Monday, November 19, 2012

mood swings bipolar & suicidal ideation?

Mental Anguish & its Metabolism Within?
Letting go of "subjective states" is my salvation.
I feel it once again, attachment loss, as I gaze out the window of my room, here at the homeless men's shelter. Thoughts about Phen of coarse, my Thai partner of the last two and half years. Images of the shop/house come to mind, as I realize the time over there is now 3pm, "what's she doing," I wonder, finding myself in an unconsciously stimulated fantasy of attachment need. "A Fantasy Bond of Love Me Knots & Self-Nurture?," I remember writing on the first floor, just above where she will now be working, I assume. I lay my head down in familiar despair, with old thoughts of suicidal escape, my current pillow mate.

The Fantasy Bond in the Adult:
Establishing an imaginary connection with another person can become a major defense against unbearable anxiety. The illusion of connection to others is a dynamic formulation of a primitive, defensive inner world. Anxiety arises whenever this inner world is intruded upon, and especially when the fantasy bond, the imaginary connection, and one’s pseudo-independence is threatened. Anxiety aroused too, whenever there is awareness of one’s separateness and mortality. As humans, we are torn between pursuing an assertive goal-directed life, and depending on passive-dependant machinations that assure us of a fantasy bond.

How we resolve this basic conflict determines whether we have a free-flowing, changing existence or a static, rigid, defensive posture. The primary fantasy bond is the core defense underlying our resistance to change. It is the major barrier to a full, rich existence.” _Robert Firestone. “The Fantasy Bond.”

My lady & my laptop. What more did I need?
Its amazing how the organic process within manages to bring implicit memories to mind, and I find myself caught-up in a fantasy-conversation with Phen. "What you do! Darling!," I imagine myself saying rather loudly, on appearing in the shop space and the vision within, of her spontaneous smile.

The fantasy only compounds my current isolation though, and I sink down further into parasympathetic nervous system stimulated withdrawal and conservation, not yet cognizant of the unconscious stimulation and the real need here. "Neuroception," comes to mind as the image of Thai smiles fades, along with some recognition that I'm feeling unsafe, still stuck in this shared dorm at the Matthew Talbot Hostel, some three weeks after my arrival. "Thank God for Stephen Porges," I think, and his articulation of our hidden neural perceptions.

“Other contributors to perception:
The features of risk in the environment do not solely drive neuroception. Afferent feedback from the viscera provides a major mediator of the accessibility of pro-social circuits associated with social engagement behaviors. For example, the polyvagal theory predicts that states of mobilization would compromise our ability to detect positive social cues. Functionally, visceral states color our perception of objects and others.” _Stephen Porges, “The Polyvagal Theory.”

I admonish myself for forgetting again, although not as harshly as in the past, when I still dwelled in layers of fearful ignorance. I mean, who's aware of these inner processes, as we act out the daily rituals of social interaction, taking our own nature completely for granted? Who's consciously aware of their metabolic needs within and how the brain and nervous systems, orchestrate their orienting responses? "You mean that instinctual stuff," I assume your thinking? Yet of coarse we're not animals, and we don't have these unconscious reflex actions, which the mind only compounds, with its incessant rationalizing?

"Rationalized Instinct," I think, although not last night, when the days fatigue and isolation had caught me off-guard and I'd flirted with the great-escape of suicidal ideation. "I was low on metabolic resources and threatened by isolation," I now think. Its the day after the night before too, as I write up this blog post, and I feel the reality of the "forgetting" process within, the rhythmic patterns of my nervous system motivation, my rhythm of life. This morning, after a reasonable nights sleep, considering the snorer's and the wheezing asthmatic in the next bed. I felt refreshed and re-balanced, even charged with new hope as I continue to manage my existentail crisis, reasonably well, I think. Remembering in this here and now moment, Jaak Panksepp's advise "I feel, therefore I am."

"Only a fool assumes a fully conscious motivation," I remember reading, somewhere? Last night, I'd been through the great escape urge enough times to realize its primary purpose, as escape from an internalized sense of threat. I put the movie in the laptop and distracted my foolish mind.

Its my kind of movie too, full of existential angst.

Now, as I write this post I remember a previous one about the same topic, and how I now manage my bipolar mania and these kind of metabolic states; (see here: >>)

"Soften," I said to myself, triggering a practiced shift into feeling for tensions around my heart. It broke the thought bubble state long enough to bring a more balanced mind/body awareness. I quickly felt the urge for flight again though, back into that loopy fuck, dissociated mind space.

"What is it?" Came to mind as I rehashed the "fuck em all" statement, and it poked me into feeling for facial tensions. Sure enough there was a shit load of anger in my jaw, and I felt my lips pressed together with my tongue pushing against the back of my teeth. "Unspeakable anger," came to mind and I whispered "soften," out loud, falling into another wave of body fatigue.

It was enough to trigger the "whole body" sensation that I've been practicing in my efforts to re-adjust a lifetime tendency for dissociated mind space awareness, over and above awareness of sensations within my body. For a couple of minutes I did the deep breathe exercise which brings oxygen into my blood stream and the enhanced body awareness so lacking throughout my life. The added oxygenation of my blood and the rise in body sensation, stimulated a rate and temperature change of blood flowing through my brain, and a state shift in mind space awareness.

"Let go," is the last thing I remember of conscious awareness before slipping into whatever proceeds REM state dreaming."

* * *

So far, here at Talbot Lodge, all my self-educated learning and the practice of mind-less inner tension release, is paying off, and it would seem that I really am becoming more comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps you might like to read my previous efforts to articulate my growing self-awareness, as I continue my quest to embody the Oracles advise, "Know Thy-Self." Word symbols, written above a cave? A metaphor for the body and its innate wisdom?

bipolar condition: The Autonomic Nervous System is unconscious (blind) it's activity is triggered by our instincts for survival, our instinct for movement? Threat experience, unconsciously conditions instinctive muscular reactions below the level of the minds awareness. Habitual muscular tensions maintain a sense of threat and cautious movements, with the bipolar condition created in these unconscious tensions.

Mania had a well documented history of early adult onset prior to our current era of drug therapy in the western world. I believe the first episode of mania is a spontaneous attempt to activate the newer mechanism of the auto nervous system. This highest and newest mechanism of the auto nervous system (auto pilot) works by feedback signals from the muscles of the head and face. When active it triggers relaxed muscle tensions throughout the body and enables rapid facial and body gestures for effective social communication.

Porges discovery of a third branch to the auto nervous system, which is most commonly known for its fight/flight stimulation, brings a holistic view of human behaviors both ordered and disordered. In terms of mental health the theory gives valuable insight into the pathways of all mental processes both ordered and disordered. If we accept that mental anguish sufferers are thrown back onto the two primitive mechanisms of this crucial nervous system, we can see how they are locked out of a social world that is the essence of our sense of humanity.

Test muscle tension, feedback signals yourself?

Relax the muscular tensions of your head and face, your jaw, around your eyes and your tongue. Be mindful of spontaneous shifts in your breathe as your thoughts slow down? Feel this action, don't try to focus thoughts on it and you will feel the spontaneous actions of your auto nervous system. The mind gets in the way of our instinctive nature and interrupts our auto nervous system in its job of maintaining balance. Feel how feedback signals from muscle tensions fire your thoughts? Let go of your minds need to know and your auto nervous system takes over, doing the job millions of years of evolution designed it for? The mind can only observe being, not be the source of it?

What do you think?
Is there more to bipolar disorder than brain malfunction, than a clearly definable medical disease? Do we really know what stimulates our thinking, our moods? A chemical imbalance notion of a diseased brain is perhaps a rather quick answer, considering the complexity of brain/body systems underpinning our manifest states of mind. The self education of the last five years has brought me a deeper self-awareness, even though primary motivations within my body/brain/mind will always remain unconscious.