About Natasha Tracy, Author of 'Breaking Bipolar' Blog
Hi, I'm Natasha Tracy, a 30-something writer living on an island in the Pacific Northwest and the author of the Bipolar Burble. I have leapt from planes, helicopters and cliffs trusting nothing but nylon and canvas to save my life. I have worked for many tech companies including the biggest boy on the block. I have visited twelve different countries, have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and I think a law should be passed preventing Apple from naming anything else beginning with the letter "i."
And I have bipolar disorder.
I've been diagnosed with a series of variants finally landing on bipolar type-II, ultra-rapid-cycling. I've been in treatment for over a decade. Treatments have included over 40 bipolar medications, vagus nerve stimulator implantation, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and several types of psychotherapy.
Breaking Bipolar is my way of entertaining and enlightening on the topic of bipolar disorder. It's shearing honesty aims to put the reader inside a brain suffering from mental illness. It’s designed to elucidate the subjects of pain, loss, depression, hypomania, hope and humanity. It explores the difference between a sick brain and a mind left trying to cope with it.
I hope my writing will allow people to truly appreciate what the mentally ill experience and ultimately lead to greater understanding and respect, as well as reduce the fear people show around the mentally ill.
I look forward to the day when humans can fly, breathe underwater and latte art becomes recognized as a serious area of study.
Natasha Tracy's Breaking Bipolar Blog Welcome Video
If you would like to know a little more about me, watch this bipolar video.
Check out Natasha Tracy's book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.
Tracy, N. (2010, May 28). About Natasha Tracy, Author of 'Breaking Bipolar' Blog, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/05/natasha-tracy-author-breaking-bipolar-blog-2
Author: Natasha Tracy
Thank you very much for all your beautiful writing here and on your blog. I'm just starting to wear my bipolar T-shirt after trying to pretend I'm normal for far too long. Got my self-diagnosis confirmed just last month. Woop de doop, eh?
Thank you for your posts, and for the responses they inspire. Lots of good information and support and food for thought.
Wishing you well, and very well indeed,
Thank you so much. I know what it's like to be newly diagnosed.
If you haven't read it, you may want to read this article from my personal blog (not affiliated with HealthyPlace): http://natashatracy.com/bipolar-disorder/new-bipolar-diagnosis-first-bipolar-months/
It's about someone who actually celebrated her diagnosis. (Another perspective.)
- Natasha Tracy
Well, honestly, most of us would be pretty happy at those working hours. She has a job and then gets stuff done at home? That's pretty good. And if she's in bed at seven and up at three, that's only eight hours of sleep. That all sounds pretty reasonable.
That said, anyone can be affected by a medication like that, especially in the beginning. You need to give it six-eight weeks to see what might a long-lasting concern.
Try to be patient for now. It sucks but waiting is all we can do.
- Natasha Tracy
I'my Peter from Perth, Western Australia. I wonder if one of your travels included Australia? If not, you need another holiday! Come to Perth, meet my wife, our menagerie of pets, and my humble, bipolar self.
I have battled with Ultra Rapid Cycling, Type II Bipolar, and comorbid (Don't you just love that hyper-appropriate word?) Generalised and Social Anxietiy Disorders, Seasonal Affective Disorder, mild OCD traits, pretty lousy self image resulting in occasional Suicidal Ideation, and some good stuff.
I am 54, a "bit" overweight, and have had strong intermittent painting neck ,back, and legs from wear an tear and a few accidents (like falling 120 -180 feet off a cliff, when I blacked out, while abseiling). And I have Severe Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Bilateral Brachio-Radial Pruritis which causes my shoulders down to my hands to itch, burn, and strongest below the skin'surface. I have been on the maximum dose of Pregabalin, a nerve suppressant, for a few months with total success. The last two weeks it has returned and is worsening. It drives me INSANE! Especially at night.
I came to find your site when searching for one help for my incessant, intrusive melodic humming. Often it is, as you have described, a persistent tune. Sometimes it is only a non musical word or short phrase/sentence I have just heard. But the worst is when I can't think of a song/tune and start improvising. I must say at this point that my improvising is grnerally, pretty bloody good! It can go on, over and over, then changing, because it has been so long, I can't remember how it started! Often I will recognise a few notes an the incessant, infuriating improvised, humming will morph into an existing song or tune or symphony. :-D
I sometimes scream out, "SHUT UP!" - usually tearing at my hair and trying to resist the urge to punch my head or bang it into a wall to interrupt what has become unbearable, unrelenting, repetitious, melodic "noise" in my head.
I too have been, and still am, on numerous medications, but I genuinely express my sadness for your ECT experience.
Thank you for letting others know we are not alone in our "crazy" behaviours.
You wonderful creature.
Words fail me. This is what the internet is all about, or should be. I don't know how to cheer in comments, but if I could I would deafen you with my cheers. Keep it coming Natasha. You've made my millennium. God bless you. Bipolar sufferer in Ireland xxxxx
Fortunately, I have a doctor that I met eight years ago that actually cares, and is not a pill pusher. He's worked with me diligently on getting me the right mix between medicine (I don't want to just be burdened by 1000 medications), and my 'sanity'.
I also am a high-functioning 'victim' of bipolar. I say that, because fortunately I have been able to become very successful in my career and my bipolar with OCD tendencies really helped me along in my project-management field.
As you stated, people don't even guess that I have bipolar, but I like to share that I do to remove the stigma associated with it. However, I do not like the association that people have with their OCD and/or bipolar, when they have no idea what it truly is like to have it.
I can't say how much things struck me with your blog to make me actually register and post - as it truly mimicked what I go through. From the exhausted weekends and the 'secret' home-life that the work relationships don't reveal. The want to be the person to go out, but the desire to stay home. The frustration of living with it, and the want to icepick my head with the earworms that I have had lately.
Suicide has fortunately not been an issue for me. I have a son who I cannot leave without a father, but that I hope I can explain the times where I was not so nice, where I was frustrated, and how much I regret it, but love him.
Thanks and it's nice to know something like this exists on the web.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It's quite different from mine.
- Natasha Tracy
There are reasons for selecting voltages in ECT. I won't get into them, they're technical, but they have to do with seizure threshold of the patient and type of ECT being done.
Yes, we know how some medications work, many we do not. This is hardly unique to psychiatry. We use drugs that work long before we understand them. Like, say, Aspirin that was used for decades before we understood it.
You are correct that insulin's effectiveness doesn't compare to antidepressants, however, if you look at the study, many other types of medications (like statins, statins have a tiny effect size when compared to antidepressants) do. Antipsychotics for schizophrenia fair even better.
- Natasha Tracy
To be clear, I will not be getting into a big argument here. It's not what I do.
Your depression is not an indication of what every depression is. You experienced one thing but many others experience depression differently and it has nothing to do with "selfishness" although yours may have.
_Some_ psychosis can be managed in alternative ways, yes. That is the case with all mental illness. A variety of treatments work for different people as people experience the illness and response to treatment differently.
I like people who say, "you don't know what ECT did to you." Um, and you do? Were you there? Do you know me? No? Well then I'll thank you to let me make that assessment.
It is not the case that antidepressants are not more effective than placebos - that is the case in _minor_ depression, statistically, but it is _not_ the case in severe depression and there is no evidence to the contrary. Moreover, antidepressants are approximately as effective as other medications used in internal medicine, as a meta-analysis recently showed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20051569
You may attack my character, if you wish, but that says more about you than it does about me.
- Natasha Tracy
Mostly people with bipolar are afraid of depressive, manic and hypomanic episodes if they stop their medication. Each of these types of episodes have ruined and taken plenty of lives. Many people credit psychotropic medication for saving their lives and I would suggest that others have no right to tell them any differently. It's not until you have been at the depths to attempt suicide that you can truly know that feeling and it's not until you have looking into your families eyes after just having slashed your wrists that you can truly understand how imperative it is that you get help.
Someone didn't "perform ECT on me." I elected to undergo that treatment for a severe depression. While it didn't work for me, it works for more than 80% of people with depression. I am not against the treatment although I will be the first to say that it comes with risks and it's not very fun.
You can feel that bipolar is not in the "league" os schizophrenia if you like, but technically, more people with bipolar commit suicide than people with schizophrenia.
- Natasha Tracy
That might be your opinion but it's not medically accurate. People with bipolar type-II, by definition, do not experience mania, they experience hypomania.
- Natasha Tracy
I agree completely, communication is key for anyone, those with mental illness and those around them included. I think you've shown great empathy for people with bipolar, and that's wonderful to see.
Thanks for your positive thoughts.
Imagine you are ill and have to struggle for life in a country which doesn;t offer any chances!...
I wish you all well...
Glad you find it useful.
Thank-you for the wonderful comment. I have a lot of compassion for people with schizophrenia. I know there are forces in my head, and I even talk about voices, but I know these voices are not like the ones of schizophrenia. Those must be very difficult to deal with.
I wish you well. I've always felt like bipolar and schizophrenia were cousins so you have a home here; drop by any time.
You are a beautiful, talented, young, awesome writer! I can sympathize with you greatly on the loneliness mental illness can bring! I often feel down like this too, and what helps for me is to think about people who have it worse than me, and help them if possible. I was reading your writing and thinking..."I wish I was Bipolar, and not Schizophrenic..." My diagnosis started as Bipolar, then schio-affective (bipolar with voices), now just schizophrenia. I long for the days I could enjoy a beach...even if I get myself out there...and breath deep the salty air....the voices leave me not one moment of peace.... . I can't think very well, or concentrate, or enjoy most things anymore.... . I only tell you this, not to make you feel bad, but to encourage you and to help you to realize you are special! And you are Blessed!!
Thanks for dropping by. I'm not sure what this represents, exactly, but it is positive, and I am grateful to be here. And yes, Susan is amazing. We've actually chatted.
Thank-you for your kind words. "Charming" is good one.
Good for you and I wish you good luck with this new opportunity.
I hope your stepping out of the shadows also represents a breakthrough and cessation to the downward spiraling you’ve been experiencing.
I place a great deal of importance upon socializing although real live contact is probably the ideal this may have to suffice at the moment. I was going to suggest an additional alternative such as Skyping when I came upon your recent blog entry. I thought Skyping for both you and Susan might be beneficial as both you young ladies have much to share while at the same time supporting one another at the most difficult of times at little or no additional cost.
In your video I think you also omitted about yourself the word “charming”.
Once again, the best of luck and most important of all I wish you wellness.