Bipolar blog

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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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 and Breaking Bipolar at

Bipolar Bites Blog

Bipolar Bites is a blog I started writing in February for 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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