Since John wrote about a study on the subject yesterday, I’ve been thinking about psychosocial treatments for bipolar. To me, the word “psychosocial” goes far beyond what studies narrowly define (though I do understand that science needs to categorize and impose limits in order to make calculations).

For instance, I’ve not seen much written about the “treatment” of stable and appropriate housing, but it’s been one of the most important things for my mental stability. It’s been good to see a doctor who gave me pills and a psychotherapist who talked about my relationships, but those things really didn’t have much of an impact when I was couch-surfing homeless or living in a flophouse or fighting with roommates I didn’t like. Always on the verge of being kicked out (at the mercy of someone else’s mood), or living one manic spending spree away from not having rent is extremely stressful and no amount of yoga and sedatives make it better. That kind of living on the edge is what pushes me over it.

Mental health advocacy groups are coming around to this notion as well, though they seem more interested in getting psychotic homeless people off sidewalks than the quality of housing they are put into. First things first, I guess.

Right now I’m blessed with a subsidized apartment of my own, but it’s not mental health housing and I’m not open about my illness. I live in fear that my landlord, though a very nice person, might not want me there if I make too much noise some night when I can’t sleep while manic or something. Finding housing is hard, I’ve had people bluntly trample on my human rights by saying they won’t rent to me when I said I was bipolar. Now I don’t say anything and just hope for the best.

I can’t think of anything more psychosocial, as in both psychological and social, than that.