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Should Mental Illness Funding Be Used on Addiction Treatment?

→ September 6, 2012 - 39 Comments

Should Mental Illness Funding Be Used on Addiction Treatment?

If you read the Breaking Bipolar blog over at HealthyPlace you might have seen a question earlier this week:

People have come down on both sides of this question on HealthyPlace and on Facebook but I think the overarching sentiment is that addiction is not just another mental illness as personal choices lead to its existence. No one causes bipolar disorder or schizophrenia through action but no one puts a drink in an alcoholic’s hand and forces them to imbibe. Moreover, addiction recovery is considerably simpler in that addicts get better by choosing not to use substances while other mental illness treatment involves months of treatment before any turnaround is seen and typically involves lifelong treatment. For addicts who are also suffering from a mental illness they are usually entered into an in-patient dual-diagnosis rehab program.

But whether you think that addiction (or, more specifically substance abuse and substance dependence) is simply another mental illness or not, there is this question:

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The Bipolar Burble Blog Gets a Facebook Page

→ September 4, 2012 - 7 Comments

Last night saw the launch of the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page. In all honesty, I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while but couch-contributed inertia slowed me down.  This Facebook page is dedicated to supporting people with a mental illness and all those who love them.

Why a Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page?

I created this page in response to the concerns that some people had over the nastiness that was being put on my own Facebook profile. People felt it wasn’t a safe space to discuss articles or leave comments and while I try to make the Bipolar Burble blog clutter-free, that’s tougher to do on Facebook. Having a Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page, though, makes this task easier, so you can consider the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page a safe space to comment and discuss mental health topics.

Benefits of the Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page

With a page I will be able to blacklist the appropriate people, use additional moderation when needed and try to keep everyone from being attacked, much like I do here. I want my readers to feel safe discussing delicate issues and I know that’s hard for some people. I hope this page can help out. The commenting rules for the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page will be similar to the commenting rules here.

Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook ScreenshotWe’ll be discussing my articles from the Bipolar Burble blog, Breaking Bipolar on HealthyPlace and Bipolar Bites on Healthline, which might be particularly helpful for people as Healthline doesn’t currently have any way to leave comments directly. And, of course, anything else I think is interesting in the mental health world.

Right now on the Bipolar Burble Facebook page we’re discussing: Is addiction just like any other mental illness and bipolar disorder in children.

If you have any comments on or suggestions for the new page, I’m all ears.

Join the Bipolar Burble blog on Facebook here.

Why People Refuse Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult

→ August 30, 2012 - 41 Comments

Why People Refuse Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult

Yesterday I was at my psychiatrist’s and I wasn’t doing terribly well. It seems I’m a little stressed. Turns out being a well-known mental health writer is a smidgen more challenging than one might think.

And so one of the recommendations my doctor made was to do some mindfulness training in a local program.

Instantly I felt myself rile against the idea. Internally I was feeling very resistant against yet more therapy.

And I realized why – therapy feels like an insult. The idea that I need more therapy seems to suggest that I’m not handling my disease in the best way possible. This seems to suggest that I don’t know everything already. More therapy feels like I’m doing something wrong and have to be fixed. The idea of more therapy suggests that someone else knows something that I don’t. And boy am I tired of bipolar treatments that don’t work.

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Are People Born with Bipolar Disorder?

→ August 28, 2012 - 48 Comments

Are People Born with Bipolar Disorder?

I’m not sure that I was born with bipolar disorder. I might have been. I might have been born with such genetic predisposition that no matter what happened I would have bipolar disorder. Or I might not. I really don’t know and science isn’t in a position to tell me.

But like with most things mental illness, there is a debate about it. Are people born with bipolar disorder?

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Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

→ August 22, 2012 - 81 Comments

Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

Again, a commenter last night popped onto the blog to tell me how psychiatric medications “do more harm than good” and how “I [the commenter] know for a fact that these meds no not work.

Sigh.

I’m not sure how so many people confuse “fact” with “opinion.” It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications don’t work. It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications do more harm than good.

I am not of that opinion. And I actually have facts on my side.

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Myths that Increase Mental Health Stigma and Decrease Compassion

→ August 20, 2012 - 24 Comments

Myths that Increase Mental Health Stigma and Decrease Compassion

The Bipolar Burble blog is pleased to welcome guest author Jessica Gimeno from Flipswitch. Jessica is an online communications associate for The Balanced Mind Foundation and at only 28 is an amazing advocate for people with mental and physical illnesses.

Stigma and Compassion for Both Mental and Physical Illness

In our struggle to obtain mental health parity, I sometimes hear advocates claim or insinuate, “Everyone knows that emotional pain is worse than physical pain.” Really?  Believe it or not, this comparison does not help us win society’s empathy and compassion. Have you ever sat at the bedside of a relative who was dying of cancer?  It sucks. And if you’ve lived through physical pain but have no experience with mental illness, you’re less likely to have compassion for people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other stigmatized illnesses after hearing this claim.

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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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What to Do If You’ve Just Attempted Suicide

→ August 8, 2012 - 36 Comments

What to Do If You’ve Just Attempted Suicide

This, honestly, isn’t a topic I thought of myself, but in my search log, it turns out that many people are searching for “what to do if you’ve just attempted suicide” and ending up here. On the one hand it saddens me to think of these people who have attempted suicide reading these words, but on the other hand, it is very positive that someone who has attempted suicide is reaching out in whatever way possible.

So, if you have recently attempted suicide, I welcome you. Thank-you for seeking this out.

If You’ve Just Attempted Suicide and are Injured

If you’re injured or may be injured from a suicide attempt you need to get medical help immediately. Stop reading this, pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 (or your country’s equivalent emergency number). Do not take a chance with your health. You want to deal with this problem now, before it gets any worse, believe me. Always err on the side of medical attention.

If You’ve Attempted Suicide and are Not Injured

If you’ve attempted suicide and are not in any way injured (maybe you were interrupted, for example) then you have a bit of wiggle room – but you still must contact a medical professional. What you have done, or have attempted to do, is extremely serious. Your health is still in danger even if the danger is not immediate. Your safety is the most important thing.

If you feel you are safe at the moment, you can call and make an appointment with your doctor or therapist. If you feel you might not be safe, call a suicide hotline immediately. The people on a suicide hotline are there to preserve your safety.

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Getting the Flu Makes Bipolar Undeservedly Worse

→ August 7, 2012 - 22 Comments

Getting the Flu Makes Bipolar Undeservedly Worse

I have a bone to pick with the universe. Simply put, I don’t think it’s fair that people with a mental illness like bipolar disorder have to get your garden variety illnesses like colds and flus. Do you not realize that people with bipolar disorder spend a massive amount of their time sick already? Do you not realize that a large part of a bipolar’s day is devoted to managing the symptoms of an illness they already have?

Do you not get that we have enough on our plate already without coughing, sneezing, an upset stomach, aching muscles and a runny nose?

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Suicide Resources on Facebook

→ July 31, 2012 - 7 Comments

As I wrote yesterday, many people post suicide threats on Facebook and I have recommendations for how to handle suicide threats on Facebook or other social media. However, there was something I was not aware of – features right in Facebook to report suicidal content. There are actually several features right in Facebook to help with suicide or self-harm posts on Facebook.

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What to do if a Person Threatens Suicide on Facebook

→ July 30, 2012 - 39 Comments

What to do if a Person Threatens Suicide on Facebook

Facing Suicide Threats on Social Media

I’m pretty connected on Facebook, Twitter and on social media in general. I have to be. It’s important for my career.

And as such I have almost 20,000 followers on various platforms. This is a whole lot of people to be exposed to on a daily basis. And due to my profession, I run into many people with mental illness on my Facebook, Twitter and other feeds. And sometimes the people on these feeds are in distress. Distressed to the point where they threaten suicide.

But what do you do if someone threatens suicide on Facebook, Twitter or otherwise?

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Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

→ July 26, 2012 - 4 Comments

Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

Recently I discussed a little about what it means to be an e-patient. An e-patient is someone who is empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled (and many other things depending on who you ask). In short, an e-patient is someone who is fully engaged in making mental health treatment decisions.

Now, I am the first person to say that being an e-patient isn’t always possible for a person with mental illness. Often, dealing with the day-to-day slog that is living with a mental illness is quite enough pressure, thank-you, without having to put an “e” in front of your title.

E-Partners, E-Parents, E-Friends

However, even if becoming an uber-patient isn’t on your shortlist of things to do, your loved ones can also become empowered. They can become e-partners or e-parents or e-friends, if you like. And adding an “e” in front of their title can help them to feel less helpless in the face of a daunting illness that they cannot control.

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