Accusations from the Realm of Madness

On Friday a reporter put this question to Attorney-General Christian Porter: “Why do you think this woman would come up with such an elaborate lie?” According to reports, the woman in question, who had accused Christian Porter of raping her in 1988, suffered bipolar disorder. If the reporter spent any time reviewing the experiences of people who suffer from bipolar he would not have asked such an asinine question.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a diagnosis bestowed upon those who experience sweeping mood swings that range from depressive lows to manic highs. Those who suffer from bipolar are often clever, as this poor girl was reported to be, however they must stick to a strict routine of strong medication to prevent slipping into a psychotic state. When they do, it is routine to experience a recurrence of false memories of a violent and sexual nature that become embedded in the brain, only to reappear when another episode occurs.


“Ah, give me madness, you heavenly powers! Madness that I may at last believe in myself! Give deliriums and convulsions, sudden lights and darkness, terrify me with frost and fire such as no mortal has ever felt, with deafening din and prowling figures, make me howl and whine and crawl like a beast: so that I may come to believe in myself!”– Friedrich Nietzsche


If our ace reporter wanted to find out more about the experiences of bipolar patients and how they come up with such elaborate stories, he could have simply turned to google to read confessions such as this from PenelopeAnn:

I had false memories of violent and sexual nature during my most severe manic episode. The details were SO vivid, and it took a while for me to realize what was real and what wasn’t. Unfortunately, I now question every memory I have. I believe there is a word for it, but I forget. It has to do with delusions.

I had memories of being kidnapped, raped, and finally that I’d had a suicide pact with a friend when I was 17. In my ‘memory’ she shot herself in front of me during a standoff with the police. I failed to follow through and here I was, 37 years old and believing she was ‘on the other side’ waiting for me. All I had to do was to fulfill my promise to her and kill myself, then we would both be happy forever.

Luckily, my therapist realized I was bit ‘off’. Other memories during this episode that weren’t true were having multiple personality disorder and being studied secretly by doctors at a university, there was a police manhunt, stabbings, my friend shooting a cop, oh, and I was manipulated into a sexual sadomasochist relationship, but was incompetent because of the multiple personality disorder.

These things never happened but I was POSITIVE they had. Part of the delusion involved the doctors telling my parents that if I ever asked about anything to deny it, therefor I knew I couldn’t trust my parents to tell me the truth. Once the Seroquel took hold, I went through a horrible stage where I couldn’t be certain of anything being real. When I was in the hospital, I kept asking the staff, “How can I be sure I’m actually here? How can I be sure you are real? I could be sitting in my bedroom right now for all I know.” It took a while for my brain to start processing the real world properly. I never want to go through that again, so I do everything I possibly can to avoid it. The embarrassment was as bad as the terror of the whole experience.

So, yes, you can have false memories during a severe manic episode, probably during a severe depression, too. Unfortunately, though, very horrible and very real things do happen to people. There are couple of things that I long to ask my mom about just to verify, but I am terrified of being told they didn’t. Then she might worry that I’m getting ‘off’ again. I need to go through my really old journals to see if I wrote about them before this particular incident with the false memories.”

One of the themes that recurs in the ABC/SMH reporting of the Christian Porter accusations is the trope that a brilliant girl’s future was ruined by a foul beast who drove her to suicide. Malcolm Turnbull has taken it a step further by hinting at the possibility of foul play. Christian Porter is thus stigmatised as a cross between Ted Hughes and Ted Bundy.

A more mundane explanation of the poor girl’s failure to achieve the success she seemed predestined for may be to attribute it to the effects of bipolar, as blogger Ann writes:

I’ve had numerous admissions to hospital and crisis houses, taken overdoses, cut myself, and put myself in very dangerous situations when manic.

All of those things have been awful, but they don’t even begin to compare to how soul-destroying it has been to not have the life I once believed was a given taken by bipolar. As a teenager, I was a high achiever. I was destined for academic and occupational success, but I haven’t been able to work since I was 18 and I had to drop out of university because I was too unwell.

Lithium is an important treatment for bipolar disorder. It can help to control moods, but it can also have adverse effects. Some reports suggest that lithium can affect thinking and memory.

There is also a concept in psychology called “confabulation” where two similar memories become combined into one memory but with lots of distortions. This is a common condition of bipolar disorder. There are countless publications and studies into the topic of false and repressed memories. Does a trauma lay hidden in the mind and only emerge in the later date to trigger a mental condition, or is the fantasy a symptom of the disease?

A picture has circulated in the media showing a document  (above) apparently written in a spiral by the girl who accused Christian Porter of rape. Once again, Google “writing spiral text psychosis” and in an instant you will come up with a reference to hypergraphia, a behavioural condition described on Wikipedia thus:

There are many accounts of patients writing in nonsensical patterns including writing in a centre-seeking spiral starting around the edges of a piece of paper. In one case study, a patient even wrote backwards, so that the writing could only be interpreted with the aid of a mirror. Some studies have suggested that hypergraphia is related to bipolar disorder, hypomania, and schizophrenia.

If a bipolar person keeps taking their medication they can go for years without experiencing a psychotic episode, but the unfortunate truth is it always returns. Perhaps as a reaction to stress, they stop taking the meds or the dosage becomes insufficient, there will inevitably be another crisis. If there are people close by who recognise the signs they may be able to stave off the worst effects by increasing the dosage of anti-psychotics or getting them to a hospital. Those who live with bipolar sufferers report many similar symptoms to this unfortunate girl’s story:

She starts contacting friends and relatives she has not contacted for years … launches a spending spree on outlandish clothes and colourful baubles …. her room fills up with rubbish and she fills notebooks with page after page of mad confessions and new age psychobabble.

Unfortunately, the risk of suicide is 10-30 times higher in those with bipolar disorder than in the general population. There are estimates that somewhere between 20 per cent to 60 per cent of those with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once in their lives.

One last tip for that genius from the press corps who questioned how such an elaborate accusation could possibly be a lie. There is also an extensive literature on the link between Compulsive Lying Disorder and bipolar. It shouldn’t take a Clark Kent to do some web-searching and find the connection.

12 thoughts on “Accusations from the Realm of Madness

  • Tony Tea says:

    God playing brandy with a cricket ball. Heaven’s a tough school.

  • NFriar says:

    Thank you Bill Dawe.
    Only an ignorant fool would have asked such a question of Porter.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Thanks for this needed article Bill. It is a disgrace that this poor woman’s parents have to continually be reminded of their loved daughter”s sickness by media scum devoid of principles.

    It is also a disgrace that the usual axe-to-grind figures have stooped to trash the most fundamental protection of our law.

    I believe on the probabilities that the woman lived in a hell made of her illness. Having suffered so much in this life she must now be with her Maker, In any case, since I was not there, I can not know of Porter’s innocence or guilt but he like all of us must have the protection of the law.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Niki Savva is at it again in today’s Australian. Morrison must dump Porter.

  • ianl says:

    “Why would she lie ?”

    The most frequent retort to the convention of innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. No amount of logic will change that mindset. An accusation is all that is needed.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Well ianl, that raises the question of what happens when those idiots are themselves accused without evidence? Would experiencing a false accusation puncture their delusion?

  • Harry Lee says:

    Yes, those activists pushing the “accuser’s” account of the alleged “rape” as mostly pro-ALP/pro-Greenist, post-modernist, anti-Westernist Big Statists who seek to destroy the L-NP Fed govt.
    And/or are weak-minded persons who are unaware of a hard reality:
    There are many fantasists in this world, many of whom do well in their exams at school and uni, and appear to live their lives not too differently from fantasists.
    But their fantasies -arising from faults in their brain chemistry and/or disappointments in their lives and/or shame about something they did and/or their need to be noticed and provided with close attention, sympathy, celebrity, and possibly dollars in compensation- are very much fantasies.
    There’s the Actress Markle as a current outstanding example, and there are many more.
    And some of us have seen organisations brought low by the acting-out of such fantasists.
    And some of us have seen the lives of highly-prodcutive and strongly-contributing non-fantasists destroyed by fantasists and their puppeteering enablers with hidden power-mongering agendas.

  • cbattle1 says:

    I am reminded now of the “Recovered Memories” phenomena of some decades ago: Some women in America were being “regressed” by their psychotherapists in order to discover the repressed origin of their anxiety/depression, and that resulted in a rash of allegations and charges against fathers, brothers, etc/

  • simonbenson65 says:

    If the current post-truth zeitgeist’s test of truth is a mere allegation, why do we need courts?
    And if the likes of an actress called Meghan can transform false non-news into serious news, immune from challenge, why do we need ‘news’?
    News is no longer news. As Trump rightly said, it is just ‘fake news’.
    The hackneyed mantra of the left – ‘speak YOUR truth’ – deliberately eschews speaking THE truth.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    I have an adult son with bipolar disorder. It has involved him in various nightmares of delusion, and has at times made his life unbearable to him. He has attempted suicide twice, once as a teenager and once in his thirties; both times more a cry for help than a serious decision, but the anguish, and in his teens the overdose, was palpable. He is highly intelligent, but resistant to taking medication and quite dependent still upon me, although at times he has hated me for confused stories he has made up for himself about my efforts to assist him. In the middle of a period bringing forward torrents of abuse he will suddenly shift, hug me, and return to reasonable normality. He sees a psychiatrist who has diagnosed him as shifting constantly in and out of reality. He has never been organised enough nor allowed others to organise him sufficiently to receive the help he needs; he should be on the invalid pension but is not. He has tried to work, and during periods of work, he descended into gambling during a manic episode and ended up in prison for six months for less than $15K worth of so-called fraud, which he claims was money due to him for his contract work. He refused to let us get him proper legal assistance where his mental problems would be taken into account. Who can tell the truth of his frauds, for I can’t. He was finally diagnosed in prison with bipolar disorder, but discharged on parole into my care without any further help or referral. He skipped his parole and disappeared for a few years, living on the streets, where I eventually retrieved him and helped him get some housing and keep him supplied with extra food and other necessities.

    Re the strange writing – my mother had a serious schizophrenic disorder and was in and out of hospital for years and I suspect my father, occasionally hospitalised, also had bipolar disorder. My mother used to do, during her very bad episodes, what she called ‘automatic writing’ – great screeds of it, half written and half scribbled, received she claimed from ‘the spirit world’. It was a sign that her grave mental disturbance was rising up again whenever it appeared. At least she did get help in the days of the old psychiatric hospital system and ended up having a reasonably stable existence, with love from her three children and surrounded by her grandchildren. My father ended up as a hermit living in a caravan on an isolated property until taken into aged care.

    My story is not particularly unusual. Once you reach out to other families trying to cope, the situation is really quite common (as the tale of Vincent van Gogh’s extended family shows) although not affecting all members and often depending on stressors to elicit full-blown expression of delusional states. I feel very much for this woman’s parents, but in fairness to Christian Porter I wish they would speak out far more strongly than they have. They have been through hell though, I’d say, and by simply saying that what she says is likely not believable, they have probably picked the scab enough for their own emotional welfare.

    The woman making accusations against Christian Porter is clearly disturbed, and seems very prone to what my son has, a tendency to conflate issues and events into a web woven in her own disordered mind.

  • Harry Lee says:

    Elizabeth Beare, my respect to you for the hard work you have put in and continue to exert as you deal with the many challenges presented to you by members of your family and others.
    And I send you all my strongest positive wishes for your well-being, as time continues to go by -Harry.

  • bradrow says:

    All this reminds me of a criminal trial that took place centuries ago before the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. Ammianus Marcellinus relates how the defendant was content to do no more than deny his guilt and since there was insufficient proof the case was doomed to fail. When this became apparent to the prosecutor he cried out: “O illustrious Caesar, if mere denial suffices to acquit, what hereafter will become of the guilty?”. To which the Emperor replied: “if mere accusation suffices to condemn, what hereafter will become of the innocent?”. It is a simple principle, well understood in times past, but, it seems, one which is totally lost on the left wing elements of our media and political class; especially when there is a government upon which they wish to inflict political damage.

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