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Why I Don’t Tell People My Bipolar Medications, Treatment Plan

→ October 22, 2012 - 38 Comments

Why I Don’t Tell People My Bipolar Medications, Treatment Plan

And Why You Shouldn’t Tell People about Your Bipolar Medications Either

At least once a week someone asks me what medication I’m on or what my bipolar treatment plan is, but I have a policy not to talk about my treatment plan or medication. I typically won’t even get specific about my experience with specific medications. I don’t tell people what medications I’m or what my treatment plan is for a good reason – it’s no one’s business but mine and my doctor.

I get a little peeved that people ask me about my medications and treatment plan because it’s private people. But people think that just because I’m a writer I’m a public commodity and people should get to know whatever they want about me. Well guess what, you don’t. You get to know what I choose to tell you, nothing more, nothing less.

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Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

→ October 15, 2012 - 86 Comments

Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Saturday, after sharing the story of someone who had been through electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). someone named Michele Montour left me this series of tweets (shortened words lengthened to improve readability):

Nothing will ever convince me that this barbaric, antiquated butchery is proper treatment. We know almost nada about the brain. Scientists admit very little known about our brain – even diagnoses are guessed. But zapping it and not REALLY knowing and irreversible!? I think ECT treats us like animals. Repackaged to remove ITS stigma. Let’s just go to the ice-pick lobotomy again! #disgusted

To this, I, admittedly shortly, responded:

That’s a convenient perspective when you’re not dying.

Well, Michele Montour did not like this response and it led to a bit of a diatribe on her part wherein she, among other things, called me a stupid and ignorant bitch.

I thought, perhaps, this stupid bitch could take a moment to explain her opinion.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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Stop Stigmatizing Mentally Ill Children on Medication

→ October 9, 2012 - 30 Comments

Stop Stigmatizing Mentally Ill Children on Medication

If you’re not following the Bipolar Burble blog on Facebook, you likely missed it but we had quite a conversation last night about an image that’s going around Facebook. The image says, “STOP PSYCHIATRIC DRUGGING OF KIDS.” The image is of an innocent, sweet-faced child holding up a sign with the words. The image is attributed to a user on Facebook whose political views are listed as “anarchism.”

Righty-then.

Regardless as to who made this image, the image itself has been circulating in, you guessed it, antipsychiatry circles. (I won’t bother drawing lines between antipsychiatry and anarchism, but, you know, I probably could.)

Not surprisingly, one reader with a mentally ill child took offence to this image and all the passing around of it.

This image suggests that:

In other words, it stigmatizes both parents of, and mentally ill children themselves.

In other words it spreads negativity, hate and prejudice.

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Interview on Childhood Bipolar and a Memoir of Madness

→ October 8, 2012 - 2 Comments

The Bipolar Burble blog welcomes Natalie Jeanne Champagne, author of The Third Sunrise, A Memoir of Madness. Natalie was diagnosed with childhood bipolar disorder, spent much of her youth in psychiatric hospitals and at the tender age of 26, has written a memoir about her travels through bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addiction.

Post removed at the request of Ms. Champagne.

Eli Lilly Will Fund Your Tuition – Free Money!

→ October 2, 2012 - 14 Comments

Eli Lilly Will Fund Your Tuition – Free Money!

Yes, I know, you hate Eli Lilly. In fact, you hate all “big pharma;” I know. But right now you have a chance to get your hands on a scholarship that pays for tuition, books and lab fees and I really think you should consider it. The Eli Lilly Reintegration Scholarship is available to those living with bipolar disorder or a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder.

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Why “Mental Health” Can Be Insulting to the Mentally Ill

→ October 1, 2012 - 79 Comments

Why “Mental Health” Can Be Insulting to the Mentally Ill

There is a bone of contention in the mental health world. Well, OK, there are many, but one of them is the terms “mental illness” and “mental health.” It seems more politically correct these days to say “mental health” vs. “mental illness.”

For example, people have mental health conferences, not mental illness conferences. There are mental health policies, not mental illness policies. And so on. I guess it’s the glass half-full theory. Mental health is more positive than mental illness (and don’t get me started about the term “behavioural health”).

But there is a problem with this whole rosy-colored view. It completely ostracises and further stigmatizes people with a mental illness.

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Meet a Neuroscientist and Get a Second Healthcare Opinion

→ September 27, 2012 - 3 Comments

Meet a Neuroscientist and Get a Second Healthcare Opinion

The Bipolar Burble is honored to introduce to you Dr. Marie Rowland, a neuroscientist helping people with brain disorders like mental illness through a new service, EmpowermentAlly.

A Special Offer for Bipolar Burble Readers

Marie is offering subsidized services to people with a mental illness and she has a special offer for Bipolar Burble readers – a thorough review of your mental health concerns, history and a 30 minute coaching session all for $15. Read on to learn more about Marie and her offer.

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What to do When Someone Refuses to Take Their Medication – Treatment Noncompliance

→ September 25, 2012 - 68 Comments

What to do When Someone Refuses to Take Their Medication – Treatment Noncompliance

It is an unfortunate truth that many mental illness patients won’t take their medications at one time or another. This is known as treatment noncompliance or treatment nonadherence, if you want to be a bit more politically correct.

And also unfortunate is the fact that when a person with a mental illness refuses to take their medication they almost inexorably get sicker. People with bipolar disorder who won’t take their medication, for example, often become manic and then wind up hurting themselves or someone else and end up in the hospital. And watching this happen, as a loved one, is extremely painful.

So is there anything you can do when a person refuses to take their medication? Is there anything you can do about treatment noncompliance?

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Escaping a Bipolar Brain

→ September 20, 2012 - 59 Comments

Escaping a Bipolar Brain

This morning I was watching Perception, which is a TV show wherein the lead character has schizophrenia. He, like most of us with a mental illness, is trapped inside his head – trapped inside his mental illness. Oh, he functions and everything, but his mind is still trapped inside a sick brain.

And this is how mental illness is. My friend called it the ball and chain. He says I do really well for a person who’s always weighted down like that.

And this morning, one of the characters in the TV show said, “I spend a lot of my time finding puzzles hard enough to get him [the lead character] out of his head.”

When I heard that, I burst into tears.

OK, maybe I’m unstable and that leads to tear-bursting, but also the point rang so poignant that I couldn’t deny it – I spend most of my time trying to desperately escape my bipolar brain.

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Loving Someone with a Mental Illness

→ September 17, 2012 - 24 Comments

Loving Someone with a Mental Illness

Standing By Someone with a Mental Illness

One of the most popular things I’ve written here is a piece called, Saying Goodbye to Someone with a Mental Illness. I think this piece is very important as it highlights the fact that you can’t stand beside someone just because they have a mental illness. Sometimes it’s simply an unworkable situation and you have to take care of yourself by putting some distance between you and the person with the mental illness.

Leaving Someone with a Mental Illness

Unfortunately, some people took this as an indication that I believe that you should leave people with a mental illness.

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Suicide and Suicide Attempt Resources

→ September 10, 2012 - 8 Comments

How to Support World Suicide Prevention DayOver the last couple of years I have written a lot about suicide. It’s a big topic and one of great importance to the mental illness community and, I believe, society at large. As today is World Suicide Prevention Day I wanted to present a round-up of all the suicide and suicide attempt resources I have written over the years.

Please use these to help others or help yourself. Not one more person ever needs to die of suicide.

Suicide Prevention

Thinking About Suicide

Suicide Threats

Suicide Attempts

How to Support World Suicide Prevention Day

→ September 9, 2012 - 4 Comments

How to Support World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day and I, for one, am thankful. I’m thankful there’s a group called the International Association for Suicide Prevention that is out there promoting World Suicide Prevention Day. I’m thankful that an international group is taking the time to address this incredibly important subject.

Worldwide Suicide Statistics

I won’t bore you with pages of suicide statistics, but when you think about suicide prevention, consider this:

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