Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Taming the Polar Bears Proposal

Proposal for
Taming the Polar Bears

[includes additional thoughts from the original - BGE]

Over the last few days the response has been overwhelming in regards to my taking down materials from Taming the Polar Bears. I get almost no sense that people understand why I have to but I do hear that many – many, many more than I ever imagined or dared dream – get value out of it.

But here's the thing – I'm dying. I don't talk about this because of how few people would grasp it but this is something I've understood for some time. I don't think I have to die, or it's possible to reverse  the fundamental reasons that are taking me that way, but certainly not as circumstances currently are. I'm going to outline that in one last post on bipolar disorder but briefly, my cells' ability to create energy has been so badly damaged that I am literally having trouble carrying on. 

This is NOT a matter of “will to live”. No worries there, folks, I have that in spades. I know of very, VERY few people who work harder at living than I do. It's NOT a matter of being all “I just cannot go on. Life's so unfair, blah, blah, blah”. I've been like that for sure, especially a few years ago when the full reality of having lost everything I owned, couldn't find a job, had no money and two women on my ass to put food on their table and roof over their heads (women, for those who don't know, have a very dim and grim view of men who can't provide, especially the particular brand of Asian woman I happened to conceive a child with). But anyway, I'm past all that as well. Nor do I EVER do feeling sorry for myself (yes it's true, a good deal of suicidal drama is all boo-hoo life drama stuff. A dirty little secret that's hard to ignore if you actually study the issues).

No, my issue is that my cells – particularly brain cells, AKA neurons – literally cannot produce energy. This can happen under a number of circumstances involving stress and age but bipolar is particularly “efficient” at burning out brain cells. As is genius level thinkers (because our brains fire up and operate on far more neuronal real estate and do it far more each day than the average person). So bipolar genius level thinkers just simply burn out. Throw in very difficult life circumstances and it is all but guaranteed. This is not “distorted thinking” or anything like that that's usually associated with suicidal “thoughts”, I could present the neuroscience on all this in enormous detail – it's just simply what will happen. Energy load on brain too high, resources too low, cells and brain cells burn out, no energy, no life = death through burn out. I could probably give you hundreds of case examples from history.

So as I said, I've understood this for some time. Just about everything I do and have done for the last 12 months is attempting to overcome this but all evidence is pointing to my losing the battle. This fundamental life energy issue has been going on for at least five years and all indications (and I have very careful ways of measuring and tracking this) are that it is not getting better and may in fact be getting worse. 

I get maybe three or four hours a day of energy where I can be productive. Meanwhile I have stacks and stacks and stacks of reading material to get to and hundreds of thousands of words to write for my various book projects.

So here I am, living outdoors in a brutal Canadian winter burning what little energy I have simply staying alive and then burning anything that's left producing all this material that so many people say they value so much and I begin to think, “what's wrong with this picture?”

I started out being completely altruistic in my presentation of my ideas, concepts, knowledge and approaches. But at some recent point, I just realized that I'm literally going to work myself to death doing this.

To which some people (though not many; others will gladly you bleed you dry for what you know) will say, “well stop then. Do the right thing and stop”.

And this is where people's ignorance of not only bipolar brains shows but ignorance of genius bipolar brains shows (don't feel offended; if one tenth of one percent of people who studied bipolar understood that I'd be surprised) – I CAN'T stop. I completely and utterly and literally canNOT turn off my brain. I happened to be blessed that my brain mostly works away at churning away at useful stuff like studying neuroscience and psychiatric and mood disorders and turning that into (hopefully) somewhat useful stuff for people to read and learn from not to mention novels, other writing, photography and stuff like that but this is the thing with bipolar brains (true ones that is, not the misdiagnosed ones or ones that only went through a few cycles of manic depression) they cannot be shut off. They are massively, massively driven. This is why we're generally drugged into a stupor – it's the only way to shut the fucking things off and reduce the drive.

But as you all know (or should know), I didn't particularly like nor respond well to being drugged into a stupor, became even MORE suicidal, not to mention more psychotic (it's a not uncommon phenomenon among bipolars and schizophrenics who experience psychosis to experience more frequent and worsening psychosis while taking “anti-psychotics” (fascinating research into this as to how dopamine D2 receptors increase and multiply in response to dopamine blocking anti-psychotics and thus really mess things up).

So while my brain and body cannot produce energy, my brain is constantly driven in ways that drain energy. This is not will to live or or feeling sorry for myself because life is difficult, this is just biology 101. Biological specimen cannot produce energy, meanwhile it's burning it at an ever increasing rate, specimen dies. That's just the way live organisms work (somehow people forget that homo sapiens are simply living organisms that live by the same biological rules of all living organisms). My brain and body are just burning out and at some point I just won't be able to carry on. Simple as that.

And while I've looked everywhere under the sun to get around that, I have not been able to.

So I can't stop, I can't go. What's the answer?

Well, as much as I love living outdoors in the Bean-mobile, I just realized that it's an enormous strain on my energies when it gets too cold. Again, biology 101 – you have to create and expend an enormous amount of cellular energy just to create body heat. Not only that, you have to expend an enormous amount of energy just taking care of bare essentials like food and water.

I am passionate about all the research and study I put into writing Taming the Polar Bears material. In fact I have an outline for turning it all into a massive book (I actually have two versions in mind – a huge tome and a more “Cole's Notes” version). So I'm going to keep trying to do that anyway (which I may or may not be able to complete before I burn out forever).

The thing is that I don't think I can afford to continue putting that out on the web for nothing. I just don't think it's fair that I put the hundreds and hundreds of hours of reading, research, study, note making and writing into that I have and would continue to do and not get anything. I didn't used to think that way but I don't think I have a choice now. I simply need to survive – survive in the literal sense. Does that not seem fair?

I know what some people may be thinking – why don't you live in an apartment where it's warm and dry? That's a fair question. This is a long thing to explain but I simply cannot afford anything suitable for Mrs Bean and I (her role as my therapy pet is crucial) on my small pension. I've done that before and I had no money left over for anything else. Mobility and the ability to spend time in nature is also critical for me (everyone on my real life support team understands and supports this – this is why they funded the Bean-mobile and supplies for me). So I need both a “home base” and the ability to modestly travel around my home province and spend time living in nature.

Now if I could have some extra income to pay for a small apartment somewhere where I could stay when conditions are too difficult or when I really need long periods of rest while still having the mobility and outdoor living capacity that the Bean-mobile provides, that would work.

So here is my proposal:

I would like to set up a private Taming the Polar Bears community in Google+. I have connections that can help me do this. But it would have to be behind a “pay wall” - there'd be a small monthly fee in exchange for my materials, views, support and many other things my Taming the Polar Bears community would provide.

I'm proposing that somehow I get about $600CDN a month out of that to provide for my basic living space expenses. Twenty people at $30 a month would get us there.

That's the only way I can see to make it work to provide what I do. I need to somehow earn some very basic living and means of better supporting myself in order to keep putting the work into what I do. My health condition doesn't allow me any other way to earn money (nor does my age for that matter). You have to trust me on this. Believe me, I have left no stone unturned during the last seven years in exploring all job options and income earning options. I simply cannot earn money or wages like most people can because of my condition (the mental health care system of BC recognizes this and that's why I am provided with a small disability pension).

And speaking of the work I do, another reason I wanted to take down Taming the Polar Bears is that I became unsatisfied with the content, direction and quality.
And I was never really satisfied with Bloggers' layout and function. I want to take it closer to the bigger, more comprehensive and better organized book of my vision. So I could absolutely promise even higher quality better directed content and resources in a Taming the Polar Bears community.

The numbers are very rough (well, not my monthly number but how to get there) but I have people who'll work with me on that.

I'd also need a financial officer (on a volunteer basis) who'd look after whatever income came in and directing that monthly portion to me.

So that's the deal – how many people would be willing to pay a small monthly fee to have not only access to my material but also a great number of other benefits as well?

It would be a private, invite only community. I'll outline what invitees might look like and what the terms and conditions would be in a separate post if interest warrants it.

[additional thoughts]

I'm no longer sure about the community idea. I am open to any and all suggestions. And on further thinking, I really can't have anything to do with it other than providing the content (which consumes all my mental resources and available energy). With further reflection and having happened to have heard of a few examples while listening to the radio, some sort of crowd sourcing is what I need. But that has to come from others, not me. If I do it, it'll come off as begging (which I've done far too much of the past six/seven years) but if it's done by others, it's crowd sourcing. There's an important psychological difference in "the eye of the beholder". 

So I don't know. This either takes legs on its own or it doesn't. People either believe in it and the value of the content or they don't. I can't push it myself. This is something that's "up to the universe" to provide. 

I may also pursue a private philanthropist donor approach; someone with the deep pockets that believes in the need for better understandings of and approaches to mental illnesses and could provide me with some monthly operating funds. 

Thank you for hearing me. 

And to each and every one of you, I wish you the very, very best in the coming year and thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and Taming the Polar Bears in 2014. 

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