I know that many persons in my surrounding grossly think and are deeply convinced that I became bipolar around the age of 38–40 because of my abuses of drugs (regularly cannabis and occasionnaly cocaine) when I would live in Chile between 2010 and 2016. Let’s dot the i’s and cross the t’s: that is false or, at least, constitutes a very superficial point of view. Certainly, psychiatrists and mood disorder-specialized scientists frequently highlight how cannabis may trigger genetically buried psychoses. Nevertheless, actually, the appearance of a psychosis like bipolar disorder (BD) is often the result of multifactorial patterns in a lifetime. Hereafter, I will only detail what have happened in my personal case, summing various (parts of) articles previously written on this blog in the course of the last two years:
- Before becoming bipolar between 2014 and 2016, I had been a regular weed and hashish consumer since the age of ∼23 (i.e., 1999). The effects of cannabis on my behaviour in those times were mainly, on one positive hand, euphoria associated with music, libido increase, and, on another negative hand, anxiousness and gentle paranoïa. If cannabis had been the only triggering factor of my BD, I would have become bipolar before 25. That sole small analysis makes the hypothesis opening that communication absolutely erroneous.
- When I would live in Chile, I still would intensively run, approximately 3–5 times a week, with regular running sorties exceeding 20 km. I had been a runner since the age of 10. At the end of 2012, they diagnosed me an advanced patelar condromalacia (kind of pre-arthrosis in the knees) and I had to — temporarily (…) — totally stop my favourite sport. For me, it was kind of a disaster. Subsequently, I compensated the drop of endorphines and serotonine in my brain by an increased consumption of cannabis (in Chile, you smoke only weed and the weed is significantly more natural and softer than hashish and weed in France) and — not a minor detail — by a deep love and a very intense sexual activity. I am totally convinced that, let’s say between 23 and 36 years-old, I had established a perfect balance between healthy practices and recreative drugs’ use.
- Actually, after talking with traumatologists and analysing my sport life in details, I had to recognize that the hereabove so-called patelar condromalacia started in a moderate but non-insignificant amount when I was 15–16 (and disappeared after my 18…) and was soon associated with low-to-medium scale mood oscillations. As a teenager, I had frequently in mind words like “melancholia”, “anxiousness”, or even “depression”. One day of Spring 1992, while running and feeling my knees suffering, I was repeating in my mind the famous sentence “ô rage, ô désespoir” (Corneille, Le Cid). Additionnally, between 13 and 14, I knew a very dark period because of a disequilibrium between sport activity (I would suffer from the heel and not practice at all) and the hazards related to the entrance in teenagehood (bad/good first experiences with girls, violence, oscillations or decrease in marks, etc.).
- Let’s come back to my life in Chile. The important fact is that the beginning of my mood disorders and so-called BD was correlated with my recruitment on a highly demanding academic position (professor in a private university): I experienced an intense 3–4 months-long burn-out. Doctors immediately prescribed me antidepressants. It is widely recognised that antidepressants can trigger BD; maybe by only resting I would never have become bipolar.
- My mother died of ovary cancer in 1994, when I was 18. I struggled against mourning and depression by an extremely intense running practice (up to 100 km per week), fell into orthorexia (a potentially mortal eating disorder), and was mentally saved, as highlighted in an old article of this blog, by the discovery of the band Suede and their album Coming Up.
- Finally… The real triggering factor of my (at a neurotic scale) mood disorders was called… Alexandra. I was 10, I was in a school ski trip, and there was this fabulous auburn girl from another school I fell totally in love with. It was middle age: no Facebook, no Instagram, no Snapchat, no cell phone. I was very shy and did not do anything in order to attract her. The school ski trip ended. Then, during two years, I could not stop dreaming about her and meeting her again — I was in an intense and almost permanent state of deep melancholia. This constitutes the real presage of my BD.
Conclusion: the understanding of BD and how it starts is highly complex. I did not become bipolar because of drugs. I was genetically programmed to become bipolar and I entered into psychosis because of the series of factors exposed above. Undoudtedly, my use of “hard” drugs (very strong weeds, cocaine, MDMA) related to my discovery of Fishbach in Spring 2017 pushed me further into BD (with a shift from Type II to Type I); what would have happened if I had never loved Fishbach’s music and person? Well, the past is the past, as I wrote in my previous article. What would have happened if I had never fell in love with Alexandra when I was 10, if I had chosen to be a shepherd instead of pursueing elitist studies, etc.?
Note: it is 5 AM. This time, I did not awaken because of a Fishbach-related nightmare but because of a very weird, though exciting erotic dream… I am on the right path.