Daily Archives: November 7, 2014

Veterans Day

This #VeteransDay, honor #Veterans and Service members by spreading the word that one call, one chat, or one text can open the door to 24/7, confidential support. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or learn more about #ThePowerOf1 at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/ThePowerOf1.Filed under: … Continue reading

Free At Last!

I’m back home after a full week in the hospital, and to say that I feel much better would be an understatement. I took advantage of all the psych unit had to offer in the way of group therapy and one-on-one sessions with the nurses, and now I have a box of shiny new tools to use when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Going inpatient was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, and my experiences in the unit were good ones. I bonded with several of my fellow “inmates”, and we made plans to stay friends on the outside. And I wasn’t even claustrophobic, though I knew I was behind three locked doors and could not possibly get out. Shut away from the outer world, I actually felt safe and protected for the first time in many months, and more than once I wondered why I’d been so scared of the hospital in the first place.

My official diagnosis now is Bipolar 1 with severe depression. At first I thought that was a little harsh, but I’ve long suspected I would be given that diagnosis at some point because my manias are so bad and my depressions even worse. Still, it was a bit of shock to see it in black and white on my chart, and I know it’ll never revert back to NOS or even BP 2 because BP 1 is the most severe version of the disorder, and that’s a forever thing. As is the illness itself.

And there goes the very last of the denial.

Even up until my admission, I’d been toying with the idea that since I’ve had three depressive episodes and no mania in the past year, I wasn’t really bipolar, just depressed. I hate to admit that, because it doesn’t work that way and as a clinician I know it. The meds merely suppressed the mania while not quite controlling the depression. And speaking of meds, I got a tune-up and now am on a crapload of Lamictal as well as more Zyprexa. I’m probably never going to come off that stuff…..but then, I’m at the point where I don’t really care anymore, because the alternative is worse. I don’t want to feel the way I did a week ago ever again.

It is somewhat discouraging to know that my disease has progressed over the 2 1/2 years since the original diagnosis, even with excellent care. But I’m no longer afraid of the hospital, and it’s reassuring to know I can go back if I become overwhelmed again. So maybe if there is a next time, I’ll do it sooner rather than wait until I’m desperately ill and have no choice. I have also GOT to call Dr. Awesomesauce when I start sliding in one direction or the other instead of trying to push through the episode. And I made Will promise that he would call if I refused to, even if I begged him not to. I never realized that my insight is just as poor in depression as it is in mania, and that I seldom recognize how sick I am when I’m in the thick of things.

I want to thank all of my readers for supporting me through this crisis. On my admin page, I can see where you have stuck with me and kept reading even though there’s been nothing new since Halloween, and I sincerely appreciate it. I hope I can return the favor; so if you ever find yourself in a bad situation, feel free to say so. You know where to find me. :-)



Self-Medication is a term that anyone with bipolar disorder has probably heard. Self-Medication is simply abusing substances to relieve other problems. Substances generally refers to non-prescribed drugs and alcohol. Health.com reports that approximately 56% of people suffering from bipolar disorder have a substance abuse problem. I would be willing to bet that in addition to that figure, a number of people use alcohol or drugs but are not labelled as having a substance abuse problem, either because they use infrequently or because they don’t disclose.

People self-medicate to deal with bipolar symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. As well, when someone is in a manic episode, they could self-medicate because of the mania symptoms including risk-taking, poor judgement and euphoria. Though people turn to drugs or alcohol to make symptoms better and to control the moods, they often have the reverse effect. Their “drug of choice” has the potential to interfere with their prescribed medications, their brain chemistry, and how the two interact. Self-medicating also effects the rate of medication compliance – not following your treatment plan as set out by your doctor. Relief from substance use or abuse is short and does not address the main illness.

Dr. Bryan Tolliver reports that patients with bipolar disorder who self-medicate have more mood swings, more and lasting hospitalizations, higher rates of suicide attempts, and more mixed episodes. Alcohol and drugs can trigger depressive and manic episodes in some people with bipolar. And those with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop an addiction.

I don’t mean to imply that people with bipolar disorder are all drug addicts or alcoholics. But rather that those who have bipolar are simply more likely to seek relief. When you’re suffering the way you do with bipolar disorder, any relief is welcomed. I used to self-medicate. I am now of the mind that it works against my prescribed treatment plan by my doctors and I no longer try to control my illness that way. But it’s a constant battle.

Vincent Van Gogh

I have a passion for Vincent Van Gogh, so I try to schedule a post about him every year. However, looking back I see I typically write about him every 6 months or so. The following is a repost of an article I wrote in May of this year. Most of my readers know my […]

The post Vincent Van Gogh appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

What it is like being Bipolar

There was a ‘nubie’ on line who posed the question; what is it like for other bipolars out there? And in answering that question I started a reply which I thought really summed up just who I am and what I … Continue reading

If I hear ‘what’s wrong with you?’ one more time, I’ll explode.

Ever have one of those days where you just can’t crack a smile, no matter what happens? Well today is one of those days and I am sick of hearing ‘What’s wrong with you?’ It’s like a mantra today coming … Continue reading

Writings from the Mother of Bipolar Disorder Part 7: Giving Back

pic for bbMy mother has written six blogs that have touched many lives.  She has been an advocate all my life and by sharing our struggles and giving great advice, she has quite the following.  Writings from the Mother of Bipolar Disorder

My mother has been struggling with cancer for quite awhile. She has never given up, but the cancer is winning.  She is currently in Hospice.  We are hoping for a miracle, but have all accepted that my mom will be entering heaven soon to join her father who passed away a few years ago.

I have started a Caring Bridge site for her if you would like to follow her journey.  Also, we have started a scholarship fund and although I normally don’t post fund raisers on any of my social media sites, I am going to make an exception here.  If you have been reading my mom’s blogs and/or like my blogs, please consider donating to our cause that is in lieu of flowers.

My mom helped me organize an event called Embrace Life Day last year that dealt with healthy living, but had a focus on mental health.  It was a free community event with free food, games, entertainment, speaker from Wounded Warrior Project, inflatables and more.

We had over 45 exhibitors and approximately 350 attended. It could have never happened if it weren’t for her.

She recently told us that her favorite job was as a school.  Her compassion made her a nurse who kids wanted to go see. She “adopted” some of them.  She brought some home with her and took others shopping to buy things for their parents for Christmas. My mom has such a kind heart.  She is beautiful inside and out.  I have to say the beautiful part because everyone always says that my sisters and I all look like my mom.  :)

Our family has decided that in lieu of flowers, we will be asking people to pay into a scholarship fund.  We will use this fund to set up scholarships on an annual basis for the kids who attended her poverty-stricken home.

We would appreciate anything. If you can’t help, please pass this on to some one else.

I have not been on lately because we have all been by my mom’s side as much as we can during her decline that started about 3 months ago.

If you would like to share how my mom has helped you or if you would just like to send my family and I a message, please go to Sue Lande’s Carebridge account.  You can also see pictures of her, see what others wrote in the guest book, and read our journal updates.

Thanks for being followers of my mom. I would share when people liked her blogs or commented on them.  She thought I was kidding when I told her she was famous.  She might not have been exactly famous, but her blogs were doing better than mine. :)

Sue Burghardt Lande ScholarshipFund






I’m So Whiney

I just have a cold. Sure I feel like complete shit but people have so many worse problems. They don’t whine as much as I’ve been whining.

All I did today was lay around doing nothing and feeling like poop. Nothing even write worthy. Yet I promised I would write every day. So I apologize in advance for the fluff piece.

IBPF West Coast Meeting


This Sunday, November 9, I will be attending the Consumer Track of the First Annual West Coast Meeting of the International Bipolar Foundation in Anaheim, CA. To register, go here and choose:

  • Consumer Rate – IBPF Meeting ONLY: $25.00 (Consumer Track Agenda)
  • Regular Rate – 1-Day IBPF Meeting ONLY: $99.00 (Clinician Agenda)
  • Regular Rate – Early Bird Rate – 2-Day Co-Located Meeting with Psych Regionals (11/8/14) AND IBPF (11/9/14): $159.00.

The First Annual IBPF West Coast Meeting features focused education designed to improve the understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Storytelling as a Recovery Tool
  • Bipolar Disorder and Addiction
  • Youth and Bipolar Disorder
  • Lived Experiences


IBPF 1st Annual West Coast Meeting Consumer Track Itinerary

IBPF Consumer Track Agenda


IBPF Clinician Itinerary

IBPF Clinician Itinerary

Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, IBPF, Mental Health, Recovery Tagged: bipolar disorder, Consumer Rate, Consumer Track Agenda, First Annual West Coast Meeting