I am a writer. From the first book I published in kindergarten, to the post you are reading now, every step of the way, writing was important. Throughout the years, I wrote for the school newspaper, completed writing and editing internships at exciting companies in college, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. My life in words includes creative mediums like poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, along with sports journalism and blogging, business writing, technical writing, online reporting, and content writing. Only in the last few years, after I started to understand bipolar disorder a little better, did I start to have the courage and wherewithal to write about my condition. It began with a Tumblr and a Twitter account, followed by my own WordPress site, and then my very own blog site.
As I mentioned in my last post, the final Her Bipolar Life blog is this Wednesday, June 18, 2014. In this second to last entry, I'd like to reflect on the last year and a half-long journey we've shared together here on PsychCentral.com. According to the readers, here are the Top 8 posts from this blog:
This month, on my home blog, I am polling readers on feelings about change. I suspect, that like me, many people with bipolar disorder and other similar challenges resist or have a tough time dealing with change. Many people who have bipolar disorder thrive on routine. Unexpected occurrences and changes in schedule and habit can have a detrimental effect on mood. Because change is often chaotic, I’ve tried to avoid it, so I can maintain a sense of normalcy. However, I am learning, at nearly 26 years old, that change is indeed inevitable. It is not just something I read in the books of Buddha, in clichéd books and television shows. There is no growth without change. There is no world without change. We can’t stop it, and it will happen over and over again.
A smartphone app that uses voice analysis to detect mood changes in patients with bipolar disorder is being tested by researchers. If testing goes well, the app could be used to measure subtle voice changes during a user's routine smartphone calls. Until it's usefulness is confirmed, and until better predictors of mood swings are created, we rely on a myriad of ways to make ourselves aware of our triggers. Triggers are different for everyone, and it often takes a considerable amount of time to find patterns in how both internal and external elements affect our bipolar disorder. Along with personal patterns, such as sleep trends, here are some external ways we can measure our moods:
Last week, I visited my new psychiatrist for the first time. After seven years with my last doctor, her retirement forced me into a much-needed change. Besides the appointment being two hours behind schedule, during my work day, the visit was productive and encouraging. After the visit, in the spirit of my discussions about a quality psychiatric doctor, I came up with four criteria that I will now use in deciding if a doctor is right for me...
I am a mental health consumer and advocate. I am also a huge NFL fan. So, I’m extremely excited about the Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall. A few days ago, Marshall received the biggest Bears’ wide receiver contract ever—3 years at $30 million. It’s obvious from this payout that he's a beast on the field. Lesser known to the football masses is his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Instead of shying away from it, Marshall bravely owned it, and is making a difference in others’ lives, too. This pro is an inspiration to young people with a mental health condition—a talented, trendy, handsome 30-year-old with a commitment to ending stigma and supporting others that is just as important to him as his play on the field.
Bipolar disorder is an illness of patterns, routines, and subtleties. Even the slightest change in our health-related habits can cause mood symptoms. Here are four health components you may want to consider in minding your bipolar:
As a part of Mental Health Month's "Mind Your Health" theme for 2014, today, we will discuss stress, the body, and mental health. Keirsten Marie via Compfight I am a high-stress individual. If my day, and the people around me, are calm, cool, and collected, I am okay too. However, if my day is packed, I’m feeling pressure, or there is a big event going on, I am likely to feel irritable, anxious, or depressed. Coping with stress is one of the biggest challenges I deal with. I've internalized my stress, and over time, it's had an impact on mind and body.
As I mentioned in my last article, May is Mental Health Month, and I will be commemorating the event by writing related blog posts all month long. This year’s theme is “Mind Your Health”. We all know how interconnected mind and body are. As a society, we are increasingly pressured, stressed, and tied to technology. Many of us are also spending more time in drive thru lanes and less time engaging in relaxation and hobbies. We spend less time exercising and minding our everyday health just to keep up with the grind. It would serve many of us well to examine our current health and how we can make positive changes in order to keep us in top shape. If our body is healthy, our mind will be healthier as well.
May is Mental Health Month, and I'm ready to celebrate. Why is it a celebration? Put simply, it's a chance to educate, inspire, ignite hope...among many other possibilities. Mental Health America has led the observance for 65 years (yes, since 1949!), inciting public awareness through the use of the media, screenings, and local events. Now, through social media, the reach of the event spans the globe, joining everyone who has been touched by mental disorders.