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Our Mental Health Blogs

Bipolar Medications: Will Treatment Work? How Long Will Side-Effects Last?

Bipolar Medications: Will Treatment Work? How Long Will Side-Effects Last?

Recently, I’ve received a few messages from people beginning bipolar medication treatment and going through the terrors of medication auditions and, um, the displeasure of the side-effects of bipolar medication. In this video, I try to set expectations with regards to how long it takes medications for bipolar disorder to work, and how long side-effects will last.

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What Does Remission Mean in Bipolar Disorder?

What Does Remission Mean in Bipolar Disorder?

What Does Remission Mean in Bipolar Disorder?

I mentioned what remission means for a mental illness in a clinical setting: reduction in specific, empirical symptoms by a given amount. In other words, you are given a depression “score” and remission means reducing that score by a given number.

But does that number mean anything at all to the patient in question? If you achieved it, are you “better”? If you suffer from mental illness, what does remission really mean?

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Bipolar Treatment: What Happens When Your Doctor Gives Up?

Bipolar Treatment: What Happens When Your Doctor Gives Up?

As a seriously ill person, I can honestly say that I have given up. Many times. I have lain on my floor praying that someone would kill me. I have taken too many pills hoping that I would die. And yes, I have even cut into myself hoping that I would bleed out.

We give up. After years of trying. Years of bipolar medication. Years of side-effects. Years of therapy. Years of doctors. Years of hospitals. We give up. We’re done.

But what happens if in one of these moments your doctor gives up too?

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The Rhythm of Pain During Depression

The Rhythm of Pain During Depression

I can feel suicide flicking at the edges of my consciousness.

This morning I woke up wanting to die. Before my eyelids fluttered and my logic circuits sparked I knew it was going to be a horrible day.

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Are You Bipolar, Or Do You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Are You Bipolar, Or Do You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Words have power. I know this because I’m a writer and I’m perfectly capable of angering, saddening or frightening people with my words. If words were not powerful, bookshelves would be empty.

And bipolar is a powerful word when used in the context of a mental disorder. Depending on who hears this word, it can conjure up images of violence, danger, suicide, crime, fear, and many other unsavory things. It’s really no wonder that people don’t want to “be bipolar”.

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Denying Bipolar Disorder

Denying Bipolar Disorder

We all take part in the game of denial. Humans need denial to exist. We can’t think about our inevitable death, the fact that we are aging, or that our marriage may end in divorce and expect to care about jobs, mortgage payments and the obvious importance of Jimmy Choos. We know unpleasant possibilities and inevitabilities are true, but on a daily basis we deny them. We need to. Denial produces a workable life.

What gets under my skin though, is the fact people expect me to deny my bipolar disorder, my experiences with it, and its effects – mostly just to make them feel better.

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Bipolar Treatment: If I’m Doing Everything Right, Why Am I Still Sick?

Bipolar Treatment: If I’m Doing Everything Right, Why Am I Still Sick?

If you’ve followed your doctor’s bipolar treatment suggestions, and tried every treatment for bipolar, why are you still sick? Is it your fault? Breaking Bipolar blog has an answer.

Once you’re on a magical medication cocktail, see doctors regularly, have done years of talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), tried shock therapy (ECT), exercise, have social contacts, a support network, a support group, eat well, tried light therapy, dark therapy, and a series of awful tasting herbs and you find yourself still unwell; the question must be asked:

If I’m doing everything right, why am I still sick?

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Understanding Bipolar: Show and Tell

Understanding Bipolar: Show and Tell

When I was a kid, show and tell created the most memorable moments in school. Not the tell part. The tell was boring. We heard about Betty going to a “real, real fun zoo” and Bobby getting a new bike; this information made us shift in our seats, roll our eyes, and make funny faces at whoever was talking. But the showing, now that was great. We got to touch a slimy frog, hear Cathy scream as a budgie landed in her hair and be frightened as a snake’s tongue lashed out in front of us. Showing was where the action was.

But with mental illness, it’s never the show that people want, only the tell. People are frightened by, and run from, the show.

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Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis – Enter the Antipsychotics – Part 2

Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis – Enter the Antipsychotics – Part 2

Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis continued from part one

Lamictal was indeed a miracle for me. It allowed me to finish my bachelor’s degree, get a job in my field, and even become a skydiver. In retrospect, it was an amazing time to be me, to be in remission.

Everything was good, until it wasn’t. I felt myself slipping about two years into the Lamictal treatment. For no known reason, the medication simply stopped working. This is a common problem with psychotropic meds and something else no one likes to mention.

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Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis – How I Got Here – Part 1

Adventures in Bipolar Diagnosis – How I Got Here – Part 1

In late 1998, I knew that something was wrong with me. My life was going well; I was in university, on my way to a computer science degree, in the co-op program and had completed an eight-month job in Calgary. I had been contented and grateful since leaving my mother’s house and moving to a new town. I was more happy than I had been in years. But little by little, I found myself increasingly sad and life became peppered with bouts of meaningless, spontaneously crying. I was unreasonably moved by the foretold unfolding of TV plots and commercials.

In November 1998, I found myself in a pitch-black room, unable to get out of bed for an entire day. I was in the south of Spain, a ten minute walk from white sandy beaches and half-naked women. That was the moment I truly realized I was broken: I was in heaven and yet crushed with sadness.

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