Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bipolar Blogging Stress

Dear Friends,
I knew that certain aspects of blogging were getting to me, and that's why I took some time off. And it's amazing how stepping away from a stressful activity as well as leaving town for a few days can make all the difference.

Now that I'm back, I've got a few "new rules" for writing and reading blogs that I'll share with you.

1. From now on, I don't plan on discussing certain philosophical aspects of bipolarity any more. What I mean by this is that there are topics I've already responded to in past posts that I'm unwilling to revisit. Since February of 2007, I've posted 357 times. And while some of you are new readers, there are topics I've responded to over and over, and I no longer wish to do that. It's not a good use of my limited time.

So, for example, I no longer wish to discuss whether a bipolar diagnosis is helpful. It may be for you; it wasn't for me, and that's that. I no longer wish to discuss whether taking medication is helpful. Again, it may be for you; it almost destroyed my life, and I'm done talking about it.

2. Perhaps I need to let some of my new readers know something more about my background so they understand that even though I have no medical credentials, I am a professional writer and researcher, and that's how I've earned my living for the last 20 years.

I have spent 15 years researching bipolar disorder and related topics. I have read more than 100 books on bipolar disorder, depression, different kinds of healing, complementary and alternative medicine, and so forth and so on. I have downloaded more than 1,000 pages of information.

So, feel free to disagree with me, but please don't lecture me about this illness. I have very strong feelings and they go against the grain of most of what is written on the subject. I believe the treatment is a travesty. I believe that the pharmaceutical industry has a lock on this illness and that's why psychiatrists prescribe medication rather than recommending other treatments--either in conjunction with medication or to replace it. I believe that most doctors don't think "outside-the-box" about treatment. And they are failing, which is evidenced by the high rate of suicide. And I believe that for many people, the treatment has caused untold suffering.

I also believe that many people--myself included--have been misdiagnosed. And as I have stated many times before, I also believe that the experience of those of us who have been misdiagnosed may be different than those who are truly bipolar.

Having said this, I have survived 120 depressive episodes since 1968. For the last few years, I have learned more and more about ways to lessen the severity of these episodes for me. I believe that by next year, I may be able to eliminate depression from my life.

My mission in writing this blog is to write about wellness, to share information I read about, and to present new ideas. If you're healing yourself in a different way, that's great. I have no opinion about what works for you. I can only speak about what works and doesn't work for me.

3. I have been spending a lot of time responding to every comment because I believe that if a person cares enough to write a comment, they should receive an answer. However, in the future I will not respond to philosophical comments I've addressed in the past. I have a limited time to spend online, and I wish to make the most of it.

4. I've also decided that I will not longer read bipolar blogs that are negative. I've experienced enough pain and suffering to last for a lifetime. I will always take the extra step to help people who want to be helped. But, I'm not interested in reading blogs where people either seem to celebrate their misery, or recount it in great detail--without working to change their situation. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in reading about people who are putting up the good fight--and have depressive episodes. Or putting up the good fight, and have manias. But I'm a problem-solver by nature, and an optimist, and I am only willing to invest energy in people who are trying to help themselves.

5. Finally, I am working on ways to continue to present important information, but spend less time doing it. I'm in the midst of writing another book, I have a family, and I have an entire life that has nothing to do with bipolarity. So, while I will continue to write about wellness, I am rethinking how to present information so that my experience writing this blog is uplifting for me.

I realize that we all feel differently about bipolarity and wellness. We also have different priorities in life. We blog for different reasons. We like different kinds of blogs, and we are either interested in spending more or less time online.

I spend a limited amount of time online because it doesn't make me feel good to stare at a computer screen for hours on end. And because I'm a writer, I spend a few hours each day working on other projects.

My top priority is my own health, and yet my mission is to help others heal as well. I am continually working on ways to accomplish both.

Best regards to all!


P.S. I will only be responding to comments once or twice a day--probably in the morning and at night. So, if you send a comment and it's not published until hours later, please don't resend it until the next day.


Jazz said...

Well said, Susan!
And good for you for knowing what's right for you and pursuing it.

I'm glad your time off was beneficial.

Coco said...

I'm happy to see that you're setting some realistic boundaries for yourself Susan; you're a good role model. Glad you're back!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Jazz. Once I decided that aspects of my blog were stressing me out, I almost had to laugh. Why would I participate in a wellness activity that was making me ill.

Then, I figured out specifically what was bothering me, and decided to let people know.

Sure, I'll lose some readers, and that's the consequence of my actions. But, I'll start enjoying myself again, and continue helping others--which was the purpose of writing it in the first place.

Thanks for your support!


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Coco,
Thanks for your support as well. Yes, it is difficult to set boundaries, and thank you for pointing that out to me. But, it's these sorts of things in the past that have led to a downward spiral. So, it's another example of doing what I need to in order to retain wellness.


Gianna said...

congratulations Susan!

Meredith said...

I think what you've written makes perfect sense. Blogging should not be stressful. If readers want to see your feelings on those topics, well, that's what the entry tag-label-things are for.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thank you Gianna!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I couldn't agree more. Thanks! Isn't it interesting that the readers I truly care about--agree with me?


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear David,
I didn't mean to imply that stress is the trigger for everyone's illness. I'm sorry if what I wrote lacked clarity.

Stress was the trigger for my illness, although I'm the only person who figured this out. Five years ago, I finally learned about a field of study in which they attributed some first depressive episodes to "Life Event Stressors." If any of the doctors I saw had truly listened to me, they would have understood this, I might have resolved the issues earlier, and been fine.

Other people have illnesses caused by their biochemistry, genetics, environment etc. Again, I've said many times that I believe I was misdiagnosed, and that my experience is different than others.


Bradley said...

Susan, I don't agree with many of your opinions, but I happy you are making this decision. You are here to share your experience and not necessarily convince others. I find that refreshing and I learn from much of what you have to say even though I do not always agree.

Good for you for not feeling you have to defend yourself!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Bradley,
And thank you for thanking me.


Danielle said...

Good for you! These are many of the reasons for me moving on to my new place on the web ;)

Marissa Miller said...

Wow. Bravo to you! I am glad that you are on a path that is truly leading you to good health and wellness.

All blogs evolve and it is possible that this blog may come to an end as your journey from being diagnosed to moving away from that diagnosis ends. However, it certainly is a valuable resource that will definitely serve many future readers.

I, on the other hand, am still struggling. I have ups and downs, I think just as any other person, and you point something out quite well — many psychiatrists don't offer any other alternatives than medication. This gives me food for thought. I still struggle with ways to treat my diagnosis but reading blogs like yours that offer consideration of therapy apart from medication are quite eye-opening.

In any event, I wish you all the best. And good luck with the book! I've written one and the process is a bear!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marissa,
Thanks for your comment. Actually, I believe that wellness transcends all illnesses. And the work I plan on continue doing is related to wellness, whether it's bipolar wellness, cancer wellness, or aging wellness.

But I don't want to leave you with the false impression that I have bipolar depression licked. I don't--quite yet. But I am getting better and better.

P.S. The will be my fifth book, and it may be my best yet!

Jan said...

I just found this post and your blog for the first time because someone clicked on your link to my blog. Thank you for linking to me! I've read this post and will be clicking through to see other posts. I admire your attitude to your 'condition', your quest for wellness and your blogging. I'm glad I 'found' you.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jan,
Glad you found me. I'm taking a three-day weekend, but will be back on Monday.