How to handle me when I am in a ‘roller coaster ride’

by Tammy Ozolins

I have always and still do try to cover up when I am feeling out of sorts.

I put on my mask and get through the day, but what people do not realize is when I am home I let it all out. My friends and family are who I rely on to get through the rough times, but at the same time I do not want to bother them with my bipolar disorder. I always feel like they will get sick of me.

The ironic part is the ones who truly know me will actually get … Read more...

Yoga as a coping strategy for bipolar disorder

by Pamela James

I was diagnosed in April with Bipolar II. I am 55 years old. Fifty five.

It was a shock, but then again, it explained all my struggles in life: jobs, relationships, moods, parenting, depression, rage. Thanks to a wonderful psychiatrist, I am on a very successful combination of medications. More importantly, I have incorporated yoga into my life. It is just as important as the meds.

The instructors are so welcoming. I arrive at 6:30 a.m. with my hair in a messy bun, clothes that are sometimes specifically for yoga, but sometimes not. I do not have … Read more...

Hardest part of Bipolar Disorder is suffering in silence

by Jon Farrow

You suffer in silence out of constant fear of being persecuted. You bury your pain into the deepest obscure corners of your heart for fear of being labeled as crazy or insane. You try to fake it, to be strong, to be normal, all the while carrying this misunderstood weight on your chest.

Living with Bipolar Disorder can feel like driving a car and suddenly the steering wheel falls off. You can feel in control for days, weeks, or months at a time. Then suddenly you loose your steering and fall into the cavernous hole of depression.

Read more...

Voices for Change Podcast

Technical glitches at the start so once you hit play, you drag the little circle forward to about 4:45 or so.

I actually “met” Becca Lombardo on Twitter. She, like me, has been a mental health advocate for a long time. Rebecca suffers from bipolar disorder and has written two books on the subject. She and her husband, Joe, host this show to combat the issue of stigma associated with mental illness. I was honored to have been asked to be a guest on the show as a mother of a child who suffered mental illness and died by suicide.… Read more...

Bright lights and smiles get me through the holidays

by Paul Buskey

Christmas, birthdays and New Year’s Eve are three hard days for me.

Hardest isn’t quite the right word.  More like I don’t deserve to be happy days. It’s something that’s always been the case since childhood. Those are supposed to be the two best days of the year. I’ve never really given it much thought until now. Since writing experiences down it now comes to the forefront.

Birthdays have always been difficult for me to celebrate. Why? Why would you celebrate me being born? It’s just another day. I don’t deserve a gift. Christmas is the same … Read more...

Scared But Hopeful

by Nancy Workman

My son is 22 years old and suffers from bipolar disorder (mainly depression), anxiety, ADHD and substance abuse. He was only 9 years old when he tried to jump off a balcony and we sought help. We actually had him as inpatient in a Baltimore top-rated hospital in the nation.

They sent him home a week later with parenting advice and a sticker chart.

I wish I were kidding. He was suicidal and they gave me a sticker chart? What? Are you serious? This was 2005. They did absolutely nothing to help us. Nothing.

I knew I … Read more...

You have Bipolar Disorder-Rapid Cycling

tammy ozolins and her dad after bipolar disorder diagnosis
Tammy Ozolins and her Dad

by Tammy Ozolins

This is what the doctor told me during my first hospitalization. I thought it was like a cut and all I had to do was put a band aid on it and I would be good to go.

I told the doctor I have things to do, so let’s just get this fixed.

I truly did not accept my mental illness at this point. I took my medicine. But once I started to feel better, I stopped. Why? Because I thought I knew what was best for me.

Boy, was I wrong!… Read more...