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More things on my bipolar disorder

In the theatre of her mind, [the inn that she would run, the family business] burned to a cinder and her old life peeled away, black as charcoal, and she was flying, ballistic, too fast and too high and unable to stop.

– Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett

I don’t think I’ve ever had a hypomanic streak for this long. I guess it’s a cause for concern. I haven’t gone to therapy for several months now but I will schedule one soon.

My focus and memory are amazing. Stamina is improving. Optimism is at an all-time high.

Since bipolar disorder is characterized by cycles of depression and mania, though, I’m concerned about what will happen when I come down from this.

********

I want to see the truth behind everything. To find out the real reasons for why things happen, and to dispel every misconception and defense mechanism in my life that I possibly can.

Came across this study on journaling. I know very, very little about research methodology beyond the basics, certainly not enough to make a credible critcism about any research – that said, I have a feeling that the sample size for this study was too small (90 adults). I wouldn’t cite it as solid evidence for anything, but it’s interesting and worth looking into.

It’s a paradigm of traditional psychology to have distressed patients express their feeling in writing — the experience, as anyone who’s kept an angsty diary (guilty) will attest to, can feel extremely cathartic… Researchers at the University of Arizona hypothesized that focusing [their feelings] into a narrative form could help patients with the highest tendency to ruminate about the past to pull themselves together and move on following divorce.

The Atlantic 

However…

 

Recently-separated adults who reported high levels of psychological rumination and were judged to be actively engaged in the search for meaning reported significantly worse emotional outcomes.

For individuals highly engaged in a search for meaning, expressive writing can exacerbate this search and if no significant meaning is found, the writing intervention leads to worse outcomes. 

[One] explanation is that engaging in expressive writing when a negative experience is unfolding, raw, and still quite upsetting can intensify this distress. 

In situations that are defined primarily by how people deal with feelings of regret, shame, and loss, concentrating on what one will do with his or her time may provide the precise antidote necessary to gain distance from painful emotional thoughts.

Expressive Writing Can Impede Emotional Recovery Following Marital Separation

The word “rumination” also means “to chew the cud.” My take on this study is that rumination is not the same as cogitation, though it may seem the same on the surface.  Rumination is a thought process that goes nowhere for the most part, and cogitation is problem-solving. Overall, though, it seems best to keep busy doing productive things. I definitely see that in my own life and in the lives of the people I know who suffer from mood disorders, or mentally healthy people who have suffered traumas.

I think I had some cogitation recently. After losing ___ (I’m not sure what to call whatever it was that I did – technically I rejected her, I guess, but I don’t want to frame it that way because I apparently prefer to play the victim) I wanted to think about that, why I’ve essentially given up on trying to become a normal person who responds flexibly in relationships (both romantic and with family and friends), with realistic expectations and attachments.

Everything you want to give me / it’s too much, it’s heavy / Everything you want from me [aren’t real] expectations

– Boa Sorte (Good Luck), Vanessa de Mata

While laying out a case for why I would make a rotten partner for her, I cited the first time I felt resentment towards my first girlfriend – basically she canceled our weekly date for work. She asked me first if it was all right and I said yes but I passive-aggressively went to sleep so that I would miss her next messages. I told ___ that when she asked me if she could go, my true response was: Isn’t it obvious? I did not tell her the full thought, though, which was: If I were in your place, the choice would be obvious to me; why is it not obvious to you? I would do that for you, that is how important it is for me to see you; why is it not as important to you?

Clearly, I am insane according to the society I currently move in, and incapable of maintaining normal close relationships with most other people. However, I can honestly say that ever since I cut (or loosened) ties with everyone in my life and became determinedly alone, I have felt the most amazing freedom. I feel that nobody can disappoint me anymore; I owe nothing to anyone; I feel like I have no expectations to fulfill. Of course, I am terribly lonely. I still wish to find people like myself, who are just as hungry for affection as I am, but I feel quite capable of holding out for them, and have no wish to settle for any less.

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