as possible. I am not a mental health professional and am not qualified
+to give professional therapy, and this essay is not a substitute for it.
+ <title>Summary of Feeling Good</title>
+Burns starts by giving a way to diagnose your mood and determine if you are
+depressed or not. I didn't focus on it because I normally can eventually tell
+when I'm hypomanic (or could when I was depressed). He then goes on to explain
+that your feelings are affected by the thoughts that go through your head,
+and that by challenging your irrational thoughts, you can improve your
+He then lists 10 cognitive errors that people make which may make people
+depressed. Among these errors are:
+<emphasis role="bold">Should statements</emphasis> - you try to motivate
+yourself by saying things like "I should be more careful", or "I should not
+have talked to him like that." or "I ought to be more considered". What these
+should statements do is actually demotivate, and make you feel down.
+<emphasis role="bold">Disqualifying the positive</emphasis> - an example for
+this is that when you receive a compliment, you say something like "they
+didn't mean it.", or "it doesn't count.", or "he doesn't know the real me."
+<emphasis role="bold">Mental filter</emphasis> - here you focus on one negative
+detail (a "fly in the ointment"), while ignoring the rest of the picture.
+<emphasis role="bold">All or nothing thinking</emphasis> - you want everything
+to be perfect. For example, you'll accept no grade below 90% or so (even if
+it's a passing grade), or so.
+Dr. Burns then gives a simple recipe to gain self-esteem: one writes down an
+automatic thought that disturbes him (or her), and then the feelings that
+he feels (with percentages). Afterwards, he should write which cognitive
+errors he has made followed by a rational response to the feelings, and after
+Burns then discusses several useful techniques for anger management, and for
+ <emphasis role="bold">Approval Addiction.</emphasis>
+<emphasis role="bold">Productivity Addiction</emphasis> - you care about your work, how productive you are,
+how much you achieve, etc. (Much more common among men.)
+ <emphasis role="bold">Love addiction</emphasis> - you want to be loved a lot. More common among women.
+ <emphasis role="bold">Perfectionism</emphasis> - you want to be perfect in everything you do.
+ <title>A Few Facts that Should Be Realised</title>
+ <section xml:id="mentally-ill-is-not-eccentric">
+ <title>Mentally Ill is not Eccentric</title>
+ When people say that someone is "crazy", "insane", "out of his
+ mind" etc. they usually mean that he or she is eccentric or
+ behaving irrationaly, not that they are mentally unsound. I know
+ and have heard about many people who are eccentric or very
+ eccentric and yet are perfectly sane, and lead perfectly happy
+ There's a difference between conformism or "being normal" and
+ <section xml:id="some-bad-moods-are-ok">
+ <title>Some Bad Moods are OK</title>
+ Some bad moods are normal and are a healthy part of living and
+ would not lead to depression. For example, if someone you cared
+ about died, it's perfectly OK to feel sad. Rational fear is also
+ normal and healthy. (but one should avoid irrational fear). My
+ point is that one cannot or should not be happy all the time.
+ Sometimes it is also OK to be a little "down".
+ <section xml:id="drugs">
+ <title>Drugs are not the most Effective
+ Way to Treat Depressions</title>
+ Depressions have a cause. According to
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-Therapy-Revised-Updated/dp/0380810336">"Feeling
+ usually a thought or a group of thoughts that is bothering someone,
+ and caused someone to feel depressed. Psychoactive medication aims
+ to deal with the symptom that is a chemical problem in the
+ functioning of the brain. However, it does not deal with the actual
+ cause that is the mental problem.
+ In order to deal with the cause instead of the symptom, you still
+ need Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and to read
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-Therapy-Revised-Updated/dp/0380810336">"Feeling
+ That put aside I should note that I am taking medication,
+ prescribed to me by a Psychiatrist. It does not prevent me from
+ becoming anxious, but it may make the anxieties less severe (I'm
+ not entirely sure about that).
+ <section xml:id="depressions-are-not-desirable">
+ <title>Clinical Depressions are neither Desirable nor
+ Inevitable and Can be Overcome</title>
+ Some unipolar individuals I talked with, who seemed to have been
+ <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism">relativists</link>
+ argued that being clinically depressed or hypomanic, was perfectly
+ OK and that it was just a natural state, and that it was just
+ "society" or the "environment" that didn't like it. All of this
+ is non-sense, because I clearly recall feeling miserable when
+ being depressed or clinically anxious and after gaining some
+ awareness, was able to tell that my hypomanias were not desirable
+ either. It's not a belief people have conditioned me to believe,
+ it's one that I developed myself.
+ I can rant much more about Post-modernist relativism, whose
+ some of proponents of it claimed people with disabilities such as
+ deafness or blindness, who can be treated to some extent,
+ should not be, because deafness or blindness were just different
+ ways of perception, and not actual disabilities. But the point
+ is that while you may experience depression or hypomania, it is
+ neither desirable nor inevitable, and that you can overcome it.
+ During my normal state, I had, like other people, experienced
+ many positive and negative emotions: joy, anger, frustration,
+ fear, boredom, disorientedness, love, exhiliration, attraction,
+ disappointment, hatred, remorse, sadness, etc. This is perfectly
+ normal and these emotions have a purpose, and I was otherwise
+ happy when I experienced them. But they are more natural than
+ depression, which is much longer, and is mentally and physically
+ unhealthy. <footnote xml:id="emotions-are-not-our-master" label="Emotions">
+ One should note that emotions and feelings should not be
+ our master. Often they can be misleading and irrational.
+ For example, if my friend failed a test that I did well
+ on, I may feel smugness or superiority, but this feeling
+ is probably not rational or will make me happy in the
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.mkprojects.com/fa_emotions.html">repressed</link>,
+ in the sense that we deny that we feel this way. But we
+ sometimes can acknowledge that we feel like it, and behave
+ in a different way. A person is allowed to
+ <emphasis role="bold">feel anything</emphasis>
+ including a desire for mayhem and murder. Only behaving
+ based on these emotions in either words or deeds may be
+ While we can enjoy a rational happy emotion, and
+ try to behave on a rational bad emotion, we sometimes
+ need to take actions that will make us feel bad.
+ For example, validly criticising a friend in private,
+ or admiting you've done something wrong.
+ That put aside, you shouldn't feel bad about being depressed. It's
+ <title>Computer Developers and Anxieties</title>
+Computer Developers are probably more likely to become anxious than people
+of most other professions. With the irrational working hours (see
+<link xlink:href="http://www.igda.org/articles/erobinson_crunch.php">Evan Robinson's
+"Crunch Mode" article</link> ), tight schedules,
+tactless or unfriendly co-workers, bad software management practices,
+bad code and lack of craftsmanship, irrational management that
+demands the impossible, too few vacations, and other factors - it is
+probable that they will feel trapped, resentful, unhappy, and as a likely
+result, anxious or depressed.
+ As a software manager, it is your job to keep your software
+ developers happy. This means doing the exact opposite of the
+ above-mentioned points. Refer to <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/software-management/perfect-workplace/">an essay
+ which I started writing titled "The Perfect IT Workplace"</link>
+ for more information on how to do that.
+ As opposed to common belief, treating your software developers with
+ superb conditions, will make them much more productive, not less. So
+ make sure you read my article above (and the links pointed to from it),
+ and integrate its recommendations into your workplace.
+ Naturally, this is more difficult to do if you're a grunt
+ programmer. However, you can still refer your boss to what I wrote if
+ you feel he's reasonable enough. If not, it may be a good idea to quit
+ or even to relocate to somewhere with more job opportunities. Some jobs
+ are worse than being unemployed.
+ Obviously, from reading "Feeling Good", it is evident that
+ depressions, anxieties and hypomanias are not limited to programmers,
+ and actually predate programming by a long time. Many retired people
+ also find themselves the sudden victims of these mental ailments.
+ However, I feel that due to bad state-of-the-art of software management
+ in the world today, it is especially common there, than in most other
+ <title>Some Advice from My Experience</title>
+ Like I said earlier, I still haven't fully recovered from my
+ Mania-Depressia and am still getting into hypomanias. However, here is
+ some advice I can give from my experience:
+ <section xml:id="do-cognitive-exercises">
+ <title>Do Cognitive Exercises</title>
+ This is probably the single best advice one can give. Read
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-Therapy-Revised-Updated/dp/0380810336">"Feeling
+ Good"</link> and do the exercises given there. They have
+ proved very helpful to me.
+ <section xml:id="physical-exercise">
+ <title>Physical Exercise</title>
+ Exercising and especially doing aerobic exercise (jogging,
+ biking, dancing, swimming, etc.) is very useful
+ for preventing or lessening anxieties.
+ My therapist recommended that in order to sleep well
+ during days in which I'm hypomanic, I should exercise during
+ the late afternoon and evening.
+ <section xml:id="diet">
+ I don't consume alcoholic beverages, don't consume caffeine,
+ have never smoked, and have never consumed any of the currently
+ illegal drugs. While it does not prevent hypomanias, I find that
+ it makes me less moody, more energetic throughout the day, and
+ allows me to sleep better at nights. (I had also tried to refrain
+ from eating sugary foods, but I couldn't persist in it very well.)
+ I also take multi-vitamin pills, and some people take many more
+ individual minerals than I do, and while I'm not sure it helps
+ with anxieties, it's very good for health and longevity.
+ <section xml:id="relaxation">
+ I also find that relaxing or doing things you love to do is
+ helpful for keeping a good self-esteem. It's especially important
+ during anxieties. Listening to music, sitting, thinking and doing
+ nothing, taking a time for leisure at the computer, are useful for
+ relief from troubling thought.
+ <section xml:id="perform-your-priorities">
+ <title>Try to Perform Your Priorities</title>
+ That put aside, I should note that working on what you have to
+ do, will make you feel better, and is better than just
+ procrastinating, and will also displace a large burden from
+ your heart, that keeps you nervous.
+ <section xml:id="write-down-your-thoughts">
+ <title>Write Down Your Thoughts</title>
+ When I'm hypomanic, I'm getting lots of good ideas: for stories,
+ for essays, random useful thoughts, etc. While a lot of them had
+ seemed silly in the past, some of them proved to be very useful and
+ rational.<footnote xml:id="mania-stories" label="ManiaStories">
+ I even ended up finding many really crazy delusions I had
+ during my "great mania" as fodder for the following
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/humanity/">Humanity</link>
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/Star-Trek/We-the-Living-Dead/">Star Trek: We, the Living Dead</link>
+ And, naturally, my hypomanias have been catalysts for most
+ of <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/">my other
+ It would be a good idea to write the ideas down, or even work on
+ realising the essays or articles, because it makes one less excited
+ and calmer. I would be a good idea not to publicise them in public
+ until you're well out of a hypomania, because they may prove to be
+ immature or silly in the short-run.
+ I personally may have sometimes been rejected from jobs because
+ of the many things I've written and placed online, and which are
+ easily accessible using a Google Search. I don't mind that because
+ I feel that expressing and publicising my creativity is more
+ important than making myself a better job candidate to some
+ "attractive" jobs. And some employers seemed to be very impressed
+ by some of what I wrote online, or at least did not mind that, and
+ these seem like jobs I prefer.
+ It is naturally a good idea to receive as much commentary as
+ possible about one's articles or writings in private before
+ publicising them for all the Internet to see.
+ <section xml:id="be-honest">
+ <title>Be Honest</title>
+It is a good idea to admit that you're "stressed" - anxious, etc. My therapist
+said that the word "hypomania" is intimidating because it contains the word
+"mania", so one should rephrase it in case the other party is not that
+knowledgable about Psychology. Sometimes you may find some of your
+friends or family (but not all) good candidates for consulting with your
+thoughts or feelings. I once spent an hour or so on an IRC (= Internet
+Relay Chat) conversation listening to a 19-years-old whom I knew, talking
+about her problems. I also consulted people on IRC or IM about my own issues
+and often found creative solutions or empathy.
+This is doubly correct for talking with my family members.
+ <section xml:id="maintain-low-profile">
+ <title>Maintain a Low Online Profile</title>
+ During a hypomania, it is a good idea to maintain a low online
+ profile. Namely, don't post too much to mailing lists or other
+ forums, don't chat on the IRC too much (and try to focus on
+ technical problems or your psychological situation), and in general
+ try to maintain a low-profile.
+ However, I feel that real-life meetings with people and talking
+ to them face to face is actually very good for one's well-being
+ So if you can get a friend or a few to meet with you in a café ,
+ or go to a club meeting, it will be a good idea.
+ <section xml:id="philosophy">
+ It is my impression that often the philosophies and idea systems
+ that we are generally exposed to (i.e: most western religions),
+ are very harmful for one's self-esteem and prevent one from
+ properly getting out of depressions.
+ The Judeo-Christian ethics instill a lot of feelings of guilt
+ in people for perfectly innocent actions and thoughts. Also the
+ psychological fuel there is contradictory, aims to control people
+ and subject them to higher causes, and is harmful to one's
+ Therefore, I suggest you instead study and adopt a more benevolent
+ psychological philosophy, which will help give you enough tools
+ to live your life more happily and to deal with clinical
+ conditions as they arise. My personal favourite is
+ <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/philosophy/guide-to-neo-tech/">Neo-Tech</link>,
+ which is an extension and re-organisation of
+ <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)">Ayn
+ Rand's Objectivism</link>, with many vital corrections.
+ However, I do not rule out that different personal
+ philosophies will be better for different people.
+ <section xml:id="reliefs">
+ <title>Receive some Reliefs for Your Condition</title>
+ It's possible that if you're a university student or a
+ grunt employee, then you can get some reliefs for your
+ medical condition. So try to see if it is possible, and if
+ <title>The Curse and the Blessing</title>
+ In <link xlink:href="http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Tapestry">"Tapestry",
+ one of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episodes that I
+ vividly remember the most</link>, Captain Picard dies and then is given
+ a choice to revert an incident in his past. After he does that, he
+ discovers that he is no longer Captain and that he have lacked the
+ self-motivation that was needed in order to become the hero that he
+ used to be. As a result, he says that "I would rather die as the man I
+ was, than live the life I just saw."
+ Keller</link>, who was born deaf-blind. If she had been born
+ normal, she would most likely have led a happy life. On the other
+ hand, without her disability, she might not had become the superwoman
+ that she did, because there would have been nothing to motivate her.
+ Would I rather lead a normal life? Yes, I would. But, on the other
+ hand, I recognise that being Bipolar is part of who I am, and probably
+ the price I have to pay for being so creative. While I would like to
+ reduce its effect, I thank God (so to speak) for allowing me to be
+ able to write so many articles and essays, compose so many stories,
+ and being a capable programmer.
+ So I guess the curse and the blessing are part of what makes me who
+</article> <!-- End of the article -->