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Our Mental Health Blogs

Suicide In My Family

Suicide In My Family

Heather McCready, experienced days filled with “desperate sadness and intense darkness” and was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder and then hospitalized for mania and suicidal depression. Ms. McCready’s voyage through mental illness deprived her of her creative abilities for six years. Finally, after all medicines failed, she underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and now enjoys fewer dark days.

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Gender, Race, and Mental Illness

Gender, Race, and Mental Illness

Watch the video interview with Shawn Maxam, a black man living with bipolar disorder, and learn about his experiences with gender, race, and mental illness.

There are about as many men with bipolar disorder as there are women. But is living with bipolar disorder essentially the same for men as it is for women? And what about the relationship between race and mental illness? Though the illness is the same, gender and race may shape life with bipolar disorder in profound ways that most of us have never even considered.

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One Man, Many Disorders: Living with Psychiatric Comorbidity

One Man, Many Disorders: Living with Psychiatric Comorbidity

Craig has bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, OCD, and depression. Watch and learn what living with psychiatric comorbidity is like for him.

Kate White writes about what living with anxiety is like. Natasha Tracy shares her experiences with bipolar disorder. New HealthyPlace blogger Jack Smith writes about life with depression. And last year Rachel McCarthy James joined us on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show to discuss what living with OCD is like for her. But Craig Ludvigsen can tell us what it’s like to have all of those disorders. It’s called psychiatric comorbidity – the presence of more than one mental illness in one individual at the same time – and it can be incapacitating.

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Help for Families Raising Children with Mood Disorders

Help for Families Raising Children with Mood Disorders

Susan Resko discusses the challenges of raising children with mood disorders and how her organization can help. Watch.

My son struggles with moderate anxiety from time to time. In turn, I struggle with knowing how best to help him. After speaking with Susan Resko, former Executive Director of The Balanced Mind Foundation, I feel renewed gratitude for my comparatively much smaller-scale parenting struggles. Families raising children with mood disorders have a daunting task, but there is help available.

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Trip from Mental Illness to Mental Health Advocacy

Trip from Mental Illness to Mental Health Advocacy

Some people who find themselves dealing with a mental illness or the illness of a loved one eventually come to a point where they want to pitch in and help the mental health community. Mental health advocacy can feel like a natural progression to some and to others it is surprising or unexpected. No matter how it comes about, it is always remarkable when a person utilizes their challenges in life, like mental illness, to do good in the world. Our guest, Shannon Flynn, does just that as a mental health advocate.

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When Your Depression Treatment Isn’t Working

When Your Depression Treatment Isn’t Working

Watch the video interview with eminent psychiatrist Dr. Ronald R. Fieve and learn what treatment-resistant depression is and what to do about it.As one of many people living with a depressive illness, I can attest to the crippling nature of depression. But I’m fortunate to have found a depression treatment that works well for me. While I’ve yet to find a medication or lifestyle change that eradicates major depression or dysthymia from my life altogether, there are drug treatments and lifestyle choices that together provide measurable relief – enough to make a profound difference. Others are not so lucky. Some people have tried medication after medication and have yet to find anything that markedly eases their depression symptoms. These people are living with treatment-resistant depression. What can they do?

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Living with A Mental Illness Isn’t Always Living

Living with A Mental Illness Isn’t Always Living

As someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I’m well aware of the toll living with a mental illness takes on relationships, jobs, and self-esteem. I struggle with things that come easily to many, and seemingly benign things can have a profound impact on my ability to manage the very basics of daily living. Even so, I’m incredibly fortunate. The ugly reality is that many people with a severe mental illness aren’t lucky enough to worry about whether or not they’re successful at work, or fret over how their illness affects their loved ones. They’re homeless, destitute, unable to advocate for themselves, and have no one to help them. Some people have paid a very high price for having a mental illness. Mark Ellinger is living with Bipolar Disorder. And he’s one of those people.

mark-ellinger-1Barely Living with Bipolar Disorder

Our guest on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show, Mark Ellinger wasn’t properly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder until 2001. He struggled for years with what he now knows were severe manic episodes and incapacitating depressive crashes. Living with a mental illness he didn’t know he had, Mark coped as best he could, but eventually ended up homeless and near death. He paid a price some of us with severe mental illness never have to.

Between 1985 and 1995 I lost just about all that was dear to me – friends, family, business, home, and possessions – and for the next six years I plumbed the depths of experience and my own psyche, living on the mean streets of San Francisco as a homeless junkie. It damn near killed me and I was hospitalized for ten weeks.

mark-ellinger-2Today Mark is a writer and photographer, no longer homeless or struggling with addiction. Living with Bipolar Disorder isn’t easy for him, but he’s now in treatment and has managed to rebuild his life. Like so many others, he knows firsthand the price severe mental illness can exact on people’s lives. He graciously agreed to share his experience with us.

Video on The High Price of Living with A Mental Illness

Watch our video interview with Mark Ellinger, the High Cost of Mental Illness, as he talks about what living with Bipolar Disorder is like for him, the impact severe mental illness has had on his life, and what he’s learned from living with a mental illness.

You can find all mental health video interviews from the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show in the table of contents.

Share Your Experiences

Are you living with Bipolar Disorder or another severe mental illness? Has living with a mental illness ever felt like not really living at all? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights on the high cost of mental illness. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

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Managing Bipolar Disorder Symptoms on the Job

Managing Bipolar Disorder Symptoms on the Job

Peter Zawistowski discusses managing bipolar disorder symptoms on the job in a blog at HealthyPlace called Work and Bipolar or Depression. Learn more here.

It seems to me that navigating life with a mental illness is a full-time occupation. Not only that, it can feel awfully futile at times – like Sisyphus ceaselessly rolling his rock up a mountain only to watch it tumble back down again. Employed or not, the 2 million plus Americans with bipolar disorder are certainly working. Marked by shifts between dramatically high and low moods, bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition that can be fatal, particularly during depressive episodes. I suspect that managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is a job in and of itself.

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Getting the Strength You Need to Meet Life’s Challenges

Getting the Strength You Need to Meet Life’s Challenges

Getting the Strength You Need to Meet Life's Challenges

I’m reading the Bipolar Vida blog, and wondering “how much can one person take?” Cristina, admittedly, had a bad childhood which, she says, probably triggered the bipolar disorder she now lives with.

In the months since she started her bipolar blog here at HealthyPlace.com, Cristina has endured depressive episodes, hypomania, and everything else bipolar disorder can bring your way. Yet, in almost every blog post, she mentions that she’s doing everything she can to keep her bipolar recovery on track.

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Inside the Bipolar Mind of Natasha Tracy

Inside the Bipolar Mind of Natasha Tracy

What is it really like living with Bipolar Disorder? Breaking Bipolar blog author, Natasha Tracy, provides a look inside the bipolar mind. Watch video.

If you’re wondering what it’s like living with bipolar disorder, or a serious mental illness,  here is one of the most illuminating lines on the subject that I’ve come across:

“It explores the difference between a sick brain and a mind left trying to cope with it.”

It was written by Natasha Tracy, describing the focus of her new Breaking Bipolar blog on HealthyPlace.com.

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