Jesus Didn’t Wear Glasses

And he won’t wear them when he comes back. It may sound trivial, but a guy named William Bates proved that eyesight was correctable without glasses. That’s important because it means you and I have a natural path to better sight.

More importantly, vision is closely tied to memory in the elderly. So if you can save your vision, you may can save your mind.

In my book, we take this concept use it to develop a working brain model, and apply it to some mysteries of science and medicine. We journey into psychology and psychiatry, theorize about mental illnesses, and expose some major shortcomings in the science of the mind. Get your copy today.

Perfect is Impossible

We all know perfectionists. The question is what type of logic is it that makes them that way, and what does that logic set do to their behaviors and their happiness.

For perfectionists, right and wrong become perfect and imperfect. And they have to dislike or hate the imperfect to be willing to change it.

To be a perfectionist, you have to develop an eye for spotting the negative in situations that are mostly positive. Because if you can’t spot the negative, you can’t change it. And if you can’t change it, things aren’t perfect.

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Expecting perfect is essentially expecting unhappiness. Because the world lies outside of the realm of perfect.

And when you hold things to a perfect standard, it’s hard to see the positives when you’re too busy trying to correct the negatives. There is little room for gratitude when perfect is expected.

Admittedly, many people are very successful because of their perfectionism. Their ability to spot imperfections and correct them right away is a part of their life. The key is being able to turn it off when you get home. Realizing that one of your gifts is spotting the negatives in things, no matter how small, should help you in spotting the positives in people and things that you care about.

We must recognize that there are positives in almost every situation, when we just allow ourselves to see them. 

 

I am an addict [And so are you]

Preliminary reading: Expecting Unhappiness

While I was doing my Venn Diagrams for my article about expectations, I did a set on addiction. At some point, I realized that I’ve always been an addict. 

Addict (noun) – someone that looks forward to something with expectation. That would make the opposite of addiction being fully present. Habit becomes addiction when hope becomes expectation.

I’ve been addicted to

  • fitness
  • caffeine
  • learning
  • sex
  • porn
  • food
  • social media
  • writing
  • gambling
  • fear
  • work
  • money

The tricky part is that most of these things by themselves are not inherently bad. They become bad when I start thinking about them instead of the present moment. Eating a hamburger isn’t bad, but if I’m thinking about eating hamburgers all day, I have issues.

Working out isn’t a bad thing, but thinking that my reality or happiness depends on my workouts is.

Caffeine is not a bad thing, but thinking that I need it to be myself is.

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If you decide you need something to be happy, you’re right.

Once you start trying incorporate things that can never be a part of you into your character, you begin to need them. To expect them. And when your reality doesn’t include them, you think about the next time that you could have a reality that could. You make plans to achieve that as soon as possible. This mindset is what an addict is. It’s not a chemical need for a drug, it’s the refusal to accept the present moment as being enough. Or refusal to accept yourself in that present moment in your current state. And when the present moment is not enough, you decide what you think would make it enough.

The chemical need comes from perceived mental want. [For more, read the Conservation of Dopamine] When your reality requires a drug, any reality without that drug increases stress. You’re basically comparing who you are right now to who you think you should be. Whether that be working out, writing, eating, or doing drugs, etc.

Suicidal thoughts come when your reality can no longer meet your expectations. Not only that, but you can’t foresee any future realities that meet your expectations. You have no hope. And the opposite of hope is despair.

  • Hope (noun) – belief that there is a chance of a future where your reality is better than now.
  • Actual needs- food, water, shelter, human contact, air, sleep
  • Perceived needs- anything else

Chances are great that you’ve never even been close to needing food or water. The human body can go days without water and over a month without food. People have lived long and healthy lives without working out. Coffee may help you function, but you do not need it to survive.

When we mentally categorize things as needs that are not needs, they become needs. Not because we actually need them, but because when we think we need them to function, we think we’re incomplete without them. We expect them, and thus our reality is incomplete without them.

Another interesting perspective on this is time: Because time does not exist in the brain, there is not a set amount of caffeine, sex, or working out that makes it an addiction. It’s the mindset. For example, if you’re addicted to food and working out, an outsider may not even know anything is wrong with you. Someone would just think you have a fast metabolism because of all the working out that you did.

Remember, we already made the spectacular claim that there is only one brain disease. That gives us the freedom to make some other observations about these addictions.

Addictions are highly correlated with ADD, ADHD, OCD, and many other mental health issues. Now our big leap of logic becomes more of a short step. Let’s define these with our new definition of addiction:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder: looking forward to the next thing
  • Obsession Compulsive Disorder: looking forward to [relative] perfection
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: looking forward to a reality that excludes a past event
  • Anxiety: looking forward to the next potential negative reality
  • Depression: looking forward to despair

So what about the medications that resolve these issues? We’ve discussed it several times in Don’t Trust Your Psychiatrist and Void Avoidance. But the short answer is really at very least, psychiatry has no idea how their drugs work. At worst, they only mask underlying issues. With our brain model, we believe that you have the ability to be happy if you’ve been happy before. With that in mind, and the fact that time doesn’t exist in the brain, the permanent addition of psychiatric drugs is terrifying. It would literally prevent you from becoming who you were designed to be. It would stop you from facing your fears, overcoming your demons, and telling your true story.

Sources:

  1. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  2. https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/the-connection/

 

 

Expecting Unhappiness

 

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When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have. -Stephen Hawking 

First, let’s define expectations as a set of predictions about the future. Gratitude is the opposite of expectations. We can be grateful about certain things, but not others. But it’s nearly impossible to be grateful for something that is outside of our set of expectations. As expectations approach zero, we are fully grateful. If gratitude approaches zero, we are full of unmet expectations. Expectations create a void. Gratitude is the absence of void.

Hope is not expectations. I hope that I live another forty years, but I don’t expect it. Once I expect it, anything shy of that is a disappointment. Hope is belief that there is a possibility that there will be a time where your reality [or a portion] is better than right now. Hope becomes expectations when you decide that your dream is essential to your happiness.

What is the difference between hope and expectations? Hope does not create a void. Hope is just belief that the future could be better. I hope my arm heals up or I expect my arm to heal up. Hope involves accepting the present reality. I do not need my arm to heal to be whole, but I would be very grateful if it healed. If I expect my arm to heal, my current reality is incomplete until my arm heals. I can never be fully whole without a healed arm. And the truth is there is an infinite set of realities that involve a healed arm, and an infinite set that involved an unhealed arm. If I expect my arm to heal, I cannot be completely happy with an unhealed arm.

The past is unchangeable. There is literally no hope to change it. It has been written. If you expect a life that doesn’t include your mistakes, you’re going to be unhappy, because it doesn’t exist.

What do you expect out of your life? How far are you from that right now? Let’s start with a much smaller scale. You go out to eat and you order a steak. It’s a nice restaurant, so you’re paying $30+ dollars per streak. You order it medium rare.

At this point, you’ve probably unknowingly set some expectations on the meal. [And the restaurant has placed some expectations on itself] With the price of the meal being high, and the restaurant being fancy, you automatically expect more out of this meal. You put in your order, and expect it to be right, and delicious. Maybe it’s good, and maybe it’s terrible, but expectations at this point are so high, that even a good steak make just appease you.

On the other hand, take the same meal at a dive bar with a $15 steak, and you may have people lining up down the block for it. With lowered expectations, the customer has no choice but to be impressed with a good steak.

How does this apply to the bigger picture? Imagine that fairy-tale wedding: the perfect dress, picturesque setting, and Prince Charming. Girls dream about these things when they are very young. We encourage it. They make decisions based on this ideal.

In reality, you wear a great dress, and have a great wedding in a great place to a great guy, but you may still not be happy. Because you let your dreams effect your reality.

Chances are great that you’re not a millionaire and you didn’t marry a supermodel, so how do you get out of bed every morning? Gratitude. Gratitude is the ultimate mindset in accepting what you have. It doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards making millions, but it means that you can be happy along the way.

So how do I keep moving forward without being bogged down by my expectations?I’m not saying that it’s not okay to dream. It’s important to move ourselves and society forward. But as things happen, we shouldn’t look back on our plan constantly, because it will never measure up. And if our happiness is based on how well our expectations match our realities, we will never be happy.

Don’t let other people’s expectations of you effect you. I really struggle with this. I’m pretty good at this sport, so my friends think that I’m good at this sport. But I haven’t been playing lately, so I’m not as good as they expect me to be. When my reality doesn’t match their expectations, they feel obligated to say something. If I let my current reality inherit their expectations, I’ll be unhappy with my play. But if I can accept my current reality, I can embrace each match and still have fun.

The moral of the story: dream big, expect nothing, be grateful, hope for the best, and don’t let anyone else’s expectations become your own. Every time you compare reality to expectations you will be disappointed, so just don’t do it.

Expect the world, and you’ll find disappointment. Expect the worst, and you’ll find worries. Expect nothing, and you’ll find everything.

 

 

It’s Never Too Late

  1. If eyesight is reversible in me, it is reversible in everyone. Or rather, if Bates proved that all cases are reversible without glasses.
  2. If eyesight is reversible, it is not a physical impairment, it is a brain condition, or sub optimal mental state.
  3. If my brain condition is reversible, other brain conditions may be reversible.
  4. If a brain condition has been reversed in one individual, it is reversible in anyone.
  5. If brain conditions can be reversed without medicine in one in individual, all individuals with that condition can be reversed without medicine.
  6. If all individuals with these conditions can be resolved without medicine, our mental wellness can be achieved without medicine. And when time does not exist, it does not matter the age of the afflicted individual. Healing is always possible.
  7. If our mental wellness is obtainable without medicine, we were created to be mentally well.
  8. If mental wellness can be achieved without pharmaceutical assistance, we were made in the image of something greater.
  9. If we were created in the image of something greater to be well, we have a purpose.
  10. If it is never too late to be healed, it is never to late to find our purpose.

An Unpopular Approach to Homosexuality

Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. Here’s why I think we should put it back. 

It’s a choice, in the same way glasses are a choice. I know what you’re thinking: glasses are not a choice. I only wear glasses because I need them to see. But if I told you that it was possible to see without glasses, what would you say? We’ve proven this over and over again. William Bates did all the work in the 1920s. So if it is possible for you to see without glasses, yet you use them, that is a choice. And that choice is causing your brain to operate at a less than optimal level.

We all have our issues. But the difference here is the ability to identify them as issues. When society begins to accept or even embrace it, the fine line between right and wrong becomes blurred.

Some correlations with homosexuality:

  • Higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and substance use or dependence in lesbian and gay youth.
  • Higher rates of recurrent major depression among gay men.
  • A fourfold increase of the likelihood of suicide in LBGT youth.
  • Higher rates of anxiety, mood and substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts among people ages 15 to 54 with same-sex partners.
  • Higher use of mental health services in men and women reporting same-sex partners.

If being gay is correlated with negative mental health, why are people gay? Because society and culture have told them that they were born that way. They have forgotten how to piece apart what’s right and what’s wrong in this perspective. If your group of friends was based on the worst thing that you did, who would you hang out with?

If we view being gay as a suboptimal mental state, it would make sense to be associated with disorders associated with suboptimal mental states. Remember: There is Only One Brain Disease.

While obviously frowned upon by most realms of contemporary ethics, there have been multiple case studies to show that homosexuality is reversible. That’s important, because with our view of the brain, that means it’s always reversible. By what mechanism, I don’t know.

In looking at past research in homosexuality, here are the flaws I see in the logic: if we don’t know why it’s wrong, it must be right. If we don’t know how to reverse it, it must be irreversible, and thus something that we must accept.

If being homosexual is operating in a sub-optimal mental state, it is impossible to become your best self without challenging the deep-rooted logic that has become part of your being. When you begin to doubt the feelings that society has told you to embrace, you will start to rediscover your true self.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4887282/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/mental-health.htm
  3. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/LGBTQ_MentalHealth_OnePager.pdf
  4. https://www.apa.org/monitor/feb02/newdata
  5. https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_therapy
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/12/lgbt-mental-health-sexuality-gender-identity
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4936529/
  9. https://www.hrc.org/blog/flashbackfriday-today-in-1973-the-apa-removed-homosexuality-from-list-of-me

The Case for Self Regulation

This is a follow-up to my post this weekend about the nature of psychiatry

If psychiatry can make people happier, what’s the issue?

The future. If your brain is dependent on time-sensitive drugs to be happy, how can you possibly raise children without the same flaws.

If these mindsets are inherited, which I think they are, your kid will likely pick up this mindset, whether or not you’ve masked it with pharmaceutical drugs.

From an evolutionary standpoint, we were trending positive for thousands of years, naturally. It’s not all that complicated, crazy people aren’t suited to be heads of the household, so society would trend toward less crazy. It’s much more pleasant to be around people who aren’t depressed, bipolar, or whatever you call what plagues you.

Now you may have no idea what list of drugs it takes to keep your partner sane. And chances are, you don’t care. Because psychiatry has successfully pitched the chemical imbalance theory to the world. But if you dig a little deeper, you realize they have no idea what is going on. If your symptoms are improving, their job is done. But if the brain is reversible without medicine, then what does that say about the status of these subjects. Are they cured? Or have we found a way for them to continue without addressing their underlying issues?

The scariest thing of all: the nature of time in the human brain is not constant. So they don’t know how long it’s going to take to get in your system or how long it’s going to last. Chances are great that it’s going to vary, as your mind works in different capacities over the course of the day and the week. You notice the pill bottles will say take once daily, or something like that. But if the mind does not perceive time at all, much less at a constant rate, how will we stabilize anyone? Especially if the amount of the drug in your system declines over time. 

So when time doesn’t matter, how do you tell people when to take their pills? They must self regulate. They must be taught to identify unhealthy thought patterns and make appropriate adjustments in real time. Unless they plan on living the same day with the same amount of stress, internally and externally every day, they must self diagnose. It’s not complicated. You eat when you get hungry. You sleep when you get tired. You [insert regulating behavior here] when you get [insert mental health abnormality].

Void Avoidance

How do you fill the emptiness in your life? How do you mend the hurt?

Turning to alcohol is not an uncommon solution to many problems. In my brief stay at a local mental health facility (anxiety), I saw many patients who had turned to drugs or alcohol in their down times in their lives, being prescribed drugs.

Essentially, the thought is, how can we make this person function most like a normal human being, except without doing that thing that got them in here. The science says that there is a chemical in-balance in your brain. Once we find the right combination of chemicals, we can hotwire you into a normal life. Whatever that is.

Except, we know that the model is broken. People have holes in their hearts for a reason, and giving them another pill is just another way of masking that hurt. I’m not saying they are not chemically unbalanced. What I’m saying is that if you teach them to live with whatever prescription you give them, you’re keeping them from overcoming what plagues them. You trap them in their hurt without feeling hurt. It could be the most despicable curse of all.

And remember: Don’t Trust Your Psychiatrist.

Deciphering Depression

Disclaimer: This is not a how-to article. Talk to a therapist or psychiatrist before making any decisions that could impact your life.  

What is depression? Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

What do antidepressants do? We say they balance the chemicals in peoples brains, that help regulate moods and emotions. Most people end up sleeping better, eating better, and start doing the things they enjoy again. I think it’s safe to say that the antidepressant market is working, at some capacity. The model used to explain the drugs is probably right, but I think it’s important to keep things simple: that most people who take these drugs get happier. 

So if the problems were entirely chemical, why do antidepressants only work 80-90% of the time? Why is there drug resistant depression? And if there is drug resistant depression, what does that say about the nature of the disease itself?

But why would some people be resistant to the cure? Severity of the episode, and duration of the episode both seem to factor in here. Also old age and anxiety disorders have significant correlations.  Truth is, we really don’t know. 

What procedures are there to treat drug-resistant depression? 

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While you are asleep, a carefully measured dose of electricity is passed through your brain, intentionally triggering a small, brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can relatively quickly reverse symptoms of major depression. 
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).Generally only used when ECT isn’t effective, rTMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. 
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Generally, VNS is only tried after other brain stimulation therapies such as ECT and rTMS have not been successful in improving symptoms of depression. 

There are all sorts of natural remedies and foods that help combat depression. Here are the highlights:

  1. Some people have used red meat to treat depression. 
  2. Sunlight and phototherapy have been used to treat seasonal depression. 
  3. Coffee has been shown to have positive effects on depression. 
  4. Exercise helps combat depression. 
  5. Induced fevers have been used to treat depression. 
  6. Psychostimulants have been used to effectively treat depression 

So let’s pool all the non anti-depressant solutions together. What on earth do they have in common? Red meat, coffee, sunlight, fevers, exercise, and electric and magnetic stimulation. They stress the body or the brain. They stimulate. They stimulate you into action, give you energy to pursue what you’re passionate about. And with that boost, you burn energy, work up an appetite, sleep better, and wake better the next day to do it all over again. 

Why does stimulation help? I think its because stimulating these already overactive brains makes the person physiologically adapt to increasing stress. Remember, brainwaves are in higher frequencies when people are depressed. Basically, if you have to, you’ll find more energy. You’ll adapt to the stimulation, then the stimulation goes away. So the adaptation lowers your resting brain energy. 

So how does our time perception theory tie in? Read my Conservation of Dopamine post. Basically, time perception seems to factor in to every portion of this. What’s counter-intuitive is the fact that to solve the problem, you actually may need to increase stress. 

How does our logic make [and keep] us depressed? If the brain was designed to be happy, what are we doing or not doing to prevent us from being happy? What changed in you? You have been happy before. Your behavior is ruled by your fears. Your fears are based on your logic. When your logic changed, your behavior changed. So just like a computer, you’re responsible for rewriting your code. If you’re anything like me, you may have had faulty logic that was still producing desirable results. I was happy and productive, but for the wrong reasons. Because it was not properly debugged, when stress got to be too much, I broke. Without going into too much detail, my mind was not simple enough. There were filters and lenses that I used to produce desired outputs based on the context of the situation. The problem was that this did not give me a simple code to execute. Everything depended on the situation. The location, the people around, the day of the week, etc. So my mood was dependent on the amount of stress at any given time, and my whole day was spent working on trying to exit the stress. The stress wasn’t the problem though, it was me. My personality depended on the the situation I was in. So I preferred simple situations. One-on-one conversations. Alone time. Because it put my mind at ease. But complex situations were stressful for me because my mood and personality depended on the context of situation.  

So the more complex the code, the more time it takes to execute. Except, you don’t get any more time in real life. So you’re forced to press. You strain and sort through these thoughts, and slow down time so you can function in real time with your filters and lenses. 

How does vision tie in? Based on Bates method, vision issues are evidence of mental strain. So while refraction errors do not necessarily mean anyone is depressed, it could be a risk factor. Mental strain essentially slows down time and produces refractive errors. But glasses do not produce mental strain. They let you see with it.  

Why are more people depressed now than ever before? Our lifestyles, obligations, and phones demand more out of our primitive brains than has ever been demanded of them. We are forced to make more decisions per day than any civilization in human history. So what happens when you have 10,000 decisions to make every day instead of 100? You have to think more. But you have the same amount of precious time. So you cope by stressing your brain. The more you stress it, the more decisions you can make in a day. The slower you perceive time. The further you are from who your were designed to be. 

Sources:

  1. http://ijer.skums.ac.ir/article_23155.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/treatment-resistant-depression/art-20044324

Becoming Bipolar

Mood instability is a serious mental illness, characterized by manic highs and deep depression.

What I think is really interesting is the time periods between highs and lows? Because let’s face it: even those with seasonal depression cycle out of it at some point. Then you have those like me who fluctuate between feeling like Einstein and Emily Dickinson, almost daily.

More importantly, our entire model of the brain ignores time. That’s the beauty of it. So there’s really no one that’s any more bipolar than anyone else. Some people just recover much faster from their down times. And some people tumble much deeper and climb much higher than others. If mood instability is literally just oscillations in mental stress, which is a variable we control, we control how fast we come out of it, how bad it gets, and how long we stay in it.

If think about your entire life as rating on a scale from manic to depressed, or, if you think you’re normal, from happy to sad. It’s important not to be defined by your current state, and to know that everyone’s mood fluctuates to some capacity.

Try to be mindful of where you are on the scale at any one moment, so you can start to identify your triggers, and begin to self-regulate.

So yes, I probably am bipolar. But so is everyone else.