Monday, April 21, 2014

Bipolar Insights: Authenticity and mercy

From page B2 | January 21, 2013 | 1 Comment

It was one of those moments that appear out of nowhere. Suddenly, without warning, anguish approaches, your stomach tightens and tears wash over your cheeks. You are left to wonder WHY?

How does one understand or accept a world where a single moment brings unbearable sorrow?

On Dec. 14 the world was united in that stomach-tightening misery that rained down on Sandy Hook Elementary School. No one could comprehend or even accept that such unbearable sorrow had visited the families of Newtown, Conn.

Together we joined hands, fell to our knees and mourned the loss of the innocent.

That day fear entered the world as we looked at the 20-year-old who pulled the trigger. The label of “mental illness” was heard around the world. And at that moment, society’s fear of the unknown about mental illness bubbled to the surface in the minds of its citizens.

Generations of myths, preconceived beliefs and lack of education about mental illness became topics of conversation.

As families of the mentally ill became subjects of criticism — as well as the mentally ill individuals themselves — an important aspect of mental illness was never addressed. Countless people with mental illness live lives of balance — lives of self-responsibility in one hand and accountability in the other. They hold firm and exhibit their ability to manage and maintain a life filled with dignity and purpose.

So what is the truth about mental illness?

First: individuals with mental illness are not prone to violence. I am not saying an individual with mental illness will not ever be violent; that would be ludicrous. Each and every one of us could at any given moment become violent. The definition of violence is: using physical force to injure somebody or damage something. But we are not talking about injury or damage we are talking about the crime of killing another person.

There are many explanations as to why someone kills. Rarely is there a single reason and usually many factors come into play.

So, when might mental illnesses play a part in violence? When another component is added to the mental illness, behavior can become unpredictable. Some individuals have mental illness but have not been diagnosed; therefore, they are not taking medication. That is one component.

Another person might have a diagnosed mental illness but is improperly taking medication or is self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Another problematic area involves taking medications for other illnesses simultaneously with prescriptions for mental illness.

Mental illness alone, though, is not a recipe for violent action.

Of all violent crimes, 4 percent are committed by mentally ill people. That leaves 96 percent of these crimes with no connection to mental illness. Additionally, nearly all violent crimes involve alcohol or a combination of alcohol and drugs.*

We must be knowledgeable when we address mental illness and murder. We do not have the luxury of spreading misinformation that will affect the lives of those who are also innocent. Making sweeping generalizations about the mentally ill does not paint an accurate picture.

So what is our answer? Is there a solution to all this suffering? I believe there is.

On a weekly basis I teach hope to those who face the challenges of dealing with bipolar disorder. I know by educating individuals about their illness, providing a journal that helps them track their moods (bipolar disorder is a mood disorder) so their psychiatrist can make accurate decisions for their care, and by teaching personal responsibility for managing their illness — balance can be achieved.

We do need better mental health care, yet even with the best health insurance it will not change until the individual accepts the diagnosis, and the psychiatrist, clinicians, primary physicians and patient come together to partner in the care.

It is my responsibility to teach how to be accountable and responsible for one’s own diagnosis. It is the responsibility of the psychiatrists and mental health workers to understand that all who have mental illness/bipolar disorder are not identical. Important variables exist and we are all unique.

So this new year we hope for mercy on those past, present and future who have been touched by sorrow, anguish and suffering created by a lack of education and lack of knowledge.

Please join with Bipolar Insights and come to learn, understand and be a part of a culture of hope. Educate yourself about bipolar disorder so that the mentally ill as well as victims of violent crime can be respected within the context of an informed society. Our prayers are for all.

* 06/01/2011

The co-founder and facilitator of Bipolar Insights, Marcia Rose, can be reached at: Weekly meetings start at 7 p.m., Sundays at Marshall Medical Health Conference Room 207/208, 681 Main St. in Placerville and on Mondays, in Room 304, Green Valley Church, 3500 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville, The fee is $5 per person. Check for complete details and further information.


Discussion | 1 comment

  • Sally HolwerdaFebruary 02, 2013 - 10:23 am

    Well put, hopefully, as well received by all concerned. We who suffer can do our part by accepting our responsibility to"grow into maturity by accepting all the things we need to do to monitor, understand, enjoy the satisfaction of mastering the skills that assist us in achieving working our goals of never being suspected of those horrible things that keep us from achieving the balance and greatness we desire of our lives. For me, one thing I'm STILL working on journaling, among other things, but I'm NOT giving up!! I am willing to tack like a boat, to better the journey, but the ship is still mine, I must make the choices, it's worth it!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .


    Air quality rating up in the air

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    GDPUD: Budget and GM are top topics

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

    Mountain lion seen in Placerville

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

    CTE a pathway to higher wages, higher-demand jobs

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

    Heard over the back fence: Earth Day at the library

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

    New top 10 fugitive could be in area

    By News Release | From Page: A3

    Community Action Council seeks new member

    By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

    Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinics May 3-4

    By Hangtown Kennel | From Page: A9



    Retain Joe Harn as auditor

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 12 Comments

    Belltower: El Niño or el nada?

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

    The balancing act: Save the whales

    By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4



    Tell the truth, don’t confuse voters

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    Local petitions circulating

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

    Chess club

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    True Christian

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments



    Sports Scene: April 20, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    All Star team shows competive balance

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A6

    Australian rugby team visits Cameron park

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Roundup: Cougars drop finale

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Red hot Rico Abreu blazes to victory

    By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

    Schedule: April 21-26, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Rains to present at AMA conference

    By David Albee | From Page: A7



    As we were: Supervisors can’t decide

    By Ken Deibert | From Page: B2

    Spend time in River City

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Help with healthcare decisions

    By Snowline Hospice Thrift Stores | From Page: B3

    Time to enter El Dorado County Fair

    By El Dorado County Fair | From Page: B3

    Cantare Chorale seeks new director

    By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B3

    Volunteers needed for day of service

    By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B10



    Lake levels 4-17-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

    DUI Log: Feb. 28-April 3

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



    Dianne Johnson

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Michael R. Sponsler

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Daniel Bish Sr. funeral notice

    By Contributor | From Page: A2


    Real Estate



    Horoscope, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Monday, April 21, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    American Profile Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8