Still crazy overwhelmed at work, so here’s the second Community Contribution post. I’m mashing up two proposed discussion topics because I think they’re related.
1. I was offered this link. It’s an article that describes a surgery purported to cure depression.
2. I was asked “Who are you when you’re not bipolar?”
I should say that the idea of this surgery sounds like science fiction to me. The idea of a surgical approach to mental illness does not sound like science fiction, but this surgery sounds like science fiction. My attachment to and reliance on my blackberry already makes me wonder if I’m a cyborg. Electrodes implanted in one’s brain might really make them a cyborg. That makes me nervous.
Still, even if it’s science fiction, the opportunity for a surgical ‘cure’ for the (as we’re always reminded) ‘incurable’ does imply that a person would be restored to themselves after the removal of an illness. I’m never not bipolar, but if the disorder magically disappeared, the question of what of me would be left is an interesting one. The question of whether I’d want to be that person or if that person would be so foreign to me that I wouldn’t feel like myself is also an interesting one.
Personally, I don’t think I’d do it, because I’m already me…but that’s just me. My self-conceptualization is a little complicated, maybe: I am not my disorder, and my diagnosis is not me. But I was diagnosed largely for being me. I’ve had symptoms for most of my life, they just weren’t severe enough for diagnosis until ten years ago. Maybe I could put it this way: Sometimes I get in my own way. Sometimes my symptoms get in the way of being myself, despite the fact that those symptoms are part of me, the result of the way my own personal brain works. What are the odds that this makes any sense and isn’t completely circular? Again, that’s just my take on myself.
So that’s the discussion topic: If there were surgery, would you consider it? Who do you think you’d be? How do you conceive of yourself relative to your disorder? Think you’d be you with electrodes implanted in your brain? What’s the difference between surgery and meds?