Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chapter 4-2: Why It’s Not Bipolar

The Activation has to Come from Somewhere…

Even if bipolar were a genetic illness, it still would have to have some way of expressing itself.  The only way for that to happen is by using the existing biological systems of the human body.  In other words, to do so-called bipolar things, my body actually has to physically create the sensations and action tendencies that cause me to act in so-called bipolar (manic) ways.  In other words, my body has to access the actual biological, hormonal and neurological systems that -  actually, physically - allow me to:

  • think big
  • gear up
  • get moving
  • keep moving
  • talk fast
  • move fast 
  • select subjects for heightened attention
  • rapidly assess their implications
  • hyper-focus on chosen objectives 
  • throw caution to the wind
  • ignore cues to eat and sleep
  • ignore the cautions of concerned others; and
  • recklessly pursue desired outcomes without regard for warning signs that would normally be thoughtfully considered.

Not just that, but, my body also has to find a way to keep these physiological mechanisms in operation, relentlessly, for days on end. …

As it turns out, that is exactly what the human survival response (sympathetic nervous system) actually does.  If fact, these very capacities are built into our normal crisis-response circuitry by design.  Without them, we would be literally maladaptive.  We would be unable to activate and rapidly deploy urgently-needed bodily resources to escape threats or pursue opportunities when the stakes are high.

The diverse ways that human beings deploy the survival response - and how this gets mistaken for 'mental illness' - is explained in the chapters that follow.

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