Our daughter got $500 a year deductible with $1500 max out of pocket for $127 a month. We have friends up the road who have preexisting conditions and their current insurance - with a $10,000 deductible - was going up to $1800 a month. They just signed up and got the gold plan with $500 deductible for $187 a month. I KNOW a lot people it's helping right now, and they weren't "uninsured." They were, like 80% of "insured" Americans, Underinsured.My premium is high, because (a) I am a tobacco user, and (b) my income is high enough that I don't qualify for any credits. So don't take MY premium to be a prime example.
Two of our community members replied in depth about their experiences as they grew older. In my own experience, I've found that with maturity came a broader sense of how I, affected as I am with bipolar II disorder, fit into the world and what I need to do to have the best possible life. I have learned to notice the world I live in.
When I was younger, all that mattered was ME. That's not a matter of depression or BP: That's a matter of being a teen and young adult. Important events took place in my home area that I didn't even know about till years later. All that mattered was my angst.
I was 28 when I finally started - with the help of a very good counselor - to find some maturity. Then it's a long process. Have I grown up altogether? No - I still know how to play, and that's a good thing.
So has life "gotten better"? In spite of my difficult struggles with depression and anxiety, yes, it has. Now see what our community members said:
A 2010 CNN article on medical conditions and TSA's screening procedures touches on several situations where people could be subject to intrusive body searches because of conditions like cancer or joint replacements. In the list the writer includes, "What about people with mental illnesses?" but doesn't address the question. Finally, the article suggests that people have a doctor's note describing their conditions.
Reading this, it burst over me just how problematic these procedures could be for a person - or a child! - with a mental illness. In addition to the fact that children are taught never to let a stranger touch them, especially on certain parts of their bodies, a child with bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or another condition that can include rages or hysteria, could be triggered into behavior that could make them uncontrollable on a plane.
There are several lessons to be learned from my experience. First and foremost: know your meds! Whether you're starting a new drug, changing an existing med's dosage, or taking an "as needed" medication, make sure you know what the potential side effects are and be prepared for them.
Second, keep your cell phone on or near you at all times. We all take medications that can have physical side effects, and if you need to call a friend, a doctor, or 911, you need a phone right there - not in another room, as mine was.
Third - if you get dizzy or have balance trouble, sit down immediately. If you're not near a chair, a couch, a bed - even a toilet - sit down on the floor. Ignoring dizziness or loss of balance when it begins can be really dangerous. One reader told me, "My balance is off because of my meds. I face planted on my ceramic floor after tripping and ended up with 16 stitches in my head."
It all adds up to: Don't take chances with your medications. Ignoring their effects, whether it's not preparing for them before they occur, or not paying attention when they do occur, can really hurt you.
Well, that was fine with the two older cats. But then one night the youngster, Buzz, got up on my desk and started licking the pills in the tray, which I'd set out but not taken yet. ACK! I grabbed him right away and tossed him off the desk, then took the pills immediately (yes, the ones he'd licked - they're just too expensive to throw away).
Or you're hypomanic. You're spending too much money, talking too much, hardly sleeping, flirting with strangers (or your boss). And your friends tell you you're the life of the party, egg you on to buy things - or yell at you to quit behaving like an idiot.
Or you're manic and suffering from paranoia or hallucinations. But all your family or friends can say is, "You're imagining it."
Coming up with a list of the wrong things to say to someone who has bipolar disorder isn't all that difficult. Some of most common are discussed in the article It's All In Your Head, and readers have contributed over a hundred of their own Most Hurtful Things Said. But what should people say to you when you're in a depressive, hypomanic, or manic episode? What would be helpful instead of hurtful? Add to the comments - write a sentence or two that you'd like to hear from friends or loved ones when your mood is ruling you.
But placebos today are often precisely engineered, and yet researchers can still be surprised. Have a look:
The delusions of this very rare condition may be a sign of the onset of bipolar disorder. One study found a high correlation between bipolar and Cotard's in a group of young people. Cotard's Syndrome has also been associated with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder and dementia. It may also be caused by such things as lesions of the brain.
I found a case study where a woman "was complaining that she was dead, smelled like rotting flesh, and wanted to be taken to a morgue so that she could be with dead people." Another case Read More...
Having racing thoughts doesn't mean you're just thinking fast - they can cause real distress. In What Are Racing Thoughts? I've talked about some of the ways racing thoughts can appear, and I'm sure some of you can contribute more manifestations.
Are your racing thoughts sometimes triggered or are they spontaneous? Do you know what triggers them? Leave a comment.
Photo: Marek Bernat
One of our community members, KiwiVagrant, holds workshops for the mentally ill teaching them visualization exercises. One of these exercises is the "Safe Place" visualization. Kiwi kindly offered to share instructions for this exercise with our entire readership. He has also conducted these sessions in our chat rooms and offered the information to share with our entire community. Found here is an exercise in creating and maintaining your safe place.
Because of the many comments on this blog from 2008, I felt it was time to bring it to the attention of readers who haven't looked into this issue before.
I feel really depressed and worthless right now. I have felt that way pretty much all week.
My friends from high school that are my Facebook "friends" finished college, went on to grad school and law school, and some of them are working for the CDC, the JAG Corps in the Army, Human Rights Watch, etc. I had always considered myself to be somewhat intelligent, but these people's accomplishments and quotes on their pages make me look pathetic and puny.
I really wanted to be a REAL grown-up, not a shabby, dumbed-down, self-absorbed middle-aged adolescent. I wanted to graduate from college, not drop out several times after having nervous breakdowns. I wanted to think the way others thought and believed the way they did. I am able to think for myself, but for some reason I feel that other people have more authority than I do, and they're right and I'm wrong, no matter how I truly feel about it in my heart (or what logic tells me).
Antipsychotic medications, often prescribed in the treatment of bipolar disorder, are one class of drugs that can cause dystonia, which is one of several extrapyramidal side effects. Generally it is the first generation antipsychotics such as Haldol (haloperidol), also known as typical antipyschotics, that can cause dystonia.
There is no cure for dystonia, but there are a few options to treat the symptoms. One of the most common treatments is Botox. Benzodiazepines (a class of anti-anxiety medications sometimes prescribed for bipolar) and drugs with anticholinergic effects may also be used. Physical therapy is another option.
For more information, see:
My wife and some doctors believe my stepdaughter has bipolar disorder.
When she had her first episode, she turned into one of the nastiest people I've ever had to associate with. She did get on some type of medication which seemed to stabilize her, but I believe the medication simply helps her control what she says and does even though she still thinks bad things and generally is not a nice person. It gives her the mental control she needs to hide her true feelings and thoughts.
Does bipolar disorder make you say and do bad things towards others? Or is it like a truth serum, where you don't have the control needed to keep things to yourself?
Could bipolar disorder "make" someone say or do bad things? In some people, yes, but that doesn't mean it's a truth serum. Bipolar episodes color a person's world and can affect and change reactions dramatically. Irritability, hostility and even rage that are absolutely foreign to a person in stable periods can be symptoms of the illness.
There is no reason to think that your stepdaughter is a terrible person just because she has this illness. The nastiness you refer to does not necessarily indicate the thoughts she has all the time. Feelings can be wildly exaggerated during episodes, and things said that come from the most minuscule of reasons.
Bipolar disorder is not a truth serum, but for some people, it's emotional poison, and the greatest sufferer is the patient herself.
Explore the symptoms of bipolar disorder and see for yourself.
In a global survey, most patients were aware of risks associated with their mental illnesses and medications (especially weight gain). However, they also reported they received very little information from their caregivers regarding managing those risks.
Yet there are things psychiatrists and other mental health care providers could do to help, such as encouraging exercise and even working with the patient's primary care doctor to set up nutrition counseling, a stop smoking program, and other wellness activities.
What about changing medications to combat weight problems? This is a tricky subject. If a medication is working well at stabilizing a patient, a doctor may well want the patient to work at lifestyle and diet changes while staying on that medication. It's not impossible to lose weight while taking a medication that causes weight gain.
If you have a health problem such as your weight that is related to bipolar disorder or its treatment, does your doctor address it? Does he or she listen to your concerns? Has the doctor done anything to help you improve your health?
McIntyre, Robert S. Overview of Managing Medical Comorbidities in Patients With Severe Mental Illness. J Clin Psychlopedia. CME Institute. Web.7 Sep 2009.
McIntyre, Robert S. Managing Weight Gain in Patients With Severe Mental Illness. J Clin Psychlopedia. CME Institute. Web.7 Sep 2009.
Cuddle up and don't be blue...
--"My Melancholy Baby," Burnett and Norton
Think about the word "melancholy." To me it means a gentle, perhaps wistful sorrow. Victor Hugo said, "Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad," and Susan Sontag, "Depression is melancholy without the charms." Italian writer/journalist Italo Calvino said, "Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness."
Melancholia is something entirely different. It is an extremely severe state of depression, with specific symptoms. Psychiatrists may expand a diagnosis of a bipolar depressive episode by saying "with melancholic features." Continuing my exploration of bipolar disorder in the DSM-5, I've summarized what it means to have clinical melancholic symptoms:
But some people are offended when I write "I'm bipolar" or say "bipolar people." They see me as using a stigmatizing label and point out that most other illnesses aren't spoken of in such a way. (The one most often used is cancer, but that would be hard to do anyway, because if you say, "I'm Cancer," you're talking about your astrological sign.)
Postpartum psychosis is a very serious condition that has been linked to bipolar disorder. It's estimated that around four to eight thousand women experience postpartum psychosis annually in the United States alone. Pregnant women with bipolar disorder should know the symptoms of this dangerous illness and also make sure that their friends and loved ones know what to look for.
Get all this crucial information in My Doctor Is Ignoring Side Effects - What Should I Do?
Since the figures were so bad, I suppose this is a reasonable position to take, but it bothers the heck out of me. I really don't want my generic medications to look the same from one manufacturer to another, because it's a signal that the pharmacy has switched providers for that drug. I remember one time this happened, and I'd already thrown the previous pill bottle away. I called the pharmacy to ask if they had changed manufacturers and was told yes.
I wasn't happy with the new version. It was harder to take (a different shape) and didn't seem to work as well. A month or two later, the pharmacy was back to using the previous manufacturer. I wonder if they got complaints.
If the pills had looked the same, I never would have known what was going on and probably would have complained to my doctor that this particular medication was losing its effectiveness.
Generic drugs must be bioequivalent to their brand name counterparts, but that isn't the whole story. Inert ingredients do not have to be the same, and this can cause problems from time to time. I have the facts in the article Generic Drugs - Friend or Foe?
How do you feel about this study and the recommendation the authors made?
So we asked our community for their views on this important subject. Some of the common threads in their answers include:
- Believe that we are ill
- Learn about bipolar disorder
- Respect us
- Love us
- Don't make fun of us
Graphic from Echo's WebGraphics, by Marcia Purse