Welcome to Counselling Bipolar Disorder. This section is for those who would like to enhance their skills to become aware of the social aspects in life that aren’t talked about yet happen without our conscious knowledge.
If we are to better ourselves in mental health awareness and in daily living with this chemical imbalance then we need to learn what goes on subconsciously within ourselves and within others. People who don’t have any type of depression can learn from this series as well.
Goffmans’ Rituals of Interaction
Evring Goffman brought a fresh approach to the study of everyday life according the Leonard Broom and Philip Selznick in Essential of Sociology. Two themes are central in Goffmans’ work. One of them was the fate of the self in the course of interaction; meaning the way somebody is put at risk in encounters with others and how he or she manages those risks. The second theme is the fate of the micro-order, that is, the many devices that are used, often unconsciously, to sustain the continuity of social life at the level of human interaction.
The Episodic Nature of the Micro-Order
The micro-order may be conceived of as made up of millions of minute and transient episodes of social life. Even where people have long-standing relationships over many years, the actual time they are in communication consists of relatively brief encounters and occasions. In this sense “society” is not an abstraction – it is made up of very specific activities and communications, many of which are fleeting and precarious. To some degree, society as it is really lived in continuously coming into being and passing out of existence.
“A sociology of occasions is here advocated. Social organization is the central theme, but what is organized is the co-mingling of persons and the temporary inter-action-al enterprises that can arise from them. A normalization is stabilized structure is at issue, a ‘social gathering’ but this is a shifting entity, necessarily evanescent, created by arrivals and and killed by departures”.
Social interaction is much like theatre. There is an expressive, dramatized element designed to project a definition of reality as much as to carry out practical tasks. Shakespeare’s metaphor “all the world’s a stage” can be developed into a dramaturgical model of the micro-order, showing how everyday life is pervaded by features of a theatrical performance. Thus, many social establishments are divided into “front-stage” and “backstage” regions. In the front stage areas are the living room, food counters or an idealized display of decorum and cleanliness is affected whenever outsiders are present; backstage, in bedrooms and kitchens, performers can relax in guarded secrecy. Social performances are often staged by teams, such as the husband and wife hosting a dinner party or the doctor and nurse showing spotless clinical efficiency in the presence of patients.
Different Kinds of Neurotic Reactions
Anxiety Reaction: The anxiety reaction is characterized by chronic apprehension. The individual often feels that something terrible is going to happen, but he doesn’t know what it is as if a black cloud of fear and worry floats constantly over his head.
Hysterical Neurosis: These are two kinds of hysterical neurosis: conversion type and dissociative type. In the conversion type, the individual converts anxiety into a bodily symptom such as blindness, deafness, or paralysis. In the dissociative type, the person may manifest such symptoms as amnesia or multiple personality.
Phobic Reaction: A phobic reaction is an irrational fear, a fear that the individual himself recognizes as groundless. The person may have an excessive fear of heights, the dark, open spaces, insects, and so forth.
Obsessive-Compulsive Reaction: The obsessive-compulsive reaction is characterized by a constant preoccupation with certain ideas. They may be preoccupied with the idea of death, loss of status, or loss of sexual ability. The individual finds partial relief from the anxiety associated with his obsessions by performing personal rituals designed to magically counteract the nagging ideas.
Depressive Neurosis: The phrase chronic dejection aptly describes the individual suffering from a depressive neurosis. He has the “blahs,” is discouraged and demoralized and life barely seems worth living.
Neurasthenic Reaction: Involves feelings of fatigue, lack of energy, and general weakness. The individual feels unable to cope with his problems. The complaints of weakness have little or no physical basis.
Hypochondriacal Reaction: Is characterized by excessive worry over physical health. The individual jumps to conclusions. A skin blemish may produce an instant self-diagnosis of skin cancer, a pain in the chest is said to be a heart attack, and so forth.
Acknowledgement; Is It Bipolar Doom?
For years we “run” around being the typical bipolar disordered person who is chemically imbalanced while our friends watch and stay blissfully ignorant that there’s unevenness. One day something happens and you and your friend aren’t friends and it’s been years since you have interacted. They don’t know you anymore as you have evolved for the better or for the worse. They don’t know but then again they don’t know of your condition. When you meet again and you’ve acknowledged the condition and accepted the normalcy of it as well as every embarrassing moment, bad behaviour, less than desirable actions that occurred during your life time except this time they are afraid because you told them what you have.
It is in our acknowledgement that demise occurs as perception twists its way in regardless of whether or not it’s accurate. It is also in our acknowledgement of our capacity that it is our demise. As a person with Bipolar 2 Disorder who has acknowledged not only my condition but my capacity I find it difficult to find the help I need without somebody looking at me with judgement not understanding that it takes a great amount of effort to discuss what is needed and in the end it’s like you’re crazy for admitting that you are needing help.
It is the demise of the condition because nobody can see it. It’s not a visual thing. It’s a behavioural condition, a mental thought pattern that only awareness of ones’ self could one say the exactness of issues, anxieties, triggers, sensitivities and again it is to the demise of the self that has acknowledged.
In the “career” world most people who are chemically imbalanced due to the physical or emotionally traumatic events that broke the chemical balance can’t work because the world is too much even when blissful. We try to work with the intention of wanting forever but usually the employment is terminated within a three to six month period.
The true career for persons who have the mental illness DNA where the chemical imbalance is now in full swing is in the artistic world. This extends from one end of the creative spectrum to the most intellectual of stimulus of Sciences, Architecture, and Math. Painting, singing, dancing, acting, writing, sculpting, are just a few of the extraordinary talents that lay “untapped” as the depressive waves wash upon the brain.
Society has forgotten that even the most highly regarded people had the mental illness DNA and they had a chemical imbalance. This is what makes them forward thinkers, and the envelope pushers. If you think about it, if it wasn’t for Winston Churchill do you think history would have been the same as it is now? No it wouldn’t. Our past would be different because if he was in the present at the beginning of his career and he acknowledged his condition the world wouldn’t be so adept to listening to his voice, his thoughts. They would chalk him up to being crazy. Among the “crazy” to be considered are the founding fathers of the United States and why the Constitution was created; they were forward thinkers, they wanted to create change and make the United States what they would consider the best place on Earth to live. They saw in that chemically imbalanced thought pattern that there was something amiss in the equality of persons. They created change by being themselves and society accepted them. Would society accepted them if they had “come out of the closet” in acknowledgement? Probably not, but then again have you ever noticed when they consume alcohol that their emotions are more? Probably not.
At one time persons with mental illness were put into institutions thinking that was going to solve the problem but the reality is that even today we are not treated as equals. Back then they considered this thought pattern to be a disease and even today some are saying it is a disease. Society loves its movies and they are immersed in the realness of the actors and the emotions portrayed. The reality is that our actors have the mental illness DNA and are chemically imbalanced yet they are loved for this. During their career they come to realize the levels of emotions that they have is because of this condition then they come out of the closet and the world has empathy for them and they are still loved for it. Yet would they be loved and have empathy extended if they had acknowledged their condition before launching their career… probably not because even today very few “normal” people understand the condition and how if emotionally coddled the person with mental illness can flourish.
Social Perception and Cognition
Although Kelly proposed that each person has his or her own set of personal constructs, a set of bipolar adjectives (e.g. honest-dishonest or friendly – unfriendly) which become the essential terms for characterizing people. Even within a common culture or subgroup, construct systems are unique to individuals. Thus, in the case of “good old Charlie,” one person may interpret his behaviour as friendly -unfriendly, while another person may view it as sincere-insincere, warm-cold, or outgoing-shy.
When we have a positive bias which is when impressions of people are much more likely to be positive than negative. While the negativity effect means that our impressions of people are strongly influenced by negative than positive information about basis of negative traits and we tend to form a very negative impression of a person with one negative trait, regardless of whether the person has other positive, ostensibly redeeming characteristics. Our impressions of people to be inordinately influenced by their more unusual or extreme traits and behaviours.
Implicit personality theories are a set of unstated assumptions about certain types of people or about people in general. Many people seem to assume that persons described as intelligent also tend to be friendly and not self-centered. In 1964 Wrightsman came up that there are philosophies of human nature which means that we vary from each other in how we conceive of people along the following lines:
1) the extent to which we believe people are trustworthy or untrustworthy
2) the extent to which we believe people are rational and can control their destinies
3) the extent to which people seem to be altruistic or selfish
4) the extent to which people are seen as independent or conformists
5) the extent to which we see different people as unique or similar to each other
6) the extent to which we believe that people are basically complicate and different or rather easy to understand.
We are not aware of these assumptions which influences how we form impressions and react to people. Biases and assumptions tend to persist even in the face of contradictory evidence.
Perceiving People and Things
We need to remember that there is a difference between objects and people and how we perceive them. Objects are constant over time other than the usual wear and tear of time. People change over time and their characteristics often vary with different circumstances. Thus our perceptions of people can be over generalized and obsolete. When we perceive other people, they may also be perceiving us. Thus we are concerned both with forming impressions of others and creating impressions of ourselves.
People do things for reasons, to achieve their own purpose; that is, people are casual agents – we are concerned with why others act as they do. While objects like cars do not act intentionally are being stubborn when it doesn’t want to start. One of the ways that people act intentionally is to change their appearance or actions when they are aware that others are watching them. Objects of course don’t change while they’re being watched.
People are very complex and there is inevitably much about them that is private, or hidden from view. Even among experts it is much easier for an auto mechanic to understand a car than a psycho-therapist to understand a person.
We tend to form impressions and make judgments about people quite rapidly. We don’t simply absorb information and apply logic but we are active in processing information, often in biased ways. Despite our tendencies to take “cognitive shortcuts”, not waiting for all the evidence yet we seem to carry on effectively in our daily lives.
Every person is unique, there are no two people exactly alike yet we tend to organize our view of the world in terms of categories. People are generally categorized in terms of easily observable characteristics. We usually assign people to categories of sex, racial groups, or age. We use other observable cues such as type of clothing, speech characteristics or language, or place of work to assign people to ethnic group category, nationality, or occupation.
Now a prototype are representations or mental images of are typical examples. If you were to see a unfamilar animal in a zoo, you would decide whether it was a mammal by comparing it with say a cat. You might even have a prototype of the elderly, perhaps a grandparent, as the smiling, silver-haired, wrinkled, kindly person often shown on television. The extent to which a particular person resembles the prototype, and the extent to which you allow for variations, will determine how readily the person is identified with the category. This information was processed more rapidly and included more frequently in the subject’s impression of the person when it was consistent with the prototype.
A stereotype refers to a particular kind of prototype for which “a consensus exists among members of a group regarding the attributes of another”. They are conceived as fundamentally negative, motivated by prejudice, and enabling us to assume that members of a disadvantaged out-group and are “all the points to numerous examples of stereotypes which exist without basis in fact.
It’s important to understand that stereotypes enable us to organize our thoughts about people, reducing complexity to manageable proportions where we might otherwise interpret the behaviour of people from other groups. While the content of the stereotype may or may not be accurate, its existence aids our capacity to make sense of the social world.
In 1983 Kruglanski concerned himself with “freezing,” which happens when the person refuses to consider other possible explanations for a situation, or new evidence which is not consistent with the person’s conclusions. In the end people usually become closed-minded under certain circumstances. One of these is when we feel a high need for structure, a sense of certainty under pressure, such as “little time” then we tend to reduce confusion and come to a decision quickly. Another condition related to “freezing” is a fear of being wrong.
The links below are articles that have been written to help counsel persons with and without a type of Bipolar Disorder.