Daily Archives: September 27, 2014

Not My Last Advocate Post

Kitt O'Malley:

This is far from my last advocate post. I haven’t even gotten started. In My Last Advocate Post, Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar makes the case that we who live with mental illness must organize and speak up. I strongly agree with her concluding points and have added details of my own based on my experience.

  • We lack psychiatrists
  • We lack psychiatric beds
  • We lack good quality psychiatric care, both inpatient and outpatient
  • Our mental health system is broken
  • Mental health care workers, including psychiatrists, are overwhelmed
  • Most psychiatrists refuse to accept MediCare, leaving those of us on disability without psychiatric care
  • Rural areas lack psychiatrists, psychotherapists, mental health support groups, and quality medical care in general

We with mental illness must organize and speak up! We are not alone.

Originally posted on BravelyBipolar:

I’ve decided to stop advocating.  My experience with Congressman Murphy has taught me that one person cannot make a difference.  I can’t even get my voice heard.  It’s cowardice on his part, but a lesson for me.  Unless you belong to an organization with money, you get nowhere with Congress.

I have tried for years believing I was making some kind of a difference, but really what did I accomplish? I accomplished the goals of an organization that really didn’t value the true needs of those of us with a mental illness.

Whether or not Murphy’s bill passes, we still have a lack of psychiatrists, a lack of psych beds, a lack of good quality care in this broken mental health system.  When pdocs want you to fill out paper work prior to an appointment to see if you’re a “good fit” for them, there’s a real problem.  When pdocs can’t take on any…

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Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: mental health care reform, political activism

To conceive or not to conceive – Is that really a valid question?

Kitt O'Malley:

Thank you, Edel Williams of Placid’s Place for this blog post.
When I was pregnant with my son, I was under treatment for depression, but was not yet diagnosed bipolar type II. That diagnosis I received when he was two. We ended up deciding not to have more children, not because we feared passing on a genetic risk for bipolar disorder, but because one was all we could handle, especially given that our son was EXTREMELY active (later treated for hyperactivity, doing very well now as a teen).

What I did fear, though, was whether I was a good enough mother. I had internalized stigma against the diagnosis of bipolar disorder over that of depression. Internalized stigma is a horrible thing. It eats at your sense of self worth.

We can be great mothers whether or not we live with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Even if our children do inherit the “bipolar gene,” treatments are always improving. Think of the improvements over the past 50 years, then project 50 years into the future. Who would be better to obtain treatment and show compassion that a parent who has lived through the same symptoms? But, as my psychiatrist reminds me, we must be careful not to project our symptoms and our fears onto our kids. Just because we have bipolar disorder, does not mean that they will.

Originally posted on Placid's Place:

babies

Let me be clear from the off…… This is not ‘sound medical advice’, this may not even be sound – or advice!

It just happens to have been on my thoughts a lot lately and I had to get it out there.  So had others, because I’ve been reading what seems like a lot of posts about pregnancy and bi-polar and the risks of passing this genetic illness on to children conceived. (Either there is more of them, or for some reason I am particularly drawn to those posts these days.)

I have to say the genetics of bi-polar depression was not something that entered my head when hubby and I were contemplating having a second and third child.

My bi-polar was triggered by postpartum depression, which just didn’t go, following the birth of my first son! For months, we thought I was struggling with this ‘common ailment’ associated with pregnancy…

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Filed under: Posted Thoughts

Good Bye, Sugar!

I have had a rocky relationship with sugar all my life. I LOVE sugar!! I have used it and abused it since I was a young child. When I was a kid, I would eat all of my Halloween candy in one day. And I’ve continued the same kind of behavior as an adult. Buy something sugary, like a box of Good and Plenty, and it’s gone by the end of the day. Lately, over the past few months, I’ve been bingeing on sugar, sometimes to the point of being sick in the night. I’ve been scaring myself. Being on Clozaril makes it really hard to resist sugar and carbs in general.

A few days ago, I watched the documentary Fed Up, which is all about sugar and obesity and the food industry and how crappy food is marketed to us and to children. It was incredibly revealing. One of the points that they made is that the place in our brains that is activated when we ingest cocaine, is the same place that’s activated when we consume sugar!!! There was also a study done with lab rats where they were given a choice between cocaine and sugar water, and four out of five rats chose the sugar water. This documentary was VERY revealing and educational, and I highly recommend it.

I have been so worried about my health since I started the Clozaril and have been really abusing food like an addict. My weight has been climbing and I get a terrible shock when I see myself in photographs with this terrible fat belly! Belly fat is the most dangerous, they say, because it’s attached to your internal organs and can cause heart disease. With the help of this documentary, I came up with the will to quit sugar and processed food. It’s a HUGE step and a HUGE commitment, but I feel like I am fighting for my life here.

It’s only been since Wednesday, but I’ve not ingested any sugar at all (to my knowledge). In the middle of the night when I get the monster food cravings, I’ve been able to eat a banana and fall back asleep. I’ve been eating a TON of organic vegetables (I wasn’t really eating vegetables before) and organic fruit when I feel like I need something sweet. I feel very encouraged that I’ve been able to do this at all. My hope is to make a permanent lifestyle change that includes unprocessed, organic food and NO SUGAR.

I’ll keep you posted as I go along. Maybe some of you would like to join me on this venture? Go watch the documentary Fed Up (you can get it on iTunes or go to http://www.fedupmovie.com). Let me know what you think! With love to you all, BPOF!


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Fat, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Fed Up Movie, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader, Sugar Addiction

Git Outta Town!!

photo 1

Sometimes a little day trip out of town is just what the doctor ordered! My friend Mike and I hit the road yesterday for Central City, CO. It was a beautiful drive through several forests and mountain towns. The fall foliage was spectacular, the sky was bluer than sky blue, and the temperature was deliciously warm.

Central City is an old mining town wayyyy up high in the mountains at 8,510 feet and it’s full of beautiful Victorian architecture. The streets are incredibly steep and it’s a hell of a workout for the butt and thighs to just walk around and look at this beautiful place.

In addition to the gorgeous Victorian architecture, the city is also home to several casino/restaurants, so Mike and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch and then wasted some money playing video poker. I know I have the potential to be a gamblaholic because I become completely convinced that I am going to WIN BIG! Forty dollars later, I felt a little hung over and we hit the road for the drive back to Boulder.

Overall it was such a beautiful day and so wonderful to get out of town and see some beautiful scenery. Of course, we asked ourselves, why don’t we do this more often? It was so fun and uplifting.

On Monday we will head up to Estes Park to see the elk bugling! This of course is their mating call that the male elk make in the fall, trying to entice the females to do a little elk-boots-knocking. Check back on Monday night, you may find a little elk porn on this page.

Hope you all enjoy a spectacular weekend! Peach out!

photo 3


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, I love blue sky, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Central City, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

First WHO report on suicide prevention

Anyone else read it? I loathe the World Health Organisation as much as I loathe the United Nations and the World Bank, by the way. I am riddled with bitter third world bias. Also, this.

It’s an insubstantial report that could have been written by anyone with internet access, but no doubt cost a fortune and wasted fuckloads of time. In amongst the stats and blather, there are a few points that relate to WHO’s global edict that all countries must have a suicide prevention plan.

Here we go.

Suicides are preventable

Apart from denying the right to die, which is a whole other argument, that’s one hell of an ambitious and sweeping statement, isn’t it? But that’s the party line and a quick google shows that that’s what society wants to believe.

Reducing access to means of suicide is one way to reduce deaths.

Would they like to simply incapacitate anyone who admits or is found to be suicidal, or lower all heights, blunt all sharps etc? Of course, the most successful suicide method tends to be firearms, perhaps they’ll disarm the planet and sing Kumbaya instead.

Other effective measures include responsible reporting of suicide in the media, such as avoiding language that sensationalizes suicide and avoiding explicit description of methods used, and early identification and management of mental and substance use disorders in communities and by health workers in particular.

Not quite sure why media, mental disorders and addiction landed up in the same sentence; that’s sloppy writing and editing right there. In terms of media, google sensationalization of suicide to get some idea of the work already being done in that field. The aim is to reduce the Werther Effect (copycat suicides). As for the mental and addiction disorders stuff – yes please. Nothing wrong with that paragraph’s suggestions, or the next one either.

Follow-up care by health workers through regular contact, including by phone or home visits, for people who have attempted suicide, together with provision of community support, are essential, because people who have already attempted suicide are at the greatest risk of trying again.

Sigh. The next reports ought to be interesting. So far so utopian – and this in a climate of global recession.

WHO recommends countries involve a range of government departments in developing a comprehensive coordinated response. High-level commitment is needed not just within the health sector, but also within education, employment, social welfare and judicial departments.

It would be great to think that ideals and plans like these could work. What do you guys think? I can’t help thinking same old paper trail. It’s a lazy report.

International Impact

I've made it across the pond!

A UK website referenced one of my Huffington Post articles!

I feel so honored.

Here's the article.

As Promised Hole Pics

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I’m still feeling like crap but you can see what is happening at the lot. Wanted to share.

I’m slightly manic so I am talking a mile a minute even though I feel like ca-ca/

Such is life.