Being Bipolar – 3 of 3 – Contrasting psychiatric views #Moncrieff

Being Bipolar (Channel 4 shown on 6th March 2015):

Sian, who has been diagnosed as bipolar II and psychotherapist, Philippa Perry, meet with an NHS psychiatrist, who waffles at some length about chemical imbalances, without being able to suggest which chemicals could be out of balance or why such an imbalance might exist.

After this, Philippa meets with psychiatrist, Dr Joanna Moncrieff, who shares her knowledge as an expert in psychiatric drug research. Joanna makes it clear that the psychiatric drugs are mainly sedating people and not treating any specific chemical imbalance.

I believe all three of the subjects of this documentary would be living better lives if they were getting help based on their real challenges rather than from a psychiatric system that talks of treating chemical imbalances and genetic disorders from birth. All three had things happen to them that influenced the way they feel and expressed their moods. All three need help with understanding and overcoming their troubles.

At the end Philippa shares, “I don’t know how useful the bipolar diagnosis is, because they are all so different. I feel it might be more helpful to approach everyone as individuals with unique issues, because although being labelled bipolar may help some people make sense of their moods it too often marks the end of self-exploration when really, in fact, it should be the beginning.”

It really is time to stop just Being Bipolar and for more of us to be Rethinking Bipolar and so reaching our fullest potential.

Being Bipolar – 2 of 3 – But not really manic depressives

Being Bipolar (Channel 4 Documentary shown on 6th March 2015):

Three people diagnosed as bipolar were filmed and their troubles considered by psychotherapist Philippa Perry.

Paul, who is a self-made millionaire, was filmed while high, Sian was mainly low and Ashley was rapidly going from high to low. Paul seemed happy enough in his manic state, while Sian and Ashley brought out their boxes of prescribed drugs and revealed how desperate they felt with no real prospects of recovery.

What struck me, was how without any special psychotherapy, it became clear that all was not as it first seemed.

Near the end, Paul has come down from his high and tells Philippa how his high was fueled by smoking ‘legal highs’ that he explains certainly were not just ordinary cigarettes! These were the drugs on which he got high. This was not a manic episode caused solely by his perfectionism or a random mood swing.

Sian’s greatest fear turns out to be from the misconception that bipolar can be passed on genetically to her children. When Philippa takes Sian to meet genetics researcher, Prof Ian Jones, it is explained, “It is not a genetic disorder in that there is a gene for bipolar” and that “Nine out of ten children of a bipolar parent are not being diagnosed as bipolar”. This is new knowledge for Sian, who is now able to consider bipolar in a very different way. From having said earlier that she could not think of any causes other than genetics, she now feels able to talk with to Philippa about wanting to investigate what it was in her life/her environment that had led to mood problems and diagnosis. Towards the end of the programme Sian talks about wanting “to be open to change” and goes to see a psychotherapist based on her discovery that bipolar is not all genetic and pre-determined. She comes to believe that, “It is the start of the end of it.” And when asked “Do you think this is going to be transformative?” She answers, “Yes”.

Ashley suffered from something like autism from an early age and was bullied badly at school. Being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs since he was 8 years old, it comes as no surprise to find him struggling so much. These drugs are known to alter the brain’s development. Philippa says, “It is difficult to find a therapist who is on the same wavelength as someone who is on the autistic spectrum.” Interestingly, after Philippa’s visit, Ashley forms a band with two local musicians who are able to cope with his struggles to stay focused. This seems to give hope that he will be able to fit in better than he was ever able to at school, perhaps simply by being with people who share similar interests.

Overall, the programme did well in showing how diverse bipolar can be. For me, though the most important outcome was how none of three people filmed would, years ago, have been regarded as manic depressives, while each could be so much healthier if they could get access to help beyond their prescribed or acquired drugs.

Being Bipolar – 1 of 3 – Every person is different – #Channel4 #Bipolar

Regarding the UK’s Channel 4 programme, “Being Bipolar” that was shown on 6th March 2015:

I tend to agree with journalist, Yvette Caster, as she shares her personal experiences as a person diagnosed as bipolar. Yvette writes,

The talking cure can help to an extent but, for me at least, the doing cure is far more effective.

As in taking dance classes to cheer me up, singing, going to bed before 11pm, avoiding too much alcohol, not smoking, never taking drugs, taking baths, meditating, swimming, walking and, crucially, working.

This last bit of ‘therapy’ has helped me more than any amount of sitting in a room with a lady with inadvisable style choices attempting to answer personal questions ever could.

Regular, productive activity that gives you a sense of achievement and purpose is crucial to happiness, bipolar or no.

Yvette’s full article is here: London-Metro-Newspaper

A 40 second preview on youtube:

Habit or Self-Harm?

The mind is a curious thing. We can know what is good for us and yet keep doing exactly the opposite.

It is as if somewhere in us there is a need to fail, a need to keep being unwell or a fear of what will happen if we were to become a lot fitter.

We all seem to have habits that hinder our recovery. For many it is smoking or drinking alcohol, while there are so many other ways in which we seem to choose to hurt ourselves.

For me, it is usually eating too much or eating things that I know will harm me. I have decided this has gone on too long so I am teaming up with Maria from a social enterprise called Mind’s Well to better understand why it is that I and millions of others can get stuck in a loop something like this:

self-harm or habit

I want to know the latest thinking on how we break-out of such loops whether these are described as self-harming or habitual*?

If you have suffered from bipolar or for that matter anything at all then you may be interested in one of Maria’s courses such as:

BPS Accredited Training on Managing Self-harming Behaviours in York on 24th September 2014

*Note: Many people manage to go for long periods without self-harming and would not describe their self-harm as at all habitual.

Rethinking Bipolar Disorder at Beyond Meds – Monica Cassani

It seems I am not the only one encouraging the rethinking of bipolar disorder…

http://beyondmeds.com/2014/08/04/rethinking-bipolar-disorder-3/

 

No health without mental health

“No health without mental health” is a really catchy slogan that most people seem to grasp quickly. This is a first class article about what this means in the UK at this time, with mental health estimated to be costing £105,000,000,000/year!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9928516/Its-time-to-end-the-NHS-bias-against-mental-health.html

Meeting and working with health professionals who know mental health and  physical health are inseparable has opened our eyes to a new way of thinking that is beyond the current “no health without mental health” slogan.

We want to work towards ending the strict segregation of physical health and mental health that delays treatment and excludes many who are labelled as mentally ill from essential National Health Services.