bipolar burble

Most Popular ‘Bipolar Burble’ Articles of 2015

→ January 18, 2016 - 2 Comments

Most Popular ‘Bipolar Burble’ Articles of 2015

In a year I write around 50 posts for Bipolar Burble, some of which are popular bipolar or mental illness posts and some of which are not as much. If you haven’t kept up all year long, who can blame you, really? So I’ve put together a list of the top 10 bipolar posts of 2015, just in case you’ve missed one or two.

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Bipolar Burble Blog Listed as a Top 10 Health Blog

→ March 17, 2015 - 14 Comments

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Healthista, the health channel for women, has listed me the Bipolar Burble as one of 10 Health Blogs to Start Reading Right Now.

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Most Popular Bipolar/Mental Illness Blog Articles of 2014

→ January 18, 2015 - 3 Comments

Most Popular Bipolar/Mental Illness Blog Articles of 2014

Last month I did a round-up of dealing-with-holiday-related articles for you and now I’d like to list the most popular bipolar/mental illness articles of 2014 here at the Bipolar Burble.

This list is always an interesting one for me because it tells me what you, my readers, care about. In general, you care about a lot of what I can about but sometimes you surprise me with exactly how much you care about a given subject (and by what doesn’t show up on the list).

The Top 10 Popular Bipolar Posts of 2014

10. Bipolar Treatment Fatigue — We start the bipolar post top 10 list with a term I invented. “Treatment fatigue” is a concept that is widely felt but underrecognized. It’s when you can’t bear undergoing any more treatments because you’ve just lost faith in bipolar treatments altogether or are tied of the side effects or are exhausted with your doctor or, or, or. I would argue that while these feelings are real, we need to fight bipolar treatment fatigue in order to get better.

9. Accountability for Your Actions with Bipolar — I’m a big believer in accountability and I’m a big believer in not saying, “the bipolar made me do it.” Sometimes, bipolar does strongly influence our behavior and sometimes we truly aren’t accountable for it, but most of the time this just isn’t true.

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Best Bipolar Blog Articles of 2013 on the Bipolar Burble

→ January 6, 2014 - Comments off

Best Bipolar Blog Articles of 2013 on the Bipolar Burble

Over 70 articles were published here on the Bipolar Burble blog in 2013. Some were hits and some not so much. So today I’d like to look back at two top 5 lists: the most-read bipolar blog articles of 2013 and the most talked-about bipolar blog articles of 2013.

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The Bipolar Burble Blog Gets a Facebook Page

→ September 4, 2012 - 7 Comments

Last night saw the launch of the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page. In all honesty, I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while but couch-contributed inertia slowed me down.  This Facebook page is dedicated to supporting people with a mental illness and all those who love them.

Why a Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page?

I created this page in response to the concerns that some people had over the nastiness that was being put on my own Facebook profile. People felt it wasn’t a safe space to discuss articles or leave comments and while I try to make the Bipolar Burble blog clutter-free, that’s tougher to do on Facebook. Having a Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page, though, makes this task easier, so you can consider the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page a safe space to comment and discuss mental health topics.

Benefits of the Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page

With a page I will be able to blacklist the appropriate people, use additional moderation when needed and try to keep everyone from being attacked, much like I do here. I want my readers to feel safe discussing delicate issues and I know that’s hard for some people. I hope this page can help out. The commenting rules for the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page will be similar to the commenting rules here.

Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook ScreenshotWe’ll be discussing my articles from the Bipolar Burble blog, Breaking Bipolar on HealthyPlace and Bipolar Bites on Healthline, which might be particularly helpful for people as Healthline doesn’t currently have any way to leave comments directly. And, of course, anything else I think is interesting in the mental health world.

Right now on the Bipolar Burble Facebook page we’re discussing: Is addiction just like any other mental illness and bipolar disorder in children.

If you have any comments on or suggestions for the new page, I’m all ears.

Join the Bipolar Burble blog on Facebook here.

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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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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FAQ – No one Reads my Blog! – 10 Tips to Have a Popular Blog

→ January 4, 2012 - 34 Comments

I started the Bipolar Burble eight years ago anonymously. And for the vast majority of that time, no one read my blog. Oh, sure, I had a few avid readers and a person would stumble on it now and then, but even after I started producing decent content, no one read it.

Which initially was OK by me. I didn’t write for others, I wrote for myself, so if I had one, lonely reader, then that was fine, I still felt the urge to push pixels around.

Until, of course, it wasn’t fine. Then I had to figure out why­ no one read me and figure out how to actually get people out there to know about me. And so people ask me all the time: How do I get people to read my blog? How do I find an audience?

Figure Out What Your Blog is About

Ah, you say, but I know what it’s about, it’s about me!

Well, good for you. How many people are putting your name into a search engine? Unless you’re Ashton Kutcher, I’d wager, not many. You might want to alter your focus.

Tips on Making a Blog PopularPick a topic that interests you and that you can stick to, day after day after month after year – like,  say, mental illness. And then be prepared to write on your topic and only your topic for a long time. Changing topics (like I’m doing right now) might confuse and fracture your audience.

Make the blog topic broad enough so that you can write many things but narrow enough so that you can identify a group of people who would be interested. For example, My Pet Parakeet, Pete is specific, but may not find much of an audience. Whereas Cheery Chairs is a pretty broad topic but it might be difficult to identify the segments of people deeply devoted to it. Chairs for Parakeets might be something in the middle.

Write Great Blog Content

No matter what you choose to write about, your content had better be stellar. It has to be something that connects with people so that people will want to go back to it again and again.

And make sure that content stream is constant – 2 blog posts per week at a minimum – more is better when building an audience.

Figure Out Who Cares about your Blog’s Subject

Once you’ve decided to go with a topic, figure out who cares about that topic and target them. Perhaps the National Society of Parakeets? Maybe the International Council for Chair Care? Perhaps Pets for Rest?

And then access those groups. Become a member. Participate in their events. Discuss things with other members. Get the word out that your Chairs for Parakeets blog is the very best.

Get an Audience – Get Loud, Proud and Social

Popular Blogs need Social Media

Tell everyone under the sun you have a blog. Tell your family and friends and neighbours and school chums. If they don’t know about it, then they can’t support it or you. You can never tell too many people about your work.

And seriously, start social networking. Don’t roll your eyes at me – Twitter and Facebook have been the major drivers of my audience and they can be for you as well. I can’t go into all the ins and outs of social networking here, but set it up, do it, and use it for promotion every day. (But don’t be obnoxious.) (See how to write a Twitter bio here.) Also promote sharing and subscribing to your blog.

Learn About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Yes, this one is last because if you’ve done all those other things, then blog SEO will (sort of) happen naturally. SEO keys in on keywords (subject focus), connections (networking) and quality content – things you should always be doing anyway. To get finer-grained, you’ll need to start learning about how Google works and that could take some time. For now just know that those other rules really matter.

Overall Tips on How to Have a Popular Blog

  1. Talk about what’s in the news – people are looking for commentary on it and they likely have thoughts on it too
  2. Be controversial (or not) – this always gets readers but you might not like the fall-out
  3. Answer your comments – this builds community and conversation and keeps people coming back
  4. Use headings, bullet points, paragraph breaks and images liberally – no one wants to read a large chunk of text
  5. Create solid, frequent content – oh, did I mention that one already?
  6. Keep articles to 400-600 words – people don’t have the attention span for more than that
  7. Link everything together – social networks, to blog, to homepage, etc.
  8. Guest post elsewhere
  9. Comment on other blogs or in forums where your audience hangs out
  10. Care for and about your audience

And keep in mind, becoming popular takes time. I have more than 6 times the traffic than I did a year ago, but that took a year. So be patient. If you want people to read you – they will – but it isn’t as simple as build it and they will come.

Top 10 Bipolar Burble Posts of 2011

→ January 2, 2012 - 6 Comments

Best Bipolar Burble ArticlesLast year was a great one here at the Bipolar Burble and saw a dramatic rise in audience numbers, so welcome readers, new and old. This means that debates were fast and sometimes fierce here on the Burble, and mostly, that’s OK with me. Although it did require the invocation of commenting rules, it also meant that more people had their say on mental illness topics.

So, without further ago, here is the top 10 list of articles people read in 2011:

  1. Worst Things to Say to a Person with a Mental Illness – number one with a bullet two years running is this piece which is a continuation of a piece I wrote on Breaking Bipolar. Everyone, it seems, wants to know what not to say to a person with a mental illness.
  2. Bipolar Disorder Type I: Mania and Delusions of Grandeur – this piece was written at the behest of a reader and includes readers’ experiences of delusions of grandeur during bipolar manic episodes.  This is a topic not widely deal with elsewhere.
  3. Doctors Should Treat the Mentally Ill Without Consent – this highly commented-on and contentious article outlines why I think it’s reasonable to treat the mentally ill without consent in some situations. In spite of all the controversy, I still consider this position reasonable.
  4. Self-Diagnosing Hypomania – I had no idea this article would be so popular, but people are looking for this information. This piece is about how to see hypomania coming or to know once it’s already here.
  5. Suicide Self-Assessment Scale – How Suicidal Are You? – again, I didn’t realize how many people were looking for this information. However, this article is designed to point out warning signs and track one’s own suicidal feelings. It can be hard to tell how severe suicidal feelings are and this scale is designed to help.
  6. How to Get Off Antidepressants Effexor/Pristiq (Venlafaxine/Desvenlafaxine) – this is an update to an article I had written a couple of years earlier and is a huge source of Google hits. I hate to make blanket statements about antidepressants, but it really seems like venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine (Effexor and Prisiq) are bitches to get all for almost everyone.
  7. Depression, Bipolar – Feeling Along with a Mental Illness – this is a feeling that I, and I think everyone with a mental illness, has had. This piece addresses the idea that those with a mental illness are “alone” or are “freaks.”
  8. Psychiatric Myths Dispelled by Doctor – Fighting Antipsychiatry – this is one of the most controversial posts here on the Burble due to the seeming war between those who consider themselves antipsychiatry and those who don’t. This piece earned the most comments, with almost 100 pieces of feedback on this article.
  9. Depression and Lack of Want, Desire – unfortunately, may people with depression experience anhedonia – the innability to feel pleasure. This tends to lead to a lack of want for anything. It’s a devastating condition that I have battled for years.
  10. Bipolar Terminology – The Difference Between Bipolar 1 and 2 – finally, at the number 10 spot we have a piece I wrote not long ago about the difference between bipolar I and bipolar II. This answers one of the basic questions people ask about bipolar disorder every day.

As I’ve said, I consider 2011 to have been a break-out year for the Bipolar Burble and I thank you all for being a part of it.

And don’t forget, if you have questions or if there are subjects you would like addressed here at the Burble, you are welcome to contact me anytime or leave a comment. I am at your service.

What’s up at the Bipolar Burble? Good News

→ December 6, 2011 - 14 Comments

I don’t like to write too many self-referential posts because I’m pretty sure masturbatory navel-gazing isn’t why people come here. However, now and then people like to know what’s up.

And right now there are exciting things afoot at the Bipolar Burble and for me as well so I thought I’d let you know about them.

Natasha Tracy Nominated for Health Activist of the Year

WegoHealth is awarding health activists of the year. They have categories for:

  • Best in show
  • Rookie of the year
  • Paperboy award
  • Health activist hero
  • Advocating for another
  • TMI award
  • Hilarious health activist
  • Offline crusader
  • Best affirmation post
  • Best kept secret

Natasha Tracy as Health Activist of the YearThese awards are for people who, “moved you, inspired you, and made a real difference in how you think about healthcare and living well.”

And I am honored to be nominated for Best in Show. And while I suppose everyone says “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” I do mean that. People have said such kind things about me and that’s the fuel that keeps the fires here at the Burble lit.

Have Your Say on Health Activists

Want to have your say? Contact WegoHealth to tell them what you think of me or nominate someone else! (They are also looking for people for their judging panel.)

Bipolar Burble Nominated for Best Health Blog 2011

Yes, in the string of self-congratulations, I must also say that the Bipolar Burble has been nominated for Best Health Blog of 2011 at

Natasha Tracy and Bipolar Burble Best Health BlogBut only you can help me win.

This, alas, is a bit of a popularity contest, so I must ask you to vote for me now and as often as possible (you can vote once a day) in order for me to win. I appreciate every one of your votes and I hope you’ll forgive me for prodding you about it over the next six weeks.

Off Label – An Unbalanced Look at a Bipolar Life – Memoir

You might have noticed that I published an excerpt from my memoir, Off Label, months ago. This was to get some public feedback and to generally let people know what is happening. But the memoir has sort of sat in a bottom folder on my hard drive collecting dust for quite some time. It’s not that I don’t care about getting it published – I do, but because of the way the publishing industry works right now, I have to prove my popularity before an agent will be interested in me.

And recently I’ve managed to do that.

Over the last few days two agents have shown interest in representing me and I’m hoping one of them will sign me as a client.

Now, publishing is still a far off dream, but I’ve taken another big step forward.

And in case you were wondering, a tip of the hat goes to Natalie Jeanne Champagne as she spurred me forward in this endeavour.

Sharing the Good News

So that’s the good news around here. It’s nice to take a break from the medical stuff and bring it to you. Thanks for a wonderful year of support. If you keep it up, I promise to keep working hard and bringing you quality, well-researched information on mental illness.

You all rock.

Breaking Bipolar Articles You Should Read

→ September 20, 2011 - 10 Comments

Admit it – you haven’t kept up with your bipolar reading. Come on. I know it. I can barely keep up and I write the bipolar articles.

Luckily for you, I like you a lot, and I’m happy to give you a little cheat sheet on what’s been getting attention at Breaking Bipolar. We’ve got mental illness and higher education, mental illness and physical pain, how to tell if it’s a med side effect and oh so much more.

Breaking Bipolar at HealthyPlace by Natasha Tracy

Articles Breaking Bipolar Over at HealthyPlace

Here is a sampling of recent articles written for Breaking Bipolar at HealthyPlace to which people have positively responded:

Popular Articles at the Bipolar Burble

And just in case you haven’t been glued to the Bipolar Burble, here are a few things you should read here:

Let me know what you think and of course feel free to suggest topics any time.

Rules – Commenting on the Bipolar Burble Blog, RSS

→ April 10, 2011 - 2 Comments

Hi all. Natasha Tracy here with a couple of meta Bipolar Burble blog updates on commenting, rss, mobile browsing and sharing by email.

Commenting Rules on the Bipolar Burble Blog

I have recently created a page outlining the rules for commenting on the Bipolar Burble blog. I never wanted to do this. I wanted a shiny, happy blog where people could discuss openly and honestly their feelings. But yes, I’m aware this is the internet and such desires generally go unfulfilled.

A Safe Space for Anyone with, or Anyone who Loves a Person with, a Mental Illness

The Bipolar Burble blog has always had sensitive material on it and I’ve always wanted it to be a safe space for people. This is a place to come to learn and talk to others who are like you. This is a place for rational discussion. This is not a place of acrimony. This is not a place of hate.

Rules for Commenting on the Bipolar Burble BlogI’m Sorry for the Hate and Stigma Seen Here

And in part this is a mea culpa. I’ve been letting too much hatred onto the Burble. I’ve done it because I believe in free speech and free discussion. I’ve done it because I can take some abuse and still be OK. I’ve done it because I understand how high people’s feelings run on these topics and that passion can overrun the better judgement of normally reasonable human beings. I’ve been trying to make allowances.

And I don’t like moderating people. I don’t like asking people to leave. I don’t like having to be the mommy or referee.

But I’ll do it to protect what I have built here. And while I know 99% of people are wonderful, reasonable, respectful, caring human beings, I have to make explicit the rules for the other 1%.

What I’ve Learned about Free-Speech and Hate

And I’ve learned something: I don’t have to allow people to come here, abuse me and others, just to prove how evenhanded and fair I am. I am fair. I am evenhanded. I don’t have to prove that to anyone.

I don’t have to put up with hate. I won’t. This isn’t a democracy. If you don’t like it here, feel free to start your own blog.

Rules for Commenting on the Bipolar Burble Blog

A page listing the rules for commenting can be found under the “bipolar blog” link above. For your reference:

  1. Comments must be on-topic. If it isn’t related to the article or another relevant subject, I’ll just remove it. This includes personal conversations. If you want a back-and-forth with someone else about how they’re horrible, go somewhere else.
  2. Don’t name call. It’ll get you warned the first time and then it’ll get your comments deleted until you calm down.
  3. Don’t be abusive. Yes, I get it, group A is evil, group B is the devil, whatever. If you’re too nasty and acrimonious I’ll have to moderate you.
  4. Don’t make other accounts. Believe me, I’ll know. I’m likely to ban you for this.
  5. Don’t scream and yell. This means no typing in caps all over the place. It’s just good manners people.

People are free to disagree with me and others. People are free to disagree vehemently. But if you can’t do this like a rational adult, you can’t do it here.

RSS and the Bipolar Burble Blog

Some folks like to read blogs via RSS feed rather than visit sites directly. For them, I have provided an RSS feed for the Bipolar Burble. However, this RSS feed doesn’t give anyone the right to reproduce my work without permission.

What You Can Do with Bipolar Burble Blog Content

You can quote parts of an article, give credit and link to the original source. No problem there.

What You Can’t Do with Bipolar Burble Blog Content

You cannot republish whole articles without explicit permission. If you ever want to reproduce an article for some reason, contact Natasha Tracy and we can chat about it. I’ll probably say yes.

The Bipolar Burble Blog and Copyright

You may not realize this, but any time a word is written, it is immediately under copyright. There is no need to state this as it is true of all writing. Therefore, by reproducing an article you are breaking copyright law.

(I know the vast majority of you would never do this, but I have to clear it up for the tiny percentage who don’t know or don’t care.)

Bipolar Burble Blog Sharing and Copying

The Bipolar Burble Blog Additions

Mobile Browsing

At the request of one of my readers I have installed a plug-in to allow you to access the Bipolar Burble easily from a small screen, say, on an iPhone. It gets rid of most of the pictures and makes it reader-friendly. Contact me if you have any issues.

The Bipolar Burble Blog and Email

In addition to all the other sharing options at the bottom of posts, you can know also share by email. You can thank a reader for this addition as well.