mental illness

Bipolar and Being Incapacitated by Anxiety

→ June 21, 2017 - 13 Comments

Bipolar and Being Incapacitated by Anxiety

I know that anxiety is not a symptom of bipolar disorder, but many with bipolar disorder also suffer from anxiety, whether it’s an official anxiety disorder or not. And when my anxiety gets really bad, which it has been lately, I become absolutely incapacitated by anxiety. I, literally, sit on the couch unable to move to do anything. And writing or working is right out. Anxiety causing an inability to act is having a devastating effect on my life.

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Calming the Cycle of Anxiety and Bipolar Depression

→ October 14, 2014 - 7 Comments

Calming the Cycle of Anxiety and Bipolar Depression

The Bipolar Burble is extremely honoured to introduce today’s guest author: Ross Szabo. Ross and I met when he introduced me when I won the Erasing the Stigma Leadership award earlier this year. Ross is a past recipient and an inspiring mental health speaker and, well, human being. Read below how he has learned to calm his bipolar depression by recognizing anxiety.

I was an anxious person before my diagnosis of bipolar disorder with anger control problems and psychotic features. Needless to say after my diagnosis, my anxiety did not improve. It took a lot of years of extreme alcohol abuse, broken knuckles, sleeplessness, hallucination-filled nights and dangerous behaviors until I was able to find ways to balance my disorder.

Anxiety seems to be at the root, or heavily tied to, every mood I have with bipolar disorder. One of the most dangerous cycles I have gone through is when anxiety swings in to contribute to constant thoughts of death and suicide. Overwhelming anxiety or crippling depression are hard enough to face separately. When they combine the results can be tragic. Working with a professional to locate your anxiety/depression cycle is a great way to enhance your treatment.

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What Does – and Doesn’t – Help When Someone is Anxious

→ July 1, 2014 - 20 Comments

What Does – and Doesn’t – Help When Someone is Anxious

Today my anxiety really flared up. I suddenly found I had less time to get to a bus that took me to a train that took me to another bus that took me to a hotel. And if I missed that last bus in the chain, there wasn’t another for five hours. And I still had to pack and get dressed and eat cake and just, in general, get ready.

And this freaked me out – or, put another way, this created some instantaneous, nasty stress and anxiety. My mother tried to help with the anxiety. It didn’t work.

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Dealing with Fear and Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder

→ October 18, 2013 - 23 Comments

Dealing with Fear and Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder

Tomorrow I’m flying off to see some family I don’t know at all. Oh, and my dying father. I won’t get into the specifics but suffice it to say I’m scared of family in general and my father is in a very bad way.

So at the moment, I’m being eaten up with fear and anxiety.

My mother says to me: “But I know you know how to handle that sort of thing.” And I say, “Yes, it’s a wonderful drug called lorazepam.”

I was only half joking.

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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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The Separation of Depression and Bipolar in the New DSM-5

→ May 7, 2013 - 6 Comments

The Separation of Depression and Bipolar in the New DSM-5

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) is frequently called psychiatry’s “bible.” I, however, would not pen it that way. I would suggest that the DSM is simply a guideline for the diagnosis of mental illness. It lists the criteria one has to have in order to be diagnosed with a mental illness.

And, as the name of this post suggests, the DSM is releasing its fifth major version – the DSM-5 – in just a couple of weeks.

Now, the DSM-5 has been controversial from the get-go and I have said that much of this controversy is overstated, but some of the changes do have fundamental nosological implications. In other words, some of the changes in the DSM-5 can change how people fundamentally think of certain mental illnesses.

The DSM-5 Cuts the Chord between Depression and Bipolar

And one of the changes in the DSM-5 is the separation of major depression and bipolar disorder into their own chapters. No longer is there a chapter called “Mood Disorders” with both disorder types listed (Can we still call them mood disorders?). Now they each represent a separate category.

This may seem like a small change, and I’m not going to have a fit over it, but I will say that I think it was the wrong move.

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Why Haven’t You Killed Yourself Already?

→ December 13, 2012 - 90 Comments

Why Haven’t You Killed Yourself Already?

Why Depressed People Don’t Kill Themselves

Many people with bipolar depression are suicidal. Not all, of course, but many. Most people with bipolar depression, in fact, most people who are suicidal, do not kill themselves though. In fact, you can live with suicidality for years without ever killing yourself or even attempting to kill yourself.

And while people stay alive for many reasons, I have my own reasons for not killing myself.

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Eli Lilly Will Fund Your Tuition – Free Money!

→ October 2, 2012 - 14 Comments

Eli Lilly Will Fund Your Tuition – Free Money!

Yes, I know, you hate Eli Lilly. In fact, you hate all “big pharma;” I know. But right now you have a chance to get your hands on a scholarship that pays for tuition, books and lab fees and I really think you should consider it. The Eli Lilly Reintegration Scholarship is available to those living with bipolar disorder or a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder.

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Are People Born with Bipolar Disorder?

→ August 28, 2012 - 48 Comments

Are People Born with Bipolar Disorder?

I’m not sure that I was born with bipolar disorder. I might have been. I might have been born with such genetic predisposition that no matter what happened I would have bipolar disorder. Or I might not. I really don’t know and science isn’t in a position to tell me.

But like with most things mental illness, there is a debate about it. Are people born with bipolar disorder?

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Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

→ July 26, 2012 - 4 Comments

Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

Recently I discussed a little about what it means to be an e-patient. An e-patient is someone who is empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled (and many other things depending on who you ask). In short, an e-patient is someone who is fully engaged in making mental health treatment decisions.

Now, I am the first person to say that being an e-patient isn’t always possible for a person with mental illness. Often, dealing with the day-to-day slog that is living with a mental illness is quite enough pressure, thank-you, without having to put an “e” in front of your title.

E-Partners, E-Parents, E-Friends

However, even if becoming an uber-patient isn’t on your shortlist of things to do, your loved ones can also become empowered. They can become e-partners or e-parents or e-friends, if you like. And adding an “e” in front of their title can help them to feel less helpless in the face of a daunting illness that they cannot control.

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How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

→ July 23, 2012 - 10 Comments

How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness like bipolar disorder, likely, you don’t know much about the mental illness outside of what the media and popular culture has told you. Unfortunately, these are not the best sources of information about bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.

Mental Health Research

What is critical is that you take it upon yourself to research the mental illness so you can get the facts and not believe the fictions propagated about mental illness. If you’re here at the Bipolar Burble, and reading this, you’ve made an excellent start but I encourage you to continue with these other trusted research options.

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I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder

→ July 5, 2012 - 450 Comments

I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder

I’ve written about why you should keep fighting the pain of depression and bipolar disorder before. This is one of my most referred to articles, actually, as I think it makes a solid anti-suicide argument and is something to remember when you’re overwhelmed with the pain of depression and mental illness.

But a commenter said something I think many people would say about fighting bipolar disorder:

. . . but I’m too tired to fight bipolar disorder. . .

Yeah. I understand. I’ve felt too tired for years.

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