I play matchmaker in my thoughts from time to time…

Since I was a little girl I have had thoughts of matching couples together. This is likely due to an inner child of 6 years – which is probably about the time I was first abused and was before my parents decided to give up on their marriage and divorce. They divorced when I was about ten years old.

As any six-year-old I was prone to magical thinking and often extended that feeling in myself by matching so and so with so and so. Most times that remained a thought in my brain. On occasion I would share that information. But for the most part, it would just be a cycle of thought inside myself that was nice to consider.

I tend to continue to do this today from time to time. Call it the magical thoughts of a six-year-old? Or just the desire that everyone I care about is in a relationship where they can love and be loved, appreciated and understood?

Does anyone else have the tendency to match people who they know but may not know each other?

What does behavioral health mean, anyway?

My last blog post referenced those with mental illness and addiction issues under the same umbrella of “behavioral health.” A fellow blogger had the insight to question use of the term “behavioral health” which is used widely in the US but perhaps not elsewhere. She is at: https://mentalhealthathome.org.

The challenge for me is finding a term that includes mental illness and addiction in the same breath. At first glance “behavioral health” does that – include mental health and addiction diagnoses. But as my fellow blogger and friend pointed out “behavioral health” is a weird way of describing mental illness and addiction. The use of the term “behavioral health” seems to imply that all that us mental illness or substance abuse sufferers need to do is change our behavior and all will be well.

Further, the term “behavioral health” does not include the more common understanding that both mental illness and addiction are associated with or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The chemical imbalance is clearly an illness.

While there is room for behavioral change in any illness diagnosis including cancer and heart disease, the idea that a diagnosis can be reversed through behavioral change is missing the point. If I have heart disease, I can change my diet and exercise regime. If I have cancer, I can also adopt a healthier diet and exercise. However, my diagnosis of heart disease or cancer is not defined by my behavior. It is defined by the diagnosis and prognosis of the illness itself. If you are dying of heart disease or cancer, no one says “change your behavior and all will be well.”

So why should we term mental illness and addiction as “behavioral” issues? The key to understanding mental illness and addiction is in understanding there is a chemical malfunction in the brain. Sure, you can mitigate this some with behavioral changes, but that does not mean that mental illness and addiction are explained best by our behaviors or changes to our behaviors.

What are your thoughts on using the term “behavioral health?” Is there another term you choose to use to describe mental illness and addiction?

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Anybody Experiencing Memory Loss?

This is a question for folks who have a mood disorder including bipolar illness. For the last several years I have been experiencing mild to moderate memory issues. I have chalked it up to strong psyche meds and basically have not worried about it much. What is the most difficult is that sometimes I forget where I put things. It seems worse for short-term items than long-term items and so far is manageable. It seems worse in the age of covid-19 than before March 2020.

I am wondering if memory issues typically accompany mood disorders including bipolar illness? Not big things like forgetting family names and places but where I put the phone or the keys. So far, I have chalked this up to too much brain function due to the bipolar and too much time at home due to covid-19.

Has anyone with mood issues noticed short-term memory impacts? Thanks in advance for sharing.

My Sojourn through Bipolar Illness – the Sound Phenomenon

Back around 1998, when I wrote the letter to physicist David Bohm in the UK, as mentioned before, I did not know he was already deceased.  The topic of the letter was something I call “the sound phenomenon.” This refers to statements I hear that may be jumbled from reality.  This poor hearing may date back to loss of hearing and perhaps brain damage associated with strong prescription medication use in the 1980s.  Or it may be a form of ecological or illogical communication. 

In any case as an example, someone may utter a statement like “I am going to the restroom.”   What I may hear is “There is no restroom….”  So either due to damage in my hearing capabilities or due to some form of “hearing voices,” I hear the statement that has been uttered or better said perceived in a non-logical light.  I call this event “the sound phenomenon” and also attribute it to ecological versus logical thought. 

The letter to David Bohm in 1998 asked for the development of a double-blind study in which “the sound phenomenon” would be studied.  In the letter, I also described a dream I had involving Einstein in which he and I were arguing about a topic (potentially time) and that I felt very self-assured in my opinion and in challenging him.  I also talked in the letter to David Bohm about my thoughts about linear time versus circular time.  In my view at the time, linear time is the time of chronological events.  Circular time is the time of dreams and of the subconscious.  Somehow this differentiation is associated with matter and anti-matter.

Understanding “the sound phenomenon” is something that continues to occupy my thoughts some 20 years later after writing the letter to David Bohm.  I continue to try to listen to what is said but not give it too much credence in linear time if it does not “make sense.”  I tend to think of utterances in “the sound phenomenon” as similar to a Freudian slip where the world of circular time may be butting into the world of linear time.  Yet, I have no real explanation as of yet for whether this is an accurate assessment of “the sound phenomenon.” 

I find that “the sound phenomenon” occurs in any number of places – out in public, in the home, at church, watching TV – which logically might indicate that these occurrences are due to hearing failures on my part due to inadvertently or potentially “over-using” anti-psychotic medications in my twenties.  I really do not know the answer and have accepted to date that I really don’t know the explanation for these events.  What I have added to my behavior is asking the person who said what I perceive of as an illogical statement to repeat him or herself.  Usually that involves clearing up the hearing “mistake” and a repeat of a more logical statement.  I find that asking the person talking to repeat him or herself makes me realize that this is either a hearing fault on my part or some sort of temporal miscommunication like a Freudian slip.