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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:51 PM

The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder

Linda Logan lives near Chicago. This is her first article for the magazine

'The last time I saw my old self, I was 27 years old and living in Boston. I was doing well in graduate school, had a tight circle of friends and was a prolific creative writer. Married to my high-school sweetheart, I had just had my first child. Back then, my best times were twirling my baby girl under the gloaming sky on a Florida beach and flopping on the bed with my husband ó feet propped against the wall ó and talking. The future seemed wide open.

I donít think there is a particular point at which I can say I became depressed. My illness was insidious, gradual and inexorable. I had a preview of depression in high school, when I spent a couple of years wearing all black, rimming my eyes in kohl and sliding against the walls in the hallways, hoping that no one would notice me. But back then I didnít think it was a very serious problem.

The hormonal chaos of having three children in five years, the pressure of working on a Ph.D. dissertation and a genetic predisposition for a mood disorder took me to a place of darkness I hadnít experienced before. Of course, I didnít recognize that right away. Denial is a gauze; willful denial, an opiate. Everyone seemed in league with my delusion. I was just overwhelmed, my family would say. I should get more help with the kids, put off my Ph.D. . .

For many people with mental disorders, the transformation of the self is one of the most disturbing things about being ill. And their despair is heightened when doctors donít engage with the issue, donít ask about what parts of the self have vanished and donít help figure out strategies to deal with that loss.

Some in the mental-health field are beginning to recognize this need.'


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Reply The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder (Original post)
elleng Apr 2013 OP
Tobin S. Apr 2013 #1
elleng Apr 2013 #2
Tobin S. Apr 2013 #3
elleng Apr 2013 #4

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 04:22 PM

1. I had the problem of obliteration of the self when I first began being treated, as well.

I have to take an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an anti-psychotic for my bipolar disorder. And it truly is my bipolar disorder. The illness affects everyone differently and often requires different medications at different dosages. The anti-psychotic I take at the dosage I take I've known to reduce other people to incoherency, but the drug restores me to functionality and revives my true self.

I think great advances have been made in psychiatric medication over the past twenty years. Side effects have been reduced, and advances have been made on the problem the author speaks of in the article. But problems still persist and it will probably be a long time before treatment of mental health issues becomes simpler. It might always be complicated.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 04:25 PM

2. Sounds like it will always be complicated, Tobin,

but you as an 'expert' have more insight than most.

Good to see you, and glad of your progress in so many areas!

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 04:38 PM

3. I'm only an expert at being sick. I have insight into my own illness.

Fortunately, I'm now an expert at being well.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 04:40 PM

4. Right about insight into your own illness,

but its helped you and us all to learn somethings about complexity for everyone!

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