mental illness issues

Living with the Shame of a Suicide Attempt

→ March 10, 2014 - 59 Comments

Living with the Shame of a Suicide Attempt

I have attempted suicide. This is not a fact that I wish to wear on my sleeve. This is not a fact a want on my resume. This is a fact that I wish was shoved in a trunk, thrown in a closet and locked away for all eternity.

And I think that most people who have attempted suicide feel the same way. There are many reasons you might want to forget but one of them is the shame associated with a suicide attempt. Many people around you and you, yourself, might consider attempting suicide shameful.

We get the notion of shame from those around us. Imagine looks of scorn if someone happens to belong to a religious community that considers suicide a sin and has no compassion for those who have attempted it. Imagine embarrassed parents forbidding their children to wear short sleeves so that the scars on their wrists are never seen. Imagine the person arriving home from the hospital, after a suicide attempt, not to a welcome home party but to pained silences and looks of pity and contempt. These are the realities that people who have attempted suicide face. And do we feel shame about what we’ve done? Many of us do.

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Not Every Emotion is a Bipolar Emotion

→ March 6, 2014 - 29 Comments

Not Every Emotion is a Bipolar Emotion

Sometimes I’m Just Mad

As I have stated, over and over, that to experience bipolar disorder is to experience such inflated emotions that they swallow you whole. Bipolar emotions are bigger than you and the particularly nasty ones are bigger than any therapy or coping skill could ever be.

However, not every emotion is a bipolar emotion. Just because I feel a strong emotion like anger, sadness or elation, that doesn’t mean it’s a bipolar overreaction I’m feeling. It’s not necessarily depression, mania or hypomania. Sometimes, people with bipolar disorder feel just like everyone else. Sometimes we’re just reasonably mad.

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What You Need to Know When Your Loved One Commits Suicide

→ March 3, 2014 - 34 Comments

What You Need to Know When Your Loved One Commits Suicide

I have written a lot about what to do before, during and after a suicide attempt. I guess that’s because the people who read my work are the survivors and the loved ones, mostly, of suicide survivors.

But there’s a very underserved community in conjunction with suicide and that is the loved ones left behind by suicide. They are suicide survivors too. These people are left with a void. These people are left with a hole in their hearts and a hole in the information that’s available. But there are things I think you should know if your loved one commits suicide.

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Dismissing the Pain of Psychiatric Patients

→ February 17, 2014 - 45 Comments

Dismissing the Pain of Psychiatric Patients

Among many things, I have been accused of dismissing the pain of psychiatric patients. Oh, excuse me, “psychiatric survivors.” And I would like to clarify something – I have done no such thing. I, personally, have my own painful stories about psychiatry and I don’t dismiss mine so why, exactly, would I dismiss anyone else’s?

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365 Days of Bipolar Art

→ February 11, 2014 - 35 Comments

365 Days of Bipolar Art

The Bipolar Burble blog welcomes Missy Douglas Ph.D, a British artist and writer with bipolar disorder who works under the studio name ucki ood. Her latest project, the 2:365 Art Book, is available now on Kickstarter.

It’s a commonly held belief that there are close links between bipolar disorder and the creative voice. If you just type the words “bipolar” and “artist” into any Internet search engine, the names of Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and even Michelangelo scream out at you like the painted hero of alleged fellow sufferer, Edvard Munch.

Much as I hesitate to mention myself in the same breath as these four great artists, I do believe this theory to be true. As a girl, I walked the unstable line between anxiety and precociousness. If I was charming and witty, I was also withdrawn, furious and conceited in equal measure. Yet one thing was unerringly constant: the crayon in my hand. Despite various professional flirtations, what I was to become – an artist – was never really in question. By the time I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 19, it didn’t really come as a shock. I was an artist, and all artists were “crazy,” right?

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Bipolar Reactions and the Emotional Chain

→ February 10, 2014 - 15 Comments

Bipolar Reactions and the Emotional Chain

Last time I talked about applying logic to bipolar emotions. This is helpful, in part, because bipolar emotions are often overreactions to a given situation.

And when we look at these reactions, the emotions, thoughts and actions involved form a chain. I call this the emotional chain. And this chain drives bipolar reactions both mentally and physically. But what is an emotional chain and how can be break it when need be?

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When it comes to Mental Illness and Depression, Stigma Kills

→ January 16, 2014 - 21 Comments

When it comes to Mental Illness and Depression, Stigma Kills

The Bipolar Burble welcomes guest author Joshua R Beharry, a Vancouver, B.C., Canada-based mental health advocate.

I developed depression in silence.

I remember the months before I became severely depressed; it was the summer of 2009. Deadlines at work had me more stressed than usual and I was increasingly unhappy with my lack of social life. I noticed my thoughts becoming more erratic and desperate but I didn’t know what this meant or where it could lead. I was 22 years old.

When anyone asked how I was doing, I lied and said I was fine. I didn’t tell anyone I wasn’t sleeping well, that my appetite was down or that I felt weaker and more tired than normal.

I saw mental illness only as a label and I didn’t want to admit I may be having issues with my own mental health. I didn’t know enough about depression to see all the warning signs. I kept silent as my thoughts grew darker and I began to fantasize about ending my life.

Depression Overwhelmed Me

I remember the night I realized I could no longer hide my depressed thoughts. I lay in bed unable to fall asleep, my stomach cramped. I felt hot, sweaty and nauseous. It was one of the longest nights of my life.

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New Year’s Resolutions When Your Bipolar is Trying to Kill You

→ January 1, 2014 - 18 Comments

New Year’s Resolutions When Your Bipolar is Trying to Kill You

I recently posted an article at HealthyPlace where I recommended some New Year’s resolutions for people with bipolar disorder. These resolutions included:

  1. Resolving to deal with anger
  2. Resolving to initiate a bipolar routine
  3. Resolving to track your moods
  4. Resolving to reduce your stress
  5. Resolving to learn anxiety- and stress-reduction techniques

I believe that all of these are solid, serious, doable resolutions that can improve 2014 for someone with bipolar disorder.

But when I look back at my 2013 and ahead to be 2014, I can only think of one thing: I just want my bipolar to be better.

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My Psychiatrist’s Reaction to EMPowerplus/Truehope Treatment

→ December 30, 2013 - 5 Comments

My Psychiatrist’s Reaction to EMPowerplus/Truehope Treatment

I was really nervous to have to tell my doctor that I had decided to take the Truehope product EMPowerplus. I was pretty sure he was going to either laugh or chastise me out of his office. My anxiety about it was so bad that I didn’t want to mention it at all. Of course, that would have been a poor decision. Allowing anxiety to override your logic is never the right call.

So I told him and surprisingly, he was nonplussed. He just sort of said, “Alright then.”

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A Bipolar Holiday Guide for Stability over the Holidays

→ December 18, 2013 - 43 Comments

A Bipolar Holiday Guide for Stability over the Holidays

It is not lost on me that next week is the holidays. Whether you’re religious, or, like me, just like a finely-dressed tree, there tends to be a lot going on.

So here is a bipolar holiday guide on maintaining bipolar stability over the holidays, which, as we all know, can be tough.

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Losing Hope for Bipolar Wellness When a Role Model Gets Sick

→ December 15, 2013 - 38 Comments

Losing Hope for Bipolar Wellness When a Role Model Gets Sick

There are many reasons I don’t typically talk about my own, personal, current mood and treatments. I’ve written about why I don’t write about my bipolar treatments here. Similarly, I don’t talk about my current bipolar mood state because my writings are less about me, in particular, and more about the experience of bipolar, in general. I believe that’s one of the reasons my writing is so popular. I take my personal experience of bipolar disorder and use it as a springboard to speak to what it’s like to experience bipolar for so many.

But one of the other reasons I don’t talk about my personal, current mood state is because I’m a private person. I know this seems weird considering how much I share online. But I’m careful with what I share, and what I don’t.

And finally, I know that I’m a role model for some people and I don’t talk about my own current mood episode because I don’t want other people to lose hope. In spite of recent accusations, I do actually bring hope to thousands of people with bipolar and people who love those with bipolar disorder and I don’t want to do anything to injure that hope.

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More Ways to Die from Bipolar Disorder

→ December 4, 2013 - 14 Comments

More Ways to Die from Bipolar Disorder

As I said last week, bipolar disorder can be a lethal disease. My point was that suicide can be a symptom of bipolar disorder and this is the cause of death for many people.

However, there are other ways to die from bipolar disorder as well. In fact, suicide is not even the most common cause.

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