Support Groups

Three Bipolar Disorder Symptoms No One Wants to Talk About

3 Symptoms Of Bipolar, by Julie Fast

By Julie A. Fast, 1 Apr 2020

The three symptoms below represent the side of bipolar disorder we all know is there but rarely want to let the public know exists.
Woman Shushing – Three Bipolar Disorder Symptoms No One Wants to Talk About

I know how important it is to protect the reputation of bipolar disorder in the general public. We don’t want people thinking we are dangerous, scary, crazy people who can’t be trusted. But I do feel we need to own up to the fact that certain mood swings DO cause the behaviors we want to sweep under the carpet. The three symptoms below represent the side of bipolar disorder we all know is there but rarely want to let the public know exists. This is only an opinion, of course, but I’m truly interested to know if you feel the same. Read more

15 Lies People Tell While Manic

15 Lies People Tell While Manic

Most people, at one point or another, have lied about how they’re feeling. From “white lies” that spare the feelings of others, to not telling the truth because you’re afraid of the reaction you’ll get, we’ve all told a lie before. When you live with bipolar disorder, explaining your moods to others can be tough. Maybe they don’t really understand the high highs of mania or the low lows of depression, or maybe you haven’t told them you have bipolar disorder.

You might tell a lie to those who don’t “get” bipolar disorder, as a way to explain your moods or actions — especially during a manic episode where you might feel wired and not need to sleep or buy things you can’t afford. You might say things like:

“I’ve just had a lot of sugar and it’s making me feel hyper.”

“I slept enough last night.”

“I really needed these new pairs of shoes.”

While it might be difficult, being open and honest with others about your struggles can help them better understand the condition and support you. If you have trouble explaining how you feel, try coming up with a system that lets you share how you are doing without explicitly having to state what your mood is. For example, this color chart below, can help you communicate your bipolar disorder symptoms by sharing “today’s color.” Each color is linked to a different symptom, making it easier to communicate how you’re feeling on a day where you may not have the words or ability to do so otherwise.

15 Lies People Tell While Manic

Read more….

Romanticizing Hypomania: Is it Worth it?

Hhypomania temptation

BY Sally Buchanan-Hagen, NOVEMBER 21, 2015

Although the idea of hypomania may be tempting, take care to remember that it’s ultimately not worth the lows that accompany it.

The other day I was going over some past achievements involving my intellect that I’m particularly proud of. However, in hindsight, most of the things I have accomplished and take pride in were done while I was hypomanic.

This made me incredibly sad, and wave after wave of grief washed over me. I grieved for the times before my bipolar diagnosis where everything was done with ease, I grieved for the things bipolar has taken from me and I grieved for my life that only a few years ago was filled with promise for a bright future in emergency nursing. I grieved for the days when hypomania meant productivity and fun that didn’t progress to mania. Most of all I grieved for my intense curiosity, sharp intellect and acute memory, which I valued enormously and where I had placed a lot of my self-worth. Everyone hastens to tell you about the benefits of being treated for bipolar, but no one prepares you to cope with the things you think that you lose. Read more

Should We Bring Back Public Psychiatric Hospitals?

Should we bring back public Psychiatric Hospitals?

What a panel of experts recently said about the issue.

Consider for a moment this situation: Your adult daughter suffers from a serious mental illness. You have tried to get help for her, but it has not worked out, and you were told that unless she’s a danger to herself or someone else, she can’t be hospitalized. Now she’s living on the street and you have no idea how she is faring. You worry constantly and dread getting a certain phone call. You wish desperately there was some sort of safe haven for her, but you know you cannot afford a private care facility. Maybe at this point, a publicly funded psychiatric hospital sounds like a good idea — as long as it isn’t what they were known for back in the 1950s and 1960s.

The closing of psychiatric hospitals began during those decades and has continued since; today, there are very few left, with about 11 state psychiatric hospital beds per 100,000 people. That’s the same ratio we had in 1850, according to a 2012 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center. Do we need more public psychiatric hospitals?

This question recently drew a standing-room-only crowd at Fountain House, a nonprofit community and social services center for the seriously mentally ill in New York City, where a panel of experts discussed the issue. (Watch a video of the discussion here.) The question exists within the context of a mental health crisis in the United States, and the related statistics are disturbing:

Having serious mental illness, such as bipolar disease or schizophrenia, will shorten your lifespan by 25 years. This is not because of suicide, but because many health issues (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, smoking) go untreated in the mentally ill, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
In nearly every U.S. state, people with serious mental illness are more likely to be jailed than sent to a hospital. In 2014, the number of mentally ill people behind bars was 10 times that of patients in state psychiatric hospitals, according to a study by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit based in Arlington, Va. New Hampshire is currently facing a backlash for placing into jails seriously mentally ill people who haven’t been arrested.
Some jails are inhumane for mentally ill people, and they are extremely costly. Incarceration can cost $100,000 per person per year, according to a 2014 Washington state survey.
One quarter of mentally ill people are homeless, according to NAMI. Some are discharged directly from jails, emergency rooms and mental hospitals to the streets.
Only about 63 percent of adults with serious mental illness received mental health services in the past year, NAMI says.

Bring Back Public Psychiatric Hospitals? Read more.

How Bipolar Support Groups Helped Change My Life

by Laura Riordan

In October of 2003, I was working an outdoor sales job. My psychiatrist was changing my meds to try to find something that would work to control my depression and bipolar. Depending on which med I was on, I’d have uncontrollable hand tremors and crying spells throughout every day. In between client appointments, I’d be sitting there in the car, slapping myself in the face to stop the tears before heading in to “make the sale.” Good sales technique, yeah?

I felt hopeless and worthless, in a constant state of deep, emotional pain. Each day I awoke in fear that the side effects of the medications, on top of the symptoms of the depression and bipolar, would cost me my job. I needed relief from the pain. I needed more support than what I was getting from the psychiatrist, therapist and ever changing medications. I needed more.

I had been diagnosed with bipolar three years prior, but had definitely suffered with undiagnosed depression and anxiety throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was blindsided during my sophomore year of college by a severe manic episode,

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