To Know Suicide:Depression Can Be Treated, but It Takes CompetenceBy KAY REDFIELD JAMISON

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/16/opinion/depression-can-be-treated-but-it-takes-competence.html

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bipolars with benefits

I’m too new at this whole thing to make much sense of and on it myself, but yes sir I can google … so I did. Most of the initial hits spoke of the upside of hypomania (a potentially irresponsible angle) and one offered me a course for $99. But wait,  there’s more …

The authors reviewed 81 studies that noted positive characteristics in patients with bipolar and found a strong association with five qualities: spirituality, empathy, creativity, realism, and resilience. Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, and colleagues from Tufts Medical Center in Boston concluded that encouraging an appreciation of the positive aspects of bipolar could help combat stigma and improve patient outcomes.

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It’s a cool thing to read, but it basically just keeps repeating the same thing. If you read Too Loud To Hear Too Bright To See by Juliann Garey, you’ll get a good look at how it all plays out right on the edge. Same thing, I think, if you read as much of Carrie Fisher’s writing as possible.

I’ve only just been diagnosed, but I’m already completely fed up with I hate bipolar it’s awesome memes.

It’s also easy to find tons of lists of famous and fabulous bipolar celebs and thinkers and artists, but while that’s fun, there’s also a lot of crashing and burning attached to it.

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Hipster bipolar meme! Well, you didn’t really want to see van Gogh get yet another mention did you? That’s Mihai Eminescu, by the way.

Everything can be glibly summed up in a line I saw online the other day:

Bipolar people – great in bed, hard to live with.

There are benefits to just about anything you can think of, because at the very least, everything teaches us something, right?

“The drawbacks to bipolar disorder far outweigh any benefits,” says psychiatrist Charles Lake, MD, PhD

Perhaps the thing to remember though, is that regardless of stats and studies, regardless even of reality itself, if you’re cursed with bipolar, you may as well learn to appreciate its blessings too. But probably not by fucking with your meds to attempt to harness hypomania. Although this column by Juliann Garey suggests otherwise (under medical supervision), I couldn’t find any followup. Please drop me a link if you can.

This cartoon by Tall Guy makes a whole heap of sense to me.

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Cracked.com takes an interesting look at five mental illnesses in the context of evolution, including Bipolar Disorder Helped Us Survive the Winter (and Get Laid). Problem is, apart from bipolar outreach programmes (to the geographical poles), I can’t think of contemporary practical applications. Oh well, I guess at least it meant we didn’t get culled?

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I love you Keanu, but shush.

Hmmm.

Anyway, that’s the Google overview and now it’s installed in my brain, I’ll ponder it as I go along. And I’m on the lookout for benefits that don’t arise from hypomania.

Morbid me would like to remind you that everything comes at a price. The manic-depressive episodes damage our brains. Our lifespans are shorter and we are vilified all over the net as relationship material. Et-bloody-cetera. See the good, yes, but take your damn pills.

So far, this is my favourite quote about bipolar. Take it away, Carrie Fisher …

One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.

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