29 June 2010

still overwhelmed by my own writing, I volunteered to write a newsletter. Got advice on drafts from two professional writers and spent hours working over a few short paragraphs but it was fun. It gave me a chance to be unselfconscious and outcome oriented.

27 June 2010

my associative style of thought is a liability to frustrating sloppiness... and endless curiosity.
it may not look anything like summer outside but little green tomatoes have appeared in the garden and they are worth cheering for. I go out with the cat and he gets impressed with the hose while looking for his friend the snake.

24 June 2010

a neighbour living up the street from me has a sizeable patch of opium poppies. they are tall and grow densely shoulder to shoulder; they are nodding off to seed.

23 June 2010

I talked to my schizophrenic aunt on the phone last night. She's not really my aunt, she's my dad's cousin. Her way of thinking feels instantly familiar, even though when it happens to me it feels distant and emotionally arresting at the same time. There are cognitive signs I recognize and accept, I know what they point to without knowing all the answers. I feel so protective of her. I wish she wouldn't undermine herself and recognize myself there.

22 June 2010

presumably this is why it's preferable to have braces when one's jaw bone is younger and softer: it hurts so bad, with painkillers, that my eyes water and my hands shake. I want to pull my spacers out!

18 June 2010

the freckle
under my left arm
salutes you.
white wine and panforte makes for a nice garden party even if it is just me and the cat. I can imagine tea lights in the dark, making my white flowers dance.

17 June 2010

It's The Girl Least Likely's Birthday Eve! Party party my lovely!

16 June 2010

well, well... things didn't quite go as planned but perhaps it was all a neurasthenic reaction to reading too much. I am now soaked in blood, there is blood all over.

14 June 2010

crazy passes through like a whiff of something malodorous. there isn't a narrative, just a passing shift in perception that feels like going cross-eyed followed later by heart pounding anxiety. I talk about nothing in particular and it passes. something about dopamine and conversation.

last night I slept fine so don't you worry.

13 June 2010

Woke up at 3:15 this morning. Read Proust. If this continues I will have read Proust. Early morning exhaustion is probably the perfect mode for reading Proust, who wrote beautiful things all night long. Fell back asleep at 7am.

12 June 2010

got tix to Joanna Newsom! SOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!
pons asinorum - bridge for the inept; "donkey bridge"
When I woke up at 5:20 this morning the light was the colour of white tea. The cat got up and snuggled under my left arm, purring. Such delirious good.

11 June 2010

I've been sitting around looking like a stunned bunny and now that I think of it, I feel anxious and slowed down and have been crawling into bed at midday just to lie there for a few minutes. Chalk it up to my usual spring slump. I guess I just keep going.
in honour of Hugh Laurie's fifty-first birthday I had a dinner of red wine, braised artichoke and licorice all sorts (only the blue crunchy and black bits). The artichoke didn't make the kitchen smell like a church as steaming does but had luxurious texture.

10 June 2010

I miss doing math. Math was my second-favourite subject in high school.
[Citing Unsworth et al. 2004] individuals who recalled more items on the working memory task, in this case operation span, were less likely to have their attention captured by the anti-saccade task. This finding makes no sense from a view that working memory capacity is limited by either the number of items or by processing speed, but it makes perfect sense if that limitation reflects differences in the ability to control the contents of working memory.

One problem with this view is that executive attention is the most difficult aspect of attention to model in any substantial way because it seems homuncular in nature. However, cognitive control can be conceptualized in computational terms (O'Reilly et al. 1999) and it is becoming clear that this ability is mediated by brain circuits associated with the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate, that dopamine is the principle neurotransmitter associated with cognitive control and that these abilities have strong genetic underpinnings, particularly the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which is critical to the regulation of dopamine in the brain. We seem well on the way to mechanizing the homunculus.

Randall W. Engle, "What is the role of attention in working memory?" Science of Memory: Concepts. Oxford, 2007.

antipsychotic medications dampen dopamine activity in the brain (sometimes leading to effects in other parts of the body. Dopamine is for example part of coordinating large muscle movement). The one thing left would be to figure out which receptor types (D1-D5) are involved.

09 June 2010

08 June 2010

Working memory is a limited capacity system for maintaining and manipulating information and it underpins the capacity for complex and flexible cognition.
Alan Baddelry, "Working memory: Multiple models, multiple mechanisms," Science of Memory: Concepts. Oxford, 2007.

07 June 2010

attended a managerial meeting. learned about communication and keeping quiet.

06 June 2010

I thought the pain might help clear my mind. It hasn't.
Sometimes I wonder if one of the "environmental factors" leading to my psychosis was all of the time I spent colouring my hair red as a teenager.
I don't trust my feelings! It didn't really take a psychologist to help me figure that one out, he just reiterated for my benefit. I think about my upbringing, growing up in a sea of bipolar sway, and of times where my feelings weren't recognized or validated until long (years) afterwards. I wouldn't think those things could be solely responsible. We talked a little bit about broken trust and how I'm not really one to... I've put up walls of my own.

04 June 2010

chipmunk cheeks.
I met with the neuropsychologist today and apparently my little bit of magic is verbal comprehension - what I can do with language independent of my level of education. I scored off the charts, so that something like one person in a thousand would be better than me. What I have that is kind of weird (1 in 100) is a big difference between what my ability there suggests and how relatively slow my working memory and speed of processing are. So I don't have the cognitive capacity to show off, I would really have to work at it. Receiving in broadband, outputting on analogue punch cards. Making sure I keep whatnot safe, apparently.

Birdie asked a while ago about seeing the forest for the trees - what the doctor I spoke to referred to as taking a more holistic view. He suggested looking at optical illusions and noticing how my perception shifts, or doesn't, playing some sort of word game that involves finding smaller words in bigger words in ways that defy usual groupings, and looking for counterexamples, i.e. see what is ugly about a pretty thing and vice versa with other things good and bad. Listen to music for its technical qualities, and then do it again looking for what speaks to you. But these are probably most useful for adapting to psychosis.

02 June 2010

have been adrift all day in a post-anesthetic haze. it has been stress preventative, almost entirely.

01 June 2010

I got tomato cages! There is a second garden box now giving me space for more tomatoes, small eggplants, summer squash, peas and cucumbers. The heliobore looks elegant resting under the clematis with a salvia, the succulents are potted and my general impression is joy as the rain comes down and gives my lovelies a drink.