Our Blog

Mental Illness Can Damage The Brain…

 “Mental Illness can damage the brain. You can't just wait for it to go away. The longer you wait to get treatment, the worse it will get and the greater chance that prescription drugs won't work.” That is a direct quote from a June 2012 Readers Digest article on...

Depression & Clothes

Depression & Clothes

I went to an all girls catholic high school, which means one thing: uniforms. I loved uniforms. I may have been the only person in my class who actually liked wearing the same shirt and skirt every day.On the weekends I was faced with my real clothes. I would go to...

The Importance of Strong Toes

The Importance of Strong Toes

My baby is almost a year old now and I’m still unstable. This statement confuses my family and friends because on the outside, I seem like myself again – I shower and wear make-up on a regular basis, my sense of humor is back and I’ve gone back to work. I’m...

Unsupervised Trips to Publix

Some people may not have the privilege of having a spouse like I do to balance my tendencies to over spend, particularly on gourmet cooking. I started a blog with a friend of mine called Dinner Bromantic. We get together weekly to make some delicious food. We have...

The Tipping Point

Last Tuesday, I was telling my friend Anna that generally speaking, I am quite self-aware when it comes to my bipolar moods. I have never been able to understand it when people say things like, “I was depressed, but I didn’t even know it”, because I am so acutely...

My freshman year of college… Can I have a redo please?

It is August, and around this time for the last 9 years, I think back to 2002 and getting ready to start my freshman year of college in a new state, new town, and not knowing a single soul. Little did I know how life changing or should I say life altering and an...

Is a new beginning really possible?

In 2003, I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, a few months after my 18th birthday. I had many other diagnoses during the early years of my diagnosis including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, and bulimia. In 2011, I...

Single Parent

 Being a parent is hard. Let’s face it, there is no instruction manual. Goodness knows we’re all going to make our share of mistakes. It’s just a part of life. As hard as parenting is, usually you have a partner to help you thru the tough times. It’s even harder...

Tacos!

I’ve never been suicidal but have certainly acted suicidal. It’s part of my disease. It’s kinda ridiculous when I break it down. My thought process is somewhat funny to me. I think to myself, I have wayyy to much to offer in this lifetime and so much to do so how can...

Why I Stopped Drinking

It's been 31 days since my last drink. Our doctors tell us not to drink. Even Lil' Wayne raps in his special guest appearance on the Weezer song "Can't Stop Partying" - "..party like tomorrow is my funeral, gotta stop mixing alcohol with pharmaceuticals." I tried...

Dreams

Dreams

This one is for any of you who have been hospitalized. Have any of you ever had the dream of being either back in the hospital or having the dream of family members threaten to admit you? This dream would occur for me more frequently when I drank alcohol. I steer...

Stigma

My family has always been very supportive and had my best interests in mind. Only my best friends know that I have bipolar disorder. When it comes to stigma, ever since I got out of the hospital in 9th grade I thought there was something wrong with me. My stepmom...

TO BE HONEST…LIES!

I just cancelled my appointment with my psychiatrist this week cause I just don’t feel like it. But I never feel like it, for the most part dread it, and the sad thing is after it’s done I feel great. Well, most of the time. To be honest, I haven’t always been that...

You’re Bipolar? Welcome to High School

I’ve always been open about being bipolar. Except at work. And now I know why.Last year I published a tell all book about my journey of manic depression and my experiences working in an inpatient psych ward in a county hospital in Los Angeles, CA. When the county...

Nocturnal?

I hate everything about mornings. Especially the waking up part. Also not a fan of birds chirping. Or sunshine. I’m not sure why I’m this way. I just tend to perk up at night, say around 7 p.m. That’s when I usually get a burst of energy and the desire to do...

Today I’m feeling better….

I went to my psychiatrist Friday for a follow-up from my initial visit a month ago. I’d had high hopes with the Wellbutrin/anxiety pill prescription combo. I felt better…happy…for a couple weeks. Then, depression set in. Like the can’t-get-out-of-bed variety. It...

The Side Effects of Side Effects

“I’d rather been skinny and crazy than fat and sane.”And that is no joke. We talk about side effects of our medications but what about the side effects we get from the side effects of your medication. I’m talking about fat. Yup. A woman’s favorite word to hate:F A...

Clarifications

On April 14th 2011, Catherine Zeta Jones came out to the world thatshe suffered from Bipolar II Disorder. Merely a year later, on June15, 2012, Jones made an appearance on ABC’s The View and Joy Beharinquired about her experience of Bipolar Disorder. Zeta...

Insomnia

Insomnia….oh that blasted, dreaded word but there you have it what’s keeping others, like me, awake at night. So what is insomnia, what does it mean exactly? In layman’s terms…. You can’t sleep. More officially it means….the difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep,...

New Psychiatrist

I saw a new psychiatrist recently. He is wonderful. Also, I’ve been officially diagnosed as bipolar II. I suspected as much, but never had specific confirmation. I’ve been feeling much better on my new medication, so I have hope. There are still a few side effects,...

What do you do all day?

I was the first of my friends to decide to start a family. I was only 22, and most people in my social circle were a long way from settling down, let alone having a baby. They tried to be supportive during the pregnancy and in the early days of parenthood, but I could...

The Five Point Plan

I have horrible taste in men, and it’s really getting old. I’m not gonna lie. I spent most of my twenties in a sudo manic high so lost a lot of years trying to find true love. I managed to scare off most of the men in New York and Los Angeles with my intensity which...

Are you feeling the effect of side effects?

Are side effects getting you down? Almost every medication out there comes with some sort of side effect. As people with mental illness we take our share of medication on a routine basis so we are very well aware of all the different changes that can occur. With each...

The Ugliness of a Beautiful Disaster

They’re the new catch phrases, book titles, songs … They’re intriguing and explain so much with so little.Things like, “Hot Mess” or “Beautiful Disaster.” They’re contradictory yet perfectly possible in every way.Right?Can one be a “Hot Mess?”I guess so.It’s sticking...

When You’re a Stranger

‘People are strange, when you’re a stranger.Faces look ugly, when you’re alone...’So sang Jim Morrison in 1967 in his song about drug abuse and paranoia. Now, although the song is about paranoia and I have suffered seriously with it eight years ago that is not what...

Anxiety – Which Disorder is it, anyway?

It starts with a feeling of restlessness. I can’t sit still in one place too long. I try to listen to music. Read. Surf the Internet. Nothing catches my interest. The restlessness grows.Am I hungry?Am I thirsty?I try satiating both. Nothing helps.Now, I’m getting...

Pregnancy and Bipolar Disorder

To Be or Not To Be....THAT is the Question.......This year, I had several friends celebrating Mother's Day for the very first time with their newborns. I was so happy and excited for them; starting a family and moving into the next phase of their life. However, I...

Mental Health Month

 What a great idea, I thought. I’d write a blog for Mental Health week and especially for Mental Health blogging day, May 16, 2012.Then, I considered what I’d blog about. There are so many topics out there to learn more about and to give information.However, I...

Maybe It’s Just Me

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (I really hate the name) has caused me to have an identity crisis. How much of this is the disorder, and how much of it is “just me,” my personality? How do I know the difference? Some of the side effects could just be personality...

Bipolar Motherhood: What it Means to be “Mom Enough”

They come in threes.1. I spun out over Time Magazine’s controversial article Are You Mom Enough? extolling the virtues of attachment parenting, AKA, baby-centered parenting, which includes breastfeeding well into toddler years, co-sleeping and a strong distain for...

Mental Health Awareness Month

I would like to say how happy I am to be blogging at the International Bipolar Foundation! Happy is a very interesting word because it indicates that you're in a good place...The International Bipolar Foundation IS such A GOOD place. Especially if you deal with what...

The other side of the desk.

I am one of those people who feels the need to make a difference. I hate to stand by and see others suffer. So it's no surprise that I tend to be drawn to the kind of jobs known as "the helping professions." Over the last 15 years, as well as bringing up two children,...

I can’t cry anymore

In the words of Sheryl Crow, I can’t cry anymore. At least, not for now. Please. I’m exhausted. Crying is draining, although it feels strangely good at the same time. Some of it has to do with “being a girl,” but more of it has to do with other stuff – medication...

Where to begin?

Well, first, I’d like to give a shout-out to Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara. I spent a better part of today crying, and no smudging, no running, nothing! So that was a bright, shiny, silver lining. Other than that…well, one silver lining per day is better than nothing,...

Where to begin?

Well, first, I’d like to give a shout-out to Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara. I spent a better part of today crying, and no smudging, no running, nothing! So that was a bright, shiny, silver lining. Other than that…well, one silver lining per day is better than nothing,...

Patience and Friendship

Patience means...Not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waitingI read this recently...and here are some thoughts I have on what I am waiting for...I read this recently...and here are some thoughts I have on what I am waiting for...1. I...

Bipolar Disorder and Dreaming

Everyone dreams right? We all have wishes of what could be or what we’d like or even whom. However, dreaming when we should be sleeping is something different. And for those of us with Bipolar Disorder, dreaming can become a minefield we maneuver in our sleeping...

Self-perpetuated Disappointment and the Queen of its Kingdom … Me!

 Self-perpetuated Disappointment and the Queen of its Kingdom … Me!There once was a girl who grew older every year. Each year her birthday snuck up behind her and screamed, “Boo!” then ran away. Each year she convinced herself she would punch that monster in the...

Super Structure

A few nights ago my wife and I were talking, as we have a want to do. It’s very rare that we will sit and watch TV together; we prefer to talk... and laugh. Anyway, as part of this conversation my wife asked, ‘Do you know what you bring to my life?’‘Trouble’ I...

Let’s Talk About Meds

DISCLAIMOR: The very nature of medication is controversial. I am not a doctor. I do not have MD after my name. I am merely a woman living with Bipolar 1 Disorder. This is my experience with medication. These are my truths. In no way, shape or form will I ever give...

Initial Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder roughly twelve years ago. I wasn't remotely surprised when the kindly psychiatrist told me, as I already had a good grasp of psychiatry and I had had a good idea of what was wrong with me since adolescence, I say ‘wrong’ in the...

Friendship Exhaustion?

Recently, I took a huge nose dive in the roller coaster I like to call, My Illness. I thought I had everything under control, but by “under control” I really meant “hidden under the surface festering and stockpiling for the perfect moment to burst and destroy.” Boy...

Can I tell you a secret?

Can I tell you a secret?Do you promise that you will not tell?I don't want to be stable!Depression has been following me around for a while now, following, lurking and scurrying behind me like a sewer rat, waiting until my defences are weakened, my fortress is...

The Sorry Little Girl Who Cried, “Sorry, I’m Bipolar!”

There she was, gathering her sheep. Five, Ten, Fifty … oh why not make it 100 sheep. No need to be lazy! Suddenly a few sheep began wandering off. The little girl stared at the remaining 93 sheep and thought to herself, “It’s only a few sheep; no one will notice I...

That Stinkin’ Barrel

Barrel: OK, who's next?Me: Me, me, me!Barrel: OK, get on in.Me: Oh goodie. Lucky me, I thought I'd have to wait awhile to take another ride.Barrel: Oh no. You've got an e-ticket. You can keep going and going and going...February started with a wrist surgery that ended...

Passed Judgement

Laid in a hospital bed with a foreboding sense of unreality is where I found myself four years ago on this particular Thursday in March. I hadn’t yet been taken onto a ward and was in a small side room in A & E. It was surprisingly quiet given that it was a busy...

Burst The Silence

Last week, The Institute of Mental Health in singapore started a campaign called Burst The Silence - to encourage people to talk about mental illness.It made me think of when and why we choose to share our stories, those of us who have been touched by "mental...

Gratitude

It's simply amazing what gratitude can do for you and how it can enrich one's life. I am personally thankful for all of the amazing opportunities in my life. Despite being diagnosed with bipolar I have accomplished many things in my life. I have managed a...

Getting Any Psychiatric Diagnosis

Getting any psychiatric diagnosis inevitably leads to a lot of questions. Once someone has been given a clinical label, it’s not surprising that they begin to wonder: why do I have this disorder? What’s the prognosis? What are the treatment options? What will my...

I will be ok, I am always ok

 I am scared. Truly, I am frightened by the thought of my disease. At times it completely surrounds every part of my being. The depths of my heart scream out for help, just looking for the right moment to let go. I am wondering if this will ever go away. Do I...

Bootstraps

I’m writing from deep inside the rabbit hole. It’s truly a miracle that I’m even writing this, but I have something I really need to say.Here goes.I had a humongous Ganglion Cyst (I know, right? ewww) removed from my wrist a week ago. No biggie, right? I went under...

Can You See (The Real Me)?

Although neither end of the bipolar spectrum is ultimately, particularly pleasant – especially for a loved one of a bipolar sufferer – if you were to ask my wife Julie which, if she had to choose, would she prefer to deal with she would un-equivocally state...

Winter Soul

Dedicated to the winters of my soul - because hibernation is as much a part of life as hyper-nation :)I used to fear the crashNow I know it can be more like a deeper diveSee different thingsOr see things differentlyFeel differentlyOr feel nothing at allJust because I...

Postpartum OCD – Yes, OCD

To be clear, I don’t agree with the victim mentality and it’s not my standard default. When I blame others for my troubles, I’m not taking responsibility for my life and my choices. I always look for my part in any negative, or what I perceive as a negative,...

Stormy Waters

How do you deal when you go from being so completely stable and feeling better than you have in years, to hitting rock bottom with your whole world crumbling around you, walking in the door to work and handing them the note from your doctor instructing them to put you...

Hypomania Feels Like An Entitlement

I’ve been a little hypomanic again lately. It started, as it usually does, with a reduced need for sleep – even continuing to take my usual doses of lithium and quetiapine (Seroquel) I began to have difficulty drifting off, and started to find myself wide awake hours...

The Matter of Sensitivity

Until my father returned to school to finish his education for the ministry,I lived in the distant rural, from which I learned many lessons of living. Theselessons came easily to a sensitive mind, the point I wish to discuss as an earlymemory of knowing I was...

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

There is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder or specifically a symptom sometimes synonymous with Mania that many suffer from, a challenging, difficult and perhaps embarrassing symptom that often does not get the recognition or attention it deserves. Sometimes we ourselves...

2012 Third Place Essay Winner

By Kristen Shim President Bill Clinton once said, “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” For the 5.7 million Americans living with bipolar disorder, for the millions of undiagnosed people living in third-world countries, and...

2012 3rd Place Essay Winner

By Muslim Hasan We have often heard about how advanced and superior the world will be in the future. Much has been talked, written and filmed on how better a place it would evolve to be then; advancements in technology, knowledge and everything in general would lead...

Movements Towards the Light for People with Bipolar

By Elga Theresia All of us have perceptions on seeing things. However, our perceptions are not always consistent with the reality. Finding characteristics distinguishing people from other member of society who we regard as ‘normal’, we often stigmatize them. Stigma is...

My World is Your World

By Genevieve Green I walk into class, my shield a thick blue binder filled with my countless ideas and thoughts; my nature in disorganized paper form.  Inside hide the pictures of relief- Cobain, Poe, Whitman, Twain. Others. Success stories. Reminders of what is...

My World

People used to just say I was weird or eclectic or something like that. No one had a clue what was going on, including myself. I was probably the least aware of what was going on in my head or in the real world. What is the real world anyway? Is my perception of...

Normal is not Normal

Four newly decorated walls and a grey floor. A bed with the headboard central to one wall upon which I sit. Next to me is a bedside cabinet with a book on it. To my left is a window. In the corner opposite me to my left is a wardrobe with a few of my clothes in and...

How to Eavesdrop on the Mood Disorder Conferences

If you’ve explored the International Bipolar Foundation website, you’ve noticed that we encourage those diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression to explore—even study-- these disorders. Armed with knowledge, the informed patient feels far more empowered when it...

Calling the Cops on a Suicidal Loved One . . . An Admission

I called the cops on a distant relative once, after he told his mother and sister that he had nothing to live for, that he felt close to no one and that going to the desert to ride his ATV held no pleasure anymore. He went to the door, telling them they may never see...

Side effects or Chosen effect?

Recently I discovered that the medication I've been on since 2008 (Epilim) causes a side effect (cysts in ovary) that is somewhat worrisome given the results of a recent health screening (I have a few cysts that are a few cms in size) and my maternal family...

The Inevitable Christmas Post

This year, Christmas is going to be a low key affair. My children will be spending it with their dad (by tradition, we take turns). My step-daughters are both at overseas universities, and have decided that with Christmas holidays short and air fares high, they will...

Lucifer’s Delight!

Lucifer’s Delight!

The impending doom is upon me! I thought that perhaps he had forgotten about me, lost the mysterious, but essential keys to my Soul - whilst in his stupor, the jangling of metal against the greasy drain, its sound unwelcome to my ears, as he staggers about the endless...

Lucifer’s Delight!

Lucifer’s Delight!

The impending doom is upon me! I thought that perhaps he had forgotten about me, lost the mysterious, but essential keys to my Soul - whilst in his stupor, the jangling of metal against the greasy drain, its sound unwelcome to my ears, as he staggers about the endless...

Parentofabipolarchilditis

Not on the level of schizophrenia or DID by any means. He's not hearing voices and it's still him when these things happen but it's not really "him." It's almost like there are 2 versions of my son. That may be the whole point of this blog today but the title... well...

Better Than a Dead Cat

Mania is the key defining characteristic of Bipolar Disorder that makes it so very special and unique from all the other disorders out there, so it’s not shocking that I get asked to describe what it feels like quite often. Just the other day a well-meaning...

Keep Your Compliments to Yourself Please

Compliments … words most people adore. Words that make people blush. Words that make people feel good about themselves. Compliments are confidence boosters … mood lifters … reminders that we are awesome. Who wouldn’t want a compliment from time to time?Well, I’ll tell...

Initial Assessment

 A couple of weeks ago, I had an initial assessment with a psychologist from my Community Mental Health Team. The purpose of the session was to look at how talking therapies might be of benefit to me in helping me manage my bipolar disorder. We started by talking...

DUELING DUAL DIAGNOSIS

On March 5, 2005, I was diagnosed with Bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by a staff psychiatrist in my first, and what I hope will be my last, mental hospital. This diagnosis was the beginning of my real life, a life of freedom I never knew existed. Of...

Book Shop

I always knew that there was something different about me, though for many years I wasn’t quite sure what it actually was. I knew the difference was to with my Brain, my faithful grey matter that appeared to operate at a different level to other people and in a...

The 12 Steps of Christmas

“My name is Sarah and I am a Holiday-holic”.Yes, I love the holidays. In fact, I probably love them too much. I am so emotionally over-invested that I sometimes get overwhelmed, creating a horrible disconnect between the fantasy and the reality.The truth is that I...

The Bipolar Roller Coaster

I have spent a lot of time talking about Bipolar Disorder and what it means to me and my son. I get asked a lot how he's doing or how his day was and my answer is usually never the same thing twice. It's hard to explain to people who aren't around it, who don't...

Medication, Communication and Emotion

When is a good time for my friends to ask about how I'm doing with my meds? Or whether I've been taking them constantly?I asked myself these questions recently because my colleagues know about my condition and they often ask me about my meds. While I appreciate...

Guilt Trip

Recently I have been watching a series of television programmes by Derren Brown on Channel 4 in the UK called ‘The Experiments’. Each episode has explored a facet of human nature: the first asked whether it was possible to hypnotise an individual into assassinating a...

A Letter to Amy Winehouse

For Amy and other women who carry chaos.If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.-Zora Neale Hurstonthis flame and flickerwas not meant to last this longwe were not meant to chase the sun this oftenuncertain, as we are, that the days...

Let’s Stop This Charade

I write a lot about Hollywood. Why? Well, I think it's because I love t.v. shows and movies, or maybe because I have friends and relatives living in L.A. and work in the entertainment industry. Or maybe it started because as a baby, I was exposed to movie projectors...

The Gift

I used to call it a curse and I hated myself for it. Having bipolar used to give me shame and stigma. However, what I didn’t know is that it would transform my life into abundance, strength and hope. I was only eighteen years old when I got diagnosed. That was...

What to do when you are suddenly confronted with news of death?

As someone with a bipolar diagnosis, I do feel very deeply and I used to wonder if that was the problem. I realize that it's okay to feel deeply and even to show the emotions (I mean, Jesus knew he was going to call Lazarus out from the tomb, but He still let Himself...

The Princess in the Tower

I’ve always loved fairytales. I was lucky that my parents supplied me with a lot of books when I was growing up. I had volumes of the classic stories collected by the Brothers’ Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, but I was also given stories of Tzar’s palaces and...

Where’s My Doctor

I expect certain things from “my” psychiatrist. When I write “my” psychiatrist, I refer to the fact that I have paid for the services of a psychiatrist in private practice, and feel that I have purchased certain aspects of what is hopefully high quality health care....

A Story and a Starfish

Jake just turned 12. He lives with me full time and spends time with his dad on the weekends and most holidays. He was a very happy and easy baby and hit all of his developmental milestones early or on time. During his toddler years, we hit the terrible 2's and I...

Stigma

Stigma. One very important issue we, as a community, try to battle. It's the negative assumptions associated with bipolar and those who have been diagnosed with the illness. I personally have experienced instances where certain assumptions were made about me once I...

Bipolar Disorder and Weight Gain

I hear about this so much, people hate the weight gain side effects of medication. I will be honest with you, I hate it too. However, I have learned the hard way. The most impulsive and manic thing I have ever done is get liposuction after gaining 36lbs from...

Who’s the parent here? Raising kids when you have bipolar

“Are you a bit manic, Mum?” says my 11-year-old suspiciously. OK, so maybe I’m a little... bouncy, although only just elevated enough to be considered clinically hypomanic. But nothing escapes the scrutiny of my children these days.My last major episode was between...

Sadness Returns Quietly

So this sadness returns quietly. Always quietly. No great trumpeting or horn blast. No drum circle or full bodied gospel wail. No stunning metaphor or dazzling simile. There is only this throbbing and distant and empty and quiet. Always this white noise of rush and...

MANIA AND “HYPER-RELIGIOSITY”

Just this past week, I traveled with my wife and our seven-month old son to Winona, Minnesota, La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Viroqua, Wisconsin to share my experiences of living with bipolar disorder with four different audiences. At the end of two of the presentations, I...

A Day At The Office

I'm racing out the door with my work bag slung over my shoulder, a glass of water in one hand, and my handful of morning medications in the other. Anti-depressant? Check. Mood stabilizer? Check. Adderall? Check. Anti-anxiety? Check. I gulp them down with the water and...

Is Bipolar Disorder the New Black?

Gosh I hope not. In the last few years, the headlines in newspapers and magazines have been flooded with reports of celebrities having bipolar disorder, criminals having bipolar disorder, even headlines of missing persons who have bipolar disorder. There was Britney...

You Need To Talk

When I woke up that morning in hospital, ten years ago, she stood there. The psychologist I started to see about three months prior to becoming manic for the first time. I went to see her, because deep inside myself it felt as if something was “not right”, but neither...

My Story

Putting baby locks on the kitchen cabinets to protect her toddler was one thing, but locking away the steak knives from her seven year old was not what Muffy Walker ever imagined would be necessary. Walker also never imagined she would need to use her skills as a...

About Me

I am not mean I am nice. I’m thankful for the things I have and do. I like myself so I don’t want to change. I am a lot like those around me. I have feelings, emotions too.Sometimes I might get angry, upset, surprised or excited. My emotions are built up inside of me....

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