Madness, Mania and Creativity: A Bipolar Search for Identity, Part 1 of 2

by Patrick Sumner

Search for identity: A beat poet

The central question that troubles me is: Who am I?  I suppose this question is as old as civilization, but modern medical break-throughs have thrown a new curve into my search for identity.

In my teens, I hung out with the demi-monde of my home town:  pimps, prostitutes, punks, junkies and other persons living on the edge. Though I never shot dope, I would sit for hours watching as my friends did, furiously scribbling stream of consciousness poetry in the manner of a self-described latter-day Beat Poet.

In my later

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By Shirazeh Tabibi – Forced Medication and Eating Disorders

 

The eating disorer “bulimia” is binge eating followe by forced purging

It could be my sister, niece, or best friend slowly trying to kill herself with an eating disorder  It is a quiet, unintelligent cry for help/suicide attempt.  But no treatment works unless the person with the eating disorder wants it to.

Trust me.  I’ve had eating disorders..

When I was coming off of my first eating disorder (compulsive eating), and losing weight, everyone on earth said, “Wow!  You’re really looking great!”  Our society encourages eating disorders in a huge way.  Even people who spent 24/7 with me

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By Faith Rhyne – Peer Support in Disease Model Agencies: A Compromise that Helps Many People, Part 1 of 2

Peers at a recovery conference in Kansas

I think it’s best if I begin by acknowledging that I have pro-Peer bias and conflicted feelings about my job doing Peer Support in a disease model agency.  I believe most state-funded community mental health centers (CMHC’s) provide poor and harmful disease model care.  People in those systems do not support recovery if they are complicit with harm, such as coercive or non-informed “treatment” with dangerous medications and the use of clinical language that supports stigma.

Peer Support in disease-based agencies can challenge the medical model or reinforce it, depending on

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Donovan Gardner – Why Family Support Was Important to Me

Family support made the difference for Donovan Gardner. (Photo by Rod McBride)

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m nothing without GOD, so I stay in church and let the Word lead me.  My family is my backbone. Without family support, I can’t stand.

My Dad Had Problems, But Loved Me

First, my dad gave me vision, and believed. I cry to myself as I write this, not because I’m weak, but because I write from the heart, and my dad was part of my heart.   Always love, no matter what anyone else thinks, he was a good man.  But

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By Jennifer Nugent — Learning to Manage My Diabetes Despite Unstable Moods, Part 1 of 2

Th Learning to manage my diabetes step by step

In 2009, after struggling on and off with diabetes, I found myself sick and frustrated, hopeless, angry, and defeated.

There seemed to be little information on managing both a unstable moods and a health condition. However, by using simple methods to devise my own life management plan, I’ve greatly reduced my chances of complications and premature death.

My blood sugar was over 400.  I’ve cut that more than 50 percent.  My A1C test, which was a shocking 13.5, is now close to 7.0.

The A1C (glycogenated hemoglobin)

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By Yvette McShan – Let’s Stop All Forms of Abusing Psychiatric Patients, Part 2 of 2

Restraints are just one form of abusing psychiatric patients

America must stop abusing psychiatric patients.  Forced treatment is cruel, and should not be tolerated. It needs to stop in America, and any country, for that matter.  We must stop abusing psychiatric patients that way.

What about organizations that do not believe in forced treatment, but get medical dollars to diminish people in the mental health system, to document consumers are getting better — when they are really being set up to fail, and will more likely end up more traumatized.  That’s a another form of abusing psychiatric patients.

A

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By Yvette McShan – How to End Racism and Mentalism in the US, Part 1 of 2

My desire is for people to end racism in America peacefully, as human beings.  I believe that most human beings in America want to end racism for real — White, Red, Brown, Yellow, and Black.  I wish I could end racism all by myself, or with the Victorious Black Women  (VBW),  but I can’t.

But can we start to end racismamong ourselves, if no more than in dialogue.  That’s how movements get started.  Right?

End Racism

We Can’t Afford NOT to End Racism

I and other African Americans, and people of color, have been personally affected by racism in

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By Yvette McShan – Poverty is a state of mind, Part 1 of 2

Poverty is a state of mind.  I’m not rich by society’s standards, but I’m wealthy in my spirit. I work hard to acquire things I like or want. I think we are as rich or poor as we think we are.

By no means do I want to disrespect anybody who struggles to keep a roof over the heads, provide for their children’s health and safety, or must choose between paying for food, rent, and medical bills.  I am speaking from the “I.”  For my own wellness and recovery, I see myself as wealthy, even though I’m not yet.

Even when

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By Hannah – “Mental Illness” Systems Subvert Personal Responsibility and Morality

Personal Responsibility

Often, we hear that some people believe “mental illness” is just an excuse for bad behavior.  Well-meaning advocates say that attitudes such as these are one reason why we need more mental health “literacy.

Mental illnesses, we are told, are biological conditions for which the “sufferer” has no moral culpability, as capricious as diabetes or heart disease.

A more enlightened attitude to those exhibiting behaviors that are disturbing is to view them as biologically ill and in need of treatment, rather than human beings making the wrong choices.

Mental Illness Excused Us from Personal Responsibility

Take, for

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Diane Engster: I Have Problems; I’m Not Low Functioning, Part 2 of 2

Low functioning or unhappy?

My biggest problem is finding a job that’s the right fit for where I am right now.  That does not make me “low functioning.”

How would you know if this man is low functioning or just feeling bad?

I can have great energy, great focus, good ideas, etc. etc. for a certain time.  Then, all of a sudden, I crash and can’t do much of anything. When the crash happens, I can’t live up to the obligations I’ve committed myself to, and that makes working on projects with other people difficult.

These crashes can come

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By Diane Engster – The Trouble with Judgmental Mental Health Words, Part 1 of 2

Mental Health Words: "SMI"

Judgmental mental health words, like “high functioning” prejudice care givers and prevent recovery when people believe and internalize them.

Stop using mental health words like “SMI” (severely mentally ill) or “high-functioning” or “low-functioning.” Sitting in judgment of others is not part of your job description. You can hardly give hope if you hold others in such low regard.

If you’re too busy passing judgment on others, applying mental health words, you won’t have time to engage them and find out their hopes and dreams and what happened to them to shatter those hopes and dreams.

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How to Deal with a Hospital Bill Collector

This is a discussion from a Facebook group that we had permission to re-post.

Q:   I just got a notice from a lawyer saying that they are demanding payment in full for  my hospital bill. It went from the hospital to collections to the lawyer. Supposedly, I “failed” to respond to “frequent demands” from the hospital.

Hospital Bll

Actually, I called them frequently (even the number/extension/name of the person I was given).  I got to a voice mail system which did not allow me to leave a message. It said the hospital will get back to you.  I

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By Beth Quinn – Herding Cats Was My Way of Life

Herding Cats

I used to have 47 cats.  I loved them all. Some had extreme behavior, some damaged by life on the ranch, some born without all their parts or too many, some very timid, and some very bold.

Scratches, fighting and smelly days happened here and there, but just became part of our life together after a while.

Herding Cats to the Mailbox Daily

Each day I would walk to my mailbox a quarter mile down a country lane.  As I walked, I would sing my songs, and watch generations of cats follow me, meowing as if “singing”

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Anonymous – After Medical Treatment for My Breakdown, I Fear My Mental and Physical Wellness Might Not Come Back

Wellness Wordworks Founder Corinna West Maintains for Mental and Physical Wellness

In many ways, I was responsible for my breakdown.  I did not take good care of my mental and physical wellness.  My life and work were out of balance.  When I got tired and depressed, instead of rest and recreation, I trusted medical professionals to “find and fight the disease.”

I frequently worked long hours, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee to stay awake.  I neglected my family and personal life.

In my office. it was a badge of honor to work late at night and

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Maria Mangicaro – What Is Brief Reactive Psychosis?

Jason Russell, Diagnosed Wtih Brief Reactive Psychosis

All mental health advocates should learn from the recent hospitalization of “Kony 2012? creator Jason Russell. Jason’s behavior was filmed, and it seems clear that he was in a psychotic state, in urgent need of medical services to support the unique needs of someone in an acute, altered state of mind.  According to news reports, Jason’s preliminary diagnosis is ”brief reactive psychosis.”

Danica Russell said she feels her husband’s “irrational” behavior stemmed from exhaustion and dehydration, not drugs or alcohol.

Symptoms and Causes of Brief Reactive Disorder

The National Institutes

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