Conclusions are always difficult to draw. I’ll take the easy option and summarize the ideas of the previous posts. A theory is always partly related to you and your experience of life. Its starting point is my illness and its dreaded ups: 3 manic episodes have left an indelible print in my existence. The first two ended up in hospital and the third enabled me to understand what was happening to me (Episode I, Episode II, Episode III). I want to underline that episode III was medicated. This is doubtless the reason why I overcame the ordeal and could lead an almost normal life during its 6 months duration. I was feeling the same symptoms as the first two episodes. I’ll always be thankful to my pdoc for having prescribed lithium to me.
The first two episodes were absolutely beyond reach of any understanding. The only thing that I figured out at the end of the second episode was my change of status from normal to mentally ill. That was it. Some strange things had happened but they were real. Others could only be classified under the item “delusions”. You need to separate what are delusions from what is interesting. That’s a prerequisite to move on. My third episode was specific in the sense that I was not diagnosed maniac and I was subsequently not locked up in a psychiatric hospital. I was a functioning maniac on the loose. The inner part of me was completely berserk but the one necessary for social survival was still up and running. This enabled me to understand what was going on. Since I didn’t do anything foolish, I could observe the reactions of others toward an asymptomatic maniac. The strangest thing was the new female eyes looking at me. There were others changes of behaviors from male, but the most astounding one was the new interest of woman in me in spite of the absence of change in my behavior or in my external appearance.
You may start to laugh, but it was something real. People were seeing me as a manager and corresponding jobs were proposed to me. That sounded a little funny because I’m more of an expert than a manager. But again, the basic thing was the change of female behaviors toward me. It is not an area where I’m usually gifted. There have been some relationships. I did not know why it worked this time and not the others. It was not because of me because I’m not the one who does the first steps. So I was chosen but I did not choose. So I rejected. Thus my sentimental life looks like a field of ruins.
Before 2006, I hadn’t paid too much attention to my mood fluctuations. I’m convinced now that there has been a link between these fluctuations and my Casanova capability. Of course, manic peaks are not the unique mood level. A massive up was not necessary to trigger the phenomenon. It seems that there was a mood elevation compatible with normal life with women. Other lesser level seemed to be a major impairment which prevented me from social interactions. During my second episode, I distinctly heard people inviting me to go to parties. That was a total change compare to my usual zombie life. My presence was suddenly wanted whereas it was usually rejected. This is strange but for me it was a little disturbing. I’m a constant loner. If something changes, I cannot be the culprit. I discovered later on the reasons of this change. It was some kind of a non-religious original sin. A very stupid thing. It’s personal and can’t apply to everybody. We’ll discuss that later.
The keyword that came to my mind to explain these fluctuations was dominance. It was crystal clear. Male/female relationships are governed by the rules of dominance hierarchy in social animals. Why on earth would not this apply to humankind? I don’t want to downplay human achievement here. Indeed, dominance expresses itself in a different way in humans but I believe that the dominant/submissiveness framework still applies. I started to read all materials related to dominance and tried to learn as much as possible about evolutionary psychology, human ethology and Darwinism. I discovered some publications that clearly link bipolar disorder with dominance. Then, I demonstrated that manic symptoms could be interpreted, irrespective of the environment, as an increase in the selective value of the subject (Hypersexuality, Struggle for Life, Social Animal). Intuitively, I’ve considered that an increase in fitness signals an increase in dominance.
Of course, it may seem counter-intuitive to portray the maniac as dominant. After all, mentally ill are rejected from society and it is difficult to get access to reproduction in a mental hospital. This rejection is not immediate though. When you are manic, you’re not automatically and immediately sent to hospital. There is a period where you can act in society as a maniac. You’re not recognized as crazy immediately. As a manic, I can walk on the street, eat, and carry out complex tasks. You’re eventually sent to the hospital not because you act in funny ways but because you are a danger to yourself or society. There is small difference here. Jean Albou in his book “un fou dans l’art/madness in Art”) depicts a situation where he is manic but not recognized as crazy. He continues to evolve in society until a financial collapse due to his manic prodigality. Bipolar madness is not a total incapacity to fit for reality. From the others perspective, it is not unintelligible or inconsistent. You can talk to a manic, he will respond. That is, if peaks that trigger delusions or delirium are not reached. What is important to understand is that maniac can evolve in society for a short period of time without being recognized as immediately crazy. You need pdoc to diagnose.
The bipolar disorder cannot be understood without an underlying parameter which expresses itself during hyperthymic excesses and depressed paralysis. This internal parameter impacts all brain and body functions. Necessarily, dominance refers to this parameter however it is not described as such such in the ethological state of the art. Here, dominance is described externally as relationship vis-à-vis the environment, not as an internal parameter that enables external dominance. Pure or internal dominance is a pre-condition for external ethological dominance. Internal dominance is a neurologic volume knob that regulates the expression of body and brain. It catalyzes the self during the ups and it inhibits it during the downs. This simple thought will be one day considered by psychiatrist, that is, if they talk to ethologist.
By comparing internal dominance and selective value (which closely relate to external dominance), I have established the autonomy of these two concepts. From a certain threshold, internal dominance goes on increasing whilst selective value plummets due to the lack of adaptation of the maniac to reality (delusions, inappropriate social behaviors….). I’ve attempted to show how the erratic dominance volume knob affects critical psychological functions which create new states of mind leading to madness (Racing thoughts, Self-esteem, Almightiness).
Eventually, I’ve asserted a new ethological perspective on happiness and its related honest signal. Happiness is the internal psychological signal that guides you. It shows you the way to achieve a meaning of life sentiment. The honest signal is the external indicator that enables rank classification in the happiness based dominance structure. Both happiness and its honest signal constitute the human specific selection system. In animals, the selection system is based upon intraspecific violence which can be more or less ritualized (intimidation). We can wonder if the human natural selection system is the ultimate ritualization of violence and the most advanced one in terms of species survival (no wound, no killing…). It seems that violence was maybe less frequent in old Pleistocene tribes compare to other homo. The dominance structure is as an alternative hierarchy which provides more information to female than the outcome of a violent fight. It has been already described by scientists but they are not aware of the far-reaching implication of their work. They have discovered a gold nugget but they don’t seem to understand the price of gold.
What is the most striking when the mood is up, is the change in others’ behavior. This is so impressing that it was for me the decisive exogenous factor that leads to madness. If you are not bipolar (nobody’s perfect), you cannot experiment this change of behavior because your dominance fluctuates within a very short range and very slowly. I can compare this to physics. Sane people live on earth and then the Newtonian laws apply because speed is not very high. Everything’s normal, apple fall from apple tree, you can drive on the highway and time seems to be an everlasting flow from past to future. However if you reach light speed you are going to live in a strange world where relativist effect are going to occur. Strange thing like the twin paradox will make you think that time has become a really special dimension. That’s exactly the way you should think bipolar disorder.
So that is it for the theory I tried to elaborate on in this blog. All hyperlinks point at the relevant posts. I strongly recommend that you read all posts following the numbering order. You can navigate using the categories located on the left pane. If you read one single article, you won’t understand because the reasoning is very linear. I try to add concept in a progressive way. Don’t hesitate to leave remarks. I know, my English is terrible.
The beatles / Let it be
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Yeah there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be