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I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years since I received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I wish I could go back and tell my terrified teenage self that though life would sometimes be a roller coaster of ups and downs, a very bright future full of hope and joy would await me. It took a while to learn how to navigate this disorder, and the...
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Coping with the side effects of bipolar is often a matter of trial and error. What works one day, sometimes doesn't work the next. That's why I'm always on the lookout for ways to get through the day that can connect me with the world while also easing some of the more difficult symptoms of my condition. Some days, yoga and meditation work, but...
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judgMENTAL (Filipino)

July 26, 2016
This article is available in English here. “Ginagawa mo namang malaking bagay yang sakit mo sa utak!” “Puro yang sakit mo na lang lagi sinasabi mo. Masyado mong ginagawang glamoroso!” “Hindi mo naman kailangan ng gamot eh. Nasa utak mo lang yan!” “Maging postibo ka lang, kaya mo naman yan eh.” Nakakasawa nang marinig, oo. Nakakapagod.Alam ko...
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judgMENTAL

July 26, 2016
Above: mixed media on canvas by Zaeli Eliza“You're making mental illness as if it's a big deal!” “You talk too much about it. You're glamorizing your illness!” “You don't need medication. It's all in your head.” “Think positive. Toughen it up.” Clichés, I know.Thinking it over, most of the time, the way I express how I go through the diurnal...
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Managing emotions is something that comes along with many mental health diagnoses, especially bipolar disorder. It’s always one emotion or another and every one of them is usually to the extreme. Some of the emotions I deal with include anger, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, indifference, fear, sadness, love, happiness, trust, peacefulness,...
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The Blahs

July 21, 2016
Here’s a post I didn’t think I’d ever write! I have been on what is considered to be the best mood stabilizer for over a year, and my mood symptoms have been totally under control. No ups, no downs. I have also been taken off the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) by my doctor, so there is absolutely no cycling. In the past, I would be...
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A Q&A for Self-Care Day

July 19, 2016
July 24 is International Self-Care Day. On behalf of International Bipolar Foundation, I asked my friend, Mike, a fitness enthusiast, yogi, plant-based eater and animal lover, to share the benefits of practicing self-care.As a person who lives with bipolar and anxiety disorders, I know that self-care is important, but I have difficulty with change...
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The Soup in My Head

July 19, 2016
"This drawing is called 'The Soup in My Head' and was drawn by my friend Julia. We were having coffee time together and I shared with her my fear of planning something ahead as I often have fozzy, foggy mood, and moodswings, although I take lithium and antidepressants. I mean I have no idea what to expect from tomorrow, it's puzzling, that's why I...
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Above: The Revs. Aaron Maurice Saari and John Freeman being interviewed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in front of First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs. My friends are going to laugh that I have the chutzpah to write an essay on self-care. You see, I am notorious for overworking and overcommitting myself. Sometimes that is the result of...
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We have seen a lot of movies that put the spotlight on mental illness. Movies like "Girl, Interrupted," "Prozac Nation," "Rain man" and very recently, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Infinite Polar Bear," to name a few. These movies portray what it is like to have mental illness.  Lately, the important issue of mental illness has made it to...
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Addiction is a disease. It can turn someone strong into a powerless human being. It can make someone a prisoner in their own body. "My name is Laura and I am an addict." That sentence took me three years to say out loud. I always will be an addict, but I am currently in recovery. Recovery never ends. I watched addiction in my...
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Medications can be an excellent form of treatment for bipolar disorder. There are multiple forms of medications including anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety. For me, the most difficult aspect of taking medications is waiting for them start working. Whether I’m in a depression or a manic state, there aren’t any...
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