Modern life causes brain overload


One of the interesting things about being bipolar for me
is my reluctance to assume that my experience of any
little thing in the world is widely shared. I know it's possible,
but it's not my my default.

So when I saw this study on line one night, I was more
than curious. I've felt overwhelmed by information most
of my life. I marvel at the way so many people seem able
to move through this world with an ease, a comfort level
that has always eluded me.

My usual response to the feeling of information overload
is usually to withdraw- go offline, unplug the phone,
go for a walk, go to sleep, what-have-you... 

I try to calm down and pull myself back together, and get
to whatever as soon as I can...sometimes an hour later,
sometimes longer later. People react to my reaction with
anything from annoyance to anger to dismissal, and go on
to the next person on their list.

... and despite my resolve not to project my reactions on
to other people, there is a part of me that thinks bipolar
people are sometimes similar to the tunnel canaries, used
by miners in days gone by to detect unhealthy changes
in their environment.

Anyway, getting back to that study, here are a couple
of things that gave me pause:

People are bombarded with the equivalent of 34 gigabytes
of information a day. Through email, the internet, television
and other media, people are deluged with around 100,000
words a day
– equivalent to 23 words per second,
researchers claim.

“They are so busy processing information
from all directions they are losing the
tendency to think and to feel.

"Much of what they are exposed to is superficial.
People are sacrificing depth and feeling and becoming
cut off and disconnected from other people.”

Part of why it struck me, I think, is because this really
reflects my own experience of people in our digital age.

Something to think about...

or not.

I guess.



Comics for Mental Cases

i'm always glad to stumble across evidence
that other people besides me laugh
about this shit.

... and this one i just LOVE!


more Bad Attitudes


looks like someone's off their meds again.


Depression - the dark, dirty secret

Is curiosity an inherent part of living bipolar?

One person is not much of a statistical sample, but it's
certainly part of my bipolar experience, Ever since I was
diagnosed, I have read a lot about "my condition".

Sometimes I learn useful things. Sometimes it makes
me laugh. Sometimes all it does is make it clear how
much of my bipolar life is not studied/discussed/etc...

Case in point: depression.

It's not that depression is not studied/discussed/etc-
if anything, it seems to be the primary focus of most
studies and discussions but from my perspective, there's
one key element of depression that never seems
to come out.

How fucking boring it is...

Being depressed is central to the bipolar experience,
to the point where unfortunately it virtually defines it.
By comparison, "mania" or as I call it "the fear of mania"
is a very distant second place.

Depending on whether you are BP1 or BP2, and just how
BP1 or BP2 you are, you may well spend over 60% of your
life being depressed. When one factors in the time spent
transiting into or out of depression, the odds are you will
spend most of your life being slightly to seriously depressed.

Often, this is a fact of life that is largely out of one's
personal control. Medication and/or various "lifestyle"
choices (nutrition, exercise, etc) can mitigate or even
minimize the impact of one's personal dark tide, but it
will always be a part of life.

And anyone who doesn't think that that this gets really
boring after a while (a) has never been there, (b) is living
in a very active state of denial or (c) is suffering from an
almost total failure of the imagination.

The darkest of the dark sides of depression is called "suicide
ideation". That's jargon-speak for "suicidal thoughts". Again,
depending on whether you are BP1 or BP2, and just how BP1
or 2 you are, this is probably a significant part of your
bipolar experience.

When these thoughts first start coming on, they can be very
frightening. Then, as time goes on they may even become
(and here's another dirty little secret of depression for you)strangely comforting.

That may sound very strange to some, but when most of
one's waking hours are spent in varying states of depression,
when all one can think about is what a worthless sack of
shit one really is, it is not really as strange as all that to
know that to find some slight comfort in the fact that
there is a way to never feel like that anymore.

But again, in my limited experience, once one was actually
explored the possibility of taking that step, and done some
research, and perhaps even decided on which way one
would do the deed, it gets really old, really fast.

To have the same thought recur, over and over, against
one's will is a great big goddamn bore. At some point, it can
even become as big a problem as the original feeling of
depression that brought one to thinking about suicide in the
first- ie- it is so, so, so boring to continually find ones' self
thinking about it (again, against one's will) that one can
start to crave release from how boring it is...

It's not a bad thing to confront life's most fundamental
question - to be or not be - once in a while. It's not a bad
thing to pause on occasion and look at one's life to see
if one has or has not been the kind of person one aspires
to be.

In fact, I don't think it's something that "normal" people
seem to do enough, frankly.

But as a full-time thing?

It's worse than useless. It's destructive. It takes the time
and energy one would like to like to put into doing useful
things in the universe, liken trying to change the
government or doing the laundry.

And when it is a state of mind that one has little or no
control over, it is almost a meta-state of depression
wherein one gets depressed about being depressed
all the time.

And when it goes on for days, and then weeks,
and then sometimes for months, 24/7?

It gets boring. Really, really, really boring.


Vincent van Gogh

... another person with "mental health issues"
     who decided death would be better...


a Picture of Mental Health

OK, it's not so much a picture as it is an infographic,
but it's still food for thought....


The differences between men and women highlighted
here are interesting to me.

Is it because women are more likely to talk about their feelings and/or ask for hrelp that they are more likely
to be on medication?

Or is it
because their lives (underpaid, more responsible
for child-rearing, etc)
are more likely to induce and/or
accentuate negative feelings and illnesses?

Bipolar as Mood Disorder

There is an old cliche in Christian culture that the devil's
greatest trick is convincing us that he doesn't exist.
Sometimes I wonder if the inverse is just as true - ie -
the church's greatest trick is convincing us that god does.

I don't know if either one is true, and it couldn't matter
less, because (a) in the absence of such Absolute knowledge,
I just try to live in ways that help - or at least don't hurt -
other people and (b) even if I did know The Truth,
nobody would believe me anyway.

And anyway, I think there is another trickster among
us whose impact is just as profound who attracts much
less attention... words.

Words are really tricky.

They are tricky because we each and all assume we know
what they mean. On a personal level, this is probably
inevitable and maybe
even benign.

Where it gets tricky, to the point of dangerous, is when
we assume that what a word means to us is what it
means to the person we're talking to...


A simple example would be "blue".

When I say "blue", I think of a dark shade called Navy Blue
that was probably imprinted by a set of Laurentien pencil
crayons when I was very young.

You may have thought of the colour of the sky,
or the sea, or a pair of pants or a berry on a bush.

You might even think of that same pencil crayon,
but the odds are you didn't...
yet that's what I meant.


Who cares.

Most of the time, none of us- including me. It's so obvious,
we're so busy, so use an adjective or two, blah, blah blah...

The only reason it's on my mind right now is because I was
reading up on some aspect or other of "bipolar"and once
again saw it described as a "Mood Disorder".

I had one of those strange moments where it was like
I was seeing this term for the first time, and it made me
go "Hmmmm....".

It reminded me of this graphic that I did recently:

Everyone has moods. Good moods, bad moods...
ou don't have to be polarity-gifted to be in one mood
or another, or even to
be called "moody".

The difference, when you are bipolar, is profound.

You don't have a mood- the mood has you.

You can't just think a happy thought or eat a Snickers bar
or have a coffee and move on.

That feeling of depression is not something you can
just shake off, or think your way out of. Even if you can
convince yourself to pull up your socks, it's not going to
change a damn thing*.

If you've experienced this, you know what I mean.

If you haven't experienced it, (a) you are soooo lucky
and (b) "depression", like "blue" is something we don't
share an understanding of, and we never really will.

*yes, there are things you can do that may alleviate
or even dispel that "mood" for a day or a week or whatever,
but it's always out there...