Siren Song

I have heard the siren song of alcohol and marijuana. Craved the quieting of my thoughts, the slowing down. Prescribed medications do help immensely, but I still understand and am wary of alcohol&#…

Source: Siren Song

Friday Was Tough


I’ve received feedback that my delivery in this video is too clinical and offputting. Forgive me. I’m trained as a psychotherapist. No doubt I use my training and jargon not just to understand, but to defend myself, to distance myself. Plus, I just like big words.

Edited Transcript – “Ums” Removed

Yesterday was really intense. We had gotten, or I had received, a call from my parents’ memory care that my dad was… my parents were very upset because they were separating them into separate rooms.

There’s a good reason for separating them. When together they isolate and don’t let caregivers take care of them and don’t participate in activities and don’t socialize, and their health deteriorates. When they’re separated, which we’ve had them separated at different times since my mother’s had a stroke, they both participate in activities in their separate facilities. They actually do better. Both of them.

So, the idea was to have them in the same facility, but in separate rooms with same sex roommates. They can still visit each other. They can still see each other, but they have to sleep separately to try to see if we can break their co-dependent relationship. It’s a dynamic that’s not unusual. Problem is they take care of each other and don’t let other people take care of them. And, they need help. They can’t. They’re not really up for taking care of each other. They’re not up for taking care of themselves or each other.

I know that they love one another deeply, and we want to respect that. And, they still have the opportunity to have private time. That’s respected, as well. But in order for them to get the most out of the program that we’re paying for they have to participate in it. They have to let caregivers come in. They have to do things that exercise their brain, rather than deteriorate.

If we were to just let them isolate, then I would get the cheapest care possible and just… But I’ve already seen what that results in – which is unfortunately violent behavior and at times, even now, psychotic behavior – for which I’ve had to have my mom hospitalized a couple of times since her stroke.

The stroke has damaged not only just the part of her brain that handles language, but the part of her brain that handles impulse control. So any psychiatric illness that I may be heir to, and I am, is exacerbated by the brain damage.

So anyway, I just wanted to put that out there. I have writing that I’ve done, very scattered, and I want to touch on and that I haven’t really talked about, which is about… I’ll just go into it… My sister’s going to hate me for this. Which is about what it’s like growing up raised by raised in an alcoholic family. How challenging that is. What it’s like being raised by a parent who has no insight into her own illness or behavior. How it affects those who love her and who she loves.

There’s no doubt my parents loved us. Very well. Very much. But it was very hard for… I’ll speak for my own behalf.

I am thankful very much for my sister for being my reality test. When things seemed really crazy, we’d look at each other and go, this doesn’t make any sense. And, that, that’s huge. That’s huge.

But it’s a part of mental illness, not realizing that you have it. Not everybody has insight. Not everybody seeks help. Not everybody gets help. It has a devastating effect on those who love and are loved by someone with unacknowledged, undiagnosed, untreated mental illness or unacknowledged, undiagnosed, untreated alcoholism, dual diagnosis. It’s really tough.

Sometimes children raised in such an environment try desperately to please, thinking they can control behavior they can’t control. Hoping that they can earn love and avoid the emotional abuse that may come with behavior that is unpredictable, and that you can’t understand what you had done to bring it on because you hadn’t done anything to bring it on.

There you go.

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

Review: An American’s Resurrection

An American's Resurrection: My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to SalvationAn American’s Resurrection: My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to Salvation by Eric C Arauz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On November 9, 2014, I had the pleasure of hearing Eric Arauz’s presentation on Conscious Storytelling at the International Bipolar Foundation’s Annual West Coast Meeting. He gave us each a copy of his autobiography, An American’s Resurrection: My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to Salvation, which I greatly enjoyed reading. The first thing I did once I grabbed a copy of his book was to check out his End Notes and his Arauzian Original Concepts. I was impressed and immediately knew I was going to like a guy who referenced Dante, Hesse, St. Augustine, Camus and Emerson among other great minds. This guy is an intellectual powerhouse. As I reading his book, I was most impressed by the quality of his writing. For those of you who love well-crafted story-telling with an intellectual punch, read his book. For those of you who live with bipolar disorder or who are survivors of traumatic psychiatric hospitalizations, this is a must read. Arauz is a man on a mission. His mission is to spread the message to sufferers everywhere that resurrection is possible. Thank you, Eric Arauz, for answering the door when your resurrection knocked.

View all my reviews

Arauzian Original Concepts developed in this book:

Applied Existentialism: Is an active philosophy of life. The goal of Applied Existentialism is to build your own meaning of existence and then take the daily actions to fulfill your self-created destiny. This applied philosophy is built by searching for lessons of living left for us across time in disciplines such as literature, art, music, science, psychology, religion, astrophysics etc. and actively applying those lessons in your daily life.

Dante/Virgil Support Model: A model created out of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. In this work, Dante journeys through Hell and is able to observe the damnation and find his way out because the great poet Virgil is there with him. Virgil lives in the underworld and, therefore, does not fear the journey. In this model, two people journey together through the pain, shame and suffering of recovery. They support each other and stay connected throughout the journey. It is not a therapist/client model like the therapeutic process or the sponsor/sponsee model from the twelve-step programs. The participants are equals and the roles interchangeable.