My Support - September 12, 2009
CBF's Wish List :-)
Can you help with a tax deductible donation? CBF is in need of the following:
- * office space (office large enough for desk, chair, & book shelves)
- * copy machine
- * fax machine
We are also looking for pro bono services including:
- * Public Relations work
- * Web Master
New Sibling Support Groups Forming Now - FREE
Two new Sibling Support Groups are forming now. If you are interested in having your son or daughter join a support group, please contact us. Two groups forming in October; grades 3-5 and 6-10. Groups meet once a month and are facilitated by a licensed clinician.
Reply to Tom Kelly.
NEW; South Bay Caregiver Support Group
South Bay Caregiver Support Group starting September 30th. For information and directions please reply to Tom Kelly.
Share Your Story or Poem
California Bipolar Foundation would like to share your story with our readers. If you are interested, please send your personal story; one - two paragraphs about how bipolar has affected you and your family. If you prefer to use a ficticious name, please don't hesitate.
Send stories to Tom Kelly.
Yale Researchers Succeed In Repairing Brain Damage Caused By Chronic Stress, Lead Poisoning, Potential Implications For Bipolar Disorder
Yale University researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (September 7-11 edition) that damage to the brain caused by chronic stress or lead poisoning can be repaired by blocking a key molecular pathway.
When Your Kids Disappoint You
By Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.
September 1, 2009
As summer winds down, many parents longingly await school, yet dread the frustration and disappointment they feel regarding their kids and the resulting guilt over these reactions.
Parents may have a clear vision of their children's "potential." When this differs from the kids' actual performance, parents may fear for their children's futures. They often become even more unnerved when kids don't share these visions or worries. It's enough to make any parent want to shake them into shape.
"Potential," however, depends on a mix of personality, developmental, and emotional factors. Problems in one or more of those areas can affect kids' resilience and capacity. For example, bright kids may get poor grades when they are unable to withstand pressure, or when energies are consumed by urgent concerns such as fitting in socially or fear of failing.
Why is it so important that our kids live up to our expectations of them?
The obvious answer is that we want what is best for them.
But what we see in children and what we need them to be may be confounded by fears and biases from our own upbringing. Unconsciously denied or disowned aspects of ourselves can be projected onto others, even our kids. For example, if we feel trapped by responsibility and commitments, we may feel contemptuous of a friend who is making more frivolous choices, thinking, "I would never do that" but secretly being envious.
Worse, if we see evidence of such triggering traits in our children we may get anxious and fool ourselves into thinking we are acting strictly on their behalf. If we've always had to be "strong" (in control) or "perfect" we may react to kids' apparent lack of discipline because we learned these behaviors in ourselves were unacceptable. Becoming determined that our kids prove themselves helps us feel less anxious, regardless of the actual effect on our kids.
I am reminded of Michael, a brilliant engineer, who came from a family of academics. He was pushed hard to succeed, but later became depressed about his own son. Jake was a creative, unconventional kid with a sharp wit and warm spirit, but he wasn't very driven or disciplined in school, unlike Michael's brother's kids. Secretly ashamed of him, Michael continually feared whether Jake would make it in life.
Michael described himself as a "nerd" growing up. He studied a lot but, bullied by his peers and socially awkward, he was lonely. In his struggle to help Jake, who had learning and emotional problems, Michael was pained by feeling ashamed and critical of him. In working with teachers Michael came to learn that his son was a hero at school, who risked his own social status to defend kids from being bullied and, though not always well-behaved, boldly stood up for justice.
Michael's feelings and perceptions of his son changed-and so did the way Jake felt about himself-as Michael came to feel an essential truth about his kid: That he not only had strengths the father did not but that if Jake had been his classmate growing up, Jake would have protected him.
Children come to see themselves through our eyes. Research shows that brain and emotional development is shaped by the interpersonal rhythm between parent and child. Psychologically and neurobiologically, they form their sense of themselves and ability to regulate emotions from how we see and relate to them and ourselves. They internalize our reactions to them, which become the blueprint of how they react to their own mistakes, frustrations, successes and disappointments. Fortunately, brains and minds are molded by experiences throughout life.
We can detect when unconsciously disguised agendas have made their way into our reactions and judgment because we feel a determined, rigid, and anxiety-driven need for a particular behavior or outcome from our kids. We can help children learn to bear frustration and disappointment by bearing it ourselves, letting go of the temptation to rescue them from failure, and maintaining faith and perspective. Responding from positive motivation and acceptance rather than fear will help kids do the same.
Kids are most likely to do their best when parents set realistic goals consistent with kids' interests and personalities, and focus on valuing and developing their unique strengths. Once the stakes are not so high it is easier for kids to take initiative, test themselves, and persevere without being held back by fear. If children come to see themselves through our eyes, taming our own anxieties and expectations will allow them to flourish. Then we may have the fortune to find what they offer which-though perhaps not what we had expected-is a gift engraved with their signature.
Julie Fast Offers Family Coaching Program for Family Members and Partners of People with Bipolar Disorder.
Do you have a loved one newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder?
Is your loved one in the hospital because of their bipolar disorder?
Are you dealing with fear, grief or sadness that your life may never be normal again?
Are you confused about the medications your loved one is taking and their side effects?
Are you unsure of the difference between your teen's typical versus their bipolar behavior?
Are you tip-toeing around your loved one because of their mood swings?
Are you experiencing anger and frustration because your loved one isn't getting better, or is refusing the diagnosis?
Do you need help talking to your loved one's health care professionals?
Would you like a concrete plan to keep your family relationships strong?
As a caregiver, do you need help taking care of yourself and your life's other obligations?
You can learn more about how Julie's one-on-one coaching is enhancing the lives of people who need specific and personalized help to maneuver family crisis's and solutions for building healthy stable lives by visiting:
BP and Heart Disease - What Is Your Doctor Doing?
Research shows that people with bipolar disorder are two to three times as likely to die from heart disease than from suicide. There are many reasons for this, including having less access to good primary care, making poor diet and lifestyle decisions, and the side effects of psychiatric medications, especially weight gain. For example, people with severe mental illnesses like BP are much more likely to be smokers than the general population, and those who are depressed are less likely to exercise, even though exercise has been shown to help depression. In a global survey, most patients were aware of risks associated with their mental illnesses and medications (especially weight gain). However, they also reported they received very little information from their caregivers regarding managing those risks. Yet there are things psychiatrists and other mental health care providers could do to help, such as encouraging exercise and even working with the patient's primary care doctor to set up nutrition counseling, a stop smoking program, and other wellness activities. What about changing medications to combat weight problems? This is a tricky subject. If a medication is working well at stabilizing a patient, a doctor may well want the patient to work at lifestyle and diet changes while staying on that medication. It's not impossible to lose weight while taking a medication that causes weight gain. If you have a health problem such as your weight that is related to bipolar disorder or its treatment, does your doctor address it? Does he or she listen to your concerns? Has the doctor done anything to help you improve your health?
References: McIntyre, Robert S. Overview of Managing Medical Comorbidities in Patients With Severe Mental Illness. J Clin Psychlopedia. CME Institute. Web.7 Sep 2009. McIntyre, Robert S. Managing Weight Gain in Patients With Severe Mental Illness. J Clin Psychlopedia. CME Institute. Web.7 Sep 2009.
BUDGET CUTS ARE HURTING OUR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
Please join People United for Social Justice at a March for California's Future
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009
12:00 p.m. - Gather at Presidents Way and Park Blvd. and march to City College
1:00 p.m. - Rally at City College 1313 Park Blvd.
For more information, contact
(626) 224-8189, firstname.lastname@example.org
(619) 948-0365, email@example.com
We Demand That California's Lawmakers:
- Fund quality education and health care
- Preserve life-saving services and income supports for children, seniors, people with disabilities, working families, and the poor
- Close corporate loopholes in the state tax system
- Create a tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share
Endorsed by: California Partnership, California School Employees Association, International Socialist Organization, Latinos y Latinas en Acción, Plan of Action in a Changing Era, San Diego Disability Action Coalition, United Domestic Workers of America Local 3930
Homeopathy Workshop at HealthWalk
The HealthWalk Integrative Wellness Center offers you the opportunity for complete wellness by utilizing leading edge technology to non-invasively analyze and provide solutions for all aspects of physical, mental and emotional health. By knowing the true nature of your health challenge(s), you are empowered, to finally understand the root cause of the problem and you will be presented with the analysis and support for rapid and effective resolution and improvement.
Learn about our Clinic Services; www.healthwalk.com
Homeopathy Workshop Level 1
Everyone begins with this three hour workshop that lays the foundation for all the rest. You'll learn what homeopathy is, how it works, potency and dosage. You'll learn 38 remedies that are safe & have no side-effects. By the time you're done, you'll know the remedies for everything from bee stings to food poisoning, and leave with a notebook that is an excellent resource.
Date: Wednesday Evening, 27th September 2009
Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm (a light dinner will be served)
Location: HealthWalk Wellness Center,
5825 Avenida Encinas, Suite 111, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Register Online at www.learnhomeopathynow.com or
Call HealthWalk at 760.929.1520
An Introductory Workshop
Learn Remedies that are Safe, Non-toxic and have No Side-effects
Prevent Colds and Flu
Speed Recovery from Injuries and Surgery
Boost Your Immune System
Not funny peculiar
Patrick Jackson BBC News
David Granirer takes the mic in Vancouver. These Canadian comedians mean to make you laugh but they are also throwing punchlines at a wall of prejudice. They all have mental health problems, and all want to rise above them through laughter.
David Granirer, who takes medication for depression himself, has been teaching them a course called Stand Up For Mental Health since 2004. He now runs classes in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa, as well as performing himself.
Graduates include Alex Winstanley, 23, who mines for jokes the schizophrenia with which he was diagnosed three years ago. The two men talked to the BBC World Service about passing the microphone to the mentally ill.
A life of material
"The more screwed-up and dysfunctional you are, the better your act is going to be" is what David tells his students. "Your life is your act." Alex, who believes he will probably never stop "hearing voices" but says he has learnt how to deal with it, feels "more alive on stage than in real life".
"I'd find that after a show, I'd feel so exhilarated I actually wouldn't hear voices for a few days or, if I did, they would be positive," he adds. David tells of one woman with schizophrenia who came into class one day wearing a striped blouse. "She said 'The voices haven't let me wear stripes for eight years but now that I'm doing comedy, I'm not so afraid of the voices, so I'm wearing stripes'." Succeed in stand-up "and you feel like you can do anything", says the teacher.
ALEX'S FAVOURITE JOKE
Having schizophrenia, I spend a lot of time being jealous of so-called normal people my age.
I've always wanted to have a dead-end job and a divorce.
Sometimes I imagine a so-called normal person being jealous of me: "Alex, you have, like, a natural gift for, like, hallucinating. I have to drop two hits of acid to get anywhere close. And I'm so, like, lonely, I wish I had voices to keep me company."
David likes to joke that healthy people are more dangerous because, undiagnosed, they arouse less suspicion and, free of medication, are better placed to do damage.
"Being diagnosed with mental illness is like receiving a black mark on your forehead," he says.
"It changes the way the whole world sees you and reacts to you.
"You feel that all of a sudden everyone is watching you, is afraid of you and is wanting to do you harm."
He speaks from personal experience having first suffered depression in his late teens, before being diagnosed in his mid-30s.
"I've been in psych wards, had therapy, the whole nine yards," he says.
Alex likens the stigma to "another illness to deal with at the same time".
"As people with mental illness, we carry a lot of shame and that shame thrives in the darkness, in secrecy," says his teacher.
"Then all of a sudden we take these incidents, these things we are really ashamed of and turn them into comedy.
Alex Winstanley takes the mic
"We tell a roomful of people, they laugh and applaud, and all of a sudden the shame starts to dissipate, and you think 'I'm not such a bad person after all'."
Despite the subject matter, the jokes are not all gallows humour, David adds.
"There is a certain amount, yes, but a lot of it is just really about everyday life because we people with mental illness have lives, go to school, have jobs, have families."
His students present an "amazing mix".
"We have every possible diagnosis, age group, socio-economic status," he says.
Comedy plus medication
Having taught comedy at a Vancouver college for 10 years, David was inspired to launch the mental health course after occasionally witnessing students make "amazing therapeutic breakthroughs".
DAVID'S FAVOURITE JOKE
I went to a primal scream therapist. It was really intense, but halfway through the session I had to stop and ask, shouldn't the screaming be coming from me?
While comedy is not for everyone, with or without mental problems, those who really want to do it, will get something out of it, he believes.
David says his programme is supported by mental health organisations and he stresses that it does not conflict with psychiatrists' work.
"We would never say 'This is a replacement for your medication, don't take your medication'," he says.
He cannot yet offer any empirical evidence of the benefits of stand-up.
However a study due to take place in a few months' time may lend his form of therapy more weight.
Alex, meanwhile, is happily hooked on humour.
"It's my permanent medicine!" he laughs.
To view the video of David, click here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8236577.stm
Suicide Prevention Week: Your guide to getting help
Detroit Women's Health Examiner LaQuanda Randall
This week is Suicide Prevention Week which also happens to coincide with the start of the new school year. It is the perfect time to raise awareness about depression and the warning signs of someone who is at the end of their rope and contemplating the unthinkable act of ending their life. It is both heartbreaking and scary to know that in the United States someone commits suicide every 16 minutes.
In most cases, untreated depression or mental illness is the catalyst for a suicide attempt. Depression is a serious illness, however only 1 in 3 people with depression seeks treatment for the disease. Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorder can also lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. These illnesses are treatable with medications and psychotherapy. It is important to seek help or encourage others to get help when dealing with depression and mental illness.
In some cases, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders play a role in suicidal tendencies and attempts. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms is key to getting help for someone who may be considering ending their life. Here is what to look for when you are worried about a loved one becoming suicidal:
- Talking about suicide or ways to commit suicide
- expressed anger about their lives or current situation
- withdrawing from family, friends, and activities
- High risk behavior; not caring about their own safety
- increase in substance abuse or change in vices
- severe mood swings
- expressed feelings of hopelessness
- researching ways to commit suicide
- a sudden desire to give away prized possessions
- a sudden increase in calling or visiting loved ones or friends
- a sudden calmness or happiness after appearing distraught
- a recent change or increase in antidepressant medication
If you see these warning signs in someone you know, do not brush them aside or take them lightly. There is a way to get help for someone who may be contemplating suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers a free 24-hour hotline for anyone who is suicidal or in emotional distress. The calls are confidential and routed to the nearest crisis center. There are 140 crisis centers in 48 U.S. states. The website even allows you to download Lifeline wallet cards to discreetly hand out to someone. Also check out www.save.org for information on suicide warning signs and prevention.
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) in Acute Bipolar Depression: Two Thumbs Up-or One?
Response by James C-Y Chou, MD, DFAPA, ACPsych
Ronald Pies, MD
I just read and enjoyed "Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder"1 at www.PsychiatricTimes.com, and wanted to thank the author for pulling together a great deal of useful information in a succinct and lucid format.
There are, of course, many areas of controversy in the literature, and one of those concerns the utility of lamotrigine in acute bipolar depression. Would Dr Chou comment on the "++" rating for lamotrigine in acute bipolar depression in the Table that accompanied that article? I believe that Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, has expressed considerable skepticism that the claim is supported by placebo-controlled studies. His views can be found at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/579046.
My impression, too, is that there is not convincing randomized, placebo-controlled evidence for lamotrigine in the acute phase of bipolar depression (although it may be useful as a maintenance agent).
Dr Chou Responds:
Thank you for the input, which is much appreciated. I understand the skepticism, especially given the single positive study and the several negative/failed studies. On the basis of only placebo-controlled studies, I would agree with changing the "++" to a single "+." The Table below reflects this for lamotrigine in acute bipolar depression.
If you want to consider the numerous recommendations from practice guidelines as well as clinical experience/expert recommendations (including my own), I would keep the "++," but obviously, this is not the spirit of the remainder of the review.
James C-Y Chou, MD, DFAPA, ACPsych
Drugs, Alcohol & Mental Illness
NAMI-North County is holding their education meeting on September 17 at 7:00pm featuring speaker Marshall Lewis M.D., Clinical Director of the Behavioral Health Division and Health & Human Services Agency in San Diego County.
The lecture will take place at St. Michael's Episcopal Church Parish Hall
2775 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad
Call 760-722-3754 for more information
Navigating Transitions Conference at USD
Compass Family Center FACCT Conference (Families & Communities Caring Together)
Saturday, October 24, 8:00-3:00pm
Keynote Speaker: Blake Taylor: ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table
- On Being a Grandparent of a Child with Special Needs
- Our Child Has a Disability: The Effects on Couples and Skills for Coping
- Selecting and Working with an Advocate
- Tantrums & Hitting & Yelling, Oh My: Dealing with Behavior Problems
- The Real Drug: When Alcohol or Other Drugs Become a Concern
- Adult Transition Programs: An Overview of S.D. County's School Programs
Students: $20, General Admission: $35, Professionals with CEU's: $55
Register online at www.compassfamilycenter.org. For financial assistance call: 619-446-6926