Online Support Resources

Recently, I have come across people who live in rural areas without adequate mental health resources or live outside the US and do not have the access to mental health resources that the US or some other countries may offer. Quite honestly, I am fairly ignorant of resources outside the US and cannot claim expertise about resources inside the US, either. Anyway, here are some online resources I found in my web surfing. IBPF and MHA offer links to multiple support groups.

I have never participated in an online support group, so I cannot speak to how well they work. I can say that the support I receive blogging and through social media has been incredibly helpful.

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.

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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.

Eric Arauz

Eric Arauz How Written and Oral Storytelling Saved MY Life 2-12-14 8.58 AM from International Bipolar Foundation on Vimeo.

Sunday I was particularly impressed by Eric Arauz‘s presentation on Conscious Storytelling. 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 am enjoying 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 Hesse, St. Augustine, Camus and Emerson among other great minds. This guy is an intellectual powerhouse. As I’ve been reading his book, I’ve been 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.

An American's Resurrection

IBPF Consumer Track Meeting

Yesterday I attended the IBPF (International Bipolar Foundation) Annual West Coast Meeting – Consumer Track. The one-day consumer track meeting covered quite a bit which I outline here, providing links to more information.


David J. Miklowitz, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA Semel Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University

Coping with Bipolar Disorder: Eight Practical Strategies for Enhancing Wellness

The 8 Self-Care Principles

  1. Monitor your moods daily/know your early warning signs
  2. Recognize and manage stress triggers
  3. Stabilize your sleep/wake rhythms
  4. Know your position on medications
  5. Develop a mania prevention plan
  6. Work on communication with your family/partner
  7. Obtain reasonable accommodations at work or school
  8. Get regular therapy or join a support group

Eric Arauz, MLER

Adjunct Faculty Instructor, Rutgers/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Psychiatry.

Conscious Storytelling: Integrating somatic, cognitive, and emotional lucidity in oral storytelling as a recovery tool for serious mental illness, trauma, addiction, and suicidality.

  • Trauma-Informed Recovery
    1. Trauma-Informed Storytelling
    2. Relational Reconstruction
  • Fluencies of Self: Physiological, Cognitive, Spiritual, Social, and Emotional
  • Narrative Identity Processing: “…well-being is associated with the capacity to construct a coherently structured story about a difficult experience.” (Pals, J. L. (2006), Narrative Identity Processing of Difficult Life Experiences: Pathways of Personality Development and Positive Self-Transformation in Adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74: 1079–1110. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00403.x)
  • Read, Write, Speak
  • Polyvagal Theory: TherapeuticDyad
    • Autonomic Nervous System
    • Social Engagement System
    • Neuroception: Pro-social, Fight or Flight, Freezing/Imminent Death
    • Interventions: Heart to Face, Heart to Voice, Heart to Eyes
    • (Porges, SW, The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2001 Oct; 42(2):123-46.)
  • Conscious Storytelling — Speak — “What is Shareable is Bearable.” (Dan Siegel, MD, author of Mindsight)

Genevieve GreenLynn Hart Muto

A Perspective from a Patient and Caregiver

Genevieve Green, 20-year-old mental health activist and public speaker, and Lynn Hart Muto, IBPF Board Secretary and one of IBPF’s founders, gave their perspectives as consumer and caregiver and answered questions.


Maricela Estrada

Hope: The Beginning of my Beautiful Life

Maricela Estrada has written Bipolar Girl: My Psychotic Self, is publishing Beautiful Bipolar Bisexual, and blogs at mentalhealthinspiration.blogspot.com. She was a patient of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for ten years. Now she works as a Medical Case Worker helping patients with Prevention and Early Intervention.

Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Access Line (24/7): 1 (800) 854-7771

Milestones of Recovery Scale (MORS): Mental health recovery is non-linear.


Thomas S. Jensen, MD

Medical Director of IBPF and psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego. He specializes in general and neuropsychiatry treating children, adolescents and adults, but is especially esteemed for his work with patients with bipolar disorder.

Medication Treatment: A 4-Phased Approach

  • Phase 1: Rapidly stabilize mania or mixed state to help assure safety
  • Phase 2: Introduce agents that dampen cycles and lengthen the frequency of cycles, rather than just dampening the mania
  • Phase 3: Address residual depression
  • Phase 4: Address coexisting conditions

Dr. Jennifer Bahr, ND

Dr. Jennifer Bahr is a licensed naturopathic doctor who specializes in natural treatments for mental illness and endocrine disorders. For more information about her practice in San Diego, visit drjenniferbahr.com.

Healthy Living: A Natural Approach to Living Well with Bipolar Disorder

Focus on Right/Healthful Decisions

  • CBT/Mindfulness
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Support
  • Resilience is Health

Acceptance – Not perfect all the time


Jake Roberts and Kayte Roberts

All in the Family: Overcoming Addiction and Bipolar Disorder Together

Panel discussion led by siblings Jake Roberts and Kayte Roberts addressed addiction and recovery from addiction, co-occurrence of mental illness and addiction, and genetic roots of addiction and mental illness.