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How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

→ July 23, 2012 - 10 Comments

How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness like bipolar disorder, likely, you don’t know much about the mental illness outside of what the media and popular culture has told you. Unfortunately, these are not the best sources of information about bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.

Mental Health Research

What is critical is that you take it upon yourself to research the mental illness so you can get the facts and not believe the fictions propagated about mental illness. If you’re here at the Bipolar Burble, and reading this, you’ve made an excellent start but I encourage you to continue with these other trusted research options.

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What to Do When Someone Tells You They Have a Mental Illness

→ July 18, 2012 - 19 Comments

What to Do When Someone Tells You They Have a Mental Illness

It’s extremely difficult to tell someone you have a mental illness. No one really likes a conversation that’s along the lines, of, “Hi. How’s the family? Did you know I have a possibly fatal, lifelong condition?”

It’s kind of a bummer.

But telling someone you have a mental illness is hard on the person you tell too. It’s not just hard to give the news; it’s hard to receive it. In fact, most people have no idea what to say upon hearing that someone has a mental illness. They may not know anything about the mental illness or only know what the media tells them – that people with mental illnesses are dangerous and scary. And while that may not be accurate, if it’s the only thing the person has ever heard, you can’t really blame them for acting negatively – at least initially.

So if someone tells you they have a mental illness, what should you do?

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The Reason You Shouldn’t Get Angry

→ July 11, 2012 - 33 Comments

This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago that I thought bared repeating.

There are very few times in life when I think it’s appropriate to be “mad.” It happens, without doubt, but generally I don’t find it very insightful or helpful. There’s always something underneath the anger. Usually it has to do with the desire to be loved. If you track the feeling back, like really, really back, that is what you’ll find.

  • Wife screams at husband for leaving socks on the floor for the 18th time.
  • Wife is angry because she doesn’t feel like her husband is listening to her.
  • Wife wants to be listened to so that she’ll feel important to her husband.
  • Wife wants to feel important to her husband so that she’ll know he loves her.
  • Wife wants to know he loves her so she knows he’ll stay around.
  • Wife is afraid of being left by husband.
  • Wife is afraid of being unloved.

That’ll be $3000 in therapy bills, please.

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When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

→ July 9, 2012 - 855 Comments

When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

I’ve written about the fact that sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness for the sake of your own health and sometimes even for the sake of the person with the mental illness. I believe this even though the person is sick and the sickness is not his (or her) fault.

This post has been met with relief by some and anger by others.

Some are relieved that someone is finally talking about their reality while others are appalled that I would suggest leaving someone for an illness that is not his fault.

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I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder

→ July 5, 2012 - 450 Comments

I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder

I’ve written about why you should keep fighting the pain of depression and bipolar disorder before. This is one of my most referred to articles, actually, as I think it makes a solid anti-suicide argument and is something to remember when you’re overwhelmed with the pain of depression and mental illness.

But a commenter said something I think many people would say about fighting bipolar disorder:

. . . but I’m too tired to fight bipolar disorder. . .

Yeah. I understand. I’ve felt too tired for years.

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Should More Mentally Ill People Be Institutionalized?

→ June 27, 2012 - 62 Comments

Should More Mentally Ill People Be Institutionalized?

Once upon a time there were places known as insane asylums. These were not pleasant places, by and large, but they were places where the “insane” (or mentally ill, as we now say) could live and receive some level of support. Insane asylums made a lot of sense because we didn’t have a lot of treatment to offer those who were too “insane” to live in the general population.

Fast-forward to the 1960s. By this time we understood mental illness a lot better and had developed antipsychotics and lithium that effectively treated many of the types of “insanity” that would have previously forced institutionalization. A movement of de-institutionalization spread wherein mental health services were moved into the community for people to access while living with the general population.

And while this sounds like a good and humane idea; I’m pretty sure we’ve gone too far with it.

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Guest Writing at the Bipolar Burble Blog

→ June 24, 2012 - 6 Comments

Guest Writing at the Bipolar Burble Blog

Hi all.

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to guest write at the Bipolar Burble. Well, it’s nice to know I’m so popular! I’m really happy to hear from you but there are guidelines if you want to be published here. These aren’t meant to scare anyone off, these are just to let you know what I’m expecting.

Here are some  guidelines for posting on the Bipolar Burble.

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I’m Not a Statistic! – Yes, You Are a Healthcare Statistic

→ June 22, 2012 - 27 Comments

Apparently I’m the only one that understands the concept and usage of healthcare statistics.

Recently a commenter got angry at me for saying this:

“. . . Are there people who have had a bad experience with ECT [electroconvulsive therapy]? Yes. Are there people who have had very bad experiences with ECT? Yes. But then, I was hit by a car, so things happen. It’s not really the car’s fault. . . ”

My point, of course, is that there are people who have bad experiences, I would never deny that. But there are people who have bad experiences with everything. That doesn’t mean it’s the typical experience. We work hard to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in North America and doctors work hard to try to implement ECT in the best way too.

A Commenter on Statistics

But the commenter felt,

“. . . And you wonder why are people anti-psychiatry? Because they had horrible horrible experience and are consider “oooops” and downplayed number in statistic . . .”

Well, um, yes. That’s what statistics are.

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The Best Thing about Being a Mental Health Writer

→ June 17, 2012 - 47 Comments

I’m a mental health writer. When I tell people I’m a mental health writer, however, the most common response I get is, “what’s that?”

Well, like a travel writer writes about travel, I write about mental health. Perhaps my type is not as common as a travel writer, but mental health writers are out there, nonetheless.

And, I have to say, it’s not easy being a mental health writer. It means talking about unpleasant subjects on a daily basis and facing parts of yourself that you’d probably prefer to gloss over. And it means forming an opinion, standing up and standing by that opinion even when it’s very unpopular. (At least, that’s what being a mental health writer means to me.)

And making a living is hard and there are no vacations, no weekends and no sick days.

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Mental Illness – It’s Your Fault

→ June 13, 2012 - 80 Comments

Mental Illness – It’s Your Fault

One of the frustrating things about having a mental illness is how often people say (or intimate) that the mental illness is your fault. Oh sure, they might not come right out and say, “You’re to blame for your bipolar,” (although some people do) but they might just say:

And so on and so forth pretty much until my head is about to explode.

But here’s a newsflash – mental illness isn’t your fault. My bipolar isn’t my fault. No illness is the sufferer’s fault and I’m tired of having to defend myself to others just because my illness is “mental.”

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New Research in Bipolar and Depression – The Glutamate Train

→ June 11, 2012 - 5 Comments

New Research in Bipolar and Depression – The Glutamate Train

After looking at the future treatment approaches for treatment-resistant depression, I thought I’d share a bit more depression and bipolar research. New options offer hope for everyone who run the gamut of bipolar or depression treatments.

  • A new mood stabilizer
  • A new, novel antidepressant
  • Knowing when depression isn’t depression

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New Treatment Approaches for Treatment-Resistant Depression

→ June 6, 2012 - 15 Comments

New Treatment Approaches for Treatment-Resistant Depression

I have been known to lament that there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to depression treatment, and thus, there is little hope for people with true treatment-resistant depression. (And by treatment-resistant depression I mean people who really have tried everything, and there are few in this category.)

But I forget how far we’ve come and how fast. It isn’t fair to say there aren’t new approaches to treatment-resistant depression because there are new approaches being researched and approved every year. Here are a few noted by Current Psychiatry article Innovative approaches to treatment-resistant depression:

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