mental illness issues

A Bipolar Life Without Medication – a Possibility?

→ December 2, 2013 - 103 Comments

A Bipolar Life Without Medication – a Possibility?

As people who read this bipolar blog know, I’m on medication, lots of it, actually. Nevertheless, many people (philosophically, even me) wish to be medication-free. I’m the first one to say this usually isn’t possible; however, today I’m talking with CEO and Medical Director Dr. Kim Dennis from Timberline Knolls (a sponsor) about bipolar disorder without medication.

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Can You Die From Bipolar Disorder?

→ November 25, 2013 - 44 Comments

Can You Die From Bipolar Disorder?

In short: yes, you can die from bipolar disorder.

Now, I know, many people would disagree with me on this, after all, bipolar disorder doesn’t produce a tumour in your body that will eventually kill you, it doesn’t create plaque in your arteries to eventually kill you and it doesn’t spread a virus through your cells to eventually kill you. I know, bipolar is not like that.

But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide takes over 35,000 lives a year in the United States and many of these are our brothers and sisters with bipolar disorder. You think that suicide isn’t the same thing as death by bipolar disorder? Think again.

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Creating Art through the Manias and Depressions of Bipolar Disorder

→ November 20, 2013 - 8 Comments

Creating Art through the Manias and Depressions of Bipolar Disorder

The Bipolar Burble blog welcomes guest author somePlaywrights, a collaboration of two writers based in Annapolis and Brooklyn, who face, seemingly weekly, a struggle to succeed as a creative, bipolar collaboration.

On its own, the practice of creating art is bizarre: fusing this abstract feeling with that concrete image, trying to convince others of something only you can see, and all the while endeavoring to balance concept with content. With the addition of bipolar disorder, a condition that is just as, if not more, slippery, firm, and fleeting, the artistic process often teeters between genius and delusion, between coherence and disunion. It is in this realm, where mania meets medium and depression intersects with artistic production, that we, as bipolar artists, must carve and claim our collective space…

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Should You Go Public about Your Bipolar Online?

→ November 18, 2013 - 104 Comments

Should You Go Public about Your Bipolar Online?

People contact me and ask me to advise on many subjects and one of them is whether they should go public about their bipolar disorder online. People often want to know this because they want to start a blog or in some other way express the challenges of bipolar disorder. Usually, it is with the best of intentions that people ask. Usually, people want to go public with their bipolar disorder online in an effort to help others.

However, I tend to be the bearer of bad news: I do not generally think people should go public about their bipolar disorder online.

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A Mental Health Picture Book for Kids – Free Signed Copy

→ November 14, 2013 - 60 Comments

A Mental Health Picture Book for Kids – Free Signed Copy

The Bipolar Burble blog welcomes Karen Tyrrell back. Karen is an Australian author and teacher and she has written a new book Baily Beats the Blah. This is a picture book that aims to help kids develop more awareness around mental health and build up mental health coping skills.

Leave a comment below to be entered to win a free, signed copy of the book.

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Bipolar – I Just Want to Be Like Everyone Else

→ November 12, 2013 - 13 Comments

Bipolar – I Just Want to Be Like Everyone Else

I was sitting in my living room today starting at the wall. I spend a surprisingly large amount of time staring at the wall. It’s not that my walls are even vaguely interesting, it’s just that I spend a lot of time depressed and when depressed, even considering watching TV seems overwhelming.

And I was sitting there, depressed, staring at the wall, and the thought occurred to me: I just want to be like everyone else. I just want to go back to a time when walls were just the things you painted and not sources of non-entertainment. I just want to go back to a time when I couldn’t define bipolar disorder and psych medications were something I would never even have considered. I just want to go back to a time when I was just like everyone else.

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Blaming Others for Bipolar Disorder

→ November 7, 2013 - 15 Comments

Blaming Others for Bipolar Disorder

It’s very natural to be angry when something egregiously bad – like getting bipolar disorder – happens to you. It’s not necessarily rational, per se, but it is normal. And when we’re mad about something we look for someone or something to blame. We look for someone to blame for our bipolar disorder. Again, this isn’t a rational, or even conscious thing, it’s really just a natural reaction to an extremely unfortunate situation, but it really isn’t healthy.

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Postpartum Depression, Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder

→ November 5, 2013 - 15 Comments

Postpartum Depression, Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder

Today on the Bipolar Burble blog Melanie Williams brings us a piece on something that isn’t talked about nearly enough: postpartum depression and its relationship to bipolar disorder.

Jon Avnet, the creator of the Web series “Susanna,” told CBS News the reason he created the show was because of how prevalent postpartum depression is, yet nobody talks about it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10 to 15 % of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression within a few weeks of their child’s birth. The condition, however, can affect women up to a year after giving birth. It is also not exclusive to females. The Psychiatric Times cited several clinical studies and said up to 25% of new fathers also suffer from postpartum depression.

The tragic death of Miriam Carey, the 34-year-old new mother who was shot and killed by Washington, D.C., police in early October, brought much needed attention to a condition that affects so many people. Seek immediate medical attention for any noticeable or even subtle signs of postpartum depression in yourself or a loved one.

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Loving a Paranoid Partner

→ October 3, 2013 - 16 Comments

Loving a Paranoid Partner

Today’s guest post on the Bipolar Burble blog is by Marion Gibson, author of “Unfaithful Mind “– a tale of what it’s like to love someone who has a paranoid disorder. To win a FREE copy of her book, leave a comment here.

I am married to a man with a mental illness.  High school sweethearts, we travelled the world and grew a family. We were just like any other couple. And then two years ago my husband woke up and believed I wanted him dead.

He thought I had no use for him anymore and I was going to poison him. He stopped eating food in the house and started drinking only store bought water from our emergency supply. He wrote a note and hid it in his chair explaining that I had poisoned him. He also believed I had been unfaithful in our marriage right from the beginning. He thought I had a way about me that I could convince men to sleep with me whenever and wherever I wanted.  He wanted paternity tests on all three of our children.

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How Are You? – I’m Not Fine, I’m Bipolar

→ October 1, 2013 - 29 Comments

How Are You? – I’m Not Fine, I’m Bipolar

Out there, in the world, we must be asked how we are 20 times a day. People ask it on the phone, in line at the grocery store, face-to-face and pretty much anywhere two humans intersect with each other. And, of course, the answer to the question as to how you are is, “I’m fine.” And there’s nothing wrong with that as an answer, really. The person who asked the question likely doesn’t want to know how you really are anyway.

But what about when you tell your friends and family that you’re fine when really you’re anything but? What about when you lie your heart out, tacitly or no, showing and saying that everything is “normal” and peachy-keen? What about when you are a big, fat liar to those that you love?

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Escaping Bipolar Disorder

→ September 4, 2013 - 23 Comments

Escaping Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is an inescapable mistress. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, no matter how many medications you take, she is always there, ready to hit you over the head with a 2 X 4. True, some people are lucky enough be experiencing remission. In that case, the mistress is forced to take a few steps back. But for people not in remission, people in full-blown bipolar disorder, that mistress is relentless. Every minute of every day she steals your brain and makes life unbearably painful.

And I have found that if you also happen to be bipolar and anhedonic, almost nothing allows you escape from that reality. Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure and when truly anhedonic, no matter what you do, no matter how theoretically pleasurable that activity is, you will not feel that pleasure – no matter what. This is a concept that most people cannot fathom but believe me, an inability to feel pleasure is real.

I have, however, found one tiny escape. It’s something I do all the time. It’s a little embarrassing, actually. I manipulate physical sensations and responses. Yes, I have orgasms.

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My Bipolar Drug of Choice: Sleep

→ August 26, 2013 - 30 Comments

My Bipolar Drug of Choice: Sleep

When I’m feeling particularly sick with bipolar disorder I am excessively tired. From the time I wake up in the morning until the time I blessedly get to go back to bed at night, I’m exhausted; and every moment my eyes are open is a struggle. (And yes, fatigue and tiredness are symptoms of bipolar depression.)

And after more time than I can fathom feeling like this, something occurred to me. It occurred to me that I get more than tired. I get to a place where the pain is forcing me to search for a drug to escape. And sleep is my escape. Sleep is my drug.

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