If you need immediate help, because you are experiencing problems with your mental illness, and want to talk to someone, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I can provide some support, free of charge, and I am also in touch with two psychologists and one psychiatrist who help me to help others.
BIN links to other webpages http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/bin-bipolar-intelligence-links-page-to-other-web-pages/
About my book which will be out early next year http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/my-lifes-journey-with-bipolar-ii-disorder/
In preparation for good things to come…early next year I will create a website that looks at mental disorders from a different and much needed perspective. The message will be one of hope. If the situation was truly hopeless, for sufferers like me with bipolar II, I would not be writing this. Having achieved a lifestyle of contentment and meaning that is no longer affected by the moods and symptoms of bipolar, I can say that it is possible to live a good and fulfilling life with a mental disorder, but only if we look after ourselves in the right way http://bobswriting.com/psych/gathercole.html
This website will be all about building up knowledge and emotional strength and about learning adequate skills that can empower us to recognize symptoms and runaway emotions so that we can do something constructive in time, before the situation becomes troublesome.
This below is a first draft from psychologist Dr. Bob Rich, a good friend and mentor.
Although we have never met, Alfredo and I have been friends and colleagues for many years. He continually tries to make me into a guru, but I see us as equal partners. I have the perspective of scientific training in psychology, and 22 years of experience as a psychotherapist. Also, I have defeated my personal monster: depression.
Alfredo experiences bipolar disorder, and has also taken the trouble to build up extensive expertise on research, therapy and subjective experience relating to this style of psychological functioning. He has been a help and resource to literally thousands of people with bipolar and other so-called psychiatric disorders, and has made a huge difference in many lives.
He is also an advocate for sufferers labelled with diagnostic categories in general, and a strong fighter against the stigma prevalent against them.
Over the years, we have arrived at a theory of the nature and causation of “mental disorders.” While we don’t have the resources to do formal research, we have found a great many published papers that support our view, and Alfredo has used his extensive correspondence with sufferers, supplemented by a few surveys, to test its validity.
The best way to start is to read a paper on the nature of depression by Michael Gathercole, reproduced with permission at my web site <http://bobswriting.com/psych/gathercole.html>. We have extended Michael’s model to all psychiatric categories.
Briefly, all psychological suffering has complex, multiple causation:
1. Everyone’s genetic makeup has strengths and weaknesses. However, heredity is not doom, but a potential. I will probably never experience hallucinations, but my genes predispose me to low mood. If I’d had a perfect upbringing, and a life just right for me, I would never have developed depression, but could still pass the genetic predisposition on to my children.
2. From conception on, we are in an environment. This means hormones passed through the placenta, how we are handled as infants, toddlers, children and teenagers, and the models older people in our world provide for us. My main carers when I was young also reacted to environmental stresses with depression, and without knowing it I copied them.
In most cases, the influences of childhood environment reinforce the genetic weakness. When it doesn’t, the hereditary tendency may never actualise.
3. There is also resilience: the ability to recover from stressful events. In exactly the same way, it is determined by an interaction of heredity and environment. Resilience is a long term style of coping, but varies according to current circumstances.
4. When the current situation imposes significantly more stress than the person can cope with, given the current level of resilience, there will be a collapse. Everyone has a breaking point. If I get pushed too far, I’ll get depressed. Another person may resort to addictions, another may experience overwhelming anxiety, a third may become murderously aggressive. The actual pattern of reaction is determined by the hereditary-environmental interaction I described.
5. Some kinds of reaction seem to cause a permanent change in functioning. A man may be fine, without any mental health problems, until at 32 years of age he is overwhelmed by events, such as his wife walking out on him. After that, he will “have bipolar disorder.” Others appear to be reversible.
This means that diagnosing psychiatric disorders is at best of limited use. A person exhibiting the relevant pattern is reacting to stress that is too much to bear. While, to some extent, differential “treatment” is helpful, almost all the effects of psychotherapy are due to “common factors.” Therapeutic approaches based on very different theories work to about the same extent. Therapy is magic; performed by the client, with the therapist’s loving, non-judgmental guidance.
The trouble with our view is that if it were widely accepted, it would seriously compromise the profits of Big Pharma. But that’s all right — apply the logic to your life, and let the shareholders suffer.
Some final notes from Alfredo:
The reader will find this website on Bipolar Disorder very different from many others. Here, I focus on the positive characteristics of the bipolar personality, which I think need to be highlighted. From my perspective, bipolar disorder is not an illness and I am calling it a disorder just to describe parts of it, such as the fact that there are symptoms and moods which can be troublesome, but which can be controlled. How can they be controlled? This is what this website is about, for the most part. It is in construction, so that readers can ask questions if they wish.
Bipolar Disorder is a unique personality that emerges out of many forces: evolutionary, environmental, biological and psychological. The most troublesome of these forces is the psychological, influenced by the ideology of our Western world. According to our ideology, Bipolar is an unwanted illness that causes much trouble. What I find interesting is that in some Shaman societies, mental disorders were a desirable thing and, in some instances, people who had a mental disorder were often regarded to be gifted.
On this website I will not try to water down the terrible symptoms and moods associated with bipolar, nor the fact that untreated bipolar can costs lives and negatively affect the lives of family members. What I will do is to say and demonstrate that bipolar disorder can be controlled well with knowledge, support and commitment to want to live a good life. If you are a person who is serious about learning to cope well with the disorder, then this is the right website for you.
Bipolar disorder is quite often associated with great creativity, sensitivity and superior intelligence (and to remember that intelligence is not limited to one area, but many: musical and artistic intelligence, mathematical intelligence, verbal intelligence, emotional intelligence and various other types of intelligence).
On this website, we will discuss many research papers. We will look at the biographical life of successful people who have suffered, and some who still suffer, with bipolar disorder; we will discuss bipolar from an experience perspective and we will focus on a lot of positive qualities associated with bipolar disorder.
My message is one of hope. Bipolar Disorder is not just a problem; it is also a gift.
LINKS on bipolar intelligence:
Intelligence linked to Bipolar Disorder http://psychcentral.com/lib/intelligence-linked-to-bipolar-disorder/0005518
Intelligence, creativity and mania http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-psychology/201206/intelligence-creativity-and-mania
Is there a link between intelligence and mental illness? http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/link-between-intelligence-and-mental-illness1.htm
Is bipolar disorder more common in highly intelligent people? http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/02/is-bipolar-disorder-more-common-in-highly-intelligent-people.html
McMan’s critique of the DSM-5 http://www.mcmanweb.com/DSM-5.html
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