Bipolar Polypolar Roundup

(Posting frequency due to mixed state.) (It’s ok, I have chocolate.)

Geodon fatal side effect – 6 cases, 0 deaths. And may I remind you that many, many drugs have at least one scary but rare side effect. Like this one.  And Lamotrigine can (hardly ever does, but it can) cause the fatal Stevens-Johnsons rash – but so can some antibiotics. Moral of the story: don’t effing well panic. And if you get blisters or similar inside your mouth, eyes and other places pimples fear to go; go directly to ER, where they will swiftly save you.

People keep getting shocked about this stuff ZOMG NOOOOOOO WTF ANTI-DEPRESSANTS CAN MAKE U SUICIDAL ERMAHGERRRRD! Just read the fucking insert willya? Also deploy google and forums before having conniptions*.


I keep seeing posts about ‘straightjackets.’ Wikipedia is talking rubbish, it’s spelled straitjacket. Strait means tight or narrow. Straight just means uptight. I kid, I kid! I retract the heterophobia and offer you a nice soothing cup of tea.

Bipolar & Broke?

Anyone used Needymeds? It’s for Americans who either need help affording meds, or who want to help others afford their meds.

Then there’s Just Another Lab Rat where you can volunteer for clinical trials and suchlike.
I read a very scathing article a while back, claiming that companies who run clinical trials of psych meds abuse and exploit the homeless. As with everything, caveat emptor, erm … even if you’re the one getting paid.

Bipolar American who ‘defected’ to North Korea
Dunno about you, but I refuse to even ponder whether this should make us question his sanity till we get stats on a whole bunch more ‘defectors’. Being sent to a psychiatric unit is certainly insufficient evidence. The article said he was ‘paraded in front of press,’ by which they meant there was a press conference.

In his comments to reporters, Martinez strongly criticised the US for alleged human rights violations and its attempt at forcing imperialist influence and domination on other countries, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said in an article released with the footage.

Psycheducation is old and old school. I like it, you might too. I found the following graphic there, which illustrates just how inaccurate the term bipolar is. Hence the post title. Yup, I’m running out of titles.



* conniption
nounNORTH AMERICANinformal
plural noun: conniptions
a fit of rage or hysterics.
“his client was having conniptions on the phone”
mid 19th century: probably an invented word.

For People Who Want To Help

He dwelt in an isolated house,
because he was a leper.
2 Chronicles

I don’t think it’s only me who feels that way at times, right?

So you wanna help a loved one with a mental neurobiological illness?

This is so important, I almost made the text bold. It isn’t your responsibility. You didn’t cause it. You cannot fix it. Dont invalidate us by saying it will all be ok. It might not be. You can certainly help though.

Do not let it all fuck you up and make you ill. Take good care and get help and support too.

Stick around, even when we are silent, grouchy, asleep and hell bent on isolating ourselves. Just keep reminding us that you’re there. Some of us prefer text based messages rather than visits and phone calls. Just ask. But don’t take our shit.

Educate yourself about whatever disorder it is – we appreciate that a lot. Let us waffle on and on about it, because that helps a lot too. Never, never, ever try to talk us out of allopathic treatment and medication and into some sort of shoowah hippy bollocks. Really, don’t do that. Read the science and biology of these things.

We don’t hear negatives (humans, not just us) – saying you are not inadequate is pointless, because we will just hear you are inadequate. Rather say you are whatever you want to say.

This is paraphrased by Will Schwabe in The End of Life Book Club, he got it from a book called The Etiquette of Illness – I think it applies to us too:

1. Ask: “Do you want to talk about how you’re feeling?”
2. Don’t ask if there’s anything you can do. Suggest things, or if it’s not intrusive, just do them.
3. You don’t have to talk all the time. Sometimes just being there is enough.

The other bit of advice I really love is this one:

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.
Stephen Fry

The last sentence makes me want to weep with pain and joy at the truth and kindness of it.

Helping someone who’s got their panic/anxiety on can be simple:

Give us a snack; low blood sugar = anxiety.
Offer to get us out of whatever situation we are in, or if you have that sort of relationship, just do it.
Offer to make phone calls, drive, shop – all the practical/admin stuff that seems mildly annoying to you, but can turn people like me into a gibbering, terrified wreck.
Don’t touch us without asking first.
Never ask what caused the episode, there often isn’t a tidy situational answer to that.
Just be there, quiet can be good. But not always, so ask if they would like a natter.

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Here’s how medical professionals handle suicidal people, you can too:

Suicidal – listen, ask if there is a plan.
Suicidal + plan – time to see a medical professional.
Suicidal + plan + the equipment etc to do it – as above and hospitalisation will very likely be necessary.

This isn’t a comprehensive guide, it’s just thoughts and peeves and gratitude I’ve had over the last few decades and so it is, of course, very subjective. But then, everything is.

Lastly – thank you! Whether you get it right or wrong, thank you for giving a shit. And you are loved for it by people who are good at extreme emotions. (I almost added a smiling or winking emoticon there.)

More resources.

Weakly Bipolar Roundup

This is why I feel privileged to be able to afford a psychiatrist every few months.

One third of all South Africans have mental illnesses – and 75% of them will not get any kind of help.

The earlier the onset of a major psychiatric disorder, the greater the risk of dementia. Source Long term lithium (sounds like a good name for a folk singer) reduces the risk.

Interesting – dreams as subsyndromal symptoms? Might be useful.

Bipolar patients report bizarre dreams with death and injury themes before their shift to mania (Beauchemin and Hays, 1995). Beauchemin and Hays (1996) found that dreams of bipolar depressed patients have more anxiety than those of unipolar patients. Dreams of bipolar patients, particularly those with rapid cycling, may show evidence of the subsequent shift prior to noticeable affective and behavioral changes (Frayn, 1991).
does bipolar affect dreams?

They’re researching bipolar in dogs. Thanks for that, but howzabout you research a cure for bipolar in humans first? Improved palliative treatment, even.

It’s Sunday and here is something of a secular sermon (I’m all about alliteration). Believable positivity from veteran bipolar blogger Natasha Tracy.

I don’t know how I kept trying over the years when nothing (even ECT) worked. It’s just persistence. It’s just a tiny candle flame inside your soul that says that life is not supposed to be like this. Life is not just pain. Life can and will be better. But you have to try. And try and try and try.

… and some decent strategies for picking up the pieces when it’s all gone horribly wrong (yeah I see you nodding there).


As I say I don’t want to kill myself, I just wouldn’t mind dying.”
-Stephen Fry

Depression is a right bastard innit? One day you can think rationally, the next you’re off swirling down the whirling plughole vortex of doom, into the Marianas Trench of Despair (fuck the slough of despond, really) and then priorities shift. Everything becomes very black and white indeed.

Do you want a coffee?
What do you think of this shirt?
Like it matters … life is fucked. FUCKED!

Speaking of coffee + depression click that, it made me go yesssssss!

It is a very, very antisocial state to be in. And the interminable catch 22 of company that you need, but don’t want … et fucking cetera, baby.

Chocolate tastes like shit.

The mind in bipolar disorder, whether manic or depressed, is never quiet. source

Even when you do all the right things, you cannot take one tiny sodding step out of the tench. If all your dreams came true during a serious depression, it wouldn’t change a thing. You would still want to die.

Sometimes I thought about killing myself. The idea of it circled my head, shining and lovely like a tinsel halo. How beautiful it would be if everything could just stop. If I could stop. If I didn’t have to feel like this. Yes, I thought about it and thought about it, but I was too exhausted to do anything about it. That should have been funny, right?
Alexis Hall, Glitterland

I wrote this a day or two ago. Right now I’m either happier or hypomanic. Right now I can’t tell the difference.

Om non non non

I emailed my psychiatrist and told her I’m feeling abysmal (with a bit more detail). She said that lithium can take time to settle and work, and said I could take Wellbutrin short term if I was willing to risk a very small chance of mania. I said yeah. You guys know what it’s like, we are all kinda munching our way through all the pills like an unhappy Pac Man. So for a while I’ll be on two antidepressants (one ssri, one maoi) and lithium.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can get my internal stye lanced. Fun. Today I fixed the toilet. Yep, I’m having all the pills and all the fun; that’s why the rest of you are having a shitty time. Sorry.

Right now I’m miserably wondering what the suffering fuck to eat, because nothing tastes good. And where the hell do you go once you’re sick of soda water and toast and marmite?

I feel like all I do is whinge. I’m boring myself shitless.

My dogs are happy. I bought them cow hooves to chew.