My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:
A Bit On Bi-Polar
Bi-polar, also known as manic depression, is a term that is more commonly thrown around now a days, but not very often talked about. I have spoken of it a bit in past weeks, but I believe the following content clarifies what I have said before and is important to add to the conversation.
There is no physical test – as of now – that can be done to diagnose Bi-polar, you can only be diagnosed through a series of questions given to you by a psychologist and then treated by a psychiatrist, often working with your general practitioner to make sure they diagnose you accurately and safely. While Bi-polar can be treated, it presents very differently and in varying levels in everyone and can be extremely hard to diagnose, especially since those who have Bi-polar tend to hide their depression and don’t realize when they are manic. Many folks on the outside misunderstand mania as simply bad behavior. When you are bi-polar you alternate between a state of depression and a state of mania.
I think it is also important to know that Bi-polar (much like depression) is genetic and inherited, you do not “catch it”, and it is not caused by situations (as far as we know). It can, however, be triggered in the body by stress/extreme circumstances, at least this is what the current research is indicating.
Why Should I Learn About Bi-Polar? This is an intense question, and it has a very complex answer. But two really simple and clear reasons are as follows:
- 25% to 50% of those with Bi-polar disorder attempt suicide (it could be higher, but it is hard to be certain since many people are not diagnosed).
- The stigma on mental health keeps people living with bi-polar from living normal and happy lives.
Bi Polar’s Definition: “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” For more information, and a breakdown on the differences between Bi-polar 1, Bi-polar 2, and Cyclothymia, please check out the National Institute of Mental Health, here.
A Bit more on Bi-Polar: This article from Harvard’s Medical School does a beautiful job of further breaking down Bi-polar in an approachable way, they also go into understanding the common medications used to treat bi-polar, why they are used, and the common side affects they bring about. I found this particularly helpful.
How Can We Help? I want to be clear, I do not believe that anyone after reading this E-mail, myself included, should diagnose anyone. However, if you see worrisome behavior in yourself or another after reading this E-mail it could be helpful to offer your observations (in a non judgmental way) and connect yourself/another to a psychologist. Or, 911/the National Suicide Hotline if the behavior is immediately threatening (listed at the bottom of this E-mail). There are affordable therapy options at the bottom of this E-mail as well, if you are having a hard time finding the information/help you need. Please reach out and I will do my best to assist or connect you with those you can.
I have made the following point before, but I think it bares repeating: People dealing with mental health struggles are just people. They present like normal people. They are normal people. They just also deal with a mental health diagnosis every day. Much like folks with diabetes. Many of these illnesses can be helped with medicine and an understanding from the general culture as to what their diagnosis means for them and to those around them. It is the same with my own diagnosis, and the same for those who have Bi-polar.
My New Favorite Documentary: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive is a 2006 television documentary directed by Ross Wilson and featuring British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. It explores the effects of living with bipolar disorder on other celebrities and members of the public. It won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary at the 35th International Emmys in 2007. It also features the following public figures: Andy Behrman; Jo Brand; Jo Crocker; Richard Dreyfuss; Carrie Fisher; Griff Rhys Jones; Tony Slattery; Rick Stein; and Robbie Williams.
This has been my favorite documentary I have ever seen on mental illness. It answers questions and educates, but it also remains human. Fry has been a huge hero to me as a creative living with mental health struggles, and also as a person who has been brave and generous enough to share those struggles with the world and cause real progress in breaking mental heath stigma.
The documentary is free on Youtube, and is separated into two sections. You can download it on your phone, watch it in increments, or relax and watch it in bulk. However you break it up, it’s an uplifting, educational, heartbreaking story – very up and down, which I thought was suitable to the content as well.
If You Loved The Documentary: Fry comes back in 2016 and does a follow up documentary called The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On. And you can find it here.
Mind, An Excellent Resource: Fry is the president of Mind, an organization in England and Whales that promotes de-stigmatization of mental health, and also works to get medical and emotional support for those who need it.
Mind’s “What We Do” statement: “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.”
So beautiful, I have shared them before, but I thought they were worth repeating. Their A-Z on mental health is clear, articulate, and an excellent resource to further education and empathy on mental health alone. They also have incredible videos on most diagnosis for those of you out there – like me – who retain information better when it is handed to them in a visual or narrative structured way. You can go to there website here to explore more.
Update on my Show:
Humboldt Mile: Hope For The Day is having there annual One Mile Run and I will be participating/handing out cards for One Woman Hamlet! I have been finalizing logo changes with the amazing Margo Siwak and finalizing printing with the incredible Benjamin Lapean!
More On The Event: The Humboldt Mile is a USATF certified, chip-timed one mile race that will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2019 in Humboldt Park. This event is a celebration of life, with 100% of the proceeds supporting Hope For The Day’s Proactive Suicide Prevention programs.
With early registration, participants are guaranteed a Nike race day shirt. Click here to register.
Also, I updated my website and there are more from my past weeks up, with the rest soon to follow!
Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website: www.onewomanhamlet.com
AND! my update Video.
Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.
Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible.
Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet
All my best and heart to you,