It’s no secret and certainly no shame about it. People get depressed.
Ain’t nothing new.
Before depression, was melancholy.
Some called it “deprimare” (Latin).
Some called it “melas” (Greek).
Manic comes from the “manikós” and “manía” (Greek) and means inclined to madness.
Latin later turned the word into “mania.”
The names may change, but the states remain the same.
Mania and depression are the sorts of thing that can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason … or for no reason at all.
I hope these states never happen to you, dear Memorizers. But if they do, I highly recommend that you supplement your medical treatment with mnemonics.
I’m not a doctor (at least not the medical kind), so I’m not qualified to offer medical advice.
I can only tell you that when the black bile of melancholia hit me during my graduate studies, it hit hard, it hit bad and it did its best to sink my Magnetic ship into the rough seas of depression.
Anyhow, the inspiration for today’s episode and sharing these memory improvement tips for students suffering from Manic Depression comes from a listener of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. He wrote:
Thanks for sharing your story. I also have bipolar. It’s a tough thing to deal with and I appreciate your willingness to share your story. I have always wanted a doctorate degree. But for reasons you are well acquainted with, it has been a massive struggle. Another one of my life goals is to learn Russian and be fluent. I feel skeptical that the methods outlined here can help someone like me to accomplish these goals, but I’m willing to take a deep breath, and give it 100%. Honestly, what’s the worst that can happen? It either works or it doesn’t, right? I’m going to try hard to make this work, and I will be in touch to let you know how I’ve progressed, but for now I wanted to just thank you for bringing the possibility to me, and for sharing your struggle with bipolar.
In today’s episode of the podcast, I address this letter in detail, giving you the reasons why you should feel the mania and depression and do it anyway. There is nothing that you cannot achieve just because you have this emotional dis-ease.
Concentration Zen For Students With Brains Bipolar Medication Has Turned To Mush
I’ve talked several times before about my personal history with concentration issues, so you’re not alone. I was thrown into a severe depression as a grad student and that’s one of the things that led me to memorization techniques. And of course, no sooner than I emerged from the depression, I found myself riding back up to the sky. And it’s hard to focus when you’ve got the wind blowing hard in your face as you blast towards the moon.
But even with memory techniques to guide me during these torrential states, they didn’t completely eliminate the concentration issues. One practice that I found helpful (though not always) was to read out loud. Narrating books can put strain on the voice and requires a lot of water, but it also helps generate focus during especially difficult passages.
When narration wasn’t possible, I found audiobooks whenever I possibly could. This is usually easy for novels, but not so easy for dry theoretical texts – hence reading out loud.
But the point is not to “read” the audiobooks while walking around or cooking bacon. For the purposes of serious study, you want to have the actual text in front of you and read along with. That’s why I always listened and read at the same time. And If I had to, I recited the book myself and then listened to my own narration while following along with the book in hand.
How Memory Techniques Saved The Lovely Voice You Hear Today On The MMM Podcast
Next, I studied memorization techniques (you knew that was coming). These are great because they sharpen the mind and improve concentration. I think it’s because practicing with Memory Palaces and related techniques sends more oxygen to the brain. It also helps improve recall (of course) because it’s a simple matter to store key points in a carefully prepared and predetermined Memory Palace.
Along with memorization techniques, meditation is incredibly helpful for avoiding all of the 17 student fails I’ve talked about elsewhere on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast.. Nothing fancy. Just sitting, breathing, watching your thoughts. 3-5 minutes is good, 10 minutes is very good and 15 minutes is exceptional (that’s a loose quote from a meditation training I heard once upon a time). Three 15 minute sessions a day works gangbusters for me.
Then there’s the matter of diet and exercise. Sorry to spread the bad news, but eating processed foods and anything wrapped in plastic or bolted into a can is probably not going to help concentration. I’m not a doctor (well, I am, but not the medical kind) so I can’t give any dietary advice. But you know the drill. Eat well and keep fit.
While You “Treat” Manic Depression With Memory Palaces … Look At What Else They Can Do …
And then read these …
Before I go, don’t think that you have to have a mental illness to benefit from these memory tips. They’re good for anyone and everyone. 🙂