Antidepressant

A Journey to a Diagnosis

I knew that I had a mental illness. I had for a very long time. Ever since I was 15 and tried to kill myself I knew that I had a mental illness. But I wasn’t very accepting of it. Don’t get me wrong, I tried all of the meds. I always took them. That was, until I got manic and stopped taking them. Nobody knew that I had bipolar disorder. They thought that I had depression or schizoaffective disorder.

In all fairness, I didn’t tell them all of my symptoms, but then, I didn’t know, either. I thought that mania was normal. I thought that that was how normal, happy people were supposed to be. I didn’t think anything else of it.
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Bipolar

Being My Own Hero

I spend my time these days volunteering in the mental health field. I do some work for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and in an office of a counseling agency named Integrity that doesn’t bill insurance and only takes a donation of what the payee can afford for services. I love what I do. I am able to write and do my speaking engagements and talk openly about mental illness to almost anyone I am around. I truly consider everyone in my life a blessing.

I run the NAMI support group called NAMI Connections for those with mental illness in my community. In the group we have everyone from people who have just a touch of social anxiety to the extremist form of mental illness. Recently we had a lady who reminded me of the fact that though I help others I have to remember to put myself first.

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Bipolar

Rating Mental Health Apps: Does Self-Monitoring Even Help?

With more than 165,000 health apps available -- most of them monitoring stuff related to your health in some manner -- you might assume there's a ton of research demonstrating the effectiveness of such self-monitoring. But you'd be wrong.

In the world of mental health apps, there's virtually no research demonstrating that monitoring your moods will benefit your treatment outcomes.

So why do so many companies and developers offer apps that simply spit back the data you put into them? Is there a rating organization that can help you make sense of all the mental health apps available?

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Bipolar

Bipolar: My Life on the North and South Poles

I was born in 1969, the flower power days.

School for me was difficult because I had dyslexia, and back then the word "dyslexia" wasn’t in the dictionary. Instead they said I was lazy and not working hard enough.

After school, I started a jewelry apprenticeship -- you don’t need to read much when you are a jeweler, you see. I decided to work as a contractor. I realized it’s easy for your boss to kick you in the bum, but it’s hard to do it yourself.

I knew I needed a change, so I went to work at a lighting company where I met Roseanne. I had a seven-year relationship with Roseanne, but when we broke up the depression set in.
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Anger

Dealing with Disappointment When You’re Bipolar

Disappointment is harsh when you have bipolar. I have many times said things that are not very nice after finding myself disappointed in something that has happened.

Recently I found myself disappointed that a friend received a monthly radio show to discuss mental illness. I had been on the show a couple of times, and I had hoped to get the same thing myself. I then had to remind myself that it isn’t her fault and that she probably did what I didn’t -- stay in touch with the gentleman who was in charge. I only have myself to blame.

Before realizing this, though, I wrote my husband and called her some not-so-nice names. I was disappointed in myself, honestly, but what got to me was something I hadn’t felt in a while: bipolar disappointment.

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Bipolar

New Quizzes on Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Paranoia & Stress

Here at Psych Central, we're always developing new quizzes to help you better understand yourself. We believe self-knowledge is power, and so the better you know yourself, the more in control of your life you will become. It's a simple equation that works.

That's why I'm pleased to introduce a number of new self-help psychological quizzes that we've been working on over the past few months. We now have two new ways to test for bipolar disorder and eating disorders (which join our existing quizzes on these topics), and two new topics we've never had quizzes on before -- paranoia and stress.

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Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder & Violence: Is There a Relationship?

As long-time World of Psychology readers already know, a researcher has a lot of latitude in how they design a study to "encourage" a predetermined outcome. Researchers generally don't recognize this as an inherent bias problem, because virtually all researchers do it to one degree or another (or have done it at one time or another in their career).

The relationship between mental illness and violence is one area of contention among researchers, with most research showing only the smallest of correlations between the two. The real risk factor for violence remains -- and has always been -- substance abuse, not mental illness.

Recently it was suggested that those with bipolar disorder are at greater risk for committing violence. So we took a look at some of the research to see how good the studies are that suggest such a connection.

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Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder: A Patient’s Definition

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, I knew exactly one thing about it: Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, had it. And he died by suicide in 1994. As a Nirvana fan, I paid attention to the news about his life -- and death -- but, with the exception of repeating the diagnosis over and over again, little information about bipolar disorder itself was reported.

Essentially, I knew that a famous millionaire couldn’t beat it. I also knew it was a mental illness, which meant I was broken -- so broken that I could no longer participate in society. Some of my earliest thoughts immediately after being diagnosed revolved around selling my house, quitting my job, and moving into a group home -- things I never needed to do, but simply assumed I would have to.
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Bipolar

The Life-Saving Power of Purpose

Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Two years ago I tested that theory.

I’ve always been depressed. I must have emerged from my mother’s womb with an overactive amygdala and a deficient prefrontal cortex -- creative brain wiring that generates panic and sadness. I was almost hospitalized in the fourth grade because I simply could not stop crying.

However, since December of 2008, when the market crashed, I hadn’t been able to surface into the land of the living and do things like pick up the kids from school and be at places like swim practice without hearing constant
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