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Random psych thoughts [Feb. 16th, 2009|07:58 pm]
It seems to me like there might someday be a different set of ways of describing mental illness, and one of the things I've been thinking of is types of symptoms.

e.g.: sometimes, my brain is pressured. Thoughts jumping all too and fro. It's hard to rein them in and do what I want to do with them.

Sometimes, it's stagnant... not enough pressure. Nothing flows without forcing it.

And sometimes, it's grounded - no excess energy that I'm not using, no heavy pushing to make the thoughts move.

That's one dimension, and, obviously, it's a moving target, so don't think I'm imagining it's any magic bullet, but I think it's something that could become a useful tool to describe a type of bothersome state or set of states.

Another dimension is something like "realistic positivity/negativity".

Some days, I can think of something bad about myself, and it just fits. And I can say it's not true (assuming it's not), and I can acknowledge that it's not true, but that's all it is. It's like saying "lemons are sour" if you don't know what a lemon tastes like, but do know it from reading descriptions.

It's also possible to suffer from unrealistic positivity, to think that you're totally ruling at the poker table a few hands before you (re)learn the old rule about suckers ("there's always a sucker at every poker table. If you don't know who it is after a few hands, it's you. Leave. Now[1].")

I think there's some subtleties here, of course. A person who keeps playing roulette thinking s/he's going to win back some money could be unrealistically positive, or could be desperate.

(Which brings up another set of issues. I think there are also thinking fallacies that a person might need to unlearn, but I think these are different from these two dimensions I described. They might be influenced by them, though.)

Anyway... this has been your daily dose of hypothetical psychobabble.

[1] Yes, even if you're ahead. Do the words "buildup winnings" mean anything to you? No? Really? You've never heard them before? Wanna play poker? I have to warn you, I'm not very good....[2]

[2] Of course I'm not going to shark[3] anyone. I'm not good enough, even if I would. But it's still a good joke.

[3] Using Google, I only see "unusually skilled" as a definition of "shark" Doesn't "shark" refer, specifically, to someone who hides their ability, until they sucker someone into betting big against them? Or am I misremembering the term?

[User Picture]From: pagawne
2009-02-17 04:16 pm (UTC)
No, you had the term right. :}
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[User Picture]From: anansi133
2009-02-17 08:18 pm (UTC)
Funny, that sopunds an awful lot like some ideas I've been playing with.

In this case, it's the association between bipolar disorder, and unusual intelligence.

It's tricky to draw connections, I know, and plenty of people are highly intelligent without being bipolar. But...

What if people with above average intelligence could be shown to be more susceptable to certain mental illnesses? And what would it look like, if the reason for this, was their being forced to use language designed for people not as smart as they were?

We all know what it's like to talk to an adult who spends most of their time around kids. Even if their ideas are complex, they still talk simply, with a slower pace and simpler diction.

If that were the way *everybody* was forced to talk, if the very idea of more adult conversation were tantamount to terrorism... All those extra FLOPS running in our heads could turn out to be a liability instead of an asset.

Specifically with the bipolar condition, we're encouraged to say that something is out of whack with the emotions. Certain drugs work, no one knows why, and that's considered good enough.

But what if... Unlike those feedback systems that involve the major glands, systems that regulate our mood were largely involved with our cognitive process? Being inappropriately happy or sad begins to look like 'seeking' behavior in simpler cybernetic systems.

The upshot of all this would be- just like Kafka suggests- mental illness is less of a medical diagnosis, and more a political one.
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