Yesterday was a Bust

Feeling Blue Like a Failure against blue sky and bare branches

Yesterday, I blew it. First of all, I had vertigo in the morning. The night before my son had complained of getting dizzy walking up the stairs and collapsed into bed. Monday morning I had to hold onto walls to keep my balance.

Using the vertigo as an excuse (probably a good reason to avoid driving, though I did take my kid to and from school), I bailed attending an Orange County Community Action Advisory Committee meeting. Why I even went to the previous month’s meeting, I do not know. I don’t even use any county services. I suppose I could. I am on disability. There are services available, as well as nonprofit peer support groups nearby. But, I don’t.

Eventually I bail on every group (but I am still married, and no matter how much of a failure I feel as a mother, I haven’t run away). Honestly, I just do not feel comfortable with the whole group membership thing, and so I shirk any and all expectations. I’ve trained to be a NAMI volunteer, but I’ve done minimal, absolutely minimal volunteering. I’m a farce. A joke. An illusion. I feel like a total fucking failure.

I even bailed on going out for our anniversary dinner, which suited my husband. He’d just as soon put his jammies on after work. But, I was isolating myself and neglecting putting myself together, making myself look and feel pretty, or at least presentable. I want to be waited on hand and foot, I wanted to eat delicious food, I just wasn’t up for going out to a restaurant. I wasn’t up for going OUT, period. I failed once again as a mother, losing it when my son threw a fit. I responded with a fit of my own. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I JUST CANNOT HOLD IT TOGETHER ANYMORE. I’m undone. I’m completely undone.

Now, I’m debating bailing on meeting an acquaintance for lunch. She’s a lovely woman writer, a mother (no doubt a better mother), who is a member of OC Writers, a local writers’ group which I have not gone to in quite some time. Shit.

Medications: To have or not, that is the question! | International Bipolar Foundation

My friend Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain responded to a recent IBPF blog article by Susan Zarit entitled Medications: To Have Or Not, That Is The Question! Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar has struggled unsuccessfully to find a medication combination that works. I can only imagine what Susan must go through mood cycling on a daily basis.

Neither Dyane Harwood nor I are medical doctors. Please see a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications and to discuss medication changes. Medication of psychiatric illnesses requires the expertise of a psychiatrist. In my opinion, serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated with medication by board certified psychiatrists. Supportive psychotherapists should be expert in working with our populations. We need more specialized support than, say, relationship counseling.

See Natasha Tracy‘s article on the importance of seeing a psychiatrist rather than a general practioner for serious mental illnesses.

Dyane Harwood | Tue, 2015-03-03 09:34

Hi Susan! thanks so much for writing about this topic!

I know you wrote that you’ve tried pretty much everything…I’m so sorry —but I wonder if you’ve tried an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) with lithium? I’m medication-resistant & I have bipolar one disorder. Over the past decade I tried 25+ other meds and I opted for unilateral and bilateral ECT (which worked for my acute bipolar depression with suicidal ideation). I have seen at least 20 psychiatrists and not ONE ever suggested to me to try the following medication that I describe below…

My latest psychiatrist (and the best one I’ve seen) suggested that I try the “old-school” medication of a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate for my bipolar one, in combination with lithium. I did some research and found that MAOI’s are suggested to those with medication-resistant bipolar disorder. They have food and dietary restrictions that are more than worth the sacrifice to me, i.e. no alcohol and no foods containing high amounts of the amino acid tyramine. MAOI’s can work even more effectively in combination with lithium. (Two small studies done back in the 1970’s proved that hypothesis and I was impressed with the study results.)

The MAOI and lithium combo. finally worked to alleviate my longtime bipolar depression. I’m so thankful to these medications for helping me get my quality of life back. If even one person is helped by this comment, I’ll be thrilled.

via Medications: To have or not, that is the question! | International Bipolar Foundation.

See Natasha Tracy‘s article on the importance of seeing a psychiatrist rather than a general practioner for serious mental illnesses.

Bipolar Network News

Today I quote the fabulous Bipolar Network News, 6th issue, 2014. The Bipolar Network News keeps track of the latest research on bipolar disorder and its treatment and summarizes it for you. How awesome is that?! I highly recommend visiting their website and signing up for their newsletter. Thank you, Bipolar Network News!


In this issue

Welcome to the sixth issue of Bipolar Network News for 2014. Click on the links below to read more research on each topic! You may also access PDFs of our complete print archives here.

You can also sign up for more information on our new Child Network, a research network to collect information on how children with mood disorders or at risk for them are being treated in the community, and how well it is working. The network will be up and running in a few weeks.



New research from studies of twins indicates that positive traits like verbal ability and sociability are common in families with bipolar disorder.

We also review the the FDA-approved treatments for bipolar depression and discuss cariprazine, a new atypical antipsychotic.

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In a new study lamotrigine was more effective than placebo at extending the time until a next mood episode in 13- to 17-year-olds.

In siblings, bipolar disorder is 25 times more likely to occur when the father is older (over age 45) than younger.

Offspring of parents with bipolar disorder are at high risk for mood disorders. When parents are ill (as opposed to recovered), onset is likely to occur earlier.

It appears that some vitamin and mineral preparations may be helpful for children with bipolar disorder, who are likely to have low levels of vitamin D.

Lithium was superior to placebo in reducing the severity of mania in a study of children and teens. Lithium also increased white matter volume.

We provide tips for differentiating between ADHD and bipolar disorder in adolescents and children.

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The antidepressant vortioxetine appears to improve cognition in depressed patients.

An extract of the spice saffron may be able to treat mild depression.

A recent study finds no substantial risk of infant cardiac problems resulting from antidepressant use during pregnancy.

We review a variety of treatments with rapid-onset antidepressant effects, including intravenous ketamine and scopolamine, one night of sleep deprivation, and inhaled isoflurane.

After some failures in using deep brain stimulation to treat depression, a change in the positioning of electrodes led to better results.

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In a rodent model of depression, antidepressants fluoxetine and desipramine and the drug ketamine made animals more resilient. Antidepressants and ketamine were also able to reverse learned helplessness.

A fascinating new technology called CLARITY makes it possible to view mammalian brain structure and connectivity by replacing lipids in an animal’s brain with a hydrogel substance, rendering the brain transparent.

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Halting marijuana use might improve memory in adolescents.

We describe how the chemicals in marijuana work in the brain.

Methamphetamine kills dopamine neurons in the midbrain of mice.

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The inflammatory marker NF-kB is elevated in adolescent bipolar disorder.

The ratio of cortisol to c-reactive protein has different effects in women and men.

Flavanols, found in cocoa and tea, may improve age-related memory loss.

Statins may prevent cardiovascular risk in patients with bipolar disorder.

We compare the effect sizes of various autism treatments.

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Contact the Bipolar Network News

Bipolar Collaborative Network
5415 W. Cedar Lane
Suite 201B
Bethesda, MD 20814

IBPF #MakeSomeoneHappy Challenge!

No doubt it is absurd to think that donning a red nose may lift someone out of bipolar depression, but perhaps it will bring a smile to someone’s face. Maybe someone will hear that they are not alone, that others are out there fighting bipolar disorder. I am participating in the #MakeSomeoneHappy Challenge on behalf of the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF). Follow and/or donate to them:

Want to participate? Here is how from IBPF‘s website:

#MakeSomeoneHappy Challenge!

Make Someone Happy Campaign

  • What: A challenge to make at least one person happy and to bring awareness to International Bipolar Foundation and our work to help the more than 165 million people with bipolar disorder
  • Who: Anyone interested in brightening someone’s day
  • How: It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3,
    1. Wear a red nose and video yourself telling them (at least one person) your wish for their happy day, then post it on your social media: “Hi [name], I want to make you happy today so I’m wearing this red nose. When feeling low or down in the dumps, remember this nose to relieve your grumps. I invite you to wear a red nose and make 3 more people happy.” Remember to use the hashtag #MakeSomeoneHappy and tag us on Facebook ( or Twitter (@intlbipolar) . Don’t have social media? Send Heather at your video and/or pics and we will post it for you!
    2. Be creative; use a Rudolph or clown nose, lipstick, a sticker, ping pong ball…your choices are endless
    3. AND ask people to make a donation to us at when you post your photo or video to social media!

Please forward to friends, family and colleagues and ask them to participate in this fun challenge!