Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Going Public

I just posted this on my Facebook page. Now we wait and see what happens.

Along with the news of Robin Williams’s death have come discussions of mental illness and suicide. I’ve decided to go public with my own experience. I have bipolar disorder – type 2 (which means that I have lots of depression and anxiety, but very few manic phases). I’ve had this all my life, most likely, so whenever you met me, I had it.

Some of my friends already know and I’m sure others have guessed or suspected it. It is the result of a biochemical imbalance in my brain and is now treated with medication and therapy. I’m working on it.

Anyway, I ask for your understanding when I sometimes go hide under a rock for a while or say or do something odd or rude or unkind. My social skills have never been great, and having a disorder like this doesn’t improve them. I’m working on that too.

But you don’t have to do anything special or tiptoe around me. I’m still who I always was. I don’t freak out when people call me crazy or nuts or weird.

If you are interested, I blog about it: bipolarjan.wordpress.com (I also have a general purpose blog: janetcobur.wordpress.com.) Anyone is welcome to visit. I can also recommend other resources.

Here is the article about Robin Williams that noodged me into taking this step: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/08/12/robin_williams_and_mental_illness_when_depression_is_breaking_news.html

I Bet Robin Williams Knew He Was Loved. Unfortunately, Love Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness.
http://www.slate.com
It is jarring when a beloved celebrity dies of something you could possibly die of yourself—when all of a sudden everyone is talking about the illness you have, the one that they usually…


The Same Tarmac

I reread the previous post recently, knowing that I had been away from these pages for a long, long time – just as I had been prior to posting that edition. The good news is that there has been no relapse, no crisis. One week I couldn’t make the time to write, the following week I was busy the day I usually write. And then, well, habit slipped quietly into the room univited and mingled with the crowd, rolling the weeks along with barely a change in gear.

And so it was with my cycling. Same old, same old. Same routes, same views, same tarmac. Don’t get me wrong, the countryside in these parts (East Sussex on the south coast of England for those of you reading this in Singapore, or Australia, or India, or Birmingham, for that matter) is beautiful. It feels good to ride these roads and lanes. Again, and again and again. It’s always worked for me, riding these familiar routes. The climb over the Dyke holds no fear for me. I know where to stop for a coffee in Henfield, which pubs serve good selection of vegetarian meals. The cows in the fields even know my name.

Lately this has been making me feel increasingly anxious. It’s like there are no other places for me to go. ‘It’s too far’, ‘I don’t like the look of that main road’ or ‘I used to like that route, but it’s been so long I can’t remember where it starts’ are just some of the thoughts that keep me from turning left when I’ve always turned right. Then there’s the 25 miles cap that I have started noticing.The handful of regular routes I’ve been riding are no longer than 25 miles. Some of pedestrians, couch potatoes or swimmers reading this may be impressed with those kind of figures. Not me. Those miles are full of fear, constraint and the What ifs.

All this adds up to the polar opposite of how things should be. Regular readers of these pages will know that cycling is a critical factor in keeping me going – literally. If how and where I’m cycling have become an issue then…then…then what? Should I stop cycling – as I did for a whole year when I was first pole – axed by depression back in the early 2000s? What about getting my Mountain Bike out of the garage and going off road following the trails that start just a mile from my door? Thoughts of broken collar bones, marauding cows and a lack of confidence buzz around my head like wasps.

I’m doing O.K. otherwise, though, I say to myself. That’s alright, then.

Last week I set off on one of the rides I have described. I stopped at a spot with a beautiful view – as usual. I came to a crossroads (yeah, yeah, yeah) I know well and turned left towards a village I had never heard of and how far away? The sign post kept its mouth firmly shut on that subject. But I got there, I found a pub with a lovely garden and good food. I read my book for a bit before heading home. I took a wrong turn somewhere, but kept going and found myself back at the crossroads where the new route had begun.

Oh, and my bike computer showed I’d been in the saddle for 37 miles.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

took the one less traveled by,

and that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

 

 


What Depression Looks Like

Earlier this year a friend of mine asked if she could take my picture.  She's spending the year focusing on the importance of the people in her life, A Year of Faces.  I was one of many she'd asked and declined at first.  It was a very dark time in my life.  Not a time I would look my best.  I explained to her where I was emotionally and asked if I could participate later, when I felt better.

She said she understood and, of course, we could wait if I wanted to.  But if I was willing, she'd like to capture where I was right then.  The darkness.

And I knew it was right.  I needed this to happen.  Even though it wouldn't be pretty and even though it was difficult, it was also so important.  I agreed to do it.

She sent me some pictures she'd found on the internet of depression.  Some were very stylized, very artsy.  Some were blank stares.  Some were silhouettes.  I understood why people associated these with depression.  And these might represent depression for some people, or even me at some times.

But not this time.  None of these came close this time.

This was my darkest time, at least the darkest I can remember.  This was the most painful depression I've ever had.  And the most unrelenting.  Months and months of pain and numbness and isolation and fear and loneliness and sadness and confusion and anxiety and guilt and exhaustion.

The day she came I was wearing the same pajamas I'd been wearing for three or four days straight.  My hair was dirty because I just didn't have the energy or will to shower.  She was the first person I'd invited into my home in weeks.

She asked me to tell her about my current struggle as she took photos.  She was gentle and kind.  She listened and asked questions.  It was an important moment.

She used one photo for her project.  I've been saving the others for the right time.  Today is the right time.

These photos are difficult for me to look at.  They hurt.  But people need to understand what depression is and I believe these will help.

Thank you, Karen, for capturing a hidden moment that needs to be seen.

My fingertips are pressing on the spot where I've had a headache for nine years.  When I cry, I tend to furrow my brow; this makes my head hurt worse.  I press on that spot to try to get the muscles to release and relieve the pain.  It helps a little.
Depression makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.  I have no emotional energy to protect myself.  That's part of why I isolate.  So often, when I am with other people, I feel the need to defend or explain myself.  When I am in a depression I just have nothing in me to do that.  I have no strength or will to draw boundaries and defend them.  It's easier to just be alone than to feel like a rag doll at the whim of those around me.  I often find myself in the fetal position in an attempt to seal myself off from the world and keep myself safe.
Sometimes my depressions are emotionless.  I feel nothing.  Most of the time it was like that.  Dull.  Blank.  Empty.  Nothing.  Other moments were like this.  Gut-wrenching.  Crying from the deepest parts of myself.  Falling to the ground sobbing.  Unable to stop shaking from the shredding of my soul. 
And this is how I felt so much of the time.  For months and months and months.  Like an empty shell.  Depleted.  Like everything that made me who I was had been taken away.  Worthless.  Like I had nothing to offer the world.  Without hope.  Without purpose.  Gone.  Lost.  Alone.
This is what depression looks like.  It's not a bad day.  It's not when things go wrong.  It's when the world is pulled out from under me and I am plunging to my death and I just don't even care.

misfiring chemicals

Yeah. I was okay earlier. Shocked by Becca’s productivity, she even got my kid up, fed and dressed, so I could have a few extra mins sleep. And my first instinct is, yeah, what’s up with that? What do you want? I am so charming. (not) I’m grateful.
I went to the shop. I was feeling okay. Low anxiety, low worry, mood level.

Around hour four…
Itching ear…someone’s talking about me. Itching nose…someone’s going to call with something bad to tell me. I’m itching…Oh, no, nervous hives. Racing thoughts. Paranoia. Anxiety to the nth. My gut is telling me bad things are coming. Well, worse things than the INS knocking down my door and arresting me for harboring an illegal. (And damn it, as stressful as it is, I am not throwing a human being out into the damn street to save my own ass, she’s got her own family to throw her under the bus.)

I guess I was out of my safe zone too long. That’s generally when the real anxiety induced crazy comes crashing through the door and starts kicking me in the skull. It sucks worse than a root canal without novacaine. It sucks worse than being attacked by bees, locusts, and vultures simultaneously.

I have a shrink appointment tomorrow. I never did get the EKG for the assessment of my health to go on focalin. I’m sure she will see this as a sign that it’s not important since I did have two months to get it done. Of course, if she understood anxiety disorder at all, she’d get that 1, I don’t do hospitals or doctors unless DYING, and 2, I have had so much on my mental plate, it honestly just kept slipping my mind. At this point, being able to afford focalin is a pipe dream anyway. School starts and any dimes I might have floating around will undoubtedly be going toward pictures, supplies, clothes, et al. Oh well. Being broke has been my life since birth. Guess it’s in the genes. My dad is pushing 70 and still works five days a week, his woman works (I think) and they’re hardly wealthy. R calls their house a “shack”.

I keep this sign on my wall to remind myself how good I really have it, especially when I feel deprived, or others pity me for where I live, or because I don’t have this or that…
If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, ans a place to sleep…you have more than 75% of the world.
It makes you think, if you really open your mind to the ugliness that exists in the world. There are far worse things than not having a smart phone or a new car or not being able to eat in restaurants. The key is not to focus on what you don’t have but to embrace and show gratitude for that which you do have. The people around me really don’t get that. They don’t get how I can be content in my current situation. It’s not that I don’t want more or better. It’s just not within my grasp at this time so I accept what is and make the best of it.
You’d think this was a crime judging from those around me tsk-tsking about us living in a trailer court. Yeah, well, beats a cardboard box. Boxes have no wifi or indoor plumbing, ffs. I am spoiled that way.

I’m starting to feel a bit less crazy and hopped up on nerves. Courtesy of a xanax. I try to take as little as possible but there are days when it’s just not optional if I want to avoid clawing my own eyeballs out with a metal spork to escape all the swirling paranoid insane thoughts.

I don’t want to go to the doctor tomorrow.It’s always so depressing. Even if she’s not the worst doc I’ve had, she’s just so goddamn chipper and optimistic and…I feel like she’s judging me if I don’t declare a sparkling recovery of sunshine and puppies and rainbows. It’s so much ass trash. I’m on the fence about mentioning the hypomanic bouts. I’m not sure if the lamictal is losing effectiveness or if it’s just situational because my anxiety skyrockets every summer to mammoth proportions. Plus, when I tell her a med isn’t working, she launches into it being my personality disorders. All the while smiling sweetly and saying, “It just takes time to find the right combination, we can keep working on it.” Which is it, lady? Meds or I’m just a shitty person? Or is it both? Pick a diagnosis and lecture and commit already.

Yeah, the shark week snarkishness is in overdrive.

I did tell R that he’s a good friend and I am grateful today. I wanted to let him know Bex and I appreciate him buying that train ticket to at least get her out of Chicago and back here safely. He didn’t have to do it. But he’s like that with everyone so it’s less about us and more about, that’s just who he is. Decent human being, if a little self absorbed and flighty. I just wish he could see his own hypocrisy, that’s my biggest issue. He gets pissed, like a child, if I don’t answer his calls or return his texts in ten seconds but if I contact him, he’ll take his time getting back or completely blow it off. And frankly, the “I forgot” and “I didn’t hear my phone” excuses are hollow after the first hundred times.
Ahhh…There I go, giving a compliment and following it up with complaints. I am my mother’s daughter. Except my mom bypasses positive input all together and goes right for the throat.
Oh, well. Who we want to be and who we are tend to be very different things. All we can do is try to do better, and be a better version of ourselves.

I hugged the pit viper (my mom) today. She responded by going tense and sort of pushing me away with a shoulder. Warm and fuzzy she is not, except to my kid. C’est la vie. If she’s got early Alzheimer’s and is indeed losing her faculties, the least I can do is rise above the pettier issues and be a loving supportive daughter. I can always get an antivenin for the snake bites.

People think I am joking. I wish to fuck I were. She’s really gone psycho hose beast and while not entirely her fault (if the story my sister told is indeed true) she’s always been on the hypercritical side where I am concerned. She wanted a dependent needy child and got me instead. I think I am her anathema. She loves me but doesn’t like me. I relate because it is reciprocal.

I will shut up now, that was quite a rant and I didn’t intend for it to be. Whiskey night tonight. I’d say we’ve earned it and besides, it didn’t come out of our budget. R is a great enabler since he drinks 7 nights a week. It’s good to have friends with a coping problem like your own. They’re sooo supportive.


RIP Robin Williams

I am so sad that Robin Williams lost the battle with this illness. Whether he had depression or bipolar disorder (to me all signs point to bipolar) is immaterial. What IS relevant here is that the illness took his life. For such a bright light to be snuffed out just breaks my heart. I am so sad for him, and where he must have been emotionally, to be able to put a noose around his neck and leave this world. I also feel like when one person loses the fight, we all lose a little bit. I am so sad. I have cried today. How many people have cried? How many lives did Robin Williams touch? Not just with his bright, sparkling humor but with his deep, loving compassion?

When my sister worked at UCSF in San Francisco, there was a high school wrestling star who had a catastrophic injury to one of his legs that cut off circulation to the limb, and they had to amputate below the knee. This was an athlete who was on his way to a scholarship in college. The doctors told his parents that they could provide him with an average, run of the mill prosthetic so that he could walk, but he would never wrestle again. Or, for fifty thousand dollars, they could provide him with the Cadillac of prosthetics, which would enable him to return to his sport. Needless to say, the boy’s insurance company would not cover the Cadillac of prosthetics. Somehow, word of this young man’s plight got to Robin Williams, and he contributed the fifty thousand dollars that gave this boy a second chance at life.

This is just one of many examples of what a huge heart this man had. Such love, and kindness, killed by this damn disease. I am overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. I want to re-commit to doing everything in my power to NEVER GO THERE. I am dedicating this blog entry to the memory of the great Robin Williams. Rest in peace.


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader, Robin Williams, Suicide

Robin Williams – Too Sad

MORK AND MINDY - 1970s - 1980s

I’m very sad again today. Yesterday I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I’m having a hard time with this. He was my age and according to many observations he suffered from Bipolar Disorder like me, tho apparently he himself never said as much from what I’ve read. But he sure acted like it didn’t he? I was always amazed at his frenetic energy and classic manic behavior in his routines and films. He was a comic and dramatic genius as an actor and a kind and generous soul as a human being. I can’t even begin to say how much he gave to me and others throughout his life of such sorrow and joy. He did what so many of us do with this illness – he hid his struggles well, tho he was also very open about them, but he couldn’t hide it in the end. I already miss him so much.

This event is what is called a Trigger for many of us. It’s a situation that flips our emotions into a negative state that affects our ability to cope and stay OK. It pushes us towards whatever form of mental illness we carry with us and adds to our difficulties of staying well. Anytime I hear of someone who dies by their own hand due to the “push” of Bipolar it triggers me and affects me deeply, and this case is no different. In fact it’s a really hard one because of how he made me feel and how much I identified with him. Not that I’m a comic genius or anything. Far from it. But I related so well to his energy and compassion for the world. He did so much to make it a better place just by being himself. Like so many of us with Bipolar he used the impetus of the illness to fuel his comedy and dramatic turns on screen and TV. Like so many of us he also didn’t hide that energy from us, he reveled in it and I loved him for that.

Tho he never said he had Bipolar Disorder there are many who would look at his life and say it was obvious to us. I’m one of them I guess. Like his most famous mentor Johnathan Winters, who also suffered from Bipolar, he was a lightning rod for that incredible energy that made his work so real and so human. He embodied so many great character traits in his work and life and made the world so much better thru his presence. It’s being hard to write this as I keep crying, which I keep doing, and I can’t see thru the tears. It’s been like this ever since I heard about it. If I weren’t doing as well as I am right now myself this would push me into a depressive syndrome quite easily. Triggers do that. Just like what happened when my cousin’s wife died of Bipolar back in February. It really got me bad and I was so depressed for weeks after her death, tho she didn’t kill herself it turns out but mistakenly took the wrong meds and passed out and fell into a swimming pool and drowned. I feel the same way with hearing of Robin’s death. It’s triggering some bad emotions in me and I feel so sad and bereft.

You see I look at Robin’s life and how he was so very successful and how much money he had and the fame and acclaim that filled his life. And I wonder how if he lived with all that and more in his life and still couldn’t find a way to get thru it without killing himself, how will I ever do it myself? It scares the shit out of me. I look at him and see how easily it could be me there on the floor. I don’t have the resources he did, but I have good support, and tho he must have had it too, it wasn’t enough in the end. Will my support be enough for me? I wonder… Especially the fact that he and I are the same age and come from similar cultural backgrounds of coming up in the crazy 60’s and all affects me. It just feels too close to me and I fear for my well being. But as I said I’m doing well right now and am not prone to such depression at the moment so I think I’ll be OK. But it’s challenging and hard and I hate it. How will I be tomorrow? I really don’t know. Still sad I expect. Still filled with these difficult emotions.

I’m not going to write about all the films he was in or the things he did to help the world. You all know of most of those things and there are lots of articles out there now praising him and mourning his death. This is just a very personal response from me about his decision to end his life. I don’t blame him at all tho I’m so sorry he chose this path. But I’ve come too close to choosing it myself, in fact I have in the past and I still get close to it too often so it’s hard. What I have for him is compassion, and I’m tying to have it for myself too right now. I just wanted to say a few things about him and how he affected me and how triggers can come at us from out of nowhere at any moment and impair our ability to cope and live our lives. I hope this hasn’t triggered any of you because of my writing but if it has I hope you get thru it as I’m trying to do. Being grateful for Robin’s work in the world and his personality and his ways of being so real about his struggles is important for us to do.  He was a good model for us in how to live an amazing life with Bipolar dogging your steps, even tho he ended his own life in the end. I understand him I think. That’s why it’s so hard. I get it. I suspect many of you do too and I hope you do OK with this tragedy. I hope I do too. I guess only time will tell.

Missing his Manic Presence,

Steve

Note: photo as Mork by Everett Collection/REX


Filed under: Bipolar, Crying, Depression, Emotions, Invisible Illness, Laughter, Mental Health, Suicide Tagged: Bipolar, Invisible Illness, mental-health, recurrent depression, Suicide

Robin Williams – Too Sad

MORK AND MINDY - 1970s - 1980s

I’m very sad again today. Yesterday I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I’m having a hard time with this. He was my age and according to many observations he suffered from Bipolar Disorder like me, tho apparently he himself never said as much from what I’ve read. But he sure acted like it didn’t he? I was always amazed at his frenetic energy and classic manic behavior in his routines and films. He was a comic and dramatic genius as an actor and a kind and generous soul as a human being. I can’t even begin to say how much he gave to me and others throughout his life of such sorrow and joy. He did what so many of us do with this illness – he hid his struggles well, tho he was also very open about them, but he couldn’t hide it in the end. I already miss him so much.

This event is what is called a Trigger for many of us. It’s a situation that flips our emotions into a negative state that affects our ability to cope and stay OK. It pushes us towards whatever form of mental illness we carry with us and adds to our difficulties of staying well. Anytime I hear of someone who dies by their own hand due to the “push” of Bipolar it triggers me and affects me deeply, and this case is no different. In fact it’s a really hard one because of how he made me feel and how much I identified with him. Not that I’m a comic genius or anything. Far from it. But I related so well to his energy and compassion for the world. He did so much to make it a better place just by being himself. Like so many of us with Bipolar he used the impetus of the illness to fuel his comedy and dramatic turns on screen and TV. Like so many of us he also didn’t hide that energy from us, he reveled in it and I loved him for that.

Tho he never said he had Bipolar Disorder there are many who would look at his life and say it was obvious to us. I’m one of them I guess. Like his most famous mentor Johnathan Winters, who also suffered from Bipolar, he was a lightning rod for that incredible energy that made his work so real and so human. He embodied so many great character traits in his work and life and made the world so much better thru his presence. It’s being hard to write this as I keep crying, which I keep doing, and I can’t see thru the tears. It’s been like this ever since I heard about it. If I weren’t doing as well as I am right now myself this would push me into a depressive syndrome quite easily. Triggers do that. Just like what happened when my cousin’s wife died of Bipolar back in February. It really got me bad and I was so depressed for weeks after her death, tho she didn’t kill herself it turns out but mistakenly took the wrong meds and passed out and fell into a swimming pool and drowned. I feel the same way with hearing of Robin’s death. It’s triggering some bad emotions in me and I feel so sad and bereft.

You see I look at Robin’s life and how he was so very successful and how much money he had and the fame and acclaim that filled his life. And I wonder how if he lived with all that and more in his life and still couldn’t find a way to get thru it without killing himself, how will I ever do it myself? It scares the shit out of me. I look at him and see how easily it could be me there on the floor. I don’t have the resources he did, but I have good support, and tho he must have had it too, it wasn’t enough in the end. Will my support be enough for me? I wonder… Especially the fact that he and I are the same age and come from similar cultural backgrounds of coming up in the crazy 60’s and all affects me. It just feels too close to me and I fear for my well being. But as I said I’m doing well right now and am not prone to such depression at the moment so I think I’ll be OK. But it’s challenging and hard and I hate it. How will I be tomorrow? I really don’t know. Still sad I expect. Still filled with these difficult emotions.

I’m not going to write about all the films he was in or the things he did to help the world. You all know of most of those things and there are lots of articles out there now praising him and mourning his death. This is just a very personal response from me about his decision to end his life. I don’t blame him at all tho I’m so sorry he chose this path. But I’ve come too close to choosing it myself, in fact I have in the past and I still get close to it too often so it’s hard. What I have for him is compassion, and I’m tying to have it for myself too right now. I just wanted to say a few things about him and how he affected me and how triggers can come at us from out of nowhere at any moment and impair our ability to cope and live our lives. I hope this hasn’t triggered any of you because of my writing but if it has I hope you get thru it as I’m trying to do. Being grateful for Robin’s work in the world and his personality and his ways of being so real about his struggles is important for us to do.  He was a good model for us in how to live an amazing life with Bipolar dogging your steps, even tho he ended his own life in the end. I understand him I think. That’s why it’s so hard. I get it. I suspect many of you do too and I hope you do OK with this tragedy. I hope I do too. I guess only time will tell.

Missing his Manic Presence,

Steve

Note: photo as Mork by Everett Collection/REX


Filed under: Bipolar, Crying, Depression, Emotions, Invisible Illness, Laughter, Mental Health, Suicide Tagged: Bipolar, Invisible Illness, mental-health, recurrent depression, Suicide

Suicide, Bipolar Disorder, and Robin Williams

robin williamsRobin Williams, a wonderful actor, had bipolar disorder. This mental illness does not discriminate.  I, a long with many, are saddened by his death.  I feel for his family and the many people who loved this outstanding man.

Bipolar disorder is a horrible disease that is often not discussed due to the stigma attached to mental illness. It needs to be talked about and hopefully over the next few weeks, people will learn more about this illness.

Many talented people over time have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Please see my  Pinterest site for 250 of them or see Famous People with Bipolar Disorder.

“Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes,” Williams told Terry Gross on the “Fresh Air” NPR radio show in 2006. “Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.” 9

Mania is defined by Merriam-Webster as excitement manifested by mental and physical hyperactivity, disorganization of behavior, and elevation of mood. 2  However, if you have bipolar disorder or know someone who does, you know that this does not begin to explain mania.

While manic, these are some of the qualities a person displays:

  • They have  a lot of energy usually resulting in little to no sleep.
  • They often have poor judgement. For example, they may spend money they don’t have.
  • They think they can do just about everything (thoughts of grandeur, very high self-esteem) For example, they might think they are Jesus or can run for president.
  • They talk a lot and rapidly. My mom calls this “verbally overproductive”
  • They oftentimes become very religious. (They become obsessed in an unhealthy way.)
  • Racing thoughts: This makes it very hard to concentrate or finish simple tasks.
  • Easily get agitated or irritated
  • They get involved in a lot of activities. This poses a problem later if they get depressed because they are unable to follow thru.
  • Promiscuity
  • They often binge eat, drink, or do drugs. (Many times people are not diagnosed because they self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol. 4

Depression is defined by Merriam-Webster as a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way. 3

While depressed:

  • Hard to concentrate
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Isolation is common
  • Don’t enjoy things they used to enjoy
  • Lack of energy
  • Change in sleep (usually sleep more)
  • Change in eating habits
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hard to make decisions
  • Sadness often not caused by anything in particular 5

Having bipolar disorder increases suicide risk by 15X more than that of the general  population. 1

Some facts on Suicide:

  • In the United States,  someone dies by suicide about every 14 minutes. 6
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. 6
  • Every day, approximately 99 Americans take their own life.Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. 6
  • Over 60% of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. 6
  • There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for every suicide death. 6
  • Every year, more than 800 000 people worldwide die from suicide (a death every 40 seconds) 10

Although Robin Williams’s death is a tragedy, I hope something good can come from it. I hope more people learn about bipolar disorder and depression and mental illness is less stigmatized so that the rate of suicide goes down because people seek help.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please get help.

The Suicide Hotline in the United States: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Suicide Hotlines world-wide Hotlines

Suicide Warning signs: 9

Talking about suicide Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”
Seeking out lethal means Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Preoccupation with death Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
No hope for the future Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.
Self-loathing, self-hatred Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).
Getting affairs in order Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
Saying goodbye Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
Withdrawing from others Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
Self-destructive behavior Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”
Sudden sense of calm A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.

 

 

 

 


Robin Williams


I am deeply saddened by Robin Williams' death. Depression is a serious condition. You never know what another person is going through. His smile and laughter were hiding a tortured soul. I pray for his family, friends, and fans.

This is how I want to remember him.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-(800)-273-8255.

The warning signs of depression are: either sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, lingering feelings of sadness or emptiness, loss of interest in activities that used to interest them, feelings of despair or hopelessness. 

Suicide is never the answer. It will get better. With help, it will. Finding the right medicine takes time. It is trial and error. You can also supplement psychiatric medicine with acupuncture, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and talk therapy. Please seek help.






Goodbye, Robin Williams

The world is a better place because of all the smiles you brought to it.

The post Goodbye, Robin Williams appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.