Friday, October 26, 2007

Horrifying Sight

How is it that a person can get SO physically sick, lose so much weight, and look absolutely terrible after only a few days of renewed alcohol / drug abuse? We're talking a handful of days! How can someone be SO healthy, SO happy, and be willing to proudly exclaim how good they feel, yet in a handful of days look like they're near death's door? It's a horrifying thing to witness. And the worst thing, they can't see it happening to themselves.

PLEASE reach out for help. Reach out to us, or to anyone else, but PLEASE know we're very worried.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Odds and Ends

Hey All!

Feeling a little better, the worst of the depression has lifted. I did find something that helped, the herbal supplement Ephedrene. It is legal if you can still find it. They are starting to prescribe stimulants such as Provigil or Modafinil to depression sufferers, and I thought maybe Ephedrene was worth a try. It didn't help my insomnia, but it did help my mood. I wouldn't begin to recommend this to just anyone, but it might be another tool in the toolbox.

I'm going to begin somewhat of a "rebranding". There's been a few things lately that have me convinced I need a more unified, less confusing identity. As many of you know, when I started writing at HealthCentral's BipolarConnect, the fine folks there thought it might be confusing if I used the name "Jon", as the noted bipolar advocate John McManamy is on their staff. They asked me to go by my initials GJ, and I agreed, as I really didn't think the HealthCentral thing would get as big as it has. But they've done some search engine magic, and now when you Google bipolar topics, the name GJ jumps right out. While I prefer "Jon", I can't avoid rebranding to GJ. So be watching for that as time moves along.

I picked up a domain name the other day that is just screaming for attention: It's such a fun sounding name I want to build some kind of a blog or site around that name. After I bought it, I discovered another blogger using "bipolarville" to describe her posts about bipolar disorder. If I do anything with the name, I'll certainly give her a heads-up.

I hope everyone is well, and further hope the SAD that is kicking so many asses is losing some steam.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Depression Hanging Tough

Damn depression is hanging in there. I've only worked out a few times in the last 2 months, and work is difficult. I have to kick this shit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Right Brain or Left Brain

From The Herald Sun:

Which way is the dancer turning? Counter-clockwise or Clockwise? Leave a comment and let us know.

Counter-Clockwise = Left Brain:
-Uses logic
-Detail oriented
-Facts rule
-Words and language
-Present and past
-Math and science
-Can comprehend
-Order/pattern perception
-Knows object name
-Reality based
-Forms strategies

Clockwise = Right Brain:
-Uses feeling
-"Big picture" oriented
-Imagination rules
-Symbols and images
-Present and future
-Philosophy & religion
-Can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
-Spatial perception
-Knows object function
-Fantasy based
-Presents possibilities
-Risk taking

Once you get that initial answer, you can often change the direction by concentrating. The entire thing is pretty cool. Around the house last night we had 8 people (we rarely have less than 8 or 9 people around here on weekends.) Their answers are below:

Myself: Clockwise
Wife: Clockwise
20 YO Son: Counter
Son's GF: Counter
Kyle: Counter
Grandma: Counter
Oldest daughter: Clockwise
Youngest daughter: Counter.

Leave a comment with your perception.

Long-Term Prognosis

I'll be writing a complete post about this over at BipolarConnect.

When I was in my diagnostic phase, knowing I had bipolar disorder, but not having been formally diagnosed, I was comforted to read that medicated, the progress of the condition was halted. I wouldn't get better, but wouldn't get worse, either. And at that time, medication was a necessity. People who know me may not believe this, but things were terrible. My family was terrified of me, my coworkers were leery of my moods, my temper was out of control, and alcohol and substance abuse was little changed over the years. It was a toxic environment in our home, and something had to give.

I never allowed myself to get on a long laundry list of meds, I have 1 main medication, and a couple of others to take when necessary for mania or sleep. But the one thing they don't tell you is that things not only don't get better, they get worse over time. That stuff about stopping the progression of the disorder is bullshit. Day to day does improve, but there is a steady, noticeable, long-term slide. I haven't yet decided if it's med related, or just the natural progression of the disorder. I suspect some of both.

I know people (family) still don't believe my diagnosis, don't like to talk about it, and blame my changes on medication and family stresses. Let me tell you folks, this is the real deal. Without meds, as imperfect as they are, I likely would have killed someone, and it might have been me. The high-energy life of the party fun hypomanias I used to get are mostly gone, replaced by pure mania, often with psychosis. This stuff is dangerous. But anyway, I won't function at this level forever. It may be 1, 5, maybe 10 years, but at some point I'll be forced to take a lower level career position. Perhaps disability won't be far past that. My wife works in admin for an excellent small investment company with excellent management and a kick-ass track record. She'll have to take up the slack, and will pursue her securities licensing in the near future. With her personality she'll do well enough for both of us. People just love her, and she gathers friends like the pied piper.

Enough for now, this medication may finally allow me to sleep. It's 3:30, so it's about time...

2:30 AM

I tried to go to bed 4 hours ago, but no luck. I took a quarter of one of Kyle's Trazodone, and while pleasantly buzzed no sleep. Those are supposed to knock out anyone. I took 5 mg of Ambien with no effect, then another 5 mg. I hate to take more, so I may be blog surfing and posting all night.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Jersey psychiatric center deaf to patients' plight, suit says

Be warned, this is an anger trigger.

From Liz Spikol's blog:

New Jersey psychiatric center deaf to patients' plight, suit says

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Analysts Say Noven Will Not Give Up on Bipolar Disorder Drug Candidate

Ahead of the Bell: Noven

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Analysts said Tuesday that Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc. is likely to give its bipolar disorder drug a second chance in a late-stage clinical trial, a day after word of poor results sent the stock plunging.

On Monday, Noven said tests showed its Lithium QD patch was not significantly more effective than a placebo. Shares sank 21.8 percent, to $13.05, reaching an annual low of $12.91 during the session.

Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Scott Henry reduced his target price to $18.50 per share from $20, but maintained a "Buy" rating on Noven stock. He said the company wants to begin a new late-stage trial after it meets with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss results of the most recent testing.

Henry said results from that trial could be available in nine months to a year.

Analyst David Steinberg of Deutsche Bank said the delay could be much longer, possibly more than 18 months, as Noven may attempt a larger trial or change the formulation of the drug to make it more effective. He kept a "Hold" rating on the stock, but cut his price target to $14 from $17.

Henry noted that the FDA is due to rule on another Noven drug, the bipolar disorder treatment Stavzor, in the next few weeks.

"Even though considered low risk, there are no guarantees that this product will gain approval," he said. He added that investors have become very pessimistic about Noven's pipeline, but their views could change if the company is able to report good news.

Is there any doubt, anywhere, as to the motives of large pharma? Of course they're entitled to make a profit. But these companies are being driven by shareholders who have no interest in anything but the return on their investment. They have no knowledge of the industry, the R&D process, FDA approvals, or the impact of their products on consumers. The bottom line is all that matters.

Fear Of Crime May Erode Physical And Mental Health

Fear of crime may erode physical and mental health | Health | Reuters

There's an easy solution to this, don't fear crime. And the best way to accomplish this mindset? Arm yourself.

Think I'm kidding? Well, only halfway...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quote For Today

With all the pain being felt by the bipolar disorder community right now, here is good advice:

"Get your beauty sleep, or things will get ugly."

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Thought For Today

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

--Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bush Vetoes Child Health Plan

Bush Vetoes Child Health Plan - New York Times

But he seemed eager to avert a full-scale showdown over the difficult issue, offering that he is "more than willing" to negotiate with lawmakers "if they need a little more money in the bill to help us meet the objective of getting help for poor children."

" us meet the objective of getting help for poor children." The most significant poor children in the world were raised by George Bush Sr and Barbara Bush. Totally and completely mentally and morally bankrupt.

Abbey Road

Music can do a lot towards changing a mood. It can make us feel good, motivate us, even make us feel depressed. When things are at their worst for me, there is only one musical work that will do: The Beatles' Abbey Road.

Those younger than I will be rolling their eyes at this statement. But I would go so far as to say it's the greatest musical work in the last 100 years. The album as a whole is not completely perfect, there is a throwaway - Octopus's Garden is a complete throw-away. Maxwell's Silver Hammer is a classic Beatle's ditty, but doesn't belong on Abbey Road. And when I'm really needing the therapeutic value of the album I also omit the opener "Come Together". What remains is something that will soothe a raging mania, or lift the spirits when depressed.

Try it - put on the headphones, skip the tracks above, and tell me you don't feel better after listening to it.

Managing Bipolar Disorder - Psych Central

Managing Bipolar Disorder - Psych Central

This is a pretty good article that nailed my condition - mania being a mix of irritability, anger, and depression. It says euphoric mania is the exception, not the rule. I still get hypomanias, feel-good moods, but I've never considered these mania. Mania is something to be dreaded and feared.

It also says that 90 percent of marriages involving a partner with bipolar disorder end in divorce. That's a scary statistic. I take a lot of pride in staying married for 27 years, but I want to say - it hasn't always been easy. My wife is incredibly understanding of my condition.

The article also says that more than 40 percent of persons with bipolar disorder abuse alcohol or drugs. This is no surprise, in fact I personally think this figure is too low. It then gives a stat I've heard many times before, that 15 to 25 percent die by suicide, accident, or are killed in altercations triggered in a manic phase. I'm glad it includes people killed in altercations triggered by mania, but I'll take that a step further. I think the figure is even higher if you include mania-related accidents or other forms of death when in a manic phase. Mania is the real deal, and is SO DANGEROUS.

It also goes on to talk about supplements. If you want a great piece on supplements, read Giannakali's piece Supplements, Supplements, Supplements at Bipolar Blast.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Stages of Bipolar Disorder

Hey all – looking for some input.

I’m looking for ideas for the stages of bipolar disorder. For example, we’ve all heard of the stages of grief – denial, acceptance, and so forth. How about for bipolar disorder? Apprehension, acceptance, excitement about better drugs, disdain for pharmaceutical companies, and so forth. These can be serious or humorous. It can be an entire list, or just one or 2 items.

If everyone could leave a comment with their idea(s) we’d have a great list. Even if you don’t think your idea is good, comment anyway as it may motivate others. Anonymous comments are absolutely welcome. If reading other comments triggers another thought, comment again with that thought.

I’m still depressed, but trying to keep my mind occupied and stimulated enough that I can function. If I can stay motivated or excited about a project, or even an article idea, it makes my depressions so much easier to handle.