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.