Sunday, March 30, 2014

Five Things to do When You are in a Crisis is a wonderful wealth of information. They have the greatest images as well that not only entertain but dispense knowledge.

Today, I found one about being in a crisis. It describes the Five Things to do When you are in a Crisis.

As a person with Bipolar Disorder the next crisis could be right behind the corner. I have to be diligent about watching for triggers and making sure I'm emotionally and mentally balanced. Even with that diligence, a time may come when I end up in crisis.

I'm grateful for these tips.

1. Get busy. Taking action helps decrease your anxiety. Anxiety feeds on helplessness and feeling out of control. Action puts you back in the driver seat.

2. Get Connected. We are social creatures, humans usually come together to handle crisis because that is how we get through. You are worthy! Connect with someone.

3. Do research. Odds are that somebody else has been through it and out the other side. They can give you hope at the very least and great ideas at the best.

4. Be in the moment. Don't jump ahead. Focus on what you need to do right now.

5. Trust yourself. We have greater capacity that we think we have when we are put to the test. You have skills, I know you do, how else would you have gotten this far?

Aren't these great tips?

I hope that you put them somewhere close so that they are handy if/when you are in an emotional crisis.

Have a blessed day.

World Bipolar Day

World Bipolar Day (WBD) will be celebrating its inaugural year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder.  The vision of WBD is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and eliminate social stigma. Through international collaboration the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness. 
Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that represents a significant challenge to patients, health care workers, family members and our communities.  While growing acceptance of bipolar disorder as a medical condition, like diabetes and heart disease, has taken hold in some parts of the world, unfortunately the stigma associated with the illness is a barrier to care and continues to impede early diagnosis and effective treatment.  In order to address the disparity in how bipolar disorder is viewed in different parts of the world, the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD),the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) came together to work on the concept of a world bipolar day.

To get involved use the following documents:

(also available in Portuguese, SpanishThai)
Click here to view a worldwide map of advocacy groups

 Willem Nolen, current President of the ISBD, shares his enthusiasm about this initiative 
“When the ANBD, who came up with the idea, approached the ISBD we immediately decided that we should support it actively.  The initiative helps to achieve our goals to improve the lives of bipolar patients and their relatives.  We immediately invited the IBPF to join in the initiative and are excited to work with such a great group of organizations.  I am confident that World Bipolar Day will grow in the upcoming years and will help reduce stigma.”  
Muffy Walker, Founder and President of IBPF, said the following when asked why she felt it important to be involved with WBD, 
“As Martin Luther King once said, I have a dream that one day our nations will rise up and create all men equal. And I have a dream that my son, who has lived most of his life with bipolar disorder, will one day live in a nation where he will not be judged by his illness, but rather by the content of his character. I believe that World Bipolar Day will help bring my dream to fruition.”  
Manuel Sanchez de Carmona, ISBD President-Elect, believes that 
“WBD is an excellent opportunity for us [ISBD members] to reach out to patients, families and advocacy groups to invite them to work together on this global project to sensitize and bring awareness to bipolar disorders.  WBD is a platform to think global and act local – our vision will be attained with a motivated and strong local effort.”  
It is estimated that the global prevalence of bipolar disorder is between 1 and 2% and has been said to be as high as 5% and, according to the World Health Organization, is the 6thleading cause of disability in the world.  In order to address this global problem, we need a global solution.  With support from leading experts from around the world, groups like ANBD, IBPF, and ISBD are supporting efforts to investigate biological causes, targets for drug treatment, better treatments, better methods of diagnosis, the genetic components of the illness, and strategies for living well with bipolar disorder and this is just the beginning. Collaborations between research and advocacy groups are continuing to grow, and WBD is a tribute to the success of this strategy.  
Christine Saenz, a patient and blogger, explains,  
“I am so excited about this project and its message.  It is so important to educate the world and fight the stigma that is associated with mental illness.  Bipolar does not have to be scary. I am the face of Bipolar.  I am just like everyone else. With the right treatment plan, I am able to live a stable and happy life.” 
As the day draws near we encourage you to organize and publicize local events, which can be shared with the world through distribution on the WBD Facebook page (   The WBD page will host press releases for these events, as well as provide a place to post photos, stories and share inspiration with others who share the vision of WBD.  

For more information about WBD, or for any questions, comments, or event announcements, please contact Jill Olds at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Defines You?

This is a great quote:

"Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything."

What defines you?

Are you an A type personality? Do you have a set schedule and a routine? Do you live by the clock?

Are you more laid back and relaxed? Do you let the worries of the world worry about themselves and you live carefree?

Or, maybe you're a bit of both?

I checked the Internet about "what defines you" and I was amazed at the number of quotes there are from various people about defining yourself and what defines a person. I thought I'd share them with you.

"Don't let other people define you. It's not their life; it's not their story. Live your own life, and write your own story. Define yourself."

"Smile despite the circumstances and laugh throughout the pain. Life is full of hardships but it is how you deal with them that will, in the end, define you." -- Nishan Panwar

"Don't ever let a negative past define you, let it be a lesson that strengthens you and leads you on the right path to a positive, better and brighter future." -- Rashida Rowe

"Be able to define yourself at all times. Do not wait for someone else to come and define you. Accept and embrace your individuality. Be inspired to be the BEST YOU and never let no one get your self esteem down."

"It's not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me." -- Christian Bale

"It's not what you achieve, it's what you overcome. That's what defines your career." -- Carlton Fisk

"What you invest your tie in defines who you are." -- Todd Duncan

"Life experience is what defines our character, if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to. You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important." -- Nev Schulman

So, what defines you?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

8 Coping Strategies for Bipolar Disorder

Leading a balanced life can help make living with Bipolar Disorder more manageable. The strategies below are suggestions from real people who have had success in managing the illness. This is a list found on the National Association of Mental Illness website. I've found many of these suggestions helpful and I use all of them. They really work. I'd suggest you read through and see how you can find ways to cope with Bipolar Disorder.

Once we've gone through the list I would love to know what you do to help cope with having Bipolar Disorder.

1. Become an Expert. There are many excellent sources of information on Bipolar Disorder. Learn all you can about medications, keep up with the current research and treatment options, attend local conferences and network with other people at meetings and support groups. Build a personal library of useful websites and helpful books.

2. Recognize early symptoms. Learning your pattern of symptom development is key. Identifying certain stressors, times of year or other factors that trigger symptoms may help identify an emerging episode. This can prompt more aggressive intervention to prevent the worsening of symptoms. Don't be afraid to ask the people around you for help -- they can help monitor behavior.

3. Engage in your treatment. The relationship with your health care provider is fundamental to the successful management of Bipolar Disorder. To be partners, you both must develop a trust and a strong line of communication. Provide the information your health care provider needs to help you recover, including complete and honest reports about reactions to medications, improving or worsening symptoms and anything that could trigger stress.

4. Develop a plan. To reduce uncertainty and stress, know what to do in a crisis. Although it might be challenging to discuss your illness, get your loves ones, friends and health care providers to help. Most communities have a  crisis hotline or emergency walk-in centers, so know where they are and keep them handy.

5. Find support. Emotional support from others living with this disorder is an important part of recovery. It is helpful to share thoughts, fears and questions with others who have the same illness. Online message boards and groups found through social sites are good resources for connecting with others.

6. Avoid alcohol and substances. Drugs and alcohol disturb an already delicate emotional balance, and can also interact dangerously with medications. Both depression and mania make these drugs appear to be attractive options to "slow down" or "perk up", but the potential damage will block your road to recovery.

7. Get healthy, get rest. Maintain a well-balanced diet and engage in regular exercise. be sure to work to keep a regular schedule with adequate sleep. These strategies help to produce positive mental and physical health benefits. Try to incorporate low-key actives like mediation, yoga or Tai Chi into your life to help alleviate stress and achieve balance.

8. Get involved. If paid employment is not an option now, volunteer work can enrich your life, teach you useful skills and help create a sense of purpose and structure. Learning a new skill or immersing yourself in a hobby, particularly a creative one, can offer constructive alone time to help balance out a busy life. Engaging in your community - from coaching youth sports to helping your parks and neighborhoods stay clean and green - are all ways you can get involved with the world around you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Descent into Madness - Guest Post by Hope Pepitone

I found a wonderful person who also has Bipolar Disorder. I thought about the story she told me and realized it was a story that needed to be told to everyone. Read carefully so that you don't miss a word. She has something very valuable to say.

If you don’t know what manic is, like I didn’t and so many others don’t, manic or mania is madness, an excitement of sort, sometimes a feeling of euphoria or irritability. When you are manic, you could go days without sleep…. and then the qualm hits.

Let’s begin with my childhood.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been the sullen little girl who wasn’t allowed to “feel” my feelings. I grew up in a room for most of my adolescence, into which first started my inner beast, as I like to call it. I was the youngest sibling, and the rebellious young sprout that never seemed to get it together. My brother was always the cherished son who could do no wrong. He was praised, like some kind of little god. My mother had no problem bonding to his problems. But the teen that was forced to an empty room had no coping skills or support. My father was always working and when he wasn’t, he was off having an affair with a Russian stripper, which drove my mother to resent him and I think me as well.

I was exhausted by age 16.

I was, in my mind anyway, a blooming rose that was destined to die. Day in and day out, I would sit in the four-wall room, crying, starring, and wishing I were dead. So, inevitably that led to me dropping out of high school and pursuing a life shackled to my bed, so to speak. I didn’t eat. I didn’t talk to friends. I just cried, and slept. And when I say I slept, I would sleep for days. You would think someone would notice his or her own flesh and blood was not right, but again, no.

Now, lets move onto the crux that to this very day still scares me to death. My mother was a very perplexed individual. She would razz my insides straight down to the core and abash my heart, body, and life with no remorse at all. She was extremely abusive.

One strike from her hand upon my frail body forced me to resent everything within me.

I can remember her hitting me so bad that her hand had become deformed from the abuse. And do you think I was to blame? I would say you’re absolutely correct. Not one, “I’m sorry.” I lived scurrilously for years with no way out but to take it and bury it.

When I was 18, I met my first boyfriend, who was also abusive, but I needed someone to love me so badly that I would do anything and be with anyone who would even pay attention to me. To be brief, that ended badly, but I got a wonderful son out of that chaos. I would say it has been an abash form of unscrupulous events that was simply out of my control.

Flash forward to age 21. Most young adults would be out drinking and living what seems a normal functioning life. I couldn’t indulge in that. I had a child to worry about. Around three months old, during a feeding with my newborn child, I watched my mom die right in front of me. It wasn’t just insurmountable, even though the abuse weighed on me like a black cloud. I was hurting, yet again.

The pain didn’t stop there and I’m not sure if it ever will. But only a month after my mom’s death, my father met someone and they quickly moved into our house where I had lived for years. How could this be?

The abuse continued.

The crying continued.

That was when I was first hospitalized, at the age of 23. When I saw the psychiatrist, he simply pushed it off too: circumstantial depression and sent me on my merry way.

The cycles continued. And when I mean cycles, I jumped, literally from job to job, like it was my job to not have a job. If that makes sense. For some reason, I just couldn’t focus or function, like a “normal” person would…especially since, I was indeed, a single parent.

But I had no ambition, no motivation to get out of bed. I would lie there for days, crying, and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t help this beast that was inside of me rearing its ugly head.

Not only could I not hold a job, but I would move from one place to another within a three to six month period. I would find a guy, then my craziness would show, and we would break up. Again, the recurring cycle was swallowing me whole and I had no hope.

The interim seemed so despairing that I just wanted it to all end. I wasn’t sure if it was my life I wanted to end, or just the pain. I was elapsing into a despair that I just simply could not control! This accelerated sadness lasted until my adult life, and still with the same prognosis.

I was still losing jobs, still moving…etc. The qualm weighed so heavy on me, like a thrashing manic person. When you get to this point of utter despair, the anxiety is so rich with suicide that it bedaubs all over your life. You in fact are in darkness and the darkness is winning.

Years later, after my first hospitalization, I had a sort of epiphany, or a cry for help, whatever you want to call it. I was twenty-eight, the second time I went into this sort of bedlam, as I like to call it. I finally had the courage after all the years of torment. A connote of subconscious meaning took over my soul, whether it was bad or not. It still was a feeling of, “I need help!”

So, I checked myself into another psych ward, for trying to kill myself, waiting nine long hours to see, “The Great and Powerful Oz,” and you know what? When I saw him, I finally got the answer to why I was the way I was. Instead of all the guilt my family put on me and all the shame I felt for disappearing into a sense of instability, he muttered the following words: “well, you are Bipolar!”

My world turned upside down, and it all started to make sense. All the losing and quitting jobs after three months of working, then slipping into a deep depression, where I literally could not force myself to erect from that sweet, sweet bed. Finally, I felt relieved. The doctor prescribed a mood stabilizer, called Lamictal. I wish I could tell you more about it, but I’ve only been on it for a week, so we shall see what the future brings.

Once I got the diagnosis, like I said, I felt relieved. That slowly passed. The very next day, I couldn’t sleep. I was up for four days, until I saw my psychologist, who told me I was “manic.” Manic? I thought, ‘what the hell is manic?’ I know depression all too well, but this manic part… huh?

He briefly explained that my garrulous speech and my erratic behavior for the past ten years were signs of mania and depression. Hence, the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I was so adept in this depression for years that now, I have a mental illness! I guess the consequent of my sordid life was actually making sense, whether I liked it or not.

In conclusion, I am taking my medications and am trying to reintegrate my life. I’m not sure if I ever will, but that is my issue, you know, being newly diagnosed and all. I start therapy in two weeks and am trying to be hopeful. I am still manic. If you don’t know what manic is, like I didn’t and so many others don’t: manic or mania is, madness, an excitement of sort, sometimes a feeling of euphoria or irritability. When you are manic, you could go days without sleep…. and then the qualm hits.

For me, I sink into a deep depression, that like, I said earlier… I can’t avoid. Even with having a son, and being a single mother. NONE of that matters!! It’s a mental illness: it’s in your brain. You physically/emotionally cannot help it! The feelings are as tangible as a hug or as a knife coursing your wrist.

BUT, there is hope!

I struggle with this everyday, and probably will the rest of my life. Bipolar doesn’t just go away, but the medications and therapy can make a person live a more stable, joyous, productive life! This is why therapy and taking your medication is so incredibly important.

Please do not wait like I did to get help. I could have saved my family and myself a lot of heartache. So, the reason I decided to write this was not to wallow in my own self-pity, or have people feel sorry for me. I want the stigma against mental illness to be erased, even though it’s a fight.

I’m ready for it, and I hope you are as well.

There are so many Americans who don’t realize mental illness is an actual illness. A disease. Just like diabetes or Cancer. For those diseases you would have to take medication and go to treatment.

Just because the illness isn’t visible doesn’t mean it’s not real!

It’s living and breathing inside your mind and sadly more people need to be aware of this! If my story touched at least one person, I will be happy. It only takes one person to stop this roller coaster ride and get on with life!

A happy, fulfilling life! Bipolar disorder is not something I take lightly, and I know they’re others out there. Afraid to get help, afraid to take their medications. But I promise you, if you start this journey, you’re not alone! Thousands of Americans are dying because of this. Please do not be this lonely individual. Get the help you need, look for the warning signs, and finally start living! Thank you for reading this.


Hope Pepitone
A 28yr old single parent with no family support at all. I was diagnosed with Bipolar in April of 2013 and for the previous ten years it ruined my life because of a misdiagnosis.