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A Clear Focus Controls Mood Swings

Mission

My mission contains several aspects: (1) to provide hope to those who suffer from mental disorders like depression, bipolar illness (formerly called manic depression), and/or alcoholism/addiction, (2) to keep the site simple so that it will quickly load onto your computer, (3) to introduce others to self-help groups like twelve step groups (AA) and Recovery, Inc. (a self-help group that teaches a form of cognitive therapy), and (4) to keep costs down so that I do not have to ask anyone for money or have to overload the site with ads. To lower my overhead, I walked to a public library and taught myself HTML to build this site. I believe my years of struggles with mental illness have allowed me to stumble upon a nature cure for depression. I will share many tools and techniques that work with or without medication. My friends in 12-step fellowships like AA gave freely of their time to bring me out of depression; consequently I help others as a way of paying back the hundreds of people who gave me back my life. I'm not trying to make money with this site. I have no drugs, herbs, tapes, seminars, or foods to sell. This work helps me to live without depression.

My story

When I was a few weeks from graduating from college with honors, I was placed in a locked mental ward. My diagnosis was manic-depression (now called bipolar depression). After a few weeks the Thorazine, Mellaril, and Stelazine kicked in and reduced me to a vegetable. (I was not prescribed medication like Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, or Zoloft because they had not been invented yet). With my mind completely shut off, I was released from the hospital to spend month after month just sitting in a chair. I ended up graduating two years late. The girl I was going to marry left. Having nothing to do but eat and take pills, my weight jumped to 300 pounds. I was the fattest person at any large gathering of people like Sunday Mass or basketball games.

For years I was assigned various doses of mind-numbing drugs. At some time Valium, Parnate, and Norpramin were added to my mix. On top of everything I took increasing amounts of alcohol. For years I wanted to die each and every day. Regularly, I daydreamed of suicide. Today they would say I had a dual diagnosis.

After I made a call to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) my life started to change. Under the guidance of my psychiatrist, I gradually cut my meds until they were gone from my life. Eventually, I made my way to many different 12-step fellowships. I also went to a self-help group called Recovery, Inc. Recovery, Inc. taught me many specific tools to deal with anxiety, mood swings, and sleepless nights. Regular vigorous exercise brought my mood swings under control. Journal writing gave me valuable insights.

Many, many years have passed since I made that call to AA, and my life is and has been beyond my wildest dreams for a long time. And boy did I have some wild dreams when in my mania phase. Even though I once was the fattest person I had ever known, self-help programs gave me the courage to lose the weight, run 26.2 mile marathons, earn a black belt in martial arts, and finish a triathlon composed of swimming, biking, and running. My mental illness confined me to my house; besides preventing my mind from thinking, my medication made me hypersensitive to the sun. In recovery, I have climbed mountains, gone skin diving in the Florida Keys, and even hiked 22 miles across the Grand Canyon. I am a published author. My opinions have even been printed in Newsweek. My obsessive nature helped me to do research that earned me a spot in Who's Who in Science. I have been on television many times and at one point a movie was being made of my life to inspire young people to take up science. My place of work, my community, and my college alma mater have all given me achievement awards.

In this site I want to share some of my experiences and insights into mental illness. I will use my years of teaching biology and chemistry together with my studies of organic chemistry and biochemistry to explain what may be happening to our nervous system during our highs and lows.

It is time for me to stand up and be counted as a bipolar who functions in society without depending on a handful of pills every day. After reading my personal story, you will find ways to control your mood swings and accomplish your dreams. If I can do it--so can you. You do not have to give up your soul if you are depressed. Each of us has a mission, a destiny. Believe me, after reading my story you will get more hope then you have had in years .

To read a blow by blow description of my journey back from depression read my book, How Self-Help Groups Can Control Dual Disorders.


I find the following information helpful for fighting bipolar depression.

Recovery,Inc. is a self-help group that uses similar methods. Recovery, Inc. meetings are found in most major cities. Recovery, Inc. taught me specific tools to control my behavior and my moods. This site will give the locations of meetings around the United States.

Soberrecovery.com gives locations and times for many different 12-step programs in addition to other information about recovery.

NA.orgwill quickly give you times and locations for NA meetings around the world.

Walkers in Darkness has forums on many topics including recovery. It is fairly popular so there are recent messages.

Psychforums.com has a great deal of information and many forums with recent messages. I am a moderator on some of the forums.

Coping.org Tools for Coping offers specific directions to activities that attack the basic thinking patterns of depressive people that keep them depressed. These "tools" include methods of curing insecurity, perfectionism, fears, and irrational beliefs. Instead of just taking pills you can actually beat your depression with your own effort. This site will put you in control of your life and your depression. It gives answers. To access these tools select "Tools for Personal Growth" under the Adults' Tool Box on the home page.

www.drugs.com gives basic information on medications. It includes side effects and much of the information that your doctor should tell you.

www.citizen.org/eletter/ gives unbiased, up-to-date information on medications used to treat psychiatric disorders. It is not funded by pharmaceutical companies so you can trust it.


As a bipolar,I did not mind the highs, but I hated the lows. The following can be very helpful for coping with depression.

Depression Learning Path explains many of the ideas in my book in a slightly different manner. This site reviews many ways of treating depression. It has some interesting information about treating depression only with medication.

AA Online.netThis link has open AA real time topic meetings. Anyone interested in recovery from alcoholism is invited. Using this site is a good way to see how AA works.

Depressionisachoice contains a great deal of information about how to deal with depression without medication. Several psychologists describe side effects of medication and say that psychoactive drugs are no better for depression than placebos. I have found this to be true, but drug companies spend enormous amounts of money to convince you otherwise. Check out the article, Against Depression, a Sugar Pill Is Hard to Beat. Everyone taking any mood medication should visit this site.

Grant Me The Serenity... Self-help, Addiction & Recovery
Addiction, alcoholism, abuse, self-help & mental health resources. Offers recovery books & gifts, prayers, quotes, meditations, articles & news, affirmations & free downloads.

Anger Management - Controlling Anger = Stress ...


Articles

Acceptance, the Key to Controlling Bipolar Depression by Jim S

Song Lyrics Can Help Depresion by Jim S offers ways of dealing with depression that came from popular songs.

What causes a chemical imbalance by Jim S describes what happens inside the brain when the doctor says you have a chemical imbalance. This article contains drawings and mentions most of the scientific terms found in the literature.

How Recovery, Inc. helps the dual diagnosed by Jim S compares the tools and main ideas of AA and Recovery, Inc. Recovery, Inc. teaches people to control anxiety, depression, and other mental problems. Recovery, Inc. does not take a life time to learn.

We would be in the dark ages if not for depressives and manic depressives by Jim S. describes some of the great achievements of famous people from the past and present who have suffered from depression or manic depression (bipolar)

Secrets of losing weight from a former fat slob by Jim S Many are depressed because they think they are too fat. Read this to get new insights and learn a few tips to control your weight from a person who lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for years.

Latest, most reliable study shows antidepressants do not usually work the first time. In the largest study to date, scientists prove that drugs fail to relieve depression most of the time. However, eventually after trying several different medicines, two thirds get relief.

Intense exercise better at fighting depression Several studies have showed that exercise is as good as antidepressant medication in relieving depression. Research published in the January 2005 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that relief from depressive symptoms is related to the intensity of exercise.

Exercise as good as antidepressants

An article published October 25, 1999 in Archives of Internal Medicine found that exercise is as good as antidepressants at relieving the symptoms of depression.

Exercise better at keeping depression away A follow-up study of depressed patients who were treated for depression with exercise has shown that exercise was better than medication at maintaining remission of depression.

More proof--Exercise as good as antidepressants Good news, a large study has just showed that exercise, done in a group or individually, is just as good at fighting depression as antidepressants. It even works for more severe depression.


Book Reviews

Click here to see book reviews.

You can beat depression

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs

Surviving Manic Depression

Recharge in Minutes

The Truth About the Drug Companies

Delivered from Distraction

The Zen Path through Depression

Cognitive Therapy of Depression

Positively ADD

Coping with Depression From Catch-22 to Hope

Spark your Dream

Healing the Shame that Binds You

Surviving Ben's Suicide

Depression for Dummies

Before Prozac

Voluntary Madness


Free Books

Free Self-Help Book written by Dr. Clay Tucker, a clinical psychologist. His Chapter 14 describes many methods for changing our moods and our attitudes. These methods have been called Rational-Emotive therapy.

Wishcraft, a free book that describes how to discover and reach your dreams. When you start achieving your goals, you will feel in control and thus gain in self-esteem and self-confidence. Depression grows if you feel out of control of your life.

How Self-Help Groups Can Control Dual Disorders, a free book I wrote about my recovery from depression. I covered the topics I wanted to hear when I was confined to a locked mental ward as a young man. The main aim of my book is to give hope to those who suffer from mental illness.

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional. Bipolar disorder (manic-depression) can result in serious relationship, financial, and health consequences. You may need the help of a psychiatrist and proper medication before suggestions from this site can aid you.

Any questions, comments, suggestions--Mail me at

faceyourdemons@hotmail.com

Last updated June 2009.

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