Bipolarlife Newsletter November 2017

issue 98  (our 8th year)

November 2017

Bipolar Life Victoria

Upcoming Support Groups Meetings

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Article I

How To Love And Live With Someone Who Has Bipolar Disorder

By: shuria

Giving unconditional love for bipolar disorder patients is a tough job. It is not easy to express love when you are being turned away from, disrespected or even ill-treated. It is never easy to lend a hand to those who think grandiosely of himself. Most importantly, it is never simple to care and understand someone who has disorganized thoughts and feelings.

In-depth understanding of the illness is the primary aspect you need to undertake. If you do not understand what is happening to your loved one, then you will have difficulty relating to them.

After you have gone through the understanding and assessing specifics of Bipolar disorder of your loved one, then it is time to devise a plan wherein you should workout the problems.

You need to recognize symptoms.

It is not the fault of your loved one why he is inflicted with bipolar disorder that is the one thing you should take into account. He does not have control of his actions or of his feelings.

You need learn to recognize the many symptoms of bipolar disorder. Does he have sleeping problems? Why is he getting too much or too little sleep?

It is important to observe his moods, his actions and the way he relates to people. Jot it down so you know when and where it occurred so you have a basis to present.

When you perceive that the symptoms can be most likely bipolar disorder, do not be embarrassed.

Do not think of the illness as humiliation.

To love someone knows no illness. Bipolar disorder is not an illness where you should cast off or put your loved one into shame. This type of disorder can be treated just like any other diseases.

If you will feel ashamed of your loved one because he is inflicted with such illness, then you are not helping him restore his good health, instead you are letting him do worse than expected.

Build trust.

Trust is essential to individuals with bipolar disorder. They need you to trust them, not entrust them to other people or institutions such as the psychiatrists or an asylum.

There will be times that you will feel that you cannot deal with your loved one anymore that you will be tempted to call the doctor for him to be fetched because you do not want to take care of them. Never let them hear you say those words because it will just aggravate the situation.

To build up trust, an open and honest communication is needed.

Keep the communication line open.

Once you acknowledged the symptoms, and then ask yourself what you can do. However thinking of good ways to help your loved ones is not always the best way. You may think it is good but it may not really be helpful to the patient. Hence, it is needed that you communicate with the patient.

An open and honest communication is vital. Encourage your loved one to talk about what he thinks and feels. Let him suggest ways on how you are supposed to relate to him.

Do not suppress what you feel. However, there are positive ways to let your loved know how you feel. It is recommended that you avoid nagging, preaching or lecturing an individual with Bipolar disorder. Such negative actions will drive him to detach. If you are concerned about him, let him see how concerned you are in a gentle and encouraging manner.

Let him do his way.

Family members or friends usually ends up wanting to serve his loved one afflicted with bipolar disorder. You begin to do every work he intends to do. You start to make things he is supposed to construct. Do not do such things.

Along with trust and communication, let the person experience what he can do for himself. Let him solve problems he can find solutions. Let him live the way he is supposed to live. By that, he will feel that he is important and has a good reason why he lives.

Be there.

Although you allow him to do his own way, it does not mean that you will not be there when he needs you to. Let him do his way but make sure that you are around to give assistance when needed.

Most importantly, apart from assistance, you need to offer your love, understanding and support.

Article II

Drug Tracking System

On 13th November 2017 the FDA in the USA has approved Abilify MyCite, a pill with a sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication

Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor) has an ingestible sensor embedded in the pill that records that the medication was taken. The product is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.

The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch. The patch transmits the information to a mobile application so that patients can track the ingestion of the medication on their smart phone. Patients can also permit their caregivers and physician to access the information through a web-based portal.

Save the Date


Bipolar Carers Group

Our new Bipolar Carers Support Group meetings are held at South Yarra on the first  Tuesday of each month commencing at 7:00pm (except January).

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


Volunteers Please?

Bipolar Life are holding a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle fundraiser
at Moorabbin on
Saturday 16th December (8:30 to 4:00pm)
Can you donate a few hours?      Call Todd  0451 880 711


Looking for new ways of living well with bipolar?

If you are over 18 and have bipolar disorder you may be eligible to help us trial new, online self-guided interventions designed to improve quality of life in people who experience bipolar. We are comparing two types of interventions that have been created by international experts which both include videos, exercises, tools, forums and an online coach.

To find out if these interventions are helpful, you would also be asked to complete 4 assessments (which include a telephone and online component) over a 6 month period. You will be reimbursed for participation in these assessments.


If you would like more information about the research or would like to participate go to:

Our Stories

Ryan’s Story

When the Black Dog’s psychiatrist walked into the room, I became worried that I was going to have to deliver her baby for her. Susan was as pregnant as I have ever seen anyone that wasn’t in a maternity ward. The doctor had lovely straight brown hair left out, slightly freckled skin and that unmistakable pregnant woman glow, along with a cute smile that made me feel very comfortable. If Susan wasn’t so pregnant, I would have felt more comfortable being attracted to her. She was not at all what I was expecting. Since leaving Sally’s office I’d done some reading, and by now I was already confident I was bipolar. It explained so much. But I needed to hear it from Susan and the Black Dog Institute. As it turned out, this was an interview as much as anything else.

Susan: Have you ever had periods of clinical depression for over at least two weeks where you were unable to work?

Ryan: Yes. A number of times.

Susan: When was the last time this happened?

Ryan: Right now.

Susan: What do you experience when you are depressed? What does it feel like?

Ryan: It feels like one of those black Dementor characters from Harry Potter has flown in from Azkaban Prison and sucked out my soul. I don’t want to eat, I can’t sleep, but I can’t get out of bed either. I feel hopeless; I can’t concentrate. It’s like the gears in my mind have ground to a halt and all I want to do is hide away and be a sloth, so that’s generally what I do.

Susan: When you are like this, do you ever have suicidal thoughts?

Ryan: Not that I would act on. I have questioned whether this life thing is worth all the effort. But these days I have a kid who needs me, and I have good memories that give me enough hope to believe things will always get better.

Susan: Do you think you have mood cycles? Do you also feel ups as well as these downs?

Ryan: Yes. Absolutely. Sometimes it’s like my world lights up. I love everyone and I can see beauty in everything around me. I imagine, with extreme clarity, plans for things very big and I put plans in place. I start conversations with strangers. I can’t get enough work; I can’t get enough play. I get ravenous for sex and feel connections with every beautiful woman who passes by. Sometimes I will approach them. Everything is doable and I will try to do everything. The world is sublime and mysterious and laced with colour, and it’s all mine.

Susan: Okay then. Using a scale of 1 to 10, I want you to rate the following statements for their truth – 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest.

Susan: When you feel high do you feel more confident and capable?

Ryan: Yes. 15.

Susan: Do you see things in a new and exciting light? Ryan: Yes. 10.

Susan: Do you feel very creative with lots of ideas and plans.

Ryan: Yes. Off the chart.

Susan: Do you become over-involved in new plans and projects.

Ryan: Yes. That’s off the chart too.

Susan kept the questions rolling in. Every one of them provided their own answers, so they stood alone as revelations in their own right. I never said no. Not even once.
Do you:

  • Become totally confident everything you do will succeed? 10

    • Feel that things are vivid and crystal clear? 11
  • Spend or wish to spend significant amounts of money? 9
  • Find that your thoughts race? 10
  • Notice lots of coincidences occurring? 9
  • Note that your senses are heightened your emotions intensified? 10
  • Work harder being much more motivated? 10
  • Feel one with the world and nature? 11
  • Feel carefree, not worried about anything? 11
  • Believe that things possess a special meaning? 10
  • Say quite outrageous things? 10
  • Feel “high as a kite” and elated? 10
  • Have much-increased interest in sex, both in thought and action? 11
  • Feel very impatient with people? 10
  • Laugh more and find lots of things funny? 10
  • Read special significance into things? 10
  • Talk over people? 10
  • Have mystical experiences? 11
  • Do fairly outrageous things? 11
  • Take unnecessary risks? 11
  • Sleep less and not feel tired? 10
  • Sing? 9 (not in crowds)
  • Feel irritated and angry? 10

Questions complete, Susan then took a different tack. She asked me about any recent occasions where I felt high and what happened. Scanning back, I homed in on a single memory that would shape the rest of the diagnosis session. There were many times over my life which I could have chosen but this one was recent and unforgettable. I thought Susan might be interested in the day I decided to become a performance clown.


This is an excerpt from Ryan Heffernan’s recently released book “The Clown and I”

We’d love to hear from you

Do you have a story to share?  Please feel free to send it to us and we may use it in a newsletter in future.  Want to tell your story to us in an interview?  Let us know.  We can interview you and put the interview in the newsletter. Do you have any topics or questions you’d like discussed in the newsletter?  Let us know.  Email us at

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