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Why You Should Stand Up for Mental Health

→ January 22, 2013 - 1 Comment

Why You Should Stand Up for Mental Health

Today marks the launch of HealthPlace’s new campaign that encourages people to Stand Up for Mental Health. You can learn all the details about the Stand Up for Mental Health Campaign here.

What Does it Mean to Stand Up for Mental Health?

So what does it mean to stand up for mental health? Well, basically it means making mental health issues and mental illness visible. It means talking about mental illness. It means talking about people who have mental illness. It means showing your support for others. It means not being ashamed of your mental illness.

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Pharmaceutical Advertisers Harm Credibility?

→ August 14, 2012 - 47 Comments

Pharmaceutical Advertisers Harm Credibility?

Let’s be clear. I am not supported by pharmaceutical companies. No pharmaceutical company has ever paid me one cent. Got it? OK.

But let’s say that Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline did advertise here, would that pharmaceutical advertisement ruin my credibility?

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Latest Bipolar Bites and Breaking Bipolar

→ May 24, 2012 - 2 Comments

Mental Health Hero Natasha TracyAs per the usual, I’ve been a busy little beaver. I write about five mental health articles a week for blogs as well as other articles for clients. It’s the reason why I’m up on the latest research – I pretty much have to be; I spend most of my day looking at it.

And if you just hang out on the Bipolar Burble – I love you – you might miss a lot of interesting things. So here, without further ado is what has been going on at Bipolar Bites at Healthline.com and Breaking Bipolar at HealthyPlace.com.

Bipolar Bites Blog

Bipolar Bites is a blog I started writing in February for Healthine.com. It contains what I call more “sciency” articles – those with facts and figures and study references. It’s for the mental health geek in many of us.

Recently at Bipolar Bites we’ve seen:

Breaking Bipolar Blog

Over at Breaking Bipolar I’ve got all kinds of advice for living with bipolar disorder:

And while you’re perusing your articles of interest you might want to check out a series I did on mental illness and stigma or my piece for Sharecare: Succeeding with Mental Illness – Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Oh, and did I mention I got name a mental health hero? (Thanks to Chato Stewart for the drawing seen above.)

Thanks all for your continued to support. I shall continue to do what I do as long as you keep your eyeballs facing forward.

More Mental Health Articles

→ April 1, 2012 - 2 Comments

Bipolar ArticlesEvery six weeks or so I like to do a quick round-up of  writings I’ve done elsewhere, just in case you’ve missed them. This session’s round-up include subjects like assisted outpatient treatment, self-harm and mental health stigma. Here are some of the notable articles:

And for those interested in that sort of thing, I’ve created an Awards and Media page for the Bipolar Burble which includes my recent win as one of the Best Bipolar Blogs from Healthline.com

Best of Bipolar Bites and Breaking Bipolar Blogs

→ February 16, 2012 - 7 Comments

Hi all. A lot happens around these parts in six weeks. As most of you know this month I launched a new blog on Healthline.com called Bipolar Bites and, of course, I still have my blog on HealthyPlace.com called Breaking Bipolar.

Bipolar Bites and Breaking Bipolar Articles

In case you haven’t kept up with your reading, here’s the best of what you might have missed in the last couple of months from both blogs:

Oh, and the mental health resources page has been updated. Check it out.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll see if it tickles my fancy.

Breaking Bipolar Reading Round-Up

→ December 23, 2011 - Comments off

Best in Breaking Bipolar by Natasha TracyHappy holidays all.

I’m a pretty busy gal right now, so not a lot of time to write new material. I promise I’ll try to get to something new next week.

However, while you’re waiting, have you caught up on all your Breaking Bipolar articles? No? I didn’t think so. Here’s a run-down on some of what I’ve been doing over at HealthyPlace:

  1. Last Minute Holiday Tips for the Bipolar – just published today. Here are four things you should know before you get any deeper into the holidays.
  2. What 2011 Taught us About Mental Illness – a wrap-up of the top ten things research taught us about mental illness last year including: bipolar misdiagnosis, bipolar treatment success predictor, mania treatment comparison and antipsychotic information. Part one and part two.
  3. You’re Narcissistic! Getting Over Insults – How one reader got to me even though I knew they shouldn’t have.
  4. Celebrating Mental Health News – on why we should celebrate the good moments in mental illness.
  5. How to Choose a Good Psychiatrist – one I’ve touched on here but in more detail.
  6. Bipolar Disorder Thought Types – have you ever considered the odd types of thoughts you have a person with a mental illness? I have.
  7. The Importance of Self-Care in Bipolar Disorder – tips on self-care plus a video.
  8. Sexual Health and Bipolar Disorder – the sexual concerns of people with mental illness.

What you should be Reading in Mental Health

→ June 3, 2011 - Comments off

Articles to Read on Bipolar and SchizophreniaBusy. Crazy. Crazy busy. New antipsychotic. You know how it is.

Mental Illness Articles You Should Read

As per the usual, however, I plow through my own research materials like a crazy person possessed. So I do know of many excellent articles you should be reading.

Check out these articles from Breaking Bipolar and other great sources:

Hope you enjoy, I’ll be back with fresh content next week.

Breaking Bipolar Articles You Should Read – Updated Resources

→ March 29, 2011 - 2 Comments

Breaking Bipolar at HealthyPlaceAs most of you know, in addition to the Bipolar Burble I also author Breaking Bipolar on HealthyPlace.com. I write a column there twice a week as well as produce one bipolar-themed video and two audio files per month. It’s a fairly well-received bipolar blog often with much discussion, feedback and sharing.

Recent Breaking Bipolar Blog Highlights

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Breaking Bipolar lately, here are a few of the highlights:

Upcoming Bipolar Burble Articles

I’m sure that’s more than enough for now. Upcoming pieces on the Bipolar Burble will likely be about hypomania and delusions and possibly regarding the black box warning on antidepressants actually increasing suicides (you can yell at me about that after I write it). There will probably be a piece about my own ECT experience as well as that’s not really covered here (I wrote quite a bit about it on another blog.)

If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Bipolar Burble or Breaking Bipolar or have a question you can always contact Natasha Tracy. I can’t promise I’ll respond but I’ll do my best.

New Mental Health Resources Added

The bipolar and mental health resources page has also been updated. These are good resources you should know about.

Convincing Someone to Get Help for a Mental Illness

→ October 10, 2010 - 3 Comments

I get emails and messages now and then from people asking what to do about their mentally ill loved one. They want to convince their loved one to get help for a mental illness.

These people are in the unenviable position of watching someone they love be sick. And the unfortunate thing about mental illness is that when you confront it, it doesn’t like it very much.

You are trying to tell someone their brain is sick and expecting their sick brain to comprehend and agree with that.

Breaking Bipolar at HealthyPlace

It’s kind of a tall order.

And the thoughts I have on the matter don’t really make the issue sparkle either. Because let’s face it, the person either listens to you or they don’t, and really, they have the right to do either one. Here’s a bit of reality on convincing a loved one to get help for a mental illness.

And for the record, even if you don’t immediately succeed, many of us first hear about our mental illness from a friend, but sometimes that takes a while to sink in.

Once you’ve read this article, you might also want to check out this book for many more ideas about convincing someone to get help for a mental illness.

I Hate Psych Meds but Medication Non-Compliance Kills

→ October 4, 2010 - 18 Comments

I have written thousands and thousands of words in this blog and elsewhere about how much I hate medication.

I hate it in the car, I hate it on a train, I hate on a boat, I hate it in the rain.
I hate it in the snow, I hate it in the sun, I hate it standing still, I hate it on the run.
I hate it before breakfast, I hate it after lunch, I hate it in the morning, I hate it during brunch.

And while I could fill an entire blog with all the ways I hate psych meds, I still, take them, everyday.

Weird you say?

(Well, yes. But no more so than the disease it treats.)

Because no matter how much I might hate psych meds, medication non-compliance kills.

It Doesn’t Matter that I Hate Meds, I Am Medication Compliant Anyway

Someone said to me that I have such conviction for a method that has been proven fruitless again and again. Well, yes, but there has been the odd pomegranate here and there. Moreover, I can’t think of anything better with which to convict, so I have to go with what has the greatest (however small) possibility of working. [push]Psych meds are backed by science and doctors and experience; not to mention my personal experience with medication where it has definitely been useful from time to time.[/push]

But I completely understand people who want off their meds. Now. Like. Now. No more medications. No more antidepressants. No more antipsychotics. No more mood stabilizers. No more tranquilizers. No more medications. Medication non-compliance. Now.

Bipolar Medication is Horrible

I get it. Psych meds are horrible. My list of psych med side effects is terrifying, even to me. Some I wouldn’t go through again no matter what. So I totally get it. Bipolar medications and side effects can all but ruin a life.

But Bipolar Medication Saves Lives

But psychiatric medication saves lives too. In fact, it may be saving your life right now, without you even knowing about it. The fact that you’re not trying to kill yourself may be thanks to the little pink pill that you take in the mornings, even though it is your least favorite part of the day.

And that’s the thing. I understand the consuming desire to excise the poison of psych meds from one’s body, but doing so can be just plain dangerous and life-threatening. All sorts of nasty things happen to people when they suddenly stop their medication. This is known as medication non-compliance and is a topic I wrote about at Breaking Bipolar.

My Bipolar Symptoms Aren’t Your Symptoms: I’m More Bipolar Than You

→ September 24, 2010 - 8 Comments

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’re probably familiar with the symptoms I typically experience as a person with bipolar disorder type II rapid-cycling.

My Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Sadness / depression / tearing
  • Hypersomnia
  • Anhedonia
  • Lack of motivation / concentration
  • Slowness in thinking
  • Thoughts of death
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Excessive speed talking / thinking
  • Increased productivity

Each symptom depending on the mood of the moment (blue being depression, yellow being hypomania).

However, did you know that someone who also has bipolar type II (maybe even rapid-cycling) might have completely different mental illness symptoms?

Your Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness. agitation
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Indecisiveness
  • More goal-directed activity
  • Spending sprees
  • Inflated self-esteem

That is totally different from my list, and yet we’re still both bipolar. The diagnosis “bipolar” is more of a big-tent thing. It’s the clumping of people with group of symptoms into a group called bipolar, but each person in the group is still unique.

Your Crazy Is Not My Crazy and That’s OK

In the kink world there is a saying, my kink is not your kink, and that’s OK. That is because kink run the gamut. Some people revere feet, others play with blood and others are only interested in rope-play. And sometimes one group thinks less of another group. You lick boots? Ew. I only play with good, clean rope. or my kink is 24/7 so I’m kinkier (better) than you, who just shows up Friday night nights.

Naturally, entirely silly. Kink is all just kink. It’s all just stuff that would get you kicked out of a vanilla person’s bed, the specifics are inconsequential.

And the bipolar community does the same thing. Somehow we’re caught up in our differences and end up fragmenting the group. And even worse, people seem to have a constant of one-up-man-ship to see who is horrifically sicker. Ridiculous.

So, take a gander at my HealthyPlace piece, My Bipolar Isn’t Your Bipolar But That’s OK, where I write (and talk) all about it.

Seven Accusations of Bipolars – Bipolar Myths

→ September 19, 2010 - 3 Comments

Bipolar Disorder MythsSome people really hate the bipolars. Bipolar disorder evokes ire in many. I’ve had people refuse to see me for no other reason than I am bipolar. Bipolar seems to make you grow another head, or tentacles, or something.

But that is not the worst part. Not by far. No, the really bad bit is why people hate people with bipolar disorder so much. Among the other accusations, I’ve seen: we’re liars, we cheat, we manipulate and we’re violent and angry. These particular myths along with three others are in Seven Biggest Myths About Bipolar Disorder.

People Show Prejudice Against Bipolar Disorder

The thing is, the people who make these accusations, like everyone with a prejudice, is simply showing ignorance and a lack of rationality. It doesn’t matter what group of people you hate, you’re always showing ignorance and a lack of rationality. It’s terribly unimpressive.

What generally happens is that a person has a bad experience with one person, who is bipolar, and then generalizes to all of bipolar-kind and possibly mental-illness-kind. And they blame every problem on the bipolar. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. In fact, it’s stupid. Sorry, it just is.

But there it is, my little poke back at the prejudice. I hope it makes someone think.

Like that? Well you’ll love another Top Ten Psychiatric and Bipolar Myths.

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