Autopilot, Video Games and Compulsive Behavior

I’ve been reading a lot on the brain lately. It is my latest obsession. It always works that way when I am manic, which seems to be often now that I am on mood stabilizers. Ironic much? I seem to have this insatiable hunger for information. Usually I gravitate toward a current obsession when feeding the beast. Mental conditioning came to the forefront of my research and I took off. I’d always known it was the key to self-defense and/or any form of fighting, but the depths at which are brain adapts astounds me. It is difficult at times, especially concerning the brain, to find relevant sources that dumb it down enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a decent pool of background knowledge to take a dip in and try and understand the ins and outs of neurology, but it gets really complicated. Have you ever driven home from work and found when you arrived that you didn’t remember the details of how you got home? Auto-pilot. Now as I read these articles, my mind naturally wanders to my “condition”. What happens when you combine the impulsive nature of BPD with the brains natural ability to complete complex tasks while half asleep? You get me.

Stay with me here, because this may sound familiar. I like to play video games, especially first person shooters. For me, it is the perfect cure for my scattered manic mind at its worst. What fascinated me, is that while manic, every move I make is on instinct. I use no forethought whatsoever. I know people who study the maps and memorize details and locations, but that is not me. What’s more interesting is that I am unbelievably better at the games when manic. In fact, I find I operate like that in a lot of other facets of my life. But, I don’t find the same success in those other areas.

As an example, when cleaning dishes after cooking ground beef on a frying pan, I finally reach for the pan after everything else is finished. I immediately begin scraping the pan clean, emptying the lard into the sink. For those unfamiliar with the Tao te Dishwashing, this is a big no no. Now, one might simply write this off as absent-mindedness. However, the frequency of these occurrences is obscene for me.

These M. Night happenings are what inspired me to seek out mindfulness, not just a form of meditation, but as a defense against my impulsive nature. Self-awareness is a gift many take for granted. Being in control of our thoughts, words and actions is extremely difficult for someone with Bipolar Disorder. I find thinking like Sherlock Holmes is helpful (see the book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova)

Anyone else have success with these tactics? Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Comments? Questions?

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