Anxiety vs. Mania – Is it about Beliefs?
I started out my blog in December with this “impulsivity chart.” I have been adding ideas to this, and seeing that tomorrow is the first of the month: I want to just add a few thoughts about this chart. I also plan to expand more on the title in the next month. I hope it is implicit in this blog. One of my main ideas here is that anxiety and mania may be closely related. I go on to discuss the cognitive processes that I link to the phenomenon of delusion.
I know this blog is kind of all nitty-gritty ideas about bipolar functioning. Yes, it is still somewhat raw. If I could clarify and expand on this please contact me. I think if you dig through it, you will find some interesting ideas. If you want to see more humorous, creative-writing – you may like my blog at www.macromichael.com.
Anxiety may always be in the background. Clearly, anxiety-causing events can be a constant. The fact that there is always something to stress about should not be that radical. Any stress can add to anxiety that may eventually cause neurosis. Neurotic anxiety may be a form of excessive anxiety that can in some circumstances: surround goal-pursuit. This may always be in the background in some form, just as all goal-pursuit has resistance (i.e. temporal or physical obstacles). People with bipolar disorder tend to be very goal-oriented – especially in hypomania and even in mania. This can also be adaptive in goal pursuit (in some cases). The extra anxiety that a person may experience, may cause them to engage in goal-pursuit or take action. Sometimes this can work out. It would seem to me that when a person is stable and grounded (i.e. through self-management and medical care/medication) they are more likely to make productive advances in goal-pursuit. I have not had to deal with excessive and neurotic anxiety too much in recent years, but I have curbed anxiety into goal-pursuit when I have been able. It seems to me: When there is neurotic or excessive background anxiety, a person with bipolar disorder may also react by having a manic episode. The effect of stress is well-documented (in bipolar disorder).
In a phase of bipolar disorder associated with recovery, I experienced mild forms of neurotic anxiety instead of becoming manic. That is: I experienced unnecessary anxiety and unwarranted stress – in cases that I would previously have been likely to become manic or experience a manic episode. For example, potent triggers (that I will not detail here, but in future blogs), that occurred prior to previous experiences of mania occur at these times of stress and are associated with anxiety instead of mania in this state of recovery. This would suggest that mania would have been caused by these life events or stressors (when predisposed), and that mania is the likely alternative to anxiety in a state of illness, whereas in a state of recovery the less problematic anxiety occurs instead of mania. I am working on incorporating this in the chart. The anxiety can still lead to mild impulsivity, whereas in mania the impulsivity was much more profound and led to major social and health problems. Are there underlying causes of both mania and anxiety so similar that the states are actually overlapping? That is something that I will address as I expand on this blog site.
I have been prescribed medication to help reduce anxious feelings, but for the most part I have not relied on this. Medication that I do use and continue to use religiously ( i.e. lithium), does not play an extremely direct role in anxiety control or formation, other than creating balanced moods. I manage anxiety through good diet, sleep, exercise, moderation and relaxation techniques.
For me, in the past: manic episodes tended to arise as an alternative to anxiety. Manic episodes occurred instead of having to follow an undesirable alternative course of actions- particularly actions that would preclude goal pursuit, or actions that would involve acceptance of undesirable consequences. This alternative would cause anxiety. So: Instead of submitting to a semi-traumatic event or anxiety-causing event, I tended to enter into mania (also when predisposed). Manic episodes would follow goal pursuit by including delusion. In order to avoid anxiety, manic impulsivity occurred that was “permitted” by delusion. The alternate manic pathway of behaviour was consciously allowed because my beliefs had changed. When beliefs change in the resolution of cognitive dissonance (i.e. to avoid anxiety), this can be part of the neurosis associated with bpd and delusions may develop. This is where the episodes took place. I have now added this on the chart, “possible delusion.” Delusion can be a big factor in the outcome of mania and escalation into an episode.
Cognitive dissonance is the stress that builds when a person has two conflicting views. This dissonance can be resolved through changing behaviour and beliefs to adapt to stresses. Behaviour change is resolved through initialization of a belief. So, for example: behaviour occurs because I believe that I need to perform that behaviour. This is the conscious level. Clearly, behaviour occurs all the time that is part of a reaction to unconscious processes. Impulsivity, in bipolar disorder seems to be more closely related to behaviour driven by unconscious processes. A concrete belief or unconscious predisposition that results in impulsivity or behaviour could be considered to be made up incrementally through step-by-step storage of affirmative data (or physical parts such as molecules). So for example the formation of a belief would be similar to having repeated affirmative feedback, stored as info that builds up until is reaches the point that the mind recognizes it, there are changes in the brain and a conscious action is primed.
Belief formation would seem to define an area of the brain accessing memory, and related to both the neurological, biological processes, and electrochemical circuitry. The unconscious seems to represent an energy signature that can interact or guide these processes. Through the base of unconscious storage, additional information will react at its own base levels. Step-by-step build-up leads to the conscious drive in behaviour and goal-pursuit. Beliefs may form to accommodate other cognitive schemas, or build on the cognitive schema at hand. The cognitive dissonance that produces delusion may result from cognitive schema that are in some way imprinted by different, opposing environmental factors, but that also each carry historic building blocks such as: genetic make-up and inheritance that predetermines response levels. Mental illness is directly correlated with delusion. However, everyone can have a false belief at some point in their life – sometimes several times in a day: and not be considered to have mental problems. It is when the delusions persist that there is a problem. Delusion may play a very important role in knowledge formation. Research into chemical and informational explanations to describe this process could be utilized to find ways to make progress, specifically in bipolar disorder.
So that’s my light thinking for the day. I encourage someone –ANYONE to engage in this discussion. :)