Jane Pauley was at a fundraiser locally earlier this week, talking about her battle with bipolar disorder. “Pauley, 57, is best known for her 13-year work on NBC’s The Today Show and 11 years on the network’s news magazine, Dateline NBC.” A local newspaper, …

8 Comments to
Jane Pauley’s Battle with Bipolar

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  1. I am so glad Jane Pauley is sharing her story. It helps validate all of us who suffer in anomnimity. I suffered for 15 years untreated and it nearly cost me my life. I ignorantly believed “mental illness” was a medical excuse for personal weakness. How wrong I was. I detail my journey with mental illness (depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bi-polar disorder), share the hope I found, and the secret to living with joy in my book, The Sky Is Always Blue. Available at Amazon.com and http://www.remembermejewelry.com.
    Lift up your eyes. There is help. There is hope.
    May Peace rule your heart,
    Michelle Meade
    “Remember ME” Jewelry

  2. I’m not sure if childhood bipolar disorder is as rare as the author indicates. I only know that I can look back now and see that it is very likely that I had it by age 13, if not by age 9. Mine is Bipolar type II so I’ve never had the high highs, but I sure have had the lows. It took over 40 years for mine to be diagnosed correctly so I applaud anyone who brings it to the attention of the public. I’m sorry that the diagnosis is sometimes applied indiscriminately now but that is the way “new” things always go. I am
    especially happy that someone as credible as Jane is helping to fight the terrible stigma that those of us with the diagnosis face.

  3. I applaud Jane Pauley for her willingness to speak out about her experience with bipolar disorder. This kind of public testimony, particularly from someone of Pauley’s fame, helps to erase the stigma of mental illness and encourages people to seek the help they need.

    My daughter, Karla, had bipolar disorder for seven years before she took her own life in 2003. Our family (my wife and Karla’s twin brother, and I) struggled with how best to express our love for her during those years. Unfortunately, love alone doesn’t solve the difficulty or, in our case, prevent the suicide. After her death and after we learned more about the illness, we formed the Karla Smith Foundation (http://KarlaSmithFoundation.org) to offer some hope and direction to other families and friends of anyone with mental health problems. Our experience, the experience of people in our KSF support group, and research led to identifying 9 strategies for coping with the mental illness of a loved one.

    Thank you, Jane, for all the good work you do not only for people with a mental illness but for their families and friends also.

    Tom Smith
    Author of “A Balanced Life” and Co-Founder of the Karla Smith Foundation
    http://karlasmithfoundation.org/

  4. I don’t know if it was bipolar disorder or not but I suffered debilitating social problems for years during childhood and throughout my teens and beyond.

    I remember my first inappropriate action at age 7 and the depression that followed. I wasn’t diagnosed until age 38. In the between years I attempted to take my own life and self-medicated with drugs and alcohol to cope with a mind that was out of control too often. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking alcohol (I had given up drugs years before) that I had a full fledged episode that required hospitalization.

    I’m not saying there is a disorder behind every troubled kid but parents need to be more aware and not just let things go.

    I am thankful today for the treatment I received and continue to receive and the new freedom I have in not being afraid to be “not normal.” I know how to monitor myself and my behaviors and if I need to step back and change course I can (usually) do that.

    Education, education, education. You can never learn too much about how to be stable (and how not to be stable).

  5. I am sad to hear you make this statement about childhood bipolar disorder. My son who is now 17, could have benefited from earlier intervention. I did try. In spite of a heavy family genetic component, two practitioners, affiliated with a prestigious teaching hospitals refused to acknowledge my son’s very clear cry for help.

    Not long ago I asked him how long he thought he had bipolar disorder. He said that he doesn’t know of a time when he wasn’t depressed, and that he remembers very early being afraid that we (his parents) did not see some of the things he saw or heard.

    Children deserve to be heard when they are suffering regardless of our “beliefs” about whether they can have a disorder or not. They deserve to have their concerns and fears met with compassion and without prejudice about just what is going on with them.

    Standards for assessment need to be in place and those standards need to be updated as more and more information comes available. Perhaps mental health parity will help this happen. Psychological and educational testing, screening for abuse, family therapy are just among the many tools needed to diagnose and then manage this disorder. The first line of assessment seems to be give them meds and if they respond they must have bipolar disorder. Insurance companies have encouraged this route.

    Our children deserve better than this and they deserve practitioners who are open to finding out what is wrong when they suffer.

  6. You can suffer from bipolarity for years, but its when an actual episode
    *mania* (hypo) or manic depression can then lead to a diagnosis an thats where it takes off, so many can have been suffering it through childhood/teen years, but its literally impossible for it to encompass within a child as bipolarity is brought on by High stress, a child does not know or begin to know stress till about 18 or life at 18 *maybe circumstances/responsibilites can change* but I believe w maintain the same simple like child mentality, its thaty mentality thats brought me back

  7. My 8-year-old son is bi-polar and I could scream when I hear some say childhood onset doesn’t exist. We knew by age 3 that something was very wrong and spent the next few years living in hell with a child who had a beast inside him. At 4 years they said it was ADHD and he was put on stimulants. We tried 4 different ones because he actually became worse after starting each new medication. We have learned that stimulants are the worst thing you can give a person with mood disorder. We gave up hope until at age 6 a doctor recommended trying a mood stabilizer and after only a few days there was a dramatic change. See a child-psychiatrist as soon as you can and if he/she can’t help you, keep looking for a doctor who will.

  8. Maybe you could tell me a little about fish oil. I’ve never heard that it might be healing for bipolar. I’m taking lamictal and klonopin. Most of the time it works really well. Sometimes, like today, its not the right trick. Yes, it’s true that lithium does affect kidneys. I’m concerned about that same thing. My psychiatrist told me that most people who take meds on a daily basis, will probably die of the meds. He’s an excellent psychiatrist, so I trust his opinion. I believe that I would rather live a somewhat “normal” life and take the meds than live with depression and mania. Bipolar is a lonely disorder. We have to make a decision that’s right for ourselves. Noone can make it for us. If you find something else that you believe will put you in remission, I say “go for it.” Take care and remember to honor the goodness in yourself.

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