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Why I’m Writing

I’ve been asked why I’m writing this blog.  I’m writing this blog  to give people- especially people whose family members have a mental illness- an idea of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. As a card-carrying member of the mentally ill population, I am in a perfect position to spew forth a plethora of information on various aspects of mental illness.

I don’t claim to have the market cornered on the perspective of the entire population of people with mental illnesses. I’ll be the first to say that my perspective is representative of me. Although I speak as someone with a mental illness, I don’t claim to speak on behalf of all people with a mental illness. Nobody can make that claim.

When the hospital made the diagnosis in May 2008 that I had a mental illness called Bipolar Disorder, my family was confused.  Since no one in our family had ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, the entire concept was foreign.  A mental illness? Her? What was Bipolar Disorder? What did it mean to have it? What was it like to have it? What impact was it going to have on our lives? Was it something that you got a shot for? Got over?  What could we expect?

Even as I was being involuntarily committed to the mental hospital, my family had no real understanding of what that meant. What was involuntary commitment? What did it mean to be involuntarily committed?  How did you get involuntarily committed? How long did it last?  What was it like? There was very little information out there that would help my family understand what was happening to me.

All of these questions and many more needed answering.  And yet there were very few answers to be had.  What was needed, I realized, was someone who could speak from personal experience on these matters.  Who better to undertake that effort than me?

But my blog doesn’t stop there. It has become my own personal sounding board for all of the things that I think need saying.  What about the HIPAA laws? Are they good or bad? How does mental illness stack up as far as illnesses go?  What about smoking? Anxiety? Psychiatrists? These and many other mental illness-related topics are all fair game.

My opinions, it goes without saying, are my own.


1. Lisa H - March 5, 2010

Thank you for writing this blog. It is powerful and a helpful educational tool. It is unfortunate that you are having to live with it, but thank you for sharing it with the world.

2. Bart M. - April 10, 2010

Thanks for writing. It is really useful to me as I am sure it is to many others as well. Most BPs have had multiple episodes and what interests me is the “triggers” that bring them on. I think the idea that “lots of stress” is the trigger is too simple and not necessarily true or at least not the only possible cause. The triggers are probably different for everyone but it there are probably also commonalities.

Crazy Mermaid - April 11, 2010

Thanks for your comment. I can only write from my own perspective, of course, but it’s clear in my background that an extremely large quantity of stress was the trigger in my own case.

3. Suz - August 17, 2010

This blog is such a help to me. I can’t even begin to tell you the hell that our family is in at this moment. Sister-in-law is currently in a mental hospital – going on 3 weeks but refusing to take any medication. She has post partum with psychosis and delusions.. My brother was told today that if she does not begin to take her medicine in the next week, they will have to force it on her intravenously and if they see no improvment in 2 weeks after that point, she will be institutionalized. She is from Brazil – so here in the US with none of her own family..just us…. the in-laws.. In her mind, we are her enemy. She believes we will try to take her baby and worse.. This is tragic for us as we have never dealt with this and are trying to find our way through the maze of insurance, hospital, etc.. Scary stuff. Anyway, reading through your blog is the best thing I have come across since our nightmare started.. your voice on this is needed.. thank you..

Crazy Mermaid - August 19, 2010

If you haven’t checked out your local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), please do. They could be a great resource for you.

4. Ehioze - November 16, 2010

Thank you for your post “Why I’m Writing.”

As a mental-health-professional-in-training, I was incensed that your family wanted to find out from the diagnosing practitioner what is was like to “have” Bipolar Disorder rather than asking you. Weren’t you the one experiencing it? Why do people have a habit of talking about the (so-called) mentally ill than to them? This is all part of the stigma surrounding mental illness. A person who has a mental illness cannot articulate his/her condition; a person with a mental illness can never recover; a person with a mental illness is homicidal/suicidal/dangerous. Either that or he/she is a passive, unfeeling, unthinking invalid.

“Why I’m Writing” dispels not only the types of stigma surrounding mental illness, but also the people who are diagnosed with them. A mental illness is just that—a mental illness. Like a chronic physical condition, a person who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder can recover from it—through a process called recovery—and continue to be the person they were before the illness intervened in his/her life. That you are able to express clearly and intelligently your thoughts surrounding things like involuntary commitment just proves this point even more.

I think that you ought to be commended for bringing awareness to mental health issues through your blog, especially since it can provide a safe space for others with mental illnesses to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas. People fear what they do not know. How you portray yourself, as a woman with a mental disorder (capable of the full range of
human ability) rather than as Bipolarism personified is exactly what this society needs to see in order to eradicate its fear of “the mentally ill.”

Nicole - June 29, 2011

Please help me. I’m bipolar (have known since I was 12) and now I’m 22. I don’t trust my husband or my family, and sometimes at night when I have an episode I almost pull the trigger on the gun against my head, or I cut myself.

I’m to the point where I want to go to the police station and shoot the gun a couple of times and yell “get me help” because other than that, there is no way I can get the adequate help I need. I need to be hospitalized, I swear. And the psychologists that my insurance covers are always two weeks booked in advance. I need help IN THE MOMENT MY EPISODES ARE HAPPENING.

Does a mental hospital cost anything? Can I just go and admit myself in?

5. Nicole - June 29, 2011

I’m from Utah, have tried multiple medications that don’t seem to work, and am relatively normal and happy in between episodes. I have an episode about once every two weeks or so.

6. bipolarandpregnant - August 12, 2011

Just found your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your feelings and your experiences. I just started mine and am both nervous and excited about starting this journey. Keep writing – I’ll be following.

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