Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 2: First Two Months)

In the 1990s, I discovered that if I see faces on TV early in the morning, I feel better (happier, more eager, more serene) the next day, but not the same day. Faces Monday morning, for example,  make me feel better on Tuesday but not Monday. I studied this effect extensively. The results suggested that a circadian oscillator controls our mood and sleep and needs morning face exposure to work properly.  Absence of morning face exposure, this theory says, increases your risk of depression — a view not compatible with the “chemical imbalance” explanation of depression but one supported by the strong association between depression and insomnia.

I told friends about this. One of them had devastating bipolar disorder. As he describes here and here, he got great benefit from looking at faces in the morning. After I posted his account of his experience, a man I’ll call Rex wrote me that he was going to try it. At 29, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At 32, he slit his wrists. He is now 37.Since then he’s been in and out of mental hospitals. Now he lives at home. I wanted to follow his use of morning face therapy “prospectively” — before knowing what would happen. I posted this, about his background, around the time he started. Continue reading “Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 2: First Two Months)”

Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 1: Background)

In the mid-1990s I discovered that seeing faces in the morning raised my mood the next day. If I saw faces Monday morning, I felt better on Tuesday — not Monday. This discovery and many other facts suggest that we have an internal oscillator that controls our mood — in particular, how happy we are, how eager we are to do things, and how irritable we are. For this oscillator to work properly, we must see faces in the morning and avoid faces and fluorescent light at night.

In rich countries, almost everyone gets nothing resembling the optimum input. One of the problems this may create is bipolar disorder. A week ago I posted how a friend of mine used my faces/mood discovery to control his bipolar disorder. After that post, a man I’ll call Rex wrote to me thanking me — that post had inspired him to try to control his own bipolar disorder that way. Before knowing anything about whether he would be successful, I decided it would be good to follow and record what happens. Either way — successful or not — it should be revealing.

I am going to post his story in several parts. The first few parts are background.

My first full-blown bipolar episode was at 29 years of age.  (I am now 37.) Continue reading “Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 1: Background)”