DBSA e-Update September 2011

Quick Links to Articles Below

Madness in the NFL - The Greg Montgomery Story Fast Talk: The Denial Factor
Win a Book Collection Wellness Tips from Peers
Ask the Doctor Q & A Save the Date!
A Note From Allen: Trusting the Positive  

Madness in the NFL - The Greg Montgomery Story

“Madness in the NFL - The Greg Montgomery Story” documentary takes us on Greg's journey from All-Pro NFL punter to his diagnosis with bipolar disorder in 1997 while playing with the Baltimore Ravens. Ultimately, his journey towards recovery from bipolar disorder has been a positive and successful one. Now almost 14 years after his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Greg is a powerful advocate in the field of mental health. He recognizes that help is desperately needed for the millions living with mental illness and is making a difference by speaking out.

Greg is also an avid writer and blogger. Through his blog, Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar, Greg openly shares his experiences of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder with educational, honest, and engaging content.

We commend Greg for his advocacy efforts and for working with numerous mental health organizations on raising awareness and fighting the stigma that surrounds mental illness. DBSA looks forward to partnering with him on these upcoming DBSA initiatives:

  • The October eUpdate will feature an empowering article written by Greg.
  • In November, DBSA will host a live Telechat with Greg. Stay tuned for more information and how you can submit your questions in advance.

Madness in the NFL - The Greg Montgomery Story from Gregory Montgomery Jr on Vimeo.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Win a Book Collection

Visit our Facebook page tomorrow, September 22, for a chance to win a FREE package of educational and empowering books related to bipolar disorder. Each of the books are featured in our online bookstore.

Here is how you can enter:

  • Visit the official DBSA Facebook page tomorrow, September 22, 2011.
  • “Like” us if you are not already our Facebook fan.
  • You will see a special message on how you can be entered into the book giveaway…follow the instructions and you might be the winner!

We will continue these special book giveaways for the balance of 2012, so stay tuned for more information in our future eUpdates:

  • October - Depression book giveaway
  • November - Books for family/friends giveaway
  • December - Mental health combo pack giveaway

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Dr. David Miklowitz DBSA Scientific Advisory Board Member

Ask the Doctor Q & A

"My son is 9 and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, and OCD. When he is having one of his meltdowns, do you have any suggestions to help him get through it and if he needs to be disciplined, what's the best way?"

The first task is to try to determine what’s driving the meltdown.  Is it part of a bipolar episode (or a signal of one that’s approaching)?  Is it difficulty with changing tasks, typical of both bipolar disorder and ADHD? Does it stem from OCD-related frustration?  You may not always be able to tell, but you’ll have an easier time if you are monitoring your kid’s symptoms on a daily basis with a mood chart (for example, look at http://www.child-behavior-guide.com/feelings-chart.html). If the child’s mood has been getting steadily more irritable over the past few days, and his or her sleep is getting irregular, you may be seeing the beginnings of a manic or hypomanic episode. Look for accompanying signs of excessive energy, unrealistic thoughts. On the other side, for depression, look for fatigue, pessimism, excessive sleeping, or suicidal ideation…read full response

Thank you to Dr. David Miklowitz, DBSA Scientific Advisory Board member, and Dr. Tara Peris for contributing their expertise to this month’s Q & A.

David Miklowitz, Ph.D., is a professor of psychiatry in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Semel Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a senior clinical researcher in Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry in Oxford, UK. His research focuses on family environmental factors and family psycho educational treatments for adult-onset and childhood-onset bipolar disorder. Dr. Miklowitz has published over 200 research articles and book chapters on bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and six books. His most recently published books, The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: 2nd Edition (Guilford) and The Bipolar Teen (Guilford), are both best sellers.

Tara Peris, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Semel Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Her research focuses on family features that influence treatment outcome for child and adolescent anxiety and OCD and on developing family-based interventions for these disorders.

Do you have a question for a mental healthcare provider? We will be accepting questions for our clinical panel and will publish a select question and answer in each of the DBSA monthly eUpdates. Submit your question here by October 1st to be considered for the October eUpdate.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

A Note From Allen: Trusting the Positive

Like just about anyone, I have a fair amount of stress in my life. The economy, the pressures of work, family issues, a near-constant barrage of information (much of it alarming) from around the globe—all of this can get to you. We at DBSA hear that a lot: it is hard for most people to cope with all that is happening in the world around them, let alone if they deal with depression or bipolar disorder.

Amidst all this stress, I get worried. Even after 20 years of dealing with a mood disorder in careful (and most often successful) partnership with my doctors, my loved ones, and my community, I worry. What if all of this stress breaks me down? What if the great mood I have been in for six weeks is, maybe, a little “too good” and the precursor to a crash? What if I relapse? What if…what if…what if?

I suspect a lot of us who live with depressive illnesses deal with these “what ifs.” I have been thinking about that a lot lately—how do I (and how can all of us) begin to let go of these what ifs and trust our recovery? I do not know the answer, not entirely, not yet—this is obviously a big issue!—but I have come up with this:

We need to start trusting the positive, and our own abilities, more than we trust the negative, and the often-scary world around us.

Easy to say, but how do we do it? Well, I am learning as I go...and I would certainly welcome suggestions, too. But here is what I have come up with so far: when I find myself anticipating the worst (“Oh, gosh, that meeting is going to be awful and people are going to question me and be hard on me,” or “Well, I have been planning this big event for six months and I bet it will rain and no one will show up and it will all have been for naught,” and other such negative self-talk, I try to flip it. What could go right, what could go well? How do I prepare for, anticipate, and create the best outcome possible?

Now, many of us (myself included) have had years and years—it can seem like a lifetime—of just the opposite...planning for how to deflect and deal with the bad stuff. Indeed, I have felt (and I imagine that I am not alone) that positive things do not generally happen for me. But I try now to think, “Well, even if those positive outcomes have never happened before, so what? Maybe they will now. That is my plan. That is my option. I am going to choose it.”

Maybe that would work for you. Or maybe you have a different thought about how to deal with the what ifs—I would welcome your ideas.

Join me; try it. Let’s anticipate the best this month. Let’s trust the positive more than we trust the negative. Let’s believe in recovery...all the way. I hope it goes well for you. I believe it will; I trust that.

With positive energy,

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Fast Talk: The Denial Factor

DBSA is pleased to partner with bp Magazine/esperanza to bring you empowering and informative articles. Check out bp Magazine’s article on bipolar disorder and denial by columnist, Julie Fast. Read an excerpt from "Fast Talk: The Denial Factor” below:

It can be upsetting, stressful, and downright incomprehensible when someone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder denies the illness and refuses treatment. You may find yourself watching helplessly as behaviors tied to untreated bipolar lead to family distress, broken relationships, problems at school and work, money woes, and alcohol and drug abuse.

If you try to help someone in denial, you will probably be accused of interfering if you even mention the word bipolar. This is confusing because it’s very easy for you to see what’s wrong, and naturally you want to point out the problem in hopes that the person will then get help. Often, however, your attempt just makes things worse…

Read the full blog article: http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/852/fast-talk-the-denial-factor.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

In the Facing Us Clubhouse, consumers who have found small ways to make a big difference in their recovery can share wellness tips like those listed here. Visit the Clubhouse to be inspired by your peers…and to pass on some of your own inspiration.

To access the Wellness Tracker visit the Facing Us Clubhouse. Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and free!

Listening to Music
I try to find time in the morning to listen to music. It calms me for the day. It puts a routine in place, and helps me get started. I have no favorite song; it’s just what I’m in the mood for that day.

Why should I feel sorry for myself?
I was in a DBSA meeting and people were talking about how it wasn’t your fault you had this disease; you shouldn’t be guilty, etc. It occurred to me: being bipolar is the best thing that's happened to me. Sure it's been extremely difficult at times, but I have an interesting life story and I was forced to really reexamine my life because of it. Now I only do what I love and think is important.  

15 Minutes
Tell yourself: I can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes. If anxiety hits me at the office and I don’t know how to cope with a mountain of work: just pick one task and do it for 15 minutes. If the house is a wreck, pick one area and clean for 15 minutes. THEN STOP. Step back. Look at what you did. It may not be finished, but you did something! Be proud! You just kicked anxiety’s butt for 15 minutes. Can you do another 15 minutes? Maybe? If not it’s ok. Be proud that you made progress!

A Note about FacingUs.org
When you visit the Facing Us Clubhouse, you'll notice that several "rooms," including the room that houses wellness tips, require you to log in or create an account. Why is this necessary? Because in these sections, you are creating personal journals, books or a plan that is uniquely yours. So, we need a way to pull your unique information—like pulling your file out of a filing cabinet.

Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and FREE! We only need two things to create an account just for you—your e-mail and a password. Please be assured that we will not distribute or sell your information to anyone outside of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. The media room and creativity center on the site does not require registration. The only reason we require registration for other parts of the site is so that you can create your own personal wellness tools.

Save the Date


September 24, 2011
Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk in Elk Grove Village, IL

September 26, 2011
SAMHSA ADS Center webinar “Demystifying Trauma”

October 6, 2011
21st annual National Depression Screening Day (NDSD)

October 10, 2011
Facing Us Video Contest Winners announced

October 26-30
The 25th annual Alternatives conference in Orlando, FL

November 19, 2011
International Survivors of Suicide Day