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Natasha Tracy’s Bipolar Burble: Fantastic Blog

15 Aug

Natasha Tracy is a tech geek turned award-winning mental health writer. Her blog covers a wide variety of issues relating to bipolar disorder including breakthroughs in medical research, navigating the relationship between bipolar disorder and self, and the perennially raging debate of how we define and label mental illness.

Tracy fully endorses the biomedical model: she argues against nonadherence to medication and reports on developments in neuroimaging and gene mapping. Even if you disagree with her on that, I urge you to check out her blog. Her research is thorough, her writing is fresh, and she’s compiled a wealth of online resources about bipolar disorder, including research developments and treatment options. The comment sections are also edifying, in part because she mediates them thoroughly (the tech geek thing probably helps). This is easily one of the best bipolar blogs the Web has to offer.

http://natashatracy.com/topic/bipolar-blog/

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SAMHSA Mental Health Treatment Facility Locator

23 Jun

Use this handy-dandy website to find behavioral health services in your area. You can adjust the distance from your location and search by street address or zip code. Neat.

Keep in mind that this site does not locate educational or peer support resources. It’s great for finding counseling and medication management services, but if you’re looking for classes or support groups, your best bet is to contact NAMI or a like-minded advocacy group such as the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).

http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/MHTreatmentLocator

psycheducation.com–FANTASTIC web resource for bipolar disorder

14 Mar

http://www.psycheducation.org/index.html

A progressive psychiatrist at the Cascadia clinic recommended this site to me, and it is marvelous. For all you DSM haters out there, you’ll be pleased to know that a psychiatrist at Harvard developed another diagnostic instrument called the Bipolarity Index. This views affective disorders on a spectrum and uses a self-guided point system to help identify your place on it–a huge improvement over the checklists, black-or-white thinking, and doctor-patient power differential espoused by the DSM.

It’s easy to hate on psychiatry. Every single person I know with mental health issues has at least one horror story about a psychiatrist who messed them up even more through misdiagnosis, over-medicating them, or both. We bipolar folks may have a more antagonistic relationship to psychiatry than others because we are so often misdiagnosed; A survey taken by The Guardian in 2012 found that the average length of time between the onset of bipolar disorder and accurate diagnosis is thirteen years. (It was sixteen for me, and another year after that before a doctor recognized my PTSD.)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/27/bipolar-disorder-diagnosis-survey

However, I am convinced that the author of psycheducation.org, a Doctor Jim Phelps, is one of the good guys. I may be biased because I like his down-to-earth writing style, but beyond that this is an extremely helpful and comprehensive resource. The site is chock full of info about new and emerging research in illness and treatment. It includes tips for non-pharmaceutical treatment methods (hello Omega-3’s!) and Dr. Phelps isn’t shy about sharing his own critiques of mainstream psychiatry. I highly recommend it.

Great website: “Meditation-PTSD”

4 Mar

http://www.meditation-ptsd.com/

Meditation is a wonderful and often overlooked method to help recover from and manage post-traumatic stress disorder. The techniques taught in meditation–breathing, mindfulness, and focus–can also be used to regulate intrusive symptoms of PTSD such as panic attacks and flashbacks. A study recently conducted about the efficacy of using meditation to treat American soldiers’ PTSD reported not only gains in their recovery, but also in their ability to retain new information:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/03/03/military-may-be-turning-to-meditation-for-ptsd/52149.html

Meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, mitigate insomnia, enhance immune system functioning, decrease pain from migraines, muscle tension, menses…you get the idea.

http://www.lifedivine.net/main/benefits-of-meditation-physical-health/

I attended meditation sessions at my local Zen Center while I was working through my trauma, and they were very helpful in calming my mind and lowering my anxiety.

I understand people’s reluctance to try it, but one of the great things about meditation is that there’s no one “right” way to do it. You don’t have to bend yourself into a pretzel: you can meditate in a simple kneeling or cross-legged position. I’ve also attended a meditation group where we sat in chairs.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of sitting in a Dharma room breathing incense smoke while surrounded by a bunch of Buddhist monks, please know that there is a variety of meditation styles and groups out there: do a little digging and find what works for you. There are low-key groups that approach it from more practical, less spiritual angles. I will say that I find doing it in a group to be very helpful because it provides support and instruction. Most communities have meditation centers and groups. You can find them through a simple Google search, through Meetup.com, or through review sites such as Yelp. The meditation meetings are usually inexpensive or free with the option of a donation. Many meet on evenings during the week and on weekend mornings.

If you’re the solitary type who prefers to try it solo, there are numerous DVD’s, CD’s, and online resources that can guide you through it.

http://www.portlandinsight.org/meditations_main.html

Bottom line: there’s no harm in trying it, it’s affordable, and you might find it to be a natural, healthy alternative to piling on more meds to treat your anxiety and insomnia.

“Mad in America”: Insiders Critique the Mental Health Industry

26 Feb

http://www.madinamerica.com/

From the website’s mission statement:

“The site is designed to serve as a resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and abroad. We want to provide readers with news, stories of recovery, access to source documents, and the informed writings of bloggers that will further this enterprise.”

Their stable of writers includes accomplished psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and social workers–people working within the system who clearly see the need for radical change. Very inspiring, validating stuff.

“The Sanctuary Model”

20 Feb

http://www.sanctuaryweb.com

Consider this one-stop shopping for educating yourself about the multitudinous psychological, neurological, emotional, physical, behavioral, interpersonal, intergenerational, and societal effects of trauma resulting from abuse, particularly domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse. Their website describes the Sanctuary Model as “a theory-based, trauma-informed, evidence-supported, whole culture approach that has a clear and structured methodology for creating or changing an organizational culture” and goes on to define a concept called “safety culture” as a model for treating trauma that works to provide four levels of safety: physical safety, psychological safety, social safety, and moral safety.

http://www.sanctuaryweb.com/safety.php

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Cool Website: “Developing Creativity”

19 Feb

http://www.scoop.it/t/developing-creativity

Douglas Eby has been curating the website Talent Development Resources (talentdevelopment.com) for fifteen years. He’s also written several books about honing and channeling personal creativity. This particular page focuses on psychology and creativity, including discussions about bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, and trauma. Eby started his site while studying psychology as an exploration into his own creative processes. LOADS of great articles and links, a veritable smorgasbord of info and inspiration.

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trauma, dissociation and embodiment

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

'Merica Magazine

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recovery network: Toronto

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suzannerbanks

scent . intention . consciousness . essential oils

we hunted the mammoth

the new misogyny, tracked and mocked

Laura K. Kerr, PhD

Writer • Scholar • Speaker

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

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The Daily Advocate By Painspeaks

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Musings of a Bipolar Mama

Your not-so-average ramblings of a bipolar mama

Writing for Recovery

Write, speak, heal, live. Say the unsayable.

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Shapely Prose

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The Rhubosphere

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