Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mental Illness: A new model of lived experience

Psychosis: Affective States of Consciousness
& Nervous System Dysregulation

The title of my academic paper describing a new model of lived experience.

Its August 2014: As my journey of self-exploration, in order to understand and articulate the experience of psychosis from the inside-out continues. With this paper representing a synthesis of all the experiential reseach I've done in the past 7 years. Which has culminated in a model of experience articulated in the spirit of Wilhem Reich's "everyone is right in some way," it is merely a matter of knowing "how."Hence, I present a model of psychotic and mental illness experience, that explores the taken for grantedness of our normal, adult, analogous sense of self, whereby we interpret our lived experience with reference to the external world.

Hence, the biomedical model of psychosis and mental illness is based on the analogous assumption of a "fever-type" infectious disease, in my experience. While my lived experience explored the nature of my primary process affective states of being, and the contagion of innate affects. Hence, "everyone is right in some way, its merely a matter of "how." With my transformational journey from chronic mental illness victim to this, from the inside out articulation of my actual experience, raising serious questions of our current consensus on mental health. And while its unusaul to post an academic paper on a blog post like this, the whole point of my experiential journey, was a need to go beyond the taken for granted, rank & status norm's that thwart our human potential. Please consider:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Psychiatric Diagnosis: Core Reactions & Reasons

Influential psychiatrists Sigmund Freud & Patrick McGorry
McGorry is "the guru" of early intervention in psychosis.
Diagnostic categorizations in the hands of the educated & therefore “qualified,” yet still emotionally immature, DO have a devastating affect on many people’s lives.

Please consider:
“First of all, let’s back off a little bit from clear cut diagnostic categories because diagnostic categories are totally resultant of a consensus of a series of behavioral and psychological features; so basically, a fever-type model.

What I’m going to talk a lot about are common cores that seem to transcend diagnostic categories.” _Stephen Porges.

Professor Stephen Porges, is the genius behind “The Polyvagal Theory,” (Porges, 2011) which helped me resolve my experience of “affective psychoses.”

In my own first episode of psychosis (FEP), in my case a euphoric mania, my 34 year journey to understand affective psychosis from the “inside out,” may have been happily short circuited, if I’d seen a mature and empathic psychiatrist, like professor Patrick McGorry, instead of the emotionally immature one, who “reactively” pronounced me schizophrenic within fifteen minutes. Of course he’d read the referral letter from a G.P. “Exhibits signs of schizophrenia,” and sadly so had I, and lacking real-life experience, I trusted doctors back in 1980. So did my family and friends, due to the “paternalistic” nature of human societies.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Understanding My Psychoses & Improved Self-Regulation

David Bates, aka, BipolarBatesy
Was it just silly, to use this nickname?
Or my Grandfather's intro, MasterBates?
Its a year since my last active psychosis, and with six years of intense self-education and experiential self-exploration, I’ve come to understand my psychoses, as combined, body-brain-mind states, rather than symptoms of a brain disease. I’ve experienced the painful process of sensing a subconscious internal constriction, as a defense against the trauma of my birth, and subsequent life experience. I now understand, both within my mind and within my body, the internalized sense of threat, that my euphoric psychoses, were attempting to overcome. My improved self-regulation, involves a new mind/body sense, of the respiratory, muscular and vascular nature of an internal constriction, with its variable affect on the thresholds of my sensory awareness. My awareness, of sensations, emotions, feelings and the thoughts in my mind. My approach involved gaining a more organic sense of my core emotions, to bring to mind their nervous stimulation and understand my internal functioning. Understanding the voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) nature of self-regulation, has slowly built a new paradigm of health.

My experiential approach to self-therapy, accords with an emerging view of the primacy of emotion, described by Allan N Schore as, “a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy” (Schore, 2007, 2012). I’ve shifted my sense-of-self, from a learned and taken for granted cognition, as my thoughts, my vocabulary of words, towards a middle path of felt/thought awareness. Mastering my psychoses, was based on the latest science of psychophysiology, and an improving sense-ability, to discern my internal systems of energy mobilization. Peter Levine’s conception of survival energies, as charge and discharge, from his trauma resolution work, has profoundly affected my ability to self-regulate, and master psychosis. An organic energy perspective has helped me understand my heart’s role, in energizing the profound affects of post traumatic experience, and the varying degrees of internal constriction, mobilized to contain an internalized sense of threat. From a scientific approach, “the polyvagal perspective” (Porges, 2006), has enabled a paradigm shift in my self-awareness. A new perspective on my experience, in accord with a new Science of the Heart, “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001). I’ve moved beyond self-limiting thoughts of a diseased brain, and medication compliance. Using self-education and an experiential approach, which accords well with the psychiatric survivor community‘s experience of, “the best way out, is through.”

Six years ago, there were so many questions: Should I even attempt to understand the internal nature of my psychoses? Should I cling to a consensus view of mental illness, to secure my relationship with others? Should I try even harder to trust the learned expert knowledge, or follow my innate intuition, stimulated by my lived experience? Should I need a PhD level education to read and understand neuroscience perspective‘s, and other scientific explanations of my internal functioning? Allan Schore’s call for a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health, was commonsense to me. Yet my training as a therapist had brought the “turf war” tendencies, of medical and other discipline’s of specialization, into a sharp and disheartening focus. Could an emerging science of psychophysiology help me to understand the organic nature of my psyche, even if the scientific method will never capture it? Could an intense self-education effort and an experiential integration, help me to understand my psychoses, from the inside-out? Was my initial experience of a euphoric mania, an innate need to overcome the affective nature of traumatic experience? Is there a developmental issue within my brain and nervous systems? An attachment dynamic, missing from an earlier, critical period, which requires a "corrective emotional experience." (Yalom, 1995)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dis-Eased Minds, The Body & Mental Illness Pt 2

Is neuroscience raising the Titanic? An embodied sense of Self?
In "metaphoric" terms is the "Lost City of Atlantis,"  The Body?
From around about age two, we are all taught to suppress the spontaneous flow of the vitalizing internal energies, we call emotion.

Expressing raw emotion in the way young children do, suddenly becomes frowned upon, just as it is in the unacceptable behaviors of the apparently, mentally ill.

We are all encouraged to shy away from awareness of our own body. "No, no, no," begins the socialization phase of acceptable human behavior, as we learn to suppress our vital nature.

"Raising the Titanic, The Lost City of Atlantis, as metaphors about the body and its role in creating the human mind?" "What have you been smoking Batesy?" "Have you taken too many happy pills today?" You may be thinking? Yet recall from Dis-Eased Minds, The Body & Mental Illness Pt 1;

“Body and mind function in mutual feedback loops. 
The state of the body reflects the mind, and the state of the mind reflects the body."

In our “mainstream” understanding of mental illness, we assume that sufferers are affected by a disease of the brain, its common knowledge after all, affirming our simplistic commonsense? Yet do we normally shy away from internal awareness, to the extent that we’re in denial about the body’s role in mental illness? As many eminent authors point out, there are some interesting discoveries in neurobiological research, routinely ignored by a culture of “intellectualism,” which is not yet ready to explore the foundational nature of our thoughts, and the body’s role in the creation of the human mind. As the images in these posts suggest, we look very different on the inside, to our everyday, (surface image) sense of ourselves. Let me ask you a question. "How much do you know yourself on the inside, where all your mind's perceptions of experience are created?"

Monday, July 1, 2013

Family Attachment Affects & Mental Illness. Pt 2

The Familial Face, In Our Family's Generational & Sub-Conscious, E-Motivation?
MARCH 2013: "Don't worry, its just my Dad, he's weird," my youngest son Shaun would explain, of your likely reaction to the caption under this family photo. I think he was the birthday boy here, although it could have been his red headed oldest brother James. There are other photos showing them both at six months of age, and its hard to tell them apart, side by side the photos look like the very same child. The family's genetic inheritance I guess? Sad that we're estranged nowadays, well, the rest of the family is estranged from me, that is. (Although, as fate and the God's would have it, James and I had lunch, just the week before last. I wasn't sure why I'd started this post in March then stopped, except to say that I've learned to wait on nature's wisdom, and the unfolding of life's journey. JULY 2013)

On the surface of coarse, our family situation is easily ascribed to my actions alone, and perhaps typical of other families, ravaged by the tortuous nature of mental illness, and the subconscious need of emotional cut-off.
"The concept of emotional cutoff describes people managing their unresolved emotional issues with parents, siblings, and other family members by reducing or totally cutting off emotional contact with them. Emotional contact can be reduced by people moving away from their families and rarely going home, or it can be reduced by people staying in physical contact with their families but avoiding sensitive issues. Relationships may look "better" if people cutoff to manage them, but the problems are dormant and not resolved." (From Bowen Family Therapy)
Hence, below the surface, lies the generational nature of our human e-motivation, now roaring back into the limelight of scientific investigation. Please consider;

"In a recent editorial of the journal "Motivation and Emotion," Richard Ryan asserts “After three decades of cognitive approaches, motivational and emotional processes have roared back into the limelight.” (2007, p. 1). A large number of interdisciplinary studies are now converging on the centrality of these implicit right brain motivational and emotional processes that are essential to adaptive functioning.

In this work I differentiate a surface, verbal, conscious, analytic explicit self versus a deeper nonverbal, nonconscious, holistic, emotional, corporeal implicit self. These two lateralized systems contain qualitatively different forms of cognition and therefore unique ways of “knowing,” as well as different memory systems and states of consciousness. Neuroscientists contend, “Because the right and left hemispheres store different forms of knowledge and mediate different forms of cognitive activity, different neuronal architectures probably exist within the association cortices of the hemispheres” (Heilman, Nadeau, & Beversdorf, 2003, p. 374).The ongoing paradigm shift from the explicit cognitive to the implicit affective realm is driven by both new experimental data on emotional processes and updated clinical models for working with affective systems."
Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

Three decades of a cognitive approach, spanning my experience with bipolar disorder.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dis-Eased Minds, The Body & Mental Illness Pt 1

We look so different on the inside.
Do we shy away from internal awareness, falling prey to the body's instinctive nature, in our experience of mental illness?

This post seeks to further explore the latest neuroscience research from the perspective of "body psychotherapy," and its approach to resolving traumatic experience.Trauma induced behaviors, often described by medical doctors as symptoms of a mental illness.

Are we converging on a much needed multidisciplinary approach towards the experience of mental illness, which does not give precedence to the disease model of mental suffering, favored by our hierarchically structured, healing professions?
Body therapists have understood the body's role in mental suffering for many decades, yet their often "intuitive" knowledge has been dismissed as unreliable compared to laboratory study.

Despite the 100 years that has passed since we first began to suspect a brain disease process and classify discrete mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, no empirical evidence of an actual disease has been discovered. Even the great advances in neuroscience research, enabled by a rise in technology have still not been able to confirm a brain disease process, yet they may be confirming body therapists “intuitive” knowledge by revealing the neurobiology of the nervous systems and bodily based feedback to the brain.

Below is excerpt from a paper by one of my favorite authors in the field of body psychotherapy, and a wonderful articulation of neuroscience and somatic psychotherapy. Please consider;


Thursday, February 21, 2013

bipolar disorder chemical imbalance & trauma causation

A left-right brained war for our sense of self?

Is Trauma a hidden casual factor in bipolar disorder symptoms which are expressed through the brain-nervous systems, chemical reactions?

Can a trauma defense of the body be conditioned, perhaps from birth or by habitual postures of avoidance in the skeletal musculature, caused by a long experience of physical & emotional abuse, for example?

Is systems theory now beginning to explain the brain/body/mind better than our older clockwork universe model of simple cause and effect explanations of a chemical imbalance?
What lies beneath our linear thinking of "one thing causes another" as if the body/brain is assembled like a machine? The cutting edge of modern psychotherapy is now returning to Freud's term "unconscious," with better understanding of left & right brain, chemical function. The notion of trauma and subsequent PTSD symptoms, is easily accepted when visualized in terms of one-off terrorizing events like war, rape, sexual and physical abuse, less easily accepted are the similar symptoms caused by emotional abuse, although it is clearly recognized by psychotherapists worldwide. 

Developmental deficits occurring during pre & postnatal experience, are being reexamined to more fully understand what we really mean by the word trauma, at the level of brain-nervous system chemistry. More particularly the impact of non-optimal experience during the crucial early years of life and brain-nervous system maturation. All the new advances in technology has aided neuroscience to more fully appreciate, that the well-balanced human personality literally means a well-balanced internal chemistry. Hence psychiatry's use of the metaphor, a "chemical imbalance" to simplify our general understanding of the experience of mental illness.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bipolar Dis-Ease - Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

Read the hand - body language & traumatic reenactment urges.
An overwhelming urge is seizing control of my limbs as I walk along the pavement. A large bus is rushing towards me, securing its passage through time just a few centimetres to my left side. I can't believe how strong the physical urge is to step off the pavement and into its path.

In a by now well practiced mindful observation of inner sensations, I let the urge and the moment pass, yet can't really comprehend the reason. For the life of me I can't rationalize this apparent desire for death, this involuntary urge, with an everyday psychological explanation. I'm shocked anew, at the very nature of my own subconscious motivations, and just how powerful they can be.

All the learning, all my recently acquired knowledge about the subconscious stimulation involved in what’s happening to me right now, afford me no conscious control, in terms of prevention that is, with this reenactment of an original trauma. As I continue to drag myself along, feeling all the old familiar sensations of a depressive reaction, I can only take the opportunity to mindfully observe these overwhelmingly negative sensations. The weakness in my legs as I try to walk, a living example of the "freeze" reaction and a urgent desire for collapse.

"Did I set myself up for this," I wonder as I continue along, rehashing the phone conversation and its "shock" affect. Only thirty minutes previously I'd received news that a job application I'd been 95% certain of succeeding in, had gone to another. I'd gone numb with shock as the affable human resources person went through all the appropriate responses, while delivering his bad news. For a good twenty minutes my reaction continued in shock mode as I stayed within my thinking mind, disbelieving of reality as I tried to fend of awareness of its implications. “I’m trapped in poverty now, my stupid desire to understand stuff nobody wants to know about anyway, will be the ruin of me,” I tell myself as the noise of the passing bus recedes.

I try to catch the double-bind though, aware that the thoughts are an avoidance of a felt-sense of what’s actually happening to me. I steal myself to really feel these sensations, as bad as they are, and not think. There’s an instant of sensation awareness that shocks me to the core, a violent collapse, a fall, falling straight down through the pavement in darkened despair, “or is it disappear?” I feel it in the pit of my stomach and my legs have gone to jelly as I struggle to stay with sensation awareness and not think. It happens in flash now, a confusing, crushing, drowning sensation that is instantly gone. Displaced by the automatic urge of my mind, in nature’s kind dissociation trick of “what was that?”

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family Attachment Affects & Mental Illness. Pt 1

Daniel Bates & Audrey June Lee, my Mom, Dad & my Children
In the language of "affect," facial expressions, speak volumes.
February 2013: February 2013: Exactly 33 years on from my very first episode of euphoric psychosis, and my headline here looks like I'm about to blame & shame my Mom & Dad? Your own "at first glance" impulse, will quiet possibly be to ignore, to skip this post. Stimulated by the power of "affect." Or you may be intrigued, a cognizance, stimulated by an “affect” called "interest-excitement," and a learned word. subconscious “innate” motivations we are barely aware of, and socially encouraged to deny.

After 33 years and a decade of desire, to write about my experience of mental illness from the inside-out. I really should begin at the beginning, my birth experience and the three day labor, both I and my poor old mom endured. A traumatic experience of birth, not a mysterious brain disease, lies at the very heart of my, diagnosed as a bipolar type 1 mental illness, experience. An experience which began in 1980 with a spontaneous attempt to overcome the subconscious motivations of my, negatively "affective" experience of being born. Harshly treated by a less than empathic nursing sister, my mother struggled to give me life, an experience which deeply affected both of us. Physical pain and the psychic injury of continuous distress, were further compounded by a rather brutal forceps delivery, and no touch or sight between mother and child for a week. An experience of pain and stress which created a void between us, which persists to this very day. A void fueled by the subconsciously stimulated nature of "affect," and what all the latest neuroscience research understands as our “affective” experience of life.

“Affect,” as a subconscious experience of our heart-brain-nervous systems, sensory stimulation, (See Affect theory: The word affect, as used in Tomkins theory, specifically refers to the "biological portion of emotion," that is, to "hard-wired, preprogrammed, genetically transmitted mechanisms that exist in each of us" which, when triggered, precipitates a "known pattern of biological events," although it is also acknowledged that, in adults, the affective experience is a result of both the innate mechanism and a "complex matrix of nested and interacting ideo-affective formations.) conditioned my seemingly bipolar motivations, later in life. My diagnosed, bipolar type 1 disorder also known as an "affective disorder", or a disorder of "affect."

Traumatic experience during my birth and isolation and separation form the very source of mother nature's natural healing powers, resulted in an “affective,“ negative, conditioning of my nervous systems. An subconscious injury of overwhelming negative affect, laid the neural foundations for my classic, early adult onset of mental illness. A three day experience of distress/anguish charging a high tolerance, and "subconscious" expectation of negative experience, within my heart-brain-nervous systems. Hence, people like myself experience a self-defeating pattern of negative life-expectation/experience, motivated by the subconscious power of affect, the real "economy" of human motivation. Yet what exactly is an affect, and can it be understood by an average person like me, using the unfamiliar language of neuroscience? And what does this unfamiliar word “affect,” have to do with my diagnosed mental illness and our human sense-of-self? Well, please consider;

Secure Attachment, Affect Regulation & Origins of The Self?