Bipolar

Silicon chip inside her head is switched to overload

Beware cod psychologists!!

Yet here I am about to espouse my own thinking on how to manage Bipolar! My excuse? –  well I’ve seen no end of shrinks and have had the condition 45 years, so I’m qualified to have my tuppence worth.

It has its roots way back in Freudian thinking, and its bastardised offspring expressed as Parent – Adult  - Child ego States, thereafter distilled into I’m Ok – You’re ok models of how we view the world.

I found much to admire and interest me in these theories and thinking, and have built up my own way of addressing how I interact with the world

I see my brain in three distinct paradigms

  • The calm logical ‘adult’ side of my persona, which views life sensibly and where it absorbs all my experiences and reduces it into a reliable prism from which to view the world.
  • The opposing aspect is the emotional one – the child that exists in all of us – but where through nature/nature we let it out, or suppress it, based on how we have been conditioned.

So now the difficult bit! What’s the third paradigm? Well less a paradigm but more like the CPU that operates your computer. The silicon chip that can switch to overload!!

For those blessed with few, or no mental health issues ( though I reckon everyone has issues – just a question of severity ) that ‘chip’ can process thoughts and actions, instinctively knowing when to access and take advantage of the other two aspects and switch across without difficulty.

Now with the Bipolar brain, the bias towards the emotional side of the brain is self-evident, and acting logically and calmly is not our natural stamping ground.  So we need a different ‘chip’ with more capacity and speed. Bipolar people swing from one extreme to another , and only glimpse logic and calm thinking as they ‘pass by’ heading upwards or downwards at great speed.

Now take the ‘chip’ idea and then see it slightly differently – that is, as unique piece of technology that we can actually train to operate more effectively.  Maybe a good analogy is a Formula 1 car. To most of us – the disinterested – you could just imagine the same car pitches up at each race and is driven – end of. Actually its performance is tweaked in 100’s of different ways. If the track has long straights you lengthen the gearing to take advantage and of course stop the car from over-revving.  Short tracks where traction out of the corners is the imperative, leads to tyre pressures being changed and down force being raised to ‘glue’ the car to the track. I won’t labour the point, I’m sure you get it.

If you think of that ‘chip’ inside your head as the manager of your psyche you can start to train it to support your strengths and eliminate some of the weaknesses. It can be as prosaic as not drinking too much since that might exacerbate the childishness you might be prone to.  It can be avoiding situations you just know are no good for you. You wouldn’t expose your computer to a Sauna, or leave it in the freezer. Well adopt the same philosophy. You know what you are prone to act like in extremis –so simple! – do not expose yourself to it.

You can train it to make more good decisions than bad ones and that in turn affects your pride and self esteem. It’s called random access memory in computing. Well you can train yourself with positive memories. Athletes will focus on the time they last won and not focus on failure. Why do some footballers score penalty’s most of the time and other fall apart. It’s about how they’ve trained that bit of their brain to relax and go with what they know they’ve done a thousand times. The ‘chip’ kicks in and takes over. Why is that any of us could walk along a 10 foot long 6 inch wide plank a thousand times and never slip off when it’s on the ground , but suspend it over a ravine, and we lose our bottle.

So think a bit more about what you want to be like, and how you want to behave, and interact with others, and then think about where it goes wrong for you. Then address the shortfall.

I’ve talked about changing your lifestyle to suit your persona. How many are out there stressed to hell doing a job they hate in order to pay  for a house they can barely afford, and spend half their lives pretending they are doing so well, when it’s all on credit and pretty scary. Why do they not get a job they do like, downside the house a bit and so on?

In reality, one does not need to make big changes, just some small ones can make a huge difference to our psyche.

If you find yourself saying ‘ I don’t like Mondays’ then maybe it’s time to change.

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