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November 30th, 2007

I Won NaNoWriMo Again

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It's been a while since I've posted on here.  But, just for the record, I just won NaNoWriMo again, in being one of the people to make it to 50,000 words, all written during the month of November.

Oh, and I did it with a whole 24 hours and like 10 minutes to spare!  Woo hoo!


This year's entry was Reality Crisis part 2, so 50,000 more words extending from last year's novel.

September 2nd, 2007

New Article on Bipolar

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20563010/


Novel remedies tested to treat bipolar disorder
Seasickness patches, brain scans, more are being studied to curb disease

Updated: 2:52 p.m. ET Sept 2, 2007
NEW YORK - Scientists are testing seasickness patches and other surprising options in a challenging search for new ways to treat the crushing depression and uncontrolled mania of bipolar disorder.

Also called manic-depression, it’s an illness that can rip careers and marriages apart and drive people to suicide. And it’s so complex and mysterious that researchers haven’t developed a medication specifically for it since lithium, more than half a century ago.

Yet bipolar appears in various forms and severity in about 1 in every 25 American adults at some point in their lives, according to a major study published in May.

Current medicines help, but often fall short.

They “certainly reduce symptoms but don’t do a good enough job,” said Dr. Husseini Manji of the National Institute of Mental Health. “Many patients are helped, but they’re not well.”

Unusual choices
Nobody knows yet whether the latest crop of possible treatments will pan out. Besides the motion sickness patch, unusual choices include a drug that treats Lou Gehrig’s disease and a device that produces an electric field around the brain. Even the breast cancer drug tamoxifen has been tested.

Some of these approaches were identified by logic, and others by pure chance. Scientists already have early evidence that someday they may prove useful against bipolar.

The disorder’s classic feature is episodes of mania, which are periods of boosted energy and restlessness that can run for a week or more.

“You have so much energy, you have so many great ideas” said Tamara, 26, a Pittsburgh resident who was diagnosed several years ago. She asked that her last name not be used.

“You feel like you’re thinking so clear, you’ve got the answer for everybody. You need to tell them, you need to phone all your friends... It’s so hard to sleep. You keep thinking of all sorts of things.”

But mania can also bring extreme irritability. Tamara’s energetic charisma made her the life of the party, but “if somebody spilled a drink on me, I would just explode,” she recalled. “It’s like all your emotions are just completely intensified.”

She got into fights and experienced road rage. She made bad decisions, plagiarizing a college paper and behaving promiscuously.

“A lot of things sound like a good idea when you’re manic,” she said, “and they’re really not.”

During manic episodes many people even get hallucinations or delusions, and Tamara experienced those too. “I was convinced I could hear other people’s thoughts, or at least know what they were,” she recalled. “I thought everybody was saying bad things about me.”

The other side of the bipolar coin is episodes of depression that last a week or more. For Tamara, depression was life turning gray.

“Nothing is interesting. You’re bored with everything... Nothing sounds fun anymore. All you want to do is sleep. I slept days and days away.”

In her senior year of college, thoughts of suicide frightened her into seeking help.

Difficult to treat
Doctors currently treat bipolar with a variety of drugs including lithium, anticonvulsant medications that can stabilize mood, and antipsychotics. Psychological therapy and patient education greatly boost the effectiveness of the drugs.

Tamara takes lithium and another drug, and says, “I’m doing fine right now.”

She’s lucky. Bipolar disorder is hard to treat chiefly because the depressive episodes are more severe and more resistant to therapy than ordinary “unipolar” depression, notes Dr. Andrea Fagiolini, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

What’s more, many patients can’t tolerate current bipolar medications because of side effects like weight gain, sleepiness, tremor, and the sense of feeling “drugged,” Fagiolini said. (Some patients also stop taking their medicine because they miss the “highs” of the disease, he noted).

A study of treated patients published last year found that about 60 percent got well for at least eight weeks, but only half of that group remained well when followed for up to two years. And this was with very good therapy, noted Dr. Andrew Nierenberg, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“That means there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Nierenberg said. “That’s why we need new treatments.”


A basic problem
But there’s a basic problem. Just as heart attacks come from chronic heart disease, the manic and depressive episodes come from an underlying chronic brain disease. And “we just don’t really understand what’s behind the illness,” said Dr. Gary Sachs, who directs bipolar research at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

That mystery and the complexity of the disorder have discouraged scientists from trying to develop drugs for bipolar, Manji said. Not since lithium, developed more than 50 years ago, have they developed a drug specifically for bipolar, Manji said.

Like lithium, some of the latest crop of early candidate drugs revealed their potential simply by chance.

Take the experience of NIMH researchers Maura Furey and Dr. Wayne Drevets with the drug scopolamine, which is normally used to keep people from getting seasick or carsick. Several years ago, they were studying whether scopolamine could improve memory and attention in depressed people. So they gave the drug intravenously to depressed patients, trying to find the right dose for a brain-imaging study.

But then they noticed an odd thing. These patients started feeling less depressed the night after the injections, a remarkable thing since most antidepressants take weeks to kick in.
 
“Some patients would say it was the best night of sleep they’d had in many years, and the next morning they woke up feeling a substantial lifting of their depression,” Drevets said. “In many cases that improvement persisted for weeks or even months.”

Drevets and Furey quickly changed their research focus to test the drug’s effect on depression itself. And in October 2006 they published an encouraging, though preliminary, result with a small group of depressed patients, some of whom had bipolar.

Now Furey is leading a study using scopolamine skin patches — like those travelers wear to prevent motion sickness — to treat depression in bipolar disorder as well as ordinary depression. For now, people shouldn’t try patch treatment for depression on their own, she said.

Zapping the condition
A similar bit of serendipity showed up at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., in 2001. Depressed bipolar patients who were getting their brains scanned for a study of brain chemistry suddenly felt a lot better. Alerted by a research assistant, scientists started taking a closer look. And in 2004, they published their conclusion that the electric fields produced by the brain scans might lift depression. It’s still not clear how.

Follow-up studies have had inconsistent results. But researchers have now built a device that resembles a hair-salon dryer to produce electric fields. They plan to start testing it this fall.

Apart from luck, researchers have taken advantage of the few insights they have into bipolar disease to develop potential treatments.

That’s the story with riluzole, now used to treat the paralyzing disorder Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Scientists found that a drug that’s effective against depression in bipolar disorder boosts the abundance of a certain protein in rat brain cells, and that riluzole does too. So the researchers tried riluzole in a small number of depressed bipolar patients, and in some patients the symptoms virtually disappeared, Manji said.

So riluzole, which is distributed by Sanofi-Aventis, might become a treatment for bipolar disorder, he said.

Similar research used an off-the-shelf drug to get a lead for developing a new medication. Studies in rats showed that lithium and another anti-mania drug hamper the effect of a particular enzyme in the brain. That suggested that other drugs that hamper that enzyme might work against mania too, Manji said.

The best available candidate: tamoxifen, used to fight breast cancer. And sure enough, Manji’s recent study in a small group of bipolar patients found that tamoxifen quickly quelled mania. Other studies have found similar results, he said.

That shows the value of blocking the enzyme, and now Manji is trying to develop other drugs that will do that, perhaps for use in emergency rooms. He wants to avoid tamoxifen itself because of concern about long-term side effects, since his work requires a higher dose than women use to stave off breast cancer for years.

Unlocking mysteries
Scientists say the real key to unlocking the mysteries of bipolar disorder — and thereby exposing targets for drugs — lies in a new generation of research into DNA.

In recent months, scientific journals have begun to publish the early results of a revolution in DNA analysis: the ability to scan entire genomes in detail to find genetic variants that predispose people to particular diseases. Some of the new work is implicating dozens of variants in bipolar disorder.

Such work can expose the hidden biological underpinnings of disease, and so tip off researchers to unsuspected targets for intervening.

“We’ve been stumbling in the dark for most of our history” of bipolar research, said gene expert Dr. Francis McMahon of NIMH. But “these kinds of studies ... will really give us the chance to reason from biological insights back to the patient.”

Sachs, of Harvard, agreed: “I think these whole-genome scans will in fact be the important bridge to better treatments.”

And not just in some far-distant future. The new gene studies, Sachs said, help give “a great potential to advance the field in our lifetimes and treat people who are living now.”

August 29th, 2007

I think I finally understand what blue_jean_girl was talking about when she kept mentioning that "Catholic guilt" of mine in various conversations.

I can now clearly and directly see how, when I get in situations where I get really angry and do things like pound on doors and demand things and such, it ties directly to chemical imbalance issues in my brain.  Chemically speaking, it's a given that I've been on withdrawl from Lithium, and that the Lamictal that'll replace it is still very slowly working up towards the planned full dosage.  Thus, I'm more or less in the type of state I was in up through March, before I started with any Lithium, and which I haven't seen at all in the interim since then.  I've been quite a bit calmer lately; I can see that now, by comparison.  But, even though it helped, the Lithium didn't work as well as it needed to, and Lamictal should work quite a bit better, hence the switchover.

This afternoon, I got really angry at work, almost to the temper tantrum level, it may have seen.  Tonight, I was banging on the locked door of a McDonald's to get them to let me back in from the patio, since I wanted to get a spoon, and since I wanted to be able to go back out through the two doors I had gone through (into the McDonald's then out to the patio) to get to that point.  Interestingly enough, I just met with my psychiatrist again today, between those two incidents, and I'm meeting with my therapist again on Wednesday of next week... so it's not like they aren't there, while I'm in the middle of all this.

But, yeah-- the whole Catholic guilt thing... I can see how there's this highly irrational progression that's gone on in my reasoning throughout my life.  When I've had bipolar tantrums and/or altercations, I've generally come away from them sinking into a mode of guilt.  There's this idea that it's "wrong" to yell at people like that, and so forth.  But, the thing is, there's a clear scientific progression here-- if I have enough Lithium, Lamictal, or otherwise suitable similarly effective chemical in my system, then my system works pretty well, and I don't spend large portions of my day stewing in anger, punctuated by these tantrums.  If I don't, then my brain chemistry doesn't work correctly, and me getting into tantrums and/or altercations and such is as predictable, consistent, and scientifically sound as letting go of a ball and watching it fall down.  The ball always falls, and it always follows the same equations.  My brain and my emotions (and all the physical aspects of "me," ultimately) always follow their own equations.

But... no one ever condemns a ball for falling down.  But yet, there's this condemnation of my emotions and physical self throwing a tantrum, or whatever.  That's the Catholic guilt thing.  Sometimes after such an event, I feel almost like going back to the other people involved, and trying to debate and convince them that I was "right."  But I can see that it's really not about whether or not someone else validates my actions.  In reality, I'm trying to convince myself that I'm "right."  But I'm only doing so because I believe that I'm "wrong," and hence get all sensitive and, at some internal level, ashamed, when someone else "calls me on it."

Then again, when I look at what's _really_ going on with everyone else, post tantrum, it generally seems to be the case that they've moved on, and rather quickly at that.  These things generally aren't too big a deal to them, at least as the progression of their days go.  I don't know how often they just label me as "crazy" or something similar in their own minds, and how often they just don't care, and don't make any sort of negative judgment, opting just to move on.

I often feel that I have to be nice and friendly whenever I can, more so than most people have to, because the deck is stacked against me.  I have to compensate for my inevitable tantrums.  Sometimes I kind of just get in a mode where I get away from the people I've had a tantrum against and/or in front of, and just kind of assume that I've burned that bridge behind me, more or less permanently.  I think in my dating exploits there was basically this rush to get a great emotional connection going before something bipolar showed up in me, and left me open to the other person judging me rather negatively (or, at least, my presumption that they would do so).

I think the most frustrating thing at this point, though, is that I'm far past the "you need help" type of response and supposedly simple solution, in the aftermath of my altercations.  I've gotten help... it's been quite a number of months now, since I've gotten help.  I'm progressing along with the help, but it's just taking a while.  There are serious limits on how quickly one can ramp up one's Lamictal dosage, and I just have to wait.  Of course, speaking from the perspective of "all things happen in the timeframe they need to happen in," I can see why I need to "not be there yet" this afternoon and tonight, to be able to see all this more clearly.

Lisa Nowak was in the news again today; apparently she suffers from depression and OCD, and in fact also a little psychosis.  I can't relate to psychosis, but I can to the other issues.  So, to some extent, I can empathize.  I can kind of sympathize with psychosis by extrapolation, though... even to the extent that I don't just reflexively look at someone like Seung-Hui Cho with a sense of hatred and/or anger.  The brain is a scientific system-- all we can do is fix the chemical imbalances... and we should.


I got a call this morning (Tuesday morning) before work, where I set up an interview with a guy from Northrup Grumman on Tuesday morning of next week, coming from networking due to this summer internship thingie that I'm currently in.  So, that's encouraging-- I may actually get another real job again pretty soon, and just after the Lamtical dosage gets up to a reasonably high level.

Jury duty in the morning-- time for bed.

August 28th, 2007

Bits and Pieces in Updating

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So, I just took my last Lithium pill.  The Lamictal now replaces it every day, rather than alternating days.  So, going from 25 mg/ 2 days to 25 mg/ 1 day.  Then working towards 50 mg/day and then 100 mg/day.

"Work," and I use the term loosely, is going well.  I'm in the 13th week of this ten week "hang out at Goddard with my Uncle's group of summer interns/ grad student types" that pretty much just keeps going.  The first group member to leave stayed for 12 weeks, and the next one is leaving after this week.  People are pretty much staying as long as they possible can until school obligations take over for them for the Fall.  I've actually learned enough C# and DirectX (and, by extension, Windows Forms and .NET) to be able to respectively mention some or all of that on my resume now.  I'm working towards an interview with Northrup Grumman sometime soon, building off of our presentations of the current project.  Nothing is set in stone with any interview dates for me yet, though.

I have jury duty on Wednesday.  You know how you get those things in the mail, and you're, like, number 172, and you call in the night before and they say "numbers 1 through 80 have to report in, numbers past that are done for three years"?  Well, that's not happening this time-- my number is 1.

I'm finishing up the anime series Serial Experiments Lain.  It's just 13 episodes, around 22 minutes each.  It uses the Internet (the "wired") as a metaphor for, and/or semi-tangible realization of, the collective unconscious, if not God, even.  It's rather unusual in style and form, especially from a Western perspective.   But I knew I had to check it out when I first stumbled across its existence while reading about the Schumann resonance of Earth on Wikipedia at one point.

I'm currently reading a Transformers paperback novel that my cousin lent me recently.  It ties in with the new Transformers movie, as a prequel of sorts.  It's pretty interesting to see some of the canonical storyline expansions of the new, reworked Transformers universe of the movie.  In fact, last night I read a graphic novel that was also a Transformers movie prequel, though of course it covered different group than the paperback does.

Hmmm...  I write a lot less these days than I used to, I can see.  Or perhaps it's more accurate to just say that I _ramble_ a lot less... :P

It's August 28th... three years since I moved into my condo.

August 8th, 2007

Got Lamictal? Yep!

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Okay, I got my starting kit of Lamotrigine today (Tuesday), a.k.a. Lamictal.  I'm scaling down the Lithium and preparing to replace it with that.  So, coming from 3x450 mg per day, I go down to 2x450 mg per day for a week (so, Tuesday to Monday) before switching to an "every other day" pattern, alternating between Lithium and the 25 mg starting size dosage for Lamictal.  (The starting kit has pills of increasing dosage size.)  Then in the following weeks I'll continue the progression.

Also, I got some Wellbutrin pills in the mail on Friday.  These are 300 mg extended release ones, which is nice, since I'd been taking two 150 mg pills per day for a while, with the second one being in the afternoon.  Now I can go back to just one in the morning for that.  I also got another prescription for Fluoxetine today, 20 mg size, so I can take one of those per day rather than a much bigger 40 mg pill every other day.  I'm planning to meet with the psychiatrist again in 3 or 4 weeks to see where things stand then, and I may in fact end up getting off of Fluoxetine then.  Ideally, I'd really like to just be taking Wellbutrin and Lamictal, and it may very well come to that relatively soon.  Lamictal, in theory, could work much better for bipolar for me than most other medications would-- it works more on the depressive size than the manic size, which is good for the depression-heavybipolar II, while also being an anticonvulsant.

Work, so to speak, is going pretty well-- I'm in the 10th week of working with my uncle and a group of interns for the summer, on site at Goddard yet again.  The project was supposed to take 10 weeks, but we're extending it at least a little longer.  It looks like I'll be getting a little more money too.  This is still nowhere near the usual type of salary level I've gotten in the past, but I do think now's a good time to kind of work my way slowly back into the whole job thing, and this is an excellent setting to see how I can do during the workday now, with my progression of medications.  Even with Lithium as my primary bipolar treatment, I seem to be doing better with getting work done at work, and not journaling or emailing or goofing off or whatever, as I did quite often in previous jobs.

July 7th, 2007

Sevenday

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Variations on 7/7/7 from the available formats for today's date in Microsoft Word:

7/7/2007

7/7/07

2007-07-07

7.7.2007

7/7/2007 12:24 AM

7/7/2007 12:24:44 AM

Plus, even the week lines up, with it being the 7th day of the week.

It's kind of too bad that they didn't release the 7th and final Harry Potter novel today.  Now that would have been really cool...

July 1st, 2007

Dear Anthony,
Here is your horoscope
for Sunday, July 1:

Lately your life has felt like a well-oiled machine, and no wonder. All the work you've been putting in your career, in your relationships and in your mental health have really been paying off. Kudos!

June 9th, 2007

I think now's a good time for an update-- lots to catch up on.

In terms of medications and such, on the Tuesday before last, I met with the psychiatrist again.  I was somewhat discouraged about how things seemed to be going with the medication overall, but he figured that the Lithium was probably working better than I had thought-- my hypomania hasn't shown up for a while, but I'm not, like, suicidal either.  Anyway, we opted for me to try 1500 mg per day (2 pills early, 3 later in the day) rather than just 1200 mg like I had had before.  Also, I had a Lithium level blood test yesterday.  I'm meeting with the psychiatrist again this coming Tuesday.  Another thing we had talked about over the past two visits was trying Lamictal.  Lamictal is an anticonvulsant/antiepileptic, which might work better for me than everything I've tried so far.

Also, I had been trying to get some medical insurance coverage from GlaxoSmithKline, so I could get my medications for a lot less money.  Unfortunately, my current claim was denied, I guess because they focused on my overall income from last year (which included a lot of 401K cashing in) rather than my current unemployment income.  The next step is for me to make copies of more of my unemployment check paystubs and send those in along with a note, something along the lines of "this is my _only_ income currently."  Past salaries are inapplicable.


On another note, I've gotten started on some work for this summer.  It's not a job in the traditional sense (i.e., definitely not a usual Engineering salary level for me), but rather, it's something along the lines of working with my Uncle and/or doing a summer internship at Goddard.  My Uncle hires interns for a semester and/or for the summer, to work on various projects.  Since I have some great relevant background expertise, and since I'm otherwise basically just sitting around anyway, it makes sense for me to just come in there for 10 weeks instead, and help out.  It's a good opportunity for me to spend time in an Engineering workplace environment again (which I hadn't done since early October) at a place that I'm generally really comfortable with from past job experience anyway, Goddard.  It's basically an "odd jobs" type of thing from the unemployment perspective, since it's a one time payment deal, not an ongoing salary.  But anyway, yeah-- I started work there this past Monday the 4th, and it runs for 10 weeks.  I'm learning some of the C# (C sharp) programming language as well, which builds readily off of both my Java/Swing GUI-building experience and my general C programming experience.  So, I'll be able to put C# on my resume for future reference after this.  It also ties in with .NET and Windows Forms (which I now know is the C# equivalent of Swing in Java), so I may be able to include those on my resume as well.  There was a point where I put at least a little of that stuff on my resume before, figuring I could probably learn it quickly enough.  I got more "bites" than usual then, but ultimately they wanted people who were more up to speed to begin with.  So, now I'm getting up to speed.  The work environment is great-- my Uncle is one of the best people on the center for cutting through bureaucracy and getting things done, which (as I've seen in past jobs at or near Goddard) is tough in a government organization like that.  We're building and/or improving upon this robot that scans its environment and figures out how to most optimally drive from point A to point B in that environment.  It's really neat, and the rest of the team seems to be moving really quickly with their parts of the project as well.

May 25th, 2007

Sweet!

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I just found out from here that...

(a) Marijuana is decriminalized for medical use in the state of Maryland, and

(b) Among other illnesses, marijuana can be used medically for the following:

Marijuana is used for analgesia only in the context of a handful of illnesses [e.g., headache, dysentery, menstrual cramps, and depression] that are often cited by marijuana advocates as medical reasons to justify the drug being available as a prescription medication[23] Medical Use of Marijuana: Policy and Regulatory Issues. It is also reported to be beneficial for treating certain neurological illnesses such as epilepsy, and bipolar disorder. Studies have found that cannabis can relieve tics in patients suffering from OCD and/or Tourette syndrome. Patients treated with marijuana reported a significant decrease in both motor and vocal tics, some of 50% or more. [24][25][26] Some decrease in obsessive-compulsive behavior was also found. [24]


So, yeah... it does pretty much everything that Fluoxetine is supposed to do.  Too bad Fluoxetine doesn't seem to work on me... maybe I need stronger stuff.

First I get started on legal low-grade cocaine (i.e., Wellbutrin) and now I find this out.  If only tobacco was the illegal drug and marijuana was the legal one, as would make more sense... I'd be able to start managing my bipolar II and OCD by taking a quick trip to 7-11 and picking up some smokes.

May 17th, 2007

So, I went from 150 mg/day of Bupropion to 300 mg on Tuesday of last week, then on Friday, a week ago tomorrow, I started on Wellbutrin.  Same thing, but now I actually can get the name brand version for $10 for 30 (rather than... something over $100) due to some sort of financial assistance program.

But, to be honest, not much really matters all that much to me at the moment, because I'm in some sort of depression again.  One way to describe bipolar is to say that one's emotions are detached from reality-- in the broken thermostat analogy, extreme hot and cold response temperatures can just as easily show up regardless of the existing room temperature.  So, today I wrestled with the understanding that, yeah, there really isn't anything I can do about depression.  My old therapist got me going on EFT yesterday (I had learned about it before some) and, as it worked out, today I got a Fluoxetine refill, with that obviously being the frontrunner in anti-depressant medications.  Not that it matters much... it's just that I'm supposed to stick with a little of that for the time being.

There's really a philosophical dilemma behind all this for me now, along the lines of "what's the point?"  I basically just go through the motions every day, either things I force myself to do, or things that I might have a chance of enjoying (if the broken thermostat lines up with a working one at that point, at least).  One thing I never realized about mania-- or hypomania-- and depression until recently is that, when one is in such a state, unusual behaviors actually make perfect rational sense.  What I mean is that the logic centers of your brain aren't affected by the illness.  However, whether or not one should... I don't know, buy lots of big and fancy things, be hypersexual if given the opportunity, and so on and so forth... all such things make sense in mania, or hypomania.  It works that way because there's an emotional state of idealism, almost a mild euphoria, that serves as a mood backdrop to one's reasonings.  The world is just a tremendously great place at those times, and happiness and excitement abound, almost regardless.  Well, strong anger and irritibility show up in hypomania or mania too, so it's not all positives... it's just all intense.  Likewise, with depression, anything and everything just isn't fun and exciting.  As I noted, there's nothing I can do about my depression at the moment.  It doesn't matter if I try to "cheer myself up" by, oh, "doing something fun."  A depressed mood is a depressed mood.  One can make the argument, "well, if you feel depressed anyway, then why not use the time to clean up?"  Well, when one is depressed and one sees a messy room, the idea of cleaning it up doesn't seem appealing, because there's no excitement or positive emotion connected to the idea of "a clean room."  For me, depression has often been spent trying to figure out what the heck it'll take to get me excited again... but it just doesn't work.

The problem at this point is that I'm even depressed about studying up on bipolar and/or depression.  Basically, reading up on those topics went through a typical cycle for me-- moderate to high intensity over time for a period of 1-4 months.  But now, when my brain considers, "hey, maybe I should go read about bipolar some more," it gets overruled by this negative emotion, of just not being interested in, or excited by, the idea.  If that negative emotion persists for, say, 2-4 weeks, then I naturally conclude that I'm just not interested in that subject any more.  So, by then, I pretty much have to feel out what other subject provides any positive emotions for me.  Oddly enough, it may be more of a case of "which subject has just showed up when the hypomania returns?" than any more rational system of "types of things that interest me."  In this case, I may be getting started with Killer Sudoku and Kakuro presently.  One time when I was in Barnes and Noble I counted how many different sections of the bookstore I had read or bought (I forget which... probably bought) books from.  I counted something like 14 different sections.  This is pretty much all non-fiction, I should note.  Here's what still comes to mind now: Engineering (have to count that, have two degrees in it), Java (worked with it a ton for a few years), Psychology (first personality theory, and now disorders), Self-Help, New Age (cornerstone interest in 2002), Physics (Engineering links well with this), Romance (since I got a couple books at one point that were classified into that section), Politics (heh, this is an every day type of thing for me now), Writing (duh, I'm a writer and/or novelist), Game Design (huge interest in videogames and technical aspects related to that, including quite a bit of programming), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, at least a little along the lines of Relationships and/or Sex, and I think I also added in Philosophy... though I might consider that a bit of a stretch, and now... Sudoku.  (Yes, Sudoku has its own section.  Alternatively, there's a Puzzle section that this could fit into, which I haven't included yet.)

There may be a few more as well, but yeah-- the point is that I definitely follow a "wow, this is really interesting" to "I'm just not interested in that any more" progression with, well... pretty much anything that I might find interesting.  This progression happens to me all the time, and it is interesting to see it again, now that I can see how depression factors into it.

I reached a conclusion a little earlier today... I don't think the problem is so much that I follow this pattern, up and down, interested and uninterested, over and over again.  Technically, a physical lifeform can function and survive in such a pattern.  The problem is that I have to mesh this pattern with modern day society, a place where people are generally expected to be more or less consistent.  The idea is that they hold onto the same interests long enough that, say, they can work within the general field of Engineering for a whole career, even if they change companies a lot within the field.  I have the ultimate problem of "what do you want to do with your life?"  Well, whatever I pick, or whatever I'm excited about "now," I'll only remain excited about it for maybe a few months or so.  So, no matter what I'm interested in, I'm going to lose that interest.  Now, okay-- I could look at it this way instead: I could just pick one thing, work with it when I'm not depressed, relax with it when I'm depressed, and then delve into it again when I'm not depressed again.  Well, in theory, that would work, but I'm pretty sure that I need a hypomanic episode to spark any initial excitement.  So, when I'm hypomanic, what am I likely to get all excited about?  Well, I can tell you what I'm _not_ likely to get all excited about: whatever subject I've just been bored out of my gourd for the past few months.  Furthermore, hypomanic episodes are not reliable, and not very predictable either.  (You can predict an earthquake when the ground is just starting to shake.)

Anyway, something workwise came up that may actually help-- it's more or less an internship, with my uncle at Goddard Space Flight Center (i.e., the focal location of three of my four Engineering jobs).  I should be able to legitimately put .NET and C# on my resume after doing this, which definitely broadens my skill set.  Plus, if I stretch it by looking at it as keeping the gross salary rather than the net salary, he's basically only paying me for one month's work of work.  That means that, when Goddard job depression sets in after the first month or so, I won't feel so bad if I start reading through a whole bunch of Wikipedia articles and lists during the workday, and don't really get much more done.  Hypothetical Boss Guy: "Hey, you haven't done anything for the past month!"  Me: "Hey, you all only paid me enough for the month before that!"  I'm guessing my working hours wouldn't be too stringent either.  So basically, this is pretty much all the job I can handle while I'm still trying out different medications and working to get my bipolar II under control.
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