mental illness issues

My Suicide Attempt Story

→ July 6, 2015 - 15 Comments

My Suicide Attempt Story

This piece carries a heavy trigger warning. Please be careful.

My suicide attempt story is like many other suicide attempt stories, I’d imagine. It beings with an unrelenting mental illness (bipolar disorder), goes on to include painful events outside of my control and ends in an attempt on my life. But I like to think of my suicide attempt story as a story of survival – even when my own brain was trying to kill me.

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The Mentally Ill Who Attempt Suicide Are Second-Class Patients

→ June 29, 2015 - 43 Comments

The Mentally Ill Who Attempt Suicide Are Second-Class Patients

Have you ever attempted suicide because of a mental illness? Have you ever gone to the emergency room (ER) because of a suicide attempt related to a mental illness? If you have, then you probably know, the mentally ill who attempt suicide are second-class patients in the ER. Doctors seem to, distinctly, not like people who attempt suicide. The same goes with people who self-harm. These people are second-class patients as well. But why are the mentally ill who attempt suicide second-class patients?

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Anger Is Not a Symptom of Bipolar Disorder, Or Is It?

→ June 9, 2015 - 26 Comments

Anger Is Not a Symptom of Bipolar Disorder, Or Is It?

If you search the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you will see that anger is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. If you search the International Classification of Diseases manual (maintained by the World Health Organization) you will see that anger is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. It doesn’t appear to be recognized, or even proposed, that a symptom of bipolar disorder is anger.

The trouble with this seems to be that many people do experience anger, irritation and aggression as symptoms of their bipolar disorder. I am one of those people.

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Why Saying “Just Stop Cutting” Doesn’t Work for Self-Harmers

→ May 25, 2015 - 5 Comments

Why Saying “Just Stop Cutting” Doesn’t Work for Self-Harmers

One of the least helpful things you can say to someone who self-harms is, “well, just stop cutting.” Believe me, for most people who cut, if it were that easy, they would have done it already. People struggle with ending self-harm not because they don’t want to but because they use self-harm as a coping skill and you can’t just take away someone’s only or best coping skill. They won’t know what else to do without it. So saying, “just stop cutting” to a self-harmer is like saying, “just stop crying” or “just stop talking to your friends” or “just stop drinking” – if that’s the coping skill the person uses to deal with pain, telling them to “just stop it” doesn’t work.

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When to Give In and Let Someone Commit Suicide?

→ May 10, 2015 - 46 Comments

When to Give In and Let Someone Commit Suicide?

Is there really a question as to when to give in and let someone commit suicide? According to some commenters and a recent email I received, there sure is.

This morning, I received an email saying that I was “promoting torture” by telling people not to commit suicide. According to the emailer:

I’m not clear on why this blog makes people feel that ending one’s suffering is not an option…and in fact is a wrong thing to do….?

Don’t we all have choices? If we’ve done all we can and life is absolute hell, then why convince people to continue to live such lives?!

So the question is, is there really a time when you should give in and just let someone commit suicide?

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Mental Health Week? We Need Mental Illness Week

→ May 4, 2015 - 16 Comments

Mental Health Week? We Need Mental Illness Week

This weeks is mental health week in Canada – not mental illness week. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being.”

This is true. We all do have mental health. And mental health is important. But what we need in society is mental illness week not mental health week.

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Fighting Antipsychiatry Matters

→ April 27, 2015 - 42 Comments

Fighting Antipsychiatry Matters

Antipsychiatry, as a movement, matters and I would say that fighting antipsychiatry, as a movement, also matters.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to stick my head in the sand and just “live and let live.” I’m a live and let live kind of gal. It’s the way I handle most things and in terms of people who are critical of psychiatry (not antipsychiatrists; moderate, rational people) that’s how I feel about them. Criticism, in the end, is often healthy as it help to make an institution better.

But antipsychiatry? That’s another thing entirely. That’s a concept that needs to be fought. Actively.

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Bipolar Pride: Do We Need It?

→ April 14, 2015 - 46 Comments

Bipolar Pride: Do We Need It?

There is this concept of “bipolar pride” or “borderline pride” or “mad pride” or “whatever-mental-illness pride.” I see it on people’s avatars, Facebook pages and whatnot. For some reason, people want to declare their bipolar and say they’re proud of it? I, for one, and not “proud” of bipolar and do not exhibit bipolar pride in any way.

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Mental Health Mobile Applications – What Do You Want?

→ April 6, 2015 - 2 Comments

Mental Health Mobile Applications – What Do You Want?

Mental health mobile applications (apps for your phone, generally) can do things like track your mood, track your sleep and are targeted at different populations like people with posttraumatic stress disorder or depression. But there are gaps in the marketplace, things that are not currently being addressed by mental health mobile applications. So my question is for you, if you could have any mental health mobile application, what would it be?

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Top 5 Myths about Bipolar Disorder – Debunking Bipolar Myths

→ March 29, 2015 - 32 Comments

Top 5 Myths about Bipolar Disorder – Debunking Bipolar Myths

Myths about bipolar disorder abound and, honestly, most people don’t know anything about bipolar except the myths, or common misconceptions. On World Bipolar Day, it makes sense to me to spend a little time pointing out bipolar myths and addressing them.

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Fear of Bipolar Medication Treatment Changes

→ March 23, 2015 - 52 Comments

Fear of Bipolar Medication Treatment Changes

I have a fear of bipolar medication treatment changes. I do. You’d think after 100 changes to my bipolar medication treatment plan I would be used to it, and while I supposed I’m used to it, it doesn’t destroy the fear. I’m so scared that a bipolar medication treatment change will make me worse. I also fear the hope that a bipolar medication treatment change offers.

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8 Things I Wish Parents Knew about Bipolar, Mental Illness

→ March 19, 2015 - 40 Comments

8 Things I Wish Parents Knew about Bipolar, Mental Illness

When you think about your history, what do you wish your (or other) parents knew about bipolar disorder or mental illness? My parents, like many people, knew nothing about bipolar disorder and this, undoubtedly, harmed me. Their lack of knowledge and lack of openness about their own mental health/illness history made my life and my bipolar journey much harder than it had to be. Here’s what I wish my parents, and other parents, knew about bipolar disorder and mental illness.

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