Friday, February 08, 2008

Open Letter to Amy and Britney

Girls, take a seat a listen. Who am I? Something of an authority on being Bipolar, that's who. I have some learnin' to share with you that I know will help, if you'll just pay attention.

A Bipolar celebrity is a little redundant, since most BPD sufferers feel like the star of the show anyway. Not to mention that a staggering number of artists, musicians, authors, and other celebrities are Bipolar. Something about creativity and the mysterious region of the brain from whence BPD sprouts, but that's for the eggheads to work out.

Me, I was diagnosed back in 2002, in the midst of spectacularly awful breakdown. What you feel when you are diagnosed is usually a heady mix of rage, shame, paranoia and bitter disappointment, often resulting in substance abuse. Which, as you know, makes things exponentially worse.

Try not to dwell on the fact that something is wrong with you. Instead, endeavor to do something about it. Surrender to the help from family and doctors who still love you, even though you are killing them with your bullshit. Quietly disassociate from those people trying to control and exploit you. Listen, I've been there. This is hard to do. Your life does actually depend on you getting rid of these people, though. Focus on the people who matter: your family (and Britney, your babies).

The irony of trading illegal drugs for far more dangerous legal ones rankles, but, Alice, the one makes you sick and the other makes you well. Eventually!

Finding the therapy that works best for you takes time and a willingness on your part to be proactive in your health. Lithium works best for BPD. When you first start Lithium treatment, you will feel spacey and emotionally dull. You will likely gain weight. You'll suffer alternating constipation and diarrhea. Your teeth will rot (for you, Amy, perhaps not an issue). You will go to the doctor's office a lot, to have your blood levels checked and for various complaints.

But you begin to think clearer than you ever have before. Your true personality — not that crazy slut addict who is currently trying to kill you, she's not real — emerges; talent, charm, sanity intact. You see, you are diseased right now, as if you were running around with oozing scabs all over your body that only you can see.

GET HELP. The only thing that will change is the paparazzi, who will quickly grow bored of your healthy lifestyle and quiet success. Oh, and a little thing called happiness. Not the fleeting, thrill-seeking happiness, rather the effortless, permanent kind.

GET HELP. Start with a psychiatrist and a proper Med Eval. Comply with your treatment. When you can, add cognitive behavior therapist with experience with Bipolar patients. Skip the "licensed counselors", they are not prepared for your needs. Exercise, dance, sing, take classes in things that interest you, travel, spend time with your family, repairing those burnt bridges. Stay clear of your old party friends.

FYI, I lived this (minus the illegal drugs) and came out of it better than ever. I'm four years stable and get the "meh" treatment from my psychiatrist and therapist. I comply with almost everything they tell me to do (there was this one psych doc who was a little too eager to put me on experimental drugs, he was fired) and do what I can to mitigate the side effects of Lithium.

My bridges are completely repaired and fortified. I feel amazing. Now, I don't have talent like you two girls, but I have my little journalism career and I'm enjoying enough success to occasionally get VIP treatment. That suits me. If you take my advice your comebacks will make history. Not infamy, history.

Here's what you should do right now: have a flunky go out and buy you a copy of An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. Take a highlighter pen and read the book. When something Kay writes connects with your addled brain, highlight it. Take that book with you to your psych/therapist and show off the neon pages.

I still have that book and I read it from time to time, to remind me of the brave steps I took to save myself. Amy, Britney, I'm praying for you. Call or write me anytime, just to talk.

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Blogger Anonymous Assclown said...

Ummm, whoah Nelly.
I know a little about BPD as well (and I second your recommendation that both of them seek help), but I have to take exception to a couple of your points here.
Number one - its absolutely impossible to diagnose a historical figure as suffering from Bipolar Disorder. BPD-like symptoms can be caused by a variety of other physical and/or psychological conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, lupus, Schizoaffective Disorder AND (possibly more importantly in these cases) alcohol/drug abuse. You cannot diagnose BPD without first ruling out drug addiction. So I would be extremely skeptical of anyone who told me Napoleon or St Francis had BPD.
Secondly - although lithium can sometimes be used as an effective treatment for BPD, a signicant percentage of people experience significant side effects which causes them to discontinue use on their own. I would be reticent when prescribing it unless the patient was under close supervision. I would rule out the benefit of non-pharm solutions before I would recommend lithium.
Ok, that is all.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Trouble said...

And you are an authority how?

7:33 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Assclown said...

BS in Organizational Psych
MS in Counseling Psych

plus a dozen years of experience.

So do I rate?

8:26 PM  
Blogger Trouble said...

I am suspicious of anyone who isn't bipolar that purports to know what's good for us.

"non-pharm"? You think vitamins and yoga do the trick? Give me a minute, I'll stop laughing soon.

I didn't make those historical diagnoses, but I suppose they used diaries and accounts from others to judge the person's behavior as being strongly suggestive of BPD. It didn't exist as a label in Napolean's time, you know.

Lithium is effective in MOST, not some Bipolar I cases. The side effects, as I mentioned in the original post, are legend and sucky. However, unless weight gain makes you suicidal they can managed.

Unlike other psych meds, it is natural, plentiful and cheap. Which is why Pharm Cos keep trying to make other (more expensive and patented) psych meds work on Bipolars.

Which brings me back to the original post: stay away from exploiters, Amy and Britney.

You rate, of course, AAclown, and I love that you comment. I hope you aren't upset that I argue with you.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Assclown said...

"I am suspicious of anyone who isn't bipolar that purports to know what's good for us."

Let's see what else we can do with that;
"I am suspicious of anyone who isn't a drugged-up child star that purports to know what's good for us."
"I am suspicious of anyone who hasn't slept with Colin Farrell that purports to know what's good for us."
See how that works? Its a non sequitir.

And you think we should diagnose BPD (or ANY other physical or psychological affliction for that matter) via diary entries? Really now? As I said before, in order to confirm BPD, your first have to rule out a multitude of other physical and mental conditions. Diagnosing ANY condition in such a half-assed manner represents everything thats wrong with the mental health field nowadays. If anyone diagnosed Lindsay Lohan as BPD based on Access Hollywood clips (especially in light of her well chronicled coke problems - which can easily trigger symptoms similar/identical to BPD), they should be beaten with an old copy of PDR until they see the error of their ways.
As far as the non-pharm recommendation goes, if BPD is diagnosed as casually as you propose, then talk therapy should absolutely be the foundation of any treatment. Vitamins & yoga are for holistic practicians.
Look, I'm glad your treatment has worked out for you, but that doesn't mean that it will also work for anyone that shared symptoms similar to yours. Diagnosing and treating mental (and physical) issues is hard work and requires a meticulously relentless approach and ethic.
I've had gallstones. That doesn't mean that every person that has stomach pains should immediately go in for laproscopic surgery.

8:58 AM  

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