Intersted readers are invited (nudge, nudge shove!) to read this thread on room set ups.
Former LGAT subjects gave valuable obsevations.
And others showed a peculiar and most revealing fury that the message board community was giving such scrutiny to room set up--as if we were getting too close to something that others wished would remain hidden.
But it is not only room set up. We need to take a close look at sleep deprivation.
It isnt just LGATs that make it hard to pay attention to this. American culture has a macho attitude that devalues sleep, making it seem optional, an indulgence for weaklings.
But medicine and science and case reports from the world of mental health are showing us that health and sanity suffer when we go short on sleep.
Here is the thread on room set up
Closely examine the Kopp paper on room set up. THe author suggests
it works by eliciting covert resistance in LGAT participants.
But despite the author's experience as a volunteer who did room set up, andt hough he recognizes the power of room set up (bunching people close together elbow to elbow might be subtle stress posture because most Westerners prefer to sit, stand and socialize at a greater boundary distance and get nervous if someone stands too close(Page 22-23)
Page 13, Kopp draws attention to the set ups elimination of physical distraction via a subtle and sophisticated room set up protocol.
Page 19--the seminar room is well lit, with florescent lights.
Page 29to 30 The author describes the remarkable lengths taken to
ensure there is zero distraction from what the speaker is doing. He
asserted care is taken to ensure that not even door hinges squeak and
that volunteers make no sudden or distracting movements.
Page 32--author claims efforts are made to regulate the tempreture of the room and that even a dozing participant is listed as one of the things to be managed.
But the author, perhaps because his area of interest was cultural studies and not medicine or physiology, never seems to have wondered whether sleep deprivation/circadian rhythm disruption could be one of the secret ingredients.
What is happening to people's circadian rhythms?
I only became interested in sleep issues I have known of three persons who had bipolar and whose manic swings were triggered when they failed to get enough sleep. In one case the outcome was tragic.
Here is another article on circadian rhythm and bipolar. This man states he had had persons with mania who stabilized if allowed to stay in the dark.
Even with his great insights, Kopp does not appear to have noticed the possible impact of stress plus subtle of sleep deprivation
or the impact of causing the participants to spend most of the day indoors in a room set up cut of from the shifting patterns of sunlight and dark which are turning out to be important in regulating the human body's circadian rhythm.
The lesson here is that we are not autonomous atoms.
We are networked into the rhythms of light and darkness. Health is affected by this.
Persons with bipolar appear exquisitely tied to the rhythms of light and darkness.
People do get breaks during the LGAT described by Kopp, but though there might be time to leave the building and get meals, this might not be enough to enable person with bipolar disorder to maintain sufficient exposure to natural shifts of sunshine and darkness to retain stability.
A social worker who is familiar with the needs of persons with bipolar told me that not only must persons with bipolar get 8 hours of quality sleep a night, every night, even weekends. But..she told me that to maintain stablity and prevent manic swings, that person must get the eight hours and wake up at sun rise. If the person got 8 good hours of sleep yet woke up prior to sunrise, those pre-dawn awakenings were often enough to triger manic epsidoes--even when that person otherwise got 8 hours of sleep!
And we are profoundly affected by physical and social context, yet are given misleading information by both culture and LGAT indoctrination that we are totally autonomous and make our own reality, while being led to ignore the extent to which we are affected by our own bodies, and room set ups and social interactions. It upsets cherished notions of ourselves and our cherished myth of total autonomy to face that we need to be in contact with the changes of light and darkness produced by Mother Nature and the 4 season, or we become de-stabilized.
And some of us have such sensitivity that we must go to very special lengths to protect sleep. A key question is to know IN ADVANCE if some person or project is going to keep us up past our bed time.
Persons genetically susceptible to bipolar affective disorder have to know this so as to protect their sleep patterns by avoiding certain situations, or they can trigger a manic swing.
This is not for lack of will power. It is biochemistry. It is a tragedy that American culture makes it a point of pride to devalue sleep and not get enough of it.
WE CANNOT FULFILL FULL HEALTH AND PSYCHOEMOTIONAL POTENTIAL UNLESS ALL HUMAN BEINGS CAN GET SHELTER, NUTRITION, SLEEP, COMMUNITY, LEARNING, WORK AND PLAY
If any one of these is missing, we cannot be fully ourselves.
We are learning to avoid hydrogenated fats when shopping for food and pondering menu options in restaurants.
It is time to be just as intentional to protect our sleep patterns and refuse to participate in anything that stresses us and keeps us past our bedtime.
Anything or anyone who devalues this is something or someone to be avoided, just as if to say, 'Hey, Crisco is good for you.'
(Note--there may be other LGAT set ups that do take place outdoors. Participants may get exposure to natural changes in sunshine and dark.
Yet..if these LGATs keep people from being able to sleep as much as their bodies require and/or cause people to get up before dawn, and especially if these also inflict stress, regression and shame, this will still be likely to destablize someone who has a sensitive biochemistry or genetic predisposition to bipolar.