Asking for Help: If you have experience with Bi-Polar Disorder or know of someone who can help, could you please…

Asking for Help: If you have experience with Bi-Polar Disorder or know of someone who can help, could you please contact our friend Greg? Please get the word out. Thanks so much.

Originally shared by Gregory Esau

G+ and Glia Community

We Need Your Help

This is a challenging post to write. My brother, Brad Esau , suffers immensely from Bi-Polar disorder. 

The ‘traditional’ pharmaceutical approach is slowly killing him. 

We need to find a different approach, and a different approach very soon.

Here is what I am asking and proposing.  Brad needs a support community, a circle of professionals and fellow BP suffers that he can connect to here in G+. I know that there is a vast wealth of resources here, and much better alternatives than the drugs he is now on. 

If any of you could help us connect to the kind of professionals, or those who have deep experience, or anybody that can understand, or support, or connect to Brad in a meaningful way, this would be fantastic. 

Brad, while not desperate, is in dire need of radical change. He has gone off much of his medication, which means he will be hospitalized within a week. He is doing this because he cannot continue living as he has, like a walking zombie full of drugs.  

He will tell his story here in time, but we need to find the right circle of people he can share that story with. 

I hope you can help us. Thank you so much in advance

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53 Responses to Asking for Help: If you have experience with Bi-Polar Disorder or know of someone who can help, could you please…

  1. Gregory Esau says:


    Thank you so much, Rajini Rao !!!


  2. Recommend asking HealthyPlace for a support group.

  3. Jim Carver says:


    I recommend getting him away from the damn doctors for the first step.

  4. Gregory Esau says:


    Thanks you, Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. ! We will check that out, and circle their page! 

  5. Gregory Esau says:


    I agree, Jim Carver . But it is also a dangerous path. We have almost lost him a few times, so this is something we are now trying to pursue with a planned alternative approach. 


    I know there are a lot of fabulous resources here in G+, and with the help of the community, we will find them. 


  6. Let me know if I can be of any other help with contacts Gregory Esau, I have a pretty wide circle of connects.

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    Going off meds abruptly is dangerous in itself. I hope he is surrounded by family/friends 24/7.


  8. It is life threatening to go off meds Rajini Rao, depending on what he is on…must be weaned off by internist or psychiatrist.

  9. Gregory Esau says:


    That would be so helpful, Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. !! 


    Brad and I are kind of learning this on the fly, so I think we will take you up on that. 


    I agree, Rajini Rao . But Brad is at wits end, and needs to do something that can find a better way to address this. I’ve seen the absolute deadening effect the medication has had on him, to the point where he is barely employable. It is just not a tenable path either for him.  


  10. Gregory Esau I am not a psychiatrist sir…..a health psychologist with tons of experience. But please do not go off these meds without an MD assisting. (Most people go into the hospital to be weaned but it is possible with close supervision…..)

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    I agree with Cheryl!


    Mz Maau , big fat ❤ for sharing.

  12. Gregory Esau says:


    Brad plans on checking himself in to the hospital here just for that purpose, Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. . Wise advice. 


    I will get Brad to circle you, Mz Maau . Thanks for your very kind offers!


  13. :))) Good indeed Gregory Esau & Rajini Rao anytime!

  14. Thomas Jones says:


    “Bipolar” is a pretty broad diagnosis. There’s a lot of “flavors” of bipolar. Different types respond differently to different medications, and often not at all. Have they not given him a more specific diagnosis? If not, then he’s been sing the wrong “professionals”.


  15. Gregory Esau a good starting point IMHO: http://www.amzn.com/0965097609


    Also available directly from the publisher: http://www.boragebooks.com/


    The author has another (similar) book with more reviews: http://www.amzn.com/0965097676

  16. Rajini Rao says:


    Good point, Thomas Jones . I’m assuming there is a more specific diagnosis. A good starting point for reaching out for help though.

  17. Gregory Esau says:


    I very much agree, Thomas Jones . As I have often said, the standard ability to treat it is like a shotgun approach. Which, given the capacity of the system to handle the many many different types and flavours of mental illness, it does overwhelm the system. 


    The flip side, is so many professionals use outdated models of how the brain works, and that in itself has lead to much frustration on our part.  


    We’ve literally gone crazy trying to find better help and treatment, but up here in Canada, outside the medical health care system, that gets expensive and out of reach very quickly. 


  18. If I were anywhere near Dallas, I would get a local physician to make a referral to UT Southwestern Medical Center Mood Disorders Center. They’ve been using lots of innovative techniques to care for treatment-resistant depression for many years, having completed the renowned Star*D study.


    If you’re further north near Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine has some interesting research going on. Here’s the web sites. I have had limited professional contact with some of the faculty members (not enough to make a referral by any stretch of the imagination). They are incredibly busy, but the people from these units with whom I’ve had contact are brilliant and caring. 


    I wish him and you well.


    UT Southwestern Mood Disorders Center – http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/education/medical-school/departments/psychiatry/research/clinical/mood-disorders/index.html


    Feinberg School of Medicine Translational Research on Stress and Affective Disorders Laboratory – http://northwestern.integritystl.com/research-centers-labs/stress-and-depression-laboratory/


  19. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression. The “mood swings” between mania and depression can be very quick. And So called it Circular Duel Personality Syndrom. For this you can see the Book & Chapter Hysteria Page no 127:-


    http://books.google.ca/books?id=khW1y91EyvoC&pg=PA1&source#v=onepage&q&f=false

  20. Gregory Esau says:


    Michael Davis , those are terrific suggestions! 


    We’re “up here” in Vancouver, B.C., so while we have universal health care, for this kind of speciality, we are decidedly lacking.  


    Your links do provide hope and direction, thank you so much!!

  21. Jim Carver says:


    I had a friend who was helped by good old fashioned marijuana, even though he didn’t ever get over his stealing habits. Seems the results are unclear like: http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/07/15/different-effects-of-marijuana-in-bipolar-and-schizophrenic-patients/15496.html


    But it might be worth a try if he doesn’t freak out on it.


  22. Just signing off here ….feel free to tag me, if needed.

  23. Gregory Esau says:


    Thank you, Dr P S Sinha . 


    We’re very familiar with what it is, and Brad was diagnosed after his first emergency visit to the facilities here. We’re trying now to find the best avenues of treatment, that will likely have to come outside the limited resources of the mental health organizations where we live. 

  24. Brad Esau says:


    Person in question here. Thank you all for your kind and caring comments.

  25. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks for stopping here, Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. , and sharing.

  26. Jim Carver says:


    Sure Brad Esau , get off the doctor dope and take a walk in the park. Try some alternatives and stay away from the damn doctors. They will kill you.


    And you can do this yourself. Just reduce the dosage gradually. A doctor is going to want to put you on something else. They always do that. You can do it.


  27. Brad Esau for what it’s worth, I would recommend trying multiple approaches.  I am partial to nutritional (see my book recommendation above) and social/environmental (maintaining positive contact with family/friends while trying to minimize stress inducing situations) approaches combined with light to moderate exercise.  Good luck in your endeavor!

  28. Rajini Rao says:


    So you are off meds entirely, Mz Maau , and handling it well? Kudos for the disciplined effort it must have taken.

  29. Rajini Rao says:


    This is all great advice for Brad, thanks Mz Maau .


    Helps us understand you better too 🙂

  30. Rajini Rao says:


    {Hugs} Mz Maau , don’t apologize for nothin’.


  31. Mz Maau much (hard-earned I suspect) wisdom in your words.  Thank you.  If you decide to speak up again perhaps you could offer some ideas for how to do objective self assessment.  I agree with you that that is important, but it is also very difficult for someone who is unstable.

  32. Joan Laine says:


    I am not sure if it has been mentioned already in the post but has Gregory Esau tried DBT… (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy). The psychiatrists and the psychologists work together in order to provide coping skills over a period of time. The medical intake is significantly reduced but you are monitored during the process.

  33. Gregory Esau says:


    I think Brad Esau  has heard of it, Joan Laine , but again in Canada, trying to get into these programs, or affording them, becomes a game onto itself. 

  34. Fred Gandt says:


    Gregory Esau and Brad Esau:


    I’ve been diagnosed as being several things. Not yet bi-polar, but then I’m not asking to be diagnosed any more.


    Schizophrenia and schizoid personality disorder were the two that stuck in my mind, but I’m sure there were others. Frankly none of them seemed to matter or apply to me.


    I learned to ignore the shrinks and deal with things as and when I needed to, my own way.


    No medication, no therapy, no constant reinforcement that there is something wrong with me!


    I suffer with all kinds of issues (seriously too many to bother going into it), but none of them are wrong. I’m not broken!


    So learning to accept myself as liking things a certain way, or freaking out when some thing happens, or doesn’t, was the first step to settling into a reasonable way of life (post personal meltdown and immediate aftermath (including enforced loony bin stay)).


    The second step (if you will) was really really thinking long, deep, and hard (cough) about what matters and what doesn’t. Thinking about how my life should be structured etc.


    I took a few years to establish not only that I’m not wrong, but what it is exactly that I am.


    During that time I discovered Zen and Tao, the study and understanding of which really helped guide my thinking. I recommend reading “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones” to everyone (whether they need to or not).


    I am not bi-polar and I don’t understand it, but I do know what it’s like to be outside looking in, confused and anxious, upset and alone, depressed and elated (without really knowing why), and a whole load of other stuff (including voices! great fun!! NOT). I have struggled all my adult life to keep my head above water, and I’ll most likely always struggle.


    What makes it easier (now) is knowing that however crappy things get, I’m being subjected to it, not causing it. I’m not a problem and I can’t be fixed.


    In other words:


    Being labelled “bi-polar” shouldn’t define you or your treatment.


    Self study (who better?) is hard, but extremely rewarding.


    My intentions are good, but I’m not qualified to advise!


    See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folie_%C3%A0_deux before taking anything I just said seriously 😉


    Also I am desperately in need of tea, and quite tired.


    Best wishes.

  35. Fred Gandt says:


    Actually: According to Wikipedia I may very well qualify for being diagnosed bi-polar.


    Learn something new every day! o/


  36. I’m afraid I’m not going to be particularly useful, as the one guy I know who’s seriously bipolar seems to have gotten things under control with a combination of meds and routine in his life.


    Apart from him, I’m afraid I only know Terry the Bi Bipolar Polar Bear, and the Uncyclopedia page about bipolar bears 🙂

  37. Brad Esau says:


    Incredible feedback, everyone. You’ve given me much to think about. Thank you all.


    Just for the record, I’ve lived with bipolar for at least twenty years (and possibly since my teens) but was only diagnosed two years ago (though not accurately). I’ve been hospitalized twice and have been in the regular care of a psychiatrist for eighteen months.


    I only just realized that I’m probably still in denial about this. I had wanted a diagnosis for so long (the rollercoaster life of being bipolar IS tiring) but now that I have it I’d just prefer for it to all go away.


    In my present state of mind, I believe I am over-medicated. But what is the right dose of medication? What is the right medication? Who to trust to tell me that? And for reasons I prefer not to go into, it is very dangerous to fiddle with. It’s not easy. And I have to work within our system here in Canada.


    So I’ve been eighteen months on one track and I’d like, somehow, to try another.


    Thank you all again.

  38. Joan Laine says:


    I was interned for 5 months and my medication was reduced to the strict minimum before starting the DBT programme. It actually is not possible to start DBT if the medication is too high. The fact that you wish to manage your bi-polar means that you would be a likely candidate to get into such a programme Brad Esau , I am not sure how that would work for you in Canada.


    Mz Maau thanks for your sharing your incredible journey. It’s very inspiring and very honest. My main diagnosis is Clinical Depression and I can relate to many of the things that you have experienced… the only difference was that my mood swing could last for months 😉


    Brad Esau and Gregory Esau i really hope that you are able to find the right solution and in the meantime, you have already begun a circle of support… google+ is open 7/7, 365 days a year. We can start a support circle especially for you 😀

  39. Joan Laine says:


    Oh and I am so sorry Rajini Rao for not thanking you for sharing Gregory’s post in the first place. So a million thank you’s to you.


  40. Rajini Rao I saw the mention from Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. We have a lot of information on #bipolardisorder  here: http://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/


    We also have an online #bipolartest  here:


    http://www.healthyplace.com/psychological-tests/mood-disorder-questionnaire-mdq/


    and one of the most trusted bipolar bloggers, Natasha Tracy writes the “Breaking Bipolar” blog.


    http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/


    If I can provide other help, please contact us through our HealthyPlace page.

  41. Rajini Rao says:


    Many thanks to Joan Laine and to HealthyPlace for sharing resources and insights. This is all really very useful.

  42. Brad Esau says:


    Again, thank you for all these wonderful posts! Some very useful information. Now to try digest it all!


  43. I have Bi-Polar: I’ve been hospitalized 4 times. With help and treatment I’ve been able to graduate college and maintain a successful career as a software engineer. Currently Bi-Polar doesn’t affect my life much.  To be honest, I’m a completely different person than I was years ago.


    I’d like to help: What made the difference for me was having someone I could take seriously. I ended up taking the meds.


    As an Alternative to meds: One could try to regulate exponential serotonin distributions by forcing oneself to sleep or not sleep at times but it probably won’t work as well. I took the meds based on my decision that the self is not an innate biological state but rather a purpose I choose for myself.

  44. Rajini Rao says:


    Patrick Staight , I remember the artwork and story you shared with us! Written any more poems lately?


    Thanks for responding and offering to help. I’d like to understand better, so could you expand on, “the self is not an innate biological state but rather a purpose I choose for myself”.

  45. Brad Esau says:


    Thanks very much for your post, Patrick Staight . I’m glad you’re in a good place now. From everything I’ve read, it sure helps a lot to catch it earlier in life. Can I add you to my bi-polar circle?


  46. Reasons I didn’t want to take the meds:


    1. Philosophical questions: If I screw with my brain can I guarantee I’ll still have free will?


    2. Intensity of life: It’s harder to think the big thoughts and dream the big dreams.


    3. Dependency: I would rather live my life on my own terms and not conform to some social expectation of drug induced normalcy.


    Thanks Rajini Rao for encouraging me to explain my thoughts in more detail, I hope I haven’t gone on too long.  And to Brad Esau certainly you may add me to your circle.


    Philosophical questions


    The question of self is elusive.  It seems to be the cause of one’s actions in a process called free will that we either can’t or don’t want to predict and explain. However, with mental illness the presumption is that certain actions can be attributed to a predictable phenomenon: “You aren’t acting like this because you want to, you are doing it because you’re crazy.” It begs the question: “Where does the insanity stop and where do I start?”


    The philosophical discussion could go on for a bit but since I’m trying to keep this short I’ll summarize my thoughts: You can’t ever guarantee you have free will or that there is an eternal “You” making your decisions. It’s pointless to assume free will something you’re born with that can be lost, instead always assume you have it and decide what you want to do with it. For me it was programming and becoming more aware of the universe, anything that stood in the way of that wasn’t really me. 


    Intensity of life


    I remember the feeling that if I could just “get it together” I would accomplish more and have a richer life without the meds. I even came up with an evolutionary theory to back it up: That a population of humans with a 0.1%~0.5% tendency to have “turbo-charged” brains with grandiose ideas would out produce a population that didn’t. The problem seems to be modern society requires a higher level of “having it together” than I can accomplish without the meds.


    Dependency


    There is a seductive tendency to believe in the power of the mind. That with mental discipline one can overcome any mental phenomenon. While I’ve learned how to remain calm during a manic episode and how to avoid doing things that may make people think I’m a danger to myself or others, I’ve also realized that cascades of serotonin are no more affected by my willpower than the color of my eyes. 


    Conclusion


    In the end the biggest problem was being disorganized and forgetting to take them some mornings. When I forgot I would tend to come up with some other more principled reason why I hadn’t been taking them.

  47. Brad Esau says:


    What a terrific and well thought out post, Patrick Staight . You strike a lot of notes with me. Right now I think I’m still in a place of not being on the right meds or dosages. I take my meds at night (8pm virtually on the dot) which I find much easier. If I took mine in the morning, I think I’d be in trouble.

  48. Matt R says:


    Bipolar isn’t a “thing” in terms of “you have it/not”, there are various levels of seriousness ranging from “you’d best be medicated” to “is the medication even valid?” as Thomas Jones already said.  Bipolar 1/2 is simply a joke when it comes to diagnosis.


    Brad Esau : I was supposedly diagnosed as bipolar by a psychiatrist. Who basically asked on a survey if I ever felt happy or sad, and spoke in other generalities. Yep, put that together.  I became incredibly unstable on medication, in fact nearing considering suicide more than once when I was younger. Never hospitalized, but during the medication period I did end up contemplating suicide while sitting on the floor with a knife. My decision at the potential moment of suicide was something along the lines of: “it’s easier to give up on life than to try to make things better, so why am I just giving up?” I actually felt angered and/or borderline pissed at myself for considering giving up.


     I don’t like the diagnosis and find it generally offensive due to the negative social connotation but I don’t think it was necessarily inaccurate – it is biological from my parents (mom is manic, dad’s parents had clinical depression. a hell of a pair, I assure you). What really made the difference for me was learning to manage my own stress and finding outlets that are a: positive and b: don’t lead towards temporary happens resulting in continued depression (examples: poetry, exploring new experiences, being with friends, finding new music artists, exercise, video games, anime, manga, culture, writing – anything you can obsess in) . Creating a feedback loop that worked for me to maintain my stability. Recognizing when I felt down or felt that a decision may be rash or harsh/fueled by emotions that I could find people to console in who would make sure I don’t jump off the “bipolar deep end”. Basically telling someone else what I wanted to do, regardless of whether that decision was valid or not.   That may not be the case for everyone though nor is that an easy thing by any stretch.  I owe lulla leah my life in more ways than one for not only having been, but continuing to be the most critical part of that feedback loop as I grew as an individual. (much love and gratitude forever)  


    Patrick Staight and Thomas Jones  are 100% correct. Those are the reasons I do not consider the medication either.


    To me, a “turbo charged brain” concept that isn’t being taken advantage of simply means you haven’t found your focus. That takes a while and a lot of development, and is not to say that anything is wrong with that concept. I think faster than I type. I type faster than I speak. My communication is great via email and not always as effective with verbal communication. Same idea.   Also, thinking the “big thoughts/big worldviews” can help a lot as a visionary and a leader, and can drive change in impressive ways. 


    I’ve realized a true benefit of being bipolar is that you don’t follow traditional thinking. Which works wonders as a problem solver such as Patrick’s situation as a software engineer or in my career path as an IT infrastructure analyst. My wife put it best: instead of complaining about what sucks, focus on solutions/fixing problems so that those things don’t have to suck in the future.  It works even better with things like test cases/test diagnosis, where people tend to follow the script/plan of attack and you simply…don’t. Bipolar doesn’t have to be a disadvantage any more than a handicapped person calls their disablement a handicap.  It also can make you very sociable 😀 


    The true loss of bipolar is that your motivation will not necessarily be as stable as other people. Some people churn in 10 “units” of work a day, day in day out. You will go 5, 6, 4, 20, 3. That by itself can be destabilizing.


    People who see me today, probably wouldn’t even believe I was diagnosed as bipolar. 

  49. Brad Esau says:


    +Matthew Reingold, Mz Maau and lulla leah , terrific posts all. I’m overwhelmed and humbled by all the deep and thoughtful responses! It’s going to take a bit to absorb it all and fit it all in with where I think I’m at. I’ll try post something in the morn. (Pacific time)

  50. Joan Laine says:


    Patrick Staight It took almost 30 years for me to be properly diagnosed and when I was told I would probably be medicated for the rest of my life, I refused. I was in denial that I had a “mental disease” and I sure as heck did not want to be controlled or turned into a zombie because of the medication.


    I completely resonate with your post.


    Then one morning, I woke up and realized that if my illness is due to a chemical imbalance, what is wrong with me taking a pill to make my life (and the life of those better). If I had diabetes, I would take insulin!!!


    My life is a million times better. I have so much more confidence and my down days do not spiral down into bottomless pits that take months to get out of…. they’re just down days.


    Sometimes I forget to take the meds, but because of being interned, I know what the signs are when I am out of sync and usually get back on them without causeing too much damage (that’s a joke).


    I have much better control over my life than I had before DBT and getting medicated and the choice to suffer in isolation or to either go to my support groups or chat with others who understand what the impact of these chronic disease are.


    I am supported by my psychologist and my psychiatrist too and the quality of my life has improved a thousandfold.


    Brad Esau all of this infomation will be here for you when you need it… just remember you are entitled to change your psychiatrist if he/she is not listening/hearing you (it is normally a constitutional right in most countries). We are here in the meantime to support you.


  51. Drugs do work, but for a short time, but you cant kill it off completely, it’s a part of ‘self’ and its evolving too, it’s like trying to beat evolution.


    When it recurs, it usually get more and more difficult to curb with drugs.


    One escape is while the drug is working, try to get busy, set goals, take up commitments on work, personal life, make new friends, make a new life and slowly phase out the drugs. 


    But to beat it learn to live with it. When it’s back it usually manifests in one form or the other, you have to learn to see whats playing and do not give into it’s calling.


  52. Patrick Staight I’m pregnant

  53. Angel Girl says:


    How are people that has bi polar disorder 1_ actually act when it comes to them having a new baby

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