Yesterday I Was Angry, Today I am Sad – Part 2

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5. 

DSM 5 – BPD – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Emotional liability –  Unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes.

The common emotional yoyo effect for those of us with BPD is between anger and regret. There is a tendency to lose control and blurt out extreme reactions in perceived verbal conflicts (we may be the only one that perceives it as a conflict) with loved ones. This is usually followed by shame and regret leading to sulking and moping that sometimes can last for days. However….  (read more at:)

Yesterday I Was Angry, Today I am Sad – Part 2

I Love You, I Hate You – Part 2

 Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the impairments listed in the DSM 5.

Impairment 12 – Significant impairments in interpersonal functioning b. Intimacy: Close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation.

 

My Sad Story

When I look at idealization, I can see that it was important for the women in my life to be perfect. I remember when my psychiatrist hit me with the bombshell that my mother might be partially to blame for my BPD and subsequent breakdown. I reacted with anger and disgust. How could he dare blame my mother, she was perfect. To read more: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/i-love-you-i-hate-you-part-2/

She Loves Me – She Loves Me Not – Part 2

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the impairments listed in the DSM 5. 

Impairment 9 – Significant impairments in interpersonal functioning – Intimacy: intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships.

We never stop growing. Each relationship is an opportunity to really get to know, understand, and love another human being. We are here on this planet to learn and grow. We take that new knowledge and understanding into the next relationship until we find our true soul mate and kindred spirit.To read more: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/she-love-me-she-loves-me-not-part-2/

I Guess I’ll Be a Doctor – Part 2

My Sad Story

BPD Impairment 5 – Instability in goals, aspirations, values, or career plans

 

Up until the summer after my grade twelve graduation, I had planned to be a priest. Part of this was, of course, to please my mother who was convinced that I was special because I was the seventh son, and being special, of course, meant the highest calling, the priesthood. I also attended an all-boys Catholic high school where I was taught by priests (with the exception of my Physics teacher who was a lay person). About twice a year, Father Gocarths would come around and interview and counsel and encourage the boys who had hopes of becoming priests. Because of my near perfect grades he informed me that I would spend one year in a novitiate in Ottawa and then move on to studies in Rome. However, it was during my Grade Twelve year that I discovered women.

Read More at: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/i-guess-ill-be-a-doctor-part-2/

Mindfulness and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)By definition, mindfulness is a meditation technique that involves present-centered awareness without judgment. Mindfulness practices are based on Buddhist meditation techniques that target both thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to change the context of our thoughts. Through mindfulness; we observe what we are observing. If our thoughts are maladaptive, we acknowledge them but change our relationship to them. We do not permit them to lead to negative emotions.

During meditation, or perhaps more accurately, contemplation, we let our mind experience disturbing thoughts and feelings without reacting to them. One important technique is called decentering. We simply enter into a state of meditation. We shut down our mind and focus on our breathing until we enter into a state of relaxation.  Our blood pressure will decrease, our heart rate will slow down, and our brain will gradually cease creating thoughts and emotions. We open our mind to experience the sensations that are happening in the now. Inevitably our mind, without our checks and balance, will begin to bring thoughts based on past failures and other negative emotional experiences. We simply notice, label, and relate to them as just passing events rather than letting them regress to negative emotions about ourselves. By increasing our mindful awareness of our thoughts, impulses, cravings, and emotions, we are less likely to act on them or be ruled by them.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has become an actual therapy practiced by present day psychologists. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to treat major depressive disorder. Mindfulness training also includes therapies designed to treat substance use disorder and borderline personality disorder. One large, carefully controlled study found that MBCT was as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing relapse after an acute episode of major depressive disorder (Bieling & others, 2012; Segal & others, 2010). However, the actual practice is so simple that it can be practiced by anyone without professional help.

So how does this relate to bisexuality? I can only relate to my own personal experiences. After hiding my gay impulses from my wife and children for thirty-three years, I inevitably crashed and slipped into chronic depression. I sold or gave whatever was left after the divorce, took an early retirement, and fled to a mountain village in Costa Rica. I started to practice meditation each morning as I gazed on the warm forest and cities below. Inevitably all the blame, guilt and self-loathing would barge in on my meditation. With all these negative thoughts and emotion insisting on occupying my mind, I simply could not meditate. It was then that I decided to face my thoughts and feelings honestly and openly. I let them enter my mind, acknowledged them, wrapped them into a gift of love and sent them to the people they involved. I replaced self-loathing with love for them and eventually with love for myself. I realized that I had done the best I could under the circumstances to hold everything together until my last child and completed college. I was then able to move on, come out of my depression, drop all medication, and heal the personality disorder that I had developed by trying to live a double life. I realized that my trials had made me a beautiful person, thanked the universe for my gay impulses, and accepted my bisexuality as a gift and not a curse.

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. Practice mindful meditation. It may be difficult at first but push through until you are comfortable living in the moment without anxiety.
  2. Once in a state on mindful meditation, allow your mind to bring whatever thoughts it wishes into the present where you sit relaxed and in control.
  3. Accept the thoughts and feelings that go with them but do not accept the negative emotions; in fact, convert them to positive ones. Thank your mind for presenting its thoughts and then release them. I like to visualize them wrapped like a gift and sent back to the ones I love, thanking them for the wonderful moments we had shared.
  4. Keep practicing this mindful meditation until these thoughts eventually cease to return.
  5. Give yourself a great big soul hug. You are a champ, a conqueror of the most powerful enemy you will ever face – yourself.

 

 

  1. Siegel,Daniel,J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation: Daniel J … 2010.

 

Sex and the Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)I think we would all agree that any problem with sex originates in the mind. Our bodies are just answering nature’s call, and the higher self is only concerned with relationships. When we look at the functioning of the brain, the genetic based sexual impulses seem to work at the autonomic level. It is only when the impulses go to the prefrontal cortex for second appraisal do we begin to second guess what our bodies and old brains are telling us. To understand how this works, we can view sexuality as two separate functions: arousal and desire. Adams et al. in their thorough review of brain and hormone activity defined sexual desire as “the behavioral drive that motivates individuals to fantasize about or seek out sexual activity.” In contrast, sexual arousal is defined as “the autonomic physiological processes that prepare the body for sexual activity.” [1] For the purpose of this blog we will be mainly looking at desire.

[1] Adams, Kristian; Favaloro; Dundas, Brendan; Dillon, Aaron; Nixon, Daniel. The Neuroscience of Sexual Desire. (http://neurosciencefundamentals.unsw.wikispaces.net/Sex+and+the+Brain.+What+parts+are+involved%3F)

But first, let’s take a brief look at the nature of arousal. Arousal is an old brain/body function. The activities of the tests and ovaries are regulated by a complex chain of events known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Sexual arousal is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which interacts with the sex organs creating an increase in steroids, body heat, and heart rate.  Male arousal is largely controlled directly by emotion through the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, with limited interaction with the rest of the brain.  Males on average have a 16% larger cortico-medial which is the area responsible for steroid uptake which, among other effects,  regulates flow of blood to the genitals. The activity of the limbic system precedes and triggers penile erection, sexual feelings, sensations of extreme pleasure, and memories of sexual intercourse. This creates a dopamine rush similar to a shot of heroin.

Female arousal appears to be more of a whole brain activity. A woman’s brain literally lights up when viewed in brain scans during stimulation of the brain via the vagus nerve.  Increased activity was noted in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) (sympathetic nervous system – increasing  the dopamine rush –  and regulating blood flow), midbrain central gray (GABA and increased sexual reception), amygdala (emotion), hippocampus (memory), anterior cingulate (blood pressure, heart rate and reward anticipation), frontal parietal (body sensations), temporal and insular cortices (sensory processing and memory), anterior basal ganglia (psychomotor behavior), and cerebellum (motor movement). This results in a complex interaction between the brain and body. It also results in increased lubrication and enhanced touch sensation.

Through the technology of improved use of brain scans, we see that desire on the other hand increases brain activity in both males and females . The center for sexual desire appears to come from the amygdala; however, it does not function in isolation. The amygdalofugal pathway connects the amygdala with the thalamus, median hypothalamus, brain stem and nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is a large cluster of dopamine generating neurons which produces extreme feelings of pleasure as well as motivation to pursue sexual behavior. The anterior commisure is also activated connecting the left and right amygdala combining left brain (thought) and right brain (visual imagery) stimulation. One theory states that the anterior commisure may be responsible for gender orientation with gay men having am anterior commisure more similar to a woman’s (left brain dominant); however, this has not yet been established by neuroscience. Oxytocin seems to be a major player in sexual desire serving both as a stimulus to arousal and a neuromodulator to the flow of information through the neurotransmitters in the brain. All this happens in a blink of an eye where arousal and desire seem to interact simultaneously. This creates a yo-yo effect with our sexual drive system with constant interplay between thought, emotion, and hormonal arousal.

A review of the literature on neuro-sexual activity by Carl Zimmer[1] leads to some interesting additional information. One study observed that the medial orbito frontal cortex (OFC) was active in desire-impaired  but quiet in the normal men.  The OFC’s connection with the hippocampus  produces emotional memories which create states of mind. Through the interaction of states on mind, the OFC mediates reward and punishment, creates personal assessment, and manages expectations. It is also responsible for  understanding the thoughts, emotions and intentions of other people. It weighs action and consequences thereby influencing sexual desire. The OFC also connects to the neocortex particularly in the lobes involved in sensory integration including all somatosensory (body sensations) modalities.  The OFC also connects to the anterior insula, which is what we use to reflect on the state of our own body sensations. This interplay between the OFC, the anterior insula, and the neocortex may produce the good or bad feelings we associate with sexual arousal. Another set of studies noted that information not only travels from the visual cortex and the emotional centers to the higher regions of the brain, but also goes from the top down. Therefore, the higher regions may be instructing the eyes on what looks sexually desirable. The brain regions that handle self-awareness and understanding others may also be telling the emotional centers what to feel.

The two main disorders relating to sexual desire are hyposexual desire disorder (HSDD) and hypersexuality. The causes of sexual desire disorders vary, but some may include a decrease in the production of oestrogen in woman or testosterone in both men and women. HSDD is characterized by low levels of sexual desire and fantasy. This may be due to genetic predisposition or brain damage to the medial orbitofrontal cortex or the limbic structures of the amygdala, hypothalamus, or the temporal lobes. Hypersexuality can be considered as increased desire for sex that makes it difficult to meet social commitments and/or personal development. Evidence has been found that hypersexuality occurs‍ more often in the right hemisphere of the brain with far more cases in males. Studies also indicate that genetic predictors of homosexuality are associated with increased “risk taking” behavior (hypersexuality) due to irregularities of the serotonin production gene and over stimulus of the dopamine drive system.

I think we can conclude that sexual desire is the culmination of several different neural mechanisms, neural pathways, and states of mind, each of which is controlled in different areas of the brain and is activated at different stages of the sexual experience. In other words, arousal cannot be separated from desire. It is part of the bottom up process but almost simultaneously meets and meshes with the top town approach from the prefrontal cortex. Emotions, impulses and hormonal activity seem to pinball among various areas of the brain once arousal takes place.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Since sex is a whole brain activity, we can learn to control our mind and then use our mind to control our sexual impulses. We can do this through meditation and dealing with the pain stimuli coming from the ego (OFC). We can restructure our neural circuits through the wisdom of our higher self, affirm our desires as natural sources of pleasure, and rewire our mind with positive feelings of self-acceptance.
  2. Our sexual impulses are, by their nature, healthy. If we are attracted to men or women or both, it is merely part of our arousal system. We are free to indulge. However, before we can truly enjoy our sexuality, we must also heal the feelings coming from the prefrontal cortex (ego). We can do this by repeating step one whenever we experienced negative thoughts about our sexuality.
  3. I do not believe that hypersexuality is a legitimate problem except in rare cases. I do not believe it is due to a damaged limbic system. A strong sexual desire system is a sign of a healthy human body. The so-called addiction problems are a result of   developed mind sets that involve implicit and explicit memories connected to negative emotions. We simply have to change the circuits and remove the unhealthy inhibitions which are usually based on shame induced structures from family and religion.
  4. Hyposexuality is a problem, but it is not usually centered in the physical brain  structures. It is more likely an inhibitor from the orbito frontal cortex. We have to remove those inhibitors in order to enjoy our sexuality so that we can have fuller and more passionate relationships.
  5. Gay and bisexual men often have amazingly powerful sex drives. This is natural. We have to learn to enjoy it without shame or blame. When our sexual behavior involves a significant other, we have to be sure that he/she understands our drive, and we have to work out a general understanding that involves both of our needs and desires. We have to open up the doors of communication to take away the potential shame and blame.

[1] Zimmer, Carl. Discover, 2009. (http://discovermagazine.com/tags/?tag=carl+zimmer)

 

 

Discernment – A True Story

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)The hardest part about discernment is being able to discern between the truth and the fiction coming from our own minds. In reality, every thought is grounded in a story and as such is more like a fiction novel rather than a reality show.  Animals are so lucky.  They mainly live in the moment through instinctual reactions to their senses.  They have some memory, particularly for smells, faces, and some rudimentary signs, but they simply respond according to their instincts. They do not have to evaluate and judge before making a decision.

We humans create neural pathways in our amazing cerebral cortex, linking sensory concepts into thoughts, memories, and emotions. It enables us to make decisions based on past experiences and gives us the power and energy to react accordingly. It helps us adapt to our surroundings in such a magnificent way that even though we are perhaps the weakest species, we have become the creatures at the top of the food chain. This has been a good thing for surviving and avoiding saber-toothed tigers, but too much of a good think can become a bad thing, and perhaps even a curse.

We humans have a control center in the frontal cortex that we can refer to as the administration center, the mind, or the ego. It is this part of our brain that builds our own interpretation and perception of reality, leading to the creation of a gestalt or mind set. This becomes our life story based on a collection of stories that we can refer to as beliefs, attitudes and values. All our thoughts are then grounded in our life story, and we then react, judge and make decisions according to the story. Now this gift is great for avoiding saber-tooth tigers, but it becomes a never ending circle of thought, emotion, and pain when applied to avoiding personal and psychological problems. As twenty-first century humans, we may live in the moment, but every thought is influenced by the pains of the past and the fears for the future.

The key to discernment then is to become aware or conscious of the story and its role in governing our minds or thoughts. In a sense, we are no better than the animals in that we automatically respond through our instincts, except our instincts are governed by our thoughts, a process designed to avoid danger and insure success in the hunt. Because we live in a complex society with complex relationships and feelings, the mind is forever on the alert, always judging and deciding the best route to avoid danger, and forging the best path to becoming alphas in our pack. Because of the immense anxieties related to our new roles, we have lost the ability to act and adapt. We are stuck in the circle of thought; we are living in an on-going fiction novel. We no longer have the ability to perceive reality naturally, let go of the mind, and just experience life through our senses. We now have to find ways to do this consciously while avoiding the saber-tooth tigers in our minds.

And the only way we can do this is through the powers of discernment. In order to live contented and peaceful lives we have to develop the skill of stopping the insanity of the never ending story. To do this we simply stop the mind and open up all our senses without judgement or the need to react.  We just let ourselves relax into the moment. Only then do we begin to perceive reality.  Only then do we begin to see ourselves as beautiful creatures endowed with tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual beauty. Only then are we able to decipher between the chaos of the story and the order and peace of reality, and only then are we able to judge and make decisions based on this true reality.

So what does this have to do with bisexuality? Here are my five points on discerning between reality and the stories of the ego:

  1. As bisexuals, we have developed a very complex story in order to survive. In this story we have judged ourselves to be weak and unworthy so that we do not have to compete. Stop the story. Whenever you hear the cues like, “I will never be good enough”, or, “it’s no use”, or, “it’s all my fault”, stop the story immediately, recognize the belief or lie and then state the true reality: “I am a magnificent human being”, “I am always good enough”, “I can do anything worth doing”, “there is no fault, there is only trial, error, and the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom”.
  2. We have to see and understand the reality of our sexuality. It is merely a biological process of copulation and reproduction, and yes, if we take our cues from the animal kingdom, that includes same sex attraction. But we have made it part of our story. We have created theories of orientation and gender. Stop it. We don’t need it and if we employ the powers of discernment we will come to the conclusion that we don’t want it. It robs us of our ability to be spontaneous and to enjoy the wonderful senses associated with sex and relationship.
  3. Part of our biological process is to become alpha so that we pass on our superior genes to the next generation. In our bisexual stories, we have subconsciously come to the conclusion that we cannot compete, and we rely on same sex association and expression because it is safer; there are no alphas, just us “queers”. Therefore, we have become a society of weaklings, no competition within mainstream society. Oh yes, we indulge our victim stories and rant and rave forcibly against the injustices of this world, but on the inside we don’t perceive ourselves as part of the same human race. That is oh so far from the truth. We are the alphas. We are the ones who can see both sides of the equation. We are the ones with the answers. We are the ones with the genes that need to be passed on to the next generation if this species is to survive. We need to engage and enjoy the opposite sex relationships as masters of bisexuality and not slaves to our same-sex passions.
  4. We have to recognize that we are after all humans and that our minds or egos are amazing evolutionary creations. We do not destroy the story; we simply rebuild it. We create a new story, and in the process, we use discernment to acknowledge that we are, in fact, building a story. But we build a good story with checks and balances. You might say “We Trump” (sorry, could not resist the pun) the aggression and false beliefs before the cards are even played. We need time to do this. I like the mornings. I get into a state of contemplation, not meditation, contemplation. I simply review my action of the previous day and challenge the motives of my ego which may have got the better of me the previous day. I then set out to consciously be in control of my life and to set a new course for the new day.
  5. And finally, enjoy! The purpose of life is to enjoy. To be spontaneous. To shut down the control center, to step outside the story and just respond to the beauty of the energy around me, and the beauties of the people I so dearly love. I set out to deliberately live and experience through my soul, not my mind. I recognize and respect my story and my ego but only allow it to function on a need to know basis. In other words I control it; it does not control me. Now go out and master and enjoy the day. You deserve it.

Valentine’s Day and the Virtue of Awareness

img_1394-1Awareness is an act of love, first for the self and then for the special person in our lives. One of the best words of wisdom I have garnered over the years is: “do yourself a favor, love your wife.”  Speaking to all the men out there, and this also applies to women, this is the best investment you will ever make. Whatever you give will come back to you a hundred fold. As humans we need to not only be loved but to feel loved.  Acts of love turn us on, not just sexually, but our entire reward and drive systems are activated.  This is the virtue of joy. This is where awareness comes in.  We should live in constant awareness (not just on Valentine’s Day) of the beauty and virtues of our partner, not only consciously, but especially through our feelings, thoughts and actions. Continuous acts and words of love between us and our partners gives us a window by which we have an opportunity to live in constant joy. When we are in the state of bliss it demands that we give back even more than we receive. Love grows.

Happy Valentine’s and Engagement Day

(We got engaged on Valentine’s Day)

 

You are the sunshine that breaks the gloom of a cold cloudy day,

The reason to get up in the morning after a long sleepless night.

You bring warm sunshine to a cold heart with your beautiful smile,

You bring a cozy feeling that says everything will be all right.

 

You are the reason and the fulfillment of a young man’s romance.

You are the juice that transforms an old man into an innocent boy.

You are the power to conquer all the weaknesses that come my way.

That are the source of love that fills another year with contentment and joy.

 

You are the unmoving rock that anchors my boat in the storm.

You are the warm breeze that continually blows good things my way.

You are the beginning and the end of all my good thoughts and desires.

You are the perfect beginning and the perfect end to an imperfect day.

Bisexuality, Truth, and Forgiveness

When seeking the virtue of truth, the most important piece of truth we can discover is that we have always done our best. Given the circumstances of our lives, given the fact that we have powerful sexual drives that demand to be heard, given the fact that we have to balance our desires with our relationships, we have to accept the fact that we did the best we could under the circumstances. There is no need for guilt, there is no need for shame.

I finally have reached this level of consciousness where I not only mouth the words, but I actually accept and believe that I am a good human being. One hot summer afternoon as I did my daily journey through the deserts of Arizona, I finally understood self forgiveness and its effect on self-love.  I was finally free to leave my desert. There was no blame, no shame, no need for guilt. All just was. I was finally free to accept the whole and comforting meaning of forgiveness. I was free to forgive myself for all the mistakes I had made, for all the wrong I had done, for all the wrongs that had been done to me. I was free to return to the world of warm moist winds and rich green life.

 

Ode to the Tree

Forgiveness comes like an October snowfall,

That quietly settles, one flake at a time, on the dead grass,

Covering the barren ground with pure soft white crystals,

A cool white shroud on summer’s passionate past.

 

Feelings fall forgotten like frail dead leaves

Without purpose and life beneath the white;

They are discarded bits of vanity and vitality,

Having fulfilled their purpose on the tree of life.

Yet, I remain in my state of shock like the tree,

Stripped of its drive, purpose, and ability to grow,

Thrusting my life blood back down into my roots,

Away from the cold November winds that blow.

 

But I still live, and I still feel, and I can still dream.

I know that those discarded feelings beneath the pain,

In time shall break down and nurture growth, new life,

When the warm spring sun shines overhead again.

And those feelings like last years living leaves

Have contributed their substances to make me strong;

Their scars have become next year’s branching points,

New life made ready for a new season with a new song.

 

 

 

Best Wishes

img_1394-1I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I give you this present. For those of you who are young – enjoy. For those of you from my generation – enjoy even more. Be conscious or just how precious these good moment really are.

 

 

Christmas

It comes in the middle of the sad season,
When the skies are gray and the rains fall,
In that moment where sadness covers all
With a blanket of cold.

Old days, long gone, hidden behind the clouds.
Moments of when life was young and free,
And the sky was limitless and it was all ok to be me,
Free to be all I could be.

New days, too suppressed with knowledge,
Cloak the reality of the moon and the stars,
Choking the dreams with cold gray iron bars
Keeping my heart captive to my thoughts.

But there is a new reality,
Christmas reborn,
New presents to open,
New loves to love,
New dreams to dream,
New purpose to embrace,
New gifts to give.

And I embrace all the loves I have known
That flows unhindered from my wife,
My children and my grandchildren,
Flowing through old arteries into an old heart,
Pumping new blood to tired tissues,
Sucking in life giving breath,
Enriching the mind with new thoughts,
Creating a doorway to a new life
Where the past and present are the future
And this moment is worth all of my tomorrows.