Daily Archives: December 30, 2014

Bipolar Network News

Today I quote the fabulous Bipolar Network News, 6th issue, 2014. The Bipolar Network News keeps track of the latest research on bipolar disorder and its treatment and summarizes it for you. How awesome is that?! I highly recommend visiting their website and signing up for their newsletter. Thank you, Bipolar Network News!

bnnheader

In this issue

Welcome to the sixth issue of Bipolar Network News for 2014. Click on the links below to read more research on each topic! You may also access PDFs of our complete print archives here.

You can also sign up for more information on our new Child Network, a research network to collect information on how children with mood disorders or at risk for them are being treated in the community, and how well it is working. The network will be up and running in a few weeks.

POSITIVE TRAITS ASSOCIATED WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER

twins

New research from studies of twins indicates that positive traits like verbal ability and sociability are common in families with bipolar disorder.

We also review the the FDA-approved treatments for bipolar depression and discuss cariprazine, a new atypical antipsychotic.

Back to top^

 BIPOLAR DISORDER IN CHILDREN AND TEENS

child
In a new study lamotrigine was more effective than placebo at extending the time until a next mood episode in 13- to 17-year-olds.

In siblings, bipolar disorder is 25 times more likely to occur when the father is older (over age 45) than younger.

Offspring of parents with bipolar disorder are at high risk for mood disorders. When parents are ill (as opposed to recovered), onset is likely to occur earlier.

It appears that some vitamin and mineral preparations may be helpful for children with bipolar disorder, who are likely to have low levels of vitamin D.

Lithium was superior to placebo in reducing the severity of mania in a study of children and teens. Lithium also increased white matter volume.

We provide tips for differentiating between ADHD and bipolar disorder in adolescents and children.

Back to top^

DEPRESSION AND ANTIDEPRESSANT TREATMENTS

woman

The antidepressant vortioxetine appears to improve cognition in depressed patients.

An extract of the spice saffron may be able to treat mild depression.

A recent study finds no substantial risk of infant cardiac problems resulting from antidepressant use during pregnancy.

We review a variety of treatments with rapid-onset antidepressant effects, including intravenous ketamine and scopolamine, one night of sleep deprivation, and inhaled isoflurane.

After some failures in using deep brain stimulation to treat depression, a change in the positioning of electrodes led to better results.

Back to top^

FINDINGS FROM ANIMAL STUDIES

rat

In a rodent model of depression, antidepressants fluoxetine and desipramine and the drug ketamine made animals more resilient. Antidepressants and ketamine were also able to reverse learned helplessness.

A fascinating new technology called CLARITY makes it possible to view mammalian brain structure and connectivity by replacing lipids in an animal’s brain with a hydrogel substance, rendering the brain transparent.

Back to top^

MARIJUANA AND METH FINDINGS

marijuana

Halting marijuana use might improve memory in adolescents.

We describe how the chemicals in marijuana work in the brain.

Methamphetamine kills dopamine neurons in the midbrain of mice.

Back to top^

INFLAMMATION AND OTHER RESEARCH

blood

The inflammatory marker NF-kB is elevated in adolescent bipolar disorder.

The ratio of cortisol to c-reactive protein has different effects in women and men.

Flavanols, found in cocoa and tea, may improve age-related memory loss.

Statins may prevent cardiovascular risk in patients with bipolar disorder.

We compare the effect sizes of various autism treatments.

Back to top^

Contact the Bipolar Network News

Bipolar Collaborative Network
5415 W. Cedar Lane
Suite 201B
Bethesda, MD 20814

Email


Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Dual Diagnosis, Health, Medication, Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, bipolar research, bipolar treatment, bipolar depression, child and adolescent bipolar disorder

A Year of Creating

2014.  It's almost over.  Where did it go?  And so fast.  It's done and gone so fast.

And what do I have to show for it?

I love to look back on the year and see what's changed.  What did I get done that I wanted to and what plans fell in the gutter?  I especially love this look back since I've started choosing ONE WORD to guide my year (explained here).

Last year my word was CREATE.  I had so many great plans, while still leaving things open to the natural flow of my life and whatever the world would bring my way.  Some of my plans came to fruition.  Others, not so much.

I wanted to draw more.  I did, but not as much as I had planned.
I wanted to create the yard I'd been dreaming of.  I made progress, but not as much as I had planned (thank you hysterectomy).
I wanted to make my room a haven.  I did really well at this (although maintenance is tricky).

I had a list of words as part of my plan.  Some with obvious meaning, others more ethereal.  I created a vision canvas to help guide me.  I hung it on my closet door and referred to it often, to just kind of check in with myself.

I wanted to create:
     - peace
     - stability
     - strength
     - refuge
     - dragonflies*
     - healing
     - haven
     - space
     - calm
     - wellness
     - sanctuary
     - satisfaction
     - fortitude
     - oasis
     - happiness
     - gargoyles*
     - garden
     - structure
     - dragons*
     - wholeness
     - atonement
     - shelter
     - freedom
     - health
     - joy
     - self
     - focus
     - safety
     - divinity
     - dreams
     - escape
     - order

*I didn't want to create dragonflies, gargoyles, or dragons; I wanted to incorporate them into my life.  I love them in a magical way.  They sing to my heart.  I did learn to draw a basic dragonfly that I'm happy with.  I'm still searching for just the right gargoyle(s).  But as for the dragon, I'm not there yet.  I wanted to learn to draw one.  I have some ideas, and a tutorial for a basic one, but no finished product.  I still have today and tomorrow.  Maybe I'll get it done before the year is over.

As for the others on my list, I have had a certain measure of success on all of them.  And that's why the ONE WORD idea works for me.  I don't have to be perfect (perfectionism is a struggle I have).  I keep it very open, loosely defined.  It's a guide, not a restriction.  Even with all the struggles and health issues I had this last year, I'm calling it a win!

I'll keep my vision canvas for CREATE up for a while.  I love the ideas it contains and it makes me happy.  And I'm eager to create one for my new word for 2015.  It's just the perfect word for my life right now.  That will be my next post.

Half of a Holiday


 
 
The first Christmas a week away from being divorced.  I don’t think I could have planned the convergence of these two events any better.  It sounds like the beginning of some really awful chick flick where the protagonist is drunk on Baileys and eggnog and Peppermint Schnapps, bemoaning the end of all that is good, all that is possible, before she throws up all over her best friend and her favorite shoes, and maybe her fluffy white dog, too.  Thankfully, I’m almost four years sober and my favorite beverage, à la Gilmore Girls, is coffee, and my best friends only have to put up with my occasional descent into “woe is me” and I don’t own any fluffy white anything unless you count my daughter’s super soft, white throw blanket, which is hers and hers alone.

But that doesn’t mean this has been an easy Christmas.  I’ve been calling it my Half of a Holiday.  It started with the division of the Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving.  They were still all over at C’s house in the basement waiting for us to split them up.  All the ornaments we’d collected together, as a married couple over the twenty years together.  The cheap toy soldiers bought when we were graduate students from the dollar store in Houston that decorated our tiny first tree that lasted miraculously all these many years.  The glass “Baby’s First Christmas” tree for Sophia.  The black lab for April, our first beloved dog who died several years back.  Ornaments the kids made for us in their preschool years.  An angel Sophia made as a tree topper.  How to divide any of them?  How to take one and not the other?  We sat in the livingroom, with the ornaments in piles—Sophia’s handmade ones; Alexander’s handmade ones; ones we’d been given; ones we’d bought—and just started taking turns choosing.  My heart splitting open with each choice.  I want a Sophia and an Alexander and a Sophia and an Alexander.  Not an either or.  And then it was over and our piles were half piles and my tree was half full.

Under the tree was half full, too as I was working with half the funds for Christmas shopping that I normally would be working with.  This Christmas has been a lesson in humility and economy but also gratitude.  There were moments when I would feel ashamed that I couldn’t pile up the presents beneath the tree for my kids.  What’s the word?  Plenty.  The other word?  Abundance.  Visual abundance.  I wanted them to be bowled over by all the gifts like they have been used to every year.  The pile-up of presents.  I wanted them to know that I could give them everything they wanted.  That I could do it on my own.  (Really, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  Pride.)  And of course, I imagine if you added the gifts their father was going to give them to the gifts I was giving them, they would have that abundance.  But my gifts on their own?  They didn’t look like much beneath the tree and all I could see was lack.  And I was sure they would see it, too: Mom was only half capable.  Mom could only give half of a Christmas. But when Sophia and Alexander came over and saw the tree all lit up, and saw the presents beneath the tree, they didn’t see anything missing.  Instead, all they could say, over and over for two days straight, was, “There’s so many presents!  I can’t wait to open them!  I can’t believe they’re all for us!”  Where I saw not enough, they saw more than enough.

And then of course, it was half a holiday because I was only with my children for half the holiday.  This is how it will go from now on and on and on.  And I should be grateful as this is the easy year since C and I divided Christmas in half—I had the kids a few days up to and including Christmas Eve, he had them Christmas Day and the next several days.  It was not just a matter of decorating my house by myself, putting up the tree and the lights, hanging the garland up the staircase, it was the moments that revealed absence that were most painful.  And not even just the absence of the kids on the days and nights when they were with C., but the absence of C., the absence of the presence of marriage, of union, of there being four.  When I was hanging up the stockings and there were only three hanging from bannister.  Christmas cards arriving in the mail addressed only to me.  Attending holiday parties alone and everyone else at the parties in pairs.  Buying gifts for the kids, and in my excitement, having no one to show them to before wrapping them up.  Sitting in front of the tree late at night wishing there was someone I could talk to about the year that had passed.  Feeling only half of me was there.

So how did I fill up my empty half?  C. took the kids to Wisconsin for those days after Christmas.  I wasn’t going to sit in front of that tree alone wishing for what wasn’t anymore.  So I went to my family in New York for Broadway fun, shopping, movies, mani/pedi, laughter, connection, marathon talks, and a fancy haircut to boot.  A full New Year’s order.   

 

Half of a Holiday


 
 
The first Christmas a week away from being divorced.  I don’t think I could have planned the convergence of these two events any better.  It sounds like the beginning of some really awful chick flick where the protagonist is drunk on Baileys and eggnog and Peppermint Schnapps, bemoaning the end of all that is good, all that is possible, before she throws up all over her best friend and her favorite shoes, and maybe her fluffy white dog, too.  Thankfully, I’m almost four years sober and my favorite beverage, à la Gilmore Girls, is coffee, and my best friends only have to put up with my occasional descent into “woe is me” and I don’t own any fluffy white anything unless you count my daughter’s super soft, white throw blanket, which is hers and hers alone.

But that doesn’t mean this has been an easy Christmas.  I’ve been calling it my Half of a Holiday.  It started with the division of the Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving.  They were still all over at C’s house in the basement waiting for us to split them up.  All the ornaments we’d collected together, as a married couple over the twenty years together.  The cheap toy soldiers bought when we were graduate students from the dollar store in Houston that decorated our tiny first tree that lasted miraculously all these many years.  The glass “Baby’s First Christmas” tree for Sophia.  The black lab for April, our first beloved dog who died several years back.  Ornaments the kids made for us in their preschool years.  An angel Sophia made as a tree topper.  How to divide any of them?  How to take one and not the other?  We sat in the livingroom, with the ornaments in piles—Sophia’s handmade ones; Alexander’s handmade ones; ones we’d been given; ones we’d bought—and just started taking turns choosing.  My heart splitting open with each choice.  I want a Sophia and an Alexander and a Sophia and an Alexander.  Not an either or.  And then it was over and our piles were half piles and my tree was half full.

Under the tree was half full, too as I was working with half the funds for Christmas shopping that I normally would be working with.  This Christmas has been a lesson in humility and economy but also gratitude.  There were moments when I would feel ashamed that I couldn’t pile up the presents beneath the tree for my kids.  What’s the word?  Plenty.  The other word?  Abundance.  Visual abundance.  I wanted them to be bowled over by all the gifts like they have been used to every year.  The pile-up of presents.  I wanted them to know that I could give them everything they wanted.  That I could do it on my own.  (Really, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  Pride.)  And of course, I imagine if you added the gifts their father was going to give them to the gifts I was giving them, they would have that abundance.  But my gifts on their own?  They didn’t look like much beneath the tree and all I could see was lack.  And I was sure they would see it, too: Mom was only half capable.  Mom could only give half of a Christmas. But when Sophia and Alexander came over and saw the tree all lit up, and saw the presents beneath the tree, they didn’t see anything missing.  Instead, all they could say, over and over for two days straight, was, “There’s so many presents!  I can’t wait to open them!  I can’t believe they’re all for us!”  Where I saw not enough, they saw more than enough.

And then of course, it was half a holiday because I was only with my children for half the holiday.  This is how it will go from now on and on and on.  And I should be grateful as this is the easy year since C and I divided Christmas in half—I had the kids a few days up to and including Christmas Eve, he had them Christmas Day and the next several days.  It was not just a matter of decorating my house by myself, putting up the tree and the lights, hanging the garland up the staircase, it was the moments that revealed absence that were most painful.  And not even just the absence of the kids on the days and nights when they were with C., but the absence of C., the absence of the presence of marriage, of union, of there being four.  When I was hanging up the stockings and there were only three hanging from bannister.  Christmas cards arriving in the mail addressed only to me.  Attending holiday parties alone and everyone else at the parties in pairs.  Buying gifts for the kids, and in my excitement, having no one to show them to before wrapping them up.  Sitting in front of the tree late at night wishing there was someone I could talk to about the year that had passed.  Feeling only half of me was there.

So how did I fill up my empty half?  C. took the kids to Wisconsin for those days after Christmas.  I wasn’t going to sit in front of that tree alone wishing for what wasn’t anymore.  So I went to my family in New York for Broadway fun, shopping, movies, mani/pedi, laughter, connection, marathon talks, and a fancy haircut to boot.  A full New Year’s order.   

 

Half of a Holiday


 
 
The first Christmas a week away from being divorced.  I don’t think I could have planned the convergence of these two events any better.  It sounds like the beginning of some really awful chick flick where the protagonist is drunk on Baileys and eggnog and Peppermint Schnapps, bemoaning the end of all that is good, all that is possible, before she throws up all over her best friend and her favorite shoes, and maybe her fluffy white dog, too.  Thankfully, I’m almost four years sober and my favorite beverage, à la Gilmore Girls, is coffee, and my best friends only have to put up with my occasional descent into “woe is me” and I don’t own any fluffy white anything unless you count my daughter’s super soft, white throw blanket, which is hers and hers alone.

But that doesn’t mean this has been an easy Christmas.  I’ve been calling it my Half of a Holiday.  It started with the division of the Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving.  They were still all over at C’s house in the basement waiting for us to split them up.  All the ornaments we’d collected together, as a married couple over the twenty years together.  The cheap toy soldiers bought when we were graduate students from the dollar store in Houston that decorated our tiny first tree that lasted miraculously all these many years.  The glass “Baby’s First Christmas” tree for Sophia.  The black lab for April, our first beloved dog who died several years back.  Ornaments the kids made for us in their preschool years.  An angel Sophia made as a tree topper.  How to divide any of them?  How to take one and not the other?  We sat in the livingroom, with the ornaments in piles—Sophia’s handmade ones; Alexander’s handmade ones; ones we’d been given; ones we’d bought—and just started taking turns choosing.  My heart splitting open with each choice.  I want a Sophia and an Alexander and a Sophia and an Alexander.  Not an either or.  And then it was over and our piles were half piles and my tree was half full.

Under the tree was half full, too as I was working with half the funds for Christmas shopping that I normally would be working with.  This Christmas has been a lesson in humility and economy but also gratitude.  There were moments when I would feel ashamed that I couldn’t pile up the presents beneath the tree for my kids.  What’s the word?  Plenty.  The other word?  Abundance.  Visual abundance.  I wanted them to be bowled over by all the gifts like they have been used to every year.  The pile-up of presents.  I wanted them to know that I could give them everything they wanted.  That I could do it on my own.  (Really, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  Pride.)  And of course, I imagine if you added the gifts their father was going to give them to the gifts I was giving them, they would have that abundance.  But my gifts on their own?  They didn’t look like much beneath the tree and all I could see was lack.  And I was sure they would see it, too: Mom was only half capable.  Mom could only give half of a Christmas. But when Sophia and Alexander came over and saw the tree all lit up, and saw the presents beneath the tree, they didn’t see anything missing.  Instead, all they could say, over and over for two days straight, was, “There’s so many presents!  I can’t wait to open them!  I can’t believe they’re all for us!”  Where I saw not enough, they saw more than enough.

And then of course, it was half a holiday because I was only with my children for half the holiday.  This is how it will go from now on and on and on.  And I should be grateful as this is the easy year since C and I divided Christmas in half—I had the kids a few days up to and including Christmas Eve, he had them Christmas Day and the next several days.  It was not just a matter of decorating my house by myself, putting up the tree and the lights, hanging the garland up the staircase, it was the moments that revealed absence that were most painful.  And not even just the absence of the kids on the days and nights when they were with C., but the absence of C., the absence of the presence of marriage, of union, of there being four.  When I was hanging up the stockings and there were only three hanging from bannister.  Christmas cards arriving in the mail addressed only to me.  Attending holiday parties alone and everyone else at the parties in pairs.  Buying gifts for the kids, and in my excitement, having no one to show them to before wrapping them up.  Sitting in front of the tree late at night wishing there was someone I could talk to about the year that had passed.  Feeling only half of me was there.

So how did I fill up my empty half?  C. took the kids to Wisconsin for those days after Christmas.  I wasn’t going to sit in front of that tree alone wishing for what wasn’t anymore.  So I went to my family in New York for Broadway fun, shopping, movies, mani/pedi, laughter, connection, marathon talks, and a fancy haircut to boot.  A full New Year’s order.   

 

2014 in review for Bipolar1Blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for Bipolar1Blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


thou shall not make in thy flesh a scratch over the soul

{16 months of depression, 1 of a mixed state, 3 days of depression and counting.}

Tuesday

6pm – guinea fowl and coucal calls, heavy grey clouds. An abyss behind my ribs and I’m considering drawing the curtains and taking a sleeping pill. Got through the day somehow, it felt like struggling through a pea souper (fog, not actual soup…) and as this shitty day ends, I feel as though all of my bones are about to shatter. And I rather wish they would.

image

Meloncholia, he writes, “the quintessence of the nervous breakdown, reaches deep into the endocrine system, which governs the thyroid and adrenal glands among other organs.”  (Edward Shorter)

{Do you hoard any of your pills?}
{Have you drawn up your will?}

No psychosis for some weeks now. I can’t remember whether I’ve already blogged about the last time, so I’ll just carry on. You know psychosis happens with extreeeme stress, right. It was so quick … I was in my garden (picking up dog crap) and one of the neighbours came out and began to whinge about my dogs barking. I listened quietly – I really don’t want my dogs to be a pain in the ass. I asked her if it was happening every day and was about to ask whether she’d noticed it was worse at any particular time of the day, but she kept on and on and on and on and raised her voice and whined like a mosquito. I said ok, I’ve heard you and I can promise you I will do something about it. The whining continued and she attempted sarcasm at a level you really shouldn’t near someone British. Well I’m SORRY if my husband wants to watch TV and I’m SORRY if … pffft, novice. I said alright, please stop bitching now. All four foot fuckall of her puffed up (that was the moment she earned herself the name – the poison pygmy) and she said bitch?! Bitch! That is NOT the right word, you better be careful. And she said it as she was walking away. I don’t like that and I don’t like being spoken to in capital letters either. Anyway, she scurried off and I growled what exactly are you threatening me with? I’m a total wuss about conflict, most of the time and she was freaking me right out. I stayed calm, because that’s what I do when push comes to shove, the chips are down and the shit hits the fan. Sometime during her relentless whining though, everything else faded and I watched my own garden take shape, with incredibly oversaturated colours and a kind of a deep cracking sound. Then I pulled out a cowboyish revolver, stared at her and shot myself – blood sprayed from my skull. That’s what a fuckwit I am. My own brain manufactured suicide, rather than simply leaving, or gagging her or something. Postscript: she was actually talking total cobblers about the dogs barking like that, but I did some extra training and now they bark even less. And I’m working on a little jingle that goes the pygmy don’t dig me … I did my best to weave some flippancy there, but the truth is that when I got into my own house, I bellowed once and then cried violently for ages. Psychotic and crapped on and so damn sad and nobody there to lighten it and deflect me from taking it on so hard. Anyway, I can do it and in the end I did. Bleurgh.

image

The tattoos that most disturb people are the ones on my face. There’s no way of getting around them. There’s no way of asking me, “Ma’am, you think the Yankees will take the pennant?” or “Mrs. Ehrenreich, do you believe that Bauhaus furniture is coming back into fashion?” without the tattoos turning the cordial exchange into a mockery of chitchat.
That is the point. That’s the reason for their existence.
The Tattoo Artist – Jill Ciment

What a cool book, you should definitely read it.

7.25pm – I have that thing where you suddenly sigh, (heavier than heaven) because without being particularly conscious of it, your breathing is slow and audible. Well, mine is anyway. Perhaps it’s the sleeping pill. Heaven knows I’m miserable now.

I’ve been back in SA for just over two years now.

No lights on here tonight (as usual). I only switch them on if I’m cooking or something, otherwise I let the sky (and the f u c k i n g streetlight) do their thing. If I didn’t go outside every day I’d end up resembling Gollum. It’s quiet (just the rain), there are times when I’m scared somebody will speak to me, or need me to speak. My throat feels rusty. I have a kind of tightness from my throat, in a line that ends at my navel. Oh to hell with rumination. Ruination. To hell with clang associations too. I stay occupied/distracted as much as possible, the thought of the alternative freezes my veins. When it happens, it just hurts far too much. I don’t even deal with it when I write, I just squint into the sun and circle it, all the while whistling the intro to Gunsmoke.

The result is that I talk a lot of crap.

image

.
“Death! Write, write to ruin and the world’s ending!”

Of course that’s just a tweak of this:

“Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!”

I hope you recognised it but if not, it was Éomer, at the Battle of Pellenor Fields (RoTK, LoTR). The book, not the film. And some more just because I love it.

“Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!”

{Have you read Lord of the Rings?}

9pm – why the fruitbat am I still awake? Moar pill needed. Despair, despair, despair. Oh sod it all. I couldn’t wring out a tear right now if you paid me.

image

(The post’s title is the Jewish law forbidding tattoos.)

Thank You, Followers

Thank You

Thank you to all of my followers in 2014. Thank you especially to my five most active commenters in 2014:

Dyane Leshin Harwood of Birth of a New Brain | Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder made 169 comments

 

Ellen Stockdale Wolfe of Moonside | Triumph of Spirit in Love, Nature & Art at StockdaleWolfe.com made 88 comments

 

Mihran Kalaydjian of kmihran.wordpress.com made 81 comments

 

Glenn Archibald of Glenn2point0 | Opinions on Life, the Universe and Mental Things made 63 comments

 

philsblog01 of philgsblog.wordpress.com made 58 comments

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Gratitude, Writing Tagged: bipolar disorder, blog comments, Dyane Leshin Harwood, Ellen Stockdale Wolfe

I’m Feeling Led

I had planned to end and begin the years on a positive note, but I’m feeling heavy for a friend this morning.  She posted yesterday on Facebook something that alerted me that she was not doing well.  I spoke to her and found out that her husband left two days before Christmas and was not coming back as he had said he would to “work things out”.  I listened to her telling me the tale of the past six months in her marriage and tried to console her.  So many marriages dying around me. All people around my age and with children the age of mine.  I think how close Bob and I came to becoming a statistic and pray that some how these folks can find a way to forgive and put things back together again.

I especially pray for Christian friends to surround these couples and lift them up in prayer,  A friend of mine who divorced her husband after she discovered his affair said that she was “dropped” by various Christian friends afterwards.  I pray that doesn’t happen in these cases.  Divorce isn’t “catching”.  It’s just a very sad choice to make.  I hope I can be there for my friend and see what I can d for her.


#

image

image