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    the open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair

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  1. Most of what we know isn't codifiable. Can't be put in words, and it's mighty hard to teach others. This even includes manual skills, etc. Coping with bipolar is something one learns. You seem to have had a lot of insight during this last episode/storyline; you've probably learned things you're not even aware of exactly. What does it take to walk a tightrope? Best of luck.
  2. I dreamt tonight of the old me. Woke up in a real blues, had breakfast with my wife but am back to bed in a kind of depressed stupor. I think it's going to lift in an hour or so. But to the topic. The old me was fierce, hypercritical, expected my friends to expect the most of me and not hold punches otherwise and I was the same. I spoke very fast and very articulately. (Now I slur my syllables somewhat.) I was extremely rationalistic. Overall really sharp, if that makes sense. A decade-plus of meds changed my whole personality. I'm mellower, happier overall, more sexual. But I'm also prone to valuing irrational, from-the-guts thinking, and magic thinking to some extent. I bluff about my productivity at work but come through 98% of times. Old me would have anxiety doing this, wouldn't trust his general tendency for getting things done once he hunkers down and powers through. In some ways I think the world was deprived of something. I'm happy, mellow, my wife and workmates can depend on me. But I also have lost a kind of ambition. I'm happy doing maths on my whiteboard at home, I don't need to get to something that people would find valuable in a research paper. So with my music, my robots, my writing. It's like there's a reality show vibe to my life. Not because people are watching, on the contrary, but because a reality show is time-bounded and I feel like I'm living as if I'm time-bounded. I'm going to die anywhere between 65 and 80 anyway. Why not just enjoy life while I can. Old me was immortal.
  3. I've been an overall compliant patient for these past 15 years -- never overindulging alcohol, smoking, eating well, trying to sleep well. But one thing I haven't done -- something that comes up in standard advice sheet and AFAIK is well validated by research -- is exercise. Exercise is boring. Jogging is boring, swimming is boring, cardio is boring and I'd rather have the 40-60 minutes I'd waste otherwise. My wife tries to encourage me to do anything. But hey, I'm living the life of the mind. Who can be bothered. Well, in the past ten days I've discovered strength training. What, like bodybuilders? Sort of. By now I'm resigned that if I keep doing this kind of exercise I might get (small, but) noticeable changes in my body and people will tease me about it. But it's great. You can do a serious workout in like 10 minutes time. There's a number of exercises that use only the weight of your body so you don't have to be a gym rat. Push-ups, burpees, ab crunches... I'm very sensitive to the effects of endorphin. If I can be bothered to run for a while with my wife, the high can be seriously euphoric and destabilizing. But this doesn't give me the euphoria. I think I'm mildly satisfied for the rest of the day, but not in an unbalanced way. If you pick up an exercise schedule online (one rep is this + this+ this + that, do that as many times as you can take it), it can be a test of your will that gives you a sense of accomplishment that's hard to find in any other area (work, hobbies, etc.) It's interesting in almost a spiritual sense to "feel your body", inhabit it, if you've always been a head-in-the-clouds type. There's a dharma of push-ups to be discovered by someone. I guess you can start easy if you're depressed (hell, two push-ups is something). This is a guess. In retrospect I was nursing a (mild in intensity but) nasty mixed state, antagonizing people, picking up quarrels with my wife. I think this has been helping me sink a kind of angry pedantic energy. Only now I realize the bad vibes seem to have lifted. There's mixed (as for the relative benefits of strength vs cardio) but abundant evidence on the effectiveness of this stuff for bipolar folk, if you google something appropriate. But this is my anecdote. Maybe there's other people who don't exercise because fuck jogging for half an hour. This could be a good choice.
  4. I used to be able to shake off the beginning of depression or spin up (irresponsibly) into euphoria by deliberate sleep deprivation. Now yielding too much and enjoying a few late late nights (from decreased sleep need from a minor episode) makes me feel very very tired. First physically -- my poor legs -- and then in that kind of emotional intelligence you need to prioritize your own tasks? Maybe I'm getting old, or it's the decade plus of lithium doing something to me. (I get regular blood panels and my thyroid is okay. Everyone asks about my thyroid). I'm immensely more satisfied with life in general, but in times like this I feel a little like having had my wings clipped. A feeling of having lost something.
  5. Loose advice: the little things do count. Sleeping and waking and eating at the same times. Getting sexual intimacy with the same partner. I’m not a good record keeper but I find I even have to regulate more or less my exposure to the sun. Recently a string of cloudy days was kicking my ass and when the sun came back I gave in and took a couple of sunbaths (this is at home, we get sunlight well into our apartment in winter despite being in a dense urban area and looking at buildings in all directions with no view). Third day, it threw me off. I picked up fights online in places you’re not supposed to pick up fights. I theoretically haven’t had any relapse in maybe a decade, but still get “subclinical” episodes from tiny triggers. Mind the tiny triggers.
  6. I used to have formal thought disorders. Clanging, loss of goal, alliteration (literally sentences sorted out of me saliently superrepresenting .. I don't have it anymore). I had mild visual... something. Pareidolia where I thought random people looked a lot like famous people (but not that they were famous people; I just saw too many patterns and similarities no one else saw). At the height of these symptoms, written sentences seemed to have like... visual contours that were somehow meaningful in ways I can't explain. Some innocuous sentences made me sick like I wanted to vomit, I had to rewrite them. Changing fonts changed this synesthesia-like relationship with witten texts. Today, I've been an asshole in various internet forums, including the bug issue board for a big project on Github. I've already requested my HN account be deleted and made my code repositories private and going under the radar for a while. I'm feeling just a little out of control in that respect. What's great about my variant is that I've always had a lot of insight, even when I was seeing geometric patterns vibrate, seeing similarities between people and finding that sentences that make me want to vomit in one font are fine in another and vice versa. Like when I've felt attractive women are suddenly obsessed with me and flirting shamelessly, I've had the good sense to know this is the madness speaking. The thought disorders made it "mania". Without thought disorders and just being too fast and somewhat insensitive, it's hypomania. If I ever feel again that the fungus in my feet have something to do with a breakthrough in substructural logic, I'll chalk it to "mild mania" even if I can hold myself back from emailing prominent logicians again.My personal "philosophical" writing has actually cleared up a lot, but I knd of feel that it's at the expense of a brilliance I couldn't express well. But this is rational even with delusions of grandeur: hypomania. If my teeth start playing music: mania.
  7. This will sound like a platitude, but I've been seeing way too many people -- probably most people -- going "off the rails" and overeacting (or reacting in a "knee-jerk", under-thought manner) to world and national news events. I mean the non-clinical population at large. It's like the news format has never been better at being inflammatory, Twitter and Facebook and even LinkedIn amplify the importance and emotional impact of things... I've fully switched off the news six months ago. Whenever I catch a glimpse of it, it makes me somewhat angry. The news is shouty and has full saturated colors and all anchors now seem to be emulating that guy from the film "Network" saying "I want you to get mad grrr". If bipolar folks didn't get this (and probably even more strongly), we'd be en route to major breakthroughs in the basic science of mental illness. By which I mean -- if this isn't healthy for people who don't need meds, it can't be healthy for us. Not just news TV, but this whole environment where we're latching on the most important things ever to happen and we travel in ultimate certitude in light of which the other guys are the worst, grrr. At this juncture I think everyone would do better to avoid political fights with friends and family. I'm not a medical doctor, this is a kind of speculative sociological generality. But maybe we should be extra careful not to get inflamed with this zeitgeist of absolute certainties.
  8. It's been a long time since I made this thread. I think I only come to the board when I'm spinning too fast and already flooded Twitter and Hacker News and all that. I don't take the Klonopin for sleep, I take it as a "marginal adjustment" (so I can increase it a bit if I'm spinning too fast or decrease/stop it if I'm going low). It sounds crazy, but I'm on big-people meds too, and I've seriously curbed depressive turns by reducing my Klonopin a .25mg and vice-versa. I've also gone long periods without. This isn't exactly standard on-label but it's not unheard of either. I'm not saying I'm Superman but I have pretty good insight. My wife also helps noticing early signs (talkative, hypersexual, stopped wearing socks...) I usually take my meds when I'm about to fall asleep. The meds don't make me sleepy. But if I take the meds and I'm unexpectedly insomniac, the behavioral disinhibition stuff in the Klonopin hits.
  9. I had some variant of this when I was single. Like having all these threads -- I'm going to be a DJ and make robots and collect Russian film cameras and buy boxes of *prime* slide stock so I can xpro... Getting married did me a lot of good. Even if you're in a good place where you don't have to explain yourself, having someone around who lives at constant speed and makes you slow down and explain "yeah, I've got this pile of textbooks on orbital mechanics because...."
  10. I'm bipolar type X. NOS-ish but sort of 1.5 -- higher hypomanias and little depression, but also (in the ever-more distant past) mixed states. I've been taking nightly medications for over a decade now. Lamictal + Lithium + small dose Klonopin. These are usually enough to put me out (also because I'm usually tired at night). But when they don't I get in a state of "drunkness" that's somewhat disconcerting. Makes me talkative and impulsive. I once told my (decade-plus) wife I had a half crush on a coworker. Another time I shot off an email to said coworker to the tune of "just because I have a crush on you doesn't give you the right to half-ass your work and drop it on me". God only knows how I haven't been both dumped by wife and fired for harassment at work. Wife is now asleep and she's been having issues with too-light sleep so I'm making my best to not make noises that will wake her up but also deal with this volcano of directionless aimless impulsiveness and heightened feeling. I can't go and write a screenplay, my cognition is impaired. Can't go to sleep either, my head's on fire.
  11. Yes. Whether it's likely for you depends on a thousand factors -- genetics, life history, treatment, lifestyle yadda yadda yadda. It's significantly more difficult if you're homeless, for example. (My heart bleeds out for homeless folk who are obviously crazy). And this you've heard a thousand times. You have to bear in mind that forums like this, support groups, etc. dis-proportionally draw in people who are experience difficulties, whether bad treatment options and shitty pdocs, breakout episodes, adverse life situations... There's significantly less reason for people who are doing fine in life to invest time and emotional energy in support groups. More likely than not they even prefer to forget about this whole madness thing and just take their meds and live as best as they can. (This is not to diminish people who do experience difficulties. It's a curtain-covered doorframe, not a steel door, between doing great in life and getting in trouble because of MI/craziness/madness/demonic possession. But the upshot it's that it's much harder to see the folks doing ok if you're not, and vice-versa.)
  12. I oscillated a lot between "I am"/" I have" until some of my symptoms went into significant remission. This remission was basically due to persisting with lithium over many many many years. It's not a common story in the forums, but my pdocs have seen it before me. I'm still on meds, for life. Anyway, my NOS-type BP had a significant seasonal pattern that has been flattening and flattening. I still get occasional hypomanic "breaks" that left unattended quickly spiral out. But last year I was feeling like crap and approximately due for my regularly scheduled autumn depression. But it was low intensity; I told my wife "I'm not sure if I'm depressed or if I'm coming down with a bad flu." At that moment I realized I have bipolar. [Hypo]manic and depressive episodes are things that happen to me. -- I'm not a fundamentally overconfident or melancholic person. YMMV, of course.
  13. I got my first job in my mid-to-late 20s after a long period of switching majors and dropping in and out of graduate school. I'm convinced work was a very important piece of the puzzle of getting my shit together (and not an outcome of it). I've been finding work less meaningful in my late 30s now and considering maybe trying to jump to something higher status (but also pondering that it would be much more stressful since I'd have to learn so much of "soft skills" on the fly)/more impactful/influential. But even now it feels that to not have a job and just coast on lottery money or whatever would be seriously destabilizing. There are people who are unable to work, of course -- which is unfortunate like not being able to walk is unfortunate, long walks are soothing. But this general tune of "why are bipolar folk forced to work if it's so hard for them" to disagree with my life experiences. Find a job (or start a company but not in a delusional startup-to-eat-the-world manner) if you're able to work. Work is a huge part of what makes us human.
  14. There's the issue of burnout. Burnout isn't bipolar, but from the models I've seen (overwork + lack of control + lack of impact) it's possible that it accelerates it even if there are no physiological comorbidities (and maybe there are). I've been telling everyone in their late-30s and early-40s to get informed about burnout.
  15. There's Capgras delusion, where you feel like a loved one has been replaced by an impostor. Not your case, I know. But these delusions (there's also the one where your limbs have been swapped) are oddities and mysteries, and quite specific. It's possible that there is such a known mental disorder where someone has lost a baby, but I've never heard of it, and you've done your research too. I've been reading enough Lacan to the point of risking harm by armchair psychoanalyzing people with theories that are known to be basically made up. That said, there is the concept of the "quilting point" -- the button or knot or whatever in knitwork that arrests the free motion of the thread and makes a fixed point. In Lacanian psychoanalysis (you may as well read "in astrology" from here on) the thread is the "signifying chain" by which everything basically refers to everything else. The quilting point is a fixed thing that guarantees a stable meaning in an otherwise ever-shifting web of symbolic relationships with people. To oversimplify, it would seem that the dead baby is something you can actually count on. The horrible truth about the universe is that everything changes and you can't dive twice into the same river etc. But just to say this in a philosophical manner doesn't fix the fact that it hurts and we have a great need for something guaranteed and fixed. Someone else's "dead baby" might be their college football team that they can't leave behind long after they graduate. That's your horoscope for today. I don't know what advice to give except take your lithium now and forever even if you knew that stopping it would bring order to the universe and destroy Thanos or whatever. I hope your situation improves somehow.
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