Tag Archives: mania

Your Brain on Bipolar

Well I’ve been tiptoeing around the web trying to find out what’s going on in the world of Mood Research and it’s made my brain ache a bit.  So many diagrams, so many long words.  Anyway, I’ve picked out a few choice things (that I vaguely understood)  to share with you.

Here goes…

It has been suggested that the manic-depressive episodes of bipolar disorder are the result of a kind of evolutionary  ‘feedback loop’ gone awry eg.  our successes generate confidence and failures a lack thereof.  This feedback loop misfires in bipolar disorder and creates an exaggerated perception of success/failure leading to an unbalanced sense of confidence (‘of course I can build a flying machine,  just one more empty washing up liquid bottle and we’re airborne!’) or inadequacy (‘ I failed to create a flying machine because I am a worthless mess of a human & will never know love’)  But, this doesn’t really explain why the feedback is all wonky in the first place, which is kind of what I want to know.

Research points to a genetic factor, according to The Black Dog Institute, having a  parent with BAD gives you a 10% chance of developing the disorder, rising to 40% if both of your parents have it.   It kind of goes without saying that stressful life events play a role in triggering symptoms of the disorder, but you can’t blame them for ‘causing’ it…and you’d need to have a word with your pineal gland and a whole raft of neurotransmitters to find out what on earth they are doing to make your moods bounce around so much.  Nobody’s worked out how to communicate with the little critters as yet.

Brain imaging though, seems to be making progress into picking out the general areas of the brain that are doing odd things in patients with bipolar disorder.  According to Psycheducation

Evidence is growing quite strong that a region of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex is underactive in people with bipolar disorder even when they are having no symptoms at all.

My basic understanding is that this underactive cortex wotsit is linked to decision-making and multi-tasking eg. difficulties with.  Makes sense.  And…this part of the brain has been shown to be more active in those taking mood medications.  Which implies correlation at least.

BipolarMedicatedStroop

I’m still pretty sure my brain looks like this

My brain.  The Platypus situation needs some explanation.  Another time I promise.

but I can’t prove anything.  Yet.

Anyway, my next little wander round the net is going to involve Ketamine.  Reading about, not taking (the internet doesn’t need Ketamine.  It’s weird enough.  As am I)  Apparently it’s being trialled as a treatment…interesting…

Peace x

How well is too well… how can I tell? (and when will I be able to resist pointless rhymes and rhetorical questions?)

Of course my writing's straight - you're just looking at it from the wrong angle...

Of course my writing’s straight – you’re just looking at it from the wrong angle…

Today I walked five miles.  I did this because I was too full to go to the gym after a roast potato- heavy carvery lunch.  I also needed to collect a parcel from the local royal mail delivery office (Rock n’ roll times)  which isn’t that local when you’re drunk on food and wearing inappropriate footwear.

It was nice to be out in the sunshine though, with my brain ticking over other rock n’ roll stuff like Did I remember  put the washing on? Do I need to buy milk? When did I get a hole in my boot?  That sort of thing.  Delightfully and boringly normal.  I say delightfully because sometimes a dark spell can flip right over into an upswing that just keeps on going…well, up, which is nice…but only to begin with.

Anyway, thinking about feeling normal reminded me of an old doodle, so I thought I’d share it with you.  I stole the general idea from somewhere but I can’t remember where.  Oops. It also reminded me that I should probably make more effort to record my moods.  I used to use moodpanda.com but there’s a whole range of apps out there which the more technologically minded will already have downloaded and discarded for something newer.   Calling a mood tracker ‘Happiness’ is probably a bit presumptuous though.  Just sayin’.