Finding the right bipolar support group is like finding a pair of jeans: if one doesn’t fit, there are plenty of others to slip into.
After thirty years of faithful attendance at 12-Step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous), and two other ‘Anonymouses,’ I split.
I objected to the self-sickness of “I’m Allison and I’m a ‘recovering’ ____. like I’d never get well.
After reading two scientifically based books, “Unbroken Brain: Understanding the Revolutionary New Science of Addiction,” Maia Szalavitz, (who is also a George Soros Fellow), and “The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science of 12-Step Groups and The Rehab Industry” by Lance Dodes of Harvard, I don’t buy into the disease concept for myself.
I don’t wish to discourage anyone from trying “The Program” if they have habits they can’t break. They save lives and often hold families together.
What pushed me out was if I mentioned ANYTHING related to bipolar disorder, the meetings erupted into two equally fervent camps; ‘Me ‘Toos’ and ‘Haters’ who think bipolar is bogus.
Weary of the feeling I’d hijacked the meetings, I withdrew.
Once I looked around for replacements, I found an exciting new frontier.
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) “Connections” groups are great.
They’re round-the-room ‘check-ins’. They allot three to five minutes per person.
Most members have lived with their diagnosis (es) for decades.
To see if any Consumer-Run ‘Drop-In’ Centers are located near you, here is a link to The Consumer Driven Services Directory from the National Mental Health Consumer’s self-help Clearinghouse. http://www.cdsdirectory.org/database/view_all_listings.php This does not list “Drop-Ins” run by medical professionals. Don’t forget to search for those by calling local hospitals.
Allison went to Stanford University on a volleyball scholarship, played professional beach volleyball, and has acted in TV and film. In the past, she has also been an Alternative Rock Disc Jockey for “The Edge,”“The Q” (Phx,Az) and “The X,” (LA).
She also was an international music critic for Melody Maker (UK), had a weekly column (“New Noise”) in the Arizona Republic and wrote for Hits Magazine.
When she had her first manic episode, she went inpatient and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Undaunted, she mailed out job applications (from the hospital) and landed at a local station. She loves the raw honesty of The Smiths, Nirvana, The Cure, etc, and follows new music today.
Allison lives in Hollywood, Florida and also writes for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, International Bipolar Foundation, Psych Central, and NewLifeOutlook Bipolar.
Her personal blog is: Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause.
Whether you live with bipolar or love someone who does, you can find comfort, wisdom, and strategies (maybe even a good laugh!) in these inspirational books. We can lose ourselves in the power of the written word, compelled by the raw emotions, deep insights, and humorous takes offered by others like us—people who share our...
The back story of the famed golf commentator and humorist’s success at life and love detours through ADHD, addictions, and bipolar depression. Almost through happenstance, David Feherty has spawned the Feherty brand. As in: Feherty, his Emmy-nominated series on the Golf Channel, a combination of interviews and antics now in its ninth season. And “Feherty...
Selena Gomez is no stranger to navigating mental health challenges, from dealing with the emotional burden of lupus to her kidney transplant to bipolar’s depression and anxiety. She’s learned the power of self-care and having the right connections—and how to say “no.” On April 3, 2020, singer and actor Selena Gomez candidly revealed that she...
The new face of the Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health campaign discloses her bipolar diagnosis to help us feel as empowered as the hero she plays on Supergirl. Bipolar, Identity & the Roles We Play Supergirl’s adoptive sister, Alexandra Danvers, MD, PhD, scientist and government agent, uses her genius-level smarts and kick-ass fighting...