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Mental Illness is Expensive to Employers


I remember one job I had where I was open about my bipolar disorder. After being passed over for a supervisor position three times despite getting excellent reviews, I scheduled a meeting with my manager.

The moment I sat down to speak with her about not even being considered for a promotion she sad, “this has nothing to do with your problem.” Obviously, it did. But even excellent performance cannot mask the fact that the chronically ill employee may be very expensive.



Aging

Bipolar Disorder and Osteoporosis


I share a lot of things with my parents. One I didn’t anticipate sharing was bone density. Yet here I am at 55 with advanced osteoporosis.

Many physical diseases are co-morbid with bipolar disorder. 60% of the early mortality attributed to the disorder is due to co-morbid chronic physical illnesses. But bone density? Really?



Bipolar Treatment

My Phone Tells Me I’m Manic


Technology can be both empowering and enabling. It provides us with more information than we can ever use. Our cell phones bring all of this wonder to our fingertips.

But armed with all of this information we may feel more qualified to make decisions that may take more expert, informed knowledge than our smart phones first deliver.



Bipolar Treatment

Is Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed?


The young man jumped up and yelled, “You’re not bipolar! Look at you, you’re fine! My sister is bipolar and right now she’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt!”

If I told him that I spent a day in the ICU after a suicide attempt and had been hospitalized several times, went through a period when I couldn’t work, emptied every bank account I ever had and wrecked a bunch of relationships it wouldn’t have made any difference.

His experience with his sister’s bipolar disorder was present, and desperate.



Bipolar Treatment

Lost in the Shadows of HIPAA


A person can be lost living on the street with a debilitating mental illness. They can refuse all help from a caring family, even if they are cognitively impaired and unable to rationally make such a decision. There’s very little the family can do to get them medical treatment.

HIPAA can lead the person not completely capable of making medical decisions for themselves to squander and suffer needlessly.

No one without information can intervene on their behalf.



Bipolar Treatment

Life Before HIPAA


Imagine if your health insurance company provided your employer with details about your mental illness, including diagnosis and notes. At the same time, your doctor didn’t have to give this information to you.

That was life before HIPAA.



Bipolar Treatment

Why I Stopped Taking My Meds


Every time I looked at the pills in my hand, then looked at myself in the mirror, the reflection reinforced that there was something wrong with me. The worst of it was the feeling that I was different. Damaged.

I thought by tossing away the pills I could toss away the separateness, the loneliness, and in a perverse way rejoin those who weren’t rotten in their sense of self.

Just like that I stopped taking my meds.