These are my thoughts. They are not meant to make sense. They are my echo into the woods. I am the tree that falls, and it is here that I make a sound.
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Prolific Period Placement

I've been writing a lot - both here and in the "journal" I have. The journal is actually turning out to be a novel, and I'm going to post snippets of it on the other blog I have linked to this profile. Nothing there yet but soon I'll post some.

The other thing is that I've been doing a lot of reading about bipolar disorder again, thanks in part due to a link Michele sent me:

I've also, parallel to this, picked up a few of my old university text books and am reading a few of them at the same time (one I read while I'm on the stationary bike in the basement. It's a treatise on the legal definition and treatment of sexual assault in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century England. Gripping stuff.) The other text is a "layman's" explanation of the theory of evolution and how it is no longer what Darwin envisaged it to be. It's interesting reading because I was in university more years ago than I would like to admit (started in 1987) and the science of DNA analysis has come SO far in the near twenty years that a lot of this book that extrapolates ideas as theory have now become proven standard practice.

All this is leading to my current train of thought:

Stay with me on this one. It's logical (at least to me).

Evolution is a change or adaptation of life according to ecological and environmental niches. I'm at the part in the book right now that is explaining about the Galapogos tortoises. There are two main types. The first has short legs and neck and, not so coincidentally, feeds on plants that grows close to the ground because of the island's dry climate. The plants branch out low to the ground as an adaptation to survive, getting and retaining as much ground moisture as possible. The other tortoise lives on islands with a wetter climate, whose plants grow taller and as a result, the tortoise has both longer legs and a longer neck, with a shell with a peaked roof to allow the neck to extend further to reach the upper plants if necessary. Ideal examples of life filling specific niches.

I am starting to believe that bipolar disorder is a change in human evolution. We are statistically more creative, more productive, more intuitive, more reactive to life around us. Some of us do not survive. It doesn't make them worse people or even better people. They have simply found themselves in a situation that they couldn't see beyond. No one said that evolution was without pain. Without discomfort. It takes time to change to surroundings. It is no longer a world where the man with the biggest muscles who can hunt the largest game gets the women in the clan. It is no longer a world where the woman with the broadest hips gets chosen because of the implicit success in childbearing. It is now a world where we have to become creative to convince others to buy our goods, to give us that mortgage, to vote for us, to choose our politics/lifestyle/religion/advertising campaign/insert imagery here. People with bipolar disorder are able to come to the fore with the political strength of a Winston Churchill, the impact of an Ernest Hemingway, the ruthless empire building of a Ted Turner (yes we need people like that too). We suffer through the growing pains of the species. We will take humanity in baby steps away from its primal core and move towards a future of more cerebral strengths.

I see that this is more than a pathology. It is a step forward. I am damned if I'm going to let myself be one of those who don't make the evolutionary cut.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There's a book I recently read that touches on a similar theme: of people with bi polar type illness being more open, more attuned to the modern world and all it's complexities . I've also been reading that bi polar/schizophrenia are on the increase ,although there's some debate as to whether it's now more recognised than it once was.

It's a thought.  

Blogger moodymicello said...
How true that we mayy seem attuned to the times, such has always been the way with the notables, rhe bipolars of the past. Especially the creative ones who would journal, write, paint or write music leaving some mark on the world that they had been here. And always for them as for us there is a hair's width between sanity and the lack thereof that scares us so. plus there are the ever changing moods that don't allow us to stay forever moving forward. We always have an unforeseen change of plans  

Blogger BipolarPrincess said...
This is an awesome post! If you'd ever like to write for Crazies Unite! let me know!


Blogger The Seriously Ill said...
Your idea that bipolar adn depression have some evolutionary purpose has some scholarly backing, but what I have read points backward rather than forward. My moods are very dependant on the seasons: I get most depressed during the late winter and most manic during the summer. Now think about being a caveman. It would not make sense for a caveman to expend more than the minimum amount of energy during the winter when the food supply is lowest, thus depression would help to limit Mr. and Mrs. Caveman's activity. Conversely, during the late summer and fall when the food supplies are at thier peak, it would be most useful to have an unlimited amount of energy with which one could hunt and gather to prepare for the long winter ahead. Thus it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint that those who survived were those who becaame depressed and stayed in the cave all winter and also worked faster and more efficiently than others during the harvest would survive while others would not. Now this cycle has only changed since the industrial revolution. We bipolars are still linked to the need to live in varying cycles of activity.  

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