Comments by Chris Cole

Showing 23 of 23 comments.

  • Bipolar v. Disorder summary:

    The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder is merely a set of symptoms; hopefully we agree on that. I am saying that these symptoms do not exist in pathology of the individual, but rather exist between an individual and systems. Thus, I am bipolar, in the sense that I am capable of producing such symptoms, in systems, in situations, in which others do not share my experiences. The extent to which people experience arousal, dissociation, agitation, elation, madness, etc.—in similar conditions—is an expression of diversity, driven by the demands of the conditions.

    Report comment

  • @rasselas.redux

    This is an important commentary, which I hold with great care.

    I live in the US, where we call each other Black and white, which is a division along class and racial lines designed to terrorize, abuse, and neglect darker-colored bodies, not to mention divide white folks against their own hearts. This reality does not stop race or class from existing, and in fact, those who would deny their whiteness perpetuate the oppression.

    So I’m going to fantasize of a day when bipolar folks openly reference the connection between Nazis and psychiatry, but until folks are able to think and speak freely about such issues, this comment and ones like it are going to float around in the ethers of alternative facts.

    Maybe I’m hopelessly romantic, but if we stopped in-fighting, we might have a movement on our hands. I keep writing love letters in as many languages as possible. Schizoeffective sounds good to me—how effective is the great chasm between cognition and empathy working out for us?

    Report comment

  • RE: what is a bipolar body?

    Quoting the original writing—which I’m starting to suspect you haven’t read:

    “When I say, ‘I’m bipolar,’ I’m acknowledging that there is something different about me neurologically that makes me more sensitive to emotional, sensory, and energetic shifts. I wholeheartedly feel that I can be bipolar, as a distinction from psychiatric disorder or illness. The discomfort of painful symptoms exists in the relationship between my neurodivergent body and a society which marginalizes difference. My disability exists primarily between bodies, in the crowded spaces of ignorance and intolerance.”

    In a more fundamental way, the Cartesian split, or mind-body dualism, is implicated in my use of the term, “bipolar body.”

    Report comment

  • I do see bipolar that way, and the negative or positive experience of being bipolar is confluent with the systems in which a bipolar body is living.

    So let’s take GABA for example. How much or how little GABA is being metabolized is not a problem until a person is requiring GABA in addition or subtraction. Such a need is due to the demands of their life. The body is not demanding I work a 40 hour week. The body is demanding that I remove the discomfort of the consequences of not working 40 hour weeks. Make sense?

    I think I need more GABA to stay in this discussion. So (1) I can leave the discussion, or (2) I can produce more GABA, or (3) I can suffer the neurological discomfort of staying in this discussion without producing more GABA. If I choose the third option, because I love you or I have some other need that feels equally important, then I might suffer severe symptoms and need aggressive treatment. This is where we get into neurological dissonance between conflicting demands, whether real or perceived.

    How’s that?

    Report comment

  • oldhead, I’m happy to hear about the mental patients liberation movement… for the first time. I don’t mean to be snarky, but you’re proving my point.

    Part of being in a bipolar body, I’ve noticed, is that I attune more easily to other nervous systems. Your words read like a loud gong to my right ear, with pink words of synesthesia flashing across the sky, screaming, “I love you.”

    Report comment

  • oldhead, who is hostile?
    Hurt people hurt people, methinks.
    Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, methinks.

    Bipolar, as a neurological constitution, is not pathology—is not mental illness—so you are arguing with yourself. Thus the invitation for reappropriation.

    To substitute your word, “human,” we could say “human disorder.”
    The absence of “disorder” would then be “human.”
    We wouldn’t say “human disorder in partial remission.”
    So when we remove “disorder” from “bipolar disorder,” we are left with “bipolar.”

    My point is that neurological diversity is part of diverse human expression, just as human sexuality has diverse expressions. Diversity need not be pathologized, even in the cases of extreme discomfort. For example, a trans person might receive psychotherapy for painful symptoms, but those symptoms are not inherent to the person. Those symptoms are the result of coming up against hegemony.

    Report comment

  • Of course this rings true, but transcending dichotomies, dualities, and binaries can be quite challenging when the whole world is set up this way—constant induction into polarities. I’m not cool with requiring enlightenment for folks to be treated more humanely.

    We can tell the newly-minted bipolar folks, “You can either die an actual death or die an egoic death in order to get out of this thing alive—better not get it mixed up.” I’d like to see more choices than that.

    Report comment

  • I’m noticing a lot of “N-word” connections.
    I’m also noticing a connection between abandoning oppression and whiteness.
    My ancestors sold their slaves and moved to Texas, tried to wash their hands of it all.
    Whiteness manifests like this—delusions of just taking care of our own, not making connections to the supposed other, not seeing the ramifications of our recapitulations.
    Perhaps we fantasize about washing our hands completely of psychiatry, no mind the psychiatrized.
    What a seductive privilege it is to abandon labels and systems.
    Don’t tell me bipolar isn’t real—I have the scars to prove it.

    Report comment

  • I really sat and felt into the pain of this.
    Your comments have impacted me.
    Surely the pen has been sharpened by your criticisms.
    Thank you for offering your time and insight.

    As far as the language, I’ll take every label—every single one—knowing that we will find each other that way. Don’t take any away from me. That’s my choice. You choose for yourself.

    Wouldn’t that be nice… choice.

    Report comment

  • RE: “You are not bipolar, you are human.”
    This is empty commentary. You are not you, you are human.
    Perhaps we should just stop using language entirely, because you are not speaking. You are not writing. You are not typing. No, you are just having neurological experience, which is just a perceptual experience, which is only illusory. In fact, you are not human, because you don’t exist. I get the regression-transcendence rabbit hole, or is it a black hole? Either way, it’s just not my cup of tea.

    Report comment

  • Something that’s coming up by reading the comments is that the psyche is bipolar.

    Michael Washburn (1995), the great transpersonal theorist, proposed two poles of the bipolar psyche to be (1) ego and (2) nonego. He saw Freud as having a bipolar model of the psyche as well: (1) id and (2) ego/superego. He saw Jung’s bipolar structure as (1) ego and (2) collective unconscious.

    I’d be happy to go as far as to say the Buddha used (1) samsara and (2) nirvana, and that Christ used (1) earth and (2) heaven. Maybe that’s why mad folks think they’re prophets and saviors… because we’re just following the maps.

    If you know you’re bipolar, you are conscious of something to which others are oblivious. If you don’t know you’re bipolar, it’s because you have been indoctrinated into the use of such a word as mere pathology. We live in a bipolar universe, in bipolar bodies, with bipolar psyches, using bipolar neurology and bipolar chemical processes along spectrums of experience.

    So if you are experiencing the insanity, the utter chaos and confusion, the dis-order, of being bipolar in a sea of stagnation, welcome to the club. What joy to know the nature of this precious human birth. The alternative might mean that you spend your life at war, for having had your body turned into a battlefield. I won’t blame you for it, but I will continue inviting another way.

    Washburn, M. (1995). The ego and the dynamic ground: A transpersonal theory of human development (2nd ed.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    Report comment

  • Thank you for your precision, Richard. I welcome such critical analyses because it helps me be more precise in my language and my own personal sentiments.

    I appreciate your line, “seeing the actual oppressive forms of trauma and inequality inherent in a class based capitalist society.” Oppression, trauma, and inequality are neurological domains for good reason, because the brain develops, delays, and deteriorates in the presence or absence of social engagement, to various degrees based on individual constitutions. Diverse responses to oppression, trauma, and inequality then put us into neurodiversity domains.

    How’s that? We might come down to opinions here, which is certainly welcome too.

    Mad Respect, Chris

    Report comment