Neuroscience, Writing

The Happy Hypomanic’s Handbook

“Intense creative episodes are, in many instances, indistinguishable from hypomania” — Kay Jamison

Besides the birth control pill, I’d only ever had two prescriptions, but those two were the dyna-combo to do me in—I suffered paradoxical effects from Clonazepam, and Ambien was no joke.

It took me until 2011 to make the connection.

Clonazepam induced hypomania, and I suffered benzodiazepine induced depression and rebound insomnia.

I never took another pill, but was dismayed to learn just how long my body would take to be rid of the drug and it’s cognitive interference: difficulty concentrating, confusion, irritability.

Worse yet, it seems they’d broken my happy.

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Culture

I Googled Gidget and Windansea

Are You There God? It’s Me, Gidget.

“Nobody knows I’m a real person — they think “Gidget” is Sandra Dee or Sally Field.”—Kathy Kohner Zuckerman

@Ori would remember the night I walked and told him of all the creepy sites on those dark streets which weave the beach along Windansea into Draper Villas…

< BEGIN CONTEXT / SHIFT TO PRESENT TONE >

firefly flying quietly why she cries, no one notices me...

Authentic Non-Fiction Life

[Richard] Powers is especially effective at illustrating the way the story of the girl with “the happiness gene” spreads across the Internet and, only slightly less rapidly, the traditional media. Thassa’s mailbox starts filling up: “Strange people with Hotmail accounts want me to make them happy. One woman wants to hire me as her personal trainer. She thinks her soul needs a professional workout.”

… This review was written by Jay McInerney (“How It Ended: New and Collected Stories”) and published in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, October 1, 2009. … when I first stumbled into this story the other day, I did a double take… it read like my life…

“Meanwhile, Kurton’s research team is on the verge of publishing a study that correlates specific genetic codes with emotional well-being. But despite the large sample on which the study is based, Kurton is holding back on publication, looking for some missing datum to confirm his findings. When Thassa’s story comes to his attention he thinks he may have found it. …”

I remember listening to a Nobel Prize contending researcher detail his observations of my hyperthymic temperament…

“Kurton persuades Thassa to undergo a series of tests, and when the results are finally published — the ebullient Thassa’s genetic material having confirmed the initial findings — media interest in the Happy Gene Girl goes manic, culminating with an appearance on a Chicago talk show whose host, known to all simply as Oona, “is, by any measure, the most influential woman in the world.” In a canny elision, Powers gives us only hints of Thassa’s triumphant performance, by way of its echoes on the Internet. … “

My effervescent happiness, despite the most contrary of circumstances, led me to be taken and tested, poked and prodded, and accused many more times of being “on something”. Continue reading

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Melissa Andrea Glass
Religion

Finding Faith Through Apostates

Byline: Melissa A. Glass
Instructor: Barbara Presnell

Introducing, Ms. Melissa Glass

Honorable Mention for the category of “2014 Best Essay”
University of North Carolina Charlotte First-Year Writing Awards

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Angela Mari
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymic Novelty—On Generosity: An Enhancement

“What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments?…”

I once met a physics teacher who immediately recognized me as the main character in the play he was nearly finished writing.

“Absolutely EVERYTHING I remember is realLithium just added a layer of fantasy on it (which I could perceive even at the time).”

Born to Be Happy

After reading an article “Born to Be Happy“, I found myself emailing Hagop Akiskal, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the International Mood Center at the University of California at San Diego whose “work on dysthymia, cyclothymia and hyperthymia challenged the concept of personality disorders, led to the development of a new instrument (Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego (TEMPS-A)), thereby contributing to the worldwide renaissance of the temperament field.”

“Information may travel at light speed, but meaning spreads at the speed of dark.”

But being told that I was “hard wired for happiness” seemed a bit over simplified and “hard wired” seemed an insult to this interaction-designer-wannabe-cognitive scientist studying neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

On “Rewiring the Real

“Digital and electronic technologies that act as extensions of our bodies and minds are changing how we live, think, act, and write. Some welcome these developments as bringing humans closer to unified consciousness and eternal life. Others worry that invasive globalized technologies threaten to destroy the self and the world. Whether feared or desired, these innovations provoke emotions that have long fueled the religious imagination, suggesting the presence of a latent spirituality in an era mistakenly deemed secular and post-human.”

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