Bipolar ThoughtsPersonal HistoryTherapy

There is a really fascinating phenomenon with the brain where once you understand how to solve a problem, the solution is inherently visible to you when faced with the same problem again.

This is applicable in a myriad of things. This is how we go from seeing the silhouetted faces to the wine glass or the bird and the old lady back and forth once we are aware of the optical illusion, despite only being able to see one or the other upon the first viewing. This is how we can “learn” to increase our IQ or our SAT scores by repeated test taking. This is how we become more adept at puzzles and games, and why you’re no longer play Sudoku.

There is an evil twin sibling of this phenomenon called confirmation bias. And this means that when we believe we are solving a problem we have already learned to solve, we will find clues that helped us solve previous puzzles that might no longer be applicable. This is why you never finished the “expert” level Sudoku book.

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BlogInspirationMusic and Movies

Week Two of the thankfulness blogs:

Last week was a pretty deep and serious thing, a way my daughter delights my heart. This week is something much simpler, but something that has been huge for me lately.

A couple months ago I traded a guy some guitar equipment I no longer used for some that he no longer used. I ended up with a new (to me) guitar amplifier. It happened to be an amp I had been wanting for a decade. And I couldn’t feel more pleasure playing through it.

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I am starting a new series of essays on this blog. I’m going to be posting them on Saturday mornings, as this one was, hoping to inject some good vibes into your weekends. However, I might move them into my normal weekly slots. Stay tuned.

But here is the plan: I’m going to write one piece a week about things I am thankful for, or at least things that keep me positive. I don’t plan on doing the big obvious things, though. Anyone who knows me or has read enough of this blog understands that I am a lucky person, born into a situation that most people envy, and given enough talent and ability for it to be a real shame if I don’t do something with my life.

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Bipolar ThoughtsPersonal Relationships

About a two years ago I had my ECT treatment.

The story leading up to that is simple: I was doing poorly, attempted suicide on my 30th birthday. Went to my shrink the next day and he sent me to the ECT guru of the Beaumont system the following Monday. That afternoon I checked into Beaumont Royal Oak’s psych ward and I would remain there for a week; 5 nights and 6 days.

My very first night there I had an unexpected and very welcomed guest. I believe the very next night I had some members of my immediate family stop by and visit me. I was incredibly nervous about being there. I hate to sleep away from my bed and away from my wife. I often have very horrifying sleep and she is always there to wake me and comfort me when I need it. But now, I was sleeping next to a man in his 90’s that was completely deaf. Any nighttime disturbance would be assuaged by a nurse, possibly. And I doubt he/ she would want to cuddle with me.

AnxietyBipolar ThoughtsDepressionManiaObsessionsPersonal History

I think people might get confused a bit when I say things like “I’m symptom free” or use the word “remission”.

The truth is those things don’t exist. I am never totally ok.

I haven’t experienced the crushing extremes of bipolar in about 10 months. But just a couple days ago I was reminded that exactly a year ago right now I was in a crippling depression and was avoiding people and drinking heavily. And, truth be told, I avoided people and felt depressed at times during this summer as well.

I still have the mood swings, even the extreme ones. I still experience anxiety, insomnia, irritability. I still find my mind racing, or find it difficult to get out of bed.

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BlogInspiration

My whole life I have been a huge fan of both science and science fiction.

My favorite movies when I was a kid were things like Jurassic Park, Apollo 13, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Alien and Terminator. The novels I really gravitated towards as a kid were HG Wells and Jules Verne. I was a huge Dr. Dolittle fan as an even younger child which is an adventure series about a scientist, nothing like those god awful movies.

This is probably even more pronounced today. Almost all of what I read is science fiction, and most of the movies I make a point of watching are sci-fi as well. My favorite author is Arthur C Clarke, followed by PKD, followed by Vonnegut. The best movies from 2015? Ex Machina, The Martian, Star Wars VII. Best movie I saw in 2016? Arrival!

You’ll never convince me that Childhood’s End isn’t the greatest book ever written, unless of course you bring up Ender’s Game. What movie am I most excited about coming up? Beyond Star Wars, I would have to say Ready Player One, one of the best novels I have read in years, one I consumed in about four days.

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Bipolar ThoughtsObsessionsSuicide

I had a strange, but not at all uncommon experience driving my car this afternoon.

I was stopped at the train-tracks today. I was second in line, and therefore saw the gates coming down. The car in front of me decided he didn’t want to wait and drove around the downed gates before the train came. And so I pulled up very close to the gate myself.

And as soon as I saw his car go I couldn’t stop thinking about his car being crushed, and then I couldn’t stop about my own being crushed.

I assume that isn’t uncommon. I think this is a common fantasy people have; same as the desire to jump from a high open location.

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BlogParenting

I think you pretty quickly find out what type of parent you are going to be. While you don’t really need to discipline a kid for a couple years, and that is a large portion of what type of parent you are, you can look at your interactions and figure out who you are pretty early.

It turns out that I’m the type of parent that likes to push my kids.

When Jocelyn was born I had read a lot about how holding your child in different positions, and especially laying them on their stomach and making them look around, could really develop their spatial awareness. The science isn’t exact, of course, and a lot of people believe that this is just a head-start and all kids will eventually reach average perception regardless. However, my opinion is simply “why not do it?” I gotta play with this kid anyway, let’s work on stuff too.

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Bipolar ThoughtsDepressionMania

I’ve only really had a couple dozen nights of good sleep since early March.

A lot of that has been simply the cessation of my sleeping pill. Insomnia always was, and probably always will be a problem for me. I tend to have a reputation for knowing a lot of trivia, and whenever someone asks me how I know something, I always respond with ‘insomnia’. And it is true! I have spent countless hours going down countless rabbit holes while the sun was asleep.

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