Category: Consumer

The Blahs

The Blahs

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...

A Q&A for Self-Care Day

A Q&A for Self-Care Day

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...

The Soup in My Head

The Soup in My Head

“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...

An Activist’s Preparation for the Challenges of Bipolar

An Activist’s Preparation for the Challenges of Bipolar

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...

There’s Nothing Romantic About Mental Illnesses

There’s Nothing Romantic About Mental Illnesses

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...

Bipolar Disorder and the Damage of Addiction

Bipolar Disorder and the Damage of Addiction

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...

Waiting On Meds To Work

Waiting On Meds To Work

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...

An Open Letter to Bipolar Disorder

An Open Letter to Bipolar Disorder

Dear Bipolar, You have been my closest companion over the years. You found me in high school and refused to leave my side. You convinced everyone that I was always low and moody, making me lose friends in the process. You convinced me that I was less of a person...

Baby Steps Towards Progress

Baby Steps Towards Progress

Since learning I have bipolar disorder, I have come to the reluctant realization that progress doesn’t always occur on my timetable. In my mind, I can see how things will be when I’m “all better,” but every time I race towards recovery, I inevitably stumble. It’s like...

Coming Out After 25 Years With Bipolar: Who Am I Anyway?

Coming Out After 25 Years With Bipolar: Who Am I Anyway?

I’m not who I say I am. That’s because my family would prefer I not use my given name. Many of them don’t believe in bipolar disorder. They think my difficulties were created by using street stimulants during my halcyon Hollywood years, struggling to stay...

Riding the Waves of Depression

Riding the Waves of Depression

Depression can swiftly overtake you like the tide rolling in, its current pulling you out to sea. It is like drowning, like suffocating beneath the surface as the world goes on above you. The water muffles sound and slows your movements. There is only darkness below,...

Running Stop Signs

Running Stop Signs

I was driving much too fast. I didn’t see the stop sign. I sailed right through. The stereo was pumping and my hands gripped the wheel. My foot was pushing harder on the accelerator.I came up to a second stop sign and again I saw nothing. I pushed on the pedal to go...

Self-Actualization After Psychosis

Self-Actualization After Psychosis

I hate coincidences. Ever since I’ve recovered from my bipolar psychosis, I’ve had to be wary of coincidences. Psychosis is a very difficult thing to deal with and understand. I’m going to attempt to delve into this very taboo subject because I want people to know...

My Symbol of Hope

My Symbol of Hope

For many months, I have been suffering from suicidal ideations. I was completely honest with my psychiatrist, my family and friends who support me. I told them that it was not something I wanted to act on, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. For more than...

Dealing with the Loneliness of Mental Illness in India

Dealing with the Loneliness of Mental Illness in India

There’s a reason many of us have trouble sharing our personal battles with mental illness. The reason is the label our society has put on mental health; that anyone who visits a mental health specialist is “crazy,” or “insane.” Mental illness is...

Overcoming Fear With Understanding

Overcoming Fear With Understanding

After 11 years of suffering quietly, I resolved to speak out about something most of us decide is a secret to take to their early graves. For years, decades, lifetimes of silence makes the thing nonexistent to the world. The only reason for this silence is the fear of...

My Beacon of Light: Electroconvulsive Therapy

My Beacon of Light: Electroconvulsive Therapy

Two years ago there was one thing above all in the mental health world that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and it was electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Not the thought of the procedure itself, but the side effects. As a nursing student, I did a...

Learning Through Art and Others

Learning Through Art and Others

Apart from the mental conditions I was diagnosed with and am being treated for, I am a recluse and an introvert by nature. Even so, neither of those make me remorseful nor ashamed. I admit though, whenever I am “comme ci, comme ça,” I still do try to be a...

Divorce: Writing and My Recovery

Divorce: Writing and My Recovery

“I want a divorce.” The sentence I was afraid of was coming finally came from his mouth. It felt like a ton of bricks and an ache in my stomach. I felt like I was in a movie where the camera zooms out and shows you like an ant.Shortly after he moved out, I overdosed...

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Dear Dad,  On your birthday, and on every day, you should know how appreciated and loved you are. I am your daughter that was shy, was afraid of strangers, had separation anxiety from Mom (from what I hear), and was afraid of my own shadow. I played it safe...

Thank You for Showing Me True Friendship

Thank You for Showing Me True Friendship

Dear Friend (On Your Birthday), We met almost 17 years ago, we dated in Grade 10, we had fun while it lasted (all of 6 or 7 months), and went through the “awkward” phase were we couldn’t be friends because “exes” weren’t friends in high school. But, that didn’t...

Family: My Circle of Support

Family: My Circle of Support

A good support system can mean the difference between living a possibly comfortable life and suffering alone without help. We who suffer know that support is important, but so many people just don’t have access to acceptable support or even a partial support...

Mania and Marriage: Coping With Hypersexuality

Mania and Marriage: Coping With Hypersexuality

Have you ever cheated on your best friend? Have you ever betrayed the trust of someone you cared about more deeply than yourself? How did it feel? For me, it felt like my entire world collapsed around me. My husband — my best friend — no longer trusts me. I broke my...

5 Things Bipolar II Disorder Has Taught Me

5 Things Bipolar II Disorder Has Taught Me

This year my psychiatrist changed my initial diagnosis of severe depression to Bipolar II Disorder. For a moment I felt like my world had stopped spinning. I felt lost and betrayed because I did not know what this new diagnosis meant for me. For days I lived in denial...

My Path to Mental Health Advocacy

My Path to Mental Health Advocacy

Until I was 16, I thought that my uncle had died of cancer rather than suicide. There was always a dark joke in the family that we have a history of mental illness in our lineage. There is the distant cousin who lived in a tiger cage because, well, he thought he was a...

Depressive Breakdowns: The Angry, The Weak and The Strong

Depressive Breakdowns: The Angry, The Weak and The Strong

Your buttocks are cold and aching because you’ve been pressing them for too long against those filthy concrete steps on the hallway, in front of the elevator. There are cigarette stumps and ashes all over the place, but that does not bother you in the least. You’re...

Celebrating Mental Health Milestones

Celebrating Mental Health Milestones

I recently planned my Drug Treatment Court Graduation. In July I will successfully graduate; the courtroom will be full of my guests and other participants. Each member of the seven panel treatment team — including the judge — will take time to give me accolades,...

Thanks For The Memories

Thanks For The Memories

Memories are maybe our most precious commodity. And I mean that they are a one-time deal; once we lose them we cannot get them back. That is the worst part about memories. But they also ground us, they give us direction by showing us where we have been, they allow us...

Finding Meaning in Psychosis

Finding Meaning in Psychosis

No one ever sat me down and told me I had bipolar disorder. I can only imagine that some people indeed have this sort of experience. A person might see a clinician, tell them what’s wrong, answer some questions, and maybe fill out a test before learning they have a...

You Are Not Your Symptoms, But Take Care!

You Are Not Your Symptoms, But Take Care!

Don’t let your symptoms define you. You are not your illness. When you are sick, in a manic phase, you may be angry, irritable, grandiose, a chatterbox. When you are depressed, you may be hopeless, even suicidal, totally fatigued, anxious, withdrawn and perhaps even...

Torn Between Realities

Torn Between Realities

This was written during a manic episode when the author was experiencing psychosis and was hospitalized. It contains adult language which may be triggering to some readers. I awaken. I hear hospital noises. I feel aloof but in control. Why am I here? What is my...

A Thank You Letter to a Very Special Husband

A Thank You Letter to a Very Special Husband

Dear Husband,  We made it through the first year of marriage (not that I had any doubts, don’t worry)! We’ve been through more than our fair share of difficult times, loss and trying times together. But, through thick and thin, we’ve stayed together and...

Life After Mania: Picking Up the Pieces

Life After Mania: Picking Up the Pieces

Several years ago, before I was diagnosed, during a particularly difficult bout of psychosis I believed I was a prophet receiving messages from God. I went days at a time without sleep, diligently documenting everything I heard, scribbling frantically and filling up...

Honesty Between Patients and Psychiatrists

Honesty Between Patients and Psychiatrists

I was diagnosed over a decade ago. I was young, a teenager, lost with no clue what to do. My first psychiatrist, who I met at age 14, didn’t want to diagnose me when I was too young. He waited a couple years to officially diagnose me with bipolar 1 disorder; I respect...

Faith and Prayer When Going Through Depression

Faith and Prayer When Going Through Depression

How do I pray, as someone who lives with bipolar disorder? In my younger years when I was fairly stabilized on medicine, the daily Scriptures were my prayer and my study, sometimes studying several hours with my commentaries and allowing the silence to foster the Holy...

Helping A Loved One When They’re Not Doing Well

Helping A Loved One When They’re Not Doing Well

I recently watched as a friend deteriorated as a result of a new medication. She was having an adverse reaction to it and within days was manic. Everyone else saw a happy-go-lucky her, while I saw the irritation building in her, as well as her frustration as she tried...

Learning to Be Vulnerable

Learning to Be Vulnerable

I was once someone that would read relationship advice articles scoffing at what were commonly myths and misconceptions of how romantic love works. I was a teenager anyway; and we all know that teenagers are authorities in all topics under the sun. I watched too much...

I Can Do This – Writing Affirmations

I Can Do This – Writing Affirmations

Yesterday I was depressed I felt like my insides had been sucked out of me. I did nothing for most of the day. I didn’t eat or drink anything till after 6:30 PM when I forced myself to warm up and eat dinner. Why did I finally get up and make myself eat dinner? I...

To My Friend, On The Other Side Of A Suicide Attempt

To My Friend, On The Other Side Of A Suicide Attempt

Dear, dear friend, I want to say that I’m glad that you did not succeed. Life without you would be a very dull place indeed. You have made it. You are still breathing. Your heart is beating and you have been given a second chance. There are many things I would...

Seclusion: Being on the Other Side of the Door

Seclusion: Being on the Other Side of the Door

“LET ME OUT OF HERE!” I screamed at the top of my voice, hammering on the nurse’s station door. I was yelling so loud my lungs and chest hurt, my throat was raw and it felt like the veins in my neck would burst. The day’s events that had seemed trivial were no longer...

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and the Weather Is Not Bipolar

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and the Weather Is Not Bipolar

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Judging from some of the stuff that flies across my Facebook feed, there is a big need for such awareness. As an individual living with bipolar disorder, a psychotherapist, and a mental health educator, it astounds me how much...

Healthy Nutrition for Healthier Moods Part 1: The Happy Salad

Healthy Nutrition for Healthier Moods Part 1: The Happy Salad

In the past 16 years, I have been on a lot of different medications – all of which have affected me differently. Some caused me to gain weight due to feeling hungry all the time and overeating, sometimes they caused me to retain water, and who knows what triggered...

Support For Those Living With A Mental Illness

Support For Those Living With A Mental Illness

Claire gave this speech at our Behind the Mask Gala on May 7, 2016. I keep trying to remember the person I was two years ago, the way I spoke and behaved, the way I would have reacted to someone if they were displaying the same socially unacceptable behaviors...

Why We Must Spread Awareness For Mental Health

Why We Must Spread Awareness For Mental Health

Claire gave this speech at our World Bipolar Day Press Conference in Washington DC on March 23, 2016. I was brought up on the precedent that kindness for both yourself and others was the way to get through life. Love surged through my family, an energy that you...

My Story Isn’t Over: Project Semicolon

My Story Isn’t Over: Project Semicolon

When I’m doing day-to-day things, it is very common for other people to ask me why I have a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist. A semicolon is defined as “a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than...

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I have had quite a bit going on lately. I would like to share with you some of the things that have been keeping me so busy. As summer wound down last year, I went back to work. Why is this important – because I have been on disability since April of 2011. Things had...

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