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Integration in Bipolar

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by AvantGarde » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:43 am

I'm returning to the Philosopher's Corner, after a few months of absence. In these months I've progressed immensely in therapy, have had to deal with all sorts of triggers, and had to take a break from thinking straight in terms of philosophical awareness of this illness.

I would like to return to the subject of identity, but this time with a new perspective. Last time we discussed schemas, and those are important. Since then I've adopted the "I'm lovable" schema that I was so lacking, it's hard because people around us sometimes aren't the best at showing love. I realized I need to love myself first and foremost, in order to consider myself lovable. Sounds cliché, but it's an achievement. I'm working towards that. But I digress.

This is something I've been thinking about and would like you guys' thoughts on this, because I think it would be good for us to have our inner dialogues exposed to this concept.

I was reading into the subject of integration in DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, or the former Multiple Personality Disorder), and thought it would easily be applied as well to Bipolar. Or Tripolar, Quadripolar, even Non-polar, whatever polar depending on the mood we're at.

So, basically, the idea in DID is to integrate in therapy the various alters into one single personality. Meaning memories, thoughts, etc. It's hard work, I can only imagine what it must be like for those who have it, it takes years and years but, according to those that didn't give up, it pays up.

The 'project' in integration is to assimilate the all the thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc. into one single 'me'.

I figure we, with BP, often say "manic me did this, depressed me thinks that" when in fact we have these characteristics inside ourselves all the time, we just access them in different periods of time.

It got me thinking that what we fear in Bipolar is being disordered, we develop such fear of becoming unstable we often forget that it is a form of whatever normal is, to have a multiplicity of selves and characteristics. My point is, we fear the symptoms, not the disorder itself. The disorder is part of us, it's a label that serves its purpose to define what ever we want the 'me' to be (and for pdocs, insurance companies, disability, etc :lol:). Tdocs tend to deal with symptoms and coping mechanisms, and that's what we do in most days, while we rely on meds to keep us stable.

My tdoc recently got me into this thing that I mentioned in Related Disorders called Dialogical Self. It's basically being in tune and controlling the conversations of the multiplicity of selves we have inside of us, the protectors of our inner children, the managers, the critics, etc. Yesterday in our appointment, we discovered my romantic self and my hypersexual self :lol: It was fun to talk about that, because it's such an intrisinc part of me that I deviate to being like an outside force to which I'm a slave of. This is where integration came to mind.

I shunned off love because I was heartbroken and thought I was unlovable, I had sex with dozens of people in a period of 15 years and shunned off sex for a while, to heal myself from the abuses I endured during that period of craziness.

To sum it all up, I would love to think that all these parts of myself are outsiders that creep in by my 'mind window', but they are all part of me. To keep some in check I need medication and therapy, for others I only need therapy (or can only get therapy).

Hypomanic 'me' is not 'me' but it is a part of 'me'. Depressed 'me' the same, manic 'me' the same, psychotic 'me' the same, mixed 'me' the same. I'm not only the euthymic, normal self, I'm this multitude of selves and I'm okay with it.

What do you guys think of this?
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by Jemane » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:15 am

I really like this.
All these parts of me, the manic me, the depressed me are as much a part of me as the euthymic me.
I think I've lost sight of who I am amongst the continuous ups and downs I've had for the last few years.
Well said.
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by AvantGarde » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:34 am

I battle with identity too, that's why several posts about it :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol:

When I was coming off psychosis it was worse though, I can thank the flying spaghetti monster for antipsychotics and a good tdoc.
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by Jemane » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:37 am

I think my identity issues relate mostly to me coming out of a very religious background to now being an atheist. The bipolar is also a part of it too but I think the religious issues even more so.
I've worked a lot of it through with my pdoc (who is also my tdoc). My main problem at the moment is feeling like, what is my purpose? What am I here for? Is it all meaningless (which I definitely feel like since becoming an atheist) or is there a reason for me, for us, for things?
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by AvantGarde » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:44 am

I getcha. My psychosis was 'spiritual' in a sense that it disturbed deeply my sense of identity and I have the same questions. I started watching this Youtube channel, "The School of Life". They have these animated videos about philosophy and mundane subjects, social sciences, political science, even a bit of psychology. It really helped me be more at ease with my ideas of the world. I highly recommend, if you're into it. I subscribed to it and receive their emails, helps put things in perspective sometimes.

We're definitely not alone because we have all of humanity with us, you know? We don't actually need spirituality or religion for a sense of identity, being human is often enough.
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by hal » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:55 am

AvantGarde wrote:Hypomanic 'me' is not 'me' but it is a part of 'me'. Depressed 'me' the same, manic 'me' the same, psychotic 'me' the same, mixed 'me' the same. I'm not only the euthymic, normal self, I'm this multitude of selves and I'm okay with it.
I like this way of looking at it. I've always resisted saying "I am bipolar" on the grounds that it doesn't define who I am. But it is certainly one of the most important factors, if not the most important, in my life.
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by AvantGarde » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:59 am

"I have Bipolar" is about the same as "I have hypomania", but you don't say "I am hypomania".

Maybe I say "I'm hypomanic right now" now that I think of it... Maybe I shouldn't identify my own self with a symptom.
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by Hodez » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:17 pm

My EMDR therapy sesh ended once with me screaming inside, "I deserve love! I DESERVE LOVE" to anyone who treated me ill or rudely. It was a major life breakthrough.

For identity, I have finally accepted that my friends and family live all of me, ni matter what state i an in, and they would LOVE to see little 'me's too. They LOVE every part of me. That gives me the freedom to just be. All of it. Be all of it. That's gotta be part of the gift of bipolar...I really get to do it all and be everything.

This is who I am today.
There's beauty in the pathless woods. ~Byron

This is who I am today. Heart.
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by AvantGarde » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:41 pm

That's beautiful Hodez :D Welcome, by the way :)
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by Blake's Poisontree » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:03 pm

The last few years I've started to see myself as mainly two different people, my real self and my bipolar self. Then there are also a multitude of other lesser selves on either side. If I look back at all the things I did and said while I was either manic or depressed, I seriously want to distance myself from that. And the easiest way to do that is to relinquish all responsibility, make it the other guy's problem. Of course I know that's just ridiculous and I am making it difficult for the real me to deal with the psychological fallout from the bipolar me's actions. I know that in theory it will be easier if I can see all of my selves as one self, that being one true person is better than a fragmented mess of "people". It's an identity crisis really, there are too many selves and I am struggling to really identify with any one of them. But to bring them together as one self? Oh my god that would confuse the hell out of me. I find the idea of a one integrated self scary, really it frightens me. I would not be "me" I would be someone else.

I've been this way for too long, it is easier for me to change from one to the other depending on the situation I'm in. If I do or say or think something that is inappropriate then it is easier to separate that self, analyse, and correct "his" actions than having to admit that I am responsible. I understand that this is not the way it's supposed to be and that I might be making my life unnecessary complicated. But what will I be without this complicated life, I have no fixed identity, I will be even more of a stranger to myself. So maybe a multitude of recognisable "me's" are better than one unrecognisable me. It's easier to fix my selves if I can distance myself (or more accurately: the most acceptable and appropriate combination of required selves) from the other selves, and distancing is easier if a measure of distance already exists. So no, an integrated me is a horrifying idea.
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by AvantGarde » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:17 am

The idea of integration is not to let all the selves go rampant, but to have cooperation between them.

Should be done with a tdoc's help, of course. I'm doing it and it's actually pretty great. I know it's not for everyone though :)
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