Addiction

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction & The People She Inspired

When Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday morning at age 60, she left behind a legacy of being one of the first and most vocal Hollywood celebrities and actors to speak openly about mental illness. Specifically, Fisher battled bipolar disorder and addiction throughout most of her life, but never was shy speaking about these demons, all the while never letting herself be solely defined by them.

So while most of the world will remember her as Princess Leia -- the fierce, independent heroine in the original Star Wars movies -- many people will remember her for her ability to give dignity to those living with the most debilitating silent disease -- mental illness. As a champion for people with bipolar disorder and addiction, we remember her today along with millions of others.

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Bipolar

PODCAST: Why Does Depression Make Us Feel Guilt or Shame?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, Gabe and Vincent discuss feelings of guilt surrounding a mental illness diagnosis.   Lots of us feel guilty about our diagnosis or our symptoms.  We feel badly for the effect it has on our loved ones, especially when they don’t sympathize.  Where does this stigma come from?  Why does society make us feel guilty for being sick?  Mental illness is something that happens to us, not something we do to ourselves, so why do we feel like failures?  How do we help our loved ones understand, and how do we move past this self-condemnation? Listen in to learn more.

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Bipolar

It Shines: Living with Bipolar II Disorder

I’m quick to reflect on high school glory days. It’s pretty silly, seeing as how I’ve not even reached the 10-year reunion mark. Flipping through my old yearbook, I noticed one of my favorite teachers wrote “Dear Beth, calling you a delicate flower would not give justice to your violently cheerful exuberance. It’s been amazing to watch your shifts from scarily giddy to sleepy to gloomy then back again.” I didn’t learn until later that this was a much abbreviated but also decent description of someone with type two Bipolar Disorder. Even with the intensity of my demeanor back then, no one would have pegged that onto a cheerleading prom queen.
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Bipolar

Feeling Sad? Get in Touch with the Holidays

My great grandmother who lived to be 102 said the best medicine for unhappiness was to get busy. When Gram lost her mojo, she’d ironed, washed windows and made beds.

People often get depressed around major holidays. They might miss deceased loved ones. They might long for the fun and excitement of the holidays of their youth. They might be alone. They might be affected by the fall/winter darkness. If you’re struggling with major depression, see a doctor. But if you’re just a little unhappy, I have a fix that might work for you.
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Aging

On Confidence

There are several reasons my confidence quotient is low.

1. I've been battling breast cancer. And this beast can really take it out of you. Not knowing if I'm going to live or die kind of zaps the ole confidence, I must say. Yesterday, I saw my oncologist for my three-month check-up. She gave me a clean bill of health, but I still have my doubts. I can't help but imagine that the cancer cells are still there, lurking until the next time I think I'm just so exhausted from the whole cancer experience that everything about me is low -- my outlook, my physical energy level, my cognitive ability, and especially, my confidence.
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Bipolar

Podcast: My Mental Illness vs. Yours – Whose Is Worse?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, our hosts discuss how society sees different mental health diagnoses. Gabe Howard has bipolar disorder and Vincent M. Wales has persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia). In addition to each discussing his diagnosis, they compare how the conditions are similar and how are they different, and what each thinks of the other’s diagnosis. Ultimately, they ask the question: Is one worse than the other? And if so, in what ways?

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Bipolar

You’re Depressed, But Are You Depressed Depressed?

Depression is a slippery word. Like many mental health terms, the way people use it in everyday speech doesn’t always line up with the clinical meaning of the word.

We might say: "This year’s presidential election is depressing." It’s understood, of course, that we aren’t literally claiming the electoral process has triggered a serious mood disorder that’s interfering with our day-to-day functioning.

In other cases, the line between colloquial "depression" and clinical depression gets a little more subtle. What’s the difference between being depressed and having a really bad day -- or a really bad month for that matter?
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Bipolar

Helping Children Cope When a Loved One Suffers from Mental Illness

I have a loved one that suffers with severe mental illness. He's a brilliant, beautiful, creative person who told spellbinding, captivating stories of far away places and taught me to not be afraid of the dark. But just as quick and easy as flicking a light switch on and off, our lives changed from moment to moment.

As a child I didn't understand. I remember thinking everyone's home was just like mine... a place where the stairs turned into an escalator only for the person who knew the magic word and where the cupboards were locked at night to keep out the mischief-making fairies.
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