Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Psych Central 2008 awards for Best Bipolar Blogs Commentary and Opposing View Point

Thought I would dress up for the occasion

The PsychCentral 2008 awards for Best Bipolar Blogs; commentary and opposing view point:

Disclaimer: some of the materials here in this post are taken from their site. I credit all cut and paste materials below to PsychCentral and their site, as all links are included and this is written as a news story for the blog world from a well established site within the public domain, all copy written text and materials are credited and only used as examples for the news worthy topic being reported and commented upon. If PsychCentral is offended or upset by this honest review of their work; they can write me personally and ask that it be removed from my site.

Top Ten Bipolar Blogs 2008

by Sandra Kiume October 22, 2008
Blogs tend to have a short life cycle, with most lasting under two years before fading into archival heaven. Last year Psych Central compiled a list of the top ten bipolar blogs, written by people who have a bipolar spectrum disorder. We’re glad that some of our faves are still active, sad to see a few gone, and pleased to discover great new writers too. We’re pleased to present you Psych Central’s Top Ten Bipolar Blogs of 2008.

1. Furious Seasons
There simply could not be a top bipolar blogs list without Philip Dawdy. He’s an excellent journalist whose blog has become synonymous with unrestrained investigative writing on bipolar disorder, mental health treatments and the pharma industry. He does not hesitate to call out BS when he finds it, and he digs for it harder than any other popular writer. Furious Seasons is an invaluable service to the mental health community.

My commentary: Though Philip and “Furious Seasons” should be rated #1, it’s not because he has been labeled bipolar, which he personally questions. It’s because he has done such incredible work reporting on mental health issues and has such great talent.

2. - Pole to Polar: The Secret Life of a Manic-Depressive
Seaneen, a woman in the UK with characteristic wit and a gift for metaphors, keeps a blog that is much like the disorder: it ranges from hilarious to melancholy to very serious. Even the serious bits are wry, though, e.g. “The crappiest thing about [her recent suicide attempt] is that I lost the eBay auction for the camera that broke on me.” It’s personal without TMI, and conveys pathos without being pitiful. She’s someone you can’t help but feel affection for (unless perhaps you’re her accountant). While compiling this list I was sidetracked into reading her archives for hours, and a blog that compelling to my distractable eyes is unquestionably tops. Please stay alive and keep writing, Seaneen, we all need you.

My commentary: It’s an OK blog with some good stuff, no major problems here for me!

3. Coming Out Crazy
Sandy Naiman is a skilful storyteller and hers is a highly readable pro blog. She uses an intimate style to share anecdotes and opinions as well as current issues. It’s like chatting with your friendly next-door neighbor — who happens to be an award-winning career journalist and prominent mental health advocate. Her posts are engrossing, sometimes tragic, and quite inspiring.

My Commentary: self promoted and not much of a blog, an old reporter that was given a paid blog to keep her busy! Not much good information here. She’s on my hit bad blog list for her obtrusive behavior toward others in the blog world, and her ignorance involving real issues pertaining to mental health today.

4. Bipolar Wellness Writer
If you believe that eschewing negativity and training yourself to be reflexively positive is important to recovery, this blog is for you. If you are interested in the constructs of wellness and positive psychology, this blog is for you. If you like to learn practical day-to-day tips for improving your life, this blog is for you. If you enjoy well-crafted, thoughtful and focused writing with regular updates, this blog is for everyone.

No commentary on this blog, only because I have not read it. So I will just say it belongs here for the sake of further argument.

5. The Trouble with Spikol
Liz Lemon* Spikol was number one on the list last year and the only reason I’ve bumped her down is that her blog now tends to deviate from mental health into politics and cute photos (although I like puppies as much as anyone). Affable, honest and entertaining even on slow days.
My Commentary: I think this should be called Liz’s liberal political blog for Obama, with a little mental health thrown in to keep getting awards. Also on my avoid at all cost list.

6. Bipolar Beat
I didn’t add this newcomer blog to the list just because Psych Central hosts it. It’s here because it’s a super informative blog written by a doctor with clinical experience and a non-medical expert writing partner. Candida Fink and Joe Kraynak have an “ask a question” feature to prompt some of their posts, but also have no problem generating posts on hot topics like overdiagnosis, supplements, and childhood bipolar. They also maintain the similar Bipolar Blog.

My Commentary: Geez, funny how a new blog in psych central would get an award? No nepotism going on here I’m sure?

7. How is Bradley?
Bipolar and obese, that’s how Bradley is. But he’s a good egg and this blog is his public quest to lose weight and keep mental stability. Often, medications used to treat bipolar will cause weight gain — lithium, valproate, Zyprexa/olanzapine, Seroquel/quetiapine, the list goes on — so his writing is relevant to many readers who have similar issues. This is an easy to digest personal blog with light humor about a heavy topic.

My Commentary: I happen to read Bradley’s Blog and find it quite good. I would be personally offended by this review though! “Bipolar and obese, that’s how Bradley is”
OK, along that same vain of thought; Sandra Kiume, you’re either insensitive or just plain stupid, arrogant, and ignorant!

8. Two video blogs (vlogs) tie for eighth place: John McManamy’s Depression and Bipolar YouTuber, and Bipolar Survivor Back
John has written about the science and history of bipolar disorder and its treatments for years via his site, e-newsletter, blog, and book. While they contain a huge amount of technical (and common sense) information beautifully interpreted for laypeople, his vlog is even more accessible. Explanations of and practical coping skills for specific situations like anger management and body clock problems. Nicely produced and edited, I’d love to see more frequent updates.
Meanwhile, Kimberly’s Bipolar Survivor Back is an articulate video series about the mental health issues she’s suffered since childhood, and getting treatment as an adult. She recently stopped posting videos due to haters, but still keeps a cool blog called Bipolar Chica. Her experience with trolls is an example of the risks of exposing a personal life complicated by mental illness, and I commend her for trying to combat stigma and educate people.

My Commentary: I guess video is the new blogging format without text now! Welcome to 2008 {I still say give me something to read and digest if you going throw a video at me}

9. Caught in my Burble
“Your neighborhood misanthropic, buxom, bondage-positive, bipolar, bisexual, flying, loquacious hedonist.” Updated: “Now with VNS capabilities.” Last year I was keen to see if an experimental vagus nerve stimulator implant would help her very severe, treatment-resistant depression. It didn’t really. She still writes extremely well, though.

My Commentary: Good blog, well written, no problems here!

10. Yoga for Bipolar
I love yoga! I also love substance-free treatment alternatives that genuinely help people! Here they are together in one blog, like a chocolate peanut butter cup. I am grateful that David Morgan “made the decision not to withhold information for profit” since this is a quibble I have with some alternative treatments. Random people who claim their secret blend of herbs, spices and organic bamboo socks will cure bipolar, schizophrenia and cancer all at once if you’ll pay $300 for a DVD — what a deal! (Not!) Yoga is a mainstream, time-honored practice, and it’s nice to see this blog aimed at benefiting bipolar sufferers rather than a bank account. With more frequent updates, fewer product reviews, and more specific instructions for practice, this blog would rank much higher on the list.

My Commentary: A for profit blog with yoga {some far out reach here}, I guess if I sell secret bipolar decoder mood rings on my Blog I will get an award too {laughing}.
* * *
Honorable mentions: (because Brad is still hyper-awesome, but doesn’t write about bipolar much anymore), If you’re going through hell keep going (for her sincerity and introspection), and The Bipolar Bisexual (for being topical, funny, and hot — NSFW).
Thank you to everyone in the blogosphere writing such great blogs it was hard for us to narrow our choices to just ten. Like any list of this kind we’ve probably left out a few of your faves, so please share links in the comments.

I personally believe the Psych Central Awards were poorly researched, rushed, and this Susan Kiume isn’t much of a writer or evaluator {how about spell check Sandra! There are so many typos in this award page, I’m sitting thinking you must have rushed through this review and selection process in ten minutes or less}. Did she really read any of these blogs in-depth before coming out with her great and grandiose conclusions? This in my opinion was more of an east coast insider’s pro-med liberal popularity contest than a stellar awards of true substance. But that's my opinion. If you look at their site you will notice Big Pharmaceutical ads running everywhere. I guess that makes them completely independent and unbiased right?

Way Too Many Why’s? I just don’t get it?


Sandra Kiume at 2:55 am on October 22nd, 2008
Just FYI for all Stephany’s fans - I appreciate your appreciating her blog, but since she’s not bipolar it doesn’t qualify. Sorry.
stephany at 11:26 am on October 22nd, 2008
Hi Sandra,
I have a dx of Bipolar II. I currently take Lamictal for it, and have since December 2006. I have been reducing Xanax as a questionable med that has been in place for over 9 years, and it brought my thinking about as to whether or not I was “medicating my emotions and life experience” thus personally questioning my Bipolar II dx.
As with Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons, I have learned (much from him) about managing my stimuli and life style, and one day if all meds are removed will wonder if I was in fact dx Bipolar correctly or not, the same as Philip Dawdy who is off medication for over one year now, (Furious Seasons).
I write extensively about my daughter and her struggles with a schizophrenic dx; and many of my posts are of medication withdrawals I went through the last 2 years.
Thank you to everyone who has been nominating me, I was quite surprised and heart-warmed to see this!
Stephany at soulful sepulcher blog (bipolar soup kitchen)

I officially nominate Sandra Kiume and Psych Central for my “What the F—K” award for 2008 and beyond.

I personally believe the A HOY award will hold a lot more weight, will have the integrity, and prestige; PsychCentral only could hope for in their well medicated advertising dreams.

If you want to read some great blogs, I have them linked on my side bar! Each one of them gets a #1 rating in my book! They are all different, unique, thoughtful, well done, personable, educational, entertaining, and most of the time a pure joy to read; even if they have the power and written voice to bring you to honest tears, or make you laugh out loud so vigorously that the neighbors will start to wonder about your sanity.

Now let me say in closing I never started or will ever write this blog to recieve awards or makes the status quo happy. That's not my style or intent. If I piss people off and that makes them think a little more, then that's perfectly OK with me. People read blogs by their own accord. I write for my own well being and self expression. When it all come downs to brass tacks its really pretty simple.

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