LGBT Bathroom Law Supporters: …What?

I’m pretty confident that many of the folks that frequent my blog are not expecting me to comment on something like the LGBT Bathroom Laws that are being thrown around these United States of America. I tend to stay away from subjects like specific political candidates and beliefs because my goal is to create work that any person struggling with Depression or Bipolar Disorder can pick up and use, whether they are a supporter and loved one or a mentally ill person themselves. But, this does happen to fall within my spectrum of interest given the fact that 41% of trans-people attempt suicide; a statistic that is pretty close to the 50% of people with Bipolar Disorder who attempt suicide.

I feel like some measure of introduction to where I stand on issues is in order. I would consider myself a political moderate that leans heavily to the Left. Would I support a politician on the Right? Sure, if they seemed sane and I identified with their thinking. Compromise is found in the center. It’s much easier to attain meaningful results when people are working from both sides of the river to build a bridge that meets in the middle.

As it comes to sexuality, I am a CIS heterosexual male. That essentially means that I am a male mind in a male body with a sexual preference for women.

With that in mind, and in regards to the LGBT Bathroom “Controversy”…

What are you people thinking?

Seriously. I don’t get it. Legislation that requires a person to use the bathroom of the sex that appeared on their birth certificate. Has anyone given even a second of thought to how you would actually enforce this and what the ramifications would be? Fantastic. Let’s go ahead and have the cops check our birth certificates and crotch now. I’m sure they have nothing in the world better to do.

And how is anyone going to pick up on that anyway unless the person “looks” a certain way? Oh, you’re not aesthetically pleasing so I’m going to need to see a birth certificate and your junk if you want to pee. Can’t see what would possibly go wrong with that!

But sexual predators can use it as a means to find victims!

Let’s take a quick trip out of knee-jerk fear and into reality for a minute. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. Their statistics on sexual assault are derived from Department of Justice data.

And according to actual data 82% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger and 50% of those occurred at the person’s home or within a mile of their home. Well, gee. I wonder why that is?

Let me step into the mind of a pervert for a moment. (I mean a dangerous pervert, not the pervert I normally am.) It seems like sexually assaulting someone in a Target bathroom is a really stupid idea if I want to get my rocks off, what with the cameras in the store, dozens of people that are within loud talking distance, and constant in and out traffic. Seems like if I tried that, I might just get caught and wind up in prison for a long time.

Criminals may not always be educated, but most aren’t stupid. And in the case of some criminals, they are most definitely educated. So why does society act like they are stupid? People have this image of what a predator is in their mind. People think of tropes like disheveled homeless looking dudes, vans, candy. Jerry Sandusky didn’t much “look” like a predator. Neither did Jared Fogle or Earl Bradley. Neither did many of the friends, family members, and professionals that have victimized your own friends and family members.

Vipers hide behind charisma, bright smiles, and the illusion of normalcy. And frankly, as a dude that looks disheveled and homeless a lot of the time, I don’t much appreciate the association.

But we need to protect the women and children!

The cry of conservative religious and political figures. Quick question. Where were you people when it started to come to light that the Catholic Church is essentially playing a shell game with sexual predators among their priests? Where’s the outrage that the Catholic Church kept extensive records on these predators and did little to nothing about it? Also – if you believe the Pope talks to God, I have to wonder how okay God is with molesting kids because it seems like something that would have come up by now.

Hey, Pope! You know that thing where you’re protecting predators that are destroying the happiness, well being, and ability to function of hundreds of kids per predator for the rest of their lives? You might want to turn the mountain of evidence you’ve collected over to authorities and get those people out of my churches.” I can’t speak for God, but I feel like his representatives molesting kids might have been at least a small blip on his radar. But, what do I know?

I think that it is more likely that we outcasts are just a convenient and easy target. Trans-people, gay people, the mentally ill, the poor, criminals that aren’t genuinely awful people; we all have something in common. We all have politicians and leaders who are making decisions for the direction of our lives, not for our benefit or from our perspective, but from their own perspective and what’s best for their bottom line.

And it all boils down to the almighty dollar. Institutions like the church have trillions, we outcasts hopefully have enough money for rent and to eat.

Do we really want to protect women and children?

I have been engaged in mental health advocacy work through this website and more for the past four years. I’ve heard a lot of stories from a lot of different people. I’ve been privileged to be the first person that several of these people shared their story with. I never talk about these peoples’ stories with anyone else. I use their trust to try and get them to seek professional help where they can make meaningful gains for their well-being. And I have reported active situations to relevant authorities and will continue to do so as needed.

Let me share with you some commonalities I’ve noticed in many of these stories.

I can’t tell you the number of women I’ve talked to who wanted to come forward but did not because they were afraid of losing one of their relatives to prison for assaulting or killing the accused. Then there are the women who think they won’t be believed. Also the women who blame themselves for it happening or think they somehow deserved it. All of these women are suffering in silence, every day, oftentimes right next to you. They are your sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers; not some random person that you don’t know. And many of them were victimized by people they knew and trusted.

The child abuse histories are worse. Prior to starting on this path, I very firmly bought into the typical belief that evil was the cause of most suffering in the world. But it’s not. It’s apathy. A small percentage of people are good or evil, the rest just don’t care unless it directly affects them. And even when it does? They still do nothing.

In no place is this more evident in the number of times I’ve heard from adult survivors of sexual abuse, “XYZ relative walked in on him doing what he did to me and they didn’t do anything to help me.” Over. And over. And over. And over. I’ve thought “why?” about a thousand times, but it really doesn’t matter why. The point is that there are many direct witnesses who do nothing.

Trans-people are the true, real, and existing victims in all of this. I linked this earlier as a reference, and I’m linking it again. Go there. Read the second page, the “Executive Summary.” Read it and tell me with a straight face that it is acceptable to further discriminate against a group people because of an imagined problem with ZERO evidence of existing.

An important lesson I’ve learned is that many people want to have the peace of mind of thinking that they are doing the right thing and helping, but don’t have the stomach to deal with what is actually required to do it. It’s easy to listen to the sewage spewing from the mouths of the media and politicians and think, “Oh, yeah. This is a real problem!” But, it’s not. It never was.

The real problems are far dirtier, unpleasant, and difficult to deal with let alone try to fix.

But I’m afraid/anxious/uncomfortable!”

Yeah, so are trans-people. What makes your comfort so special? Go to a therapist and deal with your anxiety and fears if it’s that much of a problem.

And a disclaimer…

I am a moderate. I believe in the basic tenets of America’s Bill of Rights, including the freedom for people to hold whatever religious beliefs they have and freedom of speech. I’m not anti-religion. I’m also not that personally invested in the LGBT crusade either. I don’t have the emotional energy to fight every war that I think needs to be fought. I look at them as brothers and sisters, even though our challenges are different, but you won’t see me at any pride rallies or protests (largely because I think it’s a pointless waste of time.)

There are limitations to everything. And in this particular case, I have a very negative opinion of conservative lawmakers and religious figures using the fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding as a thinly veiled means of stripping away the rights of at-risk people under the premise of “protecting children” when they’ve done little to address the very real problems that exist: such as social worker burnout, underfunding in social programs like Children’s Protection Services, and the massive amount of secrecy and corruption surrounding institutionalized abuse.

They don’t care about protecting children. Their actions are evidence enough of that.

The people who are supporting laws like the bathroom laws are essentially standing in a gang, beating a person who have been abused and battered for centuries at this point. You’re not protecting women and children. You’re oppressing a group of people you don’t understand, that may frighten or confuse you, so you can FEEL LIKE you’re protecting women and children. Meanwhile, the women and children who actually do need help can’t get it because you, yes YOU, are wasting your time on this arbitrary bullshit.

YOU could be meaningfully helping people that really need it by thinking for yourself, looking at the facts, and acting accordingly. I have news for you. Bathroom laws aren’t going to do ANYTHING to meaningfully prevent sexual assault any more than the regular laws against sexual assault prevents it.

But what about the million signature petition to boycott Target?

Oh, and one last thing before I wrap this up. You know that million signature petition the American Family Association claimed to have about people willing to boycott Target because of their stance? Allow me to point out some discrepancies.

1. Why did we not hear about this petition before it hit a million signatures? Did you hear about it at all through social media or mainstream media? If not, how did they get a million signatures if people didn’t know the petition existed?

2. Their “petition” is hosted on their domain and ran by their organization. In other words, there is no way to actually verify where those million signatures came from, including whether or not those people actually exist, whether or not they just cut and pasted an electronic phone book and called it their petition.

3. A million signatures, eh? That’s pretty amazing. Especially since the AFA also founded two groups called One Million Moms and One Million Dads as a means to mobilize regressive conservatives and their ideology. What an interesting “coincidence.”

Well, let’s see. Twitter is pretty much the social media outlet of choice for activism because of how quickly you can mobilize people through it. So, perhaps they tapped their massive support base through the internet to make it happen. Hmm… the AFA groups @1milmoms has 3500 followers and @onemildads has 360. That’s remarkably less than a million, as have been the populations of both groups since they were created by a bigot to influence public opinion.

In my mind, it’s pretty clear that this is solely propaganda designed to deceive and mislead.

In conclusion…

If you support this garbage, you are facilitating and enabling the suffering and oppression of not only LGBT people, but the women and children society is so adamant about protecting. If you’re silent, then you might as well be holding the victim down for their abuser.

Say something. Call your politicians. Talk to your religious leaders in your churches. Let them know that this fear, manipulation, and hatemongering is unacceptable. Vote with your wallet. Shop at and support businesses like Target who are working to combat bigotry and ignorance in their own way.

I am a High-Functioning Autistic with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder and severe Bipolar-Depression, a CIS heterosexual male. I don’t know the struggles of LGBT people and don’t pretend to. I work to support these people in my own way. What I do understand are the 41% who decided that suicide was the only option left because of who they were, what their life was, and not having hope for anything better. That is a struggle I understand all too well.

And to my Right Wing, conservative, and religious readers that think God has a negative opinion of LGBT people; I implore you to do more research on the matter or actually spend some time with them. You’ll find they are far less scary and alien than religious leaders, politicians, and the media would have you believe.

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Want My Bipolar Disorder eBooks FREE?

Want my eBooks for FREE? Of course you do. Who doesn’t want free stuff?

I am pleased to announce a significant expansion in the way I distribute my eBooks. I am now incorporating a digital goods service provider called SendOwl. SendOwl is set up so that their customers can easily distribute digital goods, such as eBooks, in a very simple and efficient way. Furthermore, they offer a functionality that I was looking for back when I first embarked on this trek. Namely, to offer my eBooks on a “Pay What You Want” basis instead of the hard limits that are required with Amazon.

The Big Change

I have had my readers ask me numerous times how they could get additional copies of my eBooks to give to friends or family members. Now, doing that is simple. I have purchased the domain www.freebipolarbooks.com and it points directly to my eBook distribution page. No need to go through complicated processes or try to remember how to spell my last name.

Just send them to www.freebipolarbooks.com and they can download my eBooks in PDF, AZW3 (Kindle Compatible), or EPUB formats. Thanks to SendOwl, you can also “Gift” copies of the eBooks directly to others during the confirmation process and send download links straight to their email address!

(Note: I don’t own any Apple devices so was unable to test if these files would work correctly on them. They should be alright, but let me know if there are any problems.)

What about DRM, limited copies, and distribution limitations?

There are none. Digital Rights Management and copy protections of eBooks are mostly just an annoyance to anyone that really wants to remove it. DRM tends to inconvenience the customer far more than providing meaningful protection. Plus, I’m a gamer, and I hate intrusive DRM to the point where I actively avoid buying any products from companies that use it.

All I can really do is respectfully request that you leave my work as you found it. Though SendOwl limits downloads per transaction to three, you can always go back to www.freebipolarbooks.com and just grab it again whenever you want.

What’s the catch?

There is no catch.

No, seriously. What’s the catch? There’s always a catch…

Seriously, there is no catch.

My Marketing Strategy

My strategy is pretty simple. Each of my eBooks are packed full of relevant information pertaining to the title. I strive to create meaningful work that anyone, whether they are mentally ill or the loved one of a mentally ill person, can pick up, understand, and use. There is no false hope, fluff, or BS.

I work to instill hope by producing work aimed at enabling you to get tangible, positive results for yourself. I don’t want you to walk my path or live my story; I want to enable you to succeed on yours. I’m not a mental health professional of any kind and I do not strive or pretend to be. I am a mental health consumer who knows enough to understand he doesn’t know anything.

That being said, your doctor isn’t going to be able to tell you when your doctor has dangerous or stupid opinions about mental illness; such as the doctor I had right up until he revealed he didn’t believe in Bipolar Disorder.

Don’t know if my work is worth spending money on? Download it for FREE and read it for yourself.

But Dennis, what angle are you playing?

I know. Cynicism and skepticism abound. I’d be suspicious, too. To make a long story very short, the combination of High-Functioning Autism and Bipolar Disorder with severe Bipolar-Depression in my brain creates an environment where I feel very emotionally and socially isolated a majority of the time. Early in my history, I spent a lot of time alone in my mind, unable to express what was going on to the people that loved, cared, and would have helped me had I been able to.

Every writer has a target audience. Though I feel my work can be equally beneficial to anyone that picks it up, my writing is really aimed towards reaching those people still sitting alone in the darkness, offering realistic hope, and giving them the knowledge they need to find their way out of it.

I am making my work “Pay What You Want” because I want it to be available to anyone that can benefit from it. And if life isn’t being kind to you and resources are tight, don’t worry about it. Maybe you’ll think of me further down the road when things are better for you, maybe you won’t. Either way, I did my part and what was best for my soul.

You see, I don’t want the money of the homeless Bipolar guy who emailed me from a library computer. Or of the terrified spouse whose Bipolar loved one, swung manic, cleaned out their bank accounts and bailed on their family. Or of the people choosing between buying medication and food. Or of the unwell whose lives are crumbling around them with suicide looking like the only option left. Or of the people stuck in abusive relationships because they can’t find a balance between compassion for their mentally ill loved one and personal boundaries. Or of the parent who has been dealing with the abuse of a toxic child for decades and has nothing left. Or the people who feel like they don’t have a friend in the world that can understand them.

People have reached out to me about these situations and far more since I started my website, advocacy, and outreach efforts. I’m only one person. I don’t have the time or emotional energy to give the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired to everyone personally. I can, however, compile that information in an easy to distribute format that anyone can pick up and use on their own volition.

The decisions I make in how I do what I do are not necessarily what’s best for my bottom line, they are what’s best for my soul. A lot of my work is aimed at helping to clarify confusion and instill hope by providing road maps through the chaos that surrounds the mental health industry, mental illness, and loving a person with mental illness. Preying on the desperate, afraid, at-risk, and vulnerable is one of the most morally repugnant things I can think of.

And that’s exactly why I haven’t gone the traditional route. I’m not going to put on a plastic smile, pretend like I’m a socially well-adjusted person, and spin how my book is totally an inspirational reflection of my personal journey that is totally going to change your life so you should totally buy it so I can totally validate myself and appear like one of the totally normal people!

I’m not an inspirational person. I’m not an author who is trying to sell books. I am a mental patient serving as a Quartermaster, trying to equip other people with the weapons and armor of knowledge to more effectively fight their personal battles against mental illness, whether they are mentally ill themselves or a supporter who has no idea what’s going on in the mind of their loved one.

I don’t know if my writing will resonate with you or benefit you in any way. I also know that I don’t want to spend hours of my time trying to convince people why they should spend money on my eBooks when I could be creating new work to benefit others instead. So, take it. Decide for yourself.

In Closing…

I’ve made a good faith effort to create practical, meaningful work that will help others deal with the many challenges surrounding the pursuit of mental wellness, dealing with mental illness, and bettering their situations. I believe that if I am passionate about helping others, others will want to help me. And if not, it doesn’t matter, because I’m not doing this to get rich.

If you feel that my work is worthwhile, consider kicking me a couple of dollars. If not, don’t worry about it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work, even if you hate it. I appreciate your giving me your time.

You can grab my eBooks through www.freebipolarbooks.com.

Your Bipolar Friend,

-Dennis

High-Functioning Autistic with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder and severe Bipolar-Depression

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Want My Input? Your Bipolar Friend Consulting

Hello. Dennis here. A standard sales marketing page would immediately launch into a dialogue about how great a service is and why you should buy it. I can’t do that because what I’m trying to accomplish is pretty different. If you don’t have an understanding of who I am and what I am about, I would encourage you to explore my eBooks, website, blog, and blog comments. I already know that most people who would consider my service have already read a lot of my content, so I’m not going to rehash it here. By the end of this page, you should understand what I’m offering, asking, and the relevant details. Please, read it all. It’s important.

For those of you that already know all of this information, here is a simple button. Everyone else, please read the following text!

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Should you want to share this information page with a friend, it is directly accessible via the URL www.yourbipolarfriend.com .

Your Bipolar Friend Consulting

I launched my website in February of 2012 with the goal of providing meaningful, actionable information to people struggling with Bipolar Disorder and Depression to help them on their own individual path of wellness. That quickly grew to accommodate supporters as well.

As of the fourth anniversary of the launch of my website, February of 2016, I have personally answered over 7500 emails, 750 blog comments, and have had God knows how many conversations with people who are struggling with mental illness in some way.

What do you actually do?

I branded as “Your Bipolar Friend” because it literally represents what I do for others. It is not my goal to be a stand-in for a mental health professional. What I do is walk in the gray, confusing area that surrounds mental health where so many people find themselves lost and alone.

I am a strong believer in utilizing mental health professionals and systems to combat mental illness. I am also a strong believer that a majority of mentally ill people do not understand how they should view the mental health industry. They do not fix us or make us well. We make ourselves well with their assistance. Mental health professionals cannot help us if we lie to them, withhold information, and refuse to comply with treatment.

A lot of people need someone to talk who understands what they’re going through. The supporter who loves a mentally ill person often does not find understanding with their friends and family. Friends and family just tend to see the suffering of the supporter with the mentally ill person as the cause. The supporter may find that the attitudes of their friends and family toward mental illness are rooted in ignorance, stigma, or plain stupidity. I’ve seen many occasions where these beliefs make things far worse.

And then you have the mentally ill who have stopped talking about their perspectives as well. We may not talk to our friends and family because they don’t necessarily understand our path. Or, maybe we’ve been struggling for so long that we just don’t want to feel like we are burdening anyone else with our problems. People often don’t tell us what we need to hear out of fear of our mental illness. That often prevents us from making meaningful gains for our wellness.

I don’t tell people what they want to hear, I tell people what they need to hear. I help clear up their misconceptions, smooth out their fears, and push towards solutions that have been known to work for others. I help people develop strategies to confront and deal with whatever issue they may be facing, help keep them on their path, and provide honest feedback on what they are considering.

Nice sales pitch. What are you charging for your “help?”

My target audiences are a very diverse group of people.

I’ve helped mental health and medical professionals better understand the problems they were facing with a mentally ill loved one. I’ve helped people with multiple college degrees, a politician, financiers, lawyers, and people with flourishing professional careers.

I’ve had homeless people write to me from a library computer. I’ve talked to Bipolar people who are sitting in their ashes of their life, lost and confused, ready to make a change for the better but without the knowledge on how. I’ve also talked to the terrified spouses of toxic mentally ill people. Suffering spouses who were trapped in abusive relationships. Terrified people whose Bipolar spouse swung Manic, cleaned out the bank accounts, and bailed on their family.

How can I possibly set a price that respects both sides of this equation? I am perfectly comfortable with asking for compensation for my time from people with stable lives and means. I am absolutely not okay with asking for money from someone who is at-risk, unstable, or trying to figure out how to keep a roof over the heads of their children.

I thought about this problem for weeks before I had an epiphany. I can’t set a price point. It’s impossible. There is no middle ground that I am comfortable with.

I then went back to the problem with a different perspective. I asked myself the question that has driven my work since I started it.

What is best for my soul? That had a simple answer.

I will not be setting a price point. I’m going to leave it up to you because you’re the one that best knows your situation and life. I’m only going to leave you with a suggested amount. If you want to contribute more or less than that, I’ll leave that to your discretion. I appreciate any and all support people are willing to offer.

About Priority

As an additional benefit to the people who will provide a financial contribution for my time, effort, and body of knowledge, I will be offering Priority.

I have traditionally answered all correspondence in the order that I have received it. Priority means that you will be placed at the front of the line for responses. With Priority, you can expect a response from me within 48 hours of your correspondence (usually within hours.) This way, I can provide an additional benefit for your contribution.

The rule of thumb I will be following is a week of Priority per $25.00 of contribution. That will land me at an average of about $8-$10 an hour versus the time I give to the people I interact with.

That doesn’t seem like much for what you’re doing…

Correct. I’ve run into a lot of skepticism since I started doing this because I’ve never really asked for anything for what I’ve offered. I spent 15 years undiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I remember how alone I felt when I was at my worst. Everything I’m working toward building is being setup to be accessible to anyone that can benefit from it, regardless of their economic status.

Does a financial contribution improve quality of service?

No. It only determines the order in which I am replying to communications. This is not a subject matter where quality should be compromised. I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States or homeless. I will do the best I can to help you find your path.

Are you a mental health professional, Coach, or certified in anything?

No. I am not a mental health professional nor do I provide any kind of clinical services. Nothing of what I provide is meant to replace clinical therapy, medical, or mental health care. Nothing of what I provide should be viewed as medical, mental health, or legal advice. I am not trained in Crisis response. If you are in crisis or in danger, contact local authorities immediately for help.

The closest thing to what I do would falls on the relatively same continent of “Life” or “Wellness” Coaching. Like Coaches, my goal is to help you help yourself or find a way to encourage your loved one to help themselves. Unlike Coaches, my chosen domains are Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and mental illness. Most Coaches will not touch anything related to mental illness because of the potential harm and complex nature of mental health.

I have no specific certifications, nor will I. The funny thing about the Coaching/Consulting industry is that there are no legal requirements on who can call themselves a Coach or a Consultant. Any random jerk can brand and market themselves as a Coach or a Consultant. Certification is not legally required.

And if you look closer at Coaches, their rates tend to run upwards of $150+ per hour of phone call, $250+ for e-coaching, and $400+ for monthly retainers. That number can go into the thousands depending on the experience and success of the Coach.

How does what you do differ from what Coaches do?

Visit a Coach’s website and you will usually find a bright smile and a bunch of positive, upbeat web copy about how their systems, insight, and your hard work will help bring results. Consultants typically market themselves on their ability to get tangible results that they can offer as concrete proof to potential clients.

I can’t do those things because mental health is not that consistent or clean. It’s not uncommon for a choice to boil down to picking the least worst option out of nothing but bad choices. I can’t promise positive results. I can’t promise that things will get better. No one can know that.

The only real promise I can make is the one I uphold through my work; to do my very best to help you find a way to help yourself. I can promise that I will leave no stone unturned in trying to find a way to help you better understand the situation you’re facing and help you work towards a positive outcome.

Do you offer Phone or Skype consulting?

No. I’ve already tried it and it is a sub-par experience.

A lot of information gets passed when I am trying to help someone understand or find their path. It’s usually not digestible in just one sitting. The person will often re-read what I provide them multiple times or go back to it as reference.

Email can be written at your convenience, in the privacy of your home and away from the eyes of others. It gives you time to get everything that you want to say out of your mind. It provides you a greater means to express yourself. Furthermore, people tend to reveal details they don’t realize are important rather than editing themselves to fit into a scheduled window of time.

Email is the superior communication option and provides the best value.

About Privacy

I do my best to respect the privacy of the people I interact with. Even when I deal with people who know each other, I do not share information back and forth. I will not distribute any information that you provide to me. Please be aware that I am NOT a medical or mental health professional, thus I am not legally bound by the protections afforded by HIPPA. The only exception to this are matters of mandatory reporting. I will report child abuse or emergency situations. If you are in danger or in crisis, contact relevant authorities for assistance immediately.

About Refunds

I will not be providing refunds for this service. The compensation you are providing is for Priority on my time, not for success or failure. I do not, cannot, and will not guarantee success or failure because it’s impossible.

About My Mental Wellness

There is always the possibility that there is an interruption of service as a result of my own mental health. Should this situation occur, we will address it as necessary and find an adequate resolution for it. Again, it’s something that will need to be handled on a per case basis because who knows what the details will be. Regardless of the service I provide, my mental health must come first. I am no use to anyone dead or institutionalized. I will also point out that I’ve been providing a service similar to this since 2012 without any real interruption.

Disclaimer

I am not a mental health or medical professional. I am not accredited in any way, by any organization. I do not prescribe, tell people how to take their medication, recommend medications, provide therapy, provide diagnosis, or provide any kind of clinical medical or mental health services. No information I provide should be constituted as medical, mental health, or legal advice.

Any decisions for your care should be made with the assistance of a licensed mental health professional. You are the only one that can make the right decisions for your own care. My goals are to ensure that people are making these decisions from a place of knowledge, fact, and reality. By using any of my services, information, or content, you agree to not hold me or anyone related to my work liable for your decisions. If you do not agree, do not utilize this service, website, or information.

I walk in the massive gray areas surrounding the mental health industry and mental illness. My goals are to build bridges between supporters and the mentally ill, the mentally ill and the mental health industry by working against the stigma and misinformation that drives so many incorrect decisions. Many people simply do not know which questions they should be asking. You should not take my word for anything. You should not blindly trust ANYONE’S word. Trust, but verify. Question everything until you understand. Question your professionals until you understand. Question me until you understand. IT’S YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND LIFE.

I reserve the right to discontinue or refuse service for any reason.

I am not affiliated with nor do I represent any non-profit organization.

Still with me?

As much as I would love to do what I do for free, good intentions don’t pay bills.

I’m not trying to buy a mansion or fancy cars here. I am only trying to cover basic bills, keep my vehicle running, insurance, food, rent, and so forth. Additionally, I want to further expand on how I help the mentally ill and their loved ones. That all requires money.

Help me help you. Help support me, my work, and my quest to help others and expand on what I do. I want to continue to devote my time to helping people just like you. Your willingness to compensate me for my time and support my work will allow me to do that.

And if life isn’t being kind to you right now and resources are tight? Don’t worry about it. Write anyway. I’ll respond as soon as I can. And if things are decent for you and you want to contribute more, let me know and we can work out a way to ensure you get value for your contribution.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Your Bipolar Friend,

-Dennis Heil

High-Functioning Autistic with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder with severe Bipolar-Depression

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Note: After you make a payment, you can either feel free to compose your email and contact me at yourbipolarfriend@gmail.com or dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com  

I will contact you within 48 hours of receiving payment (usually much sooner.)

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A Book Review of Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies

As you may or may not know, I don’t do many review posts. The primary reason is that my website, my e-books, my work is designed to help people elevate and help themselves with realistic, actionable information. Most memoirs don’t do that. Most “alternative” anything books are poorly written or are fantasy. I don’t engage in the practice of trading reviews or promotion. Building trust with you, the reader, is a very important facet of what I’m trying to accomplish.

With that in mind, I was recently contacted by author William Jiang, MLS. William served as a Columbia University/New York State Psychiatry Institute Medical Library Chief for 7 years. He is the author of Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies. He is also waging a personal battle against Schizophrenia.

In the interest of disclosure, William did read one of my books and positively reviewed it before I read his. I made clear to William that I didn’t do any kind of positive for positive exchanges; that I would read his book and provide an honest review of it. Regardless of his actions, I would still be writing this blog post and review because I believe William created a fantastic resource that will be very beneficial to anyone who is interested in complementary means of better managing mental illness.

The Basic Gist of a Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies

The internet is absolutely flooded with garbage, misrepresented information on the treatment and management of mental illness. People regularly speak about subjects that they should not without any consideration to the consequences for the people reading them. William’s background appears to be that of a researcher and his book reflects that.

William describes this book as (paraphrased), “an annotated bibliography that picks from the “best” information from medical literature, including commentary, as well as the source, title, and abstract of the article from MEDLINE.” MEDLINE is a compilation of abstracts and citations regarding medical research.

So, what the hell does that mean in layman’s terms? You know how you can find information all over the internet about things like Omega-3 being good to combat depression, yoga and physical activity being helpful at reducing the severity of mental illness symptoms, and parasites in cat feces contributing to mental illness? William’s book is a collection of these complementary ideas with excerpts from the medical studies that help establish them as fact.

That is invaluable information to have. It is a helpful, compiled collection of realistic information that does not make false promises or aggrandize these concepts as THE SOLUTION. They are presented as neutral points of information that may or may not be beneficial as a pillar in your wellness plans and efforts.

How Should You Use a Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies?

William organized this book by subcategories. His words are italicized to differentiate it from the excerpts. Many important points are bolded to call attention to them.

Since this book does contain excerpts from studies, written by researchers and medical professionals, many people are going to have a hard time figuring out exactly what they are talking about in the excerpts. That’s okay though! Don’t be put off by the medical terminology. While informative and interesting, the actual text is not as important to a mental health consumer. What is important is that each of these points comes from accredited, verified resources where money, time, and energy was invested into analyzing them.

If you don’t understand the actual excerpts from the research, don’t worry about it. Gloss past it and keep reading; but do make sure to critically read bolded and italicized text. It’s okay if you don’t “understand.” People dedicate decades of their lives to understanding this stuff. It’s not reasonable to think that you will after reading a book or two.

How Should I Use the Information Presented Therein?

There’s a lot of good, complementary practices presented in this book. If any resonate with you that you want to try, the first step is to discuss the practice with your prescribing mental health professional. That way they can discuss it with you and identify any potential problems it might cause with your current treatment. I would also recommend making a call to your pharmacist to double check on potential interactions. Any discrepancy should be worked out with your professionals to ensure you don’t accidentally destabilize yourself. Do not just do whatever without talking to your mental health professional first.

About the Value of the Book

Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies is listed on Amazon, at the time of this writing, for $9.99 for the e-Book and $35.00 for the paperback. It’s about 130ish pages of quality information.

I know a lot of you are going to balk at the paperback price for William’s book. I know I did. What you need to bear in mind is that the knowledge needed to build this kind of resource is the result of years of education, experience, time, effort, and research. That is why textbooks and books like this do tend to run on the expensive side. Having read this book, I would spend $35.00 on it for a paperback if I had the $35.00 to spend on it.

The information is not only worthwhile, but it is worthwhile to me to support authors like William who are creating meaningful work for our mutual benefit. That being said, you’re going to know what you’re comfortable with spending on this work. Either way, I highly recommend adding Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies to your library. You can also find William on his website at www.mentalhealthbooks.net

And remember, a lot of people don’t know that you don’t need to own a Kindle to read e-books off of Amazon. Just look up “Kindle Reader” on Play Store, Apple Store, or Google. Amazon offers a free reader so you can read your e-books on other devices if you would like to go that route.

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Bipolar Disorder and the Complicated Nature of Management

Misconceptions about the treatment and management of mental illness stem from incorrectly associating it with traditional treatments. That causes mentally ill people and their supporters to draw poor conclusions on how treatment will progress and what benefits management can provide.

As an example, consider a headache. You can down a couple over-the-counter pain relievers and it’s normally gone within a half hour. It’s pretty consistent for most people. Psychiatric medication, on the other hand, can be very random in the benefits it provides because it is dealing with a much more complicated problem.

A majority of mentally ill people that take psychiatric medication will not have a “perfect” experience with it. It may include side effects that are difficult to manage. It may make the person too numb to function or unable to think, essentially mirroring the effects of severe depression. It may only control a limited number of symptoms or not have as powerful an affect as needed. There are so many factors that influence how well psychiatric medication works that it’s just not possible to know ahead of time what exactly it will do from person to person. Brain and body chemistry are incredibly complicated.

Just swallowing the pills doesn’t mean they are going to fix everything or even eliminate it completely. Effective mood disorder management usually includes several other facets, like reducing stress, changing diet, giving up other chemical substances, exercise, and a consistent sleep schedule. And even after all of that, the person can still have bad reactions to certain situations and triggers.

Balance is an important choice as well. Some of us choose to stay on medications that provide a great deal of benefit with minimal side effects rather than pushing for an ideal solution that may bring more severe side effects with it. Why? Because there is no guarantee that we will ever reach that ideal place with our medication.

It’s all trade offs. Are these side effects worth the benefits I’m receiving? Should I keep pushing for something better or settle for how I feel now?

Mental health wellness can be a very messy affair. Even when taking medication, the person may still experiences symptoms of their mental illness that can be disruptive to their life. It’s rarely as simple as just taking a pill.

It’s important to maintain reasonable expectations. We, as mentally ill people, cannot just assume that our mental state and the damage resulting from it is going to be fixed with medication cocktail. Supporters and loved ones of mentally ill people need to understand that wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long-term endeavor in which there can be many obstacles and bumps in the road.

There are times when the only choice you have is to ride out mental unwellness, whether you’re on medication or not. And for a supporter, that may mean needing to have a bit more patience as the waters calm in the mind of their mentally ill loved one, even if they are taking medication.

Sometimes all you can do is have patience.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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Updating My Bipolar Manifesto Blog

Just a short note, don’t be concerned with changes you’re seeing in my blog. I’m working on getting a better mobile experience set up for visitors as well as streamlining some things I view as inefficiencies.

Thank you for your patience!

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(Video) Sorting Through Bad Information on Bipolar Disorder and Mental Health

The video today is me running my mouth about how I sift through the massive amount of bad and non-information that is around on the internet and books. The good news is that I think a found a better lighting spot and cleaned up my editing and speaking further. Additionally, this is subject matter I’ve thought about a lot so I’m not thinking about it as much as I shoot the video, unlike the update which was very much stream of consciousness.

Enjoy! And Subscribe if you enjoy listening to my rambling on this subject matter!

-Dennis

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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5 Universal Qualities of Bipolar Disorder Recovery

I’ve always enjoyed troubleshooting and trying to find solutions to problems. I find it to not only be fun, but a great exercise for the mind. Well, finding a solution to help with Bipolar Disorder and Depression is far less fun, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. That is why I’m presenting to you five qualities that I feel are essential building blocks of Bipolar wellness. Every mentally ill person I know of that attains a high degree of functionality and long-term recovery possesses these five qualities.

Knowledge

The people I interact with regularly tell me how important my lived experience and wisdom gained is. I often counter this point with the importance of book learned knowledge. You see, mental illness is mostly a giant gray area. It is very easy to confuse one mental illness for another in the course of trying to be correctly diagnosed. And frankly, that’s not necessarily the fault of medical professionals. It is often the result of the consumer not understanding that certain facets of their personality are bad or symptoms.

Personal knowledge is important because it helps a Bipolar person separate themselves from their mental illness. Once you understand what is the real you and what is the mental illness, it makes it much easier to spot when medication isn’t working, unwell cycles, or destructive actions.

Understanding

The other side of the Knowledge coin is Understanding. Understanding relates more to the wisdom of knowing how to apply the knowledge that a person has. There is a universe of information on mental illness out there; and only a fraction of it will actually apply to each of us individually. We must reflect and understand how our mental illness applies to each of us, specifically.

Question 100 Bipolar people and you will come up with a 100 different examples of the manifestations and beliefs about the mental illness. We each must figure out how our diagnosis applies to us. A therapist is very helpful for this process.

Communication

All of the knowledge in the world doesn’t mean much if a person can’t meaningfully communicate what is going on in their mind. I’ve known quite a few mentally ill people who could not make the most of their professional appointments because they would lie or misrepresent the truth. That does absolutely no good. The only people that get hurt in that scenario are the consumer and their family members.

Meaningful communication between consumer and professional, consumer and supporters is necessary to find and maintain wellness. If you have a hard time saying certain things, write it down and hand it over that way! I did this a lot when I was still struggling with my instability and mind.

Trust

Trust, but verify should be the mantra of everyone in life, really. The mind and mental health are complicated, vast subject with a lot of room for interpretation. Many people view the DSM as a “Bible” of mental illness; and when it comes to symptoms it may very well be. But, it doesn’t exactly add any kind of personal perspective or understanding in how behaviors are interpreted.

That means that mental health professionals can make mistakes if they make a bad judgment call on what they’re seeing, if they are assuming previous experience will be the same as the present experience, or if they simply aren’t that knowledgeable on a subject. No one can or should be expected to know everything. It’s just not possible.

So always; trust, but verify.

Desire

No one recovers from mental illness without Desire. Period. Mental wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. Each of us must find the Desire to want to be better, to do all of the tedious garbage work that goes along with being mentally well. Sooner or later, things are going to go bad. Medication stops working. Motivation is hard to find. Depression can come in and derail the progress we’re trying to make.

Desire may not be able to carry us through the overwhelming nature of Depression, but it can help us get back to our feet when the burden becomes to heavy to shoulder. A person must find their desire, find their passion, wherever they can get it, in a way that makes sense to each and every one of us.

Find a way to build on these five qualities. It will make your journey in life and towards wellness much easier.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

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Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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(Video): An Update On My Work and Direction

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you a first video related to my work, my goals, and an update of what I’m going to be working towards. Fair warning, this is the first video I’ve ever shot or edited, so it is a bit rough. Also, the channel itself will be getting updated and fleshed out in the coming weeks. Enjoy!

-Dennis

A link to the video. (Pardon for the lack of embedding, still getting this all figured out.)

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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Are Unexpected Side Effects Derailing Your Bipolar Wellness?

Periodically, I will present information from accredited, professional sources to help you further your understanding of managing Bipolar Disorder. I would like to once again state, like I do all over my website, blog, and email signature, that I am not a mental health professional of any kind. The information I present is to enable you to identify problems and know which questions to ask your mental health professional. Take everything you read on the internet with a heavy dose of salt, including my work.

I will point out that I purposefully cited links that point to information provided by organizations that would be viewed as viable resources, not just random internet garbage.

Unexpected Side Effects

That being said, we need to talk a bit about the introduction of new substances in our bodies and the potential side effects. You see, there are quite a few substances that can cause unintended reactions that impact the effectiveness of medication. Sometimes, they are things that you wouldn’t expect.

Let’s look at a relatively innocuous substance. This Consumer Update from the FDA points out the potential for grapefruit juice to have an affect on the absorption rates and efficiency of several different drugs, including the anti-anxiety medication BuSpar (buspirone). Ideally, your doctor or pharmacist would warn you that adding grapefruit to your diet may not be a good idea.

But what if they don’t? As much knowledge as these folks need to retain, some things are going to slip through the cracks. No one is perfect. People in these positions are held to an impossible standard to not ever make a mistake or risk getting sued.

But mistakes will happen and important points can slip through.

How many Bipolar people out there enjoy Green Tea? How many of those people know that Green Tea has been linked to the reduction of lithium levels in the blood stream? Lithium is an incredibly common mood stabilizer that’s been in use for over fifty years. I would venture to guess that there is a decent overlap. A reduction in lithium levels in a Bipolar person gives the antidepressant room to push the person into escalation.

Another unlikely culprit is varenicline, otherwise known as Chantix. Chantix is a prescription medication that is meant to help people stop smoking.

Chantix has been found to have antidepressant-like affects in testing. It has also been found to increase activity in certain classes of antidepressants. Chantix is reported to have side effects that included suicidal ideation, aggression, and delusion.

Let’s consider a hypothetical. Let’s say there is a Bipolar person who visits their professionals regularly, takes their medication as directed, and has their life relatively well put together. The medication regimen they are on is in balance with a mood stabilizer and antidepressant.

The person talks to their primary care physician (PCP) about quitting smoking and wants to try Chantix, not knowing that it can drastically alter or have antidepressant-like affects in their body. The PCP overlooks the potential interaction. The patient never bothers to relay that they are starting Chantix to their prescribing psych doctor because they don’t think it’s important.

Many PCPs choose to not deal with serious mental illness treatment because it is a specialized knowledge. There’s no reason to assume that the PCP would necessarily know about the interaction. The psych probably would, if they were aware that Chantix was being prescribed. That essentially leaves the pharmacy as a final safety net. We simply can’t assume that they would catch it. Hopefully, they would, but we can’t count on it.

What can potentially happen if the mood stabilizer is not strong enough to counter the amplified or altered affects of the Chantix? Well, what happens when an antidepressant is put into a Bipolar person without a strong enough mood stabilizer? The Bipolar person will likely launch into an extreme hypomanic or manic cycle. Quite often, a cycle driven by incorrect medication or a third party substance can drive a Bipolar person’s mind to extremes they don’t usually experience.

Consider the following analogy.

You have a scale. On one side is the mood stabilizer, on the other is an antidepressant. Traditional Bipolar medication strategy would weight down the mood stabilizer side until the upper end of Bipolar Disorder is under control. Then, weight is gradually added to the antidepressant side in the form of gradually increasing dosages until both sides are in balance, in a therapeutic range, and all symptoms are under control. Once both sides are in balance, the Bipolar person’s mental state would stay in a healthy, functional range.

Adding Chantix could be like doubling the weight on the antidepressant side, throwing the balance completely out of whack, and force a Bipolar person’s mind into a severe manic cycle. Being on lithium and drinking Green Tea could gradually remove weight from the mood stabilizer side until the balance is upset and an unwell cycle is imminent.

Intercepting Potential Problems

How can we actually tell when this is going on? Delusion can play a significant role in keeping us from seeing the truth. The mental illness can tell us that the people we normally trust are actively working against us or lying.

First, we must stay aware of what is going on in our mind and body. Any time I am going to put anything new in my body, I consult with my prescribing doctor or pharmacist to ensure that it is not going to have a negative affect. Optimally, I’ll talk to both before actually doing it. That way if one overlooks it, there is a chance that the second may help me catch it.

Second, we must listen to the people that we normally trust. An unchecked Bipolar cycle can easily alienate us from the people that we care about. We must always be suspicious of any unexplained changes in our mentality until we can confirm that it is not an unwell cycle.

I believe it is vital to occasionally look back and compare. How am I doing today versus how I was doing three months ago? Six months ago? Am I more depressed? Am I feeling fine? Am I feeling invincible? What about my loved ones? Are they expressing anything different? Is my support network telling me that something might be off that I can compare to the last time I knew I was feeling okay?

Whether it’s your parents, girlfriend, boyfriend, siblings, spouse or whoever it is you trust; you need to listen to them and try to hear them if they tell you something is wrong. Because if you changed something about what you put in your body and miss an unwell cycle, it can be really hard to see when you’re the one experiencing it. Listen to the people you trust.

The Takeaway

I know I’ve covered a lot of ground here, so let me tie this together into a couple thoughts that you can take with you and use.

You never know how a new substance you put into your body may affect you. It could cause extreme unwellness because of some obscure detail that you or your professional does not necessarily know.

The easiest way to identify this kind of occurrence is to monitor what your mind is doing whenever you add anything into your body until you can confirm that nothing weird is going on. Once you’ve confirmed that, you can move forward.

Listen to the people that you normally trust. The Disorder can tell you a lot of things that aren’t true. It can convince you that everyone else is the problem. But if you have multiple people that you normally trust telling you something is off, it’s a good idea to really try and look objectively at the situation to see if there is any real merit to what is being said.

And finally, talk to your medical professionals. If you get even the faintest glimpse that something might be wrong, do not be shy about bringing it up. Details are very important in the management of Bipolar Disorder and other mental illnesses.

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Enjoyed my writing? Check out my ebooks!

********************

Should you have thoughts or questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email directly at dennis@bipolarmanifesto.com . I read and reply to everything that I’m sent. I also have many more original articles available on my main website www.bipolarmanifesto.com .

Liking and Sharing my content and website on your favorite social media platforms is another great way to help me towards my goal of reaching other people that suffer their mental illness in silence like I did for so many years.

Thank you for reading my work. Have a great day!

-Dennis

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