a fairly brainy bipolar linkdump longdrop

Brace yourselves, this is a linkful and linktense linkdump.

Yes, I read everything. No, it’s not my entire life. I read ridiculously fast, it’s a family thing. And I’m one of those people who feels they have to inflict their latest discoveries on everyone around them. You’re welcome.

From an illustrated guide to bipolar blog post:


Escaping a Bipolar Brain (Natasha Tracy)
I find that my brain is always off and running in places I don’t want it to go and the only thing I can do is desperately chase it and try to slow it down. All I can do is erect wall after wall and try to box it into somewhere reasonable. All I can do is try and try and try. And never slip up, or forget what I’m doing. Not for a minute.

This kind of concentration is torture. Dealing with errant brain signals all day is torture. It’s a torture that others can’t see or feel, but it’s there. All the time.


The latest addition to my bipolar playlist is Chunk! No, captain chunk! – Bipolar Mind. Not often you see a band name with punctuation.

What you afraid I’ll do anything for death?
I lose control I’m controlled but I lose my mind

Mood Gym – free CBT online.
Patricia Cornwell on writing about darkness & loss.
Old Architecture From a Mad King (George iii).
Son of a … Secret Smuggler digs up the truth about his dad.
Robin Williams and Phil Ochs – two tragic artists shaped by pathos and optimism.
10 brilliant musicians who have battled mental illness.
11 Historical Geniuses and their possible mental illnesses.
How the Creativity of Bipolar Minds Affect Art and Science – an interesting take on the creativity theme.
Bipolar Geniuses of Reddit – a good, meandering discussion.

A very, very good read, by a 60 year old woman. If you only click one link in this post, make it this one:
During psychosis, the self recedes.” But, she told me, “you’re still in there.”
The problem with how we treat bipolar disorder


More about Daniel:
The Devil and Daniel Johnston – a mental illness focused review (a good read too).
Portrait of the Artist as a Manic Depressive: Daniel Johnston and his demons.
Feuerzeig says, “we brought [Laurie] to South by Southwest, as a surprise for Daniel. He had been asking about her for four years. We brought her in, surprised Daniel. She’s now divorced from the undertaker. She’s beautiful, articulate. She commanded a huge Q&A; handled herself beautifully. She and Daniel had a reunion on this porch and we videoed it for 2 hours. Daniel proposed marriage no less than three times.
Daniel Johnston’s Purgatory (2008)
Q&A with Daniel Johnston It sure is scary for me to have a title like that
2014 Interview

“By perpetuating the belief that pain is edifying, we place the onus on survivors to heal themselves”
What doesn’t kill you won’t always make you stronger


If you want to volunteer for an upcoming Australian study into how and why bipolar people are crap at reading emotions from facial info, click here. Btw we are allegedly worse at reading negative emotions than positive ones. Oops. The study will employ brain scan technology and is based in Melbourne.

This full paper hasn’t been published yet, but I found the abstract interesting:
Renaming disorders to change public beliefs and attitudes remains controversial. This study compared the potentially destigmatising effects of renaming schizophrenia with the effects of renaming bipolar disorder by comparing the label ‘schizophrenia’ to ‘integration disorder’, and ‘bipolar disorder’ to ‘manic depression’, in 1621 lay participants. ‘Bipolar disorder’ was associated with less fear and social distance than ‘manic depression’. ‘Integration disorder’ was associated with increased endorsement of a biopsychosocial cause and reduced attributions of dangerousness but also increased social distance, highlighting the complex effects renaming has on stigma.
(Royal College of Psychiatrists)
The first time I read it, I thought, ‘1621? What’s that particular year got to do with it?’ … and then I realised that was the quantity of participants.

Only the abstract available here too: it’s about developing a portable blood-lithium level measurement device.


I’ve mostly given up sharing news about brains …

All of the research into the bipolar (physical) brain always reminds me of the specialist who was interpreting my eeg, sleep-deprived eeg and mri results about a decade ago. “Hmmm … mmmm … hmmm well … you don’t show any more abnormalities than normal people do.” The thing to remember, is that so far, despite finding commonalities between the brains of bipolar people, none of it is distinct enough from ‘normal’ (control group) brains to make it diagnostically useful yet.

Of course, the collective we knows very little about the brain in general, apparently. If you’re interested in the brain’s visual function and organisation, here is a geeky cool way to see it.

The Cognitive Connection – bipolar brain fog and how to manage it.


Good luck on the bipolarcoaster out there!

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