Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Online Support Group for Bipolar Moms & Moms-to-Be

I'd like to start an online support group for bipolar moms & moms-to-be. It would be a weekly chat or teleconference. Anyone interested?

It will be a DBSA-style group. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance). I'm a former DBSA facilitator. We could do a video webcam version, phone session or chat room I know Skype has a video group function actually.

If you are interested what day of the week and time of the day would you want to do it and are you interested in phone, webcam or chat? I personally think phone or webcam is best.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea for a blog!

Natalie said...

Hi there - I just stumbled upon your blog in searching for other bipolar mom bloggers. I'd be very interested in a support group! I should note I'm not on meds, nor have I ever been - I started a rigorous alternative treatment regimen, including a medication alternative, a year ago following diagnosis, and am doing very well. Recovering from the psychosis/mania that got me diagnosed, and finding increasing stability. That said, I think our challenges as bipolar moms are unique, regardless of our individual treatment decisions. I'd love to find other bipolar moms to talk with. On that note, can't wait to check out more of your blog. Thanks for putting this out there!

Rachael said...

Natalie, I'd love to hear more about your alternative treatments and I'm sure the readers would too. I'm a big believer in those and explore them with the help of my doctor. For me I have had success at different stages of time with very limited medication. It comes and goes. I've been living with bipolar disorder since I was a teenager and have been officially diagnosed since 2002, prior to that I was misdiagnosed and treated for depression with anxiety disorders.

My non-medication stuff revolves around exercise, supplements, diet and meditation. You can post here or email me at bipolarpregnancy@gmail.com if you want to guest post.

Jaime said...

Hey I have been reading your blog off and on since October of 2010 when I decided to go off of my meds in preparation for pregnancy. Success was achieved in late December and I am just starting my second trimester. I have type 2 Bi-polar and I am finding that I am at a point where I am starting to crash and am considering starting the lamictal but I definately want to look at all my options before I do that I could use a place to toss ideas around with other mommies to be. Please keep posting I don't have a webcam right now but I think I could get one pretty quick if something materializes with this.

Anonymous said...

I am extremely interested in a support group! It would be nice to connect with other bipolar moms. I'm in my second trimester of pregnancy and have struggled the entire time without medication. A few days ago I finally decided that it was time to get back on Lamictal before it got worse, but I am not seeing improvement yet.

Sometimes I think just having someone that completely understands would improve things tremendously. My therapist is fantastic but it seems as though there is a disconnect now that I am pregnant.

Caroline said...

Hi! I have been well-medicated for the past 4 years but am just starting to consult with a new doctor about discontinuing them before becoming pregnant. I'd really love to hear about the alternative treatments mentioned and would love to be a part of a group who's also going through this. I find that daily exercise, yoga, and eating well greatly help me in addition to my medication, but I'd love to hear more ideas.

Caroline

Caroline said...

I forgot to mention--I think webcam would be great and I can do Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a fantastic idea! I often wonder how many other bipolar women there are out there like me. I plan on getting pregnant soon and to staying on my medication to avoid getting an episode while pregnant. Hearing other experiences would be beneficial on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It provides a sense of what is possible during pregnancy for a bipolar women. I personally want to get pregnant soon (am Type 2 Bipolar radian cycling) and get off my medicine, Lamictal. However I just finished grad school and am looking for work. The only time I got off meds for bipolar I became severely suicidal for half a year. It took about 2 years to become fully stable. I also have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder since 8 and depression since 12. My diagnosis turned to bipolar when I was 22. I am now 28. So I would like to connect with you and other bipolar mothers to see what alteratives would be available during and after pregnancy, particularly those with additional anxiety and depression diagnoses. I look forward to hearing about your support group. Thank you so much for providing an avenue for bipolar moms and moms to be to discuss this issue in a personal context.

Melissa said...

I just found this now and I'd be very interested in joining some kind of online support.

I have been living with bipolar since my teens as well and after a myriad of diagnosis from "typical teenager" to depression and anxiety I was officially diagnosed with bipolar in 2003.

I had my first in 2008 and had a difficult recovery as I flipped into hypo-mania shortly after her birth that was never treated until I crashed into a depressive state that required hospitalization.

In 2010 my husband and I decided it was time to have our second and I began an intensive non-medical treatment through my trying to conceive phase and pregnancy. Our son was born in January of this year and I have just started back to the difficult task of finding the right medication for me after becoming depressed.

I am relieved to find this blog and some other mom's who share similar experiences! I'm available almost anytime to "meet" online.

Anonymous said...

hi i just came across ur website, im 27 weeks pregnant i stopped my medication when i found out i was pregnant and im crashing, plz help. I havent been to a dr in a while as i dont have medical aid and im unemployed and things are very tight, what can i do.

Donna said...

Hi - I am a grandma-to-be. My 24yr. old daughter with mixed states bipolar disorder is 6 weeks pregnant. We live in the Orlando, FL area. Can you suggest a good psych doc with experience in treating pregnant women? Also do you know a good ob/maternal fetal doc with knowledge in this area? My daughter was diagnosed bipolar 1 in her early teens. Having lived through a number of psychiatric hospitalizations and severe episodes through the years, I am very scared for her to go off all her meds. Also am afraid for her to take the meds during pregnancy. She takes lamictal, seroquel, trazodone, buspar and thyroid.
Thanks for any help! (I don't know how this blog thing works.)

Hyben said...

Hi everyone,

I'm so happy to have found your blog + comments. I am 35 years old, have been bipolar for nearly 20 years, but only diagnosed and stable(r) with lithium since 2007.

Back in 2007 I decided I would not have children because it seemed too difficult and I had never had a partner who seemed capable to support me anyway. Just until I found the most supportive man ever here in Alaska (to where I moved last summer from Europe).

Everything seems to have turned upside down with my new partner in my life. I realize it would actually be possible to have a child of my own after all, but now I feel I'm running out of time... And my parents look at me on skype and tell me very cautiously that I had asked them to remind me not to do it (consider pregnancy) no matter how sweet and supportive my guy would seem to be. Hmmm, I don't want to hear that now... :-s

To cut a long story short: I'm confused about the topic and it would be great to share ideas and experiences amongst us - to me pregnancy yes/no/how (and motherhood as well) is one of the biggest bipolar dilemma's.

Thanks for having initiated this conversation - I truly feel I'm not alone with this :-)

Rachael said...

I hope to have found a good service we can use for an online support group in the next few weeks! I'll be posting soon. I had hoped to find one already but things have been crazy with work.

Anonymous said...

Hi There
I would love to hear more about different mom's experience with bipolar.
I'm also struggling with the idea of whether or not getting pregnant is a good idea. I've recently been married and met my doctors to discuss it. They've told me I would have to go off the Epivale that I'm on and have been on for 8 years. Needless to say that is scary - but at the same time I am 36 and feel as though time is against me. I've only had 2 major episodes in my life and otherwise been very stable.
Stephanie

Kendra said...

Hello there,

I am soooo excited about the poential for a support group! I am a mom with bipolar myself. I am on four bipolar meds and took them during my pregnancy with my daughter. I am now contemplating another pregnancy and could use the support no matter what the decision. Looking forward to hearing back soon!
Thank you so much for your wonderful blog!

Nikki said...

I'm 26, and was diagnost 2 years ago, but I didn't find a medication that worked for me until last october. it was the hardest thing I've ever gone through. I have a wonderful husband of six years, and am confident he can handle all this, but I'm not sure I can.

I have a good ob and she is very on board with mapping out a plan so things will be as easy as they can. She said she had another patient who went to UC Davis for iv treatments combined with vitamins and supplements, and that worked well. I'm really scared. I did an out-patient program last year and remember them saying that sometimes when people stop taking thier meds that they don't work a second time. Since it has taking so long to find something to work for me, I'm scared I'll have to start all over. I need advice and I think it would be great to hear other people's experiences, cause I'm really freaking out here.

Nikki said...

I forgot to say I am open to talk mostly mornings during the week, and anytime on weekends. I also can't use video camera.

Angie said...

I came across this blog while serching the web for bi-polar mom/soon to be moms. I became pregnate by suprise. Although my boyfriend and family are both very supportive, I feel like I'm alone. I am not to take any of my mood stablizers due to the possible birth defects. I am also ADD. I am allowed to take wellbutrin and my adderall. But that does not help my INSANE mood swings. I seem to take them out mostly on my boyfriend. It is not far to him. I think to myself as I am yelling at him for something small "why am I doing this, this is not me" That is the thing, it isn't me. I dont like change and when I am to totally alter my life and I have no say to it, it's not happy times. To add to my mood swings are the pregnancy emotions. I dont know what to do. I am never happy, when I should be enjoying this miracle of life. I hope someone out there is going through what I am. Or has gone though it and can give some light to this dark time.

Jesssica said...

Hi,
I'm a 27 year old, and found this blog through Health.com. I've been diagnosed Bipoloar II for 6 years. I've been avoiding and fearing the thought of pregnancy (and subsequent result of raising a child) because of my sometimes unstable Bipoloar. I would very much like to hear the stories and discussions from successes to hardships when it comes to this topic. I hope to hear more soon!

Sarah said...

I am interested...

Nhmommaof5 said...

Just found your blog as searching for info on this diseae. I would a support group!

Kathryn said...

Hello all,

Wow! To have found this gorgeous group of women all going through similar experiences living with bipolar and being/soon-to-be mums! Thank you!

I'm 32 years old, During my first pregnancy I became slightly ubstable, but not on medication. After the birth I became increasingly depressed until I was hospitlised for postnatal depression in 2007(and put on Lovan and Seroquel). It was not until 12 months later that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar II, which I take Seroquel and Lithium to help stabalize my mood.

We're considering having another baby, but I'm definately afraid of stopping my meds. I don't think I'm quite ready yet, as the fear is outweighing the decision.

I'm definately interested in a support group. Not sure how it will work talking live via webcam. Reading other ladies posts we seem all over ther world. But please don't let my pessimism rain on your parade! Go for it. Heaven know we need all the support we can get!

Jaime said...

Hello,

My name is Jaime and I work for a Women's Health Centre. I am trying to organise a support group fr mothers with a serious mental illness inclusive of bipolar/schizophrenia/psychotic mood disorder. I would be interested in liaising with you at some point as to sepcific topics etc as I can not find a specific group that works with pregnant women with SMI. My contact is jantonacci@whfs.org.au

Thank you.

OUTTAlights said...

I would be very interested in a support group and I am almost open anytime during regular business hours but if it was after my husband could watch my son. So either way I would love to.
Amy

Anonymous said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts

Lopa Shah said...

I'm bipolar II and am thinking about getting pregnant. I'm a single woman, which complicates matters. I'm considering non-traditional options that would give me the same support as having a partner. I take Effexor, Lamictal, Geodon, and Trazadone, and have no idea which medications are okay or not okay to stay on. My psychiatrist is against me having a baby, which doesn't leave me with good sources of information about bipolar disorder and pregnancy. I'm so happy to have found your blog, so I can get some more information before I make a decision one way or the other.

Lopa Shah said...

I don't know if my comment got through or not. I'm bipolar II and considering getting pregnant. I'm a single woman, which complicates matters. I'm looking at non-traditional options that would give me the same support as having a partner. I'm on Effexor, Lamictal, Geodon, and Trazadone. My psychiatrist is against bipolar women getting pregnant, so I'm not able to use him as a resource. I'm so happy to find a place where I can get information, so I can make good choices about having a baby.

Amy said...

I, like others, stumbled upon this blog as I was doing research in prep for my appointments with psychiatrist, psychologist and family care practitioner (I know, a lot in 2 days). I am bipolar type II and have been taking depo provera for birth control for a whopping 10 years! (since age 17).
My husband and I would like to have children, but I am very concerned about the risks to me and baby. I have been taking lamictal, EMSAM (which is a fantastic newish anti-depressant I'd be happy to talk about if anyone is interested) and other meds for a few years. I will be asking about lithium treatment among others because of the risks of lamicatal to fetuses. Anyway, did this materialize into a blog blog or more a thread of comments?
I'd love to be a part of this to learn more, have support, and be supportive.

Amy said...

I, like others, stumbled upon this blog as I was doing research in prep for my appointments with psychiatrist, psychologist and family care practitioner (I know, a lot in 2 days). I am bipolar type II and have been taking depo provera for birth control for a whopping 10 years! (since age 17).
My husband and I would like to have children, but I am very concerned about the risks to me and baby. I have been taking lamictal, EMSAM (which is a fantastic newish anti-depressant I'd be happy to talk about if anyone is interested) and other meds for a few years. I will be asking about lithium treatment among others because of the risks of lamicatal to fetuses. Anyway, did this materialize into a blog blog or more a thread of comments?
I'd love to be a part of this to learn more, have support, and be supportive.

Amy said...

I left a comment a few days ago that hasn't been posted yet, but I realized I never answered the "date/time/format" part of the question. I work a normal workday, so I would only be available on weeknights and weekends, but I would make it work. Also, I would favor a group webchat (such as the Skype capabilities you suggested) but I know not everyone has the ability to chat, so I am wondering if Skype is set up for simultaneous phone and web chatting. I have used Skype to place regular phone calls without video before. Please let me know if I can help organize this effort; there are so many mothers or women who want to be mothers who feel alone, and they're not.

Whitley said...

Im a mom-to-be and also have a 17 month old son. I suffer from bipolar. Im very interested in this online support group. Ive been on medicine since I was seven years old and I'm twenty-two now. I need other women who suffer from this to talk with, I'm the only one who has it around me. I can't get along with no one and I think other women who suffer from the same thing can help me alot.Please email me if your still doing this. (whitleycrowe25@gmail.com)
Thanks,
Whitley

yoginimana said...

finally found what i'm looing for! I am 39, bipolar my whole life but lived in an armpit town that coudn't diagnose till 10 yrs after moving to big city (i was so put out by docs in birth place). i was 33 at the time.

i used combo of drugs and yoga to stay stable. have also reduced them alot with use of naturopathic meds.

finally met and married my dream guy 2 1/2 yrs ago and have been working w numerous specialists trying to reduce med load to acceptable level, then a fertiilty specialist cause of blocked tubes. first round of ivf a bust and i cannot get out of bed since - just want too dissolve and dissappear.

0bviously i think the idea of a support group is fantastic. how else do we know what's "normal" for us or not?!

please count me in!

Anonymous said...

Hi all, this was such a great blog to come upon. I am recently married and have been diagnosed with Bipolar II for the last 5 years. My husband and I want to start a family soon. I have been well controlled on my medications and have found my psychiatrist says she cannot tell me what to do, but there are many bipolar mothers. My gynocologist said that she sees lots of bipolar moms and just to tell her before so we can plan it out. I need support more in this area than in any other area and would be available most every night for chatting. Hugs out to each of you strong women!!!

Rachael said...

I'd like to plan the first group next Thursday 8/11 at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific

If we have 15 people or less who RSVP we can do a phone group (since I have a teleconference account that is limited to 15) if more than 15 it will be chat based. So please RSVP to bipolarpregnancy@gmail.com

I've had some people email that can only do daytime so we will plan a daytime one also.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone!

I'm so glad there's a blog about being BPD and a mom. I found out after my second kid that I had BP II. I also have the rapid cycling type, and my cycles only last a few days. The highs and lows are extreme from suicidal to paranoia/delusions. So, I spend a lot of time feeling crazy and like I don't belong around normal people. I have a heavy dose of Depakote and Pristiq to manage my BPD. So, trying to have another kid is going to require the organization skills of Mission Impossible. You know, before Tom Cruise went a little loopy.

I worry about how I affect my kids. I try so hard to keep my head, but my head feels like it's going to explode and my chest locks up when they mess up the house or won't stop getting into things. I can't breathe and it hurts. Deep breathing makes my vision all funky though.

I need some ideas from other moms about how to cope with my physical symptoms so that my anger doesn't explode. I think that if I could get my physical symptoms under control, then the anger issues would follow. I would love to talk to other moms about how they cope from day to day.

Jay Pea said...

My experience thus far: isolated and lethargic. I've been off meds since March 2011. I became pregnant in June and it's been a rather disheartening experience. In the beginning I was was excited about the pregnancy, but since time has went on it's hard to feel anything. I go through the motions and do my best NOT to engage in life. I do the bare minimum and I know my attitude is putting stress on my relationships (especially my husband). All I keep thinking is "How am I supposed to do this for 7 more months?" My bipolar depression is pretty much sucking all the joy out of a woman's most amazing life experiences. It's tolerable, but it definitely gets in the way of things and is very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnoised three years ago for bipolar and was taking lithium. I have recently become pregnant and it wasnt planned. I find that I cant focus, my head is constantly on overdrive and im not sleeping. I feel myself slip into depression very easily and have been acting in manic ways. Does anyone else find it hard to do deal with being pregnant and bipolar? Im not sure whether its not being on meds or this is all pregnancy symptoms.

Josie said...

Hello -
I am so excited to have come upon this blog!!!! I have tried emailing address provided, but I have not had any luck.
Does anyone know if there has been any "meetups" so far?

I am 30 years old, and will be titrating down off of my lamictal in about 1 or 2 months (I take it for my bipolar 2). I am EXTREMELY frightened, as I imagine most of you on this blog post are/were. I am desperately seeking to talk to someone who has been through the process. I have so many questions about ranging from what to tell my coworkers (if anything) to how your partner managed during that time.

At the moment, I feel like I'm climbing to the top of a high-dive, I know that eventually I'm going to have to jump, but it's the anticipation that has me scared senseless.

If there is anyone on this blog that would be willing to talk with me one-on-one, I couldn't express how happy that would make me feel.

Anonymous said...

I would really like to know if a meeting is being set up as I am a 35 yr old bipolar II on lamictal and looking to be pregnant within the year. My Dr. said i can stay on Lamictal, but I'm very nervous to.

Ashley Kate said...

Hello - was this group ever formed? If anyone knows of anything similar, please let me know!

hopefulmom said...

I am in my early thirties and was diagnosed bipolar 2 about 3 years ago when I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital. I found out I was pregnant while there (I only stayed a week in an effort to get a psychiatrist paid for by the gov't). I stopped all meds and the counselling I received really helped. I had to face all my demons and realize that I had to stop with the poor me syndrom and get to work on changing the things I could. My daughter is 3 years old and because of her I am doing much better. No major episodes. I am now in my second trimester, still no meds and just starting to feel some anger seep in. I am giving myself frequent time outs, but just feel exhausted. I hope it doesnt get worse.

Krystle Diaz said...

MY name is Krystle and iam 21 and married and expecting my first baby. i was diagnosed with bi-polar at the age of 16 and at 6 diagnosed ADD. I am of all medication due to the fact that i have to take high dosages and anxiety medications and have to take skitzophranic tendancies along with suicidal as well along list and just need help to learn how to deal as well as people to talk to who understand whats its like. right now i live away from the only person who knows how to handle me which would be my mother. i visit and so does she as much as money allows i am an hr and 45 mins away in ohio and she lives in indiana. most my episodes are directed towards my husband and it not fair.

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Emerald Rose said...

I would love a mom´s group!I have a 3 yr old daughter and had A LOT of complications during my pregnancy.And am now pregnant with my second child and would love to chat with other moms about everything relating to bipolar,and it seems like you have a lot of supports from other mothers and I am looking forward to your blog up and running! (My daughter is healthy now btw) :)

Emerald Rose said...

I would love a mom´s group!I have a 3 yr old daughter and had A LOT of complications during my pregnancy.And am now pregnant with my second child and would love to chat with other moms about everything relating to bipolar,and it seems like you have a lot of supports from other mothers and I am looking forward to your blog up and running! (My daughter is healthy now btw) :)