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If you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else, get help now. You are not alone. Life doesn't have to be this hard.
→ May 16, 2013 - 15 Comments
I was driving in my car yesterday morning, groceries in the back, a freshly frothed latte in the front, when I flipped to a radio station, heard one line of a song and started crying. The song lyric is inconsequential; I knew that then and know it now. What is consequential is that my bipolar disorder heard the song and used it as an excuse to be upset. My depression, my loathing, creeping, squirming depression, popped its fucking head up and made me burst into tears for no reason on a perfectly functional Wednesday morning. I had a breakthrough bipolar event.
→ May 13, 2013 - 2 Comments
Today, the Bipolar Burble blog welcomes guest author Kevin Hines, a fellow mental health advocate. Kevin is one of only 33 people who have survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. I met Kevin recently at a conference and I can tell you, his story is incredible and he uses it to help others.
I always try to remember that life is but a state of mind and if that state of mind can be altered by an imbalance of chemicals, it becomes extremely hard to function. After all, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 17 years old. Since that day, I’ve come to learn that life literally is a state of mind, and how, without the love and support of friends and family, life would be a lot more difficult.
I am so thankful for the support of family and friends who have helped me whether the hard times at are inevitable when one has– like I do – a mental illness. With all the years that have passed since I attempted to end my life by suicide, I have learned that we all make mistakes in life, but now it is time to put the past where it belongs, in the rear view mirror. We cannot control the future, but we can help one another – and ourselves – today and every “today” that follows.
After My Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis at 17
After my bipolar diagnosis I struggled, suffered, and attempted to understand the metamorphosis I was going through. I hoped that it was just a phase, maybe I was going to “grow out of it.” I was going through the motions of trying to find the right medications for my particular kind of manic depression. Some days the medication would feel like it was working, but on others, it would not.
Driven to Suicide
This lasted until I was 19-years old when thoughts of suicide unfolded. I wrote a suicide letter and the next day, I prepared for another day of classes at City College in San Francisco. But that was a blatant lie, even to myself. This morning my plan was to go to the Golden Gate Bridge to end my life.
→ May 7, 2013 - 4 Comments
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) is frequently called psychiatry’s “bible.” I, however, would not pen it that way. I would suggest that the DSM is simply a guideline for the diagnosis of mental illness. It lists the criteria one has to have in order to be diagnosed with a mental illness.
And, as the name of this post suggests, the DSM is releasing its fifth major version – the DSM-5 – in just a couple of weeks.
Now, the DSM-5 has been controversial from the get-go and I have said that much of this controversy is overstated, but some of the changes do have fundamental nosological implications. In other words, some of the changes in the DSM-5 can change how people fundamentally think of certain mental illnesses.
The DSM-5 Cuts the Chord between Depression and Bipolar
And one of the changes in the DSM-5 is the separation of major depression and bipolar disorder into their own chapters. No longer is there a chapter called “Mood Disorders” with both disorder types listed (Can we still call them mood disorders?). Now they each represent a separate category.
This may seem like a small change, and I’m not going to have a fit over it, but I will say that I think it was the wrong move.
→ May 5, 2013 - 4 Comments
The Bipolar Burble blog again welcomes National Council Reintegration Award-winning mental health advocate Andrea Paquette – also known as the Bipolar Babe. Andrea shares her struggles with bipolar psychosis – both as a bipolar manic psychotic break and as repetitive psychotic episodes. (Psst, you might want to start with this primer on psychosis in bipolar disorder.)
You were diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 25 after a psychotic episode. What was the psychotic episode like that led to diagnosis?
At the age of 25 I plunged into a deep psychosis where I saw, believed, and heard things that weren’t real. I was unaware that I was suffering from major manic highs and I eventually toppled into a psychosis that spelled disaster. I believed I was Eve from the Garden of Eden and removed all my clothes, eventually leading me to my neighbour’s doorstep looking for Adam. It felt as natural as waking in the morning and as real as I am alive right now. I also saw the Devil’s head dancing in front of my face and observed a globe of the earth deteriorating in front of my eyes. I experienced a number of bizarre incidents during this time, many that were breathtaking and others that were horrifying. My psychotic episode disabled my ability to make sound decisions and everything flowed into a serious break with reality.
Have you experienced psychosis since?
I have been medicated since my first psychotic break 11 years ago, and I have since experienced a type of mild psychosis in episodes. The episodes contain periods of extreme paranoia and anxiety inducing feelings of sheer terror that come over me, leaving me paralyzed and unable to function. The only way that I can describe my experience is that it feels as if I have smoked 10 marijuana joints.
When it happens I’m bound to my bed for hours as I attempt to calm down and recoup. The “high” feeling is not fun, welcoming, or enjoyable, it actually is treacherous. I experience the world differently and the only way I can make sense of it is to conclude that it is psychosis. These episodes are constant and relentless, but have recently begun to ease.
Welcome to the Bipolar Burble. I'm Natasha Tracy, your host.
Warning! This site is about bipolar disorder and other mental health issues and talks about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects. This site is not intended for youth and may be disturbing to some.
Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)
All writing and mental health information here is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.
- Sarah on Breakthrough Bipolar Events:
I don't think you have to have bipolar disorder to have an emotional respon…
- Donna Maher Mielzynski on Breakthrough Bipolar Events:
This is an incredible article, Tracey. You've put into words what so many o…
- Natasha Tracy on What to do When Someone Refuses to Take Their Medication – Treatment Noncompliance:
Hi Ortezy, Thanks for asking. I'm sorry, but I don't allow reproduct…
- Robert A. Des Jardins on Breakthrough Bipolar Events:
Wow !!! Natasha ! You hit one of my most personal breakthrough bipolar eve…
- Harryf200 on Breakthrough Bipolar Events:
Maybe I'm a bit too isolated from others with Bipolar but I had been starti…
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