Wednesday, June 22, 2011

bipolar mood swings

Why do I have this awful feeling?
A Down Spiral Day, Today. Dam! Bipolar Mood Swings?
The mood swings of bipolar disorder can be profoundly destructive. Depression can make you isolate yourself from your friends and loved ones. You may find it impossible to get out of bed, let alone keep your job. During manic periods, you be may be reckless and volatile. Picking up the pieces after mood swings can be hard, WebMD.
I slipped two days ago, fell off my new diet wagon treating myself to fat saturated fast food & ice cream. The old pattern claimed me for its own early this morning and like my previous bipolar mood swings, there is a war going on within me now?

Today I'm not lost to my bipolar mood swings though?

I'm angry with myself, struggling against the power of my own biology as this sinking feeling fires memory associations in my brain. The war going on inside me is a fight between the needs of my body and the wants of my mind, I want to write, dam it! Digestion needs within my over sensitive organism are limiting my mental resources, I can't think positively and I'm really shitty with myself.

"So why can't you just let go and sink into the rest and digest cycle your body needs?" I ask myself.

Bloody good question that one? For at least a week now I've been writing about how I think the mind is fired by muscular tensions, and here I am today loosing sight of my own advice, by resisting internal sensations and tensing myself with distress. Its bloody amazing how unconscious habitual patterns lie in wait for a mind that pretends it knows itself? Today I've been back in my head too much again, not mindful of internal tensions, lost to the old bipolar mood swings pattern.

This heavy feeling in my over sensitive stomach is an unconscious reminder of previous depressions and feelings of collapse. Without being aware I've fallen into an old defense against feeling internal sensation, as muscle tensions try to prevent me from falling? "Its unconscious nervous system activity," I tell myself and try to relax my facial muscle tensions, my hard jaw determination. As I try to relax and release the clamp on my stomach, I feel the old resistance and the biology of my bipolar condition?

Mutual Gaze Transactions help to
mature her babies brain/nervous system. 
My triune auto nervous system never got to operate well in its poor early life development, those crucial first three years of a post natal brain/nervous system maturing process? Traumatic birth experience, infantile asthma/eczema and very little in the way of loving contact with mum? As I sit here and grapple with this internal resistance to relaxation, I'm reminded of the chronic asthma of my adolescence, sitting propped up on pillows, fearful of relaxing my shoulders in case one those dreadful coughing spasms triggered a panicked shortage of breathe.


"Emotional expression is mediated by the energy mobilizing sympathetic and energy
conserving parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system." (P,30)

"The core of the self lies in patterns of affect regulation that integrate a sense of self across
state transitions, thereby allowing a continuity of inner experience." (P,33)

"The essential role of feedback from bodily systems, especially facial
and postural, underlies the generation of emotion." (P,49)

"The development of internal representations of external objects - such as faces - that
consistently  provide stimulating responses to the infant. The elements which mediate
this function are found in a "neural network or connection matrix," and the creation of the
architecture of this network depends on pulses of electrochemical energy through
the infants brain "at critical developmental junctures" (Page, 185)

"As these pulses flow through the brain, synaptic connections are established and strengthened 
and the firing rates of groups of neurons are set. The result is that certain kinetic pathways are 
established, making it more likely that these patterns will guide future energy flows." (P,185)

The biologically based ‘affective core’ becomes biased, with
tendencies towards certain emotional responses. (P,191)

Bipolar Affective Disorder is a Mental Illness not a Development Issue?

Well ten years ago I would have agreed with the common sense understanding of bipolar affective disorder as a brain problem requiring drug therapy, even though drugs had only helped me during crises periods. In those first 20 years of my experience with bipolar mood swings, drug therapy basically put me to sleep when episodes of hyper-mania occurred. I soon learned to do that for myself when one psychotropic drug after another failed to prevent ongoing bipolar mood swings.

Ten years ago I had not read any neuroscience literature about human development, and I strongly suspect that most psychiatrists haven't read any either. The medical profession is as childishly competitive and protective of particular specialist fields, as any other walk of life. So much so that very little communication occurs between branches of the humanities, a problem Allan N Schore sought to remedy with his landmark book, quoted above. Add to this problem the issue of logistics in managing a health care system and the economies of scale drug therapy provides, perhaps we see a lopsided view of mental health issues?

Newer developmental science research pointed to in Schore's work and the breakthrough discovery made by Stephen Porges of a third branch of the auto nervous system, is giving science a more holistic view of the root causes of mental illness issues. By reading my way through this new information about how my brain/nervous system is supposed to function, I have found a full recovery from bipolar mood swings. Today I can feel the constricted development at the core of my affective disorder, and with mindful awareness control my bipolar mood swings.

A Down Spiral Day, Today. Dam! Bipolar Mood Swings?

It took me all morning to really catch myself, with the negative tone to my constant thinking not registering in my dissociated head. You see that's the catch 22 for us bipolar's? The racing thoughts of our overactive mind are a need escape the feelings of the body? My struggle to relax muscular tensions was conditioned early in my life as I braced myself for the attack from within? This braced defense has always fired my hyper-vigilant mind, my quick wit and my intense focus? This foundation of a braced muscular defense has generated a high tolerance for distress while being fearful of relaxation.

Spontaneous joy and its embrace of life is difficult to achieve without a relaxed muscular posture? The sense of relaxed well being that overcomes bipolar sufferers during the early phase of a manic mood swing, is probably a spontaneous need, perhaps? I believe so! Today, education into the neuroscience of human development has given me enough insight to control my own mood swings, even though unconscious auto nervous system activity still catches me unawares, when my mind thinks it has control.

Learning to be mindful of my inner sensations, particularly my muscular tensions has given me the relief from mood swings I would not have though possible only five years ago. These days I can manage both high and low mood swings with the same ease normal people do? Education has changed my previous common sense belief in bipolar mental illness, to bipolar nervous system disorder with can be controlled with insightful, mindful awareness.

This blog is littered with links to the kind of science education that can change your awareness of your hidden nature and your belief system. One of the most debilitating things we can do to any living creature is trap them in a sense of hopelessness? My greatest regret of the past 31 years is drowning in the sense of hopelessness implicit in the "chemical imbalance" theory of lifetime mental illness. I hope my writing here encourages others to explore their own nature more and decide for themselves what to believe about their bipolar condition.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your struggles as well as your insight and research! It's extremely helpful to read about your process in real time. And it makes me feel less alone in my own struggles to stay on track. (Damn us and our perfectionist tendencies!) :) I love your explanation of the racing thoughts being a way to escape physical sensation, that makes so much sense!!

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  2. I still get tricked by unconscious reactions of muscular bracing whenever I need to intensify my focus for writing. I'm using an NLP anchoring technique to help further re-condition my auto nervous system responses.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchoring_(NLP)

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