Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bipolar Questions and Answers

Today, I've decided to answer a few questions that have recently brought people to Bipolar Wellness Writer. I'm assuming everyone knows that if you have a stat counter, you can get all kinds of valuable information about your readers. Mine is free and it's from (I can't seem to link to it without giving you my password, so you'll have to type it in yourself.)

Q: Can you get off jury duty if you're bipolar?
A: Yes, if you have your doctor write a letter on your behalf or fill out the information on the jury summons. Because I have regular depressive episodes, I don't serve on juries. **After I posted this I realized that different states may have different laws regarding jury duty. All I know about is California. So, if this is a concern, you need to check with NAMI or DBSA in your state.

Q: What is the best medication for hypomanias?
A: Unfortunately, there is no answer to this. Medication is really a personal issue and if I've learned anything writing this blog, it's that it works differently for everyone. Also, since I have no medical background, I only discuss my own experience with medication or provide information from books.

However, a few of my favorite sites for information on medication are: (It's founder is Jim Phelps, M.D., the author of Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder); Dr. Ivan Goldberg's Depression Central (He's a New York psychiatrist); Dr. Phillip Long's Internet Mental Health, (He's a Canadian psychiatrist), and Dr. Bob (His full name is Robert Hsiung. He's a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and the editor of E-Therapy: Case Studies, Guiding Principles, and the Clinical Potential of the Internet. You'll want to look up the topic Bipolar Medication on this site).

Q: What is bipolar "kenneling"?
A: Actually, it's called kindling. You can look it up online but the theory is that the more untreated depressive or manic episodes you have, the worse they'll get. Also, they suggest that even if your first episode was triggered by a "life event," after you have a few episodes, you won't need a life event to trigger it because the "wiring" of your brain changes and will automatically switch into a depression or mania.

Here's where I do have an opinion I can share. Whether kindling happens or not is unimportant to me. I believe that if we allow ourselves to worry about all the "bad" things that bipolar disorder can cause, then we will make ourselves sick. I spent ten years researching this illness and quite honestly, I wish I'd never read most of the material I found. It's downbeat and depressive.

If you have cancer and you want to get well, you read about wellness techniques. Rather than dwelling on how cancer cells spread or what your prognosis is, the best doctors tell you to visualize your healthy cells "eating" the cancer cells. They recommend relaxation and stress reduction techniques. They talk about diet, exercise, and spirituality.

So, whether or not kindling happens--and as far as I know it's only been tested on rats--I wouldn't worry about it. If you do, you'll make yourself sick rather than well.


Mariposa said...

Very informative post and I so love and is more than happy to read your closing statement.

Hope you are better...we're all rooting for you. :)

Sending hugs and happy thoughts!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Mariposa,
I dropped by your blog yesterday but it was silent Wednesday, and since I'd already posted, I couldn't participate. What an interesting idea. Again, thanks for your comments.


my life with bipolar disorder said...

Thanks for the information, Susan. I agree with you that if we allow ourselves to worry about all the "bad" things that bipolar disorder can cause, then we will make ourselves sick. It's more helpful for us to read about wellness techniques.

And thankfully there are various wellness techniques available though they help different people in different degrees. We need much patience to seek them out and try them out. Something might just work :)

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nanci,
It's certainly a constant struggle, and much easier to pursue when we're well. But it's the only thing that makes sense. And it sure sounds like you're doing a good job of pursuing wellness!


BPD in OKC said...

it's nice to know i could get out of jury duty with a doctor's note. having borderline personality disorder, there's some things about jury duty, i'm not sure i could handle.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear BPD in OKC,
After I posted my answer to you, I realized that different states may have different laws regarding jury duty. I live in California and it wasn't a problem here. You might want to check with NAMI and BDSA in your state to confirm what I've said. If I'm wrong, I do apologize.