What Does Your Mind Think About You?

And what do you say about your mind?

Thought this was interesting.
Fresh material coming soon. XO

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My Insecurities Have Insecurities, a poem

Her name is envy, and I water her with her praise.
She depletes me of my passion with her charismatic ways.
My green-eyed goddess is introspectively corrupt.
Yet she triggers the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

My game is wilted, and I feed my own revolt.
Therapy and drugs leave me grasping in the cold.
My domestic bliss is superstitiously corrupt.
Clawing to escape the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

The shame has surfaced, and I hide from the very truth.
I don’t satisfy my convention so I pacify and soothe.
My aspiring lust for life doesn’t seem so corrupt.
Self-induced rage is the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

That blame is distended to all the other girls.
A lack of confidence wreaking havoc in my world.
My insecurities fully weighted and corrupt.
Sabotage destruction of the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

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The Selfie: A Social Trend or Mental Illness?

Selfies. Love them or hate them, they’re everywhere. Certainly if you are not taking them yourself, you know someone who is. I shamelessly confess that I, too, indulge in a good selfie on occasion. I will share some studies on the psychology behind this photographic phenomenon, as well as my views on the history of the self portrait, and this wildly explosive trend.

What is a ‘selfie’ anyway?

sel·fie: noun. A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

PUBLISHED by catsmob.com

 

This isn’t a new trend.

Take a look at some of history’s most profound artists. Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and George Harrison. What do all of these famous names have in common? They all have at least one self portrait in their collection. When I say self portrait, I refer to a piece of work featuring him/herself as the subject. Many of these I named were paintings, and some of the paintings were done before photography was even an art form.

I absolutely put to test that these early self portraits were indeed an origin of the self portrait of today. I presume these artists painted themselves while placed in front of a mirror. (I’m not an art historian, so I may be wrong.) But I do think this is where it began, and then led into the days when having a 35mm camera was a common household device, in which we utilized to take more photos of our own pretty faces. I remember being a kid and on Christmas every year my parents would dress my sister and I up in our fanciest dresses, then my dad would pose us all in front of the tree, set his 1980’s style Cannon on the mantel, and push a little timer button. We’d eagerly watch the blinking light, and then snap! The family self portrait was complete.

A few years later, when I was in high school, I remember buying those disposable cameras and my friends and I would flip the camera to face us, with our arms extended on a 45 degree angle above our heads, attempt to all line up within what we assumed was the tiny viewfinder, with the hopes nobody’s head would be cut out of the final print. Yeah those self portraits were selfies too.

What the experts say.

According to some experts, taking excessive photos of oneself can actually be a sign of mental illness. Dr David Veale, a consultant psychiatrist in cognitive behavior therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and The Priory Hospital, told The Sunday Mirror: ‘Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites.’

BDD is characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws in appearance, which are unnoticeable to others.

Dr Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Centre in Boston Massachusetts, said: ‘Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.’ ‘Preoccupation with selfies can be a visible indicator of a young person with a lack of confidence or sense of self that might make him or her a victim of other problems as well.’ She believes that excessive or provocative taking of selfies is a form of ‘acting out’ in young people and can be a cry for help.

It’s important to point out that there are two different acts being analyzed here. One, is the taking of the photo. The other is the sharing of the photo. People take and share for different reasons. This leads to another concern that is associated with the excessive posting of selfies, which is that young people may be putting too much weight on what kind of response their photo may or may not get. In today’s realm of social media, many young people base their own self value on what their followers and online community say.

Obsessive selfie takers may take 50 selfies, for instance, and then critique each of them, deleting all but one, which is the photo that gets shared on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. If this is happening all the time, then this person is shaping the image that people see of him/her.

I admit, I do this. I only post the pictures in which I approve, usually in the best light, and after I’ve utilized a filter or blemish correcting photo app. Is this problematic? Perhaps it is. Perhaps we are spoiled (drowning?) in all of the technology and options available to us on our smartphones and tablets.

Lastly, the phenomenon of “if there’s no photo, it didn’t happen”. This isn’t literal, but many people act under this pretense that if anything- or nothing- is happening, it must be documented. At what point is is too much? When is it unhealthy?

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The last thing I want to touch on is the difference between when it’s okay to take a selfie and when you should reconsider. This is just my opinion, but I really like progression photos. For example, the pregnant belly growing or the weight loss and/or exercise shots are really fun to look at. If you need a profile picture, but have no one around to take it for you, then take a selfie where you fill the frame evenly, and where your hand placement disguises the fact that it is being taken by the person in the frame. I also like the ones that are silly and fun, as long as there are not a ton of them posted.

DO NOT take selfies in the bathroom mirror, especially where you can see the toilet. I know everyone does bathroom pictures, but seriously, they are tacky. If you choose to do one anyway, then close the toilet! And finally, please don’t do the duck face. I think the duck face can fit into a condition of it’s own. It’s not attractive. At all.

I don’t foresee the selfie trend going anywhere any time soon. The more we utilize technology and social media platforms, the more the reason to pose, snap, and share.

Just for fun, check out this dance hit by The Chainsmokers:

Source: Mail Online UK

Thoughts On New Bipolar Drama, ‘Black Box’

Tonight I finally had a date with my DVR and the pilot episode of the new ABC series, ‘Black Box’.

The show is about Dr. Catherine Black, a neuroscientist who works at The Center for Neurological Research and Treatment. This world famous doctor has bipolar disorder. She hides it from some, while others can’t escape from it.

Catherine, played by Kelly Reilly, has a non-compliance issue with taking her meds, which the show made prevalent when she decided to come off of them. Her mania was triggered, and she experienced symptoms such as delusions of grandeur, hypersexuality, hallucinations, increased energy, rapid speech, and grandiosity. She ended up hurting her boyfriend/(sort of fiance), and she almost messed things up at work. The show features Vanessa Redgrave as her psychiatrist, and shows them meeting often to discuss Catherine’s mental state and returning her to stability.

My Thoughts
I really liked it! I had been obsessing about watching it for weeks before it premiered. So far, I can absolutely relate to Catherine, in terms of bipolar, and I can even say I idolized her a little bit. Yes, her actions made me think about my own non-compliance issues and I suddenly felt a desire to cut the drugs and free myself into a colorful mania of my own. I may or may not have made a comment about this, and my wife, who was watching it with me, gave me one of her famous “I don’t think so” looks. We have a deal that if I can’t stay on meds, she (and the baby) can’t stay with me. Okay, well that’s more of an ultimatum than a deal, but for the most part it works.

Anyway, I think that bipolar disorder was represented very well (except maybe the rapidness of the episode onset), and Dr. Catherine Black’s character was portrayed beautifully. I, personally, feel the symptoms are accurate and I have had most all of them myself. I think ‘Black Box’ is groundbreaking in the sense that bipolar disorder has never been seen before in this light. We have all dealt with such an incredible stigma due to our illness and this show expresses the rawness and truth of what manic and depressive episodes can be like. It is a very vulnerable and necessary place to be.

The Time My Mania Impulsively Bought A Hot Rod

I was nineteen and in the early years of my bipolar diagnosis. I was old enough to know better and young enough not to care. And I was manic. I held a part time job, went to community college, and drove a perfectly fine car for a young person. But I was bored. I was always bored. I stumbled across a photo of a bad ass hot rod in the paper, and decided I had to have it. This vehicle was a Cougar with custom leather seats, bright blue velour upholstery, custom airbrush graphics of skulls on the interior panels, under carriage lights, a chrome skull on the grill, and was lowered two inches. This tinted-window beauty was a retired show car, also the winner of over fifteen trophies, and named ‘Car of the year’ by Hot Rod Magazine. Amid the purple and blue flames on the body, was a tiny grim reaper, and beside him read the air brushed slogan “Evil shouldn’t look this good”. The name of the car was also printed on the back, “Wicked”.  I know it sounds cheesy as hell. But back in the day, it was hot.

I immediately drove the hour to Wicked’s home, and took her for a long test drive. The sound system was kickin; the breeze in my hair. I fell in love with the chrome rims and skull shaped shifter. The owner even threw in a matching lighter.

Boom. I handed him a fat wad of cash. It was everything I had won from a lawsuit the previous year, probably in savings for a reason. But who cares?  Wicked was mine!

I drove her home, feeling the biggest rush. I could sense everyone on the road looking in my direction. This car was hot. It made me hot.

When I showed my mother, whom I was sharing an apartment with at the time, she was in shock. She reminded me that I already had a car and didn’t need two. She couldn’t believe I’d spent all my money. While she made an effort to be happy for me, looking back, I can see she was uncertain it was the best idea.

I was in love with the attention I got. This was exactly what I needed to fuel my manic high. There was no other vehicle like this on the road. I was unique. And very grandiose.

I landed myself a fair share of tickets over time. It got backed into once, causing some damage. It had also been broken into on multiple occasions. The car was even stolen once, but oddly, I found it myself. While Wicked was beautiful (and the exact drug i needed), I wasn’t able to take proper care of her and ended up selling her to a drunk guy in the dark.

Have you ever made an impulsively large purchase while manic? 

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Not in the Mood for a Mood Disorder Right Now

I am losing it. I cannot focus on anything, I’m irritable, I’m restless, and my mind feels like it’s traveling in circles at super speeds. I’m disinterested in my work and I’m mean to my wife. With each moment that I try to function normally, I seem to feel worse. My moods are up and down. I really wasn’t prepared for brain chaos right now. I’m even more pissed off that I’m dealing with this altogether. I’ve been enduring a plethora of change lately, including the season changing, and I tend to experience mood swings when things change. I mentioned this in a previous post.  I should call my psychiatrist, but of course, I’m reluctant. I don’t want more medication. I realize my reluctance is a symptom. My immaturity is waiting for my wife to push me to see him. I’m ashamed of my immaturity because it highlights my lack of responsibility. I hate myself because I was so stable these past several months. I don’t know why I think I can control when things get out of whack. I understand I can only treat it. Each night I go to bed and think tomorrow it will go away, but it hasn’t yet.

Changes, Changes, Moods, & Changes

So much change going on right now. Change makes me moody. Change frustrates me. Change leaves me forgetful. Change makes things not boring. I hate change as much as I love it.

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My current whirlwind of change:

Hello Spring. That’s right, the good old change of season has bestowed us. My bipolar always switches gears when there is a seasonal change. I know I have been reacting to the warmer weather and having more mood swings than usual. I feel it and I know everyone around me feels it.

This past week I returned to work after a five month lay off.
I have a love/hate relationship with my job. Well, mostly with having a job, but yes, with my job too. As it turned out, much to my surprise, I was really good at doing the stay at home mom & housewife thing.

My wife began a new job after not working for three years. I’m really happy for her for landing a good job where her skills and degree can be utilized. It’s just so different because I’m used to her being home while I’m at work. And this was even before we had a child. While this is definitely a positive change,  the new busy lifestyle will take some getting used to. It doesn’t help that I’ve been rather moody with her lately.

I had to drop my baby off at the sitter’s for the first time. This has been really emotional for me. I especially enjoyed spending time with him over the winter, and I was so fortunate to be able to have this quality time during his first few months of life. People don’t prepare you for the emotions you go through as a parent. I miss him constantly.

My sleep schedule has been completely rearranged. Obviously having a baby in the house alters your sleep already, but having the baby with each of our work schedules, puts our mornings and nighttimes into a whole new category. I must go to bed so early now just so I can wake up early enough to take over baby duty since my wife leaves at 6:00a.m. I now take my nighttime pills around 8:30p.m. so I can be asleep no later than 9:30. I know it’s manageable, but it’s just different. And a bit challenging.

 

I don’t know exactly what steps I need to take in order to get everything under control. Maybe I can let it ride out and fall into routine. Maybe I should talk to my psychiatrist. I guess I’ll see how bad the mood swings get as time goes on. There is just so much going on that it’s hard to even focus on everything each day. Surely I’ll keep posted as I monitor my crazy self.

 

Sometimes I Get So Angry…

Oh my goodness I need to rant right now. I don’t know what it is but my wife is seriously pissing me off today. For no apparent reason. I’m trying to put this situation into perspective. She just started a brand new job last week after two years being home, while I just returned to work this week after a five month lay-off. We have a four month old baby. We’re super exhausted. And I know with the seasonal changes upon us, my bipolar tends to remind me of it’s existence. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I’m making excuses for our fighting. Maybe not. I hate feeling so angry. FRIENDS-FIGHTING

World Bipolar Day!

Today is World Bipolar Day & I want you to go on a journey in your mind to the places you’ve been, the changes you’ve made, the strengths you’ve developed, the people you’ve loved, & the person you’ve become. Take this time to nurture yourself & celebrate you. You are beautiful!

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So Very Vivid is the Art of Bipolar Dreaming

I felt her embrace, her breath. Her words were crystal clear. She said “Please stay. You can’t go”. And she held me tighter. And I did stay. It was a mind-blowing, surreal night. And it was with another woman. She was radiant. Magnetic. And I didn’t have a care in the world. Mostly because it wasn’t real. It was all a figment of my tortured imagination. And the female is simply a musician (who I will probably never meet) whom I happen to have a crush. When I dream a dream, I go all the way to produce the most vivid dreams I can, even if that means removing normal elements -such as the fact that I’m married- from the situation. If I’m lucky, I am able to remember the dream in the morning, which often then lingers in my thoughts for the duration of my day.

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Dreams are so interesting because it’s been known that most everybody has them, yet there is no solid reason why. Several interpretation theories have surfaced throughout time, and some commonalities have been determined. While everyone has dreams, some of us have much more vivid dreams than others. There are links between vivid dreams and mental illness, including bipolar disorder.

One reason is dreams and nightmares occur during REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep. In normal sleepers, there is more deep sleep at first, and then as the hours pass, periods of REM sleep become longer. This general pattern, however, can be distorted or disrupted by any one of a number of sleep disorders or disturbances, many of which have been shown to be associated with bipolar disorder. (bipolar.about.com)

The most common sleep disorders include insomnia and hypersomnia. Other factors that disturb your sleep include medical conditions, antipsychotics or antidepressants, other over the counter medications and prescriptions, environmental factors, stress, and your sleep schedule.

Vivid vs. Average Dreams

For the most part, everybody has dreams. The majority of dreams are forgotten by morning, and those remembered are usually in fragments. About 80% of dreams are in color, but some are in black and white. Vivid dreams are like a typical dream on steroids. Basically it is so incredibly lifelike that upon waking, it is difficult to distinguish the difference between the dream and reality. It is easier to recall vivid dreams, as they leave such an imprint on the dreamer’s mind. I know I can recall each sensory detail of my most vivid dreams.

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Lucid Dreams and Nightmares

Lucid dreaming is an unusual state of consciousness where you are having a vivid dream, but you are aware that you are dreaming. This allows the dreamer the choice to exit or remain in the dream. Sometimes lucid dreams can be confusing and the dreamer may believe items or people in the room are in fact something other than what they are. This can be entertaining to the dreamer, as well as potentially embarrassing. For instance, had I acted out my steamy dream from last night, my wife would have probably wondered what was up!

Lucid nightmares are exactly like lucid dreams, except they are terrifying. What’s worse is the dreamer knows they are dreaming, but are struggling to wake up. Often feelings of being trapped or being attacked are common.

Sex It Up

According to a recent study at the University of Montreal, sex dreams make up about 8 percent of all dreams for both men and women. (Me!)  Society’s openness regarding sex, coupled with our growing interest in understanding dream content has taught us that, according to most theorists, sex dreams are rarely about sex at all – no matter how hot they might be. It is believed that the mind is hungry for the kind of psychological union represented as a physical union in the dreaming mind. I say this is an interesting theory, but I’m pretty sure many of my dreams are merely about getting down and fucking dirty!

Sleep Plays a Role

Sure, us folks with bipolar have more intense (& sexier) dreams (sorry- I’m still reliving last night!), but there are some things to keep in mind. Sleep is affected by many factors that need to be controlled. Getting quality sleep also helps regulate moods and prevent episodes. These suggestions are a challenge and I admit I struggle to follow them, but they are ideal goals and can be really beneficial.

  • Go to bed & wake up at the same time each day
  • Take meds as directed
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol 3-5 hours before bed
  • Refrain from computer, TV, or phone screen use
  • Read or meditate to wind down
  • Establish a routine for evening and morning

If you get some good, quality slumber tonight, then I wish you all some intense vivid dreaming! It’s also fun to write your dreams down in a journal to preserve the absurdity. Feel free to leave comments on this or share your dream experiences!