bipolar

Team of Advisors member Laura takes over the PatientsLikeMe Instagram for World Mental Health Day

In honor of World Mental Health Day, we asked PatientsLikeMe member Laura (thisdiva99) to take over our Instagram feed for the day. Laura is a professional opera singer, Massachusetts native, a member of the PatientslikeMe Team of Advisors, and is living with bipolar disorder. She gave us a glimpse into a day in her life, Check out the images and captions below to see what she shared. Hello my Instagram compatriots! Laura here. Some people start the day with hearty oatmeals, or eggs fortified with kale. I start my day with a champion #bipolar breakfast of vitamin supplements and mood stabilizers… then I can eat my own breakfast 30 minutes after. For me, supplements are super important to incorporate with my meds. Talk to your doc about it to see if they could work for you!   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA With my trusty steed Corolla, I conquer the day’s doctor’s appointments. On a good day, I can keep my ride in the driveway; on other days I travel to multiple towns/cities to see psychiatrists, therapists, endocrinologists, and the like. I also incorporate a yoga class or visit to the gym as I can. For me, treating the body as a whole is the key …

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5 tips for practicing self-care when your chronic illness is trying to take over

As a woman with bipolar disorder I and PTSD, I can pretty safely say that no two days are the same. There are days when the world is sunshine and roses; life is grand! Then there are days when the inside of my brain is trying to run the show without me, and it’s leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. There are floundering relationships, self-harm incidents, and half-hatched big plans laying strewn about, and I stand in the middle of it all, trying very hard not to let the illness win. When I can really stand back and take stock of things, I find that self-care is paramount to my feeling better, or simply not getting worse. The following are some of my “go-to” self-care strategies. 1. Coloring. I know, I know. You’re already rolling your eyes at the screen, wondering what the heck I’m even talking about. But coloring has turned out to be a Zen activity in my life. My manias are not euphoric, but angry and aggressive, and I have found the act of coloring to bring me down in the moment. It’s also extremely helpful with my anxiety and PTSD symptoms. We’re lucky that …

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Meet Christopher – “PTSD is not just soldiers whining and complaining about struggles in life”

Say hello to Christopher (ChrisBC), a father, musician and Purple Heart recipient living with PTSD and bipolar disorder. We recently caught up with him to hear about how PTSD affected his marriage and how his diagnosis pushed him get the help he needed and connect with his feelings. Keep reading to learn how he copes with stigma and the one thing he wishes people understood about PTSD. Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are you passionate about?   I was born in Seattle WA, and my family moved to Alaska where I grew up. I joined the Army when I was 19 years old and went to my first assignment at Fort Polk, Louisiana. I spent the next 22 years in the Army. During my time in the Army, I was stationed in seven different locations including Germany. I had five different deployments of varying lengths with three combat, and two peacekeeping. I received a Purple Heart as well as many others in my platoon during my Iraq tour for being wounded under enemy fire. I retired in 2014 and have one daughter who is 11 years old. I am passionate about music and I play the electric bass guitar …

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Meet Laura from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

  Say hello to Laura (thisdiva99), another member of your 2016-2017 Team of Advisors. Laura chatted with us about what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and why she thinks it’s essential to find and connect with others who live with the same condition: “It is of the utmost importance to connect with other Bipolar Warriors. Mental illness can be very isolating.” Laura also shared some details about her background as a professional opera singer. She’s performed all over the world and has even won a Grammy! Get to know Laura and read her advice for others who are living with chronic conditions. What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face? Hearing the laughter of my husband, my nieces, and my nephews brings me ultimate joy. What has been your greatest obstacle living with your condition, and what societal shifts do you think need to happen so that we’re more compassionate or understanding of these challenges? My greatest obstacle in living with bipolar disorder is having to pretend that I am “OK” all the time. People with mental illness often find that they must hide their symptoms, and live in a quiet kind of …

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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 as Partners: Cyrena on connecting through social media

Earlier this month, Team of Advisors member Cyrena shared how she relies on many of the Partnership Principles in her interactions with her physicians. Today, she offers some insight into a different type of relationship in our health journeys — the ones we have on social media. In addition to PatientsLikeMe, Cyrena is active on Twitter and Facebook and has used both to connect with other patients who what it’s like to live with bipolar II and lupus. Whether you’re social media-savvy or not, check out how she stays in touch with her virtual community to “exchange advice or just plain empathy” and get involved in patient advocacy.   “It’s all about networking” Many patients live with multiple conditions, but the current nature of illness and treatment forces us to think of our conditions individually. In reality, these conditions interact and influence each other in ways that clinicians may not understand or recognize. Many of these patients end up online and looking for support. I primarily interact with the chronic illness community on Twitter, but to a lesser extent on Facebook as well. I was an intermittent follower, but I became highly active during my hospitalization for my spinal cord …

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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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