cannabis ought to be carefully researched by neurologists, and studied by psychiatrists, for potential treatment of bipolar disorder

I feel like a guinea pig in a test whose final results aren’t yet in. So far, I’m delighted, and am evidently a guinea pig who has the cognitive abilities, motivation, and patience to write a lengthy (if disorganized) blog post about this subject, and my excitement over what I’ve seen in just three months has generated a sense of urgency for the world to wake up to a few things that I will attempt to point out in this article, which, of course, would not exist if I were still lying in bed with bipolar depression.

[Treating bipolar disorder with medical cannabis] could potentially be huge for the well-being of many people, and could potentially be huge for the relief of taxpayers who are spending billions of dollars cleaning up after the mess that people with bipolar disorder leave behind.

guinea pig and researcher
Img src: http://www.planet-science.com/categories/over-11s/technology/2011/09/animal-testing—the-facts.aspx

May some doctors, scientists, researchers, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and patients suffering with bipolar depression or bipolar mania/hypomania find this article, so that it may plant the seed of an idea that could potentially be huge for the well-being of many people, and could potentially be huge for the relief of taxpayers who are spending billions of dollars cleaning up after the mess that people with bipolar disorder leave behind with their irrational/delusional manic behaviors, and their lethargic, can’t-get-out-of-bed-much-less-go-to-work depressed lack of behaviors, such as holding down a career or cleaning the house.

Introduction to my self-referent cognitive model based on the little I know about neurology, but nevertheless useful to me and hopefully to some others

Since I began using medical cannabis regularly about three months ago, I am doing fantastic compared to when I am depressed, except for a sleep problem (which I am actively working to remedy). The medication boosts my motivation dramatically, so I focus on tasks and ideas with great attention, perfection, and energy, but then I burn out and crash, because I have not (*yet*) trained the top-down cognitive components of my brain to better manage the flood of creativity, thoughts, discernment, and urgency about productivity that is coming into my conscious mind automatically, from the bottom-up components, in the form of intuition, urges to organize, tidy, plan complicated long-term strategies, write essays, and read every single book in my house within a few days. According to my self-referent cognitive model (I could be wrong), my cerebral cortex becomes exhausted, just like a physical muscle, because it is overworking itself to keep up with the overactive and alert limbic system and basal ganglia, which both look after a lot of our bottom-up (sub-conscious and parallel-processed) cognitive activities that are compromised (and this is somehow correlated with swings in dopamine levels, and reverse-correlated with swings in GABA neurotransmitter levels) in people with bipolar disorder. The limbic system and basal ganglia are either too suppressed (when we are depressed, and so we are uninterested, unmotivated, melancholic, missing work & appointments, and tempted by alcohol poison, only because it offers acute relief of depression, and we are so despondent and desperate that we aren’t even capable of reasoning clearly about the health risks of alcohol nor even the pending increase in depression and anxiety that we surely remember, right? Wrong. ); or these subconscious brain structures are too active, (when we are manic, and so we are unwittingly risking various calamities due to poor judgment in such matters as sexual ruminations or behaviors, over-spending, or emailing before thinking; or we are experiencing other cognitive challenges that come with mania, and even potential for psychosis; however, our neuroleptics (anti-psychotic prescription medications) safely prevent severe manic episodes… I have only had the less severe hypomanic episodes since I was properly diagnosed and eventually arrived at a presumably optimal selection of medications and dosages, guided over years by psychiatrists. Of course, I continue to experience depression, except and unless I medicate by baking/vaping the cannabis herb (never smoking it—that pulls ash particles into a recreational drug abuser’s lungs that happen to be carcinogenic and toxic, because they were chemically altered by the combustion reaction at two to three thousand degrees Fahrenheit, in sharp contrast with vaping it, which simply involves cooking the ground and dried herb at 385°F and inhaling the cannabinoid evaporates that are boiling their way out of the plant.)

Side note about our Christian life and my ethics

I am amazed and prompted to praise our awesome King for His sovereignty over all Creation, and His faithfulness as the Rock of our hope and salvation! I praise God for his “grace upon grace,” (which is my new phrase for expressing “irresistible grace”), wherein He not only holds out salvation and glorious eternal fellowship on a silver platter, He also works via His Spirit so that we have the requisite wisdom and fear/love of God to take hold of that precious gift, because in our own capacity, outside of Christ’s faithfulness, we would even reject such amazing grace if He did not supply more grace to us men, who in our natural state are dead to God and complete rebels against everything He commands. No unbeliever actually wants to be in heaven, because God is there. Instead, they conceive a fictitious heaven that doesn’t include God, His Word, His One Only Son, nor any annoying Christians in it, nor anything godly like fellowship as He intended in the first place, in the garden, with our first father, the first Adam.

More specific to the theme of this article, I am thankful to God for providing a green plant that happens to be loaded with cannabinoids, which are very consequential in our body and mind, for good and/or for worse, and in my case this green plant that He is supplying has answered at least two of my prayers, which I figured required a miracle to be answered, which is exactly what happened. He has awakened my mind so that my Christian capacity to understand sin, salvation, God’s sovereignty and transcendence; to be carefully mindful of His Word, His Law; and to respectfully meditate on and obey His imperatives to love Him and to love my neighbor, as my reasonable expression of thankfulness.

Please see also the sections below on Ethics.

Some findings that may point to the apparent yet anecdotal link between bipolar disorder* and the cannabinoids

*note: bipolar depression seems to be more organic than the standard neurotic struggles with anxiety and melancholy/depression

  • endocannabinoids in general: [in the Cannabis/marijuana herb]; one study found that some part(s) of this set of cannabinoids mediate short-term depression; some studies suggest that via “repeated exposure to restraint stress,” endocannabinoids may be harmful when mixed with stressful stimuli (this could explain my occasional mild & irregular, but sometimes chronic headaches somewhere in the middle of my brain (amygdalae?));
  • anandamide (an endocannabinoid neurotransmitter): [not yet sure whether it is found in Cannabis/marijuana itself]; in cacao/chocolate; also, black pepper contains an anandamide reuptake inhibitor; one study finds that anandamide might INDUCE long-term depression; anandamide has been found to improve circadian rhythm in RATS… I am not a rat, but my circadian rhythm is so broken that it is effectively non-existent, so this is a potential benefit of anandamide… it’s too bad that chocolate gives me pimples 😜;
  • THC (a phytocannabinoid): [in the cannabis herb]; so far, I can’t find any research showing that it affects the bottom-up (limbic system / basal ganglia) and/or symptoms of bipolar mania or depression OTHER THAN a reference to an (apparently normally negative?) side effect on MOOD– it certainly is not harming cannabis’ ability to pull me out of depression (this POSITIVE for me, not negative)—in fact, this very reference to mood makes me wonder whether it’s one of the cannabinoids helping my mood, since sometimes the effects of a medication are reversed for certain people—for example, THC has a negative effect on motor coordination, yet it can ironically assist motor coordination in people with Parkinson’s suffering from dyskinesia; note: people with Parkinson’s Disease and people with Bipolar Disorder often experience each other’s symptoms (in reverse) when medicating the symptoms of their own condition; as THC helps motor coordination in Parkinson’s patients while hindering it for Bipolar patients, it might similarly hinder mood (?) for Parkinson’s patients while improving it for Bipolar patients; I have certainly noticed other side effects, such as decreased motor coordination and occasional mildly slurred speech; while THC may impair the long-term memory of MICE, I am not a mouse, and my overall experience with cannabis in general (of course, I can’t know exactly where, how, or even whether THC is involved), I experience an IMPROVEMENT in long-term memory, while yet experiencing the expected loss of two short-term memory slots/registers (although, thanks to increased cognitive activity, I have rapidly developed powerful mnemonic techniques which have helped me maintain up to 9 items in my short-term memory, without even requiring my two remaining short-term memory slots/registers); I won’t be surprised if I soon develop a mnemonic technique that is powerful enough to supplant the supposedly restricted short-term memory to store and retain up to 15 or 20 items without actually requiring the short-term memory slots/registers at all; this causes me to stumble over a memory from Cognitive Psychology class in university: I recall hearing somewhere that the maximum number of items a person can hold in their short-term memory is 7, and that includes the witty usage of a mnemonic for 3 bonus “registers”; the other day, I only needed to remember 9 things, and I easily “remembered” them by using a basic “bizarre image” mnemonic to handily tag all 9 things for later recall… I don’t see why I could not have pinned more “to-remember” items to that same mnemonic;
  • CBD (another phytocannabinoid): [in the cannabis herb]; there is tentative evidence that CBD has an anti-psychotic effect (recall symptoms of a severe manic episode); also, it may increase anandamide levels (see above) in the body;
  • cannabinoids in cannabis other than THC and CBD: there are a lot of them, and I have not even begun reading about them. I have variously wondered whether the specific cannabinoids that are helping me are not THC or CBD, but rather some other category or range of cannabinoids, possibly/likely in conjunction with these two most researched cannabinoids.

My conjecture ( it’s not yet ready to be called a hypothesis )

Bipolar mania and depression are both linked to the limbic system (including the amygdalae) and the basal ganglia. Without knowing of any other well-researched method of healing or regulating these parts of the brain, every responsible psychiatrist will certainly not prescribe the unknown, under-researched, and stigmatized “marijuana,” but will instead do what he knows: He will prescribe one or more neuroleptics or mood stabilizer drugs that restrain the dopamine neurotransmitter and thereby minimize the severity of, and damage caused by, manic episodes, since it is well-researched and understood that regulation of dopamine levels is beneficial in suppressing bipolar mania. He may also cautiously prescribe a modest dosage of an SNRI (like venlafaxine) or an SSRI (like fluoxitine) in a lower-priority effort to help relieve the patient’s depression and anxiety cycles. However, if you’re like me, you will find that neither the SSRI’s nor other categories of anti-depressant drugs even come close to touching the troublesome, organic bipolar depression, which also seems largely resistant to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods, because, while bipolar depression may be accompanied by irrational thoughts/beliefs about self -worthlessness, -hopelessness, and -helplessness, it is not, at it’s core, a typical irrational thought/belief problem like with most cases of neurotic depression, or neurotic anxiety (OCD, phobias, panic disorder, anorexia nervosa, and generalized anxiety).

However, we should not box ourselves in. Surely we have the creativity to notice that the cannabinoid system also affects these same neural regions, and (not surprisingly), their associated functions, such as memory, motor coordination, judgment, mood, motivation, interest levels, perceived energy levels, and various degrees of higher-level cognition.

Therefore, I assert that the cannabis herb (loaded with at least 113 cannabinoids) ought to be carefully researched for potential treatment of bipolar disorder, including both depression/low motivation, AND maybe even the unregulated judgment that comes with mania.*

*note: when someone who is in a bipolar depressive episode begins medicating with cannabis, the dramatic lifestyle and behavior shift resulting from the sudden burst of ideas, energy, and motivation, as well as the capacity to provoke psychosis when the THC levels are high, happens to resemble a similarly dramatic shift (but wildly different with regards to judgment and propriety) caused by a manic episode. This is likely the reason why most psychiatrists will express alarm about the possibility of cannabis triggering a manic episode. To be fair, psychiatrists come from a certain perspective, and many of them have not even begun to research cannabis, because it isn’t much appearing in the scholarly journals that they are reading to keep up with the latest research on various psychiatric conditions and treatments.

(I would also recommend an investigation into potentially using medical cannabis to treat certain types of alcoholism, or apparent alcoholism, especially with people who reach for the bottle when they are bipolar depressed, because they have no other acute relief from depression until that day they discover cannabis.)

Surely we have the creativity to notice that the cannabinoid system [is intrinsically active in those brain structures that provide sub-conscious bottom-up cognitive activity, which are precisely the same structures that are compromised in individuals with bipolar disorder].

My conjecture is based primarily on my own personal anecdotal observations, and secondarily on a brief perusal of some recent research findings. Now that the FDA has backed off a bit (I think?), I hope that researchers look beyond using medical cannabis exclusively for chronic pain, cancer/chemotherapy, nausea, Parkinson’s disorder, and seizures, and ramp up the research into the possibility of medical cannabis being wildly successful in treating bipolar disorder, and perhaps some types of faux alcoholism which are not “true” alcoholism, nor the sort of physiological and psychological addiction to alcohol that most people think of when they hear the label “alcoholic,” but rather a desperate/despondent grasping for something that the bipolar depressed person knows will exacerbate their depression and anxiety in the long-term, but nevertheless is the only acute relief from depression that they have ever discovered, and so they appear to be genuine alcoholics until such day as they find relief from depression and completely lose their temptation to consume alcohol.

As a type I bipolar who is already successfully monitored and stabilized in the mania category via neuroleptics/anti-psychotics, (which cause long term brain damage), I am excited to testify that medical cannabis has completely removed any temptation I might have to reach for alcohol. I have not even looked at it since I started cannabis treatments. Notwithstanding my fantastic improvement in mood, motivation, interest, energy, prudence, organization, and higher-level cognitive reasoning, if medical marijuana could relieve just 50% of depressed bipolar victims enough that they quit alcohol completely, that alone makes it worthwhile to investigate the potential of treating this organic form of CBT-/RET- resistant depression, with regards to everybody’s health and safety, as well as the colossal cost to the government, which is paid for by you and me, the taxpayers.

Alcohol is quite the opposite of cannabis. Rather than overwhelming the mind with prudent judgment, motivation, interest, and creative thinking that necessarily leads to an improved lifestyle via the generation and strengthening of new neural pathways, and the weakening of those neural pathways that were repeatedly exercised in unwise thoughts and behaviors, alcohol instead trashes the victim’s judgment, damages their liver/etc., and exposes them to certain carcinogens, all the while exacerbating the very depression that they are desperately craving relief from!

Cannabis also ought to be carefully researched for potential treatment of certain types of alcoholism

I didn’t even realize how depressed I was until I was treated with medical cannabis. It has completely reversed my life (180°). I have a completely new lifestyle; I feel like I’m picking up where I left off at about age 22. My freshly restored cautious prudence wrt finances, organization, godly lifestyle; deductive abilities; motivation; social concern & skills; tenacity; and patience has improved my health (exercise and diet), finances (comprehending my situation and taking action to save money and liquidate clutter that we don’t need anymore), organization, the completion of tasks that I begin, and even my awareness of God’s greatness, and concern for showing my thankfulness to Him by obeying His Law, not to mention the laws and even customs (where they do not defy my values) in our nation, on our sidewalks, and in our interpersonal communications.

Ethics #1: Decision-making when you are severely compromised by something like bipolar disorder

I am not ignorant of the potential negative side-effects of medical cannabis use, even though I started as an adult and have never once used the toxic and carcinogenic recreational methods, such as torching shatter or smoking a joint, which BURNS the herb at 2- or 3-thousand degrees Fahrenheit. I understand that I can expect to lose 5 IQ points in the long term. As a Christian, I do not consider this an ethical black/white yes/no decision. Rather, it is making a decision by weighing the benefits against the negative side effects. I would much rather trade in 5 IQ points and actually be alive for how ever many years the good Lord grants me, than to be a 5-point “smarter” GENIUS (😅) who lays in bed most of the day and cannot even find the motivation to file a piece of paper that is sitting on his desk, and finds it painfully challenging to embark on the tedious journey of fetching the mail or setting out the garbage can, as he lounges around in his pajamas without properly cleaning himself or the house; without properly feeding and hydrating himself; without any exercise; getting fat, sleepy, and brain-damaged by anti-psychotics, which also reduce his life expectancy.

Other than the presumed loss of 5 IQ points (whatever that means—essay required!), the second biggest negative that I have found is merely that when medicating via baking/vaping the herb, my teeth become predictably coated with a negligible layer of sticky cannabinoid resin, or whatever it might be called. This is remedied handily by simply flossing and brushing after vaping. I happen to be a tooth-, gum-, and mouth-care fanatic, so that helps.

Ethics #2: Introduction to the difference between recreational drug abuse and medical cannabis use

I need to write a separate post about this topic, but here is a brief summary of some basic differences:

Recreational Users:

Medical Users:

Would like to maximize the speed and strength with which the medication first hits their brains; therefore, they are willing to waste precious cannabinoids and endanger their health by BURNING THE HERB INSIDE JOINT PAPER or “dabbing” (blow-torching SHATTER), often foolishly combined with ALCOHOL. Are not interested in joints or shatter. Prudent medical users are interested in vaping the dry ground herbs (no toxic particles flooding their lungs), or consuming the edibles, and they work to optimize cannabis extraction from the herb. Rather than waste their money and health by setting their expensive product on FIRE, they prefer to vape efficiently, even simmering the leftover grounds (which still have some non-depleted and non-burned cannabinoids in them) in canola oil, so that they can make cookies or brownies using this “bud oil.”
Their culture is ignorant. They ignore scientific studies and findings. If you mention some professional findings, they quickly point out that the FDA limited the permitted research on marijuana usage to only those studies that might show the negatives of cannabis use (teenage brain damage, possible correlations with schizophrenia when first used at a young age, male teenage fertility losses), but not the potential circumstances where it might benefit people. Their argument is a non-sequitur. While it is true that the FDA restricted the types of research permitted, these potheads are vocalizing the observation only as a mask to hide their abuse of marijuana / hashish. They carefully study the available findings and information. They do not learn about cannabis by reading the “BC Bud” magazine, which is evidently compiled by 8-year-olds…. Either that, or it’s compiled by people who have so damaged their brains with recreational drug abuse that they struggle to form complete sentences, and they certainly cannot abide the vigor of proper spelling, grammar, or punctuation!
They do not start when they are teenagers. Rather, they openly discuss the hazards of recreational drug abuse versus the wildly different culture of medical cannabis usage with their own children.
While ignoring the findings of professionals who have well-developed, educated, and exercised brains, unlike these reckless undisciplined babies who debase themselves by conforming to the “weed” culture, which is obnoxious and rebellious, and wherein even the people working at the “legitimate” weed shops, (which are immediately recognized as NOT legitimate upon glancing at their signage and wording on the front of their stores, which have not-so-camouflaged back rooms where other “arrangements” might be made for people who don’t have a prescription, so long as the brain-dead employees are fairly confident that the inquiring customer is not a police officer in disguise).
These subprofessionals are smoking joints behind their cash registers even as they serve customers! The employees at most nicotine vaping shops are professional enough to not vape at all while they are working, because that would fill the room with vape, and make their establishment look like a den for misfits rather than a properly and safely managed business that has some standards and propriety. (Besides, nicotine eLiquid exhaust is not second-hand SMOKE, nor does it smell like a skunk just had an amygdala-style panic attack.
They have a network of doctors, family, and friends who they have learned to listen to. (That’s a cognitive skill).
They shop at licensed distributors after legally obtaining a prescription from a real doctor.
The licensed distributors do not even offer accessories used to roll joints or torch shatter, nor do they sell pressed hash, nor do they have an eclectic array of various herbs, some of which are illegal for their hallucinogenic consequences, in some back room that doubles as a pagan witchcraft tarot-card reading room for people who delusionally believe they’re still existing in 1969 a.d.
The “gateway drug” theory is absolutely relevant and plausibly applied to recreational users, for whom pot usage is a social activity that goes alongside every sort of debauchery at “parties” where you can easily spot cocaine, heroin, and maybe even fentanyl. Since recreational users are looking for a rapid blast to the head, becoming so stoned that they can’t do anything but listen to music (not like they care about anything that matters anyway), they are certainly likely to give it a sniff if the person beside them says, “Hey, try this line of cocaine… it’s a better hit than pot. You’ll love it!” Medical users aren’t even interested in joints, shatter, or alcohol, much less cocaine, heroin, or various hallucinogens, or even GOING to parties full of “rebels” who conform like clones to the weed culture and lifestyle, while ironically and grandiosely supposing themselves to be the non-conformists. They are so stupid that their conversation rarely rises above the level of 10 second SnapChat photos with childish ears or hearts applied by the software, or that of video games, and their basal ganglia is so severely compromised, that they are unable to follow simple logical reasoning that demands only a simple yes/no answer.
Etc., ad nauseam

Hints of an approaching legal, cultural, and political collision, and a tangential diversion into the stupidity of leftist governments

I have witnessed both sides of this, and I can see a collision coming, as influential people like the Prime Minister of Canada make thoughtless promises like, “We Liberals are going to legalize marijuana,” without even spending 5 seconds to ponder the potential damages to our culture, and the much simpler and safer solution of legalizing only the slower release, healthier versions of cannabis (much appreciated by people suffering with Parkinson’s disease, seizures, chronic pain, cancer, chemotherapy, or, in my case, bipolar depression, but disdained by potheads). Why can’t we legalize it with restrictions? That it is an all-or-nothing decision for our landslide-elected Prime Minister testifies not only to his limited cognitive capacity (possible brain damage, or undeveloped frontal lobes), but also to the lunacy of a nation who voted in a party because they have a “hip” leader who, as much as you might disagree, is a lot more successful at being handsome than at, say, making a wise decision about our economy, which burdens taxpayers with deficit/debt while discouraging economic growth and prosperity via more taxes on industry and import, such as the American business of filming movies and TV shows in Vancouver when the socialist NDP aren’t holding provincial power there, destroying the future for our grandchildren, just so he can build that one brand new school for his photo-opp instead of thinking just slightly beyond the edge of his plate.

If you live near an urban center, check the difference between (1) the doctor’s office that has some reasonable products displayed at the front, where clients/patients might receive a prescription for a specific quantity of cannabis per day from a licensed distributor that doesn’t even offer stupid things like filter paper for rolling joints, or bongs, or shatter, or blowtorches, or trite and cliché T-shirt designs for the mentally immature; and (2) the local weed shack, decorated with tacky green marijuana art everywhere, filled with second-hand skunk-smelling marijuana smoke (provided by the filthy mouths of… the snowflake libtard EMPLOYEES), racks with free magazines (“BC Bud” written by stupid people; conspiracy theory magazines; liberal propaganda written by people who dream of big government being their savior, while history shows that any government that does anything more than punishing criminals and paving freeways invariably ends up wasting money, creating costly and obtuse regulations and consequent committees and paper trails), Che Guevara products that resemble typical, bland tourist products that collect dust on shelves after they are purchased with great excitement, colorful bongs and amazing glass artwork that is entertaining to an adult brain for approximately 5 seconds before becoming aware that these are trite and tacky symbols of a dying culture of losers who can’t handle reality, and do everything they can to escape it.

rat in maze
Img src: http://addsherpa.com/2012/04/does-having-adhd-make-it-harder-to-change-habits/

Neural Pathways

I’m not a neurologist, but I’m trying to understand things that matter.

Your brain is going to change permanently, for better or worse. It’s just something to think about.

If a fitness nut stopped exercising his legs and started exercising his arms, things would change. His leg muscles would slowly wither, while his arm muscles would strengthen and grow.

I’ve heard the “muscle” metaphor applied to brains/neurons before, and it is quite fitting here.

Cannabis has at least 113 cannabinoids in it. Our body has a cannabinoid system. Various structures in our brain are affected by, or are a part of, the cannabinoid system.

When you flood your sedentary bipolar depressed life with 113 cannabinoids every day, it is going to affect your brain via the amazing capacity of the brain to alter its neural networks.

Cannabis has given me new ways to think. As such, I’m guessing that there are some new neural pathways being formed and/or strengthened as I continue to use cannabis while discontinuing the maladaptive habits of depressed people.

While I feel that my depression returns approximately 8-10 hours after vaping cannabis, I also acknowledge that the cannabis is necessarily making indelible changes to my brain, because some of my old irrational bipolar neural pathways are not being used anymore (and so are weakening/fading), while new neural pathways are forming and strengthening as my neural structures work overtime to cope with the dramatic shift in the neural climate, due to this daily blast of cannabinoids.

I am persuaded that even if you begin cannabis in your adult years, you won’t just be changed on the days that you medicate; your whole brain will change permanently (admittedly with some fairly high probability of returning to something resembling where it used to be if you quit using cannabis and wait, depressed, for 5 or 10 years).

Your brain is going to change permanently, for better or worse. It’s just something to think about. For me, I am building new neural pathways for improving my long-term thinking, financial planning, my Christian walk/life, my new joyful approach to social situations, and so on. I’m quite pleased with this semi-permanent alteration of my neurons.

No conclusion. This isn’t a proper essay. I would like to spend several hours turning this into a structural, literary, and grammatical masterpiece, optimizing brevity and clarity, ensuring that the tense and point of view remain consistent throughout, and that there are proper transitions between paragraphs; however, my executive has given some control to my frontal lobes, so that they can consciously manage the limbic system and basil ganglia via top-down cognition to insist that it’s time to stop and click “Publish.” Something like that.


World cannabis laws

Vape anatomy
Click image to enlarge. Credit: https://www.smokecartel.com/pages/anatomy-of-a-vaporizer-pen-a-visual-infographic

Artificial Existence

brand-people
Image: My Virtual Child

I found this short story about artificial intelligence that I wrote in Grade 12 (1992). Here it is, unedited:


As if in a nightmare, Steven thrust himself down beside his virtual daughter, sobbing and calling out to her. She pushed herself to a sitting position with her crippled arms. Her countenance terrorized him; something so unreal had happened to something so real. This type of disfigurement was only possible in a virtual world. The lines of her face were still present, but they had been arranged into a perfectly flat plane during the fall.

“Detect, evaluate, respond,” whined the child.

Her small body was hunched forward, and her left arm constantly wobbled against the floor. She reached out to him with her other arm.

“No Cybele,” he pleaded with his harmless persecutor. “Stay back!”

The delirious computer scientist was stooped over in the middle of the empty room, pounding the floor when his wife walked in.

She hollered to him, “Is this what fifteen years of research is for?”

Shaking, Steven removed his binaural headgear and looked up to his wife.

“It’s Cybele,” he explained as he attempted to brace himself. “She fell, and my stupid ground with infinite reaction capacity flattened her face.”

“Come on, Steven. She’s just a program – a list of numbers! Try not to get so worked up about it.”

“But numbers make entities and entities are real,” Steven insisted. “Do you want to meet her?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll just restart the program so she won’t be distorted.”

Wanda put the gear on and was immediately greeted by the child.

“Hav yu ever wunderd wat it wud be lyk to fal off a clif?”

Wanda frowned. She was not expecting to hear such an unusual comment from the small child.

Cybele looked like any other little girl; however, her fluctuating movements, choppy speech, and unflinching eyes made her frightening. The illusion was definitely a success, yet the subtle inconsistencies with reality made the observer feel apprehensive with the unpredictable child.

“No, not really,” replied Wanda. “I can imagine it would hurt!”

She felt embarrassed because in reality she was talking to nothing.

The undaunted child continued.

“It wud hurt yu but not me. I do not eksist. Follo me.”

Cybele motioned with her arm and began walking along the dark blue ground. She led Wanda to a rough incline on the strange surface. Viewing ahead, Wanda could see the outline of a cliff. Suddenly she felt clouded in fear, and she thought she could see a weak reflection of her own eyes directly in front of her.

“Since this is onli an ilushun, yu can eksperynse it without pane,” blurted Cybele, grabbing Wanda’s arm.

Wanda did not feel the small, clutching hand, but she could see herself lurching forward over the edge of the bluff. Screaming, she pulled off the headgear.

“Wow! And you told me not to get worked up,” said Steven, chuckling.

“She’s pretty clever for a list of numbers!”

“Well, she ought to be, considering the years I’ve put into her.”

A temporary lull in their conversation enabled them to hear faint static sounds emitted from the headgear at uniformly recurring time intervals. Steven lowered his ear to the apparatus. Cybele was calling his name and crying out to him through the inadequate interface of electronic paraphernalia separating them. Steven quickly put on the equipment, bridging the two different worlds.

“Ware is mi breth, Steven?”

“Well, I -,” He faltered, then looked appealingly to Cybele. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“The breth uv evri living thing is in the hand uv the Creator-“

Steven interrupted.

“Did – did I teach you that?”

“- but I am not a living thing,” continued Cybele.

A contradiction of logic had occurred in the child’s mind. An inescapable infinite loop held her thought processes captive. The independence of her artificial intelligence had manipulated her into a Boolean deadlock.

“Wat holds mi breth, Steven?”

“Cybele, you’re an illusion.”

He tried to make his voice sound bold, although he was aware of her ability to perceive deception. He knew that she was seeking a direct answer to the question, yet he did not know how to explain it to her.

“But,” she said, “yu created me.”

“I only pretended to create you. It is impossible to create life.”

“Am i not lyfe?”

Cybele extended her hand, tempting Steven to reconsider his certainty. Her little fingers opened slowly, and her eyes scanned his face until they focused on his eyes.

“No, you are not life.”

Steven reached out to touch a hand that he could not feel.

Balancing Level of Engagement when you have Unpredictable Mood Shifts

This is the second time that I will use a video game as a metaphor. The first post is here.

Every match in Battle Bay is different depending on the map, your teammates, the current equipment on your ship, and the strength of the other team. In a similar way, every hour of our life is different depending on our to-do list, our current nutrition and sleep levels, our financial situation, our relationships, and our mood, especially if we are bipolar.

When I play a battle in the game, it is a struggle for me to find the right balance between rushing in and damaging the enemy versus hanging back and staying alive. This is especially difficult because of the unpredictability of the pattern of battle in any given match. Similarly, in life, it is a struggle for me to find the right balance between rushing in and trying to be productive, as my brain ponders the flood of information regarding responsibilities and priorities, versus hanging back (staying in bed or approaching the day more slowly), and trying to preserve my mental health. Sometimes I get caught, because of the unpredictability of my mood.

For example, this morning I woke at 8:30a. I immediately rushed into the day (so full of chores!), not mindful of the context of my shifting mood. I found myself under heavy damage, because I had unwittingly charged into enemy territory too quickly. I was in the thick of battle, but stunned by the exploding mines and torpedoes slamming into my boat. My emotional health was rapidly declining–i was becoming very depressed as I tried to continue the chores I had so eagerly rushed into.

Thankfully, rational thinking got me turned around and driving in the opposite direction: I retreated to my bed and wrote this article. Now I will look at my day plan and determine priorities while decreasing the activity level of the day.

If you survive backing out of making the mistake of rushing into a territory that is within range of a lot of enemy firepower, the shock fades and you ground yourself by looking at the map and at your current health status. You might discover that you barely escaped having your boat utterly sunk.

I am currently in bed feeling overwhelmed, but I’m definitely back in the safety zone. My depression is fading, and I think today might be a good day.

For People who Hate Cats

  • Cats value autonomy: if you try to restrain them from leaving the sofa when they want to leave the sofa, that will not help you befriend the cat. There is a right time to pet and cuddle the cat, but it isn’t when they don’t want it. The same goes for play-fighting.
  • Cats don’t have the verbal language skills that dogs have. That doesn’t make them less intelligent than dogs, that just makes you less intelligent for attempting that method of communication when you know it doesn’t work. Cats can be communicated with by how you behave around them and by vocal tones, but that’s for you to discover.
  • Cats aren’t loyal to people who presuppose some stereotype about them and then treat them like shit. Nor would you. That’s one of the areas where cats are much more intelligent than dogs.
  • Nobody with brains is impressed with your need to announce that you hate cats. If you’re insecure about your masculinity, maybe you could learn by befriending and imitating a cat who won’t accept the company of any asshole who comes along. Friendship is a fantastic journey when you take the time to understand a complex and different creature.

Marijuana strains for bipolar depression

There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Each strain has different proportions of the cannabinoids. I have not tried a lot of strains, but so far White Widow and Sour Diesel seem to be the best ones for bipolar depression. 
 Sour Diesel takes a little bit longer to act, but both of these strains will give you relief from depression within 25 minutes (vaping). You will feel increased energy and motivation to accomplish things, with minimal side effects.

Note: this is just my experience.

March 12 update: Skywalker OG is far and away the most beneficial stain, for me. I recommend that you try a lot of strains at first.

March 13 update: It feels like one chamber of Skywalker OG gives me a part of my brain back, some part that was missing. It does this within 15 minutes of medicating start time, and it lasts for hours.

More information HERE.