z_features

Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

→ June 4, 2012 - 42 Comments

Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

The Problem with Online Support Groups

Recently a reader wrote into me and told me that online bipolar support groups scared the stuffing out of her. In her words:

. . . is it really that bleak? IS there a place to find support and encouragement and practical advice that isn’t so dire – comment after comment about divorce, violence, anger and mania…. I just need some perspective.

I feel for this reader. She is trying to support her significant other with bipolar disorder and she is finding that the supports are more harmful than helpful.

And, honestly, this is a big problem with support groups – they are often either doom and gloom or sunshine and light, and neither represent a decent perspective.

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Something Good Comes from Bipolar?

→ May 31, 2012 - 71 Comments

Something Good Comes from Bipolar?

Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Bipolar

Many people feel that with this site, I have taken something terrible – bipolar disorder – and turned it into something positive – this site, my writing, etc. People feel that I have taken all the agony and sorrow and turned it into an ability to help people.

And true, those people are right, but I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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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.

Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

→ May 20, 2012 - 118 Comments

Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

There is a lot of help available for people with a mental illness. There are hotlines, mental health resource locators, therapists, doctors and many others. And yet, many people with a mental illness continue to live every day with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses without getting help.

And what’s worse is that we know that by not getting help, or by delaying help, the course of the overall illness and outcome is worse.

So why don’t people get help for mental illness?

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Interview: Writing my Way to Bipolar Disorder Recovery

→ May 17, 2012 - 45 Comments

The Bipolar Burble welcomes guest Karen Tyrell. Karen is an Australian mental health advocate and author of the new mental health memoir Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness.

Writing for Bipolar Recovery

Today Karen shares a little about her life and the place writing has had in her bipolar disorder recovery.

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The Desperation of Mental Illness and Depression

→ May 16, 2012 - 44 Comments

The Desperation of Mental Illness and Depression

I woke up one morning in 1994 crushed with depression. The first thing I thought of that morning was how much I wanted to kill myself, and if I couldn’t do that, then how much I wanted to hurt myself. I kept cutting implements and bandages near my bed just in case the feelings were too much to bear.

Of course, this was like every morning of my 16-year-old life. I was depressed, but I didn’t know it. I only knew that I wanted to die. I needed to die. I needed it like most people needed breath. And I knew that no one understood.

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Under the Influence of Drugs – I Can Think Just Fine

→ May 14, 2012 - 39 Comments

Under the Influence of Drugs – I Can Think Just Fine

I’m on Twitter. Not a surprise there. And I have a pretty active following there. Most of the people are fans, but a few aren’t. A few quite disagree with me and what I have to say. Which is fine. People can have their views.

And recently, I was tweeting along, minding my own business when someone said this to me:

and have you been on antidepressant, mind altering drugs all these years. Making choices while under the influence

My first reflex was to reply,

and have you been making choices all this time while being an ignorant, sanctimonious ass?

Sigh.

But I’ve heard through the grapevine that wouldn’t be professional. So I said nothing. If Mr. Twitter wants to judge me for taking medically prescribed medication, that’s his right. Even if it is a small-minded, uncompassionate, hateful thing to do.

And really, I have snarky answers for many of the asinine comments people make to me. However, I don’t tend to share them as it makes people all pissy. That being said, this particular comment hit a sore spot – being under the influence of brain-bending medications.

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What to Do if You Start to Feel Suicidal

→ May 10, 2012 - 48 Comments

What to Do if You Start to Feel Suicidal

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else please get help now. People want to help you. You are not alone.

Often people with bipolar disorder, depression and other mental illnesses feel suicidal. And people often feel suicidal knowing that they aren’t, actually, going to commit suicide. And while the knowledge that you likely aren’t going to commit suicide might be comforting to some, it sure doesn’t make feeling suicidal any more fun.

Starting to Feel Suicidal

And starting to feel suicidal can begin with little things like feeling crushing depression, unstoppable loneliness or indeed feeling nothing at all. People have different cycles that lead to feeling suicidal. Regardless though, when you start to feel like you want off the planet, there are some things you can do.

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Compassion for Those Who Love People with Mental Illness

→ May 7, 2012 - 66 Comments

Compassion for Those Who Love People with Mental Illness

Rarely, if ever, do people accuse me of having a lack of compassion for people with a mental illness. This is probably because I am a person with a mental illness so I kind of know where other mentally ill people are coming from.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what one commenter recently did:

This is a tragic post because the writer is incapable of honoring the struggle of a human being who is in pain. Rather than muster empathy, compassion and problem-solving, she shuts out the people who need her most. There is something wrong with America when families send their loved ones to prison or institutions when what they need most is the love and support of their community.

The commenter is referring to a post wherein I suggested that sometimes the right thing to do is to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness. Particularly in cases where a person is abusive and refuses to get help, sometimes walking away is the only thing left to do in order to protect your own life. I stand by this sentiment.

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Why Do Bad Diseases Happen to Good People?

→ April 30, 2012 - 21 Comments

Why Do Bad Diseases Happen to Good People?

Or, am I a bad person?

Some people believe that if you do “bad” things then “bad” things will happen to you. If you don’t help the little old lady across the street, then a car splashes a puddle over your brand new shoes. That sort of thing. Conversely, if you do help the lady across the street, doing “good,” then something good will happen to you like getting your favorite table at a restaurant. It’s the basic concept of karma (religious underpinnings notwithstanding).

“Good” and “Bad” People are Convenient

This is a very convenient view of the world suggesting that things will “even out” somehow. That bad people will “get what’s coming to them” and that good people will be rewarded in the end. And on some level we’re all taught this and believe it to some extent. Why do people do the “right” thing when no one’s looking? In the back of their mind, part of the reason is selfishly because they want good things to happen to them too.

And that’s all well and good until you realize this: bad things have happened to you. Bipolar is the worst thing that ever happened to me. Does that mean I’m a bad person?

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The Mind-Brain Split and Enlightenment in Mental Illness

→ April 22, 2012 - 26 Comments

The Mind-Brain Split and Enlightenment in Mental Illness

I wrote a rather popular piece a while back called A Damaged Brain and a Mind Trying to Deal with It. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen this before as it’s part of my bio. If not, then it might be the first time you’ve heard that turn of phrase.

Commenter Reply

And recently a commenter replied:

I do not believe in this mind/body duality. I believe that you are your body.

OK, no problem. I don’t expect everyone to agree on such things. I have nothing invested in making the world agree with me.

But the thing is, I know there is a brain-mind separation. And how do I know this? Perspective. It’s your free gift with a purchase of 10 or more years of bipolar disorder.

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How to Tell Someone They Have a Mental Illness Part 2/2

→ April 12, 2012 - 4 Comments

How to Tell Someone They Have a Mental Illness Part 2/2

Continued from part one of How to Tell Someone They Have a Mental Illness.

Thirdly, I recommend printing out information about the disorder for the person. There are plenty of resources online that will tell you the basics about a disorder and if you have this information ready, the person with the illness doesn’t have to go searching for it. Books are another good option. But know the person with the mental illness may use this information in dribs and drabs as information overload is a real possibility and will help no one.

Fourthly, look up places and ways the person can get help. There’s no point in pointing out a problem if you can’t offer a solution. In this case the solution is help. The easiest place to get help is your family doctor so maybe you could make an appointment for the person. You family doctor can do an initial assessment and refer the person to the appropriate person (probably a psychiatrist) for a full evaluation.

Additionally, there are all sorts of mental health and addiction related resources available and they are listed by location here.

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