Daily Archives: August 10, 2016

Mental Illness Not a Factor in Most US Gun Violence, Study Finds

http://m.voanews.com/a/us-gun-violence-mental-illness/3373716.html


Study: News Stories Often Link Violence With Mental Health Illness, Even Though People With Mental Health Illness Are Rarely Violent – 2016 – News Releases – News – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

This study is helpful in describing the problem, but we need the numbers.  Does anyone have more information on violence and mental illness?  We specifically need the numbers (%) of violent crimes perpetrated BY people with severe mental illness vs violent crimes perpetrated AGAINST people with severe mental illness.

Also, please share this article widely.  We must dispel the myth that every mass murderer/terrorist is “mentally ill”!

http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2016/study-news-stories-often-link-violence-with-mental-health-llness-even-though-people-with-mental-health-illness-are-rarely-violent.html


Folie à Deux

I Am My Mother

Mom and Dad 60s Hazel Filter 672 x 672

Caveat: Please understand that delusional thought processes are SYMPTOMS of mental illness. I feel compassion, even as I feel pain and anger as someone negatively affected by parental delusional thoughts. I, too, have experienced delusional thoughts and bizarre impulses. I’m heir to familial mental illness. I get it.

I wrote this, I submitted this for online publication with the Feminine Collective, with great trepidation. Will I hurt those I love? Probably. Is it worth it to tell the truth, to let people know what it is like to live under the shadow of unacknowledged, untreated mental illness? I pray that the good outweighs the pain. I pray for understanding and compassion.

By the way, a paternal relative thanked me for sharing this piece on Facebook, for it helped that relative to understand. Mental illness when untreated and unacknowledged can cause great pain to extended family members.


This is my story, my perspective, my understanding.

Folie à Deux

Taboo content
Folly of two
Folly, delusion, shared by my parents
I’ve protected them
Partly out of respect
Partly out of fear of the repercussions
Partly, for my sister who is protective of their privacy
We grew up under the shadow of a bizarre distorted thought process
Symptomatic of mental illness
Originated by our mother
Backed up by our father
In front of us, since we were young, our mother would attack our father
Claiming that both his mother and his sister wanted to have sex with him
My sister and I would look across the table
For our reality check
No, our grandmother and our aunt did not want to have sex with our father
Our mother was crazy
Yes, I am heir to her illness
Anyway, after our mother would verbally abuse our father
In front of us, her daughters
With unfounded disgusting incestuous claims
She would storm off to her bedroom
Leaving our father with us
Then he, our father, made us apologize to our mother
We would ask why we hadn’t done anything
Mom had been abusive to HIM
We just witnessed it
We did nothing wrong
He would respond that
She just didn’t feel appreciated
She needed our attention
He would throw us under the bus
Use us as his buffer
Not only NOT protect us, but use us
My father would join my mother in her belief system
That thought process, that dynamic
Put a wedge between our aunt and us
Between our paternal grandparents and us
My sister and I didn’t even go to our paternal grandparents’ funerals
For fear of how our mother would react
She would have considered it a betrayal
I’ve had to tread carefully over the years
As I’ve befriended my paternal extended family over Facebook
My aunt, my godmother, my namesake
She and I have spoken a few times over the years about this dynamic
I reassured her that neither my sister nor I believed any of it
We knew it was sick
I know my mother is sick and my father has joined her
I once saw a home-movie of my mother
She danced in circles around the rest of her family
I saw myself in her
Twirling rapidly around others as they simply stood still
Shit, I thought. I am my mother.
But with one major difference
I got help


Filed under: Acceptance, Bipolar Disorder, Family, Mental Illness, Poetry, Psychotic Thought Process Tagged: compassion, delusion, delusional thought process, enmeshed family dynamics, enmeshment, folie à deux, poor boundaries

Reblog – iCatCare Photography Competition Winners

Originally posted on Katzenworld:
We are delighted to announce the 12 winning images of the International Cat Care 2016 Cat Naps photography competition! The competition ran for six weeks from the start of April and attracted a record number of…

Wow, A Hell of A Way to Find Out You Have Bipolar!

http://www.papermag.com/model-stripped-naked-times-square-krit-mcclean-1964565511.html

 

Krit McClean, the male model who stripped naked in Times Square on June 30th, then jumped from the TKTS booth after police attempted to reason with, wrote a gutwrenching and brave piece for the New York PostNew York Post about his very public meltdown, and living with recently diagnosed bipolar disorder.

The essay, titled “A manic episode led me to strip naked in Times Square” highlights the 21-year-old’s undiagnosed mental illness, which seemed to reach a cataclysmic swell in the days and leaks leading up to the unfortunate June incident.

Krit articulated the early warning signs of the mental break:

It all started the week before. I became transfixed with the color yellow. I had never experienced anything so strange, but I didn’t realize anything was wrong.

I’m an artist, so I channeled this feeling into painting everything in my apartment yellow. I painted my shoes, clothes and photographs yellow and made a yellow costume to wear.

I also started following taxis.

I started to associate certain things with positivity and others with negativity. If I saw something I liked, like yellow, or art books or the Sullivan Street Bakery, I would gravitate to it.

After concern from his friends and family, Krit fled to his parents’ home the night before June 30th, believing people were coming to kill him.

“I have to sleep outside tonight,” I told my worried father. “People are coming, and they’re going to kill everyone in the family.” He stood in the doorway to block me, but I pushed him out of my way.

I walked to the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, took off my shoes so the “evil people” couldn’t hear my footsteps, and climbed over a cement wall to the water.

That night, I slept stretched out over the rocks, believing mermaids were keeping me safe.

The model and student at Columbia University describes the horror of waking up at Bellevue Hospital, shackled to his bed, with 13 stitches in his elbow from when he leapt onto the ground in Times Square.

He remained there for three weeks, after doctors diagnosed him as bipolar, which he had self-medicating with marijuana to keep at bay for years.

Now on medication, and continuing with extensive therapy, Krit is hoping to rebuild his life, as the incident has temporarily damaged his career and education; many of his punishments brought about by the unfortunate stigma of mental illness in our culture.

I’m still trying to fix the damage in other parts of my life. Ford Models no longer represents me. Columbia is holding a disciplinary hearing. I faced criminal charges in court.

Most reactions have been punitive and don’t come from a place of understanding of mental illness. That is why I am going public — to help others with mental illness who battle constant judgments and stigmas. In sharing my experience, I hope to start a dialogue. I’m now involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

We can all relate to being judged and misunderstood. We have all at some point been the “weird” one, whether in the classroom, gym or office. But if we approach each other with empathy, openness and sensitivity instead of judgment, we might just learn from one another.


2nd Anniversary of bipolar1blog!

bipolar1blog 2nd year

Got this message from WordPress.com yesterday! It was TWO years ago that I started my blog, bipolar1blog.com ! Quite amazing! Writing it has been cathartic, therapeutic, a learning experience, and a growing experience. I am also, now, blogging on HuffPost and IBPF, which has been a huge thrill and very rewarding. My best blog post to date is this little post called “Extended release vs. Immediate release” at: https://bipolar1blog.com/2014/12/31/extended-release-vs-immediate-release/  I have 712 posts, and more than 12% of views have been of the above post! When I wrote it, it had never occurred to me that this would be my most popular post! Sometimes, things have a life of their own and you cannot predict outcomes.

Anyway, I am so grateful for the thunderbolt that struck my brain which caused me to start my blog. I plan on continuing to write, my experiences, as well as science and information posts.

So happy to be a part of the blogosphere!:-)

 


Another Caption this Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another “Caption This” contest. Here is this weeks photo:   Here are the rules: Put in the comments section what you think this weeks caption should be. If you post more than one caption, it is considered cheating, and that is okay with me. This is dog eat dog. All entries must…

The post Another Caption this Wednesday appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

School III

So my youngest one was finally picked up at a reasonable hour this morning.  THis afternoon’s going to be hectic because I have to take and go to Jackson for my middle one to get her allergy shot.  So I am not looking forward to that.  Rachel enjoyed her first day of band so that was good.

Bob is sick today.  Our church is being renovated and he cannot go without  feeling bad after he leaves.  They’ve ruled out pneumonia in his chest so he is taking steroids to try to make it where he doesn’t hurt to breathe.  In practical terms, it means he can’t go back to services until they’re finished with the work–which could be another couple of months.  I feel so bad for him.

I haven’t had to take Xanax the past few days. I guess my class really was stressing me out.  But I have until the 25th before we start again.  Hopefully I can stay calm and just have good days from here on out    I did get back in bed and sleep in after the bus came by and slept for another couple of hours.   But I feel fine now.  Got laundry done already and have the rest of the day to do what I want, I suppose.

 

 


Living with Bipolar

img_0943 img_0618Was on vacation in Nantucket last week, perhaps you saw the photos. Had a lovely time, but on the way back, had a meltdown. Sobbed all the way home, at the airports. I was afraid if security saw me, they would detain me from flying, so tried to cry very quietly. My crying had nothing to do with any world/political issues (though IS and Trump do reduce me to tears), it was, once again, fear for my son. It was massive anxiety, bordering on panic, about my son’s future. Will he be able to have a happy, healthy, loved life, will he find a job, be successful, be happy, clean his apartment, (haha)? And the emotions with all those questions and the awful fears that accompanied them almost had me screaming and pulling out my hair. Thank goodness, almost, because I was at the airport. Mostly I just sat there crying, huge amounts of anxiety surging in my chest, and not talking to my husband, or being angry at him for various reasons. At the time, I did not have the insight to completely convince myself that this was an anxiety, bordering on panic, attack. It did occur to me at moments, but I was not completely convinced. Got home, took my medication and went to bed. The next morning woke up, had all the anxious thoughts running through my head again. Punched the mattress, literally, to try to clear my head. Made myself get up, made coffee, drank it. Felt better. Then all of a sudden, like a light bulb turning on, all the darkness disappeared. And I was left asking myself “What the hell was that?” I also answered myself: anxiety and panic. Of course some anxiety and fears about my son’s future are natural but not to this degree. The bottom had fallen out again, and yes, it was bipolar to blame. I called my husband at work to apologize for the emotional storm, no answer. Called him twice more, no answer. Finally wrote him an email apologizing for some of the things I’d said to him and for falling apart, seemingly for no reason. Finally talked to him, he understood, he understands my illness, we have lived together for more than 30 years! It occurred to me that no one else has to apologize for symptoms of their illness like people with mental illness do. But then, our symptoms are behavioral and come with verbal volleys and they are hurtful to the people we direct them against, so we apologize. I mean if you get a fever, you don’t hurt someone else’s feelings, but if you scream at them out of anxiety or an activated fight or flight response, you very well may hurt someone’s feelings… so apologies must follow some attacks of mental illness.

Anyway, thankfully, I am fine now. Keep thanking my lucky stars and taking deep breaths. Last night I even read the newest Bridget Jones book, which is funny and annoyingly chaotic. But still fun. Today I went to the grocery store to replenish our food stores as we’d been on vacation for a while, and before that I was in Buffalo for three weeks. Cooking dinner tonight. Actually have decided I don’t like cooking much anymore, it makes a big mess and you only get one fresh meal out of it. Ok, till next time, gotta go make dinner. Also, I am doing a post with a friend called “Physical and Mental Illnesses: Two Stories” I’ll post that soon, we’re actually going to make videos of the same questions we both answer, he about his physical illness, and I about my mental illness. TTFN.

PS

I try really hard NOT to go to “Why me?” land? I don’t ask “What have I done to deserve this infernal illness that steals my joy and peace of mind?” There is no point in wallowing in self pity, you go through it, you pick yourself up and you go on. That’s all there is to do!

PPS

So happy to be back, posting again. Had a long dry spell. Thankfully it’s over, and I am writing again:-) I’ll be catching up on all my reading of blogposts as well. XXXOOO


One Train, Two Buses and a Bicycle

These days I’m doing the short miles. A 3 mile round trip to the station 3 times a week  to get the train to go to work. Most weeks a 6 mile round trip into the centre of town. Urban, utilitarian, purposeful miles. Even then, they lift my mood. Even these short distances that hardly register a heart beat or trouble my lungs, are good for me. I know I need to be clocking up the miles, climbing the hills and enjoying the descents in the countryside that sits on my doorstep. I’ve stopped telling myself that I should. ‘Should’ doesn’t help. ‘Should’ sits on my shoulders and harms my posture. ‘Should’ wags its finger at me and reminds me of my failings.

These days, however the short downhill trip to the station on my way to work is full of dread. It’s not my job I dread, but the certainty that my journey home will be a trial.

For those of you blessed not to live in, and rely on trains to get you about, in the south east of England a little background is necessary. Since around the middle of April the trains in the south east have been – how can I put this? – erratic. Cancellations, delays and many more broken down trains than usual. Announcements of fires in signal boxes scarcely raise an eyebrow. And, yes, delays caused by ‘a body on the line.’ Replacement bus services’ are propping up my homeward – bound journeys.

Image result for a train, a bus and a bicycle

This chaos is mainly caused by what the station announcements describe as ‘staff sickness.’ This is code for unofficial strike action. This week, at least, they made it official and there is a 5 day strike. I’m working from home. Here is not the place to delve into the staff grievances, the poor performance of the train company and the passenger protests at stations in London and Brighton, however.

What I am writing about here started on 17 October 2000 just outside Hatfield, a town north of London. A train came off the tracks resulting in the death of 4 passengers and injuries to a further 70.

The Hatfield disaster.

I wasn’t there, I have never been there. Never travelled through there, and, most probably, I never will. I didn’t know anyone on the train, either. But the events of that day echo still for me. Back then I was commuting to London by train. No bike ride to the station (it was a 5 minute walk.) But there was an underground train and a bus ride after that to get me to the mental health service I was running back then. The impact that the Hatfield disaster had on me was a significant factor in the onset of my mental health problems that were first recognised by me and my doctors the following March.

The reason for the derailment at Hatfield was that there were cracks in the rails. Train companies could not simply stop running services while the entire network was checked. But what they could do is have the rains running at half the speed they would do normally. So my ride to London was reduced to a 30mph speed limit, doubling the length of an already long trip – there and back. Trains were cancelled, station concourses teemed with despairing passengers in varying states of despair and resignation. I can clearly recall being unable to even get into the station for the crowds of people waiting more in hope than expectation that a train would arrive to (eventually) take them to where they needed to be. Finding a seat on a train was no guarantee either. I can still recall like it was last week finally sitting on a train that would take me home after somehow having done a day’s work only to hear an announcement to say that that train would not be going anywhere and that the train 3 platforms away would be leaving for home right then. I remember running to get there only to join crowds 3 deep waiting for a train, any train, to appear. And then there was another announcement about another train on another platform … and the crowd surged again. I can’t recall what happened next, but you get the picture. This situation continued for weeks, months as the tracks were checked and repairs made.

There have not been any derailments, no passengers killed or injured. But the same uncertainty and unpredictability is there, coming back in waves every working day. And all this and I only have to travel 3 days per week. And it’s not a busy commuter line on the scale of those journeys to London that I used to make 5 days per week.

Lockerbie

Yes, I remember the place –

The station. One dull afternoon

The train drew up there

Unexpectedly.

 

Before the town was reached

From the windows I saw

The usual picture-postcard scenery.

The sheep – cropped fields revealed

 

Not a hint of catastrophe.

A few passengers looked up,

And jolted from a Sunday doze

They saw the place name and froze.

 

Opposite me a woman wept.

Some people came aboard,

And passed on the baton of heir grief

To those who left. The place’s name

 

Was not observed by all.

Noses stuck in books some read on

As car parks, new housing. dull fields,

Were quickly passed then gone.

Brian Patten (1946 – )

Here is a link to the historical background to the poem:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103