Using math to manage Bipolar

Flying home to New York from a client visit in Texas on June 29, 2012, I was working in my Moleskine.

IMG_4899A wannabe quantitative analyst who “sees” patterns and trends in the measureless (or so goes the dream), I was toying with Cartesian coordinates and parabolas.

The man sitting in the middle seat turned to me and spoke up. “Excuse me, if you don’t mind my asking, what you are trying to draw?”

I explained how there were family members who dealt with bipolar disorder, and I was sketching this one particular parabola but didn’t know the equation.

“That’s ‘y = x cubed’.”

I love math.

We chatted a moment longer, long enough for me to get edgy and want to get back to my work, which progressed eventually into an attempt to explain, with Y=X^3, how to both understand bipolar disorder as an illness of body, mind and soul, and also how to treat it at various points.

Bipolar “spectrum” of emotions and social connectedness

A few years back, I wrote up a scale of emotions and social inter-connectedness, with peace at the center and either end showing isolation and destruction. This has been my experience over the last twenty years of living with bipolar disorder and observing others with it.

Best read by starting at “PEACEFUL-RELAXED” in center of column and then reading either up or down. I’ll eventually create a graphic around this.

FINAL ACT WITHIN IMAGINED REALITY
Uncontrollable-suicidal
Uncontrollable-isolated
Reckless-antisocial
Restless-antisocial
Energetic-swashbuckler
Eager-obnoxious
Insightful-witty
Talkative-social
Lucid-social
PEACEFUL-RELAXED
Tired-relaxed
Morose-humorous
Morose-cautious
Morose-scared
Self-doubting-scared
Self-contempt-grieving
Self-loathing-desperate
Unreachable-isolated
Unreachable-suicidal
FINAL ACT IN HOPELESSNESS

You are a poem

When we create places that help people flourish and thrive, we point people to their God—the One who has made them into poetry, with cadence, structure, and meaning; the One who has laid out various creative works for each of us to do, in alignment with who we are.

– from the coda of my “Theology of Place” essay, currently in final draft.