This is why I read the New York Times. I get mental health coverage that I get nowhere else. Apparently toddlers who throw tantrums or are seriously withdrawn and have other behavioral difficulties are getting atypicals in swiftly, dramatically growing numbers. From last year to this, the numbers have doubled. The database will not release the names of the prescribing physicians. These are usually GPs and they are not trained in psychiatry. Part of the problem is the lack of child psychiatrists in the united states.
Part of this is an email I sent my best friend. I’ve submitted stories more places than I remember. International Bipolar Foundation welcomed me with open arms.
Here are two of the places that said ‘No’ more than once.
Marie Claire Magazine regarding two Eating Disorder pieces. I had them on the phone and received four emails expressing interest, only to be told they had ‘overplayed’ the eating disorder topic, which they felt was only of interest to ten percent of their readership.
The Mighty. I find them to be too self congratulatory for me. “Haaa Haaa, this saying is cool, I won the war!” life isn’t that simple and I think they s**k. I don’t even read their posts.
This one really stung:
“Stigma Fighters” They rejected me twice but when I read their 1000 word rambles, I think it’s a whiny freak show and they are furthering stigma, not fighting it. By the way, they invited me to submit a third time and when I didn’t they blocked my from receiving their posts. I wrote Sara Fader and Allie Burke asking why I don’t get their posts anymore and neither of them replied.. But they sent me a t-shirt.
Did they have an email tracking system showing them that I only read half of their posts?Back then they were sending three a day and I couldn’t read them all, I saved them in a ‘stigma fighters’ folder. I was going to read them……just to be supportive. Maybe it was my comments on the posts themselves, which I did to let the suffering writers know that I had ‘heard’ them, that someone was listening.
HERES THE GOOD STUFF
The best part of the story is this: I invited myself to write for bphope.com (Part of Bipolar Magazine). I sent two stories and was gently told it wasn’t what they were looking for. I was given the line about ‘we’ll keep your materials and next year..bla bla’ Well, I asked if I could submit again and this time it went well. I’m on a three month trial period of once a month and so far the editor is really nice and supportive.
MORE GOOD STUFF
I applied to another publication two months ago. I heard back a month ago from their content integrator and was given a thirty day deadline to write a story. I gave them two topic choices and they choose “Mindfulness.” I asked for their style manual and it had all this stuff about prepositions, non essential clauses and tautology, which is like saying the same thing twice in a sentence in different ways.
Examples of Tautology: “My first priority is” (it we say ‘first’ we know it’s a priority, right?)
“Depression casts a dark shadow over our perception.” (Well if it’s a shadow, we can presume it’s dark, right?)
The style manual was so above my paygrade that I googled ten English terms, reread Strunk and White and worked for three hours with my mom, going over every paragraph with a fine toothed comb.
We don’t know yet if they like it, and it was really hard upholding their style and grammatical standards and coming up with subheadings so that my topic could veer off course slightly, for example, going back in Mindfulness’s history all the way back to the first Buddists in 300 BC China.
It took at least thirty hours to write this story and it’s a paid position. I don’t yet know what the money is. I’ll let you know on that. It’s probably variable, depending on how you negotiate it and how much they value your work!
I’ve hit a snag with mental health advocacy. I volunteered for years at the nearby drop in. I had high security clearance and brought meetings into the psych ward. I developed an eating disorder meeting for them. I got sick with depression and a three year struggle with trying to get Tardive Dyskinesia under control…with both conditions I couldn’t volunteer for about a year and I fell off the volunteer rolls. Well again, well, well enough, I offered to bring a gentle Pilates Mat class and even get certified in group activity safety measures for them and for me. Well, as you can imagine, since the whole ‘story’ I tried to nicely write about them went south, they no longer think I’m ‘well’ enough to be a volunteer.
Despite this, I still tried to write a nice story about them and their services for International Bipolar Disorder. I interviewed the project director and took good notes. I gave her final editorial approval since I did want to quote her and wanted to improve our relationship. I guess I sent too many emails because as my deadline came and went, she was on vacation and I did not know. When she returned, I got a nasty email full of hypocritical ‘mindfulness’ telling me that her ‘intention’ is to show me kindness but I make it impossible by ‘bombarding’ her with emails. My deadline for the story had come and gone and I wanted to finish it. She works with the mentally ill so why should she expect so much out of me? Am I being discriminated against because I’m too high functioning? Let’s face it, I’m verbal, I’m not all doped up and docile and I ask questions. I try to express myself and spread the good news about treatment options, present and in the pipeline. And you would not believe how much is in the pipeline!!! Ketamine is a comin’!
As I’ve written before, when trying to advocate, raising your hand to volunteer, etc, you may encounter rejection. Maybe it’s me, maybe I come on too strong. But one organization, International Bipolar Foundation, reached online at ibpf.org seems like a perfect fit. Right now I am compiling a list, a database if you will of drop in centers, advocacy groups, MHA offices and anyplace who provides services to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s interesting work and when you actually get someone on the line, they are usually nice and passionate about what they do. My volunteer coordinator and blog editor gave me this assignment and wanted ten names. When I told her that there were about 400 of these centers nationwide, she was flummoxed. See, they write this book, “Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder,” update it annually and it’s written by a panel of experts from holistic to the most Western of Medicine.
I especially like the non moralistic approach to substance use, abuse and dependency. It lays out the facts, the ratios of risk/benefit and the possible consequence of huge financial costs, should you destabilize and end up back in the psych ward. That can be disrupting in many ways, especially if your meds are completely rewritten, if you are working and miss work or are just demoralized by going to the hospital.
I haven’t been in 15 years but I’ve come close. Because I have Tardive Dyskinesia, and many psychiatrists and neurologists don’t have up to date movement disorder info (and there is quite a bit) They would not know the best way to treat me. If they loaded me up with a bunch of Zyprexa, Abilify, Invega or Seroquel, not to mention Geodon, I’d immediately start thrashing. But in my experience, psychiatrists in hospitals are in a hurry and often don’t believe the new admit. Try telling a psychiatrist that an accidental careless overdose of Tegretol was not a suicide attempt. Do you think they’d believe you? It happened to me when My doctor put me on 200 mg instead of 100 mg. I forgot to look closely at the label.
Anyway, I am doing work for IBPF besides blogging and it makes me feel really good. My goal, the one I wish to reach, is to make decent videos with light soundtracking for tempo and to be able to insert a logo or make other edits. We downloaded movie maker. I would like to find a local teacher. I sure am enjoying talking to all these mental health advocacy people around the country. The trend seems to be for the patient to become educated and make their own choices, whether to take meds or not, whether they can still drink, stuff about sleep, side effects, an entire section dedicated to bipolar disorder in children and how to treat a bipolar patient who has ADHD and or other co occurring disorders.