Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bipolar Mania & its Re-Birth Experience?

A shift into mania & weeks of sleepless nights
"Wow! Wow! Wow! Has God just touched me on the shoulder? Is this a religious experience?"

I'd sat looking into a mirror in 1980, yearning for a new direction, something I could feed with a sense of dedication. I prayed sincerely, promising I'd do whatever was required if he’d just show me the way, give me a sign, help me please! Nothing happened for what felt like minutes as I sat there in hopeful expectation while looking at my own reflection, looking into my face.

Then it began, a new sensation, a feeling at the top of my head which flowed down slowly, down through my face, into my shoulders and down through my chest, down into my pelvic area. I sat with a sense of "what is it” wonder, although more felt than in any thinking sense.

A sense of wonder that was similar to the out of body experience when I was fourteen, except this slowly descending calm was the polar opposite of the sudden sharp elevation, when I'd seemly left my body. It felt like I'd been sitting in a bath of water that was over my head and someone had pulled the plug. I sat there as calm descended slowly from head to toe, as if a mind numbing tension were being drained out of me, like waste water flowing down and out through my toes. Next came a mindful realization of the experience in a pleasant and very welcomed surprise. I felt unburdened somehow, refreshed and excited, happy and new.

This was not like the out of body incident when I was fourteen years old, which had lasted for less than a minute. Here was a shift in mind-body awareness that was lasting beyond minutes, with a mellow yellow kind of pleasantness that was intoxicating, I suddenly felt more alive than I had ever done before. Feelings of muscular ease were most notable in my stomach, with an expanded sensory awareness that included a freshness on the surface of my skin. Perception changed, with room colors appearing deeper, brighter and every object seemed to have more depth too it. Background sounds were clearer, easier to perceive and define, like the rustling of leafs just beyond the open window. I could hear birds singing too, their music bringing an easy attention awareness to a degree I’d never experienced before. You could say I bathed in this new experience for a good few minutes, while the “what is it” wonder gave way to thoughtful questions about the seemingly heaven sent nature of it. I walked around the house retaining this everything feels so new perception before spending time in the garden, where I simply sat and listened to the birds sing.....

....I did attempt to get to sleep that night, yet the shower seemed to have revived me and I just lay immersed in a steady stream of rapturous thoughts for about half an hour. I got up and watched TV for a while, thinking mindless distraction would allow fatigue to rise again. Coincidently though Christian evangelist shows were on two of the three available channels, and I plunged back into emotive thoughts about God, Jesus and that wondrous moment in front of the mirror. Had I really been touched by the holy spirit, reviving my boyish sense of wonder with an obvious need for love and trust in one another?

I thought about the conversation with the young man on the streets of Kings Cross, Sydney, how he’d looked more like a left wing radical than a believer in God. Maybe he was the priest I was meant to find, his story of love, trust and faith was certainly impressive? “I just go where the holy spirit takes me man! - Love the Lord, trust in him and he will provide!” I cried, I wanted so very much to trust, to have faith in love because I was so sick and tiered of its continual failure in my life. I was an unwanted child and had suffered my parents palpable resentment, even when I’d tried to heal the wounds and broach that reality with them, I’d met the same old inane reaction. The childish, utterly stupid and thoughtless “us versus them” reactions of “don’t blame us for your shortcomings.” “Stupid, mindless blame games, what’s wrong with people that they can‘t see the abject lack of reason in such brainless reactions? - Why do we love things more than each other? ....” Taken from, " Born to Psychosis, Chapter 9"

How can I call this first episode of mania a Re-Birth experience? 
Surely its just Bad, Dangerous, and a delusional Psychosis?

What is Mania? The mainstream view:
Mania is the signature characteristic of bipolar disorder and, depending on its severity, is how the disorder is classified. Mania is generally characterized by a distinct period of an elevated mood, which can take the form of euphoria. People commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep, with many often getting as little as 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night, while others can go days without sleeping. From Wikipedia.

* * *

Yet much knowledge, contradicting our mind's constant need for a sense of certainty, is curiously absent from the mainstream view: Please consider the kind of knowledge, you may never have heard of, in the consensus view of mental illness;

I have come to understand mania, particularly this first episode in a more positive light, than the accepted view that it's disruption to normal personality, is a predominantly negative experience? Born in difficult circumstances, which include a three day labour and crude metal forceps delivery, followed by isolation in crib for the first week of my life, I now believe that birth trauma and subsequent neglect and further relational trauma, conditioned a post trauma state, increasingly understood as "tonic immobility." Tonic immobility, stimulates a fearful, postural attitude of habitual avoidance of sensations within the body.

Unresolved trauma experience became an internalized sense of threat, crippling my ability to engage other people socially. Hence, when attachment loss required a new approach towards others, in order to find both the peer group support, and another mate, to further my emotional maturity, the old hinderance of fearful avoidance needed a resolution. The dream-like state produced by mania allowed a relaxed postural approach towards life and other people, dissolving my fearful tonic-immobility. Consider;

"Trauma is Physiological:

When we experience a threat—be it an act of violence or a car crash—and all strategies of “escape” appear exhausted, a sense of helplessness sets in and we revert or “fall back” on our oldest neural structures. Evolutionarily speaking, “immobilization” in the face of a life threat is the oldest strategy. As Dr. Porges explained it, when people are scared to death, they are not “hyper-mobilized” so much as they are “immobilized.” Indeed, tonic immobility is commonly observed in wild animals. In humans, our protective reflexes also shut down completely. We may not be “feigning death” per se, but we cannot connect and, unfortunately, we cannot move forward either.

Trauma originates when we are stuck in a permanent state of arousal, on “high alert” in other words. Moreover, ethology points to the “thwarting” of escape as the root cause of distress-anxiety. Anxiety occurs when our flight from danger is somehow thwarted or aborted; when we don’t get to complete our response to it. The result is we no longer feel “safe.”

When mammals carry out orienting and defensive behaviors smoothly and effectively, anxiety is not generated. But, without active, available defensive responses, we are unable to deal effectively with danger and so we become anxious. Because the normal orientation and defensive escape resources have failed to resolve the situation, we “realize” life hangs in the balance. The body then responds with frenzied flight, freezing on the spot, or collapse. (like the bi-phasic cycles of hypo-mania, as people use nervous system energy discharge for mad-cap schemes, that fail completion as the unconscious energy discharge fades and all that high energy switch's to an unconscious collapse phase)

In the wild, tonic immobility, or freezing, is a potent adaptive strategy for animals where active escape is prevented because it can “buy time” for an animal to escape. In humans, this can become the crippling, fixating experience of traumatic and panic anxiety.

Immobilization, Not Dissociation:

“Dissociation” is of course the term that most readily comes to mind when working with trauma sufferers. However, as Dr. Porges has lamented, “Immobilization with fear is a missing concept in psychology and psychiatry and medicine.” Dr. Levine concurs. Immobilization is the keyword to understanding trauma, not dissociation, and if we ever hope to effectively and successfully heal trauma, we must acknowledge this fundamental, scientifically demonstrated reality—trauma is physiological, not psychological." Safety: A Biological Response (In brackets, mine)

Did Birth Trauma & Relational Neglect Thwart my Brain-Nervous System Development?

Consider these excerpts from the book which set me on the path to better Self-Regulation;

"A major task of the first year of life is the evolution of affective tolerance for increasingly higher levels of arousal, and that this is facilitated by the mother’s modulation of the infant’ highly stimulated states. Indeed regulatory processes are the precursors of psychological attachment and its associated emotions, and psychobiological attunement is now thought to be the mechanism that mediates attachment bond formation. The positive emotions of pleasure and interest are the major indicators of affect attunement.

The right cortex is known to be specifically impacted by early social experiences, to be activated in intense states of elation, and to contribute to the development of reciprocal interactions within the mother-infant regulatory system. The child uses the output of the mother’s emotion-regulating right cortex as a template for the imprinting, the hard wiring of circuits in his own right cortex that will come to mediate his expanding "affective" (sensation-feeling-emotion) capacities.

Psychobiologists emphasize the importance of “hidden” regulatory processes by which the caregiver’s more mature and differentiated nervous system regulates the infant’s “open” immature, internal homeostatic systems. These body-to-body communications also involve right-brain-to-right-brain interactions. Indeed most human females cradle their infants on the left side of the body (controlled by the right hemisphere).

Manning and colleagues suggested that this left-cradling tendency ’facilitates the flow of affective information from the infant via the left ear and eye to the center for emotional decoding, that is, the right hemisphere of the mother. As Damasio indicated, this hemisphere contains the most comprehensive and integrated map of the body state available to the brain. Lieberman wrote that current models of development focus almost exclusively on cognition. In an article the “Infant Mental Health” journal she stated; “The baby’s body, with its pleasures and struggles, has been largely missing from this picture.”

Even more specifically, psychobiological studies of attachment, the interactive regulation of biological synchronicity between organisms, indicates that the intimate contact between the mother and her infant is regulated by the reciprocal activation of their opiate systems - elevated levels of opiates (beta endorphins) increase pleasure in both. In these mutual gaze transactions, the mother’s face is also inducing the production of not only endogenous opiates but also regulated levels of dopamine in the infant’s brain, which generates high levels of arousal and elation.

And in her soothing and calming functions, the mother is also regulating the child’s oxytocin levels. It has been suggested that oxytocin, a vagally-controlled hormone with anti-stress effects, is released by “sensory stimuli such as tone of voice and facial expression conveying warmth and familiarity.’ In regulating the infant’s vagal tone and cortical level, activities regulated by the right brain, she’s also influencing the ongoing-development of the infant’s postnatal maturing parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic and parasympathetic components of the autonomic nervous system, important elements of the affect-transacting attachment mechanism, are centrally involved in the child’s developing coping capacities.

The self-organization of the developing brain occurs in the context of a relationship with another self, another brain. This primordial relational context can be growth-facilitating or growth-inhibiting, and so imprint into the early developing right brain either resilience against or a vulnerability to later forming psychiatric disorders. A predisposition to these severe disorders of the self is associated with early traumatic experiences that are burnt into the right brain, thereby impairing its regulatory capacities to cope with interpersonal stressors throughout the lifespan." (In brackets, mine)

Excerpts from, "Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self," by Allan N Schore.

* * *

A Biological Brain Disease or Profound Body Dis-Ease, in Mental Illness?

The eminent neurobiologist Dr Allan Schore has been calling for a multidisciplinary approach to human development, its order and disorder's since the mid 1990's, with the latest neuroscience research lending much credibility to earlier theories of emotional development problems, in many disorders such as bipolar. Consider this word for word account of my appearance before a magistrate (judge) in 2007, after my education as a counselor alerted me to alternate views of mental illness, beyond the strict medical model, of a brain disease, comparable to cancer or diabetes;

"‘My client informs me that he presented a different understanding of his condition during the consultation in which it was agreed to cease medication, can you confirm this Doctor?’

‘Mr Bates has a view of an emotional development disorder, for which there is no compelling evidence.’

‘My client also holds a view that there is no empirical evidence of a disease process in mental illness either. Is he perhaps delusional in his view Doctor? A symptom of his hypo-manic state perhaps?’

‘Its very difficult to gain empirical evidence from an organ of the body as complex as the brain, yet there is reliable evidence of symptom expression and effective treatment with medications.’

‘And yet by your own admission Doctor, up to forty percent of medication treatment may not be effective and you actually discontinued my clients medication, I’m becoming a little confused here.’" From; Born to Psychosis Chapter 2

* * *

Trauma, Profound Body Dis-Ease & The Autonomic Nervous System?

If birth trauma lies at the root of my experience with bipolar type 1 disorder, for which there can be no "objective" proof, only the observation of experience, such as my current ability to self-regulate without any kind of medications or special dietary supplements, or programed routine. Can knowledge gained from reading experts such as Allan Schore, Stephen Porges and Peter Levine, explain what a strict medical model of brain disease, cannot? Most mainstream advice about bipolar type 1 disorder, is of a condition manageable only through lifelong medication compliance. Please consider more wisdom from Peter Levine;

"Prey animals are immobilized in a sustained (atelic-catatonic) pattern of neuromuscular activity and high autonomic brainwave activity. Sympathetic and parasympathetic responses are also concurrently activated, like brake and accelerator, working against each other. In tonic immobility, an animal is either frozen stiff in heightened contraction of agonist and antagonist muscle group, or in a continuously balanced, hypnotic, muscular state exhibiting what is called “wavy flexibility.” In the hypnotic state, body positions can be molded like clay, as is seen in catatonic schizophrenics. There is also analgesic numbing.

A patient described many of these behaviors as they were happening to her. She wasn’t, however, aware of her physical sensations, but rather of her self-depreciating and highly critical judgments about body sensations. It is as though some explanation must be found for profoundly disorganizing forces underlying one’s own perceived inadequacy.

The psychologist Phillip G. Zimbardo has gone so far as to propose that “most mental illness represents not a cognitive impairment, but an (attempted) interpretation of discontinuous or inexplicable internal states.” Tonic immobility, murderous rage and non-directed flight are such examples.

Tonic immobility demonstrates that anxiety can be both self-perpetuating and self-defeating. Freezing is the last-ditch, cul-de-sac, bodily response where active escape is not possible. Where flight and fight escape have been (or are perceived to be) unlikely, the nervous system reorganizes to tonic immobility. Both flight-or-fight and immobility are adaptive responses. Where the flight-fight response is appropriate, freezing will be relatively maladaptive.

Biologically, immobility is a potent adaptive strategy where active escape is prevented. When, however, it becomes a preferred response pattern in general situations, it is profoundly debilitating. Immobility becomes the crippling, fixating experience of traumatic and panic anxiety.

Underlying the freezing response, however, are the flight or fight and other defense orientation preparations that are activated just prior to the onset of freezing. The “de-potentiation,” of anxiety is accomplished by precisely and sequentially restoring the latent flight or fight defensive responses that occur at the moment/s before escape is thwarted." _Peter Levine, PhD.

* * *

The Disorder has to be in the Brain? Yet what about the Body & The Nervous Systems?
Consider more of Peter Levine's wisdom;
"Our nervous system assesses threat in two basic ways. First of all, we use our external sense organs to discern and evaluate threat in the external environment. We also asses threat directly from the state of our viscera and our muscles-our internal sense organs. If our muscles are tense, we unconsciously interpret these tensions as foretelling the existence of danger, even when none actually exists. (p, 123)

In distress and trauma, I believe that a positive feedback loop, with extremely negative consequences, is set up. Indeed, most of us recognize that primal negative emotions readily turn into self-reinforcing, runaway positive feedback loops. Here trauma is the ouroboros, the serpent swallowing its own tail, eternally re-creating itself.

In the reciprocal enervation discovered by Sherrington, the nervous system operates primarily as a negative feedback system, much like a house thermostat. Self-Regulation of the complex nervous system exhibits what are called emergent properties, which are often somewhat unpredictable and rich in nuance. While the nervous system operates under the principle of self-regulation, the psyche operates under the emergent properties of creative self-regulation. We might say that as the nervous system self-regulates, the psyche engages with these emergent properties: that is, to creative self-regulation. (p, 130)" Excerpts from "In an Unspoken Voice."

Back in 2007, I remember the psychiatrist saying;
Mr Bates has a view of an emotional development disorder.’

Although, at the time I knew precious little about my own internal make-up, and the organic processes involved in stimulating those sensations and feelings we call emotions. My faith in truth and the power of insightful knowledge spurred me on to emulate two of my personal hero's, Joseph Campbell and Murray Bowen. Both these men engaged in extensive reading in their chosen vocation, contributing new vital new ideas and re-interpretations of older wisdoms. Campbell's advise about spirituality and a thirst for knowledge, resonated well with my mania fueled sense of the mystic.

“Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” _Joseph Campbell.

Stumbling upon Allan Schore in 2007, just a couple of months after my stint in hospital, led me towards a less subjective and mystical view of my bipolar mania's. Although I was greatly surprised by constant references to the autonomic nervous system, when I'd expected learn about my brain and its exclusive role, in my diseased brain condition. At least, all that I'd heard, read and been exposed to as mainstream thought, had suggested that my brain alone was the sole culprit. What I learned from reading the right people though, as Campbell suggests, is that focus on the brain alone may be only half the picture, of what the experience of mental illness really is? Consider more of Allan Schore's wisdom and his reference to the "amygdala," prominent in the human fear response, and active at birth;

"Emotions organize behavior along a basic appetitive-aversive dimension associated with either a "behavioral set involving approach and attachment," or a set “disposing avoidance, escape, and defense.” Dopamine excites and noradrenaline inhibits neuronal activity. These opposing mechanisms of excitation and inhibition provide for rapid regulation of graded metabolic output and thereby functional activity. (p, 163)

While the sub cortical amygdala responds to emotional stimuli at a direct perceptual level, its operations are less relevant to cognitively elicited emotions. In contrast, the ventromedial cortex is known as the "thinking part of the emotional brain." In optimal contexts the orbito-frontal cortex takes over amygdala functions, and provides a higher level coding that more flexibly coordinates extroceptive and interceptive domains, and functions to correct responses as conditions change. (p, 165)

The orbital cortex matures in the middle of the second year, a time when the average child has a productive vocabulary of less than 70 words. The core of the self is thus nonverbal and unconscious, and lies in patterns of affect regulation. This structural development allows for an internal sense of security and resilience that comes from the intuitive knowledge that one can regulate (cope with) the flows and shifts of one's bodily-based emotional states, either by one's own coping capacities or within a relationship with caring others. (p, 169)

One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism's efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

An fMRI study indicates that adolescents exhibit greater activation in the amygdala than in the frontal lobe during the identification of an emotional state from facial expression, in contrast to adults who show greater frontal over amygdala activity.

During transitions between later developmental stages, the individual is presented with the challenge of retaining continuity while changing in response to environmental pressures. These challenges are associated with positive and negative affective states, and they call for a resilient right orbito-frontal regulated capacity that can read the facially expressed states of others, access a theory of mind, as well as cope with, regulate, and thereby tolerate the uncertainty and stress that are inherent in the attachment-separation and exploratory dynamics of these transitional periods. (p, 175)

All traumatized patients seem to have the evolution of their lives checked; they are attached to an insurmountable object. Unable to integrate traumatic memories, they seem to have lost their capacity to assimilate new experiences as well. It is as if their personality development has stopped at a certain point and cannot enlarge any more by the addition of new elements. (p, 187)"
Excerpts from, "Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self," by Allan N Schore.

* * *

"All traumatized patients seem to have the evolution of their lives checked"
What about bipolar mania's hieghtened elation and its similarity to the crucial metabolic energy produced by this emotion during our early "practicing phase" of life? Consider Dr Allan Schore's writing again, from his remarkable book, "Affect Regulation & The Origin of The Self."

"Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the  necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions.  (P, 410).

Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of  exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child's increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking.  Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a "rushing" of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411)."

* * *

All those sleepless nights of mania's high flying thinking? Must be part of a brain disease process, surely?

Seeking a Re-Birth in Self-Stimulation?

"SEEKING: Systems & Anticipatory States of the Nervous System:


The Seeking System: Like other emotional systems, arousal of the seeking system has a characteristic feeling tone-- a psychic energization that is difficult to describe but is akin to that invigorated  feeling of anticipation we experience when actively seeking thrills and other rewards. Clearly this type of feeling contributes to many distinct aspects of our active engagement with the world.

This  harmoniously operating neurochemical system drives and energizes many mental complexities that humans experience as persistent feelings of interest, curiosity, sensation seeking, and in the presence of a sufficiently complex cortex, the search for higher meaning. Although this brain state, like all other basic emotional states, is initially without intrinsic cognitive content, it gradually helps cement the perception of causal connections in the world and thereby creates ideas. It appears to translate correlations in environmental events into perceptions of causality, and it may be a major source of “confirmation bias,” the tendency to selectively seek evidence for our hypotheses.

When this seeking system is manipulated by electrical impulse in other mammals, they will eagerly continue to “Self-Stimulate” for extended periods, until physical exhaustion and collapse set in. There are powerful descending components, probably glutametergic in part, that remain to be functionally characterized, but they may be important for the generation of self-stimulating behaviors. When these descending systems are fully characterized, they may have powerful implications for understanding such psychiatric disorders as schizophrenia.

1, The underlying circuits are genetically pre-wired and designed to respond unconditionally to stimuli arising from major life-challenging circumstances. 2, The circuits organize behavior by activating or inhibiting motor sub-routines (and concurrent autonomic-hormonal changes) that have proved adaptive in the face of life-challenging circumstances during the evolutionary history of our species. 3, Emotive circuits change the sensitivities of sensory systems relevant for the behavior sequences that have been aroused. 4, Neural activity of emotive systems outlasts the precipitating circumstances. 5, Emotive circuits come under the control of neutral environmental stimuli. 6, Emotional circuits have reciprocal interactions with brain mechanisms that elaborate higher decision-making processes and consciousness.

It is remarkable how long it has taken psycho-biologists to begin to properly conceptualize the function of the self-stimulation system, in the governance of behavior. The history of this field highlights how an environmental-behavioral bias (world out there), with no conception of internal brain functions, has impeded the development of compelling psycho-behavioral conceptions of self-stimulation. One of the most fascinating phenomena ever discovered, yet still largely ignored by mainstream psychology.

The prevailing intellectual zeitgeist is not conducive to conceptualizing this process in psychological terms. This would involve discussion of the inner neurodynamic aspects of the “mind” and the nature of intentionality and our subjective experience. A neurophysiological understanding of such brain systems can explain how we spontaneously generate solutions to environmental challenges. And how this type of spontaneous associative ability characterizes normal human thinking, as well as the delusional excesses of schizophrenic thinking.

Arousal of the seeking system spontaneously constructs causal “insights” from the perception of correlated events. Some of the relationships may be true, but others are delusional. Indeed, all forms of inductive thought, including that which energizes scientific pursuits, proceed by this type of logically flawed thinking. An intrinsic tendency for “confirmation bias” appears to be a natural function of the human mind.

The seeking system can promote many distinct motivational behaviors, and the underlying neural system is prepared to jump to the conclusion that related environmental events reflect causal relationships. It is easy to appreciate how this may yield a consensual understanding of the world when  the underlying memory reinforcement processes are operating normally ( i.e, yielding a reality that most of the social group accepts). It is also easy to understand how it might yield delusional conclusions about the world. If this self-stimulating system is chronically overactive, it may be less constrained by rational modes of reality testing.

The fact that the system is especially responsive to stress could explain why paranoid thinking emerges more easily during stressful periods, and why stress may promote schizophrenic thinking patterns. If the normal function of this system is to mobilize the organism for seeking out resources in the world, then we can begin to appreciate how the seeking system might also generate delusional thoughts. Apparently when this emotional system is over-taxed and becomes free-running (self-stimulation), it can generate arbitrary ideas about how world events relate to internal events.

Is delusional thinking truly related to the unconstrained operation of spontaneously active associative networks of a self-stimulating, seeking system? If so, we may have a great deal more to learn about schizophrenia from a study of the SEEKING circuits that mediate self-stimulating behavior? Through a study of this system, we can also begin to understand the natural eagerness that makes us the emotionally vibrant creatures we are.

One might also predict that there is an intimate relationship between self-stimulation and dreaming. REM deprivation leads to increased “sensitivity” in the self-stimulation system It is noteworthy that schizophrenics fail to exhibit compensatory elevations of REM sleep following imposed periods of REM deprivation. There appears to be a fundamental relationship between the schizophrenic process and the emotional discharge that occurs during both REM sleep and the seeking system discharge of self-stimulation. These findings suggest that there may yet be considerable substance to psychodynamic theories that relate dreaming mechanisms to symbol-&-reality-creating mechanisms of the brain."

Excerpts from, “Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.” by Jaak Panksepp.

Panksepp suggests that if we can accept this stress sensitized self-stimulation system as fundamentally a  SEEKING system, which requires discharge, new ways of alleviating delusional thinking may be created to provide discharge, while stimulating reality testing, perhaps via computer games for example?

* * *

Metaphor & Meaning:

A Re-Birth Experience? Its just a metaphor of coarse, hoping to capture the essential and easily digestible, (in cognitive terms that is), meaning of the hidden and highly complex processes within, which motivate all our behaviors. Indeed, one of the paradoxical truth's about subjective truth's, is that people, generally, don't really want to know about truth's or reality, as we seek to maintain an established homeostasis (comfort-zone), preferring short plausible explanations, to the complex nature of reality. Particularly our own reality. In fact, when psychiatrists are pressed to expand on the reality of the famous "chemical imbalance" theory, they will say, look, "the chemical imbalance notion is a metaphor, for the extremely complex nature of the brain and its electro-chemical functioning."

The major "mental-illnesses" like bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and schizophrenia have traditionally had an early adulthood onset, as recorded for millennia prior to our current pharmacology era. The discovery of the chemical "effect" in introduced substances, could easily be viewed as an historical accident, which was hoped would follow the same cure all trajectory of the accidental discovery of penicillin, with a similar assumption that the genetic basis of mental illnesses, is always, "just around the corner." Yet one hundred years after our first move towards categorical definitions of separate and definable disease entities, and despite hundreds of millions in research dollars, empirical evidence of brain disease, is still, "just around the corner."

The whole point of my writing here, is not to espouse an anti-psychiatry or anti-anything stance, but to write out my own journey, helping me to come to deeper self-insight and better self-regulation. Also, to bring to the attention of those who can wade through these complex, scientific explanations of our hidden internal motivation, the kind of knowledge which seems to be so endlessly "shy'd away from," in our mainstream view of mental illness.

We are all prisoners of lack, to one degree or another, lack of knowledge and lack of awareness, of the hidden stimulus to our motivations. So what do you think? A chemical-imbalance of mysterious brain disease stimulation, or a spontaneous attempt at re-birthing life's purpose? All traumatized patients seem to have the evolution of their lives checked?