DBSA e-Update March 2013

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New Video Series Offers Personal Stories and Expert Perspectives

DBSA is thrilled to share two new video series on the DBSA YouTube channel this month:

Out of the Blue: The Many Faces of Depression
Depression doesn't just look one way. Major depressive disorder affects more than 14 million adult Americans each year, and many don't attribute the range of symptoms they encounter to depression. In this series of videos, six individuals share their experiences with depression, including some of its less identifiable manifestations, which range from anger and irritability to feeling overwhelmed by a lack of focus and difficulty making decisions. DBSA thanks the Takeda-Lundbeck Alliance for its unrestricted support for the production of the Out of the Blue video series.

Bipolar Disorder Education Video Library
The DBSA Bipolar Disorder Education Video Library addresses common questions and concerns that people living with bipolar disorder and their loved ones often have. In each video, a peer shares their experience with issues such as dealing with stigma, identifying triggers, and working with clinicians. Speakers include individuals living with bipolar disorder, their loved ones, and professionals in the mental health field.

In 2012, we surveyed constituents like you to find out what individuals wanted out of these resources and we are pleased to be able to deliver these videos now. Please share these moving and educational videos with friends and loved ones through email and social media to help us spread awareness, fight stigma, and offer hope and education to those who need it.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Victoria Maxwell on Mental Health and Performance

Renowned mental health expert, playwright, and actor Victoria Maxwell joins DBSA for a Real Recovery Podcast to discuss her background in acting and performance, her diagnosis of a mental health condition, and the path she took to acceptance and making mental health part of her performing career. Maxwell will perform her one-woman show, That’s Just Crazy Talk, in Miami, FL for the DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together. She’ll also be a featured presenter and panelist at the conference, which takes place June 14–16. Listen to the podcast and join us in Miami to see Victoria Maxwell’s performance and presentations.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

Whenever I tell people I work for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance—or, in fact, when I tell people I deal with acute symptoms of depression—the most common response I receive is, “Really? You’re the least depressed-seeming person I’ve ever met!”

I think this response stems from the fact that, in the popular imagination, depression has a certain “look.” It’s lethargic, withdrawn, slowed-down, weepy. It’s a person on a couch in a bathrobe looking wistfully out a window . . .

However, in reality, depression doesn’t “look” just one way. Just as prevalent, if not more pervasive, than those symptoms of sadness and slowness are anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness. A person can feel hopeless and disconnected yet be smiling and laughing. A person with depression can be at work, at the grocery store, in the community and never “look” depressed in the “classic” way. Depression has symptoms that many people don’t think of: poor self-esteem, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, cognitive impairment, irritability.

We at DBSA are very pleased to highlight the diversity of people’s experiences of depressive symptoms in our new video series, Out of the Blue: The Many Faces of Depression, which we are debuting this month on our YouTube Channel. These personal stories show that depression is not always obvious—and it reminds us that depression doesn’t discriminate, as it affects more than 14 million American adults. All walks of life are affected, and their manifestations of depression can be as diverse as they are.

–Allen Doederlein, DBSA President

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Greg Simon, MD, MPH

Ask the Doc: Can antidepressants interfere with driving?

I read that antidepressants can interfere with driving ability and make people more prone to having car accidents. Is that true?

Antidepressant medications—and other medications used to treat mood disorders—can sometimes cause drowsiness or problems with coordination or reaction time. These side effects could interfere with driving. Side effects vary from medication to medication and from person to person. But it's usually not necessary to put up with side effects like that. If your medication is causing problems like that, be sure to ask your doctor if there are other options for you.

Here are some steps to follow to make sure your medication doesn't interfere with your driving or other activities:

  • Whenever you start a new medication or change the dose of a medication, do it at a time when you don't have to drive (or do something else that might be dangerous) soon after.
  • If a new medication or a change in dose does cause drowsiness or interfere with your driving ability, be sure to talk with your doctor before you drive again.
  • Some medications can magnify the effects of alcohol, so you should avoid using alcohol completely when taking antidepressant medication—especially after starting a new medication or changing the dose.
  • Combining antidepressant medication with other medications (especially sleeping medication or anti-anxiety medication) can also magnify the effects and interfere with your driving ability.

When a medication says "may cause drowsiness," that doesn't mean that you have to put up with being drowsy forever. But you should use it carefully and let your doctor know about side effects. If medication interferes with driving—or with any of your other usual activities—you and your doctor will want to consider alternatives.

Greg Simon, MD, MPH, is a psychiatrist and researcher at Group Health Cooperative at the Center for Health Studies in Seattle. His research focuses on improving the quality and availability of mental health services for people living with mood disorders, and he has a specific interest in activating consumers to expect and demand more effective mental health care.

Got a nagging question you want to ask a doc? Submit your questions online for a chance to get the answer. Check future DBSA eUpdates to see if your question was chosen.

In the meantime, take a look through our Ask the Doc feature page, a comprehensive archive of past Ask the Doc features which may already be home to the answers you seek.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Wins 2013 Mogens Schou Award for Public Service

We are delighted to announce that the International Society for Bipolar Disorders chose DBSA to receive the 2013 Mogens Schou Award for Public Service. DBSA was selected for our outstanding public service, which would not be possible without our chapters and state organizations! DBSA's reach, created by our coalition of nationwide volunteers, helps us support individuals living with mood disorders, enables us to educate peers and the public on these disorders, and helps us fight stigma together. We are very excited to accept this award at the upcoming International Conference on Bipolar Disorders, which runs alongside the DBSA 2013 National Conference in June!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Study Alert: Romantic Relationships and Bipolar Disorder

Do romantic partners help you stay well while managing bipolar disorder or do they sometimes get in the way? Whether you’re single, dating, or married, the Romantic Relationships and Bipolar Disorder study invites you to share your relationship stories. Researchers at the Cal Mania Program at the University of California, Berkeley, will collect stories through an online survey, and your stories will shape tools for fostering supportive romantic relationships for others who are living with bipolar disorder. Get involved at WeSearchTogether.

WeSearchTogether Online
Don’t just wait for a study that interests you—share your thoughts about where mental health research should go next. WeSearchTogether will be posting questions via Facebook and Twitter to find out what direction you think mental health research should take. Like and follow the WeSearchTogether social media pages to share your answers for a chance to win free swag throughout the month.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Register Today for the Next Steps Peer Specialist Training Course: June 17–21 in Miami

Are you a peer specialist seeking to add to your toolbox of peer support skills and strengthen your ability to offer authentic peer support services? Plan now to attend the inaugural Next Steps Collaborative Recovery Training Institute for peer specialists through DBSA.

This 5-day course will feature group exploration and relevant practice in the following areas:

  • Dimensions of wellness
  • Effects of trauma on recovery
  • Influence of culture on recovery
  • Dual recovery
  • Recovery roles and values
  • Strengthening workplace relationships
  • Recovery relationships

Participants completing the course will receive certificates of attendance for 32 hours. Registration fee is $750, which includes training materials and beverage breaks. Fee does not include travel or hotel accommodations. Please note: In order to be accepted for the institute, registrants must have completed core peer specialist training and certification in their home states or systems. 

Register today.

For additional information, contact Training@DBSAlliance.org.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Nominations for the DBSA Life Unlimited Award

Do you know someone who lives a life unlimited by the diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder and who helps others do the same? Nominate them for the 2013 DBSA Life Unlimited Award. The DBSA Life Unlimited Award was established to honor individuals who exemplify a life unlimited by their diagnosis and who are actively working to help others do the same. Through the DBSA Life Unlimited Award, DBSA celebrates the strengths, inspiration, and accomplishments of peers. Read more about the award and submit your nominations today. Please submit your nominations by May 1, 2013. DBSA will recognize the winner in a ceremony at the DBSA 2013 National Conference in Miami, FL.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Conference Scholarships & Comedy Applications

There are several ways to make the most out of the DBSA 2013 National Conference. If you’re looking for financial support to attend the conference or you’re interested in making your stand-up comedy debut in Miami, don’t forget to apply for the chance to take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Comedy Applications: DBSA and Stand Up for Mental Health are pleased to offer ten conference attendees the opportunity to be trained by comedian and counselor David Granirer in a virtual comedy course this spring. Trainees will make their stand-up comic debut at the conference in Miami, FL, June 14–16, 2013. Apply now. Application deadline is April 18, 2013. Comics will receive a deep discount on conference registration.
  • Peer and Family Scholarships, sponsored by Rebecca’s Dream, enable peers to attend the conference together with a family member. The scholarships include two full conference registrations (Friday–Sunday) for a peer and their family member (a $350 value), plus an additional $200 to help defray travel costs. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is Monday, April 1. Read more about the Rebecca’s Dream scholarships and apply online.
  • Center for Mental Health Services Scholarships are now posted on the scholarship page of the conference site. CMHS scholarships pre-pay conference registration, hotel fees, airfare, and per diem. Download the application today and submit by mail. The application deadline is April 9, 2013.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Bipolar Sleep Smarts

One mother makes up the deficit when life interferes with her sacred shut-eye. PLUS: simple changes that may improve your nighttime rest. Read the full article at bp Magazine.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

I need to make sure I add laughter, an important healthy nutrient, to my regular wellness plan. It just simply makes me feel better!

Baking Bread from Scratch
In the past few years, I bake bread—loaves or rolls—when I began feeling depressed. There is something about the kneading and feel of the dough that relaxes me and puts me in a peaceful state. Sort of like meditation but you have something your family loves to give to them. The giving or sharing gives you a great feeling, too.

Visit the Facing Us Clubhouse to get more tips, create your own tips, track your wellness, and connect with peers. Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and free.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Save the Date

April 1
Application Deadline
Rebecca's Dream Peer + Family Scholarships for DBSA 2013 National Conference

April 9
Application Deadline
CMHS Scholarships for DBSA 2013 National Conference
Miami, FL

April 18
Application Deadline
Stand-Up Comic Training & Conference Debut
Miami, FL

June 14–16
DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together
Miami, FL

June 17
DBSA Post-Conference Institutes
Miami, FL

June 17–18
Mental Health First Aid Training
Miami, FL

June 17–21
Next Steps Collaborative Recovery Training for Peer Specialists
Miami, FL