bipolar blog notes

Best Bipolar Blog Articles of 2013 on the Bipolar Burble

→ January 6, 2014 - Comments off

Best Bipolar Blog Articles of 2013 on the Bipolar Burble

Over 70 articles were published here on the Bipolar Burble blog in 2013. Some were hits and some not so much. So today I’d like to look back at two top 5 lists: the most-read bipolar blog articles of 2013 and the most talked-about bipolar blog articles of 2013.

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Natasha’s On Blog Talk Radio – this SUNDAY (plus one more)

→ January 3, 2014 - 5 Comments

Natasha’s On Blog Talk Radio – this SUNDAY (plus one more)

Hi all. I try not to overly promote my events on this bipolar blog so the Bipolar Burble blog can focus on content, but this time I thought a couple of things deserved a word: a speaking engagement you can all attend for free and an award that I’m a little proud of.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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

The Dance of Anger – A Memoir Excerpt

→ March 20, 2012 - 16 Comments

The Bipolar Burble welcomes author of Hopping Roller Coasters, Rachel Pappas for today’s guest post.

I wrote my memoir as an apology to my daughter, who I tore apart emotionally and verbally for years. But I also wrote the book to quiet some old ghosts. And I wanted to remind people fighting similar demons they are not alone.

My Ugly Dance

Probably like many of you, my “ugly dance” began ages ago – before I was old enough to know my own steps. I was following my very unhappy, sometimes untamably furious mother’s lead. I kept dancing once my daughter was born.

The red hot flashes would come on, the wires in my head would tighten, then pop, and I’d go at Marina. Later I’d kiss her tear-streaked cheek, tuck her in. Flip the light switch with the white kitty and sparkles, and hope my little girl would sleep soundly. Feel sick about what I’d just done, then do it again.

My sweet girl with the pixie cut and bangs accepted my apologies. Over and over.

Then Came Angry Adolescence

This was the start of the ground-rumbling, mother daughter meltdowns. Marina screaming with her fists clenched. The head banging and threats, because by now she was angrier than me.  We had a long, rough ride … five schools in five years, a blur of ambulance rides and overnights in the ER. And two years locked in a residential treatment center for sick, angry kids.

After a decade of pushing to find better meds, better psychiatrists, better therapists for both of us, Marina and I have started to heal.

Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Ready to Take On My Mother

I think I’m ready to tune it out, just take a hit of my Tension Tamer tea. A few back and forths to my therapist for a quick fix, and I’m so close.

Anger and Mental IllnessThen a call from my brother once Mom’s been on a marathon spiral, and I flash back … see him six years old, backed in a corner while she goes at him with his orange, plastic Hot Wheel tracks. I’m in my ugly dancing shoes again. I have a long, seething rant. Then I hate myself for hating her. Because this is who this woman is . . .

A mother who would tell her child she was going to read her obituary in the paper. Then come in her room the next night and pick her up because her child was sick. She held me, my long gangly legs dangling down her side while she cried herself, like she did every time one of her kids hurt.

I lob back and forth, between the orange Hot Wheel tracks, and my head on her shoulder while she rubbed my back. I volley between the mom screaming she’s going to drown the cat. And the one who hugged and kissed my dad, and danced with him in her bare feet–him in his slippers–in his last days.

She hasn’t changed in the 50 years I’ve known her; and probably never will. So guess who has to be the one to shift gears if she’s going to hang up her “ugly dance” shoes?

One of the hardest things in life is letting go. You fight to hold on, and you fight to let go.

The tricky part is figuring out what, or who, you can hold onto–or how to hold them at a distance that works. So at the same time, you can let go of what you need to leave behind.

Memoir Excerpt: Hopping Roller Coasters

“You used to tell me you probably had cancer,” Marina said. “Why did you say that to me, Mom. Why?!?”

A few tears spilled as she let herself go back in time, to when she was just five. Hearing her mother say she may be dying … leaving her alone and unprotected. Feeling her sad, angry eyes on me now, I want to kick myself in the ass. I’m speechless and ashamed–and touched. Touched that of all the things she had to get out in this family therapy session, it was the fear of losing me that came first.

Still, I couldn’t admit that I screwed up, though I could see it clearly now, and I started thinking again about other hideous things I’ve said to her. I squirmed in my seat, thinking about all the baggage she’s hauled over the years. And I remembered what her therapist, Ericka told me privately earlier: “She’s holding a lot inside. When it surfaces, she’s going to vomit it all out. It’s going to come gushing.”

I wasn’t sure if Marina could ever understand, even if I could admit my mistakes. I didn’t completely get it myself. But I remember growing up incensed about the make-believe games in our house. I hated the pretending.

“Rachel was angry, even as a child. It started way before there was tension in our home,” my Mom would tell relatives.

She didn’t remember her bad days, when she couldn’t bring the reins in.

“You’re going to wake up in a box!” she’d scream between clenched teeth, shaking her head agitatedly. You could practically visualize the internal wheels spinning as she paced with her dust cloth, thinking out loud under her breath …

“That’s a lie! I never said that!” she told me years later when I summoned up her demons and threw them in her face … I was furious. Why couldn’t’ she see I needed her to acknowledge it? I needed an apology, damn it.

Now it was my turn to dislodge my tail, the one I’d stuck between my legs just now, when my daughter exposed me in front of her father and therapist.

Instead I said, “I never said that to you, Marina.” I’d taken only a split second to process what I’d just heard.

“You DID!” she shrieked, her face burning red. “You used to tell me you had cancer.” The tears were flowing full force now.

I fell silent, but the memory was surfacing. I couldn’t fix it now. Still, my baby had to hear how very sorry I was.

For more excerpts or to order Hopping Roller Coasters at a discount: http://www.1uponcancer.com/rachels-memoir/

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.

Reader Discretion is Not Advised

→ February 5, 2012 - 39 Comments

Recently a couple of my posts / links / images raised eyes with some of my readers. Some complained and others requested that I put content warnings in front of them.

Well, I don’t do content warnings.*

In this case, one post was about self-harm and had a picture of a cutter’s arm. Another post contained a link to the TV-promo for a Dr. Oz show on electroconvulsive therapy, in which a person gets ECT. Images of self-harm and ECT, it was argued, are very upsetting to some people.

Well, yes.

Nevertheless, in neither case did I think a warning was appropriate.

Here’s why: you’re an adult. Grow up.

Reader Warning on the Bipolar Burble

And just for the record, on the homepage there actually is a content warning for the whole blog. It warns that there may be graphic and disturbing subjects and elements to articles. And this is quite reasonable because if you haven’t been here before you should know what you’re in for – and it might be something you don’t like.

Why No Content Warnings?

There are no content warnings for a simple reason: I don’t think there should be any. There is no reason to warn people about an image of a cutter’s arm.

Self-harm content warningsWhy?

Because there is nothing shocking about seeing the evidence of a medical problem. I talked in the comments of that post about how people who self-harm should not be ashamed because what they are suffering from is an illness. By posting a warning about an image of their illness, I am suggesting there is something wrong with these people. I am doing a disservice to their reality, to something they live with every day. They don’t deserve a content warning thrust on them.

And as a writer I think it’s considerably more fitting and I refuse to post a picture of a person forelornly looking at a sunflower because it’s just so damn disingenuous.

And as for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), yup, it’s desturbing to some people, particularly images of ECT conducted in the past. And I rather think it’s tacky for a TV promo to feature images of a procedure that is no longer conducted in that manner. But you’re watching a promo for a TV show on ECT it’s hardly unreasonable to think you might see an image of ECT.

Here’s a Content Warning

You’re an adult. You are going to see and hear things you don’t like. You need to deal with that.

If You’re Feeling Sensitive

And to be fair, I understand sensitivity, I really do. I get sensitive sometimes. Sometimes there are subjects I’m sensitive about. Sometimes I not strong enough to read about things that I might find activating.

So I do this: I don’t read / watch that stuff.

I protect myself. Because it isn’t up to the rest of the world to devine what I might find upsetting and warn me of it. It’s up to me to make the right choices for myself and understand the risks I choose to take. There are lots of things I choose not to read. That’s my choice. That’s my responsibility.

Content Warning Proviso

* I will say that there is content I would warn people about, but that would be a fairly extrardinary circumstance and it certainly wouldn’t include an international TV promo or an image pulled from Wikipedia.

Update: I’m sorry for the flurry of strong feelings. I honestly didn’t think one picture out of the hundreds over the years here would cause such a stirring. While my feelings on the matter are my feelings on the matter, I am sorry it caused so much consternation for others.

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