Since 1991, I’ve been indexing and reviewing online resources. Yes, that was before the web became popularized and long before Yahoo and others. People needed a way to find the online support groups that existed at the time in the form of newsgroups and mailing lists, but you needed a fair amount of information to join one.
In 1995, we began awarding Web awards to recognize those online resources that really stood out. Flash forward 12 years later and a lot has changed. We aim to give you the best of the best, so you know where to go when you need information, opinion, and support. We’re committed to doing a complete round of awards this time for all the major mental disorders and resources, starting with blogs.
With the invaluable assistance of Sandra Kiume, I present to you 2007’s Best of the Web – Blogs for bipolar disorder.
A fantastic blog by the personable and candid Liz Spikol. She posts frequently on bipolar news items culled from the mainstream media (and reader contributions) with a special interest in prison reform and related mental health legal issues. A career journalist, she’s got an instinctive affinity for the blog medium. Maybe most importantly, her personal experience with bipolar provides a perspective some blogs lack. The Trouble with Spikol takes a pragmatic view of mental health issues, looking at consumer activism as well as medical advances and humanizing it all. Although the news items are sometimes grim, Liz infuses her blog with lightness, warmth and humour.
Depending on your perspective, Philip Dawdy is either a whistleblowing hero or provocative conspiracy theorist. Whether inspiring or annoying, he’s unquestionably a talented writer. (He’s done some terrific investigative blogging about Zyprexa, for example.) With thinking and rethinking, it’s likely you’ll agree with some views and reject others, just as he does. He discusses his own experience with bipolar disorder as well. If you like to be challenged and are keen on good rants, this blog is tops. Philip also has a good take on almost anything having to do with spotting incongruous arguments or behavior, and calling people or companies on it.
John is not only known for his writing on bipolar spectrum disorders research, he’s received high honors for it. This year he was awarded a Mogens Schou Award for Public Service, joining an exclusive and prestigious list of honorees that include professor of psychiatry, author, and bipolar overachiever Kay Redfield Jamison, family psychotherapy researcher David J. Miklowitz, and the Stanleys of the Stanley Foundation (a major research funding source). John does things a bit differently online. Although he keeps a blog it’s mostly relegated to personal stories and recipes while his most astute, well-researched writing is delivered in McManamy’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly, a subscription-based email newsletter. Eventually its articles become publicly archived at his static web site McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web. He also wrote a great book that distilled a lot of that knowledge, Living Well With Depression and Bipolar Disorder. The blog keeps everyone current what he’s working on.
A lesbian psychiatric nurse who has bipolar, “Crazy Tracy” depicts life from both sides of the gurney. Her blog is personal, emotional and powerfully written. With severe bipolar I, Tracy is often hospitalized or recovering from an episode. Her descriptions of manic perceptions and depressive despair are harrowing and real. Unusually (at least in the blogosphere), she’s a proponent of ECT, having undergone many courses of it.
Exactly what it describes. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s elected leader keeps a seldom-updated but informative blog with topics ranging from bipolar irritability to spirituality to research and community news. It’s not an especially personal blog, but she does infuse it with anecdotes that make her posts vivid and accessible.
6. Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)
GrrlScientist is a molecular evolutionary biologist in New York City, a person with bipolar and a Ph.D. looking for work in zoology. She chronicles her progress and struggles with hospitalization, career, survival and academia. This is an acclaimed blog written with personality and doused with plenty of science (and beautiful related photos).
“Your neighborhood misanthropic, buxom, bondage-positive, bipolar, bisexual, flying, loquacious hedonist.” She is trying to get a VNS implant, which is unusual since so far they’ve only been used experimentally for treatment-resistant depression (they are FDA-approved for epilepsy) and not bipolar since it theoretically could trigger mania. She writes descriptively about horrific depression, so it’s easy to see why she’s considering a VNS implant as an option. The outcome should be interesting.
8. Been Broken
Very poetic and thoughtful. It feels delicate but has an undercurrent of strength, which describes many people who have a bipolar disorder but few write this eloquently in a blog.
A bipolar junior psychiatrist in the UK. Life seems pretty hectic.
Honorable mention: Anxiety, Addictions and Depression Treatments. Not limited to bipolar disorders, and not written by a bipolar writer (not overtly, at least). It is, though, a good source of research news digested for consumers.