Thanks so much for sharing. I don’t mean to frighten you with this information, but thought that this information might be useful. Below are the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) criteria for diagnosing bipolar disorder (the manic component). Every one of your behaviours/symptoms are in line with a manic/hypomanic state. The flight of ideas that you mention is also very common – some interpret this as creativity. Many therapists comment on how their bipolar patients will arrive with manuscripts full of – what appear at the time to be – great ideas.
Possibly I should clarify this a little further. Having read many posts on this site, it has struck me how frequently manic symptoms are reported. Those reporting these symptoms generally have little idea that when they are describing how they felt or what they (or their loved one) did, they are actually describing symptoms that would have them diagnosable for bipolar disorder.
For the sake of completeness I want to restate the symptoms of mania – what follows are the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) criteria for mania i.e. these are the criteria that psychiatrists and psychologists use to diagnose patients:
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR MANIC EPISODE
A Manic Episode is defined by a distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, and irritable mood. This period of abnormal mood must last at least 1 week (or less if hospitalization is required). The mood disturbance must be accompanied by at least three symptoms.
1. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least 1 week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary).
2. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:
• inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
• decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
• more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
• flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
• distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
• increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
• excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)
3. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode (characterized by the symptoms of both a Manic Episode and Major Depressive Episode)
4. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in occupational functioning or in usual social activities or relationships with others, or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features.
The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).
There are numerous references to euphoria by LGAT participants on this site:
Excalibur; August 20, 2005 05:43AM
“Indeed, former Landmarkians have compared Landmark to an addictive drug. Here is a quote from a former participant that appeared in an excellent article entitled "Pay Money, Be Happy": "For six months, I was just hooked," says a recently counseled Landmark participant from Denver, Colorado. "My parents kept pushing me to do it, and I thought, 'My God! If everyone did this, there would be no need for drugs, 'cause the euphoria is just so . . . euphoric!'”
too much; April 28, 2008 05:07PM;
“Yeah, I was in bad shape before, but I’m just in agony now. I managed to suffer through lift-off celebration. I felt a lot of pressure from my biological family to continue because they thought they saw improvement when I’d come home in a euphoria for a couple days after each training. It was always short lived. But they were just happy to see signs of life.”
There are also references to affairs/divorces/promiscuity/impulsivity:
Mary K: February 23, 2008 10:23AM;
“Hi Sam, I noticed your post after I signed in and wrote the following. This is getting to be a strange world isn't it. "Well this situation with my ex-husband has taken a strange twist. He called me last night at midnight and told me he is in Las Vegas with his "new" girlfriend and they are getting married tomorrow. Seems he met her during one of these coffee meetings, hit it off and she is 'the love of his life." Now to make matters even more unreal, because I think this whole thing is unreal, he's only known her a couple of weeks. When he returned from the ranch he was smitten over another woman, again "the love of his life," he had met at the ranch. She apparently dumped him and he's now getting married to someone he's known only a couple of weeks.”
RaCeR---X: October 23, 2007 10:16AM;
"Yes...I hear you... now what are we going to do about John, who's been in severe depression since attending our "training"... and Sherry, who left her husband of 16 years after having an affair with a 21 year old "trainer" here... and Carl, who walked out on his kids to go up to live in the mountains so he could more closely hear and channel the Arch Angel Michael and his blue flame of protection... and finally Tom, who filed for bankruptcy after spending the last of his $12,000 in his retirement fund on our useless "training" and that girl, I didn't get here name she ran out sooo fast, that committed suicide after last Saturday nights "training" session?" "Hold on here! I was talking about making sure we insure we don't trample on the intellectual property rights of multi-billionaire music executives, we need to watch our morals! "Oh those morals, sorry "trainer" we were confused by those silly morals taught by our parents, teacher, and society.”
Even in Steven Pressman’s biography of Werner Erhard the following observation was made:
“The irony was that the est culture was filled with the victims of busted marriages, both among Erhard’s staff and among plenty of est graduates as well. Divorce was not an uncommon result of the training for many couples.” Outrageous Betrayal
Margaret Singer made the following comments on euphoria:
“Afterwards, participants have attested to feeling “awesome” and experiencing an emotional high that lasted for days. Some say they had to use special “grounding” procedures just to carry on with normal life after this “transcending” experience.” Cults in Our Midst
… and on impulsive spending:
“At some point, a “Gift of Giving” session was added to the five-day Insight seminar. During this session, it has been reported, some people were so euphoric they made out checks for $10,000 to the group.” Cults in Our Midst
Timothy Conway PhD said the following:
“But for most attendees, the intense and dramatic emotional dynamics of the large-group training situation will likely make the learning and re-orientation even more powerful and even more of a “high” euphoria. Many observers have noticed that the euphoria often has a rather or very manic edge to it.”
“…they all say, in one way or another, that the purpose of their work is to get you “clear,” but along the way their insidious aim is also to manipulate you into feeling “high,” even manically high, in this drug-like euphoria, to better insure that you will fall more in line with the group identity and the group’s agenda and that you keep coming back for more (i.e., more courses and trainings).”
It is not only participants and observers who claim that LGATs produce manic symptoms. Nancy Zapolski – a senior trainer at Landmark Education – speaks on their website. This is what she has to say about the most common effects of the Landmark Forum (anyone who understands mania/hypomania can readily see that these ‘benefits’ are symptoms of a manic/hypomanic state. In fact there is no other convincing explanation for these benefits):
"There are many benefits that people get out of the Landmark Forum and while the benefits will be unique to you, there are five that nearly everyone reports.
Number one is an increased ability to relate effectively with others (creativity, flight of ideas – many famous novelists were bipolar). You’ll feel profoundly connected and find the freedom to be yourself (confidence). Even when there’s a problem everything can get worked out (optimism). What people experience is being at ease, no matter where they are, who they are with, or what the circumstances (confidence).
Number two is increased personal productivity and effectiveness (self-explanatory). It might be with your work, your finances, or whatever goals you are out to accomplish. You’ll have more time to do what matters to you and will come to see that many of the limits of effectiveness are self-imposed, and based on decisions from the past that have been hidden from your view. This will give you access to creating a whole new level of performance.
Number three is confidence (self-explanatory). We all have areas of our lives where we experience some degree of confidence, but there are others where we doubt ourselves, or hold back. Imagine yourself stepping into situations where you were once limited, but now have the confidence to act in the face of self-doubt and even fear.
Number four is making the right choices and pursuing what’s important (this links with impulsive decision-making. One feels that one can make big decisions as consequences are less in one’s view). You will come to relate to choice in a whole new way – one that allows for a new found freedom, both to create and pursue what’s important.
The last aspect is living life fully. You can go after what you want, bring true passion to your commitments, live without regrets and express yourself fully.” (This is typical of a person in a manic/hypomanic state)