mental illness issues

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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What to Do When Someone Tells You They Have a Mental Illness

→ July 18, 2012 - 19 Comments

What to Do When Someone Tells You They Have a Mental Illness

It’s extremely difficult to tell someone you have a mental illness. No one really likes a conversation that’s along the lines, of, “Hi. How’s the family? Did you know I have a possibly fatal, lifelong condition?”

It’s kind of a bummer.

But telling someone you have a mental illness is hard on the person you tell too. It’s not just hard to give the news; it’s hard to receive it. In fact, most people have no idea what to say upon hearing that someone has a mental illness. They may not know anything about the mental illness or only know what the media tells them – that people with mental illnesses are dangerous and scary. And while that may not be accurate, if it’s the only thing the person has ever heard, you can’t really blame them for acting negatively – at least initially.

So if someone tells you they have a mental illness, what should you do?

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The Reason You Shouldn’t Get Angry

→ July 11, 2012 - 33 Comments

This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago that I thought bared repeating.

There are very few times in life when I think it’s appropriate to be “mad.” It happens, without doubt, but generally I don’t find it very insightful or helpful. There’s always something underneath the anger. Usually it has to do with the desire to be loved. If you track the feeling back, like really, really back, that is what you’ll find.

  • Wife screams at husband for leaving socks on the floor for the 18th time.
  • Wife is angry because she doesn’t feel like her husband is listening to her.
  • Wife wants to be listened to so that she’ll feel important to her husband.
  • Wife wants to feel important to her husband so that she’ll know he loves her.
  • Wife wants to know he loves her so she knows he’ll stay around.
  • Wife is afraid of being left by husband.
  • Wife is afraid of being unloved.

That’ll be $3000 in therapy bills, please.

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When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

→ July 9, 2012 - 855 Comments

When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

I’ve written about the fact that sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness for the sake of your own health and sometimes even for the sake of the person with the mental illness. I believe this even though the person is sick and the sickness is not his (or her) fault.

This post has been met with relief by some and anger by others.

Some are relieved that someone is finally talking about their reality while others are appalled that I would suggest leaving someone for an illness that is not his fault.

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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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Mental Illness – It’s Your Fault

→ June 13, 2012 - 80 Comments

Mental Illness – It’s Your Fault

One of the frustrating things about having a mental illness is how often people say (or intimate) that the mental illness is your fault. Oh sure, they might not come right out and say, “You’re to blame for your bipolar,” (although some people do) but they might just say:

And so on and so forth pretty much until my head is about to explode.

But here’s a newsflash – mental illness isn’t your fault. My bipolar isn’t my fault. No illness is the sufferer’s fault and I’m tired of having to defend myself to others just because my illness is “mental.”

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Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

→ June 4, 2012 - 42 Comments

Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

The Problem with Online Support Groups

Recently a reader wrote into me and told me that online bipolar support groups scared the stuffing out of her. In her words:

. . . is it really that bleak? IS there a place to find support and encouragement and practical advice that isn’t so dire – comment after comment about divorce, violence, anger and mania…. I just need some perspective.

I feel for this reader. She is trying to support her significant other with bipolar disorder and she is finding that the supports are more harmful than helpful.

And, honestly, this is a big problem with support groups – they are often either doom and gloom or sunshine and light, and neither represent a decent perspective.

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Something Good Comes from Bipolar?

→ May 31, 2012 - 71 Comments

Something Good Comes from Bipolar?

Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Bipolar

Many people feel that with this site, I have taken something terrible – bipolar disorder – and turned it into something positive – this site, my writing, etc. People feel that I have taken all the agony and sorrow and turned it into an ability to help people.

And true, those people are right, but I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

→ May 20, 2012 - 118 Comments

Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

There is a lot of help available for people with a mental illness. There are hotlines, mental health resource locators, therapists, doctors and many others. And yet, many people with a mental illness continue to live every day with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses without getting help.

And what’s worse is that we know that by not getting help, or by delaying help, the course of the overall illness and outcome is worse.

So why don’t people get help for mental illness?

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The Desperation of Mental Illness and Depression

→ May 16, 2012 - 44 Comments

The Desperation of Mental Illness and Depression

I woke up one morning in 1994 crushed with depression. The first thing I thought of that morning was how much I wanted to kill myself, and if I couldn’t do that, then how much I wanted to hurt myself. I kept cutting implements and bandages near my bed just in case the feelings were too much to bear.

Of course, this was like every morning of my 16-year-old life. I was depressed, but I didn’t know it. I only knew that I wanted to die. I needed to die. I needed it like most people needed breath. And I knew that no one understood.

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What to Do if You Start to Feel Suicidal

→ May 10, 2012 - 48 Comments

What to Do if You Start to Feel Suicidal

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else please get help now. People want to help you. You are not alone.

Often people with bipolar disorder, depression and other mental illnesses feel suicidal. And people often feel suicidal knowing that they aren’t, actually, going to commit suicide. And while the knowledge that you likely aren’t going to commit suicide might be comforting to some, it sure doesn’t make feeling suicidal any more fun.

Starting to Feel Suicidal

And starting to feel suicidal can begin with little things like feeling crushing depression, unstoppable loneliness or indeed feeling nothing at all. People have different cycles that lead to feeling suicidal. Regardless though, when you start to feel like you want off the planet, there are some things you can do.

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Compassion for Those Who Love People with Mental Illness

→ May 7, 2012 - 66 Comments

Compassion for Those Who Love People with Mental Illness

Rarely, if ever, do people accuse me of having a lack of compassion for people with a mental illness. This is probably because I am a person with a mental illness so I kind of know where other mentally ill people are coming from.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what one commenter recently did:

This is a tragic post because the writer is incapable of honoring the struggle of a human being who is in pain. Rather than muster empathy, compassion and problem-solving, she shuts out the people who need her most. There is something wrong with America when families send their loved ones to prison or institutions when what they need most is the love and support of their community.

The commenter is referring to a post wherein I suggested that sometimes the right thing to do is to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness. Particularly in cases where a person is abusive and refuses to get help, sometimes walking away is the only thing left to do in order to protect your own life. I stand by this sentiment.

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