Ramadan and my Bipolar


It’s the start of Ramadan today and, as is my way, I always look for linkages between life events and Bipolar – however specious and pathetically weak they might appear.

As most of you will know there are two distinct elements to Ramadan – being the fasting during the period from dawn to dusk, followed by Ifthar ( breaking the fast ) in which there is much socialising, eating, relaxing and much goodwill. It’s a happy family oriented period of religious observance in the way Christmas should be for Christians, without the concomitant commercial overtones.

For me it’s a time of contemplation – rare for me as I’m often preoccupied 100% with managing my bipolar – but the enforced nature of the observance, and as its summer the HEAT too!!, makes me shut down a little during the day and as a consequence, I think about my life a little more, and where its leading me. It reinforces my belief that simplicity is the key imperative in managing and keeping a rein on the worst excesses of my Bipolar. There is almost a throwback in my mind to a more pastoral life as it must have been in pre-industrial days, living simply through trade, bartering and eating what you grow. I have no doubt – but no clinical evidence to support it – that there is much more mental illness now than there was 200 years ago. Life and its attendant stresses undoubtedly worsen mental conditions. So I welcome Ramadan as balm for my soul.

And it leads me to other unscientifically proven theories I have, and that is whilst the ‘West’ has a much more sophisticated and prevalent infrastructure to deal with mental illness, it must lead to a ‘work expands to fill the time available outcome’ metaphor, as the support encourages people to use it. By this I mean there are many who are not mentally ill, but have the short term issues we all face in life, but where perhaps we are not encouraged to deal with it, but seek out help and a quick solution. Whereas in cultures/countries where the acceptance, understanding, empathy and support is less evident, it may mean you still get the support you need as the services are not clogged up with lighter weight issues. Does that make sense?

I am minded that the NHS has just celebrated its 65th birthday in the UK. A wonderful institution and concept, but one perhaps that has become its own worst enemy – as though its prevalence and availability has softened us as a people and where we no longer look to ourselves and our families to work through issues. Now we are asked to rejoice that the minimum consultation time with a GP is set at 3 minutes – wow! How the hell does one talk about a difficult issue. Yet I clearly recall as a boy in the 50’s when I would sit for ages whilst my mother discussed her ailments and then my own. I recall her saying she was worried about me as I hadn’t done a number 2 for 6 days. To which the GP roared laughing and said ‘don’t worry – he’s just baking it!’ As if my arse was a kiln baking Terracotta turds! And he was right too. Nature took its course without intervention.#

I’m rambling away here and digressing – I always do after Haggis. But I’m hoping I make sense.

Anyway Ramadan Kareem

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2 Responses to “Ramadan and my Bipolar”

  1. On July 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm Bipolar chimp responded with... #

    Hi Kit

    Thinking of Ramadan and being a Bipolar like yourself got me thinking too. Ramadan takes discipline , courage , and faith. And let’s not forget not eating of course! Well since us guys seem to spend a life long Ramadan of sorts (religion not required ) managing mental health issues;but I suppose our comfort eating vice might not be seen as a bonus to the true faithful ! But that said us peeps indeed have many life skills that people deemed as “normal” (what ever that is?) could learn from.

    Take me for an example: Going up and down so quick these days (last 4 months to be true) that this is the first time for ages – and a miracle – I have been able to write and concentrate to write this article!! Now that takes a lot of the assets mentioned above!

    Yours outside of the asylum


    • On July 12, 2013 at 7:52 am admin responded with... #

      Hi Pez

      Good to hear from you. I know all about up and downs – usually in a day! Did a radio shown on the subject this week too! Reckon we have the same approach to dealing with it. Take care mate


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