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Bipolar News

May 9, 2006

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When change is good
Toronto Sun - Canada
... towards recovery. Fort Frances' Doug Cridland, diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 18, battled his illness as a teen. Once he ...

Porn Past Cost Kentucky Teacher Her Job
FOX News - USA
... Dye said she suffers from bipolar disorder and agreed to appear in the 1995 flick because she had no home or income and her disease wasn't being treated. ...

Maggie T conquers demons
London Free Press - Canada
OTTAWA -- Margaret Trudeau says she has rediscovered joy after treatment for bipolar depression that dogged her for years -- and she's urging fellow sufferers ...

Swing low, fly high: Bipolar disorder affects college students
University Daily Kansan - Lawrence,KS,USA
... Hanke’s failed attempt at a fatal flight is congruent with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric disorder of which an estimated 300 KU students suffer. ...

Margaret Trudeau says she endured bipolar depression
Vancouver Sun (subscription) - British Columbia, Canada
OTTAWA - Margaret Trudeau says she endured bipolar depression for years and is urging fellow sufferers to step forward and seek treatment. ...

The other side of Amy Sky
Toronto Star - Ontario, Canada
... In Harvey's case, she has struggled with bipolar disorder for as long as she can remember, although the illness often manifests itself at puberty. ...

Profiles in courage
Trenton Times - Trenton,NJ,USA
... Nationwide, 7 percent of adults and children have a serious, disabling mental illness such as clinical depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. ...

'I had developed anorexia nervosa because I was starving myself. . ...
Globe and Mail - Canada
OTTAWA -- Just two days after admitting that she has for years suffered from a bipolar disorder, Margaret Trudeau says she has also dealt with anorexia nervosa ...

Margaret Trudeau urges fellow sufferers of bipolar depression to seek help

AP Worldstream; 5/8/2006

Dateline: OTTAWA
Margaret Trudeau, the former wife of Canada's late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, says she has rediscovered joy after receiving treatment for bipolar depression, a condition she kept secret for years.

She acknowledged suffering the condition in an appearance Friday and encouraged others with bipolar depression to seek help.

"I have my life back after years of struggles," she told an audience at Royal Ottawa Hospital. "I felt I was broken for a long time and now I feel whole. No one should suffer needlessly any more. There is help, there is recovery."

She said her battle with postpartum depression began following the birth of her second son, Alexandre, in 1973. She said her husband was puzzled by her condition and did not know how to help.

"I can tell you that living at 24 Sussex was very lonely, a long tunnel of darkness for me," Trudeau said.

During her marriage to Trudeau, she earned notoriety for escapades such as partying with the Rolling Stones. She sought medical help, but found no effective treatment, and struggled on her own for 25 years.

"It impacted my family life for years, it tore away at my two marriages and ultimately the very meaning of my life," she said at a hospital fundraising event.

"It was not until I suffered the unbearable loss of my son Michel, followed by the loss of Pierre, that I needed and had to seek treatment," she said.

Michel died in an avalanche in 1998, and the former prime minister died in 2000.

Trudeau, 57, said she received treatment after she was taken to a hospital by one of her sons.

"I'm here today to encourage others who live with mental illness to tell them that the treatment works, that there is no shame in coming forward for help," she said.

Bipolar disorder involves unpredictable swings from deep depression to inappropriate euphoria. New drugs to treat the condition have been introduced in recent years.

Trudeau is now the picture of health, with a broad smile and flashing eyes.

"Yes, I take medication, but I also exercise, eat well, live well, I don't abuse my body, I don't abuse drugs or alcohol, I have joy back in my life."

Copyright 2006, AP News All Rights Reserved

This material is published under license from the publisher through ProQuest Information and Learning Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

Long road to mental wellness.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI); 5/8/2006

Byline: Patricia Anstett

Mental illness doesn't always intrude into a person's life as a single disease with clearly defined symptoms.

Ask Dana Parker. For more than 20 years, she struggled off and on with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

She still managed to earn a college degree, get married, have a son and dote on him, and hold down a job as a university admissions counselor.

But her precariously balanced life tumbled apart when her marriage collapsed and her symptoms snowballed into full-blown paranoia.

Dana was convinced that her home was bugged and that spies trailed her. She spent hours in her car chasing buses, whose signs she felt compelled to follow to pursue clues.

Today, four years since her worst breakdown, Dana, 37, of Detroit, is healthy and happier than she has been in many years.

She is enrolled in a master's degree program in social justice at Marygrove College and recently launched a Web site for Dig My Roots (, her new nonprofit organization. Dig My Roots will provide support services for mentally ill people in adult education, trade school or college programs.

Dana's turnaround comes with help from a strong family network and a new Wayne State University School of Medicine program that takes a different approach to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, at a time when many providers have exited the field.

Though 2.5 million Americans have schizophrenia, mental hospital closings during the past three decades often leaves them and their families with little more than support groups and periodic psychiatric visits to refill prescriptions.

Hers also is a story of a strong man who loves her for all her complexity, a devoted mother determined to see her healthy again and a 10-year-old son with unusual wisdom about his mother's illness.

Dana has her own word to describe her journey.

She calls it a miracle.

She was a ballerina and a tomboy.

The younger of two girls, she was her dad's sidekick. They would play basketball in the backyard of their stately, six-bedroom home in northwest Detroit.

But she also took dance lessons three times a week for more than 10 years and learned good posture and refinement by attending teas and debutante balls with the Jack and Jill service organization, "to make a lady out of me," Dana said.

An impeccable dresser, well read and articulate, she is the latest of several generations in her family with college degrees. Both of her parents were Detroit Public Schools teachers.

"She was a happy child," said her mother, Mamie Parker. She saw no early clues that her daughter someday would develop a chronic mental illness.

Dana has attention deficit disorder, but it didn't become an issue until high school, when she pursued a challenging math and science curriculum at Cass Technical High School.

"She rushed through things," her mother said. "She didn't stay focused on one task."

Dana's life changed in a single night, when she was 12.

She heard her father cry out from his bedroom. It was Dana who called 911.

Sidney Parker died five days later from a brain aneurysm, at 41.

Dana had lost her closest friend. She describes her father as "the kind of man who could dine with the president and who also would invite a homeless man to dinner." He bought dozens of shoes for elementary school kids and tutored them on weekends at his home in "weekend drill camps," assisted by Dana and her mother.

Dana became profoundly depressed and had to take medication.

Mamie Parker took Dana to a psychologist, who assured her he found no problem, beyond the typical depression expected with mourning.

Be patient, Mamie Parker recalls him telling her.

From then on, mother and daughter were inseparable. Mamie Parker attended her daughter's basketball games and helped with her studies. They traveled to France and Africa.

Dana graduated from Cass and received a degree in behavioral and social services from the University of Maryland.

She flirted with a career in law, first getting paralegal certification from American University in Paris, and then pursuing a pre-law curriculum at two Washington, D.C., schools before she settled on a job as an undergraduate admissions counselor at her alma mater.

An impressive job she did on a brochure led to a series of university committee appointments and promotion to senior admissions counselor, a job involving considerable travel.

By then, Dana was married and the mother of a son, Zachary Wood.

After his birth in 1995, she developed anxiety and racing thoughts. When Zachary was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disease at age 4, Dana became more stressed, running back and forth to his school, doctor's offices and her job.

She started seeing a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

By then, her husband, an accountant, was growing impatient with her erratic behavior and mood swings.

Dana admits to not taking medicine her doctor prescribed, because she feared she'd gain weight.

Now, she wonders if she would have been helped more by a different medicine, one that better fit her mental illness.

It came, a few years too late.

As her marriage of five years disintegrated, Dana became very emotional. She grew obsessed with signs and colors. She kept a notebook of license plate numbers, thinking each meant something to her.

"It was horrible but it was wonderful," Dana says. As much as the images frightened her, they also brought a sense of incredible energy and euphoria that came as her mind raced at full speed. She interpreted billboards and bus signs as directions and felt compelled to follow them, sometimes for hours.

She no longer hid her obsessions from her son.

They had a signal. If she winked at him, that indicated someone was watching her.

At the same time, she helped him with his homework, taught him how to shoot a lay-up and held down her job.

Six months after her separation in 1999, Dana met Daniel Mathis, a friend of Zachary's basketball coach. The coach thought the two would make a good couple.

He didn't run when Dana told him she had bipolar disorder. When she confided that she thought her home was bugged, he had a security firm come over and sweep the home for devices. Then he brought over his father, a minister, to reassure her.

When that didn't help, Mathis didn't leave. "That's what is amazing about him," Dana said. "He never got off the ride."

Unmedicated at times, or insufficiently medicated with drugs only for manic depression, Dana slid into total paranoia in late summer 2002.

"It all came to a head one day when I picked up Zachary and took him to a park," she said. She parked next to a car with the keys in it. Convinced her car had a hidden camera in it, she ordered her son into the stranger's car, over his protests.

As she drove away, the car's owner chased and stopped her. He realized he knew her.

Seeing she was troubled, he drove her back to her car.

Dana called her mother. Fearful she would lose custody of Zachary, she pleaded to be hospitalized.

Mamie Parker drove to Maryland immediately and arranged for a mover to load up Dana's possessions. Dana was admitted to Detroit Receiving Hospital in August 2002.

A team of psychiatrists diagnosed Dana with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of the paranoid symptoms of schizophrenia with the mania, depression and anxiety of mood disorders. They prescribed different medicines. In three weeks, she started to feel better.

Just before Christmas, she was released from the hospital.

Her paranoia was gone.

Back at her mother's home, Dana started to recover. But she remained tense and tentative. Her psychosis returned.

Her psychiatrist tried one drug then another until he found three that worked.

Mamie Parker had her own idea. An accomplished quilter and seamstress, she coaxed Dana into working on a quilt to give Zachary for Christmas.

"It really helped me," Dana said. "Instead of focusing on all the stimulation and people, I could focus on the quilt and its color ... I thought back on the experience and it was like my roots pulled me through."

Her mother, who had retired, returned to work, teaching science at Ralph Bunche Elementary in Detroit, to buy and furnish a condo for her daughter and grandson.

She also started to learn about mental illness.

By 2005, finally free of all her psychotic thoughts, more relaxed and gaining confidence, Dana was stable enough to be ready for more.

She enrolled in an intensive outpatient program for people with psychotic disorders that had just opened at Wayne State. It was started by Dr. Matcheri Keshavan, who joined Wayne State University last year as professor and associate chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences.

Keshavan says early intervention can spare people from devastating recurrences.

"The longer they go untreated, the harder it is to get them back into the community," said Keshavan, who splits his time between Wayne State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

People with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders need help with goal-setting, memory and organization skills to counteract poor motivation and antisocial symptoms that medicines poorly address, he said.

The program offers group and one-on-one counseling; strategies for motivation and goal-setting, and help with drugs. A companion program is studying children of people with schizophrenia, to look for early warning signs in a group at higher risk of the disorder.

The work is funded with grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Flynn Foundation and, recently, a $1-million, three-year grant from the state of Michigan.

Keshavan and other experts in the field say it's too soon to know whether early intervention and intensive therapies pay off.

"Early intervention is like motherhood; everyone will vote for it," said Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a leading schizophrenia expert at the Stanley Medical Research Institute, a Washington. D.C. area mental health organization. "But the jury is still out whether it makes a difference."

"I've learned to small-scale my ideas," Dana said. "Before, my ideas always were too broad."

Two A's and a B for fall semester boosted her confidence. "Understanding what the illness is, is the most superior coping skill," Dana said.

She no longer feels shame about her illness.

Mathis, now her fiance, and son understand, too.


Wayne State University Psychiatric Centers: 800-650-7837,

Dig My Roots Foundation: 313-259-8918,


Schizophrenia is a brain disease that causes persistent and often bizarre disturbances in thought, communication, perceptions, emotions and behavior. The average age of onset is 18 in men and 25 in women, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.


Report any of these symptoms to a medical doctor:

Behavior: Unusual posturing, excessive writing without apparent meaning, deterioration of personal hygiene, taking long walks leading nowhere.

Emotion: Inappropriate laughter or an inability to express emotion, apparent indifference, especially to important situations, undue preoccupation with spiritual or religious issues.

Thoughts and speech: Vague or irrational statements, peculiar use of words or language, illogical or incoherent conversation.

Social interactions: Isolation, inability to concentrate.

Intellectual abilities: Decline in academic or athletic performance.

Sources: Dr. Matcheri Keshavan, Wayne State University School of Medicine and National Institute of Mental Health

(c) 2006, Detroit Free Press.

Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2006 Detroit Free Press

This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

YOUR LIFE: Is there a cure for my mood swings? MERCURY MEDIC.

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England); 5/7/2006


Q I HAVE just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and I would like to know what this condition is, what the best treatment for it is and where I can get more information about it.

A BIPOLAR Disorder (also known as Manic Depression) is a disorder of mood characteristically comprising swings from depression to elation.

The symptoms of depression comprise pervasive sadness and tearfulness, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, feelings of hopelessness, guilt and self-blame, self-deprecatory beliefs, tiredness and, sometimes, thoughts of suicide.

If severe, people in a depressed phase find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to function properly and can be bed-bound.

The depressed phase may last several weeks (particularly without treatment). It may then be followed by a phase of excited mood known as mania or hypomania. You will experience boundless energy, feel extremely happy and elated and be full of ideas, and your mind will be racing with thoughts.

You may indulge in behaviour you later regret such as overspending, being promiscuous, taking on too much or falling out with friends.

Because of their behaviour during a manic phase, some people get in trouble with the police.

Though the initial stages of a manic phase may be welcome, sometimes things get completely out of control and being manic is usually a very uncomfortable experience.

In between the periods of depression and hypomania, there may be a period of normality which can last for weeks or months.

Sometimes Bipolar Disorder runs in families. It's likely that genetic factors increase the vulnerability to developing the disorder and other factors (such as stress, alcohol, drugs or life events) play their part in the development of the illness.

The standard treatment is mood-stabilising medication.

Although periods of depression should be treated with antidepressants, this can precipitate a manic phase. Hypomania can be treated with antipsychotic medication but relying solely on antidepressants and antipsychotics can result in a rapid-cycling condition whereby there are multiple swings between mania and depression with not much normal mood in between.

Mood stabilisers (such as lithium carbonate, carbamazepine or sodium valproate) act to iron out the extreme mood swings, thereby producing

a stabilised mood state. If successful, this can completely prevent the abnormal mood swings and an affected individual can return to a normal quality of life.

Many people with Bipolar Disorder are able to hold down high-profile and demanding jobs because of the success of their treatment. Drug treatment can be supplemented by psychological treatment.

Further information on Bipolar Disorder can be obtained from the Manic Depression Fellowship at or the Royal College of Psychiatrists at

If YOU have a question about health and wellbeing, write to Mercury Medic, Sunday Mercury, Weaman Street, Birmingham B4 6AY, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2006 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd

This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

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