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  #1  
Old 11-06-2017, 09:45 PM
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Default Bipolar Type Schizoaffective Disorder

So my husband has bipolar type Schizoaffective disorder, which he unfortunately wasn't diagnosed with until after being incarcerated or there's a high chance he wouldn't be incarcerated right now. As someone who deals with their own mental health issues and also as someone who's heavily interested in psychology in general, I was wondering if any of you had any advice, resources, or experience on the disorder.

I am able to find a few things on the internet from websites I personally trust for psychology information, but I realize nothing on the internet can trump personal experience with it and that even the most reputable sites on the internet must always be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to psychology. Any advice you can give would be very much appreciated. Any resources, even if it's more websites, will be very much appreciated. Any experiences you can pass on to me to help prepare me for the rest of my life with him will be very much appreciated.

I adore my husband more than words can express, and I am determined to support him as best I can in his fight against this disorder. Both of us also have Aspergers, so if there is anything you can pass on to me related to that, I would appreciate it very much.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:46 AM
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Encourage him to get help. Encourage him to accept help when offered. That's what we can do as loved ones. Willingness to accept help is really key here. Accept that his issues are beyond what you can effectively manage and your role is to provide support to get the help he needs.

There are jail diversion initiatives in many states for the mentally ill. NAMI is a good resource to find out about programs available. The success of these programs do depend on a willingness to accept help when offered.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:52 AM
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There are many more options when the charges are at a misdemeanor level.
it's a whole other ballgame when there's class a felonies involved. Do your best to keep things from escalating.

Easier said than done, I know. In hindsight, I should have pursued more aggressive tactics early on. Nip it in the bud at the first truly distressing signs.
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:42 PM
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I have the same issue. My husband and i are a MWI couple. I dearly love him and i will wait ad long as it takes for him to come home. Sometimes it is more difficult to deal with his mood swings, however, when he isn't having one, he is the greatest guy in the world. I will never give up on him. I would really appreciate so help understanding the disorder. Are there triggers that cause the mood swings or is it just random? I am learning not to take some of the things he says personally.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Trampstrouble View Post
I have the same issue. My husband and i are a MWI couple. I dearly love him and i will wait ad long as it takes for him to come home. Sometimes it is more difficult to deal with his mood swings, however, when he isn't having one, he is the greatest guy in the world. I will never give up on him. I would really appreciate so help understanding the disorder. Are there triggers that cause the mood swings or is it just random? I am learning not to take some of the things he says personally.
It's really hard to make a generalisation. For some it's chemical (meaning that for example some otherwise innocent food can trigger a mood swing), for others it can be the weather, someone else's mood, something bad happening, and so on.

There is some research on what gut bacteria affect the mood (they indirectly cause a change in our brain chemistry).
With Schizo-affective disorder it's a lot harder to figure out what all the potential triggers can be as there are too many variables and too many differences between individuals. If the person has hallucinations for example, those themselves can cause a mood swing too. (It's complicated!)
It takes a lot of self-analysis of the affected to figure it out what causes what, so it's nearly impossible for an outsider to point out triggers.

If it eases your mind, I guess you could call it random, but unless you said something that triggers him, it's not personal.


Last edited by Ms. Amnesia; 11-28-2017 at 02:24 PM.. Reason: Typonese
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:29 PM
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My husband is not schizoaffective just bipolar. However, it doesn't matter now, I guess. I've decided that I can handle this as long as I don't take it personally and realize that he doesn't have control over it. I do want him to get help and he's spoken to me about getting help. He's been on the medication before, but, apparently since there was no one around to make sure he took his medication, he didn't take it.

He hates himself and beats himself up whenever he says mean things to me and he always apologizes later on.

Also, please understand that before six months ago none of his mood swings bothered me. Six months ago I had open heart surgery and it has caused some depression and anxiety issues that I've been having difficulty coping with. I used to be of the mindset that just because someone calls you a name doesn't magically make you that name. I am the only person who gets to decide what I am, who I am, and how I act or feel. I'll get back to where I was, it's just going to take some time.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:34 PM
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I've decided that I can handle this as long as I don't take it personally and realize that he doesn't have control over it. I do want him to get help and he's spoken to me about getting help. He's been on the medication before, but, apparently since there was no one around to make sure he took his medication, he didn't take it.

He hates himself and beats himself up whenever he says mean things to me and he always apologizes later on.
Same here. He has been diagnosed with depression for years now and got it in his head that he didn't need meds. He's back on meds now and staying on them, thankfully, but I did make sure to discuss an accountability plan for him to make sure he stays on his meds even after he's released. He also hates himself and beats himself up all the time because he thinks he's defective and "wrong" and it breaks my heart to watch him treat himself so poorly. He's an absolute sweetheart and I adore him. I often wish he could see in himself what I see in him.
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trampstrouble View Post
My husband is not schizoaffective just bipolar. However, it doesn't matter now, I guess. I've decided that I can handle this as long as I don't take it personally and realize that he doesn't have control over it. I do want him to get help and he's spoken to me about getting help. He's been on the medication before, but, apparently since there was no one around to make sure he took his medication, he didn't take it.
One little remark (on which you hinted yourself too), your husband isn't bipolar. He HAS a bipolar disorder. (Just like someone isn't a broken leg). An illness doesn't define who you are, it's something you happen to have. Medication is important to maintain. The upswing in bipolar can make him feel great, so the impression that meds are needed suddenly 'disappears' during a (hypo)manic phase, which in turn makes things worse, because eventually they drop and might cause a very sudden severe depression. It varies from person to person, some are very successful by maintaining a signalling plan.
The way that works is as follows:
Make a list of stages and signs for each direction of the swing and make note of severity. Usually a three level plan works, where ideal functioning is 0. then use slightly, moderately and severe (1,2,3) for each (manic/depressive) and add the signs. So when you see the signs for a level 1 despression, take action to prevent it to slide to level 2 and aim to do things that lead to going back to 0. That might mean avoiding certain things or doing other things. Since the effectiveness of each varies from person to person, there are no easy readymade plans for it.

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He hates himself and beats himself up whenever he says mean things to me and he always apologizes later on.
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Originally Posted by NeedA_Name View Post
Same here. He has been diagnosed with depression for years now and got it in his head that he didn't need meds. He's back on meds now and staying on them, thankfully, but I did make sure to discuss an accountability plan for him to make sure he stays on his meds even after he's released. He also hates himself and beats himself up all the time because he thinks he's defective and "wrong" and it breaks my heart to watch him treat himself so poorly. He's an absolute sweetheart and I adore him. I often wish he could see in himself what I see in him.
Try to recognize the levels I described and tell him that you understand where it comes from.

You can help him by asking the following:
- What happened?
- How did that make you feel? (Mark the feelings on a scale from 1-10)
- How did you react?
- How did your reaction feel?
- How would you want to have reacted, now that you think about it?
- How does your “ideal” reaction feel?

A variation of it is:
- What happened?
- How did that make him feel? (Mark the feelings on a scale from 1-10)
- What are his thoughts about what happened?
|- mark the "wrong" thoughts (so he'll recognize them); things like "It'll never improve" or "I can never do better"
Then make a list of 'in-favour of' and 'against' arguments for the "wrong" thoughts.
After that have him revisit the event in his mind and have him consider how it could make him feel better when he thinks about it differently (eliminating destructive thoughts).

If you want to know more about this, feel free to send me a PM.

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Originally Posted by Trampstrouble View Post
Also, please understand that before six months ago none of his mood swings bothered me. Six months ago I had open heart surgery and it has caused some depression and anxiety issues that I've been having difficulty coping with. I used to be of the mindset that just because someone calls you a name doesn't magically make you that name. I am the only person who gets to decide what I am, who I am, and how I act or feel. I'll get back to where I was, it's just going to take some time.
Labels are just that, an indication of something you happen to have. They aren't who you are.
Anaesthetics can have a very disruptive effect and can drastic alter your mind's chemistry. It can take a long time to recover from that. Make sure you eat healthy, get foods like yoghurt and other probiotics and if you can afford it, omega-3 fish oil with high EPA (around 1-2 grams EPA per day). Those help to restore the natural balance in your system (it also works for bipolar to some extent).

Last edited by Ms. Amnesia; 11-29-2017 at 01:12 AM.. Reason: Typonese
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:33 AM
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A small addition to my above post...

You can send your LO a copy of "Mind over Mood" (or a similar book). MoM is a self-help book, it has great practical examples, is quite clear on how to apply them and has an appendix with all the worksheets (much like the steps I mentioned already, but with more details).

The techniques described in the book are commonly used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

While the title suggests that moods can be controlled by the mind, it doesn't fully apply to those with bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. It does help with coping with the moods and getting a better perspective on how moods influence life and relationships (and vice versa).

Last edited by Ms. Amnesia; 12-01-2017 at 05:43 AM..
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:26 AM
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As I understand it, my husband's mother is "tripolar"??? I've never even heard of it, and I haven't found anything online about it. Is it actually a type of bipolar disorder? I know that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am assuming that bipolar disorder is also caused by a chemical imbalance as well, correct?? My husband says that if bothers him that he has to take me stabilizing medication. I've asked him what he has to be embarrassed about that for, i mean, if you're thirsty, you drink water because your body needs it. Why not give your brain the things that it needs to operate properly as well? Right?

Thank you for the book suggestion. I will definately look into it. Sounds like it would be very useful. I may also send you an IM later about the scale you're talking about in the previous post.

I have dealt with depression a few times myself, I still do at times. Meditation seems to be the best self help around. I spent some time in physical and psychological therapy in the past, because of an on the job injury. The psychologist was actually able to do more to relieve my pain than the physical therapist. That was a very trying time in my life. I was in constant pain for nearly three years. However, since I learned how to meditate, I am able to clear my mind when things get foggy, recenter, and be more mindful that it isn't everyone else who controls the things I say, do, or feel. That decision is ultimately mine. If I feel bad about something, it is because I allowed myself to feel that way about it.

Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to help us.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:55 AM
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This is a rather "technical" description in which I try simplify things a lot.

Diagnostic methodology used around the world varies and I'm well aware that they're not standardized around the world.
The most common diagnoses are split into five parts (using the DSM method):
1) Clinical disorder
2) Personality disorder
3) Physical disorder
4) Psychosocial and environmental factors
5) Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (0-100)

Bipolar and clinical depression would be categorised under 1. Normally that also means (with these two disorders) they stem from chemical imbalance and aren't caused by anything in 2. (In most cases disorders caused by drug use are flagged as such).
Personality disorders are put under 2. Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizo-affective Disorder and others fall under this.
Category 3 are all ailments which influence either 1 or 2 or both. Category 4 speaks for itself. Category 5 is only a score. The score itself is ambiguous. Most will say that there isn't anybody with a score of either 0 or 100. Arguably 0 could be comatose and 100 euphoric delirious. Again, it depends on the person making the diagnosis and the reported (dis)functioning.

Tripolar is considered a combination of 1 & 2. Bipolar with dysphoria or paranoia (from a personality disorder) could be labelled as tripolar, but it's not being used (yet) as an official recognised term. Extending this, it could also mean there is a quadpolar disorder and so on. Since it's a combination, the third pole is rarely observed as a unique phenomenon. Dysphoria usually goes along with a form of depression, rarely with a manic episode, for example. Paranoia can manifest itself throughout the spectrum, but is less likely present during a manic episode.

Keep in mind that it's NOT an exact science. A broken leg is "simple" to diagnose, whereas a mental illness is often not as clear cut as they make us believe.


As for the scale, there are different guidelines out there to make your own. I uploaded a picture, but don't have enough posts to include it here.

http://prisontalk.com/forums/picture...ctureid=102087

When you use the scale you'd write down symptoms and behaviours for each level. The extreme levels are considered the points at which someone can't be on their own and need (medical) supervision.
The plan works by identifying the symptoms and/or behaviours associated with a level, then use (learned) steps to bring it closer to the 0-line. (Ideal functioning mood level).
Such a plan is very personal and I recommend revising it regularly together with someone who knows the person involved very well. Other useful things to add are contacts for when things do threaten to get out of hand.

I hope this helps. Feel free to send me an IM if you want to discuss any of it in private. (I'm not a licensed therapist.)

Edited by Admin to add scale / link to scale

Last edited by patchouli; 12-03-2017 at 07:16 PM.. Reason: To add scale / link to scale
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:11 AM
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With both aspergers and bipolar I'm surprised it ever went before the courts at all. What do I know about all of that though? I can only say that at the very minimum it should have been taken into account for diminished responsibility on account of the fact that aspergers by itself leads to rigid thinking and often not understanding the concept of right and wrong.

This is not withstanding the mania that comes with bipolar, which in turn can lead to agitation and violence, delirium and psychosis. That in turn leads to a state where a person would have diminished awareness, if at all being cognizant of what they are doing and their actions. It's not clear cut to me on the above grounds that a person would be fit to stand trial. what constitutes legal insanity in the United States is another matter altogether for the law to work out but most common law countries including the United States follow some description of the M'Naghten Rules (1843). In that sense it should have been argued that he had a disease of the mind, or words to those effect.

Either way, this should have all been raised through notes directly from an independent psychiatrist/psychologist during the court proceedings. Of course with the United States being what it is, this is sometimes not the case for a myriad of reasons including the inability to afford proper psychological/psychiatric representation. So it's understandable that this may not have happened.

Of course the law and the psychiatric/psychological understanding of mental health never meet. I'm pretty sure at this point they never will meet either. The only thing I can state from this far away is to seek further help. There are diversion programs available, there are also things that can be achieved by getting to know the prison psychiatric/psychological team where you husband is and working them to see that he gets the correct treatment while he is incarcerated.

The jail/prison itself will also be able to tell you what programs they offer inside of the facility for your husband, so get in touch with someone from the facility itself to see what they can tell you about their services and who else you should best contact. Once you've got their details get in touch with them directly and express your concerns.

Last edited by Kronos; 12-02-2017 at 08:59 AM..
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:02 PM
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Okay, we need a bit of clarification here. The clinical description above is really good, and can be extended with the broken leg metaphor. As we know, all broken legs are not equal. Some are a pita with a cast for a couple of months. Some require surgery. Some breaks result in torn nerves and substantial enough vascular damage that more aggressive surgery is required. So, while there's a broken leg and that's obvious, the broken leg tears the nerve, resulting in nerve damage.

Likewise, a person with comorbid psychiatric conditions has an interplay between two different conditions. When one becomes florid in symptom, it can cause the other to become florid.

Bipolar type schizoaffective disorder is not the same as having schizoaffective personality disorder AND bipolar. Bipolar is more a description of how the schizoaffective can manifest when florid. Using our broken leg metaphor, schizoaffective with bipolar is how the leg breaks, not a broken leg and vascular disease. So, when the leg breaks, it results in a broken leg and traumatic vascular damage that can look a lot like somebody with vascular disease. But the reality is they are two separate issues, with two separate treatments.

Now, legally speaking, M'Naughten and its variants pertain to liability for the crime - insanity. M'Naughten predates the Civil War, and is a very tough standard to meet, so much so that it only works something like 2-5% of the time it's attempted at trial as a defense. It is an affirmative defense, meaning the Defendant must admit to the conduct. Most jurisdictions place the burden of proving a person was insane at the time of the crime on the Defendant. Having a psychiatric diagnosis doesn't mean squat. The question of sanity given to the jury can be broken down to two basic questions:

1. Was the person suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time of the crime?
If yes, you move on to
2. Because of the mental disease or defect, was the person unaware that his conduct was unlawful?

You can think of 2. As the, "Cope at the Elbow" test - would the person have done the exact same thing if there had been a cop at his elbow at the time. If yes, then he might meet the legal definition of insanity. Selling that to a jury, however, is a completely different matter. Juries look at a lot of things, including any effort to cover up the crime or to hide from the law. Ditch the knife you stabbed somebody with? Sane. Drive away from the crime and go home? Sane.

Competency to stand trial is a completely different issue. The defendant does not have to admit to liability for the crime. There's no affirmative defense of, "I did it, but there's an excuse" element to it. Competency has only to do with a person's fitness to stand trial. Again, nobody cares if the Defendant has a mental illness. You can be completely incompetent for any number of reasons, only one of which is mental illness. Competency concerns itself with two questions.

1. Can the person understand the charges s/he faces?
2. Can the person aid in his/her own defense?

That,s it. No more. If you know you're up on murder charges and choose to proclaim your guilt, or take a really crappy deal - you can do this. The law does not protect you from making bad decisions, nor does it force a Defendant to participate in his/her own defense.

So, let's illustrate. Dude is suffering from an undiagnosed psychotic disorder that is characterized by the voice of God in his head, telling him to kill Neighbor. He knows that killing Neighbor is wrong, but decides to kill Neighbor anyway - he'd much rather follow God's law than Man's law. So, he plucks up a knife from the kitchen, waits for Neighbor to come home from work, walks over, and stabs him to death. Then he goes home, cleans the knife off, and puts it back in the block.

Was he sane at the time of the crime? Is he competent to stand trial?

Get the difference?

Oh, and assuming both the State and the Defendant agree that the guy's incompetent to stand trial, he's not off the hook. He gets treated, possibly even shipped off to the state forensic hospital until such a time that he has been made competent to stand trial. This could mean years. At which point, he'll be delivered back to his home jurisdiction and tried for his crimes.

So, we take Dude, the guy with a psychotic disorder who kills Neighbor. Let's change things up a bit. He kills Neighbor because God told him. After killing Neighbor, the voice in his head reveals itself to be not a god but Satan, and Satan and all his little devils just start laughing at him. The laughter is so loud, it's all he can hear. When Dude's family find him, he's in the kitchen crying hysterically, banging himself in his ears and rocking. He is quickly arrested for the murder of Neighbor, but all he can do is cry hysterically, bang himself in the ears, and rock. This is somebody who's no longer competent to stand trial but was sane at the time he committed the crime. Can you see why?

We chan change it up again - Dude, instead of rocking, banging, and crying, has a heart attack. He's taken to the local ER and it's so bad that he has emergency surgery and winds up in the ICU because of complications. Dude is again incompetent to stand trial, but sane at the time he committed the crime. While it may be easier for the courts to determine when Dude is competent to stand trial when made incompetent due to a heart attack as opposed to a psychiatric condition, it amounts to the same thing - Dude must be treated until such time as he's able to both understand the charges against him and aid in his own defense.

As for taking this stuff into consideration at trial - most of these cases, most cases in general never go to trial. Undiagnosed mental illness is rarely diagnosed in jail. As a result, it is not used to diminish the penalties against a Defendant. Even those with mental illness may not choose to bring it up in an effort to diminish responsibility. First, those with antisocial personality disorder (a cluster B personality disorder, like schizoaffective, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, and I think there may be one more) is untreatable save with incarceration as a plaintive to protect society. Treatment of most Cluster B's is virtually nonexistent and those treatments that exist rarely reduce symptoms including criminality. Generally, you don't present a Cluster B unless the defendant happens to be wealthy enough to go to commit to and pay for a long term treatment program that specializes in say borderline.

Second, it may cause more trouble for a person to bring up a mental illness that has been diagnosed when that person has not adhered to a treatment plan. So, if Guy has schizophrenia and decided to go off his meds without the help of his psychiatrist, then committed a crime - he's going to get absolutely no traction with the courts. The courts tend to treat that the same way they treat repeat DUIs who claim alcoholism - fine, just don't get behind the wheel of a car when drunk. When you want to claim a mental illness as the cause of your crime, or as a partial cause of your crime, you better be in compliance with treatment at the time of the crime.

Yet another time you absolutely never bring up a mental illness to try to diminish capacity is in the case of sex offenses, especially child sex offenses. You do not want to say, "because I'm mentally ill, I sexually assaulted a person/child therefor, I should not be held as responsible as other people who sexually assault people/children." Want to claim pedophelia or paraphelia as a reason to diminish your capacity for the crime? Fine. Many states will lock you up in the civil commitment facility specifically for sex offenders until you are no longer suffering from your mental illness. In many cases, that means you spend the rest of your life in a heavily secured treatment and detention facility for sex offenders. You must always look at the ramifications of claiming a mental illness to diminish your responsibility for a crime. these ramifications include but are not limited to an impact on your professional license, liquor license, ability to be bonded, and child custody issues.

This is not a simple issue. Somebody saying it is is massively misinformed.

Now, more and more prisons are setting up psych units in their prisons. These differ markedly from general population, secure housing, and other, more traditional units. To become eligible for a bed in such a unit you again need more than a psych diagnosis. You need to be not functioning in general population such that you are becoming a danger to self or others, or you are a serious safety concern to the prison and they find that the best shot of managing you outside of SHU is in the psych unit. Not all prisons have these units, but they work and are becoming more commonplace.

If you're already in prison, diversion programs are not available unless specified by your sentencing order. Even then, you must qualify. Shock and boot camp programs are generally not open to people with serious mental illness that is not in remission.

There are a lot more treatment programs for addiction. Very few of those programs area available on the State dime for dual diagnoses individuals (addict and mentally ill individuals). There is still the taxpayer bias against addiction as a character flaw and mental illness as even more of a character flaw. Parity between psychological treatment and physical treatment was becoming a thing under Obamacare in states with the amedicare expansion and insurance programming. Outside of those states, everything is completely out of pocket, and very few people can afford treatment for a major depressive episode let alone the kinds of involved, long term treatments for motivated patients with personality disorders.

The best sources for low/no costs help outside of the prison system include your local chapter of NAMI, 12 step addiction recovery systems AND the related systems for loved ones of addicted individuals, the Bipolar and Depression Support Alliance which has free mettings for people with bipolar or depression and a meeting at the same time in a similar location for those who love those with bipolar or depression, Hearing Voices (it's called something else now, but I can never remember the name. Google Hearing Voices Alliance or Hearing Voices International and you'll get to the appropriate web page) which has weekly free meetings for those Who hear voices. People can talk about their experience and they can get help with non-medication means of dealing with voices in your head. People who are taking meds are also welcome since they usually have enduring symptoms that flare up and need to come up with better strategies for dealing with those voices.

Hotlines work well for emergencies and near emergencies. What people fail to grasp is that a hotline is not like calling 9-1-1; nobody's going to show up at your door and cart you away when you call. The voice at the other end listens to you and offers whatever help you are willing to accept. There is no communication with law enforcement unless you are about to harm somebody else - then they call 9-1-1 on another line.

There are also Warm Lines in many states. These are not 24-7 services, but usually run during normal working hours or a little beyond. These are people who volunteer and are willing to listen and talk so that something doesn't become a crisis. These are good services when you need. A little help, or need help thinking through a problem, or dealing with a particular symptom, or somebody to help you monitor a change in medication, therapist, or other issue.

Always talk with your attorney before getting a therapist, shrink, or availing yourself of one of the free services, hospitalization, partial hospitalization, or something. Generally it is a good idea to use what you have but it is all facts and circumstances and you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to court and wind up doing a long stretch in prison or worse.

Anyway, long post. I'm tired.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:09 PM
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That's a whole 10 page essay. There's not much need for clarification of the facts. As per usual you've oudone yourself because you want something to say.
Speaking as the person who started this thread in the first place, I asked for information, and that is what they gave me. I certainly don't want muddied facts either. Clear facts will help me deal with the situation and work towards the best possible outcome. Muddied facts risk making the situation worse.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:59 PM
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That's fine, all aside, I wouldn't take the advice of going to talk to hearing voices or 12 steps programs very seriously unless your intent is swapping one problem for another. Out of the people that I have seen go through these types of cult like programs, they all end up going to some cult like church as a result. Maybe religion is not your problem but it is mine. I see nothing but wicked people who prey on the victims of mental health issues. I see it all the time in my own community for that matter. You really need to go into that kind of discussion with an open mind about who is sitting at the top of the program and what there underlying intent is.

Having had a couple of acquaintances have their head filled with rubbish, and having had the same people basically brainwashed to the point where they are no longer the same person I would have a habit of avoiding those kinds of places like the plague. In fact I would be more inclined to try to find a mental health practitioner in your area that caters for people on a low-cost basis such as at a training-clinic or a community mental health centre.

If funds are really a problem then you should consider your eligibility for medicaid and jump through all the hoops involved in that before going anywhere near a 12 steps program or your local chapter of hearing voices.

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Old 12-02-2017, 08:05 PM
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I was raised in a cult church, escaped it and now attend a decent church, married my husband, and had to watch him get brainwashed and abused into a political cult that took advantage of his, at the time undiagnosed, mental illness to get him to believe their crap. I certainly would not encourage him to get any sort of treatment for his mental illness that I haven't first heavily researched to make sure it won't make things worse in the end.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:36 PM
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I'm not a particularly big fan of 12-step programs either, but as has been noted repeatedly in this thread: there aren't very many options available to low-income folks without insurance here in the United States.

One of the biggest obstacles here in the US is how so many states have refused to expand Medicaid, where you have to declare an annual income of at least $13,000 to qualify for any of the heavily subsidized Affordable Care Acts plans off the health insurance exchanges.

You can get around this obstacle by overestimating your income by informing your state Health and Welfare agency that you EXPECT to earn $13,000 in the next calendar year so as to qualify for the tax credits, and you won't be penalized come tax time if you end up earning less. But most people aren't comfortable with being deceptive like that, so they end up just going without insurance since they can't otherwise afford it without the subsidies (tax credits).
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:46 PM
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I'm not a particularly big fan of 12-step programs either, but as has been noted repeatedly in this thread: there aren't very many options available to low-income folks without insurance here in the United States.

One of the biggest obstacles here in the US is how so many states have refused to expand Medicaid, where you have to declare an annual income of at least $13,000 to qualify for any of the heavily subsidized Affordable Care Acts plans off the health insurance exchanges.

You can get around this obstacle by overestimating your income by informing your state Health and Welfare agency that you EXPECT to earn $13,000 in the next calendar year so as to qualify for the tax credits, and you won't be punished come tax time if you end up earning less. But most people aren't comfortable with being deceptive like that, so they end up just going without insurance since they can't otherwise afford it without the subsidies (tax credits).
I tried a twelve step program once and I don't know if it was just the way the meetings were structured, but it didn't do anything for me and felt more like a complete waste of time than anything. I would be okay with my husband trying it out since I don't feel that it's end goal was anything bad, and I would even go along with him for support if he needed that from me, but kind of like how certain medications work for certain people and do nothing for others, it didn't really help me in any way.

I am one of those who is likely going to have to go on Medicaid next year since I'll no longer be able to stay on my dad's plan, and the likelihood of me making $13,000 next year is pretty slim to non-existent, but as you said in the third paragraph, I'm also one of those who's uncomfortable with overestimating my income like that, so I'm sure my insurance will turn out to be absolute crap. As long as I can still afford my medications, I'm not too concerned about myself, but I worry what will happen for my husband in the future if his insurance ends up being awful. Got to love how I'm probably going to get fined for not being able to afford health insurance. "We noticed you're broke, so we're going to take more of the money you already don't have."
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:56 PM
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I understand the difficulty of proving eligibility of medicaid. I appreciate there aren't a whole lot of options out there. To be honest it makes me cringe that people with serious health issues can't get the treatment they deserve. However, mental health is the poor step-child of the rest of the health care system. I agree on one point above, you wouldn't leave someone in the community with a broken arm, so I don't see why we as a society continue to leave people in the community with broken minds.

Some places in this world have a more expansive legal framework for diminished responsibility and a better societal perspective of what mental health is. Other countries have not yet evolved such an expansive framework. It all starts with continually testing the boundaries of what can be achieved through the legal framework.

Having been there myself, I suggested that it be explored on the basis that it provides a far more morally wholesome and acceptable environment where people are treated like human beings. As to what the judge takes into account. You play that by the judge that is in front of you, and work it on the basis of what the offenders previous criminal history is like.

Pleading guilty early offers a layer of utilitarianism, telling the truth about whats going on in among the BS that the legal system throws at you is sometimes beneficial. It depends on how far you are along the lines of recidivism. You will come across as I have in this case, another lawyer who will tell you not to play that card. I really wouldn't make a habit of listening to those kinds of people.

If you get that far down the line, and it goes beyond a hearing, it would be best to put as much meat on the bones as you could to be honest. If you are a halfway decent person all of these things count as mitigation. If it means sitting out a few years in a hospital vs. being in a prison, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that it is more proactive and beneficial to be in a hospital bed as opposed to a jail/prison.

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Old 12-02-2017, 08:57 PM
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You can't be penalized for not having health insurance if your income is below $13,000 and you can't afford it. Plus, in those states where you can get on Medicaid, that is considered insurance for all intents and purposes, so the tax penalty won't apply in that case either.

I know a lot of people complain that Medicaid isn't accepted at as many places as regular insurance is, but there are some providers who don't accept particular insurance plans who will accept Medicaid. So you just have to shop around.

It's tougher if you live in a rural area without as many provider options to choose from, but if you live close to any urban areas, you can usually find someone who will take Medicaid, at least for your medication needs and general psychotherapy.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:04 PM
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You can't be penalized for not having health insurance if your income is below $13,000 and you can't afford it. Plus, once you are on Medicaid, that is considered insurance for all intents and purposes, so the tax penalty won't apply in that case either.

I know a lot of people complain that Medicaid isn't accepted at as many places as regular insurance is, but there are some providers who don't accept particular insurance plans who will accept Medicaid. So you just have to shop around.

It's tougher if you live in a rural area without as many provider options to choose from, but if you live close to any urban areas, you can usually find someone who will take Medicaid, at least for your medication needs and general psychotherapy.
Good to know they won't fine me then. These collect calls are making me sacrifice enough as it is. From the research my mom has done, we already know I'm going to lose my primary care physician that I have had ever since the day I was born because they don't accept medicaid. I suppose I can get over that loss eventually. It's just the transition to a new primary care physician that concerns me, both because I worry how well my medical history and prescriptions will transition over to them and also because, having Aspergers and enough of an established relationship with my current PCP to be comfortable talking with him, a new PCP is going to be quite the transition for me. Change isn't always easy for most people, but it becomes even more difficult when you're on the autism spectrum like both my husband and I are.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:19 PM
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***
It is a matter of semantics. I have been bipolar for 20+ years. Just because I say that does not mean, in any way shape or form, that the illness owns me. I kick its ugly ass every time it starts to rear his ugly head.
You mention getting healthy, going with probiotics and Omega-3s... If you want to throw away your money - go for it. There is no ( Zero, NADA, Zilch, Big Goose Egg) evidence proof / research by actual scientist that show these things as helpful. If the placebo effect works for you, go for it... I'm still bipolar.
Your tip of measuring up "feelings" after an event/episode etc, is truly good information, but I don't recall your advising what the numbers represent. DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance) counts a 1 as get the person to the hospital ASAP 43, 5 and 6 are more of a 'chillin' 'copacetic' mood. Maybe a little more down, or a slight bit up, but not enough to really get worked up about. Finally, your 10. Here you make no sense, you're running up and down the street nekked, police, ambulance, psych hospital, all that jazz. So thats one way.

A condition like Bipolar is not a one size fits all. Nor is Schizoaffective or Schizophrenia. We are all chemically different, it takes A LOT of time to find a solution that works for you or your LO. A vast majority of those with Bipolar do best with medication and therapy. If CBT (Cognative Behavioral Therapy) is available - push it on your LO. Try to learn about it yourself. It really gives you skills to communicate and problem solve. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) Support groups (out here) will prove very helpful to you and your LO, especially if therapists are not readily available in your area. If you have computer access (You're on here, so I am assuming...) (admins hope this ios ok)
All are dot org
https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Ment...lth-Conditions
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/Page...bsa_about_dbsa
http://www.ibpf.org/ (International Bipolar Foundation) On their site there is a FREE book, healthy living with bipolar... Doctors, therapists etc wrote it and has a TON of resources. Whether you are new to this or old hat like me, It's worth ordering Physical book or PDF File.

Go online, look at their sites, go to youtuibe and look them up for some very informative webinars.
You're tired of me now, just one more thing, where do I get off spewing pout this information. Again BiPolar 20+ years, Teach Peer to Peer class for NAMI San Diego, Served as support group facilitator for DBSA and worked many a resource fair for International BiPolar Foundation.

Edited by Admin to add links to resources

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Old 12-02-2017, 10:53 PM
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***
It is a matter of semantics. I have been bipolar for 20+ years. Just because I say that does not mean, in any way shape or form, that the illness owns me. I kick its ugly ass every time it starts to rear his ugly head.
I've got anxiety, depression, and panic disorder and I second this statement.

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You mention getting healthy, going with probiotics and Omega-3s... If you want to throw away your money - go for it. There is no ( Zero, NADA, Zilch, Big Goose Egg) evidence proof / research by actual scientist that show these things as helpful. If the placebo effect works for you, go for it... I'm still bipolar.
Exactly. Melatonin pills may help my sleep, but my Zoloft is the best way for me to deal with my anxiety, depression, and etc. Same as fidget toys can be a help for my ADHD, but they don't compare to what Ritalin does for me when, for example, I'm driving and can't be using a fidget toy.

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A condition like Bipolar is not a one size fits all. Nor is Schizoaffective or Schizophrenia. We are all chemically different, it takes A LOT of time to find a solution that works for you or your LO.
Agreed. My husband is on Prozac and it seems to be working quite well for him. When they put me on Prozac for my depression, it, if anything, made things worse, including vivid nightmares and reaching a point where I was so numb that if I felt nothing, I would have been feeling something. Stephen Shore once said about those on the autism spectrum that "you meet one person with autism, you've met one person with autism" and that goes the same for bipolar, depression, and everything else. No two people on the autism spectrum experience it the same (my husband and I being a perfect example of that) and no two people with depression or anxiety or bipolar or etc experience it the same. What works for one person might not work for the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustLilOlMe1012 View Post
A vast majority of those with Bipolar do best with medication and therapy. If CBT (Cognative Behavioral Therapy) is available - push it on your LO. Try to learn about it yourself. It really gives you skills to communicate and problem solve. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) Support groups (out here) will prove very helpful to you and your LO, especially if therapists are not readily available in your area. If you have computer access (You're on here, so I am assuming...) (admins hope this ios ok)
All are dot org
https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Ment...lth-Conditions
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/Page...bsa_about_dbsa
http://www.ibpf.org/ (International Bipolar Foundation) On their site there is a FREE book, healthy living with bipolar... Doctors, therapists etc wrote it and has a TON of resources. Whether you are new to this or old hat like me, It's worth ordering Physical book or PDF File.


Go online, look at their sites, go to youtuibe and look them up for some very informative webinars.
You're tired of me now, just one more thing, where do I get off spewing pout this information. Again BiPolar 20+ years, Teach Peer to Peer class for NAMI San Diego, Served as support group facilitator for DBSA and worked many a resource fair for International BiPolar
Adding on this resource list with a website I've found.

http://www.obad.ca which stands for Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders Society

Here is their page dealing specifically with schizoaffective disorder:

http://www.obad.ca/information_schizoaffective

And if you want to look at bipolar type specifically:

http://www.obad.ca/information_schizoaffective#f25

I've also started a playlist of YouTube videos that deal with bipolar schizoaffective in an appropriate light (e.g.: no "drink the koolaid" agendas or "these people need locked up for life because they'll kill us all" lights). I currently have it private for my husband's sake, but am willing to share the videos with anyone who sends me a private message on here.

Last edited by patchouli; 12-03-2017 at 08:05 PM.. Reason: added links to resources in quote
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:59 PM
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Mental illness is never a one size fits all basket. I have a mixed state of depression/anxiety last time they tried to state that I had BPD. Things get hectic enough as it is with me. The problem is my 10/10 although I suffer from distorted thinking I don't lose touch with reality, that in itself sometimes makes it worse when you can still recall exactly what you did and said as for me there is no psychosis involved.

CBT and DBT work, changing certain elements of your diet can work, you just have to work out what some of your triggers are. For me at least its caffeine sensitivity, which sucks. However, stimulants can tend to trigger certain people with underlying mental health issues regardless of what they are.

The illness doesn't own who I am, every time I've had an episode I've come back out the other side. Sometimes you think you wont but that's just the nature of things. It's best not to deal with your thoughts in the middle of a lack of clarity. I am a relatively successful person. A post-graduate holder with a thesis to my name among other things, and at the moment I'm working with other on self help/self care through a local peer support/resources center in my area which tends to keep my mind occupied on other people's problems and not my own.

There is a new type of melatonin affecting anti-depressant called Agomelatine. The problem is, its too new and will generally cost too much for the average American, but it has been statistically proven to have an effect above placebo. So, the effects of melatonin are actually real. This is particularly the case in the extremes of the Northern hemisphere where there is a lack of sun in winter. It's particularly effective for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I find the best way to deal with my depression and anxiety is to fill my world with positive distractions, self help groups, even movies or video game where you don't have to think. Even fidget toys such as stress balls or etc. Then there is the time in between where you can focus on self-calming/soothing strategies. Doing mindfulness in the middle of a panic attack doesn't generally tend to work. Sometimes in that state of mind it can actually be beneficial to do the exact opposite. Go for a run to the end of the street and back, or get on your bicycle and go for a ride. You can learn some self havening techniques such as having your right arm under your left arm pit or hugging yourself on both shoulder blades if that helps you to sit still for as long as nescessary.

The problem with most people who have some state of depression and anxiety is that that they overthink things. Sometimes people plan out their entire lives until age 85. It's not really helpful for the situation. You have to find a way of regrounding yourself. Whether that is in positive activities or distractions. It doesn't really matter. The problem is generally related to an over-active mind and it can be cured by simply filling your mind with other things that are actually positive.

What medicine works for some, doesn't work for others, at the moment my psychiatrist has a bit of a conundrum. The only thing that seems to be working for me at the moment is Amitriptyline which is an old fashioned tricyclic antidepressant. I wouldn't have chosen it, but my psychiatrist thinks he knows better. The good news is that you can get Amitriptyline cheap under a generic, the bad news is that it may cause death.

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Old 12-03-2017, 12:20 AM
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---the bad news is that it may cause death.
Don't they all anymore? I can't think of a single medication I've been on that hasn't talked about how it might make my symptoms worse (uhm, what?!) or kill me. I suppose that blurb is in every medication's warnings thanks to lawyers, but it still makes me wonder some times just how exactly these medications are actually supposed to work. The unfortunate thing about those side effects is that it makes people who aren't very good at staying on their medications in the first place even less willing to do what it takes to stay on their meds, no matter how small of a percentage chance there is that they'll ever experience any of those side effects at all in their lives.
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