Bipolarlife Newsletter August 2017

issue 95  (our 8th year)

August 2017

Bipolar Life Victoria

Upcoming Support Groups Meetings

click group location for further information

click group location for further information


Article I


Here are some helpful thoughts on bipolar which may give you a better understanding of your triggers.

On average, it takes ten years to receive a correct diagnosis of bipolar. Remember that improving your well being takes time and effort but the rewards can be life changing! You can learn to recognise your triggers and sometimes catch episodes early and markedly reduce your symptoms.

Here are some suggestions that may help you:-

  • Learn all you can about your condition. You may be affected throughout your life so you owe it yourself to become an expert on bipolar. You could start at our website Numerous books on Amazon cover bipolar symptoms, coping techniques, management and inspiration. Your condition is individual but millions of people have had comparable struggles.
  • Bipolarlife Victoria provides assistance to anyone affected by bipolar with their support groups and other programs. Some people have reservations about attending for the first time. There’s no pressure upon you. You can say as little or as much as you like. You can meet and learn from sympathetic people with similar experiences and you might make new friends.
  • Look at your options regarding medication. Your GP or psychiatrist has limited time to find an effective treatment for you. It’s a process of trial and error, often with side-effects. Always ask them questions about your treatment.
  • Therapy and counselling are also useful. A good therapist can change your life though you must find the right practitioner. Ask your GP or psychiatrist about your options.
  • Identify your triggers and symptoms. You’re the only person who can ever know yourself. If you’re able to pick up on subtle signs and catch episodes early, they’ll probably be milder and your recovery from an episode may be easier.
  • Writing. Keep a simple journal and get problems out of your head and onto paper. With these personal notes, you will be able to remember your delusions. When depressed, write a lot as it’s a helpful aid in managing your illness.
  • Routine and sleep. Regularity can be a great benefit in managing bipolar. Wake up at the same time each day and you’ll have structure for the day. Get outdoors and take your medication at the same time every day. You may function better on 9 or 10 hours of sleep but also need up to 16 hours of sleep when you are unwell and on a lot of medication.
  • Therapeutic interests. Activities can prevent you from thinking too deeply about your diagnosis. Pursuing something creative, such as poetry or drawing, is a relaxing way to spend time. Bipolar and creativity is romanticised though plenty of creative historical figures experienced mood disorders or psychosis.
  • Diet and exercise. Regular exercise has profound benefits, like improving your mood. Your mind and body are linked and your brain will become a better friend if you exercise and eat well. I also no longer drink alcohol and I’ve limited my caffeine intake.
  • Keep a monthly mood diary with the mood scale. It’s important and revealing to record your moods, hours of sleep and medication regime. Looking over the charts gives you an insight into the pattern of your own condition.


Remember that bipolar is a part of you but not all of you. Try not be defined by the diagnosis and recognise that you can still achieve outstanding things in your life. Be grateful for what you can do.

Article II

Success Stories

While we await more stories, here are a few public success stories to inspire us.

  1. Jessica Marais, local actress and Logie award winner despite a diagnosis of Bipolar 2.
  2. James J, Law Professor.  James began treatment for Bipolar Disorder in 1983.  He disclosed his diagnosis in a newspaper in 2008 in an article titled “The secret life of a law professor”.  He published his memoir “A Hidden Madness”.  James is quoted to have said “I am just too stubborn to give in to a disease of any sort.”
  3. Kay Redfield-Jamieson, PhD.  Scientist and Psychologist.  Kay wrote the memoir “An Unquiet Mind” in 1995 in which she publically disclosed she had Bipolar Disorder.  Disclosure did not hurt Kay professionally.  She continued to teach and became co-director of a mood disorders center.  She has a 25 page CV of fellowships, honors, publications and papers.  She appeared live on Oprah and Larry King Live.
  4. Paul Zass, comedian.  Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  First symptoms at age 11.  Paul says “No matter what I was doing, I had this constant sound in my head that life just sucked.  I prayed to die because I just couldn’t kick the depression.”  Paul performs comedy full time.  “My eccentricities serve me well in this job.  I talk openly about my illness (in the show)”.  Paul turned a suicide letter he wrote into a published book called “Dear World: A Suicide Letter” (2003)
  5. Jennifer Marshall, wife, mother and high powered business woman.  Jennifer was earning 6 figures by the age of 26.  She has Bipolar 1.  After diagnosis she re-prioritised her values and redefined what a successful life looks like.  “I like myself much better now” she says.  
  6. Andrea Paquette, Founder and Executive Director of the Stigma-Free Society.  Andrea is also known as the “Bipolar Babe”.  She is a mental health speaker and published author.  Andrea runs a “Teens2Twenties” group for youth with Bipolar Disorder.  Andrea says “No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives”.
  7. Well this one is nothing to do with Bipolar Disorder but is rather inspiring and something you would never believe possible.  The blind man who races motorcycles at over 200km per hour.  (This was reported in the Herald Sun Sunday paper this month.)  If a blind man can do this……..

Help others with your story? – enquiries to



A new support group is opening at Frankston on Tuesday 29 August 2017 at 7:00pm.

Monthly meetings will be held at 7:00pm at the Orwil Street Community House, 16 Orwil Street Frankston on the fourth Monday of each month.

Enquiries to


Bipolar Carers Group

We are establishing a Bipolar Carers Support Group at South Yarra commencing Tuesday 5th December 2017 and this will continue on the first Tuesday of each month from February 2018.

Close family and friends (bipolar carers or caregivers) can be a primary source of support for a person with bipolar disorder. Discussions include ways caregivers can take care of themselves, deal with the bipolar disorder and the personal impact it has on them.

Enquiries to

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