Saturday, April 30, 2005

Cognitive constipation and Obsession

I ask myself this question, if no one else does, "Do I have nothing else to do other than generating all these blogs?"

Well, there are several reasons behind the blogging.

First, I want to share my experiences with those who go through similar struggle some time in their life or those who are lucky enough to never have to live through these experiences. If anyone every comes across my blogs, I hope you will learn something through them.

Second, I am more or less creating a documentary with text. I find it really interesting to share my everyday experiences with other people in real time. This feels more or less like a faceless reality show.

Of course, I am aware that there are so many blogs over the Internet and there is not much of a chance for anyone to really stop by and read my postings. However, so is life and it is similar to all productions.

I actually suggested to a friend of my who is a MRI specialist to document the progression of my brain through out the entire time-- from a state of semi-stabilization, to a state of psychosis, to a state of recovery, and, hopefully, to a state of partial remission, if not full remission. Well, he did not see any point of keeping track of how my brain might change through out the entire time because "n=1 and results are not generalizable." Well, good luck to him and his fellow researchers. I am not even sure whether they would ever to find a big enough n to successfully carry on the study.

Well, believe it or not, based on my clinical experiences, it is closed to impossible to find patients who could identify the entry point and all the points in-between for research purposes. It is essential to conduct research based on stringent methodology. However, if the purpose of research is all for publication but not for the sake of inquiry about the plausible truth, there is something fundamentally sad.

Third, via writings, I am attempting to find a channel for catharsis. I understand that, at a time when I am highly irritable, small things could turn into big issues. Since unresolved issues tend to have a detrimental effect on human psyche and, possibly, would resolve in maladjustment (lol), the least I could do is to help myself, on a daily basis, work through and think through the little things one at a time.

Fourth, the writing activities are a way of indulging myself in something I always want to do but never find the time to do.

Believe it or not, despite of my verbal diarrhea in blogging, I have gradually achieved the state of cognitive constipation.

What is cognitive constipation? It is the experiences of blocked thoughts. Sometimes, medications might block you thoughts so very well that you don't even feel the flow in your thinking. That could make you feel that you are becoming dumber and dumber. Sort of like the kind of experiences people encounter when they enter a new environment in which they need to communicate with a foreign language. This was what Zyprexa did to me.

With Seroquel, the experience of cognitive constipation is much different. I am completely capable of performing all analytical tasks and ordinary cognitive functioning. I could also form highly intelligent argument or bullshit (lol). However, I have difficulties with inductive reasoning.

The second time I encountered my full blown psychotic episode, I stayed away from Zyprexa and switched to Seroquel. It was because I was in the middle of running my experiment for my dissertation study and was about to begin analyzing my data. At that point, I felt that I could not withstand the block of cognitive flow.

I never really felt the total block in the flow of my thought after I started taking Seroquel (at least I do not recall). Moreover, after I got out from the hospital, I went directly back to work on my dissertation. I was able to analyze my data using all different kinds of higher level statistics methods and was totally capable of interpreting the results. Within one month after I was discharged from the hospital and while I was still in the dire of delusions, two of my papers were actually accepted to be presented in a conference. However, I eventually came to the realization much later that I was still cognitively constipated, just like how I feel now.

Under the treatment of the medication, I could do everything except for some specific type of inductive reasoning. In other words, I could not work on the discussion section. The dosage of Seroquel actually had to be reduced so that I could start working on the dicussion section (lol).

However, haven't I been providing all the discussions about all the events all these time? Yes, I have been. Yet, most of these discussions have originated from open topics. It appears to me that the difficulties I have are topics with constraints. For instance, given the results of the statistical analyses and provided the theories, what do we learn from the study? That I can't do.

Well, all these are good reasons for my blogging. However, I do see myself spending too much of my time lamenting about my experiences.

Since I am still relatively analytical and since I have a quiz next week in statistics, I am gonna switch now to do some other lower level cognitive tasks... preparing for the statistics exam!

By the way, I am forgetting the most important point of why I am keeping this line of blogs alive... It is a test for myself and a life experiment for my own case study. I am inching away conducting my own research about the impact of blogging as a vehicle of providing mental health intervention. lol

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