bipolar disorder

Patients at work: Member Nancy on being her own boss

We recently launched a blog series about patients who’ve started (or are gearing up to launch) their own businesses, sparking a discussion around how to manage your health without giving up on your career goals. Say hello to Nancy (@spicerna), who sat down with us to discuss how she finds a balance between living with bipolar I and expressing her creative side through her art. Nancy chatted with us about the kinds of projects she likes to work on, and why it’s important for her to be her own boss: “I need a job where I am the boss every day. There is an unpredictable nature about the illness…not a day that goes by to where I am not making judgment calls to maintain my health.” Can you tell us a little about yourself and your diagnosis experience? I have struggled with symptoms of Bipolar I, since I can remember. I really noticed the ups and downs in the teen years. And at age 16, I had my first psychotic break, (1 out of 5 breaks in my life.) I have always been an overachiever and had big dreams and goals for the future but the combination of everything that …

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PatientsLikeMe Welcomes Next Patient Team of Advisors

  CAMBRIDGE, Mass, November 14, 2016—PatientsLikeMe has named 11 members to its patients-only 2016–2017 Team of Advisors, which this year will focus on elevating the patient voice. Team members will share their stories, participate in community initiatives, and give real world perspectives to our industry and research partners. “Each year, our Team of Advisors has proven an invaluable source of inspiration and support for the PatientsLikeMe community,” said PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter. “We look forward to learning from this year’s team as we partner to identify how we can change healthcare for the better.” More than 500 PatientsLikeMe members submitted applications for this year’s Team of Advisors. Those selected represent a range of medical and professional backgrounds and ages. They are living with a cross-section of conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autonomic neuropathy, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), lung cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease. Members named to the team include: Cris Simon, Gary Rafaloff, Ginny Emerson, Glenda Rouland, Hetlena Johnson, Jacquie Toth, Jim Seaton, John Blackshear, Kimberly Hartmann, Laura Sanscartier and Lindsay Washington. John Blackshear is living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and looks forward to the opportunity to share his story with others, and …

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Patients at work: Member Jenny launches online craft shop on Etsy

  A few weeks ago, we kicked off a new blog series about patients who have started (or are working on launching) their own businesses. We’ll be featuring some enterprising members and learning more about how they manage their health and their career goals at the same time. Today, we’d like introduce Jenny, (jhound), a member of the bipolar community who recently opened an online shop on Etsy called OldSchoolJenny. Jenny designs cards, scrapbooks, printable journal kits and other paper crafts with a vintage flair. When we caught up with her, she shared about her diagnosis experience, her creative process and the health benefits of working with a passion: “Having my Etsy business gives me reason to keep going. It gives me a sense of purpose and it also brings me a lot of joy. “ Can you tell us a little about yourself and your diagnosis experience? I grew up in Southern California in a foster home. I joined the military when I was 23 and met my husband who was also in the Navy in 2002. We lived in San Diego for the first five years of our marriage and moved to Michigan when we both got out of …

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Patients at work: Member Ellen on launching her own clothing line

PatientsLikeMe members often talk about how they’re more than their diagnosis. They’re patients, but they’re also people, with complex lives, families, hobbies and careers. Today, we’re kicking off a series of blogs about that last one — working with a chronic condition. We’ll be featuring some enterprising members who have started (or are working on) launching their own businesses, and learning more about how they manage their health and their career goals at the same time. First up is Ellen (edayan), a member of the bipolar community who designs clothes for curvy women and runs an online dress shop called Tiger Lily. When we caught up with her, she shared about her passion for designing, how living with a mental illness affects her creative process, and her inspiring message to women: “I want women to feel good about who they are right now so they don’t miss out on living a full life … Life is too short for feeling you’re not good enough.”   Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into designing clothes?   I first started sewing clothes for my daughter when she was a baby. She became quite the tomboy and I …

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World Bipolar Day 2016 – Share how you’re #MoreThanADiagnosis

“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.” – Vincent van Gogh Today, March 30, 2016, is World Bipolar Day, celebrated on the birthday of artist Vincent van Gogh, who’s believed to have had bipolar disorder. Sponsored by our friends at the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), this year’s theme, “More Than A Diagnosis,” focuses on how people with bipolar are many things beyond their condition. Check out the IBPF’s page for resources and ways to get involved. And if you’ve seen the conversations with new member Paul in the last month surrounding the release of his debut feature-film, Touched with Fire, then you’ve seen firsthand how someone living with this condition is capable of living a successful life full of creativity. Check out the forum where members have been sharing how they’re #MoreThanADiagnosis. And don’t forget to connect with …

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Touched with fire: Reframing the dialogue of bipolar

We’ve talked a lot with new PatientsLikeMe member Paul, diving into issues like getting a diagnosis, management and coping, and overcoming stigma.  Now, Paul is sharing how he’s trying to change the conversation about bipolar through his debut feature film, Touched with Fire. Here he talks about framing Touched with Fire as a love story because in a condition defined by emotional extremes, he says that having those extremes take on the form of love “outshines any clinical label or diagnostic book that you’ll never see it in the same way again.” Watch how Paul is changing the dialogue around bipolar: Having trouble watching the video? Click the button below: Watch video Share your own experiences and connect with more than 84,000 members in the Mental Health forum on PatientsLikeMe. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

Touched with fire: Eliminating the stigma of bipolar

PatientsLikeMe member Paul is a filmmaker who’s harnessed his bipolar into creativity, most recently in the debut feature film, Touched with Fire, which he wrote, directed, edited and scored himself. In the last month, we’ve spoken with him about his diagnosis and what he does to cope. Now he’s opening up about fighting the stigma that so often accompanies this condition. He stresses the importance of people being able to see through the eyes of a person living with bipolar because, “they would see the beauty of it and wouldn’t look at us that way anymore.” Watch what else Paul has to say: Having trouble watching the video? Click the button below: Watch video Share your own experiences and connect with more than 83,000 members in the Mental Health forum on PatientsLikeMe. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

Touched with fire: A meaning behind the suffering

We’ve been talking with new PatientsLikeMe member Paul, whose debut feature-film, Touched with Fire – inspired by his experiences living with bipolar – opened last week in select theaters.  For Paul, the road to diagnosis was more like being on a rollercoaster. Years of using marijuana seemed to stimulate his creativity at film school, but culminated in the manic episode that would shape the rest of his life. His diagnosis was not the divine revelation he interpreted it as, but the triggering of a lifelong disease: bipolar disorder. Here’s how Paul describes this time in his life: Having trouble watching the video? Click the button below:     Share your own experiences and connect with more than 70,000 members in the Mental Health forum on PatientsLikeMe.  Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

Meet Paul, an artist “touched with fire”

“I’m a filmmaker, husband of my NYU film school classmate, father of two children and bipolar. Of these labels, the one I’m certain stands out in your mind is bipolar – and not in a good way.” Being bipolar is not something that new PatientsLikeMe member Paul has ever tried to hide. On the contrary, he sees it as a gift that has fueled his creativity. Paul has written, directed, edited and scored a feature-film debut inspired by his experiences with bipolar disorder. Touched with Fire, starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, opens tomorrow, February 12, 2016, in select theaters. Paul received his diagnosis at age 24 when he thought a manic episode was a divine revelation. What happened after that illuminated the path his life would take. “I was thrown into a hospital, pumped full of drugs and came down only to be told that I wasn’t experiencing anything divine; I just triggered a lifelong illness that would swing me from psychotic manias to suicidal depressions with progressive intensity until I would most likely fall into the 1-in-4 suicide statistic – unless I took my meds, which made me feel no emotion.” Refusing to accept what every medical text …

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The highs and lows of bipolar disorder

Since it’s still Mental Illness Awareness Week, we thought we’d share some facts on bipolar disorders, found in this dynamic infographic. Read our previous post for more information on how to get involved during this year’s awareness week – and all year long.  Did you know bipolar disorder is a worldwide condition? In Australia there are around 238,957 people with bipolar disorder. In the UK: 723,248 people. Germany: 989,095 Canada: 390,094 Iran: 810,038 India and China, each have 12 – 15 million people who are bipolar By the numbers… 5.7 million: number of adult Americans affected by bipolar disorder (or 2.6% of population) today 25: average age for beginning of bipolar disorder 50/50: men and women get bipolar equally 3X: But women are 3 times more likely to experience rapid cycling with B.D. 6: Bipolar disorder is 6th leading cause of disability in the world. For more facts about bipolar disorder, visit the full infographic. And don’t forget to share your experiences with bipolar disorder with the PatientsLikeMe bipolar community. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

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