Archive for the ‘mental illness’ Category

Imposter Syndrome

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

So one problem I do definitely have from time to time is imposter syndrome – the feeling like I’ve been faking things the whole time and don’t really have any idea what I’m doing. This is extra ironic when talking about programming since I’ve written so much code in so many languages, including a fair amount which has seen production or even is still running in production. I’ve also done a fair amount of successful system administration.

I can understand with the building a solar array why I feel like a imposter – I am not in any way, shape, or form a electrical engineer although I do know a fair amount about electricity. but I’ve built *lots* of stuff that used electricity in various ways and I have a very good feel – I think – for how it works.

Of course, I think I’d rather have imposter syndrome than dunning-kruger – I’d *really* rather be me than Trump, for example – but it doesn’t help my paranoia that I keep feeling like my coworkers will discover I’ve been faking it this whole time and I’ll be fired and shortly thereafter end up homeless and hungry.

As I said, I don’t even really think you can accuse me, in a real world sense, of faking it any more. I’ve read thousands of books. I’ve read millions of lines of code. I’ve *written* a million lines of code. I’ve done *all kinds* of stuff..

Ironically one of the places I most feel like a imposter is in my repeated attempts at a music career – and I *really* want to get to a place where I’m earning as much as I am now writing music (or alternately have set up some sort of residual income so I can retain my current quality of life while writing music) – I undoubtedly have thousands of hours spent understanding music, and I’ll also be the first to admit that I am not yet good enough to get paid to do it, although I also feel like I have made some really serious strides this year and might be a lot closer to that dream than I was..

ANyway, as I’ve talked about elsewhere, one of my problems is fishbowl decoration. I know that my conscious experience is not directly connected to whatever senses I might happen to have simply because that isn’t really possible within the architecture of the human mind. As such, I would like it if my CE would get a much more utopic experience than it currently is, but one of my issues is that my subconscious is deeply convinced that I don’t *deserve* a utopic experience.. there are part of me that are convinced that I do not deserve to live at all or if I do deserve to live I do not deserve to live the sort of life I want to live. I’m pretty convinced this is all deeply irrational but there’s not a lot at least thus far that I can figure out to do about it.

Anyway, the imposter syndrome sense is more than a little odd at times.

That one disturbing possibility

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

So, as I note that things like global pandemics underline the fact that our bodies have poor informational security, and are susceptible to virii both informational (religion) and RNA/DNA-based (COVID-19), I find the lack of security to be another compelling case against the idea that we have a perfect creator – or indeed a intelligent designer at all.

On the other paw, there is still this one disturbing possibility that I can not dismiss. Our beliefs act as a filter upon our experience of reality – obviously this must be the case or believers in God wouldn’t continue to believe in God. I mean, the other possibility is that they’ve lost the ability for rational thought – and looking at the fact that they elected Donald Trump, someone who’s about as close to the devil as we’re going to find in this world, and are busy worshipping him, I concede the possibility that they have. But let’s assume for the moment that people have the ability to remember and think..

One possibility that we can’t actually throw entirely out is that God is only real if you beleive in h*, or alternately, that God is real always but your *experience* of God is only real if you believe in h*. This is compatible with the mythos that Hell is the absence of God – certianly the lack of any central planning and the refusal of all collectivism has turned America steadily more hellish.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not clear to me that you’d *want* to have a God as described by the Old Testament. But, and I realize this is stretching credulity to the max, what if there *was* a loving, helpful central authority, the kind of God you’d build if you were building God out of spare neurons. Certainly they’d do things like removing virii before they got out of hand, and making sure that places didn’t end up getting led by people like Donald Trump.

However, I’ve believed in such a being for a few days at a time, occasionally, when manic, and things definitely didn’t get any better for me. Most of the time, it was believing in such things and then testing them that got me arrested. However.. it may take believing for longer to shape the necessary neural network to have the experience.

Note that I still don’t believe Christianity contains the right answers, for a whole host of reasons. But I’m starting to ponder trying to write something that would. The thing is, the whole thing feels a bit insane. Try to believe in something you can’t experience until you believe in it? Then understand that you can’t experience it even when you *do* believe in it until you cross some threshold?

Wow..

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Only one musical post in all of 2018. Going to have to do better in 2019. I tracked ten different songs that I didn’t think were good enough to release in 2018, and I’ve tracked three so far in 2019. I’m not sure if I need to turn down the lint level, or if I’m just working towards another plateu. On the other paw, it’s not like I get emails clamoring for more of my music or anything 😉

One thing I’ve really been feeling is the sense of missing people. I miss Phoebe, I miss $PERSON, I don’t really ever seem to get over the people I’ve lost. I miss my uncle joe.. I’ve even reached the point of missing my dad, who is still in my life. (I have set up a camping trip with him – I’m not so stupid as to not fix the ones that can be fixed).

One of the things with Phoebe is remembering and regretting all the stupid things I said, especially during our break-up. I know that I participated in breaking that friendship too badly to be repaired and I wish that I had a time machine so I could do things somewhat differently.

Ah well, we go on. What other choice do we have?

I think part of what bothers me about missing $_PERSON at this point is that it’s been so long since I had any kind of contact that I have *no* idea who she is. At some point your copies of copies of memories have no real reliability to them at all, and generation loss has pretty much etched that one away to where it’s nothing but a guess. That combined with the sense that the things that pushed her away were not really me – I mean, they certainly weren’t who I would choose to be and they all occurred in extreme mental states.

Recently I spent some time talking to a facebook friend who seemed to have been experiencing a extreme mental state of her own. A number of my friends criticized me for this, or at least expressed doubt that this was a wise use of my time, but I am fairly sure that what I was doing fit nicely inside my philosophy of ‘be excellent to each other’, and that if more people behaved the way I do, the world would be a better place.

and I have to admit as I research neural networks, my half – and often scarred memories – combined with blackouts – of the periods where I wasn’t myself are telling. I’m fairly certain what I was experiencing was islanding – very large collections of subnets, large enough to be able to respond to stimuli but not large enough to sustain consciousness. This brings up the interesting question of, in DID, are the alters conscious? I’ve always assumed that they are, but then I’ve been doing kitteny neocortex research that is making me question that assumption.

One of the things I’ve realized is that there’s no way we currently know to know whether a neural network is having a conscious experience or not. A NN will learn, and respond to stimuli based on what it’s learned, whether or not the ‘magic’ of consciousness is there or not. At this point I tend to agree with the person who theorized that consciousness is what information feels like when it’s been processed, but I think that’s only true in a very specific context which likely has to do with the way temporal memory works. However, in building my unsupervised learning system for the kittens, I found myself implementing something very similar to short term memory because in order to do unsupervised learning in the model I’m currently using, you have to let LTP create the bindings first, *then* learn the lesson. You also have to keep track of previous lessons so you can unlearn them if they turned out to be wrong. (At least, to solve my particular problem that I’m working on at the moment you do).

I haven’t really come up with any new years resolutions – I have a vague sense that I’d like to exercise more, vape less, eat less, write more music, and generally try not to break anything critical about my life.

Learning to damp out panic attacks

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

So, recently I’ve been thinking about a skill that I acquired some time ago, and I think I can explain how to do it if anyone else would like to learn.

Note that to *really* do this requires some hardware you’ll need to pick up somewhere – namely, a pulse meter and a EEG.

Training level 1: Learning to lower your pulse.

You’ll need to get a pulse meter, and stare at it and try to lower the number on it. Like any biofeedback training, this takes time, and you’ll be most successful at learning to do it if you start practicing when you’re *not* experiencing a panic attack *first*. As with all biofeedback training, your mind is going to figure out how to achieve your goal mostly without you – knowing your goal is to lower the number on the meter it will try various things until it figures it out. Just keep trying, and you’ll find your way.

Training level 2: Learning to increase the amplitude of your alpha waves.

You’ll need a EEG that displays your alphas as a easily readable graph or meter. See above notes – it’s a very similar training process. You may find it helpful to research meditation techniques – there’s a lot of literature about this elsewhere so I’ll assume you can find it. 😉

Optional training level 3: Learning to lower your blood pressure

This one is harder. Because reading blood pressure is such a slow process, you’ll need a lot of time to master lowering your blood pressure. This is where things like imagining your ‘happy place’ come into play. However, I find it’s generally not necessary to stop a panic attack, although it can help with the aftereffects of all that adrenaline dumping into your bloodstream.

Now that you’ve acquired the skills of lowering your heart rate and increasing your alphas, during a panic attack, do these three things

#1: Step one, take several long, slow, deep breaths.
#2: Step two, lower your heart rate consciously
#3: Step three, raise your alphas consciously
#4: Step four (optional), lower your blood pressure.

That’s it. If your mind is similar to mine, this will put you back in a mental state where your anxiety is not the largest thing in the picture and you can then figure out what to do about whatever event made you panic to begin with. The first few times you do it, it will help to have a heart rate monitor in front of you.

DID and neural networks

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

So, popular consensus is that DID is a mental illness caused by extreme trauma that causes a personality to fragment into segments.

I assume it is news to no one that while I do not consider $future_person[0] a alter, I do believe that I have DID, although normally my alters stay very far backgrounded. I do however think that they all contribute to the overall system – that is to say, I think that for example when I’m jamming with the band and making up lyrics on the fly but my conscious experience is only slightly engaged in creating the lyrics (a phrase or fragment or concept), some wordsmith part of my mind is creating bits that rhyme and turning this into full blown lyrics. For a example of this, check out this audio clip from band practice with Bruce, Art, and me – this was not a prewritten song, it was improv – clip

I think it is possible to have something that is a close kin to DID and have it be a more productive order than the average configuration rather than a disorder. The reason is that it enables the operator of the mind that is using this configuration to more effectively utilize the entire neural network.

Consider that normally, your conscious experience is only engaging with a few dozen threads at once – that’s all you can have ‘foregrounded’, or actively a part of your world. Now, obviously there are neural structures that do things like running a scheduler for running events at preset times, but if you have alters, you can also pass off foreground tasks that you don’t need to be actively engaged with to other bits of yourself – it’s kind of like the advantages of having multiple cores in a CPU. I don’t know if alters have a conscious experience, or just a head node and task list, or what – it would be fascinating to be able to look at the structure of my mind sufficiently to find out – but certainly they can be engaging neurons and neural subnets that would otherwise be completely idle.

Now, of course, I have no memory of what it might be like to *not* be this way. So it’s possible that I’m wrong and that I would simply be able to handle more threads if I wasn’t broken. I do seek certain types of reintegration, although with a fair amount of fear and trepidation because I’m hesitant to fuck too much with a running system.

Maybe a psych med to add to the picture?

Monday, January 16th, 2017

I may have found another psych med that does something useful. As we know, I find mania useful as a growing exercise, however, what I really want is something I would call a ‘contained mania’. i.e. something where I have all the mind expanding thoughts and personal growth, but don’t discover afterwords I’ve sent a email I would do anything to have unsent.

Okay, well, I think I’ve found it. On a 5 day full throttle test – and unfortunately, I will have to repeat the test because I had the (word omitted) flu and it’s possible that’s why – I remained entirely contained. I won’t list the drug here, but a second set of trials is in order. A better life.. absent much external insanity and lack of containment.. may be near.

Of course, first I need to procure a larger dose. No problem, I’m meeting with a GP on Wed. I’ll tell her my tale, and hopefully she’ll see it my way.

Just a note

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

You all will notice there are a number of users that post on this blog. Each one represents a alter, or a DID personality. There are likely to be more, not less, because I think I’m committed to giving all my secrets away. People at the edge, if you can see me, very real, loving, worth keeping personality down here where the light is shining. Me. Keep me. I’m worth keeping. Really.

As many of you may or may not have guessed, I’m able to completely close off this aspect of myself and just be Sheer. That’s fairly easy, although Sheer is not always the most comfortable or happiest guy around – he does have his moments. There are definitely some good times in my life. It’s not without joy. It just doesn’t have nearly as much of it as it probably should have, and I feel very closed in and constrained and afraid a lot of the time.

Message to $person[0]

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

So, here we are again. Me writing you. Except not as email, because your request that I not do so was starting to come with handcuffs. So I’ll do it here.

Look, despite some of the insane emails that I’ve sent you in years past, I don’t expect you’ll be my lover. I am, however, hoping you can find time to be my friend, at least enough time to help me put together my memories of what happened at your party enough that they make some kind of sense.

I’m *begging* you for help. My mind is badly damaged. I don’t even know if it is a closed head injury from a rear end impact in a car with no airbags at 60 mph (I was stopped, he wasn’t) or if it’s psychological damage from some sort of abuse (memories suggest there was a lot of that, but memories are unreliable), or if it was the experience of being cut off from my support network by Kayti (my experience with Kayti HURT a lot), or it’s just that it wasn’t rated for the number of cycles per second I’ve asked of it repeatedly. (I’ve pushed the limits. A lot.)

In the real, in the now, it works very well most of the time. See my linkedin recommendations. I’m really good at what I do, and I do a lot of things. In mania, I have a lot less control, but since you’ve asked that I not contact you, that’s the only time that I even think about it. Except as a backgrounded task, I’m thinking about it all the time, and it’s hurting all the time. We could really both save ourselves a lot of trouble by just having a conversation while I’m not manic. PLEASE consider this. I know there’s sort of a “Sheer is a horrible monster / Sheer is a rapist / We Hate Sheer” club out there. But I haven’t in fact raped anybody, unless you know something I don’t, and I never would have kicked my sister in the stomach – the threat was just the only way to stop her from *constantly* physically attacking me. Or so my memory (admittedly a fragmented view) tells the tale. And I do in fact try my hardest to be the very best person I can be, every day. As far as your “Don’t talk to me”, it is *really* hard keeping track of reality during periods of mania when you have DID. I invite you to try and do better than me, except that I don’t, because no one should have to go through the experience of *needing* DID, and I think I must.

But I’m begging you. Consider that you might not have the whole story, especially about things you’ve been told by my sister. Consider that if you heard my side of it you might feel differently. And consider that I have no reasonable way of assembling my memories of the night I first went dead inside at all without you.

Please, if I ever meant anything at all to you, please help.

Also.. Our friendship was for a time the best thing in my life. Maybe I remember it as better than it was. But I kind of doubt it. I’d really like it back. Enough to jump through basically any hoop.

Mania

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

So, I have this problem. It’s a persistent one, and it’s likely to continue being a persistent one for the forseable future.

During certain periods in my internal cycle, if I open the throttles on my mind and give it something entertaining to chew on, like recording a album, dancing, or thinking about life, there’s no rev limiter.

It spins up, faster and faster, until eventually it starts to wobble and shakes itself into a shutdown condition. Next thing I know, I’m somewhere where the doors don’t open. Generally I get sprung fairly quickly, generally no one has been actually hurt although there is sometimes some property damage, usually caused by the cops spike stripping me.

I’ve learned to avoid driving while doing it. Safest that way. However, even when I do it in my own house, people come and tell me that I don’t have atonomy over my own body, that even though I’m threatening no one and I’m eating and drinking, I’m not permitted to do this.

Many of my friends think that this activity is seriously unhappy-making, and undesirable, and it’s only a matter of time before I kill myself or someone else.

Here’s why it’s challenging: every time, from my perspective, it’s a win.

Every time, I have more mental capacity, more flexibility, more mental power and capability. This isn’t illusory – I can often measure it very real-world ways. Things I couldn’t do before the ramp up that I can do afterwords. And I suspect that it is one path to developing http://www.sheer.us/weblogs/?p=3211. I’ve learned not to try to contact $person[0], although apparently I haven’t mastered yet not contacting $person[1]. So I need to improve the software so that it keeps me from contacting CLASS($person[]). Which I will make a honest attempt at. (I don’t stop missing these people ever. I don’t think it’s likely that I ever will. But, you want to remove me from your life, I figure that’s your right. Just forgive me if I want to build the ability to dream about you anyway.

But.. even if I remove that possibility, it’s clear that I’m growing whenever I climb the linear mental accelerator that no-sleep during a approach window represents.

At this point, I’m thinking I should plan these. My body seems to like every six months for them – I think I should take vacation time, I should have my lawyer on call to block any attempt to commit me that isn’t as bona fide as it comes, and I should just really embrace this as this is how I choose to be. Slowly my friends are coming to see my point of view. I think increasingly they’re starting to see that my life is not giving me what I need, and that it’s not reasonable to expect me to sit here with one engine out and the other at idle when I was made to fly.

I wish more people would join me. I’ve got reasons to think others have done this before me.. it’s all over the music of Owl City, for example, and hinted at in U2 and sometimes VNV Nation.

Every time, the experience with the linear accelerator convinces me I should take another ride. And I wonder, to what extent are people telling me not to do it because they’re afraid to do it themselves? How many of the experts that tell me how wrong and dangerous this is have done it themselves?

One possibility that I’m considering strongly is that I’m not actually at the edge of my mind, and that I’m supposed to be. That the people I see in my ordinary reality are reflected light from the real people that are out there filtered through many, many layers – too many layers – of neural filters built out of my persistent and irrational fears. I can’t tell what anyone else’s conscious experience is, and as far as I can tell, no one else can tell what mine is, although I encourage you, if you have the technology to read my mind, please do so. If you can help me reconnect with the people I can’t handle losing, please do so.

$person[0], I wonder if you read this blog, a lot a lot. I will admit I find it likely that you do, or that you have a friend reading it for you to watch for certain things. Wish I knew what they were. If so, I can’t say so in cleartext most of the time, but I need your help. A abuser destroyed part of my mind, and I’m just guessing at what happened with little but static and noise to go on. Apparently your friendship was something that part of me rested on, and while I accept the loss because I must, it never stops hurting and I can’t find any way to make it stop. I told you if you told me your lines I would respect them, but my fear is your lines are never and nowhere, and I also fear this may be because you believe things about me that just are not true, and the only part of me fearless enough to even try to approach you is the part of me that is the least representative of my ability to be a normal, contained individual. Please believe that the person you met IRL the first time I came to visit you this century is representative of who I am in person. But I can’t do that in email, especially not when I’m in ‘trust and send’ mode, which I can only really enter with you, for reasons that will become apparent when we talk, if they haven’t already.

$person[1], I don’t even know what I said to make you so angry. I have zero memory of it, it happened in a blackout from my perspective. I doubt you’re reading my blog, as I have to accept I probably don’t matter that much to you. So be it, but I wish we were still friends.

Heaven vs Hell

Monday, August 29th, 2016

So, one of the quotes that I’ve often given of my internal version of $person is “The people in heaven and hell inhabit the same physical space. The difference is in what’s going on in their minds.”

And, this may be one of my more tinfoil-hat thoughts, but it occurs to me it would be much easier to immerse people in a utopia and then degrade it inside their minds to be hellish than the other way around. Anyone who has studied information science knows that it’s much easier to take a optimal signal and degrade it than to take a suboptimal signal and enhance it – this is kind of the point of the oft-mocked Enhance Button trope.

Now, it’s really not unreasonable to think that I might be in $UTOPIA, experiencing $DYSTOPIA – since not a lot of horrible things are happening to me personally and almost all of them involve communication streams from other people, it would not be that difficult for my neural network to be ‘green-screening’ things – subbing out news and facebook with alternate signals to make it look like the world is a much worse place than it is.

I’ve talked about how our conscious experience is at some distance from our senses – there are many layers of neurons between the part of us that is on the ride, and the part of us that is detecting the ride. So, this isn’t as insane as it sounds on the surface. Of course, you kind of have to play it as it lays – you can’t know if what you’re experiencing is real or not, but you have to treat it as it is – if for no other reason than you wouldn’t want to risk the other individuals on the ride by treating it as if it was a video game unless you had absolute proof that there isn’t a monolithic reality and everyone is getting a custom feed of the ride, something which is rather hard to prove or disprove either way. (One of the things I’ve talked about is the challenges of authenticating God, or determining whether what you’re experiencing is a diety or mental illness)

And, I know there’s something wrong with my mind. It appears to me to be a rare and intermittent fault, but it could be that it’s far more prevalent than I think and that in fact most of what I’m experiencing is in some way altered by it. Debugging the system that’s damaged from inside the system that’s damaged is a challenge, which is why I have so much hope that my friends will choose to help me figure out what’s real and what isn’t rather than retreating from me in fear because there’s something wrong with my mind. Of course from my perceptions, I’m not the only one who’s a bit on the sick side – in fact, almost everyone I see here is crazy in one way or another. It may be, if evolution is the correct backstory for us, that we’re pushing the bounderies of the size or configuration of neural network that’s stable. Or, if you like my personal pet theory, the problem may not be the hardware but rather the memetic cruft that has built up over the years – bad software, malware even, which is resulting in suboptimal results.

As I’ve talked about before, it’s possible the reason I’m experiencing $DYSTOPIA is that I chose to do so, either because I wanted the experience for artistic reasons (This seems extra-reasonable when considering the current track I’m working on) or because I wanted a challenge. It’s also possible that I’m being punished for some previous behavior (karma) although it seems like if the purpose of the punishment is to help me grow, it might help to know what the behavior was. If the purpose of the punishment is just to punish, then the universe is governed by forces that are at least partially evil, and it could just be random or sadistic.

Anyway, if it’s not the work of a agent at all, but rather simple random chance that has led to me experiencing something less than utopic even though I’m immersed in a utopia (which is possible, see the thesis at the top of this post) then it seems like it very much behooves me to debug whatever’s wrong with my mind and figure out how to get back to the ideal experience. And, of course, if it’s possible within the confines of the amount of CPU I have available to me, it seems like it behooves me to be able to experience a utopia even if one’s not actually there. Clearly our minds have ample CPU to make up reality out of whole cloth (as I discuss in this article) so the question is how to I motivate the rest of my mind to work with my conscious experience to make this happen. In general, the ability to be a Bal Shem – to hack my neurological software to do whatever I want it to do – is a ability I often cultivate.