Affordable Care Act

Covered: The Bipolar Side of the Affordable Care Act

“the greatest Americans
have not been born yet
they are waiting patiently
for the past to die”
It's fairly official...

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I too have health insurance.

The first premium is withdrawn from my bank account, and I am enrolled. I am waiting for the cards, and I can start using benefits on March 1st, 2014.

I won't accept it as completely official until I leave a doctor's office with that insurance card.


The Top 5 Most Ignorant Opinions on Bipolar Disorder

If you have bipolar disorder, you've probably had the pleasure (cough, cough) of dealing with people who feel the need to tell you the "truth" about your illness.

You know who I'm talking about—those who do not live with bipolar disorder, yet have a great deal of advice on how you should approach it.

Some of the opinions I have heard from people that don't live with bipolar disorder include:

Your symptoms aren't necessarily bipolar disorder; everyone goes through mood swings, lack of energy, etc.
You don't need medication to stay well and/or you won't need to be on medication for the rest of your life.
Your illness is not as bad as you make it out to be.
You don't have to think about your bipolar disorder that frequently.
Bipolar disorder is not a real medical illness.

However, people who have real experience with bipolar, including consumers, doctors, and therapists, find it the illness extremely valid, hard to treat, and chronic and lifelong in nature.


The Top 5 Worst Side Effects from Psychotropic Medications

I am a 25-year-old woman with bipolar disorder, and I have been taking psychotropic medications for over 13 years. 

Over time, the doses have increased, and the medication combination, or "cocktail", has diversified.

With the increase in medication comes the inevitable increase in unpleasant side effects.

The following are my top five worst side effects from medications psychotropic medications, the type of medications I must take for the rest of my life to stay...


My Top 5 Bipolar Disorder Triggers

Mood swings are often “triggered” by an event or symptom.

The type of trigger is variable, depending on the person.

In having bipolar disorder, being aware of one's triggers can help prevent mood swings and even hospital stays.

My top five personal triggers are listed below. I have to pay attention to each of these factors in order to stay well.


Online Psychotherapy: My First Session

Last month, you read my post about opting for online psychotherapy sessions.

My therapist abruptly moved to Virginia just before the holiday season, and we decided to try therapy via Skype.

In the last month, I received both positive and negative feedback about online counseling.

A few therapists have suggested against it, which I respect greatly.

In contrast, consumers and family members have regarded it a bit differently.

Like some of my consumer friends, who are also members of Gen Y, I do not immediately see any issues with online counseling.


Everything I do these days is via Internet.


Awesome Organizations: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Only recently did I become familiar with the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

And now, I know why. This organization was formally NARSAD.

They were originally founded in 1987, and are paramount to the progress of treatment for bipolar disorder.

One of the most important things we can do to understand bipolar disorder is research.

We need to study the brain, medications, new technologies, and ways to better track and control our symptoms.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded more than $300 million in over 4,000 NARSAD grants to more than 3,7000 scientists around the world.


Bipolar Disorder and Winter Depression: I Am Seasonally Affected

I live in the Sunshine State.

It is mid-January, and the high temperature will peak at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit today.

This is cold for Floridians. We take advantage of the sun and warmth we experience most days of the year.

Even though Winter in Florida is a stark contrast to the snow, darkness, and bitter cold that is experienced in many parts of the United States, mood patterns would suggest that I am still affected by this season.

I have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital three times, and all three of those times, it was Winter--December, January, February.

My online mood trackers show that my depression, exhaustion, and irritability causes me more trouble in the Winter than the warmer months of the year.


Should I Stop Talking About Bipolar Disorder?

Should I stop talking about bipolar disorder?

"We always talk about your illness", my husband said.

I don't know if he's being vindictive, or honest.

I can't help but talk about living with bipolar disorder.

I don't care how successful, beautiful, bright, or loving I am.

The reminder that I have bipolar disorder is always with me. Always.

It's the anxiety I feel in the morning, the depression I feel during the day, the anger and restlessness I feel in the evening.


How Do I Let Go of Fear?

 “We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict” –Jim Morrison

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” –Marianne Williamson

I remember intense fear back to the seventh grade.

Stomach aches. Tight chest. Beating heart.

Impending doom.

Thirteen years ago, I became depressed and anxious almost overnight.

My childhood was over.

Fear is the body’s natural...