Uncategorized — 23 January 2015

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Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood, from mania to depression, which are different from the ups and downs experienced in day-to-day life. A person’s energy and activity levels reflect their mood. Mania is a period of euphoria, where a person may be unable to sit still or stop talking. During a manic phase, a person may be super-productive and filled with new ideas, but they may also engage in reckless behavior, such as risky sex or gambling. At the other end of the spectrum, during a depressive phase, a person may feel listless, hopeless and worthless, sometimes struggling even to get out of bed. These blogs have been selected to show the differences in functioning across the disorder and together demonstrate the complexity of the disorder and its treatment. Along with the stark, poignant honesty of personal stories, they offer intelligent reflection and discussion on what science has to say over a condition which is far from easy answers.

Most of the blogs listed here are written by people who have either bipolar I or II. In bipolar I, there is at least one full-blown manic episode lasting a week or more, or hospitalization. In bipolar II, there is a hypomanic phase which lasts at least four days, but which does not necessarily require hospitalization. Both categories of bipolar may interrupt normal functioning, making it difficult to maintain a regular job and relationships.
  1. Bipolar Hope is the blog of the Bipolar Hope magazine website. A variety of writers contribute to the lively tone of this blog, where you’ll find personal anecdotes, probing pieces, reflections on relationships with illness and religion, plus practical lifestyle tips. Their voices can help cut through feelings of isolation and stigma. It is well worth perusing if you’d like to sprinkle some optimism into your day.
  2. Bipolarblogging is written by a man who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his 50s. His poignant account of the ups and downs he experiences evokes strength from its sincerity. Despite the occasional mental turmoil, he writes with an appealing calmness and humility. It speaks a combined wisdom of age and soul from having lived through some dark times.
  3. Bipolar Happens! cites pragmatic tips for people with bipolar disorder. Written by Julie Fast, who was diagnosed in her early 30s and has since learned how to manage her condition using a comprehensive plan, this site skips the sugarcoating and gets straight to strategies which can help with day-to-day functioning while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
  4. Breaking Bipolar is penned by prolific blogger Natasha Tracy. In this site she writes about many aspects of the disorder, ranging from practical tips on how to she copes to anxieties of changing medication. Her writing is clear, accessible, and discerning. What’s particularly appealing about this blog is how she maintains objectivity. You may also like to check out her other blog, Bipolar Burble.
  5. Erica Loberg writes about her life with bipolar II at Tales of Manic Depression. Posts include frank discussion of contemporary events, plus less commonly blogged topics such as sex and depression. Her style is poetic and original. In being brave enough to make her personal life public, she empowers others and can help lessen feelings of isolation.
  6. A Mind Divided is an artistic blog, written by Sandy Sue (Sandy Wyatt). Beautifully presented, it features her art work and has a wonderful creative glow. Sandy Sue is an endearing blend of genius and humbly human. Her aim is to use her bipolar disorder as a springboard for higher consciousness and exploration. There is a lot of stimulating posts about the creative process and mental illness.
  7. Bipolar Advantage is the brainchild of Tom Wootton. Central to his writing is the premise that aspects of bipolar can be positive, challenging much of the conventional chatter about what it means to be manic or depressed. Regardless of whether you agree wholeheartedly, there’s plenty of stimulating discussion, advice and resources on his website. The blog itself is a selection of articles which have been published on various psychology websites.
  8. Being Beautifully Bipolar is written by Elaina Martin, who has bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The blog is an earnest account of how she manages her mental illness, with occasional glances back to her career in fashion. She began her blog after a suicide attempt and diagnosis of bipolar I in 2008. The power of this blog comes from the honesty of her anecdotes.
  9. James Claims – A Manic Depressive’s Journey Through Life, Philosophy, and Science chronicles a man’s life with bipolar I. An original aspect of this blog is the section on functioning, where James shares scales he’s developed to help monitor his mood and productivity throughout manic and depressive phases. He also talks openly about his experiences with pharmapsychology, how medication has helped and hindered him at times. Besides personal anecdotes, he includes interesting philosophical reviews on research surrounding bipolar.
  10. Medical News Today is not really a blog, but an invaluable information resource nonetheless for those seeking scientific news surrounding bipolar disorder. It reports on the symptoms, treatments and latest research. If you’re looking for objective information, this page is well worth a visit. The site includes studies on how bipolar affects caregivers, so is useful for anyone whose life is affected by bipolar.

This article originally appeared Psych Central, 19 January 2015.

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