Posted in Guest Post, mental health awareness

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity: Can You Still Be Creative on Bipolar Medication?

If you’re a creative type, the idea of bipolar disorder as a component of your creativity can keep you from getting the help you need. A common misperception is that treatment renders artists incapable of the kinds of thought that allow them to see the world in their own unique way. Is this true? Maybe and maybe not.

Artists Do Think Differently

Artists are typically better at two types of thinking. One, called janusian thought, is defined as actively thinking of multiple opposites at the same time. The other, called homospatial process, is defined as actively thinking of two or more different things or people occupying the same space.

Artists also tend to think in nonlinear and nonconventional ways. The treatment you choose needs to allow you to continue doing that.

Effects of Medication on Bipolar Disorder

People who create art need to be careful to get the right medications for them. Finding the right medication regimen may make a huge difference in your creative output. The right medications for you also allow you to stay mentally healthy enough to produce quality art.

Creativity and Lithium

Lithium may not be a good choice for artists, as it suppresses janusian thought and homospatial process.

It’s also easy to confuse the effects of going off lithium with a return to creativity, which may prompt you to quit taking it.

What actually happens is that you become energized and hypomanic or manic after abruptly stopping a large dose of lithium. The effects on creativity, if there are any, don’t last. Instead, you may become too ill to create anything at all.

So, What Medications are Better?

A few medications have been used successfully to treat bipolar disorder without causing effects that impair creative thinking.

So far, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, gabapentin, and tiagabine are excellent choices for artists. Channel blockers like verapamil have also shown favorable results in a few cases.

Is Therapy Better than Medication?

The wrong kind of psychotherapy can indeed suppress creative ways of thinking. However, therapy is a treatment of choice when the therapist understands your need to remain creative while overcoming the harmful effects of bipolar disorder.

Even though you might prefer therapy to medication as a treatment, you might need to take medications to be well enough to attend and learn from therapy. Therapy helps you deal with anxiety, bipolar depression, and mania by encouraging you to take medication as needed (adherence).

What You can Do

You do have control over your own treatment for bipolar disorder. Taking charge of your care helps you get the right treatments for you. Here are some things you can do to protect your creativity while getting treatment:

  • Find an understanding psychiatrist and/or therapist.
  • Emphasize the importance of preserving your ability to think creatively.
  • If you are worried about side effects of any of the possible medications, such as lithium carbonate, ask your psychiatrist to choose a different medication for you.
  • If you do take medication, take them as directed, and don’t discontinue them abruptly. Talk to your psychiatrist if you are experiencing any difficulties with your medication.
  • Call on your creativity during therapy to better understand how to deal with your bipolar disorder.

Both medications and therapy can help creative people with bipolar disorder. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stick with treatment until you find the right combination for you!

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Posted in Guest Post, Personal Blog Posts

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder (Guest Post)

Hi there my friends. I’m honored to once again be hosting a guest post from the incredible website BetterHelp. The post they’ve put together for you guys is near and dear to my heart, as Bipolar Disorder affects someone I love and care for dearly. I may talk about that in a separate post, but for now I hope this post will help anyone suffering from Bipolar Disorder or anyone who knows and loves someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Take special care to read the article and click the links, especially if any of you feel you need help in this regard. Thank you once again to BetterHelp for this amazing guest post, and I hope you all will enjoy it.

Anthony Avina

______________________________________________________________________________________

You may know it as manic-depressive disorder, but it is typically now referred to as bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects close to three percent of the United States population. Bipolar disorder is a double-edged sword in that it causes both severe depression and mania or hypomania, which is an extremely high mood. There are several types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having at least one manic episode that lasts at least seven days and is followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. Those with bipolar I disorder can also have psychosis, which is a period when emotions and thoughts are impaired so much that you are no longer able to tell what is real and what is not real. This sometimes includes hallucinations.

Bipolar II Disorder

This condition consists of having more than one period of depression and a period of hypomania but no manic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania that causes some manic episodes but you can still perform your daily activities. Many people with bipolar II disorder are mistakenly diagnosed with depression because they do not consider the hypomania a part of the disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, is a milder type of bipolar disorder. With this disorder, you will have both depression and hypomania on and off for several years but it will not get severe enough to affect your daily life. It is called cyclothymic disorder because you cycle through high and low emotions over and over again. This condition is rare and only affects less than one percent of the American population.

How You Can Tell if You Have Bipolar Disorder

Even though the signs of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, there are some that are common in all patients. These symptoms include:

Mania

  • Not sleeping
  • Talking louder, faster, and more often than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Trying to do more than you can handle (overbooking yourself)
  • Extreme behaviors such as gambling, unprotected sex, spending money that you cannot afford
  • Drinking in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Rapid thoughts

Depression

  • Feeling sad, despondent, and helpless
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying bouts for no obvious reasons
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory lapses
  • Thoughts of suicide

Risk Factors

According to experts, bipolar disorders are genetic, but they can also be affected by environmental issues like constant and extreme stress, lack of sleep for long periods of time, addiction to alcohol or drugs, physical abnormalities in the brain, and/or chemical or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder includes medications such as a tricyclic antidepressant, an atypical antidepressant, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In addition, those with bipolar disorder should talk to a therapist on a regular basis. This is important because some of the medications can become less effective over time and your therapist will be able to tell just by talking to you if you need to switch your dosage or medication. If you do not have a therapist to talk to or you are too busy to find the time to make an appointment, you can find a professional on BetterHelp.com. Just click here to talk to someone, with no appointment necessary.

 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Posted in reviews

Healthy Dividends: Investments in Nutrition, Movement, and Healthy Habits That Pay Off by Tricia Silverman Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Tricia Silverman takes readers on a journey of health and better living utilizing expert tips on proper ways of eating and how to properly invest in one’s health in the book “Healthy Dividends”. 

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The Synopsis

Want to lose weight, gain energy, increase productivity, and live a longer, healthier life?

As an expert in nutrition, wellness coaching, and fitness, Tricia Silverman shares countless tips in this book. These tips are investments that yield the results—or wellness dividends—you desire.

Wondering how to start eating healthy, or how to lose weight?

Learn the nuts and bolts of the NuTricia’s Way of Eating. Use Tricia’s Nutrition Staircase to learn the steps you can take on your journey toward optimal health. Learn easy ways to figure out how many calories and protein grams you need. Learn why the Keto and Paleo diets may be shortening your lifespan, and even setting the stage for cancer, heart disease, and more!

Hoping to live a long, flourishing life?

Explore Tricia’s 10 Tips for Longevity! She’ll reveal what she’s learned from teaching Healthy Aging at Northeastern University, visiting areas of longevity, and leading the Active Aging Nutrition Certification across the US for the SCW Fitness Education Company. Read about Elizabeth, who lost almost one hundred pounds and saved thousands on copays for medications and healthcare services she no longer needs!

Looking to learn more about healthy shopping and restaurant eating?

Learn how to plan your shopping and meals to save time and money. Learn about the NuTricia’s T Plan for dining out, so you can enjoy a  restaurant meal while still supporting your nutrition and wellness goals.

By investing just a few hours in reading this book, you will learn:

How to reduce cravings, eat more mindfully, and form healthier habits that stick How making a vision board can lead to a more successful, healthful, happy life Why to avoid certain food additives Tips from real people who have lost weight and kept it off Ideas for healthy meals and snacks How to motivate yourself to move more and enhance your fitness How food logging apps and meal plans can support your weight loss efforts Seven simple strategies to boost memory, mental functioning, and mood How to optimize your sleep through nutrition and healthy habits How to manage stress to feel and do your best

Invest your time in implementing Tricia’s strategies, and you will soon be enjoying your own healthy dividends!

The Review

This was a greatly researched, evenly paced, and knowledgeable read. The author utilizes years of experience to showcase how people can get a better handle on their own health journey and invest in the right tools and information to gain that healthy life most people are searching for. 

The book was incredibly well-written, showcasing a light-hearted approach that makes readers more receptive and open to hearing the information the author is imparting. Showing her own journey of weight loss and healthy living, the author establishes herself as an expert in the field while relating to readers who may be struggling to find their own healthy lifestyle. Examining things like smart shopping and reading labels to reducing sugar intake and even how to integrate a healthy lifestyle into the choices one makes while out at a restaurant, this book holds a great deal of valuable information for readers to absorb. 

The Verdict

A unique, passionate, and knowledgeable read, author Tricia Silverman’s “Healthy Dividends” is must-read non-fiction and healthy lifestyle read. The author’s insightful look into the world of healthy living is remarkable to see unfold, as is the wealth of knowledge the author imparts throughout this book. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tricia Silverman is a registered dietitian, a certified wellness coach (Wellcoaches), and a certified fitness instructor (ACE personal trainer/AFAA group fitness instructor). She graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta’s dietetics program, and the Babson College MBA program. She completed her dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard teaching affiliate.

She has worked both in management and as an educator for school nutrition services in Watertown and Boston Public Schools. She spent time as the director of nutrition for the prestigious Canyon Ranch Health Resort in the Berkshires.

She owns Tricia Silverman Wellness, based in Massachusetts. Operating since 2004, her company specializes in high-energy, fun, and informative wellness programs, including combined nutrition and fitness programs, innovative nutrition presentations, health fair services, and individual nutrition/wellness coaching sessions.

She is a professional speaker and shares her insights at employee sites, senior centers, businesses, conferences, and more! Tricia wrote and leads the Active Aging Nutrition Certification for the SCW Fitness company. She teaches Nutrition Entrepreneurship and Healthy Aging: Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Longevity for Northeastern University.

Tricia’s awards:

* Fitness Presenter of the Year, SCW Florida Fitness Conference, 2018

* Fitness Idol, SCW Boston Fitness Conference, 2016

* Chapter Member of the Year, National Speakers Association New England, 2008

* Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, 2008

* Circle Award (for outstanding contribution as newsletter editor), Dietitians in Business and Communications practice group, 2006

Tricia has been published in canfitpro Magazine, Bipolar Magazine and Schizophrenia Digest, and other publications. She has been quoted in blogs and numerous articles. Her website is TriciaSilverman.com, and she can be reached at Tricia@TriciaSilverman.com.

https://www.triciasilverman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tricia.silverman

https://www.instagram.com/triciasilverman/

Posted in reviews

Emotional Fossils: Mental Illness and Human Evolution by John V. Wylie Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A detailed and humanizing book takes readers on an emotional journey through the stigma of mental illness in author John V. Wylie’s book “Emotional Fossils: Mental Illness and Human Evolution.” 

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The Synopsis

This essay is the culmination of forty-five years as a psychiatrist investigating the relationship between severe mental illnesses and human evolution. I have concluded that the most important changes leading to our evolutionary success occurred inside the mind. Upright posture, large molar teeth, opposable thumbs, large brains, and the onset of culture were additive responses to the evolution of what MOTIVATED early humans.

The inner experiences of major depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are shown to derive from the breakdown of normal emotions we all know intimately. These everyday feelings are ancient, have played a central role in our evolution, and thus can be viewed as “emotional fossils.” Stigmatized for centuries, mental illnesses are revealed to be the price we pay as a species for the extraordinary mental capacities that make us human.

Short and explicitly written to be accessible, this essay interprets the scientific findings of human evolution in accordance with an evolving mind.

The Review

At it’s core, this nonfiction, medical read takes readers into the heart of the painful stigma those who suffer from mental illness have to endure from those who don’t understand the illness itself. The book delves into how human evolution and the emotions we experience on a daily basis are closely involved with the development of these ailments, and the stigma has only increased the progression of these illnesses. 

This book is greatly detailed and creates a steady read for those who are interested in medicine, medical books and mental health awareness overall. The best way to review a book like this however is by relaying how it impacts readers, including myself. 

As a mental health advocate, this book truly spoke to me in a personal way. While detail oriented, the book creates a personal understanding in those involved in or even currently engaged in the mental health field. With two very close relatives having been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, the stigma of what that illness does to a person is everywhere, especially in pop culture, and this book does a great job of breaking down those stigmas and getting to the heart of the illness overall. 

The Verdict

This is a brilliant read that fans of nonfiction medical reads will thoroughly enjoy. The author speaks with an authority and expertise that will make readers feel more knowledgeable of the subject after reading this book, and in an age where mental health awareness is more important than ever before, this is the perfect read going into the new decade. Be sure to grab your copy of “Emotional Fossils” by John v. Wylie today!

 Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

John Wylie holds a BA in history from Yale, an MD from Columbia, and completed a psychiatric residency at Georgetown University. He began his career at a maximum-security prison in Maryland, followed by 35 years in the private practice of psychiatry in Washington, DC, where he served as chair of the department of psychiatry at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Dr. Wylie was a founding member of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, has had a longstanding interest in the relationship of mental illness and human evolution, and has given multiple lectures on the topic. He wrote Diagnosing and Treating Mental Illness: A Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Patients, and Their Families,published in 2010 (second edition, 2012), and Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind in 2018, which is a memoir of the development of his ideas. Dr. Wylie lives in Olney, Maryland with his wife Ann and their German shepherd Tulip.

https://amzn.to/3668ko0

Posted in Interviews, mental health awareness

Interview with Author Kenneth Richard Fox

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

There came a time almost twenty years ago that I felt I had actually been quite fortunate to have had so many experiences already during my lifetime that I wanted to share.  I had invented and patented some laser technology which could, if introduced deep inside the human body, remove even potentially lethal obstructions, as in clots in small blood vessels and otherwise.  I had practiced medicine and surgery around the world.  And more.

I focused first on a few of those and wrote short articles about some of them.  Mirage in the Desert was about my period of living and working in the Persian Gulf.  Here Today, Gone Tomorrow had to do with some of the tragic losses in my life when I lost loved ones under the most painful of circumstances.  Something From Nothing was about the strange process of inventing with all of its uncertainty– somehow, one day,  coming to believe you actually had stumbled upon something new and potentially important or valuable.  Monster in the Midst was about the tragedy of living with a loving spouse who is turned into a human monster by the emergence of violent, psychotic bipolar disorder. But then I felt there was more I could say and at the time, to me, the most efficient way to do that was using free verse.  That lead to my anthology of some 88 poems I wrote over the course of about one year.  In 2018, finally, I decided to write At the Point of a Knife, a narrative that encompassed a lot of the above in just one book.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

At the Point of a Knife is also the story of a lot of things that can go very wrong, with the backdrop of  a lot of others which are very right.  I was certain that there are so many people who struggle with living with severe untreated mental illness, even if that manifests itself in a partner or someone else very close.  It is tragic in its destruction, and with the stigmas about such things which run so strongly in society, there must be better ways.  First, though, something cried out for this tragic type of circumstance to be called out and exposed. Somehow society needs to not only recognize the enormous destruction that these severe mental illnesses cause to it, not only to the affected individuals directly, but it needs to open channels for proactively identifying these ill people who desperately need help, and force them to get it! The costs of not doing so are far too great.  Mental hospitals hardly exist any longer in the U.S., but if the stigmas are removed, their benefits are great and the costs of not having them are extreme.  Having these facilities is half the battle. Forcing their use in extreme situations is the rest-  proactively, not after people die and lives and livelihoods are ruined.

After my experience with losing fabulous children who were so horribly abused by their other, alienating parent, ruining our family and my relationship with them and theirs with me, I came to realize that there were many such circumstances, albeit with differing degrees of  adverse impact.  In the 90s when my children were so severely alienated and abused, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was still being broadly challenged in society, in essence a cover up of an enormous problem which destroys families.  Since, through the hard work of many dedicated mental health, medical, social work, justice and other professionals, that has changed to a signficant extent, although the battle still rages in society about PAS.  But it turns out, quite conclusively so unfortunately, that if courts don’t both enforce custody and visitation by and with the non- alienating, normal parent and restrict and severely control the visitations with the alienating one, the problem will not only not be solved, it will become permanent.  When the abused, alienated children grew up, they retain that ‘blind spot’ in their brains inculcated by the abuse, and they can not re- form relationships with the non- alienating parent.  Again, as with severe mental illness, ignoring the problem is horribly destructive and futile, and proactivity, by society, in all such cases is imperative.  This is one situation for judicial pro- activity.  

My problems, as described in At the Point of a Knife, also included how horribly one rogue judge was able to piggyback on his own sordid past  to wield power from the bench which made a mockery of justice. While he turned a blind eye to  the above mentioned severe problems squarely before him, the system let him carry on his own psychopathic brand of jurisprudence unabated, while he slashed and burned everything in his sight.  Not satisfied with allowing a potential murderer to run loose, a beautiful family to be destroyed, he persisted in destroying a thriving start- up international business involving life- saving technology, a professional career and sought for as long as he could to put in jail his chosen victim.  For the judicial system to hide behind veils of opacity, while according no recourse in reality even in situations of gross abuses of power by a few who clearly have no business having been given the trust placed in them, is simply a wrong crying out for change. Juries of peers sit on crucial cases, both civil and criminal, in American jurisprudence.  There is no reason that peers, ordinary citizens, can not sit in courtrooms so that when the obvious, gross abuse of power and justice does occur, they are there to see it and have the authority to make those few perpetrators of these quasi- judicial horrors disappear into the oblivion they deserve.  Anyone sitting in that Virginia judge’s courtroom would have likely recognized in short order that he was an outlier who did not belong in that position.  There were lawyers sitting in the gallery at times, unrelated to these cases, who said as much openly– but they had no power to act.   No one deserves that kind of immunity from exhibiting even a minimum level of responsibility in society which places trust in their hands, or the impugnity to openly scorn that society while abjuring that trust.

Large companies are also given huge sway in our society.  Perhaps even like big government itself, they become too big to control.  Unrestrained, they continue to get bigger and more powerful yet.  But since there are, alas, too many flaws in societies, manifested by the underlying flaws in the individuals of which they are comprised.  Somehow the society must rein in not only the sickest individuals before they can harm themselves and others, they must control those who abuse their powerful positions for their own gain and to the detriment of so many others.  My small, but very successful start- up hi- tech company was robbed blind by a few in power in some large companies that knew they could just steal our patented technology and probably never have to pay for it.  By virtue of bonuses, stock options and the like, sometimes well deserved, othertimes not at all, those individuals could steal from us, not pay royalties and get away with millions.  Their companies benefitted financially as well, but inventing is thwarted and society several disadvantaged when the incentive to invent is stifled, particularly when that is done totally illegally.  We had fought for the international patents and we even managed to enforce them in courts.  But the losers in all of that simply went on to lie and cheat about their royalty- bearing revenues, having little to fear.  If, in the end, after almost endless litigation all over the world, we would win, time and again, they might have to pay, but no more really than what they owed in the first place.  That is not justice, it favors the greedy and the rich and discourages the honest and the inventive among us in this type of situation.  Patent cheating is theft and that is a crime, and societies should extend that type of control to patent infringement and to wanton breaches of patent royalty  license agreements. Those crooked executives who are in it only for their own aggrandizement and care not a wit about who might benefit from new and better technology, including in the life sciences, or even if they ever do, should risk being put in jail for patent crimes.  That might put some control in place on what, now, is their unfettered rampage over smaller inventors whose technology represents, collectively, the way forward for societies and stimulates the growth that they all need to stay healthy.  Furthermore, the companies that steal this technology, if found guilty of same in the courts, should pay treble, not just once for their crimes and defalcations, and that might get the proper attention of their shareholder- owners who are all too happy now to put their crooked managers in place and look the other way from their foibles.

My story, told in At the Point of a Knife, from my experiences, points to a lot of grotesque wrongs that exist quite openly today and which reap huge destruction on our society because they are not realized and even less addressed in meaningful ways.  It is death, injury, mental abuse and the collective pain and ravages of corruption, negligence and distrust.  That is what inspired my writing this book.

3) What drew you into the field of developing new technologies and inventions as mentioned in your novel?

My entrance into the field of innovation, via the basic medical science investigations and inventions ultimately happened by accident.  My late inventive partner asked me a seemingly simple question, having to do with laser energy, something I used in my clinical practice therapeutically, but the answers were anything but obvious.  We discovered that no one else seemed to know those answers either.  We experimented, with the laser energy, applying it in the laboratory to human and animal tissues, and we observed what happened.  Eventually, quite literally, we stumbled upon a way to control that laser energy which produced the desired results we sought, but avoided the damaging ones which had thwarted prior efforts.  We defined what we had done and that lead to patents being written, then prosecuted before patent offices around the world. As is often the case with innovation, it was happenstance.  In this case, things went well.

4) What is the biggest obstacle facing the legal field in regards to mental health and those afflicted from it (not to mention the families of those individuals)?

How to make societies more attentive to and focussed on real problems is very difficult.  The problems are complex and there are always seemingly forces of evil which miltate to take advantage of those problems rather than to ameliorate them.  It is in the end about the people.  If they want and can take responsibility, then that is hopeful.  But when and if they won’t, they are doomed.  Abdicating that responsibility is often disastrous, whether to those powerful in business or to those in even any branch of government too. After all, they are all made up of people, sometimes even the same people.  Blindly trusting all justice makes that justice blind.  When something is fundamentally wrong, someone has to be both motivated to, but also empowered to be able to do something about it.  Letting a judge like the rogue described in At the Point of a Knife to act unempeded is disastrous.  Letting a violent mentally ill individual, untreated, reak havoc on those nearest to her, and indirectly even those not so close, is calamitous.  Similarly letting those in high authority in private industry trade on their enormous advantages unchecked is extremely dangerous.  I believe we all need a much stronger fundamental level of responsibility and personal integrity, or else we are doomed.  Society can not  determine for any of us specifically what those things look like better than we  individually can by  deep personal searching within.  Education is crucial, since the more each of us  knows, the better chance we have.  

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

The lessons I perceive from my own extensive experiences which are chronicled to some extent in At the Point of a Knife, and in my other writings, are varied and cut a broad swath through society.  I have been very fortunate to have seen so much of that over many years.  It is, now, difficult to point to any social media which directly speaks to a lot of that.  Probably the answer may be that a lot of social media speaks to a little of what I write about and very little current social media speaks to a lot of it.

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

People sometimes seem to say that writing a memoir or a narrative non- fictional story is cathartic.  Actually, I am not sure that is so because it is so painful to do, and the pain persists.  It is also a sacrifice, as such, but one I felt compelled to undertake in these ways, manifested by the written words.  Also, as before so often in my life, whether in Medicine or in inventing life- saving laser technologies, in trying to be a loving parent and spouse and son, I like to believe I cared enough to make the effort, to face the problem and to react to it, this time in words rather than in deeds.  Given how popular writing seems to be, that must be, in general, a good thing.

There are, of course, many genres of books, of stories, as there is variety in life itself.  I seem to be inspired by what I have seen and felt.  One can only encourage that sort of thing in others.

7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

For me it is important to continue to confront challenges, which is, to live.  I continue to try to find what seems best, and to act on that as best I can.   I continue to learn since that, too, should never end.  I always want to find what motivates me most, and to act on that as much as I can.   I continue to be inspired by those around me most, who I love.   I continue to seek justice, even all too often in all too mediocre courts.  But I continue to seek harmony, compromise and peace.  I continue to try to support technology, inventiveness and innovation since, alas, it seems to me we continue to need those things.  I continue to tell tales, and to write, as I am doing now. 

About the Author

Kenneth R. Fox is the inventor of a great deal of laser medical technology and the patentee of many international patents. Dr. Fox has practiced Medicine in six countries on four continents and has lectured in many others. He has taught both Medicine and Business at several universities in a number of different countries. He is the author of many peer- reviewed medical and scientific articles, quite a few published poems and several short articles, mostly related to various aspects of health, but all based on his personal experiences over many years, as is At the Point of a Knife. 

Your can find more at http://www.kennethrfox.com

Posted in reviews

At the Point of a Knife by Kenneth Richard Fox Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Readers are given a glimpse into the tragic reality of a faulty mental health system that fosters and allows those suffering form the most severe cases to be untreated, and a man’s struggle to fight a losing battle against an unprecedented legal fight like no other in author Kenneth Richard Fox’s “At the Point of a Knife”. 

The Synopsis

A memoir about a life-saving invention, the hijacking of a hi-tech start- up, and the explosive meltdown of a nuclear family

At the Point of a Knife is a real life thriller about a doctor who invents life-saving laser technology, his wife’s destructive inheritance and the legal conspiracy to steal his successful hi-tech start-up. Dr. Kenneth Fox fights off predatory companies as he battles globally for his company’s rights. But he ignores the threats to his family. By day, he has a successful career. By night, he lives with an increasingly mentally ill spouse. Although she is physically abusive with him and their son, Fox is emotionally co-dependent. At the same time, he is helping his dying mother and his chronically ill father.

There is an attempted murder. After this explosive nuclear family meltdown, Fox learns of his wife’s secret fortune including several homes. He also discovers the true story about her dead father: a hereditary bipolar disorder and the scandal that drove her family from her childhood home. In a final twist of fate, manic depression, money and judicial corruption intersect. Fox’s company is wrested away in a plot that includes a crooked lawyer and a corrupt judge who owes his career to his former partner in crime. 

Dr. Kenneth Fox is a physician and surgeon, an inventor of patented medical laser technology and a medicine and business professor. 

The Review

This was a powerful non-fiction read that people will have a hard time putting down. The story was clear and concisely written, showcasing a multitude of incidents that contributed to the deterioration of a family, the personal and business losses of a man and the gross injustices that often plague our society. 

The author’s in-depth study of the law practices in relation to medical field lawsuits and divorce proceedings which favor one person over the other really brought the harm endured through this man’s life to the forefront. Each chapter has the reader shaking their head, unable to believe that one man would be forced to endure such hardships.

More than that however, the novel allows readers to see the grave injustice that comes with failing to treat those suffering with mental illnesses, and how the taboo of suffering from such a disease or the inaccurate assumptions about mental illness often lead to a lack of diagnosis or care for such individuals, who if given proper treatment and care could avoid the unfortunate damage and suffering endured by both the patient and those closest to them, in this instance the author himself. 

The Verdict

Although a short read, this was a powerful and great read that fans of law cases, medical practices and the struggles of mental health will thoroughly enjoy. A whirlwind case that will get readers emotions stirring, this was a heart-pounding story that draws the reader in and gets them invested immensely, so be sure to grab your copy of “At the Point of a Knife” by Kenneth Richard Fox today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Kenneth R. Fox is the inventor of a great deal of laser medical technology and the patentee of many international patents. Dr. Fox has practiced Medicine in six countries on four continents and has lectured in many others. He has taught both Medicine and Business at several universities in a number of different countries. He is the author of many peer- reviewed medical and scientific articles, quite a few published poems and several short articles, mostly related to various aspects of health, but all based on his personal experiences over many years, as is At the Point of a Knife. 

Your can find more at http://www.kennethrfox.com

Posted in Guest Post

Guest Article: Signposts of Inspiration by Carol Es

Editor’s Note: This is Anthony Avina, and I wanted to personally welcome author Carol Es to my website. This insightful and honest article was something I wanted to share with you all, and I couldn’t appreciate it more that Carol took the time to write it for us. I hope you guys enjoy it. Now on to Carol’s article…


When people ask what inspires me, I never know what to say. Not because I’m lacking in the inspiration department—it’s just too general a question. “Everything,” I’ll say. If asked what my inspiration might be for something specific, you probably won’t be able to shut me up.

As both a writer and a visual artist, my work is predominantly autobiographical. I love anything with a narrative. Stories move me to create, they draw me in and take me on an escape, like a drug. When combining writing with art together, all the better. I have made many Artist’s books that mish-mash art and words, a genre unto itself, and it’s mostly what I’m used to working in.

However, I’ve been writing short stories and poetry since I was a kid. I wrote a screenplay when I was 17-18 that I never finished. (It was terrible.) Throughout my 20s, I made several attempts at writing novels, but had never been able to get more than 50 pages in. Most of the fiction I wrote was autobiographical. I’ve been inspired by authors Charles Bukowski since I was a young teenager, and later John Fante. It’s not that I wanted to write in either of their styles, but I wanted to be able to evoke a similar feeling from my writing.

Still working on that.

It was nerve-wracking writing in nonfiction, though I think it drove me to finish an entire book. At first, I didn’t write about myself much at all. I found the stories of people much more interesting, and so, I’ve written Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley several times over. It was hard to come to grips with, but a memoir is supposed to be self-indulgent. It just feels uncomfortable. I had to carve out an honest story and reveal my raw self to the world. It’s risky business.

Along the way, I probably couldn’t have finished it without bits of inspiration. My partner, Michael Phillips, also a writer pushed me and supported me immensely. I was also absolutely dazzled after seeing Jonathan’s Caouette’s documentary art film, Tarnation.

Caouette took 20 years of home movies, snapshots, and answering machine messages, stuck them into a blender and came out with a unique examination of his early life—his tumultuous childhood with his mentally ill mother. How could I not identify with that? My mother was bipolar.

This incredibly brave movie deeply inspired me to stop apologizing for my own dysfunctional family and embrace them as my muse. I also began to see the strength in vulnerability instead of viewing it as a weakness.

But I had been wanting to write this book in one version or another for a long time. At the start of it, I began to think back some 20 years when I lived off of Laurel Canyon—a winding road through the Santa Monica Mountains that connects the southeast San Fernando Valley to West Hollywood in Los Angeles. It was the most inspired time and place for me.

A few people in the apartment building I lived in donated books in the laundry room and we’d all give and take them. Once I found a big hardcover book that got me really into my Jewish genealogy (Finding our Fathers by Dan Rottenberg), which sent me on a wild and freaky ride to nowhere. Or maybe it sent me to a sad wasteland. I never quite got to the bottom of my family search, but I got a lot of stories from all the digging I did. Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley actually began with my parents’ backstories, but most of it wound up on the cutting room floor as they say.

Once I’d been working on the book for a couple of years, I found even more inspiration in Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season. I’d been living in San Pedro and picked it up at the free clinic, much in the same way I did Finding our Fathers.

Though Bee Season isn’t a work of nonfiction, it changed the way I saw memoir writing. It’s written from a young girl’s point of view looking back as an adult woman. She recalls the span of time in her life when she was able to win over her father’s love by excelling in national spelling competitions. Though I’m no good at spelling, I really identified with the character who was the youngest in a Jewish family of just four. She’s also been severely overshadowed by her older brother. More than her thoughts and desires to be loved, it was the way she was able to bring in each of her family members’ backstory so seamlessly. I loved that and wished I could have done that. Perhaps in the future.

I get wildly excited and inspired by other visual artists too. I’ll fall in love with painters, i.e.: Amy Sillman, or Lisa Sanditz. I’ll want their work to influence mine. Inevitably, it is nearly impossible to duplicate the same feelings or techniques because everyone has there own thing. My work always winds up looking like all my other paintings. It’s frustrating because I often like other artist’s work much more than my own. That happens. That’s life, I guess. We aspire to be better and are inspired by the beauty that surrounds us and keep on going.

Spring Promotion – $5 off $45 @ eBooks.com. Use Code: springebookscp. Valid until June 20.

Looking to find counseling to help you take control of your mental health journey? Check out BetterHelp to find the online counseling that will best help you.

Author Bio

Carol Es

Carol Es is a self-taught artist, writer, and musician born in Los Angeles. Using a wide variety of media, she is known for creating personal narratives that transform a broken history into a positive resolution. Her paintings, drawings, installations, videos, and books have been exhibited nationwide in venues such as Riverside Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, and Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles. Some of her works can be found in the collections at the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her collaborative film was also featured in the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale. 

Awarded many honors, including several grants from the National Arts and Disability Center and California Arts Council, she is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and the Wynn Newhouse Award. She has written articles of art critique for the Huffington Post and Coagula Art Journal, as well as having poetry published with small presses. She also received a writing grant from Asylum-Arts—a Global Network for Jewish Culture.

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

esart.com

Desert Dog Books

Posted in mental health awareness

The Stigma Around Therapy and Why It Shouldn’t Exist

I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this article.

One of the most difficult things that anyone suffering from mental health ailments or anyone wanting to take control of their mental health struggles has to deal with is the social stigma that has taken over our society for years. Much like the societal stigma that has been placed on sexual and gender identity over the decades, a person’s mental health journey has been marred by the constant ridicule and ignorance of others who believe seeking help for your mental health is nothing more than a sign of weakness.

Breaking this ignorance can be difficult. Many families and individuals have spent their entire lives being taught that certain things are “wrong”. Even those who grow and learn to see past the stigma of certain things will still find themselves ignorant of things they say or do. For instance, I have known people in both my own life and outside on social media who are great people, but still use terms like “crazy” to describe a person, or even using actual ailments to describe a person negatively, like someone saying a person is “bipolar” and indicating that anyone with the ailment is painted in the same negative light.

These societal stigmas can be incredibly difficult to ignore or overcome. When you have the whole world telling you there is something wrong with you when in reality you are just a human being who needs a little help, it can be hard to make the effort to seek out a therapist or consider therapy in general. The thing we as a society need to do is break the social stigma around mental health and seeking therapy in general. 

First of all, seeking out a therapist or asking for help with your mental health does not mean you are “crazy”. I personally don’t believe that term is accurate, as it brings a negative light to something that everyone should be a part of. The mind is a muscle, and a part of the human body. It needs to be looked after and taken care of just as much as the rest of your body, and seeking a doctor or therapist to help in that regard is nothing to be ashamed of.

Secondly, therapy and seeking out a therapist in general does not make you an outsider, nor should it make you feel ashamed or like there is something “wrong” with you. The stigma around mental health has led to severe consequences, with the loss of life due to some not seeking the help they need increasing and personal impacts on people’s relationships and work lives being affected as well. 

Mental health is a real thing, whether or not people want to believe it. Seeking help doesn’t not make you weak. In fact, getting help for your mental health is smart and the strongest thing you can do. Guys, it doesn’t make you less of a man to seek help and get in touch with your feelings. Women, never let men or anyone in your life make you feeling “crazy” just for finding a therapist and taking care of your own well being. Everyone in this world can benefit from seeking out therapy and getting the help they need. Ignore anyone who tells you differently, and take the steps to find the help you need today.

Learn more about how to find online therapy using BetterHelp at this link —> CLICK HERE (opens in a new tab)”>CLICK HERE

Posted in Guest Post, mental health awareness

Guest Post: How to Keep Working When Experiencing a Depressive Episode

Can you continue to work when you have bipolar disorder and you are experiencing a depressive episode? Many people have proven that it’s possible. Yet, research shows that maintaining employment is a major challenge for people with bipolar disorder. To overcome this challenge, following these suggestions may help you in continuing with your career path.

Recognize Symptoms Early

Recognizing your symptoms as soon as they happen is crucial. If you’re not paying careful attention to, ignoring, or denying your symptoms, your condition could become severe before you even realize you need to do something to get better.

One study revealed that patient education on symptoms and treatment improves employment outcomes. Here are some of the symptoms of bipolar depression (which is very similar to unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder),

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Problems concentrating
  • Unusual memory problems
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Prioritize Treatment

Work is important, of course. But there are times when you need to put your treatment and self-care above your attendance. If you can’t schedule appointments outside of work hours, you may worry that treatment will interfere with your job.

However, research shows that getting treatment early can help you not only save your job but thrive in it. Seeking treatment early helps with both work productivity and the social aspects of work.

Manage Your Thoughts

When you’re depressed, your mind tends to generate negative thoughts. While you can’t help what thoughts come into your mind, you can choose which thoughts to dwell on and act on.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to identify negative thought patterns and change your responses to things that trigger these patterns. Meditation is a tool that you may learn in therapy to also help you focus on the here and now, rather than dwelling on intrusive thoughts that can distract you. Talking to a psychologist can be extremely helpful for staying on track in your career.

Keep Moving

It’s hard to stay active when you’re feeling the lethargy and indecisiveness of bipolar depression. When you allow yourself to become more sedentary, symptoms of depression usually become worse. You don’t have to start a rigorous exercise routine, but getting up and moving at various times during the day can release endorphins that can help improve your mood.

Stick to Your Schedule

Sticking to a schedule is important both outside of and during work. If you have a job with set hours, sleeping at a consistent time each night and preparing for bed with a nighttime routine can help. People who are self-employed, such as writers, independent graphic designers, personal trainers, and contractors usually have more leeway in how they set their schedule, but still need some kind of routine.

No matter what your occupation is, you need to talk to your doctor about sleep problems if they happen frequently. Get into a daily routine for all the important aspects of your life so that you are staying consistent with your physical self-care.

Manage Mania  

For people with bipolar disorder, one of the most difficult parts of dealing with the depressive part of the disorder is that when you sink too low, it becomes very easy to cycle back into mania. Some medications work better for bipolar depression than others. If your doctor suggests antidepressants, ask if they are likely to cause mania. The key to avoiding mania is to get proper treatment for your depression.

When you have bipolar disorder, your body has a hard time maintaining homeostasis of the chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, concentration, and other things that can affect your day-to-day at work. The best things you can do for your career if you’re bipolar are to learn more about your condition, and seek treatment as needed.

 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.