Bipolar

Which is Worse, Mental or Physical Illness?

On the morning of a bone scan procedure to check to see if my cancer has come back, I’m wondering which is worse: mental illness or physical illness?

As a person who’s experienced both, I have a little bit to say on the topic. Of course, the answer to this question is highly subjective, but here goes my analysis:

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. I was 28. For the next 24 years, I would suffer with the disease, enduring nights without sleep, terrible depressions, paranoia and, worst of all, delusions that made it difficult to exist in public places.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 19, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I hope you've had a fantastic week -- better than mine, anyway. We're having a new roof installed and, well, when you work from home, let's just say it's a bit difficult to concentrate with all the banging, hammering, and stomping. (However, the contractors at least chose some of my favorite classic rock hits to blast, so, there's that!).

Despite all the distractions, I managed to scour the Internet for some fascinating information on new research and reports regarding the happiest countries on the planet, the lesser-known postpartum bipolar disorder, the five different personality types, and more.

Enjoy!

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Bipolar

Is Depression Always a Disease?

Like most mental health writers, I have compared depression to illnesses like diabetes in the past, and stressed the biochemical aspect of mood disorders in my efforts to reduce stigma. Somehow talking about the gene G72/G30 located on chromosome 13q (that may predispose individuals to depression and bipolar disorder) makes it more legitimate, as if the gene proves we aren’t making it up.

However, the more I read about how abuse, trauma, and chronic stress --unresolved issues of all kinds -- can cause and aggravate depression, the less I want to compare it to diabetes.
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Anxiety and Panic

A Sense of Loss: When My Therapist of 10 Years Retired

When I found out that my psychologist of ten years was going to retire, I was a little panicked. What would I do without her? She’d literally helped me raise my only child. She’d been there when I was up from a manic high and down when I was low from a depressive drop. She listened to my paranoid fears and my optimistic prayers.

But we had never touched each other. Not even a handshake. I had refrained from bodily contact with her on purpose. I hadn’t wanted to make her uncomfortable. Didn’t want to threaten her.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: February 20, 2016


Good afternoon, Psych Central readers!

First, I have to apologize for the late post. Generally, I try to publish these earlier in the day, but, alas. Technology is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately there are some blips along the way -- and I've had a few connection issues over the last couple of days.

Fortunately, that didn't stop me from collecting some fascinating pieces for you over the week, so let's get down to business, shall we?

Read on for the latest about mountaintop removal's affect on mental health, how your personality affects your taste in music, yet another research report on marijuana use and its contributions to mental illness, and more.

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Bipolar

Touched With Fire: The Two Faces of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is both a blessing and a curse. Some people who have bipolar disorder swear by the manic or hypomanic state they sometimes experience. Not only do they feel full of energy and capable of doing just about anything, some feel that increased energy in creative ways.

They say some of the greatest artists and writers of the ages suffered from mental illness. It's no wonder -- the creative energy can seem both strong and endless. It's likely many of the world's greatest artists have suffered from bipolar disorder.

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Bipolar

The “Good Family” Myth

I first heard the term “good family” when I was 27. I had moved to a new town and joined a new church. A family, the Posts, who also attended the church, embraced me. They had me over on Sundays after the service for pot roast, carrots and potatoes.

I was fresh out of graduate school, working as an adjunct writing teacher at two universities, and both mentally and physically healthy.

The Posts were a family of two parents and of three girls of marrying age. They were interested in good families because they wanted the girls to marry good boys.
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Bipolar

How to Deal with Psychosis the Moment It Occurs

Psychosis is defined as being overwhelmed to the point of losing grip on reality. Sometimes this manifests itself as paranoia that people are going to kill you and sometimes it manifests itself as delusions that people are sending you secret messages through their body language or their words.

Essentially psychosis is when you start to fully believe that the things your brain is telling you are true and, for people with mental illness, psychosis is a big thing to worry about.

It goes without saying that a life of not being able to trust your own mind is not the greatest carnival ride in the world, but millions of people deal with it on a daily basis.
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Bipolar

New Zealanders’ Improving Perception of Mental Illness

I am a 63-year-old New Zealander. I’m happily married with two adult sons and two grandsons and work from home in the suburbs of Auckland as a freelance writer. I also suffer from bipolar disorder, which I believe I manage very well. Over the years since I first became ill as a teenager, I have seen huge improvements in the public perception of mental illness, but believe we still have a way to go.

I was about 10 or 11 years old when my father first was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. I can remember being very confused and asking my teacher if my dad had gone mad. This was back in the '60s when no one really discussed mental illness. If it was talked about, it was in hushed tones. Sufferers were described as being “nervy” or having “bad nerves.”

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Bipolar

Touched with Fire: A Film about Bipolar & Artistic Genius

My name is Paul Dalio. I’m a filmmaker, husband of my NYU film school classmate, father of two children, and bipolar. Of these labels, the one I'm certain stands out in your mind is bipolar -- and not in a good way. That’s no fault of your own, since you probably don’t know much about it, other than what you’ve heard.

So how do I deal with this label? What other label do I have to choose from that’s not a disorder, disease, illness, or defect in my humanity? I remember when I received the label at age 24. All every medical book had to offer was that if I stayed on these meds, which made me feel no emotion, I could live a "reasonably normal life.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I was pretty sure it sounded like "just get by."
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Bipolar

A Friend Lost and Found

Often, after one develops a mental illness, one may lose friends. This happened to me. I lost a childhood friend who was with me when I experienced a nervous breakdown. I was in New York City when it happened. I completely and totally lost touch with reality.

Pam was driving me to the airport, and she had the radio on. I kept hearing the DJ mention my first and last name. This was sending me into hysterics. Of course, the DJ was not saying my name. I was mishearing or hallucinating or a combination of both.

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