Monday, December 31, 2012

Psychosis? A Waking Dream---Nightmare?

What is, A Lucid Dream & A Nightmare Psychosis?

A waking Dream or waking Nightmare?

"The best way to describe having a psychotic episode is like a waking nightmare, where things are crazy, bizarre, frightening, confusing. With schizophrenia, you have delusions and hallucinations and disordered thinking.

Like, I was on the roof of the Yale Law School, and I was saying, "Someone's infiltrated our copies of the legal cases. We've got to case the joint. I don't believe in joints, but they do hold your body together" -- so, loosely associated words and phrases.

But, experientially, the -- the feeling is utter terror." _Elyn Saks, author, "The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness." (see: here)

Is Elyn Saks predominately negative and Western worldview of psychosis an objective fact or a subjective opinion energized by a personal/cultural fear of madness, and a lingering ignorance of the reality of its organic process? Are psychotic episodes the product of a mysterious brain disease, or are they generated by a profound dis-ease, within the body? A profound dis-ease which can stimulate a profound psychic pain subjectively represented within the mind, by nightmarish sensations and images, yet can also stimulate a psychic balm represented by glorious sensations of oneness and images and feelings of love. Is there a positive aspect to psychotic episodes? And why do so many claim its like a waking dream or nightmare?

Is REM state dreaming a proto-type of waking consciousness?
Can this, evolutionarily older brain mechanism shed light on the organic nature of psychosis and origin of our minds, subjective experience? Does a personal/cultural fear of the raw power of instincts as the roots of our human emotions and intelligence, promote a socialized denial of our own existential reality? Please consider;

The Dream? A Container of Existential Reality?

Why do both the negative and positive experiences of psychosis feel like a waking dream or nightmare? Why is the dreaming state, considered the very crucible of Madness? Consider Jaak Panksepp’s brilliant, “Affective Neuroscience – The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions,” and a chapter entitled;
Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Madness & The Effects, of its Fear Affect?

"Nothing is terrible except fear itself"
"There is nothing to fear but fear itself" _Franklin Roosevelt.

A paraphrase of the line "Nothing is terrible except fear itself" by Sir Francis Bacon

Is fear an Affect! With a contagious Effect?

Is there an "unconscious," fear of mad people?
As if, Madness is Contagious?

Two simple words, Affect & Effect? What exactly do they mean, and why do they cause so much confusion about the true nature of our mental health?

Do we now understand the unconscious mechanisms of both fear, as an innate affect and our social need to deny the very existance of innate affects and the primary processes of the body. The body's evolved nature and the foundational aspects of our self-preservation and therefore our instinctual-intelligence? Consider;

"The body initiates and the mind follows. Hence “talking cures”  that engage the intellect
or even the emotions, do not reach deep enough." _Peter Levine, Ph,D.

It takes a momentary suspension of our normal reasoning, to imagine an unconscious nervous system, mediating much of our everyday social behaviors, as the evolved nervous system we share with all other mammals. As an evolved aid and defense of survival, mammals have an innate ability to feign death as a last ditch, instinct for survival. When there is no possibility of fight or flight, no possible means of escape from immediate and overwhelming threat, mammals escape into a simulated death state. (see: Madness & the Chaotic Energies of The Trauma Trap?)

Humans share an evolved autonomic nervous system with other mammals, although evolutionarily adapted to our unique needs. If we imagine such human reactions as shock, fainting, freezing in fright or even in the sensations of acute embarrassment, when we feel that desire for the ground to open beneath us. It becomes possible to see a "continuum" of instinctual motivation, in our shared mammalian ability to feign death and the instinctual roots of mental illness, caused by "intellectually" denied, innate affects?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Lonely Birthday & Other Physiological States?

Wanphen, in Thai dress, for a traditional dance festival, with her old falang.
December 27th 2012: Happy Birthday! I said to myself, as dawn crept into another lonely room.

Memories of Laos and Thailand came to mind, as a normal morning state of low metabolic resources, threatened a meloncholic yearning, I could easily work into a sense of depression.

"A Physiological State?"

"The depressive urge is not really psychological, after all," I told myself.

I must admit the urge to dwell in that low metabolic resources (see: Mental Illness - Its Metabolic Energy Shifts? state was tempting. Knowing I could easily fill it up with thoughts of loss and separation, decades of depressive thinking could have swamped my mind, as my low physiological state, "toned" my head space. Yet whatever it is that I've learned during my three year sojourn in Thailand, is holding fast, despite my current circumstances. Almost as if this trail by existential circumstance, is an affirmation exercise. Not an affirmation of mind, like some mystical chanting or the visual imaging of new age philosophy, not a triumph of mindful ascension, as 2012 slips towards history.

As I write, its 3pm, here in Sydney Australia, midday in Thailand where Miss Wanphen will be working in the three storey shop/house we shared till October 26th. Leaving her behind to arrive here, courtesy of my oldest child, on the 27th, by coincidence? Dates are meaningless though, aren't they? Coincdence is never meaningful? My questions fueled by melancholy, or this reasonable, "loneliness is such a sad affair," sang Bette Midler. "Will there be any contact from anyone," is a question I'm prompted to ask myself, as I wonder what to write here? Still! At 3pm in Sydney, here at the Matthew Talbot, its hard to ignore the proximity of my oldest child, probably three streets away right now, if he's at home? Yet of coarse, I'm guilty as sin, when it comes to ignoring birthday's, and playing this isolation game.

Sadly, there have been decades of this self-obsorbed obsession by now, the why, why, why of having bipolar disorder, and the even tougher to deal with, failure of one hopeful medication trail, after another. This personal quest to understand it from the "inside out," damming me to exclusion rather than inclusion, as the prophetic words of 2007, come back to huant me once again;

The AFFECT of Neuroception, in Mental Illness?

Neuroception? An "subconscious" Perception?
Our vital need to feel SAFE, & its neural perception?
A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety.

Ideally, a baby’s neuroception of her environment shows her a safe place to explore. 

But even if her perception warns her accurately of danger from a “frightened or frightening” caregiver, the baby can take some defensive measures, even though they are likely to be ineffective and are almost certain to be psychologically costly.

What happens when neuroception itself is impaired? From a theoretical perspective, faulty neuroception—that is, an inability to detect accurately whether the environment is safe or another person is trustworthy—might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders: (see: NEUROCEPTION: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety)

So what exactly is, SUBCONSCIOUS perception?
• Areas in the temporal cortex that are assumed to inhibit fight, flight, or freeze reactions are not activated in people with autism or schizophrenia, who have difficulty with social engagement.

• Individuals with anxiety disorders and depression have compromised social behavior; difficulties in regulating the heart rate, as reflected in measures of vagal control of the heart; and reduced facial expressiveness.

• Maltreated and institutionalized children with Reactive Attachment Disorder tend to be either inhibited (emotionally withdrawn and unresponsive) or uninhibited (indiscriminate in their attachment behavior; Zeanah, 2000). Both types of behavior suggest faulty neuroception of the risk in the environment. _Stephen Porges, Ph,D.

How does SUBCONSCIOUS perception, result in Mental Illness?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mental Illness - Its Metabolic Energy Shifts?

We see a world "out there," while unaware of a "metabolic" world within?
We make image symbols like this, yet don't understand, holistic functioning?

"Socio-affective experience-dependant elicitation of internal chemical regulators of mitochondrial differentiation directly influences the observed postnatal changes in organelle morphology and function that underlie the transformation of energy production responsible for critical period phenomena, the effects of these events are long lasting.

Mitochondria play an essential role not only in structural circuit formation but also in neuronal functional activity in the mature brain." _Allan N Schore. 'What the?'

"Socio-affective?" "experience-dependant?" "internal chemical regulators?"

This is the kind of language that began to change my understanding and sense-of-myself, back in 2007. That was when my journey of medication free, mental illness recovery, began in earnest, through self-education? Stumbling on Allan Schore's amazing work, set me off on a personal quest to understand just exactly what the word "affective" actually means, in relation to my socially challenging, bipolar, affective disoder? 'It just means emotional disorder, affect is just another word for emotion,' several psychiatrist's told me, when I asked for an interpretation of this mysterious word "affective." Mysterious, becuase it does explain a more holistic sense of our reactive energy states and moods, and is becoming increasingly understood as the very foundation of our sense-of self? Hence the title of Allan N Schore's penultimate work "Affect Regulation & The Orgin of The Self."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Medication Madness & We Homeless Malcontents?

Homelessness & Medicated Mental Anguish?
Upset for a couple of days now, he's been "acting out," his Mental Torment, Otherwise known as Mental Illness?

Early last week though, his head was mostly grasped firmly between his hands, in that common symbol of defeat, and despair, the homeless and mentally ill, so often share?

'So why is he ranting and raving now?' Asked a homeless brother, as we sat down to lunch today. Funny! The homeless men here use Brother, rather than the Aussie vanacular, "G,Day. Mate!" All Brothers & Mates here.

'They need to give him more, freaking medication!' Said another brother, from across the dinning hall table. We all burst out laughing at the pun. 'freaking medication - Get it?' Said our self-anointed lunch time jester, emploring more laughter.
From depressed despair, to agitated mania in a week?
Ah! The magic of those medication pills?

Its funny in a macabre sort of way? Black humor, allowing us to cling to threads of sanity, so daily challenged, by living in these often difficult, existential circumstances?

'Existential circumstances! - Yeah, yeah, I met his brother, the other day. Existential Angst, is his name, and he wears a freaking face, like bloody red thunder!' Said, you know who, from across the dinning hall table. As we laughed, the supervisors gather around our "acting out" brother, and usher him towards the exit.( please see >> Mental Illness & The Face - - Heart Connection? )

'Go for a walk,' they tell him repeatedly, although camly and firmly. He knows the rules too. If he escalates this "acting out" into physical actions towards another brother, or staff member, his walk outside to calm down, will become a search for other accomadation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Madness & the Chaotic Energies of The Trauma Trap?

Madness & Chaotic Energies of a Trauma Trap?
Of coarse, Real-Life, Is a Hollywood Movie?
Is a new understanding and appreciation of Trauma, re-defining our view of Madness & Mental Illness?
Is the experience of Mental Illness being re-defined, as The Trauma Trap?

Does the Human Mind, actively block a Natural Process, of Trauma Resolution? Resulting in the signs and symptoms of Mental Illness?

Its hard for us humans to give up our egoic conviction, that the mind is the center of the known Universe (no pun intended, of coarse). Yet are we entering an era of science research and spiritual yearning, which may be ushering in the golden age, so many Mad Euphoric's, have long predicted?

Is Religious Ecstasy, for example, one of the positive symptoms, now considered an illness in our objectively rational, modern era? Of coarse, the negative symptoms of mental illness, still holds sway, in our normal judgment.
Sadly, our shadow, is still taller than our Soul?

Peter Levine, PhD.
40 years of Trauma Resolution Wisdom
Trauma and Spirituality:
In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations.
Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them- emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. _Peter Levine, PhD. Author of the quintessential guide to trauma resolution;
"In an Unspoken Voice."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

bipolar depression

No Bipolar Depression Now?
Its been over five years since I experienced my last episode of classic bipolar depression, back in June/July 2007. I have been dealing with bipolar disorder for 32 years now and since 2007, three episodes of bipolar mania have not been followed by depression.

After all these years, I may have altered my classic cycles of manic-depressive  - bipolar disorder. Altered with important insights gained from self-education and the organic integration of three, six week long, manic psychoses. Over the last decade I have made a concerted effort to educate myself, hoping to find a better way of self-managing my bipolar condition, my over-sensitive constitution, without psycho-tropic medications. Of coarse, only time will tell?

After thirty two years experience, my bipolar experience is not following a classic manic-depressive, bipolar cycle. Leading me to question whether my hard won education insights have allowed me a natural integration of episodes of manic psychosis? There has been a five year period, free of the shame filled, self-stigmatizing, self-defeating label, of a mental illness? Three times since 2007, I have experienced mania's euphoric psychosis, hoping to benefit, by allowing an episode to run its full coarse. That is to say I have allowed the experience to unfold, after educating myself beyond the common belief of mental illness, as a disease of the brain.

Since 2007, I have not sort any kind of help from the medical profession and I have kept myself away from judgments of my experience as a mental illness, requiring medications. Consequently I am finding far less mindful intrusion of the kind of shameful memories and self-stigma, which used to trigger a depressive rebound reaction, after previous manic episodes of such length and emotional intensity.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Gathering of Gods & Goddesses, Perhaps?

In November 2009, an Australia team of surgeon's performed an operation to separate conjoined twins.

The twin girls were born joined at the head, sharing blood vessels and brain tissue, and were successfully separated in a marathon 32 hour operation .

It got me to thinking about the nature of miracles, of Gods, Goddesses and the hidden process of emotional projection? It also led to a blog thread on & 6 weeks of Mania.

When the relieved, happy and smiling doctors were presented to the media I remember thinking it was a modern day miracle. I wondered how such an event would be perceived by a two thousand year old Greek historian, a Roman soldier or a Talmud educated Hebrew priest? These thoughts and the excitement phase of a manic bipolar mood swing led me to post my thoughts on, under a blog heading in the spirituality forum, titled;
Of Gods and Goddesses. It was the 17th September, 2010.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mental Illness & The Face - - Heart Connection?

So What is the Face -- Heart Connection?
The Facial Reactions of our Primary Emotions, which Cannot tell a Lie?
And What is the Connection to Mental Illness?

Safety! & "Autonomic-Unconscious" Nervous Reactions.

Safety, as an inner sensation, not a mind-based concept. Its that feeling of inner-security the late, great, John Bowlby and developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth called our "secure-base," and our fundamental need of attachment to others, for healthy physical and emotional/mental, functioning. Consider;

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mental Illness - Psychological & Physiological?

The Buddha - His Serene Face  - Free of Muscular Tension?

Discover Your Inner Self?

Recover from Mental Illness?

"My teaching is neither theory nor a philosophy, but the fruit of experience. Everything I say comes from my own experience, and you too can confirm it by your own experience. Words do not describe reality: only experience shows us its true face." _Buddha.

Since 2007, I have been discovering more of my own inner-self, through a process of self-education and a daily practice of deepening physiological self-awareness. Discovering more inner security and an increasingly confident recovery from three decades of mental illness experience.

Using a method similar to the famous Buddhist practice of meditation, I have increased my inner-awareness of sensations and the activity of my body/brain nervous systems, becoming more aware of the physiological foundations, to my experience of mental anguish and altered states of body/mind. A journey of self-empowered recovery, captured as succinctly as I could in: Bipolar Recovery This post provides excerpts from the reading material which has had the most influence my recovery journey, and the critical insights, of which I write in: Bipolar Recovery

The Physiological Foundations of Mental Anguish?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time for PEER Support to be taken Seriously?

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For
Connecting & emPowering restores a person’s vitality.
"I had a dream several years ago: I was sitting in a circle with others with lived experience of extreme mental states. (a term we prefer to mental illness). We might have been in a self-help center. We were intensely sharing, listening, commenting, supporting and being with each other as we have been learning is so vital.
Gradually I started to notice that all around us the “normals” were running about helter skelter, looking wilder and wilder and more and more distracted. From time to time they would stop and stare. Then they started to ask us what we were doing to stay so centered and calm when they were feeling so distracted by fear, doubt and insecurity. We said we were having our weekly self-help group." _Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.

The Peer Support, of Real-Life Experience?

It seems we may be entering a real transition phase in mental health, with an increasing recognition that we need to pay more than just lip-service to the notion of real-recovery from the experience of mental illness? For many years now, people in the survivor community of recovered persons, have been frustrated by the mental health system's condescending "lip-service" to recovery, as little more than "medication compliance?"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bipolar Anger & Toxic Shame?

Fighting the SYSTEM "Out There," or a SYSTEM Within?
She was "acting out," angry at the SYSTEM!

'The system's F..... Man! I been waiting for an hour and these jerks just keep messing me around.

Later: I watched her storm out of the office area towards her waiting children, yelling abuse towards the SYSTEM once again.

'Your all a pack of F.....g B......'s, and you can all rot in F.....g hell.'

Many sat around me cringed as her tirade towards the office staff continued. Something about her social security benefit's being reduced unfairly, in her eyes.
'Wow! She's really pissed off, at them, eh?' Said a person sat behind me. 'She's sure crazy now, man!' Said another.

It seemed so patently obvious that she was angry because her benefit payments had been reduced, and the office staff were to blame, they were the F.....g System. Simple cause and effect thinking? Plain commonsense? Right?

Yet was her "acting out," stimulated by a reaction towards the world "out there," in our everyday cause and effect reasoning? Or was she fighting a system within, in an effort to control her own, deeper feelings of shame-humiliation? Is our mind's "objective" sense of the world "out there," really a true reflection of the reality of our nature, and our internal motivation? It is said by many psychologists, that the best emotional antidote for feelings of shame, is the emotional energy of anger-rage. Was the need of an antidote to feelings of shame and humiliation, the real cause of an angry lady, unconsciously "acting out?" Blaming (anger-rage) the staff in the office for a deeper sense of shame, she could not afford to consciously acknowledge? Consider an explanation of "unconscious" shame reactions;