The Improper Use Of The Term “Bipolar Trigger”

Time and time again I see people tossing around the phrase “bipolar trigger” with disregard. Unfortunately, not understanding what a trigger is can create a number of problems in trying to figure out and manage the Disorder. It creates a misconception that causes a number of people to see their loved ones as rapid-cycling when they are not.

So what is a “trigger”? A trigger is a circumstance that kicks off an unwell cycle. It can be anything; ranging from a smell that kicks up forgotten memories, to being assaulted, to a movie. to the sky being blue. Here’s the important distinction- it kicks off an unwell cycle. It doesn’t create temporary spikes, general moodiness, or just discomfort. It is a circumstance that starts an unwell cycle.

Let’s have a look at some examples with visuals to help demonstrate this better. We’ll get to why it’s important in a minute.

Chart Legend

MOOD
10 – Full Blown “I’m The Reincarnation of Jesus” Mania
8 – Hypomania
4-6 – Normal Person Range
3 – Mild Depression
0 – Suicidal Depression

TIME
Increments shown are just for an easy visual reference. Could be hours, days, weeks, or months depending on the person.

Blue Circle denotes a trigger.

So here’s what a normal person’s moods will look like.

normal1

Notice how the person’s mood stays pretty much in the range of 4 to 6. 5 would be a fairly typical baseline for a number of people. Different people may have different baselines. Mine for years and years was about a 3. I’ve met other Bipolars who had a baseline more around the 7 mark. They were intense, volatile and constantly on the go. They were also very easy to tip into a manic cycle.

depression1

This second chart denotes a Depressive cycle. The blue circle is the “trigger”. That may have been bumping into an ex you’re still tender about, someone dying, losing your job, getting passed over for a promotion, a television commercial, the smell of a turkey dinner that reminds you of your dead mother, or again; the sky being blue. For whatever reason, your brain “triggers” and you crash straight the fuck into depression. Your baseline is now around the 1 mark, shifting slightly up and down. Depressive people don’t tend to be as chaotic as escalated people. Most of the time, your brain is lethargic and can’t think worth a shit.

manic1

This third chart shows a typical manic cycle, crash, and the start of rebalancing. The blue circle on this chart denotes the manic trigger. Notice how the person’s mood rockets upwards? There’s nothing slow or subtle about it. The person’s baseline shifts to about an 8 and starts bouncing around up in that area. Eventually, the cycle runs it’s course, and the person’s brain drops off into the abyss. Over the next little bit, the person’s brain will raise up out back to their “normal” baseline. But note how the person drops to a 0? This is common. It’s not difficult to associate suicides with this severe drop off. The person just got off a run of fucking up and destroying their life around the 8, then they fall to 0, an area that would normally make them more vulnerable to self-harm and suicide; and then it’s no difficult step to kill yourself when you weigh everything you fucked up in this cycle and throughout your life.

Why Is This Important?
Now, I’m going to take a stab at what you’re wondering.

“Dennis, is this more detail specific bullshit that only you give a shit about?”

No. And here’s why. When I was in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, my therapist explained an unwell cycle being like a train leaving a station. You can stop it much easier as it is leaving the station as opposed to when it gets going full bore. A person that can identify their trigger and the escalation/fall in Time 3-5 can take measures to derail their unwell cycle. A Bipolar person can significantly minimize the effects of an unwell cycle or possibly avert all the bullshit that falls from about Time 5 on out.

Once you get to Time 5, you start seeing the spikes up and down. I regularly see people refer to these as “triggers”. They aren’t. Talking to your significant other and them getting pissed off at you isn’t a trigger. A good day, a suicidal day aren’t triggers.

Those things are all just a normal part of being Bipolar.

The trigger is what occurred at the Blue Circle. That’s it. Everything else is just the fallout from the cycle the person is in.

I beat the drum loudly that mental illness is AN ILLNESS. It behaves in certain predictable ways. You won’t always pick up on them but with the help of a significant other or loved one, they can point out when you’re starting to get more severe or your mood drastically changes. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity is small. Self-management is the best way to head off unwell cycles. It requires practice, practice, and more practice. I highly recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to learn techniques to do so.

How Do I Use This Information?
Unwell cycles get worse the more you dwell on the triggering circumstance.

The best thing to do is shove it straight out of your mind and take some actions that run counter to the potential cycle coming.

*If Depression is looming- put on some upbeat music and exercise, watch a comedy, read a book, do some hobby stuff that will take your focus off the negative thoughts.

*If Mania is looming- slow your mind down, listen to some peaceful music, remove yourself from stress, take a nap, anything that will help you relax and shift your thoughts away from the trigger.

Nowadays, I can usually catch about 90% of my shifts. They’ve gotten more subtle since I started on meds, which is both good and bad. Good in that they’re more subtle, bad in that they’re easier to miss, though the cycles are also milder. Triggers can come out of anywhere.

For example, some of mine-

“The Simpsons” movie is a severe depressive trigger. I got this movie to watch with my ex-Fiancee after she got home from work. Before the movie she said she had something important to talk to me about. After it was her “I need to leave you” conversation. So my brain associates the movie with that emotional pain.

Fight or Flight response. I’ve had several hypomanic cycles start because apparently the Fight or Flight response has a similar physiological affect on the body as a hypomanic cycle. It essentially tricks the Bipolar mind into thinking it is already in a cycle.

Using this knowledge is simple once I have it. One, I just avoid the Simpsons movie unless I’m testing my antidepressant. If someone else is watching it, I’ll just go somewhere else and focus on something else, force the thoughts and feelings of that conversation out of mind. By not dwelling, I interrupt the Depressive crashing.

It’d be great if we could all avoid Fight or Flight, but unfortunately that’s not feasible. Knowing that it will start a hypomanic cycle for me, I plan accordingly for it. After the circumstance, I will pay closer attention to my thoughts, double check any “great” ideas with people that I trust that know me well, and not make any frivolous purchases.

I know and am prepared for these circumstances because I know many of my triggers and how to identify the symptoms that indicate my brain is going to shit. You can learn those things too.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

-Dennis

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Of Robin Williams, Depression, And Suicide…

Robin WilliamsWell, it’s been about two weeks now since Robin decided to end his life. I talked to quite a few other Bipolar and Depressive people who hit a similar low on hearing about that. It was kind of weird because I didn’t feel any particular attachment to the guy in general. I thought he was funny and generally liked him in his stand up and movies; but didn’t even take any great strides to see anything he was in. I definitely could see and identify with his approach to dealing with depression; make other people laugh and focus on something else so you don’t have to think about it for awhile.

Reading the news was an instant depressive trigger. I felt my brain try to rocket into the pit but the antidepressants must be working to an extent. As I stated in my short update post, it was like someone took a tennis ball, hauled back and threw it as hard as they could downwards. It tried to drop out and just bounced off the floor, then dribbled a bit as it settled at a lower level than what I had been at. For the first couple of days, my brain just would not function correctly. In a depressive crash, the person’s brain may suffer slow down and lag; like being on a shitty internet connection. That’s where my brain was. Normally, I do a fair amount of writing about finance and law for clients; but at that point I was having a hard time just adding double digit numbers in my head.

I expressed this to my mother who asked if I was just feeling sympathy or sorrow. Being that my brain was being a sluggish piece of shit, I couldn’t articulate that a Bipolar crash or spike has its own feel. Mental illness is illness; symptoms and hints are there at what you’re experiencing or may experience. I know it was a depressive crash because a depressive crash only feels like a depressive crash. (Depressive crash.) It would be like slamming my fingers in a car door and someone asking, “Are you sure you didn’t stub your toe?” Yes, I am quite sure I didn’t stub my toe. Not only did I just slam my fingers in the door (a trigger, e.g. Robin’s suicide) but I have symptoms relating to that incident (symptoms; brain rapidly falls out which lasts for days, brain slows down and loses critical thinking capabilities, the void of depression sets in).

I have a bitch of a time articulating myself verbally during these times partly because my brain slows to a crawl and partly because, as a high-functioning autistic, I have a hard time converting my emotions and feelings verbally. But yeah- thanks for the Devil’s Advocacy either way! (Seriously, that sounds sarcastic but it’s not.)

There has been a ton of speculation about the reasons behind Robin’s suicide from mainstream media, mentally ill people, and mental health groups. As someone that is going on about a two decade war with Bipolar-Depression; I’ve seen several parallels between his struggles, actions, and how I view my own future 30 or 40 years down the road.

Was Robin Williams Bipolar?
So let’s address the elephant in the room. Was Robin Williams Bipolar (or Manic-Depressive)? Those of you that saw my initial post about the news, I mentioned that “another Bipolar kills themselves”. The memory I was drawing from was from when the comedian Jonathan Winters died. Winters was diagnosed Manic-Depressive (Type 1) and was a huge inspiration to Williams. I had thought I remembered Williams stating that he was such a big inspiration, not only for his comedy, but due to his own struggles with manic-depression. I now believe this to have been a confused memory on my behalf. I dug for the article but I simply couldn’t find it. So chances are pretty good my brain was just being a piece of shit, as it is wont to do.

Williams publicly stated on numerous occasions that he struggled with severe depression for most of his life. Bipolar bloggers point at his animated comedy and screen persona as evidence of mania. Initially, that was the thought I had as well until I recently went back and watched his stand up again.

The thing is, Williams always tried to have a personal life for him and his family away from the spotlight. What these folks are basing their assertions on is his public face. None of us act the same at work as we do in private. If we did, we’d be fired in no time for refusing to wear pants to work.

On going back and watching more of his work, I came to realize that no, it was not evidence of mania. Sure; he’s animated, fast, and outgoing. Williams struggled with cocaine addiction for a long time. Assuming he was (mostly) clean later in life, I think it’s extremely possible that he used to get high before hitting the stage as a young man and just hit his stride in the frenetic activity of a coke high while delivering. That frenetic energy became his stage persona even after he (mostly) quit drugs. In other words, the actor acted.

In watching his stand up, I can tell you exactly why it’s not a manic tirade. It’s too coherent. He flows smoothly through his set, the times he “forgets” things are convenient for his performance, like the “what the hell was I going to say moment” he has during his joke about marijuana. That, of course, got major laughs from the people who have smoked pot from the audience because we’ve all been there.

I vaguely remember getting high once when I was younger, opening my eyes and looking down to find a burrito in my hand. I don’t know where I got a burrito. We didn’t have anything in the apartment to make burritos. I must have walked down to the corner stand and bought one but hell if I could remember it. I do remember it being the best burrito I ever ate; which is normal stuff when you’re baked. Everything is ambrosia.

Therein is the problem with that assertion. All we have seen of this side of Williams is his stage persona. And his stage persona, while animated and outgoing, is too coherent and measured to be a manic tirade. Disjointed thoughts are a huge problem for manic people. They just don’t connect in a logical way and your brain is in overdrive; so you can start at Point A and end up at Destination Zebra Cthulhu “Wheres The Beef?”.

Bipolar? I don’t believe so based on the information I have available.

My Speculation
I mentioned parallels that I could see me reaching later in life. Robin’s wife announced shortly after the suicide that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s. Now, I have a reader and a good friend who has Parkinson’s. It’s been a huge transition for her because she had to adjust from caretaker/giver to actually needing help from people. I’ve listened to her talk about her own feelings about it and what she saw in others when she was going to a support group for people with it. Really, it just went to further reinforce beliefs I’ve already held.

I’m not anxious to die, but I have no fear of death either. I have seven suicide attempts under my belt and due to the past 20 years or so of thinking about, envisioning, and dealing with those thoughts; I’ve just become numb to it.

What am I afraid of?

I’m afraid that there will come a point I can no longer critically think. I’m afraid that I will wind up with a degenerative disease, be a burden on the people that love me more than I already have been, and will lose myself in the process. Robin’s suicide came as a shock, but the announcement that he was dealing with the early stages of Parkinson’s dispelled the shock and put everything into a crystal clear focus in my mind.

If I’m a 63 year old severely mentally ill man still struggling with drug addiction who is now faced with a massively degenerative disease; my choice would be suicide too.

But I don’t think this was a long, calculated plan from Robin. No, I think these thoughts had been bouncing around in his head for awhile and manifested at a moment of severe weakness. I base that speculation on the method of death- superficial wrist cuts with a pocket knife and hanging himself with a belt. It seems more likely to me that if he had made the choice in a stable state of mind, he probably would have had a bit better preparation; such as buying a length of rope. The public evidence suggests a heat of the moment decision to me.

I think the reason this hit me so hard was because I looked at Robin Williams and I saw myself. I don’t walk his road, but I walk a parallel road of my own with many similar sign posts.

The great tragedy in all of this is our attitude towards death in general. Would it not have been better for him to be able to talk to a counselor about his fears and prognosis with the option of assisted suicide after undergoing evaluation?

I get it. We don’t want to think about our loved ones dying or even wanting to die. Death is a source of confusion, pain, and fear for many. But it’s not like wasting away, confined to a bed for the next ten years is any kind of solution. If I wind up with dementia or Alzheimer’s; I don’t need my family dragging their asses to the home to visit me when I have no idea who the hell they are and the entire situation is just painful. Don’t keep me alive on life support while my brain is dead and I’m locked in a semi-permanent coma. Don’t leave me alone and vulnerable with people I don’t know in a place I’m not familiar with.

And sure as hell don’t tell me I don’t want to die after DECADES of dealing with thoughts of death when all that is ahead of me is degeneration of my body, plus the mental illness, plus whatever complications may arise.

Remember me as a relatively whole person, not a shell or shadow of what I used to be.

My wish for Robin is not that he should not have committed suicide if he was in a stable mind to make that decision. My wish is that he should have been able to face it with dignity so his loved ones did not have to find this tortured, kind, warm soul hanging from his own belt, wrists slit with his own pocket knife.

A bit of disclaimer: Understand that the previous is my opinion of how I would want to be treated. My father faithfully visits his mother with Alzheimer’s in a home. My mother worked to take care of her grandmother and her mother as they got older. And my Parkinson’s friend; I know it’s been an impossibly tough transition for you. I’d do what I could for the people I love and care about, but I doubt I could do it nearly as well because I require so much mental management of my own to stay out of the pit and continue to get this life of mine pointed in the right direction.

This is also not a suggestion that suicide is a solution. If you’re having suicidal or self-destructive thoughts, get help. 1-800-273-8255 (for America). Suicide is a very permanent solution to an oftentimes temporary, treatable problem.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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Random Garbage And Robin Williams

Well; most of you that have followed me awhile know I generally will do posts on mentally ill stuff that hits the news. The most recent of said news would be Robin Williams committing suicide.

For now, I won’t be. For some reason this event triggered my brain to try and crash into a Depressive cycle. Not even sure why; I’m not a huge fan of Williams or anything. Just the events and circumstance I guess. So frankly, I’m not going to going to dwell on it or think about it until my brain levels out some more.

It does give me a bit of insight into my antidepressant sorta working though. It felt the same way as when my brain tries to escalate. Like if your mood was a tennis ball, and someone just hauled off and threw it as hard as they could downward. It just hits the floor (or ceiling) and bounces. That’s pretty much what my mood did. I was sitting at about a six and my brain dropped to about a four and just sort stopped there- which is a weird feeling. Four is my normal baseline mood/depression. I would have expected to crash down to about a 2 or so for a little while in a former down cycle. Took all of 5 seconds for my brain to trigger and drop out after reading the first headline. Sometimes that’s all it takes for an unwell cycle to start.

Anyway- I’ll be fine. Shit’s nothing compared to my depressive cycles from my teenage years.

Hm. I’ll be ceasing to actively promote my Go Fund Me campaign as of the 15th. I didn’t want to turn it into a long-term, loud thing. Raised about $160, thanks so much to the people that contributed. Would love to hit my $200 goal by the end though! And thank you to everyone that has donated and offered support to me in the past and present. Thank you for spreading, liking, and sharing my work. If you’re strapped for cash and can’t contribute financially; helping to spread my work is a great and very appreciated way to help me out.

Thanks folks.

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Here One Day – A Look At Bipolar Disorder And Its Repercussions

For those of you that have followed my blog and my website for awhile, you know I’m not in the habit of promoting things that I do not think have real substance to them. And even then, it is usually few and far between. Why? Well, you aren’t here to be marketed to. There’s plenty of that shit all over the internets.

But! This is one of those times where I feel the need to point out something I found of great interest that may be of great interest to you. I recently received an email about the independent film Here One Day by Kathy Leichter, from Kathy, with a request to check the film out and possibly point it out to my readers. Kathy’s mother Nina eventually succumbed to her battle with Manic-Depression and leapt to her death from their New York apartment on February 6th, 1995. The point that really stood out to me in her email was the fact that she had uncovered sixteen audio tapes that Nina had recorded while trying to manage and maintain her mental illness.

Why is this point important?

There are many recollections and memoirs of people dealing with a Bipolar loved one who committed suicide. Unfortunately, many of these memoirs are more generated from the perspective of the survivor. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing, it can help people cope. However, it paints a slanted picture. Stigma prevents many families from even talking about these people later. “That’s just not something we talk about.” When they do, it’s not uncommon for people to say things like, “My mother committed suicide” or “I had an uncle that killed himself” if prompted.

The problem is that suicidal thinking is just one very small part of the total equation. It just so happens to have the most severe outcome. That person could have warred with their depression and suicidal thoughts for decades, managed to hold a career, managed to raise a family; but the foremost thought for many is “that person committed suicide”.

Here One Day piqued my interest because it had the opportunity to use the words and thoughts of Nina as a way to bring tangibility to the war that goes on in our heads. Yes, friends and loved ones go through a ton with us. They worry, suffer, and lose out on plenty because of our mental illness; but they always have a choice. They can go elsewhere to get away from our illness. They can go for a walk, stay with some friends, divorce us, forsake us.

We don’t have that option. That creates a very drastic difference in perspective, particularly in regards to suicide and self-harm. Every day that Sword of Damocles dangles over my head. Will I relapse? When will my meds stop working? Will I finally get too tired to keep fighting? Will I walk the same path as Nina and so many others have; a path I’m already intimately familiar with?

Excerpts from those tapes were used to great effect to compliment the primary focus of the film, which is the impact of Nina’s suicide on her family even decades later. Here One Day is an examination of what Nina’s family and best friend still cope with. The film is exceptional because it not only accomplishes that goal, but it puts a human face and voice to the chaos and misery that we Bipolars often internalize through the audio recordings. People familiar will be able to hear the mania and depression in Nina’s voice and demeanor.

This film is valuable to anyone interested in Bipolar Disorder; whether you are mentally ill or someone concerned for a mentally ill person.

For the mentally ill: It is a stark reminder of the internal war many of us wage. It is a reminder that there are others who fight similar battles, no matter how alone we think we are. Most importantly, the film demonstrates the long-term damage that suicide inflicts on the people that love and care about us. That hurt will never go away completely.

For the mentally well: Here One Day offers valuable perspective on this struggle. Many of my readers have friends or loved ones that have committed suicide or deal with the mentally ill on a regular basis. The film offers a glimpse into the mind of Nina who uses her audio tapes to journal her thoughts which may provide insight into their own loved ones.

Here One Day has been chosen as an “Official Selection” at several independent film festivals. If, like me, you have no idea what that actually means since you have zero interest in independent films; thousands of films are typically submitted to festivals. Only so many can actually be screened due to time constraints. An “Official Selection” means the film is picked to be screened out of the many submissions.

Kathy; you made a great film that pays due respect to both sides of the struggle. Given your mother’s belief in the importance of the work she did with her support group, I can imagine she would be very proud of you for taking these negatives and turning it into a positive for others. That is essentially what happens in peer support groups; we use our negatives to help other people going through similar circumstances.

Nina; I hope you’ve finally found peace and can take solace that your pain is being used positively. People like you are the inspiration behind my advocacy work; so that more daughters don’t need to make memoirs about their mother. You seemed like an amazing woman, mother, and more; and it is clear to see you are still loved and missed greatly.

Here One Day is available in digital or DVD format. The film runs 76 minutes and is well worth the $2.99 digital rental at minimum.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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On Bipolar Disorder And Manic-Depression…

It’s about time I touched on the difference between Bipolar Disorder and Manic-Depression. I’ve talked to a number of older folks who were diagnosed as Manic-Depressive but insisted they are not Bipolar. I’ve talked to a therapist and two doctors that have insisted Manic-Depression was the same as being Bipolar. Misinformation runs deep and opinions abound.

Let’s begin with a little history lesson. The first recorded identification and separation of the Disorder occurred in 1025 by a Persian physician and philosopher by name of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). Avicenna wrote a five tome encyclopedia of current medical knowledge called The Canon of Medicine that separated a manic-depressive psychosis from things like schizophrenia and pure mania.

The modern understanding of the illness came around 1850 when two opposing French psychiatrists, Jean-Pierre Falret and Jules Baillarger, both presented their identification and understanding of the Disorder. One called it “dual-form insanity” while the other referred to it as “circular insanity”. The two psychiatrists would go on to bitterly feud over who was the first to conceptualize the Disorder and bring it into modern thinking.

The concepts were further honed by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin who studied patients with the mental illness and coined the term “manic depressive psychosis” to describe the behavior.

It was none other than Dr. Carl Jung who would go on to refine the illness further. In 1903, he introduced the idea of hypomanic states. Hypomanic states were severe enough to cause significant disruption to the patient’s life but were not severe enough to warrant the term “psychosis”.

The first American Psychology Association Diagnostic Manual published in 1952 included “manic-depressive reaction”. The second amended that to “manic-depressive illness”. A number of revelations and research about the mood disorder saw the name changed again to “Bipolar Disorder” with the third edition of the DSM in 1980.

Manic-Depression evolved from a single, all inclusive name to a more refined categorization of names with classifications. Today, we have Type 1, Type 2, Cyclothemic, and Uncategorized Bipolar Disorders. Each represents specific nuances about the way patients experience the Disorder.

The term Manic-Depression no longer exists in the way it was once thought of. At best, it can describe a Type 1 Bipolar, because Type 1s actually experience mania and depression. Type 2s do not escalate to that kind of extent. Cyclothemics and Uncategorized Bipolar Disorders can vary depending on the person. A quick thumb through the new editions of the DSM will show that Manic-Depression is no longer present in the category of Mood Disorders.

I have noticed several claims as to why this change was put forward. They range from the fact that Manic-Depression just didn’t cover the entirety of the illness to trying to remove associated stigma with the term manic (maniac) to patients getting it confused with Major Depression. Personally, I think it was just the natural evolution of the acquisition of new information. The terminology didn’t reflect the reality of the Disorder so it needed to be changed to represent our new information.

So there you go, an extremely cliff notes version of the history of the naming convention of Bipolar Disorder. It’s important that we all stay knowledgeable about our mental illness so we can communicate effectively with doctors and therapists.

Fascinating to know the first written acknowledgment of the Disorder was in 1025, especially given the number of people who insist it is a modern invention to sell psych medication.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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A Few Announcements And A Request For Feedback!

Well folks, I have some stuff I’d like to talk to you about my Bipolar Manifesto and the direction I’m looking to take in the coming months. First and foremost, I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read my body of work. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I started my site about 2 and a half years ago. I sure as hell didn’t expect to field over 2000 emails, 300 blog comments, and who knows how many general conversations.

I’ve had the privilege of conversing with people from all over the world; Spain, Ireland, England, Germany, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India; of different religions; Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic; of different sexualities; gay, straight, bi, trans; and of varying social status; from a felon trying to get his life together to a couple folks that will probably make more than I will in a few lifetimes.

And when it comes to mental illness or loving someone who is mentally ill- all of our problems are relatively similar. It’s a question of understanding and knowledge. I have to say that this venture, this quest of mine to make the years I viewed myself as a fuck up worth something, eventually became a very selfish endeavor for me! How? Look at all this FREE KNOWLEDGE you all have given me by talking to me, letting me pick your brains about your circumstances and lives while trying to understand your situations…ha! suckers!

But seriously…thank you so much for trusting me with so many deep and personal pains. I feel humbled and privileged that people will share these things they often keep buried deep with me. And I am very hopeful that we are all contributing towards a time when mental illness can be discussed openly and frankly.

Now, I’d like to discuss a few things with you about my body of work and goals.

I have been talking about writing my first e-book relating to friendships and relationships with Bipolar Disorder for awhile now. I am HOPING to have it done and polished by the end of September. What’s taking so long? Well- some of you may or may not know that for my “job” I work as a writer and freelance marketer. Writing well is hard work. After I spend 5-6 hours doing that for my job, it’s kind of difficult to write well for a few more additional hours after. Your brain turns to mush- and that is no bueno. But! It is coming and as I have stated on several occasions- the e-book I am working on now and the ones I work on in the future will all be released digitally in a Pay What You Want format.

I have decided to run a once a year fundraiser to generate financial support through a crowd sourcing site. I plan to do this in August. Again, this is something I’ve talked about on several occasions. I do not want money to ever be the barrier for someone who needs real and genuine help. If I have information that will help a person cope, get them in to see a doctor, help them get their life straightened out; I want them to have it. Period. On the other hand, I feel like a yearly fundraiser will help facilitate additional financial support from people that are willing and able to contribute. As to what those funds will be used for- really depends on what I end up raising. At least half of it will go to advertising services to get my site and my work in front of more people. A majority of the donations I receive are sunk right back into advertising so I can reach and help more people in the same way I helped you.

To all my previous donators- I know I’ve thanked each of you personally, but once again thank you. Thank you for the show of support- from the college student I joked around with about South Park that sent me $3.50 (Gawddamn, Loch Ness monster) to the business exec that contributed more. It means a lot to me that people are willing to part with their money. And if you’d like to help but money is an issue; Like and Share my work that you like or agree with. Doesn’t cost you a thing and helps me gain exposure for my work.

I am currently working on a strategy to put forward a more professional image to build legitimacy. Legitimacy has always been at the front of my mind and it has had significant influence on my website. The very first questions I asked myself before launching my site were – “Why should anyone listen to me? What can I offer that no one else does?” These things shaped my painfully open and honest approach about myself, my life, and my struggles. I decided the easiest way to demonstrate my legitimacy was to let my work speak for itself. I don’t really talk about it a lot- but it wasn’t easy to bare everything like I did. In doing so I knew it would affect other people I love and care about. But as I’ve grown fond of saying- the truth is the truth. It doesn’t matter how we feel about it.

But! I want stronger proof. After much research and the realization that there pretty much is no title that corresponds to what I do here; I have decided to just call myself a “Bipolar Consultant”. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past two and a half years. People consult me, and I do my best to provide an ear, find solutions, instill hope without blowing smoke up their ass, find social services in their area if needed, dispel fears and myths with facts, urge them to connect to the professionals that can help them, and a bunch of other crap that isn’t coming to me off the top of my head.

As a marketer, I’m aware of the power of different types of advertising. Consultants, in general, typically have their business driven by word of mouth. Word of mouth advertising is the strongest form because it’s a “customer” giving the referral on their satisfaction. So the point of that?

I’d like to ask those of you that I’ve helped with my body of knowledge to help me help others. Take a couple minutes to write me an email (dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com) and some feedback on how my body of work or I have helped you that I can post on my website. Feedback like this is a great way for me to show people new to my site just how serious I am about what I do and the lengths I go to for the people that contact me.

And if you have negative feedback? Send that too. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and if I can identify problems and do things better- then that’s what I want to do.

If you’ve ever wanted to do something more to repay my kindness- a sentiment I’ve heard a lot- then please take a few minutes to do this for me. It will help me a lot to have concrete proof from the mouths of people such as yourself.

Thank you for your time. Be kind to yourself.

-Dennis

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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The Suicide Of A Good Man

The struggle for stability is a war we all wage with ourselves. Unfortunately, there are casualties in war. Some are collateral damage, others are direct damage. Today I bring you a true story of a direct casualty. On June 10th, 2014, a man I’ll call “R” for the sake of privacy, committed suicide. I had been in regular contact with one of his loved ones, a woman I’ll call “H”, for awhile up to this point.

R was diagnosed in 2000 but refused to accept his diagnosis. He went on meds for a little while but didn’t like the way they made him feel. So he quit and decided that he wasn’t Bipolar. Part of it may have just been stubbornness; but I suspect a large part of it was an unwillingness to give up a career he loved for his mental well being.

R was an older man, and had spent decades dealing with what went on his mind. All the people around him knew something was drastically wrong; but no one could get him to see how different his moods and mentality were. It was just part of being who he was to him.

Unfortunately, he was an unmedicated Bipolar. And his refusal to acknowledge it, explore options, try to understand it at all cost him everything. In turn, it cost his child a father, H a love, and his siblings a brother.

I asked H if she would be willing to relate the story of her time with R, from the time they met on an online dating site until his suicide. The link you will find below is the story of R, as written primarily by H. I did contribute some very light editing and formatting to make it easier to read.

I asked her to do this so that perhaps H and R’s story could help others understand whether they are trying to get through to someone or thinking of giving up themselves. We hope that readers will be able to take some understanding away or even get a person that was in R’s situation to consider the ramifications of the war they are waging, whether they realize it or not.

It’s a bit long, but I think it’s worth the read. It’s a very good illustration of the natural progress of a severe manic cycle and the results of a severe depressive crash.

If you have someone you care about that’s refusing to help themselves; show it to them. Maybe they will be able to see themselves in R and his actions. Perhaps they will be able to see their potential future if they do not accept their problems and fight them.

Bipolar Disorder doesn’t care. It doesn’t care how smart, dumb, rich, poor, awesome, or shitty of a person you are. People that think they can handle it without any assistance are deluding themselves. They are potentially one severe trigger from a similar path. This shit is life and death whether we acknowledge it or not.

So please, share H’s story. Let’s try and inspire people in a similar situation to get the help they need.

And here you go… the story of R and H.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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Am I To Blame Or Is Bipolar Disorder?

This post was inspired by an off-handed comment made by a Bipolar woman I know. I hope this perspective can help you see yourself in a more positive light.

We Bipolars are no strangers to screwing up and destroying the things we care most about. Behind each of us is a trail of ashes, shattered dreams, and broken relationships. The way you look at those things is important. I’ve talked to many Bipolar and Depressive people who shoulder the blame entirely. They feel that since they couldn’t control themselves in a moment of “weakness”; that they are only to blame for the situation. They shoulder the responsibility and do not want to use their illness as an excuse.

There is a problem with that. Let’s say you break your arm. The cause of the broken arm is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you did it to yourself out of stupidity or if it was an accident by someone else. The bottom line, you have a broken arm and you’re not going to be doing any heavy lifting with it until it heals. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, the circumstances, how pissed off, sad, or judgmental other people may get about it; your arm is presently not working correctly.

An unwell cycle is the same. An unwell cycle means your brain is not working the way it should be. You’re sick and your decisions will be tainted by that sickness. How is a Bipolar person supposed to make decisions with clarity when their mind is feeding them misinformation about the world around them, their feelings, and their lives? Is it fair to hold yourself to the same standards that you would a normal person even though you have a “broken arm” at the time?

We wind up getting assigned or assigning ourselves the shitty labels of society for our actions. Are they deserved? Let’s look at an example…

A devoted Bipolar husband is faithful to his wife for 8 years. He loses his job, money and stress become an issue, his mind takes off into a manic cycle. His Bipolar brain concludes that the arguing is because his wife hates him and is preparing to leave him. His emotions are distorted due to the Disorder and that devoted love flips to smoldering hate. He walks out the front door and shacks up with another woman.

Eventually, his brain crashes and corrects. His thoughts are now clear and he can see the situation for what it is. His wife didn’t hate him, their arguments stemmed from the lack of income, a common stress in relationships. The husband’s emotions are snapped back to what they were before he swung unwell because that is the real him. The devoted, faithful husband who walked out on and cheated on his wife is back to being the devoted, faithful husband.

A common statement is that the husband had a choice. That’s absolutely true. He did have a choice. But how hard was it to make that choice? You don’t believe things when you’re unwell, you KNOW things with the same kind of ferocity and fervor that you know you love your mother (assuming you do, fill in someone that doesn’t suck if yours blows). He didn’t think his wife was planning to leave, he KNEW. And that knowledge fueled his rage and hate which made it even harder for him to make the right decision.

So where does that leave the couple? The husband’s perception of himself? The wife’s perception of him? Any family members or friends that happened to be privy to what was going on?

Everyone is going to be sympathetic to the wife when in actuality, the husband probably needs it more. He just ripped up and destroyed a core tenet of who he was, hurt the woman he was devoted to in a way that can never truly be repaired, and now everyone that doesn’t understand the Disorder thinks he’s an asshole. But he’s not an asshole. His brain was broken and not working correctly at the time. The wife knows he’s not an asshole because she knows there’s a difference between the loving man that she married and the stranger he becomes. It may or may not make it any easier to swallow the situation; that is really dependent on the individual.

Is it a reason or an excuse? Are you using the Disorder as a reason or an excuse?

Ideally, he would confess to his actions and do what needed to be done to repair the relationship. Sick or not, the onus is on each of us to take responsibility for our unwell actions and try to make it up to the people we damage in our wellness. Some people can forgive and move past it, others cannot.

Is it fair for the husband to think of himself as a betrayer and adulterer? I don’t believe so, even though he had an affair. What happens if you remove Bipolar Disorder from the equation? What are you left with? You’re left with a loving, devoted husband who would have not had that affair if it weren’t for that unwell cycle. Had he been “normal”, it would have just been marital stress and a spat that had needed resolved.

Once you add back in the Disorder, the metaphorical “broken arm”, now his actions take on a different meaning than what you would hold a normal person to.

And I can hear it now, “What about the wife? What about her feelings on the situation?” It’s not my place to tell someone how to feel about a situation, so I do not. I wouldn’t tell her that she should just get over it or even forgive him, because that’s not my decision to make. I don’t know her emotional tolerances, what she’s willing to shoulder, what she’s willing to try to work through. She has to decide that for herself. She is entitled to feel whatever she feels and it should be dealt with in a way that makes sense for the couple; not to everyone that has an opinion based on their stereotyped perceptions of “correct”.

Many of us Bipolars and Depressives have poor opinions of ourselves because of our long lists of failures. I was no different for a long time. I saw very little positive about myself though plenty of people tried to show me otherwise. After I was diagnosed, I was able to objectively look at my history, actions, and path in life. I came to realize that I wasn’t all of those negative things I thought I was because I wasn’t like that when I was balanced. It was only when I was unbalanced did things really come off the rails.

I know that’s a narrative a lot of Bipolar people out there face as well. They haven’t learned to see who they really are versus who they are while unwell. The person may think they are unlovable, unworthy, irresponsible, hateful, unfaithful, or just plain old crazy. But what happens if you set aside the mental illness? Who are you when you’re balanced? Do you even know? Or have you been dealing with it for so long that you don’t really know who that person is?

You are not your illness. You are not the walls you had to build to minimize the damage of the Disorder. Somewhere behind the Disorder and the walls is a person smothered by the weight of the illness and the pain it created in your life. So be kind to yourself. Give yourself a little leeway when the Disorder fucks things up for you. No one will ever get it 100% right. Most people won’t get it or “understand” our personal circumstances even if they want to; that’s just something we have to come to terms with. It doesn’t mean everyone won’t though.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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I Could Have Been An Elliot Rodger #Bipolar #Autism #HFA #YesAllWomen

As a High-Functioning Autistic, Type 2 Bipolar; I saw a lot of the person I used to be in the breakdown and actions of Elliot Rodger. I normally don’t bother with any kind of forewarning, because you’re reading a mental health blog and should be prepared for some strange stuff. In this case, I am. A lot of people that know me personally read this blog and I am about to delve into some strange aspects of my mentality, sexuality, and the way I developed. So if that bothers you, stop reading now because we’re going far past ‘too much information’ territory.

The first point I would like to address is in autistic perspective. I discovered a long time ago that my emotions just work differently than normal people, particularly in the development of love. The first person I experienced this with was back in high school. It didn’t take longer than a few weeks before I was thoroughly enamored with her. Took awhile to get up any gumption, but I eventually passed off a love letter that read more like a job application. Here is why I am qualified to be with you!

The thing I didn’t understand at the time was that other people mostly develop love over a longer period of time. It wasn’t a handful of weeks, talking, and then something clicking in the back of my mind that says “Yes, her.” So I was entirely overbearing about the situation because at the time, I didn’t know better.

The combination of autism and Bipolar Disorder came into play in a number of ways. Bipolar Disorder warps and distorts your feelings. Autism makes it difficult for a lot of people to express themselves verbally. So what was going on in my mind was like a tsunami trying to pass through the garden hose that was my mouth. After I passed her that letter some things changed in my brain. I couldn’t look her in the eyes because it made me feel so vulnerable that my skin would crawl. I don’t think I had a verbal conversation with her again after that; because the combination of Bipolar unwellness and the autism virtually shut off my brain any time I tried. We talked through notes written in a spiral notebook.

And then I had the ingenious idea of absolutely NEEDING to talk to her. So my autistic, logical brain went- well when you want to talk to someone you look up their number in the phone book. So I did. Her last name was unique so it wasn’t exactly difficult to narrow down. This may come as a shock to you- but this was not a good approach. This event caused her to kick me out of her life; and rightly so. In retrospect, it was all very stalkery and weird.

This circumstance spurred two important events for me. The first was that it was the final nudge needed for my first active suicide attempt. Once I leveled out, I started to research and try to figure out what went wrong. I thought- perhaps if I understand the psychology of the situation I’ll be able to handle it better in the future? Good idea, right? Yeah, not so much. I learned a lot about relationships on my own but still managed to completely fuck up the next one. There’s no greater teacher than experience, eh?

So- let’s move on into some darker territory. There was a stretch of a few years where I was very seriously concerned that I was going to turn out to be a serial killer. Seriously. My interest in the macabre and strange had been around for quite some time. I found serial killers utterly fascinating; not because I wanted to be like them, but because of the very different way their brains functioned. My brain functioned differently too so it made me want to understand those kind of people better to figure out what the fuck was wrong with me. I also identified with these people because I had a lot of dark thoughts of my own due to Bipolar Disorder emerging.

About the age of 15, I started using the internet with some regularity though my parents tried to keep us off of it. The internet is the absolutely worst fucking place for an idiot of a teenager to figure out they have a fetish. In my case, I was browsing porn as any 15 year old boy with the internet is wont to do; and accidentally stumbled across Bondage, Discipline, SadoMasochism (BDSM) porn. Two things happened from that incident. The first was that something clicked in my brain and I instantly knew that I loved this; the second was I felt like the worst person on earth because I loved this. I didn’t understand that what I was watching was consensual activity with a lot of safety around it. And I know what you unkinky people are thinking. “How did you know it was consensual?” Once you understand what you’re looking at, it’s real easy to tell the difference. Anyway, I spent a good chunk of time trying to “change” that interest by sticking with vanilla (plain) interests; but I would still always go back towards BDSM.

And for me, that was it. I harbored all of these violent, strange thoughts who didn’t feel connected to anyone. All I needed was the “trigger” that would push me over the edge like other serial killers. I was already familiar with being at the edge due to my suicide attempt so knew I had the capability of going too far. It was only going to be a matter of time before I wound up breaking and victimizing people too. Right?

No. The problem was a lack of context. This was one of many things that I never talked to anyone about for a long time. So I was just stuck with all these thoughts of what I thought I was looking at. It wasn’t until I actually met someone who was on the receiving end that I began to understand there was a lot more going on. There were people out there that loved being on the receiving end. There were safe ways to engage in the activities that both people were enjoying. I wasn’t looking at a victim, I was looking at someone intensely enjoying an experience of their own. A Dom and sub fit like a lock and key.

I wasn’t doomed to snap if I always had control. It’s like being an actor and playing a role. If a safe word comes out, the roles drop so the problem can be addressed. But there is also the matter of body language as well. As an autistic, I didn’t naturally project or read body language like a lot of people do. So I taught myself by reading books about it, studying other people socializing, and put it into practice. Since my brain doesn’t naturally interpret body language, I’m always reading other people when I’m socializing. This was another point that carried over into BDSM. Being able to read your sub’s body language is important to know if you’re approaching her limits or she’s feeling uncomfortable.

And I felt okay about it until I was about 18 and moved to the Detroit ghetto. I reference this time period a lot because I learned more in that year and a half about myself and the world than the rest of my life combined. It was when I started glimpses of what really was lurking in my mind, waiting for an opportunity to come out.

Being a 6’4″ white guy in the black ghetto is not a good thing. It only took two days of being there for me to get my ass kicked for the first time for being white on a day that ended in Y. Before that, I had never really been in any actual fights. I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing, how to do it, or how to handle myself in that situation. Thankfully, instinct took over. The first fight I won started by my hearing footsteps running up behind me. I turned, ducked, and swung; drilling him in the stomach. Then kicked the shit out of him while he was winded. Turns out, it was one of the guys on the block who had jumped me before.

Now; when I relate stories like this, I usually hear a lot of disbelief. “That isn’t how America is”, “Why didn’t anyone call the cops”, and blah blah blah. But you know those neighborhoods that you wouldn’t want to break down in at 3 in the morning? Living in those neighborhoods is not like being in what people think of as America. The rules are different. You don’t talk to cops if you don’t want your house shot up at 2 A.M. You don’t wear the wrong color clothes or have a car that’s a rival gang’s colors in that neighborhood. And if someone is running up behind you, you’re probably going to get mugged or your ass kicked. They know society doesn’t give a shit if they are alive or dead. And if you don’t believe that- consider the Columbine shootings in 1999 and how they kicked off so many gun control campaigns. But hey- what about the height of the crack epidemic in the 80′s when schools in LA, NYC, and New Orleans were getting shot up? That shit never made national news.

Anyway, back on point here. That first time I stood over another broken person, body and hands throbbing, mind in a sudden state of clarity. It was erotic like nothing else and had nothing to do with anything of a sexual nature past the power. That guy on the ground was nothing, no one. He wasn’t someone’s son, dad, or brother. I went home and had the best sex of my life with the married woman I was living with at the time. Her husband fell in the same category to me; a non-person.

It was all about power, dominance, and strength. I was unwell enough and desperate enough that I began to embrace this mentality. I learned how and where to stand outside to get to safety if there was a drive by, I learned to not stand in a place where I could be blind-sided by someone on foot, and I learned that the darkness in the back of mind that made me so uncomfortable for years was a good thing in that situation.

I went from “that white guy” to that “crazy white nigga” a couple weeks after that. Whenever someone walked up on me to try and demand some shit, I’d smile at them, and say something to the effect of, “My bitch is busy today. I may need one of your holes when we’re fucking done here.” In many cases, that would send them on their way. There were still fights but after I manned up and embraced my “be crazier than the opposition” mantra; I also made some “friends” (in the loosest sense of the word) on the block that would vouch for me being okay.

I haven’t been to prison; but based on what I’ve seen living in the ghetto is damned near identical. You’re either an alpha or you’re a victim. You command respect or you get none.

I feel like that mentality is important to understand with everything that has come from Elliot Rodger and the dialogue started by #YesAllWomen. The PC, liberal crowd are clamoring for increased education and spreading knowledge far and wide. Alright.

Having been one of those people that teetered on the edge of turning into a horrible person? Having lived and survived among predators? No amount of education is going to matter to these people. Yes, it will help to cast a light for the guys out there that are simply oblivious to the situation in general. But stopping it altogether?

Predatory males do not view their victims as people. They are a means to an end; in this case, getting their dick wet. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen the “Tell a guy you have a boyfriend because he respects another man but not you” quote going around. It’s not about respect. It’s about ease of accessibility. That statement assumes that the man you’re dealing with is capable of respecting you in the first place. Spoiler Alert: They do not and cannot.

If you say you’re single and not interested; you may have just divulged that there probably isn’t someone with physical strength that’s looking out for you if that predator is hunting for a victim. You’re not a mother, daughter, or sister; you’re a means to an end to that predator. Nothing more.

For a long time I feared I would end up like Elliot Rodger. The dark thoughts, the lust inherent with power and control, the fascination with the macabre and strange. I eventually came to realize I was nothing like those people. It was easy for me to stomp on someone who wanted to fuck with me; but when I looked at a bystander I didn’t see just some mannequin for my pleasure. I saw the person- even though what I felt for that person may have been very different than what most would feel.

So how do you function around those people? Ladies- get a Concealed Carry permit and defend yourself in a way that a predator can understand.

And yes, I know… I’ve heard “violence isn’t the answer!” and “it won’t solve anything!” about a billion times from people. But, you’re wrong. Ted Bundy admitted to killing at least 30 women. His story would have been a hell of a lot of shorter if one of the first few had shot him. Dozens of women and their families would have been spared that horror.

At least once a week I’m sent an email or a message from someone suffering mental illness associated with being raped or molested as a child. These kinds of scars are with victims their entire lives. They shape how that person relates to others, their relationships, alcoholism, drug use, and all other manner of things that can potentially fuck them over for the rest of their lives. Those that get that person sent to prison or just trying to forget it then wind up living with the fear that the person will come back for them later. While that person may not victimize them again, seeing them at a family gathering or on the street can kick start a lot of latent, destructive thoughts.

So long as there are predators willing to use violence, force, and fear to get what they want; all the peace-loving hippies who refuse to accept this most basic of human impulses will continue to be victims. Hell, the military has a sexual assault rate of twice the civilian sector due to permissiveness and alleged cover ups by the chain of command. And that’s the fucking military. (Invisible War on Netflix is a good documentary about it. Watch it.)

And the cops that contribute to a “rape culture”? You know what, there are plenty of cops out there that are great people who probably joined law enforcement to help people. There are also cops who joined for their own rush of power and control that don’t give two shits whether you’re alive or dead. And some are predators themselves.

The whole “she was asking for it due to what she was wearing” argument is a moderately useful red herring; but a red herring all the same. As a man, I find it a stupid defense because it implies that we’re rape hungry and can’t control ourselves around some exposed skin. When I hear another man agree with this sentiment, it’s easy to see that the guy has some shit going on in his head that he’s looking for justification for.

Women rightfully point it out as victim-shaming. What I never hear is why it is actually an important and applicable point. Remove all the connotations from the phrase and just consider this. If you were a predator and were looking for a victim; would you go after the woman in the miniskirt or the one in the jeans? The one in the skirt is going to be easier to take advantage of. I think that point may have been at the basis of that thought process until it was taken in other directions; probably by a rapist trying to avoid prison time.

There was a period of time where I was afraid I would end up like Elliot Rodger; but I didn’t. I didn’t because I was able to understand and accept that I was different after some time. I took the time to shore up my shortcomings on socialization. I learned that rejection and failure are nothing to be ashamed of; they are part of success. Being gracious in defeat is a quality to be developed and respected.

These are all skills that can be learned and developed if a man looks for good resources instead of wasting their time on bullshit Pick-Up Artist and Men’s Rights Activist sites. If you take the time you waste on these sites trying to learn how to be a jackass, alpha male wannabe and instead learn how to treat people with respect; you’ll have a skill-set that will be useful through the rest of your life.

I feel that my dark side didn’t consume me because I eventually found a healthy way to express it. Many people that are consumed by it shove it away and try to deny it. Detroit forced me to acknowledge that there was something very twisted about my sexuality and perspective than what I had wanted to accept. While the initial breakthrough and what I was going through in Detroit wasn’t at all healthy; I was eventually able to find healthy ways to exercise it through BDSM activity.

I’ve seen many articles where people have stated “let’s forget the mental health aspect of Elliot for a minute” to push their agenda in the #YesAllWomen campaign. But you can’t. Elliot’s mental health is an essential part of the equation that caused him to snap and act in the way he did. His shitty views on women as objects is just as much about the common autistic trait to not bond and associate well at all with people is as important as the time he spent nurturing the hatred.

Is it an excuse? No. Absolutely not. I’ve never raised an unkind hand to a woman in my life that wasn’t in self-defense. The only woman I have was a working girl running at our group with a pipe; and that was more stepping to the side and tripping her than an actual blow.

But to try to ignore it to prove a point that already has plenty of legitimate reason behind it? That’s stupid.

Ladies- Use the activism to educate your men. I still suggest a CCW permit though. So long as a predator lusts for a woman and you’re smaller, weaker, and less capable of defending yourself; there will continue to be victims. If you’re going to have nightmares for the rest of your life, might as well be from shooting a rapist instead of what said rapist did to you.

Men- Do better. Find strength and stop being pussies. These are your mothers, daughters, and sisters. The only way the problem will get fixed in any kind of meaningful way (provided my CCW permit suggestion doesn’t take off) is for men who aren’t assholes to be involved and actually stand up when some shit goes down.

I know plenty of dudes- good dudes. Guys that act with respect and are pleasant. And plenty of those dudes are the type to sit and whisper about a situation than say something out loud or do something about it. That is a very serious problem for making and keeping meaningful gains.

And who knows, maybe you’ll get the same thrill and rush that I did the first time I stood with a foot on a shithead’s neck and watched him squirm. Just have a hole available if you want to make the most out of it.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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The Difference Between Human Emotions And Mood Disorder “Emotions”

I have come to realize that a lot of people simply do not grasp that there is an extreme difference between genuine human emotion and what people with mood disorders experience. I feel like this is an imperative distinction to understand for the mentally ill and their loved ones. If you don’t understand how you’re different; how are you supposed to minimize the damage and find solutions to the problem?

So let’s talk emotions. A normal person will experience a wide range of emotions; but those emotions will not regularly cause interference in their lives. It is normal to make bad decisions while emotional. Everyone does it whether it be from anger, jealous, or sadness. Bad decisions occur. The important thing to remember is that a normal minded person will still feel fairly consistent through these mood changes. What do I mean by consistency?

Let’s say you have a fight with a significant other. You may be absolutely pissed at that person for whatever reason; but you still love and care about that person. If that person had an emergency, broke down on the highway, or had a loved one die; you’d probably swallow your rage and deal with it. Arguments happen in relationships and it’s a normal part of being in someone’s space for an extended amount of time. Even if you’re angry, your love and care for that person is still there. Another good example is if a child gets into an accident. First there’s the concern, “is my baby alright?” Once it is determined they are, then comes the anger or disappointment if applicable.

That’s normal. A mood disorder causes a person’s emotions to shift completely into extremes.

Let’s say you’re with a Bipolar partner. The two of you have a bitter argument and their entire demeanor changes as a result. They inform you that they hate you and you had better not go to sleep tonight. If the person has swung unwell because of the fight (a potential trigger), their mentally ill brain is now feeding them false information and feelings on the situation. If an unwell Bipolar person says they hate you and you had better not go to sleep tonight; you better take that shit seriously and get help before things have the opportunity to get bad.

At that point in time; there is no begrudging love. That’s why affairs happen so often by Bipolars. It isn’t that they don’t love their partner. It’s that they get caught in a torrent of unwell thinking that is convincing them that they do not love or care about their partner at all while they are sick. When the person rebalances out, then they get to look back on the horrible things they did, said, or put their partner through. Decent people will feel terrible about doing those things.

And I hear from misguided, good Bipolar people that they don’t want to use their mental illness as an excuse. “There was no excuse for me to do that.” I’m not suggesting you should use it as an excuse, but you can’t harbor self-hatred for mistakes made while you were unwell. Would you feel guilty and beat yourself up if you couldn’t play baseball because you broke your leg? And I know what you’re thinking- “that’s not the same thing”. Yes, it is. It’s exactly the same thing. Your brain is an organ that can be subject to being sick and not functioning correctly. If it’s sick and not functioning correctly, how can you be expected to make the right decisions all the time?

That’s what makes it a “mental illness” instead of a “mental super happy fun time”.

Does that mean the person should be absolved of any responsibility because of their actions? Absolutely not. The feelings of the normal person who was hurt in the process need tended to as well. I am a firm believer in never apologizing for being mentally ill; but you can and should apologize for hurting people that you do so they can cope with it and move past it.

People with a mood disorder who have not been diagnosed or studied their mental illness often fail to understand there is a difference. In fairness, how could you? A person that has been riding the rollercoaster a majority of their life isn’t going to have any kind of frame of reference to understand what is normal emotion and what is mental illness.

A person experiencing regular sadness will not be contemplating killing themselves or self-harming. Regular sadness does not turn you numb and apathetic for an extended period of time. That is when it is crossing over into depression territory. Even in deep sadness over the betrayal of a loved one; the love will still be there beneath the hurt likely creating internal conflict of the person. The mind of a person with a mood disorder will just jump on the “fuck you” thought process and run; completely changing while they’re unwell. And when they rebalance out they get to look back on the ashes of what they destroyed while unwell.

Happiness is similar. Yes, life is hard for a lot of people and filled with unpleasant shit. But it is not normal to NEVER feel any sort of happiness at all, ever. Hypomania and mania are severe. They cause the person’s brain to scream along in a direction and leave plenty shattered in their wake. Love may disappear or it could become an intense fixation, more pure and passionate than anything we’ve ever experienced. That person is perfect, angelic, and can do no wrong. And that right there is a major sign that we are screaming into insanity. That is a perfectly unreasonable thought process to have about anyone. No one is perfect. No one can do no wrong. We’re all human.

If you’re trying to help an undiagnosed loved one understand why their moods and emotions are fucked up; remember that they probably don’t have a good point of reference to understand what “normal” is. You have to explain it to them in a way that they will be able to understand.

“I know you don’t think you’re depressed; but normal sadness does not virtually cripple a person. You’re sleeping 16 hours a day, skipped a week of work, and haven’t eaten or showered in four days. Sadness does not do that to a person. You need to talk to a doctor.”

“I know you don’t think you’re manic; but your passion and clarity are not normal with happiness. Being happy shouldn’t cause you to completely change what you like and dislike. And it’s normal for happy people to even have doubts on some of their major decisions that you’re just jumping into without a care in the world. You feel great, you quit your job, and now you’re ready to hop a bus to Nashville to pursue a music career when you played guitar for like six months in college? It’s not rational thinking even though it feels so right and so great to you right now. You need professional help.”

And as always, these are just general thoughts. Everyone’s situation is different. The more personal you can get with it, the better opportunity you’ll have to break through the madness. So give it some thought; and if you need help with your approach; leave a comment or email me directly at the address listed below and we’ll see what we can come up with.

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Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read everything sent to me and will respond to you as soon as possible. I have a number of original articles posted on the main website at www.bipolarmanifesto.com . If you find this information helpful or think it will benefit someone you know; pass it on! My body of work is to benefit others. Liking/Sharing/Printing off to show someone all accomplish a similar goal of getting it in front of more people. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

I am also now offering Phone Consultations!

-Dennis

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