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I think something went screwy with my company's blog block so I was temporarily able to access two blogspot sites. I enjoyed reading Susan Bernard's piece on Bipolar Etiquette at Bipolar Wellness Writer. A helpful excerpt for me:

In order to maintain these relationships over the years, I always made sure of doing two things. First, when I could feel a depressive episode coming on–and I always had at least three days to try and stave it off–I emailed my friends to let them know that I wasn't feeling well and might not be available for a few months. Usually, I just sent a fairly short note, something like this:

Dear Friends,
I'm feeling a depressive episode on the horizon. Hopefully, it won't be a bad one, but if it is, I want to apologize in advance in case I miss your birthday, anniversary, or other milestones. I'll be thinking of you and I'll let you know when I'm well again.

P.S. Although I'm not feeling like talking on the telephone, for the time being I will respond to email–although it might take a few days. If I feel worse and can't answer your emails, I'll try and let you know.

I was also able to briefly access soulful sepulcher's site and read about the latest developments regarding her 19-year-old daughter experiencing a hell – and there's really no other way to describe it – of a time with the mental health system in Seattle. As I read the post, my jaw continued to drop, my eyes widened, and my heart broke so much that I was near tears. I can't imagine that people can be as callous as they are. It makes me realize that I've been very fortunate in my experience with the health system. When a sexual predator entered my room when I was in the hospital, my family and I lobbied for me to leave ASAP; either that day or the next day, I was gone. The only resistance I encountered was with the police when I tried to file a report. It wasn't outright said, but the general feeling was, "Okay, you're in a mental hospital and want to file a report. What's the point?" It was the only time I'd ever personally felt let down by the justice system. I can't imagine the feeling of being let down by a justice system, a mental health system, a health care system… My heart bleeds for Stephany's daughter and the pain they are both experiencing. Go read their story – it's absolutely heart-wrenching.

Loose Screws Mental Health News

Note: I’m manually typing HTML through my e-mail so if any of the formatting is funky, I apologize in advance.

1) It seems that FDA black box warnings on antidepressants targeted for teen use have led to a decrease in adults being diagnosed with depression. In all honesty, I’m not sure how a black box warning leads to a significant decrease in diagnoses, but I’m not a researcher from the study.

2) Doctors at McGill University in Canada are holding out hope for a faster-acting antidepressant. Most antidepressants take up to six weeks to finally kick in while the seemingly promising compounds, RS 67333 and prucalopride, appear to act “four to seven times faster” than regular antid’s.

3) Sad news: While American suicide rates overall have dropped, the rate of suicide among teenage girls have increased. The preferred method of dying? Hanging.

4) Recent reports have been released that Owen Wilson’s Aug. 26 suicide attempt wasn’t his first – in fact, it was his third.

Official reports confirm Wilson attempted suicide, and now a family friend has told The National Enquirer that the recent incident wasn’t Wilson’s first cry for help.

The unnamed source tells the publication, “A good portion of his (Wilson’s) life has been dedicated to fighting depression and addiction… This is the third time he’s tried killing himself.”

When I hear of celebrities who openly admit to being depressed, I immediately get skeptical. Mandy Moore… Zach Braff… Paris Hilton… Depression is the “hawt” mental illness of choice. Everyone can have it and remain normal! Bipolar’s too crazy and schizophrenia is too psycho. Being bipolar means that you’re spontaneously moody and being schizophrenic means that you’re, well, just not all there. No one wants to be the last two. You can be “sad” and “suffer” from depression — that is, sad about your goldfish of 2 days dying. Mr. Wilson appears to genuinely suffer from depression (among other problems) and my heart goes out to him. As for Britney Spears: I’m fully convinced that the woman has a mental illness. No joke.

Intermittent Blogging

OK, well, apparently, I haven’t done a very good job of checking and clearing out my e-mail since June. I’ve seen a lot of new commenters come through (as well as familiar ones) and I’d love to get to everyone, but in my mortality, I realize that’s just not possible. I’ll try to get back to as many people as I can, but no promises. Welcome to all who are new to the blog and a warm hello to familiar readers.

Hope everyone is doing well. I just got back from vacation last week in North Carolina. It was a little crazy, but overall relaxing. We went down to the Outer Banks and stayed in a house two blocks away from the beach so I appreciated being able to walk on the beach almost every night at sundown. I didn’t have access to the Internet, but I weathered my withdrawal just fine. (I subsituted the Internet for Krispy Kreme!)

There’s a lot going on in mental health news that I’d love to weigh in on. I’m learning not to promise very many things, but there a few things I’ve been itching to write about – especially Owen Wilson’s suicide attempt. Like me, he’s had attempts in the past.

My depression’s lifted for a bit. I’ve gone down to 150 on the Lamictal (from 200) and much of the mental fog has since cleared. I’m still hoping to taper off the drug before getting pregnant.

Work comes and goes so I’ll probably type up a few posts occasionally. I can e-mail my posts (thank God for mobile posting!) so excuse any typos or grammatical errors that you might stumble across. And the comment spammers have since disappeared. I might ease my HTML/word filter restrictions and see what happens.

I’ve given up the job search for now. I applied for a proofreader position within my company, but it looks like they’ve passed over me so I’m still here in my assistant job. I’m a bit more comfortable with my job after being here for a year so I’m not particularly in the mood for a a new upheaval. Although, I AM keeping in touch with a marketing company I freelanced for last year. With my benefits – especially maternity leave – I’m better off staying here and working at this company. (But I don’t want to be a “lifer”!) I’ll probably take my six weeks of paid maternity leave then quit. I’m hoping to be a stay-at-home mother depending on our financial situation.

The coworker thing has since eased up. My counselor has challenged me to push forward and love my coworkers as Christ as commanded – you know, “love others as yourself” type thing. I have a knack for being nicer to other people than I am to myself, so that’s not a problem. It’s about not obsessing over what they think of me, what they’re saying about me, etc., etc. These are the things I don’t tell my psych lest I be thrown on Zyprexa or Seroquel.

A lot has occurred since I last posted and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it all out on here, but I’m alive, doing fine, and getting by.