Euthanasia for physical diseases is NOT the same as suicide for mental illnesses.


My friend, valuable human being, intelligent blogger, hilarious wit, Ulla recently committed suicide. I know she was in an unremitting depression, I know she was in an enormous amount of pain, but every fiber of my being revolted against the idea of her suicide, against the idea of the loss of her.

When someone has terminal cancer, and has been reduced to 30 pounds in weight, have had their whole small intestine and colon resected and are living with a colostomy bag. Also the chemotherapy has caused them to become blind, and the cancer, despite repeated surgeries, has spread everywhere, causing them unbearable pain. This I whole heartedly agree is a case for euthanasia. This poor person is not going to recover after having reached this state and keeping them around to suffer is quite unconscionable. Euthanasia here, is very appropriate.

A person has a mental illness, they are in a severe depression, they are in terrible emotional pain, and physical pain. They are constantly thinking of ending it all. they are constantly thinking of committing suicide. Is this the same as euthanasia due to the above cancer case? NO! It is not. Here the body has not given out. Here even though the depressed person thinks there is no hope, there is hope! This person may commit suicide today and tomorrow, a miraculous new drug that cures depression may be put on the market. So that if this person would have waited one more day, their problems would have been solved. People with mental illness who are suicidal do not have to die. Their kidneys are in good working order, their livers are in good working order, their weight is normal, nothing is literally killing them, except their thoughts and feelings. Yes these are valid, yes these count. But they are not absolute. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Suicide really, truly is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! Even if the temporary duration might be very long.

I know some of my friends have said that Ulla deserved peace and to be reunited with her mother. Well, as an atheist, all I think she got was nothing, simply not existing anymore.

Please, suicide is not a valid treatment for a mental illness. Our feelings, our thoughts get hijacked by depression, making us feel hopeless, worthless, loveless, full of pain, and wanting to end it all. But it does not have to be this way. I would rather be put into a coma for a few months, like they do with physical illnesses and then be brought out if and when a better medication has been discovered. Who knows, just the act of putting me in a coma may rewire my brain and take me out of the depression.

Please, don’t give up! Hang on, no matter how much pain you are feeling, things can get better, if you are here. They can’t if you have taken your own life.

I so wish Ulla had not done what she did. She deserved to be happy and to live, I wish someone would have helped talk her out of it. A young, vibrant, intelligent, funny, lovely woman. Suicide robbed us of her.

“Child abuse produces damaging effects in bipolar patients.” Yes, true, but I am healing from all that!

Duh! People with bipolar d/o who have been abused as children develop the illness more than four years earlier than the not abused ones. They are twice as likely to attempt suicide and four times as likely to have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But no suicide attempts here, not in the past, not in the present, and most definitely not in the future. I have too much to live for, my son, my family, and my friends and even my Flufffluff! However, I am certain I do suffer from PTSD. Some events throw me into a firestorm of fight or flight and I act so out of character and so extreme, that after the storm passes, I am just left shaking my head and saying “Was that really me?” No it wasn’t the true, the real me, it was me under the influence of active PTSD. I think along with healing the abandonment issues with the techniques I am using, breathing, feeling the past pain, talk therapy, I will also diminish the effect of the PTSD resulting from child abuse. All this will allow my true self, which is warm, caring, loving, understanding, and patient to emerge and stay. These healing modalities will allow the abandonment anxiety and the abuse PTSD to hopefully mostly go away.

I have a small proof that they are working, last night we went to dinner, and after we got home, I couldn’t find my phone. Now normally, I would literally have been beside myself, I mean sitting beside myself, my fight or flight in the full on position, as if a massive lion was attacking me. BUT last night, I CALMLY went downstairs and looked for my phone in my car, not there. I CALMLY called the restaurant and asked if someone had turned in a phone, no. I remained calm and remembered I had the “find your phone” App, and used it on my computer, turns out it was in my condo, the sound was turned off. And I CALMLY found it! I noticed my calmness as all this was going on, it was a new feeling, to not be in full fight or flight mode. It was a new feeling, to BE OK!

I have other small victories, I was getting very anxious about an important issue in my life, and I was going to email out of that anxiety, but I calmed myself down (breathing) and talked my self out of acting out of anxiety. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do even 2 weeks ago. 

So I am learning, I am learning. And if I can learn, so can we all!

Child abuse produces damaging effects in bipolar patients

London: Childhood abuse and neglect can lead to a range of negative outcomes in patients with bipolar disorder, warns a study.
Bipolar patients with a history of childhood maltreatment developed the depressive mental condition more than four years earlier than patients with no history of maltreatment, revealed the study.

In addition, they were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide and nearly four times more likely to have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, up to 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder die by suicide, the research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, showed.

“Our findings have important implications for clinical practice, as they suggest that a history of childhood maltreatment could be used as an early indicator of high risk for poor outcomes among individuals with bipolar disorder,” said Jessica Agnew-Blais, post-doctoral researcher at King’s College London.
Bipolar patients with a history of childhood maltreatment have more severe manic, depressive and psychotic symptoms; higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and substance and alcohol misuse disorders; earlier onset of symptoms; more frequent manic and depressive episodes; and higher risk of suicide attempt, the researchers elucidated.

One in every 25 adults is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in their life. The disorder is characterised by periods or episodes of feeling very low and lethargic (depression) or of feeling very high and overactive (mania), the researchers said.
It is important to identify bipolar patients with the greatest clinical need and risk as early as possible, in order to ensure that they receive the most timely and effective interventions to reduce their risk of poor outcomes, the researchers suggested.

Maltreatment in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect, affects one in five children under 18 in Britain and is known to be highly prevalent in bipolar patients (up to 60 percent).

Brain Study Seeks Roots of Suicide

A clinical trial will look at the neurological structure and function of people who have attempted suicide

 Researchers hope to elucidate the brain mechanisms associated with the impulse to kill oneself.

Suicide is a puzzle. Fewer than 10% of people with depression attempt suicide, and about 10% of those who kill themselves were never diagnosed with any mental-health condition.

Now, a study is trying to determine what happens in the brain when a person attempts suicide, and what sets such people apart. The results could help researchers to understand whether suicide is driven by certain brain biology — and is not just a symptom of a recognized mental disorder.

The project, which launched last month, will recruit 50 people who have attempted suicide in the two weeks before enrolling in the study. Carlos Zarate, a psychiatrist at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues will compare these people’s brain structure and function to that of 40 people who attempted suicide more than a year ago, 40 people with depression or anxiety who have never attempted suicide and a control group of 40 healthy people. In doing so, the researchers hope to elucidate the brain mechanisms associated with the impulse to kill oneself.

Zarate’s team will also give ketamine, a psychoactive ‘party drug’, to the group that has recently attempted suicide. Ketamine, which is sometimes used to treat depression, can quickly arrest suicidal thoughts and behaviour — even in cases when it does not affect other symptoms of depression. The effect is known to last for about a week.

To some researchers, such findings suggest that ketamine affects brain circuits that are specific to suicidal thinking. But John Mann, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York City, says that abnormal brain chemistry and genetics could also predispose a person to attempt suicide in times of great stress, such as after a job loss. “They’re part of the person, they’re a trait,” Mann says. “They just get more important when the person gets ill.”

Written in the genes?
There is evidence that genetics influences a person’s suicide risk. For instance, biological relatives of adopted children who kill themselves are several times more likely to take their lives than the general population.

Fabrice Jollant, a psychiatrist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, suggests that this genetic influence is related to impulsivity and flawed judgement, rather than a specific mental illness. He has found that close relatives of people who killed themselves were more impulsive than a control group when playing a gambling game designed to test decision-making. “It seems that this is something transmitted,” Jollant says.

Other researchers are seeking biomarkers that would allow clinicians to spot people most at risk of suicide. Alexander Niculescu, a psychiatrist at Indiana University in Indianapolis, and his colleagues have identified a set of six genes whose expression is altered in the blood of people who have killed themselves. The team has found that combining these biomarkers with data from an app that tracks mood and risk factors can predict, with more than 90% accuracy, whether people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia will eventually be hospitalized for a suicide attempt.

And Mann is using positron emission tomography to track the best-studied biomarker, for the signalling molecule serotonin, in the brains of people who have attempted suicide. Their altered serotonin patterns are similar to those seen after death in the brains of those who have killed themselves, says Mann.

Although serotonin levels are altered in people with depression, Mann has found differences between people who attempt suicide and those who are depressed but have no history of suicide attempts. He has also shown that serotonin levels are altered to a greater degree in those who make more serious suicide attempts — such as taking an entire bottle of painkillers — than in those whose attempts are less drastic.

Ethical challenges
Researchers hope that a better understanding of the biology underlying suicide will lead to more effective treatments for suicidal impulses. But studies such as Zarate’s present difficult logistical and ethical challenges. Researchers must consider whether a person who has just attempted suicide can make informed decisions about whether to participate in research.

Michael Minzenberg, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, knows these concerns all too well: he studies suicidal people with schizophrenia. Many of these people struggle with basic life skills, such as keeping a job or finding housing. “They’re a challenging group to treat, let alone to study,” Minzenberg says.

He and other researchers who study suicidal people say that they treat them with special care — and that the overall benefits of such studies outweigh any risks. “In most clinical trials, people at high risk of suicide are excluded, so we don’t know how to treat them,” Jollant says. “We need to assess this population, not just say ‘exclude them from trials’.”

Another link between inflammation and mental illness! “Could a runny nose make you depressed? Hay fever sufferers may be four times more likely to develop the mental illness.”

I have horrible seasonal allergies, I have food sensitivities, I have manic depression, aka bipolar disorder. My grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis, my mother had RA and elements of lupus. My brother had bad seasonal allergies. A case study in inflammation, immune and autoimmune responses and mental illnesses in the same individuals!  And here is yet another link between inflammation and mental illness! Hay fever sufferers may be much more likely to develop depression. Hay fever peaks during spring, the rates of suicide also peak in Springtime all over the world. There may be a simple cure for allergies, as simple as Ibuprofen, a non steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID). Hope scientists     figure out the link between inflammation and mental illness, it could save many, many lives.

Could a runny nose make you depressed? Hay fever sufferers may be four times more likely to develop the mental illness.

Hay fever sufferers may be four times more likely to develop severe depression, according to new research. But it’s not just a runny nose and itchy eyes that triggers mood slumps.

Scientists think inflammation in blood vessels and tissues throughout the body caused by an allergic reaction to pollen has a long-lasting harmful effect on the brain.

This inflammatory response – the cause of typical allergy symptoms, such as sneezing – is the body’s way of trying to get rid of an allergy trigger, such as pollen. But there is a growing body of evidence that sustained exposure to low-level inflammation for several months, such as during the hay fever season, could have serious psychiatric effects later in life. However, treatment such as simple ibuprofen could help.

Around ten million people a year in Britain suffer during the hay fever season, which peaks during the late spring and summer. Researchers are investigating whether inflammation can trigger depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

In the latest study, scientists at the National Yang-Ming University of Taiwan looked at nearly 10,000 teenagers with hay fever and 30,000 without it.

They monitored both groups for almost a decade and recorded how many went on to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder – a condition characterised by periods of mania (when people appear over-excited and have an inability to concentrate or sleep) followed by deep depression. The results, in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, showed that adolescents with hay fever were four times more likely to be diagnosed as bipolar as adults.

An earlier Danish study, in 2010, discovered people with allergies such as hay fever had a 30 per cent higher risk of suicide than those who were allergy-free.

Researchers from Aarhus University came up with the findings after comparing allergy rates among suicide victims with those of a group of healthy people.

But how could something as innocuous as a runny nose be linked to mental illness?

Scientists are not completely sure, but it’s already known that during any allergic reaction, the brain churns out substances called pro-inflammatory cytokines.

These are proteins that then trigger inflammation and the release of chemicals in the blood in a bid to flush out foreign ‘invaders’, such as pollen. Inflammation develops in order to alert the immune system that the body is under attack. Normally, it subsides once the threat has been eliminated and the inflamed tissue heals. But problems develop when the inflammation does not dampen down.

More recent research also suggests cytokines can cause a dip in the brain’s levels of serotonin, the so-called happiness chemical, low levels of which can lead to depression.

This could be a vital clue to why allergy-induced inflammation leads to psychiatric illness.

Now, researchers are investigating whether anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, could treat depression.

Earlier this year, King’s College London began the largest ever investigation into inflammation in depressed patients by scanning their brains.

In the past, inflammatory markers have been found in the blood of depressed patients, but this does not prove that inflammation is also present in the brain, which is what is thought could cause depressive symptoms.

The scientists will now test if anti-inflammatory drugs can help patients who have not responded to antidepressants by improving levels of serotonin.

Dr Valeria Mondelli, one of the researchers, said that because inflammation is a natural response, up to a certain level it can protect the brain against infection. ‘But if it is chronic, then it appears to start to damage brain cells,’ she says.

Here’s a link to a video that talks about Immunotherapy to treat allergies:

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My baby brother Farooq, born on October 3rd, 1964.

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October 3rd, 1964, Farooq was born. I was 4 years old and I picked his name. I remember when he lay in his bassinet, a chubby, beautiful, rosy cheeked baby. I remember him as a toddler, a cherub, with pouty, red lips. My parents got divorced before he was a year old. We moved from Karachi to Islamabad to live with my aunt and uncle. My mother who was an obstetrician and gynecologist, found a job in Lahore, so within a year we moved again. My grandmother, aunt, and uncle came with us. My beautiful little brother was so young and was traumatized by all these moves and no longer having a father. But he rallied, my uncle played games like 20 questions and cricket with us. My aunt took care of us, and my grandmother loved us to bits. Then my mother met my stepfather to be, and she married him, and left my brother and me in Pakistan, with her older sister, for a year, while they moved to the States to find medical training, my stepfather wanted to train to be a heart surgeon, and he did. They found residencies in Buffalo NY, and called us there. My little brother and I came to Buffalo in June of 1972. We settled in, started school in September. My gorgeous, little, sensitive brother, trying to be brave, wanting to be loved. My mother had two more children in Buffalo, my new baby brother and sister. My brother Farooq was a loving older brother, always looked to be loved. He was sensitive, intelligent, with gorgeous, movie star looks. He had friends who loved him. So unfortunately, he had no relationship with my step father and he was always looking for a father figure. But that would have been fine, if only in his late teens he hadn’t developed bipolar disorder. From there on, his life unraveled. He go married, had two children, and never had the chance to fully accept the fact that he was ill. He refused to take his medication. I always wonder what would have happened if he had had a chance to only deal with his illness, in peace (if there can be such a thing), without the responsibility of a wife or family. There was so much upheaval, and tortuous drama in his life after he got married, how could that have been good for him? I wonder if he would have come to some understanding with himself about his illness and realized that he needed to take his medications. I am incredibly, incredibly grateful for my beautiful and most beloved niece and nephew.

This was his life. This incredibly beautiful, sensitive, kind, considerate, loving baby brother of mine. His loss is a tragedy, in the purest form of the word. He came into this world looking for love, as we all do, and he left this world much too soon, looking for love. The last thing he said to me was “I love you.” And I love him and miss him so, incredibly much, everyday.

The things we have to live through, if someone had told me this was going to happen to me, to us, I would not have believed it. I may have declined the penalty.

Irony! We landed at Washington National airport on June 20, 1972. And Farooq left us on June 21st, 1991. (Before his 26th birthday.) What if we hadn’t settled 20 minutes from Niagara Falls? What would he have walked into then? I wanted this post to be a celebration of his life, because it is his birthday today, he would have been 51 years old!!! Can’t even imagine that. But oh how wonderful that would have been. My mother spared the almost unbearable heartache of losing her son. We, all of us, specially his children, spared such a tragic loss. Yes I wanted this to be celebratory post, in celebration of his life. But I can’t. I don’t have it in me, his name, the thought of my poor little brother is laced with sadness and tears. That is how it is when you lose someone precious to suicide.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

One of the worst things to happen to anyone is to lose a precious, beloved family member to suicide. I know. I lost my 26 year old brother, Farooq, in 1991. It is not something that you ever get over. The loss, the emptiness, the heartache, the guilt, the devastation, they never go away. The “if only I’d …” been there, done this, held on to his hand so he couldn’t have walked away, the if onlys, they never go away. I wasn’t even in Buffalo when it happened. If only I’d been there, I may well have been able to help him. I would still give my right arm to have him here with us, with his beautiful, endearing smile, his goofy jokes, his sweetness, his sensitivity, his love.

September is Suicide prevention month. This article from NAMI is an excellent article, with a great amount of information to help people who are thinking of suicide, hotlines, it also has information for people who are friends or family of someone who is thinking of suicide. I hope my posting this will help people, will prevent this devastating loss from happening to people. Read on.


“September 2015 is also known as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month which helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental health conditions that effect people when they are most vulnerable. Suicidal thoughts and suicide occur too frequently but should not be considered common and can indicate more serious issues. In many cases the individuals, friends and families affected by suicide are left in dark, feeling shame or stigma that prevents talking openly about issues dealing with suicide.

Crisis and Information Resources

  • I’m in crisis or am experiencing difficult or sucidal thoughts: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • I’m looking for more information, referrals or support: NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. – See more at:

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10, 2015 we observe World Suicide Prevention Day to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect indiviudals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to address suicide prevention.

What else can I do?

We believe that these issues are important to address year round. Highlighting these issues during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and World Suicide Prevention Day provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the millions of Americans that can benefit from honest discussions about mental health conditions and suicide. In fighting for those living with mental illness there is still much more that needs to be done and more ways to get involved.

If you or someone you know may need a mental health assessment, anonymous online tools are available. Learn more and help yourself or someone you care about.

Awareness Resources

Share the images and graphics below during the month of September to help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness. You can also use #suicideprevention or #IAmStigmaFree on social media.

Facebook Cover Image and Badge:

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Facebook Share Image 1200x1200px

Twitter Cover Image and Badge:

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– See more at:

Never Give Up! Never!


Here is a comment to one of my posts “I am stuck in a deep depression at this stage, and now that I have read this…if gives me hope. It is keeping the suicide thoughts at bay. Strange how these little things help in a time when you really need it!”

Oh my god, this comment has taught me more about blogging than a million blogging courses could have. If one of my posts could do this, could give someone hope, could possibly stop them from acting out their self harming impulses, than what more could I ask for? Am I not here to give people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as well as other mental illnesses, hope? Am I not here to show them how to be strong, show them that I have been fighting this disease for the last THIRTY years, and surviving, no even thriving? Am I not here to show them that you can be in a suicidal depression, but you don’t have to act on it? Yes I am, yes I am and yes I am.

I was in a suicidal depression, in 1985. I was so severely depressed that there was nothing, absolutely NOTHING left of me. I had severe anhedonia (totally unable to experience any positive emotions), I had gained weight, had acne on my face, the only thoughts/emotions I experienced were confusion, abject sadness, hopelessness, and only negative thoughts. I felt totally helpless to do anything about this because I did not understand what was happening to me. I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. Finally, not being able to stand these feelings and thoughts, I formulated a plan to kill myself. I kept thinking about it for a day or two. The will to live is strong, and even when life is almost unendurable, you hang on. The third day, I heard a song on the radio called “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart. Those words spoke to me. For a week I went back and forth. But every time I heard this song, I felt more sure of myself, I felt more sure that I could live, that I would live. I had a bottle of tranquilizers prescribed for my mom that I had been planning to take. After about a week of thinking about it, I flushed all the pills down the toilet and decided no matter what, I was going to live. No matter what, I was not going to give up. And finally I did get treatment from a psychiatrist. My aunt took me with her to her house, as my mom and step dad were beside themselves, taking care of my seriously mentally ill brother. My aunt kept me in her home, even had her friend who was a psychiatrist come and talk to me, he diagnosed me with depression (later to be changed to bipolar d/o type 1.) He prescribed antidepressants, which I took and became better and better, until I was ready to go home. At the same time, my little brother had also been diagnosed with bipolar d/o. Unfortunately, he did not fare so well and with his demise, all of us, especially my mother, underwent heartbreak and tragedy no words can describe. I don’t know how my mother survived it. She was a strong woman. I would wish that on no one, not ever, not my worst enemy in the world. To lose a gorgeous, loving, intelligent, funny, most beloved brother, it is not something to be borne. I will write his story another time. This post is about never giving up. Which is what I’ve done, even after my brother was gone. And I have lived to get married, lived to see my adored son turn 24, lived to see my niece become a doctor and my nephew get a Master’s degree. I’ve seen my brother and sister come into their own as successful, intelligent, charismatic and beloved siblings. I have spent time with my family and friends, and we have laughed and cried and had loads of fun. I’ve been in plays, I’m in one currently, I’ve moved from Buffalo to Louisville and made so many new friends. And there is still a lot in store, I’m sure.

So you see, never give up! If I had given up in 1985, instead of fighting with all my might, then none of the things I just spoke about would have happened or at least none would have been witnessed by me. My precious son would not have been born, what an awful thought. My son is über compassionate, super intelligent, handsome, very loving, and he will be a lawyer soon, he can accomplish so much, help others, help the earth, help animals, what ever he chooses to do. Just that is a good reason for me to have hung on in 1985.

Never give up. Hang on. Things will get better. It’s always worth it to stay around. No one who has been saved from trying to kill themselves has ever been sorry that they were saved. So you too, save yourself! You will be happy you did. Love and hugs for you my friends.

Here’s the thing about suicide


I just read an article in the Washington Post about a young woman named Natalie Fuller, her suicide (see below.) That’s what brought on this discussion, on this sad and awful subject. But as long as I am writing about it, I may as well do a sincere and truthful job, difficult to read and write, but truthful. Here’s the thing about suicide, mentally ill people, who commit suicide are not well. They do it because of the illness. If they were their well selves, they would never do it. Either they are totally out of touch with reality and are having auditory, or visual, or some sort of hallucinations, so the voices tell them to do something and they listen. Or they are in so much pain, as happens in a depression, that they just want to stop the pain. Again, it is mental illness that makes them do it. I have been in a depression so severe that I seriously thought about and even planned my suicide. I couldn’t stand the pain and I couldn’t stand to live without myself, because the depression had swallowed me up whole and I was gone. My personality was gone, I was gone. This blank, hopeless, scared, shadow of a person, this was not the real me. It was not the Me who is typing this post. It was my mental illness, it was my illness, it was illness. If I had died by my own hands, it wouldn’t really have been so. Just like someone dies of cancer, I would have died of a possibly terminal illness named bipolar d/o.

It takes a lot, a lot, a lot of strength to live with mental illness. For me, I have to do it because I have a son, a niece, a nephew, a brother and a sister. I won’t put them through the trauma we went through after my brother. I will absolutely not! I so wish Natalie Fuller could have been saved.

Here’s the The Washington Post article, it’s called “My daughter, who lost her battle with mental illness, is still the bravest person I know” (link below.) It’s about a young woman, who shortly before her 29th birthday, stepped in front of a train in Baltimore. Her mother wrote the article. Natalie Fuller, this bright young woman went into a psychotic phase at age 22, in her sophomore year in college. As is typical, her mental illness symptoms had been developing, probably at least a year before she was diagnosed. She went into a psychotic phase (out of touch with reality), she started hearing voices that told her to do things, like trespass on her neighbors’ property. She was arrested for this, which is also pretty typical. Finally, she was diagnosed with severe bipolar d/o, in a severe manic phase. She was hospitalized for 2 months, given medication until she was symptom free, and then released. She came home just like her normal, effervescent, energetic, bright self, stayed with her mother, cooked, made art work. She went back to college, to start her senior year. And then… she abruptly stopped taking her medication and fell ill again. She again had to be hospitalized, this time for 8 months! Again she was put on medication, and came home in a normal state, although, according to her mother, more subdued, less like herself. The illness had taken its toll on her. (This is usually not the case with bipolar d/o, recovery is pretty complete, no lasting effects as long as you stay on the meds. Of course, there are medication side effects that can cause fatigue and weakness.) She went through this cycle many times. Even if she missed her meds for a few days, the voices would come back, and the voices invariably told her to stop the meds totally. The final time she went into this cycle, she was convinced that she was 1/4 people for whom drugs did not work. She made the decision to stop taking the meds altogether. And a few months later, she stepped in front of a train.

This is all so familiar. My brother. My brother. He had been showing symptoms for, most likely, a year and a half before he had his psychotic break (break with reality.) He heard voices. We had to call the police to get him hospitalized. They gave him meds in the hospital that returned him to his normal state of being, as right as rain. He was convinced he didn’t need the meds, although he did, desperately need them, he was convinced that he could control his own brain. No one could convince him otherwise. He would throw all his meds in the trash dumpster outside the hospital the day he was released. This cycle repeated itself five or six times. Each time, he would be hospitalized, put on lithium and other meds, each time he became absolutely normal, each time, upon release, he would throw out his meds. Until finally, his wife left him, taking the children, I know the last morning he was alive, he called his wife at 7 am and asked to speak to the kids, she told him he could not, they were asleep. At 8 am he left… and he was gone. We never saw him again. My sweet, movie star handsome, very intelligent, kind, loving, sensitive, adorable and adored brother. I don’t know if the voices told him to stop taking his meds, but he lost his battle with this infernal disease. I wish I’d never heard of bipolar d/o, I wish I didn’t know anything about it, I wish my brother was still here, I wish I hadn’t spent half my life battling this illness. No one really wins against it. You cope, you fight, you live. The more severe the form, the more severe the loss. It is not a blessing in any way, as some deluded people seem to think so. It is loss. Sorry, it’s very hard not be negative and sad after talking about my baby brother. Mostly, I am fine though. And as long as people stay on their meds, they will be, more or less, fine as well.

But here are some statistics that may help if you or your loved one is newly diagnosed:

  • Typically people have symptoms for 70 weeks before they are diagnosed with a psychotic mental illness.
  • Often people are arrested and put in jail in psychotic phases.
  • Often people start exhibiting symptoms ( in their late teens or early twenties.
  • Many newly mentally ill people maintain that they “are fine, everybody else is crazy.”
  • Mentally ill people also come off their meds, and of course they get sick again. Perhaps it’s because they miss the high of mania… (my manias are not high, but very anxious, in a way this is lucky, because I don’t miss the anxiety when I am not manic.)
  • And if they stop their meds, if we stop our meds, the outcome can be devastating.

German Co Pilot. Cringeworthy. Stigma. Even Though Most People With Mental Illness are NOT Violent.


“Co-Pilot in Germanwings Crash Hid Mental Illness From Employer, Authorities Say” from see link to article below.

It is possible that the co pilot, Andreas Lubitz, at the controls of the Germanwings jetliner that recently crashed into the Alps had undisclosed mental illness. The authorities found notes in his apartment from several doctors that said he was too ill to work, including a note from the day of the crash. He had been seen at a German hospital and they released a statement saying he was there for diagnostic purposes. No one really knows what the nature of his illness was, but now everyone is speculating. If it was mental illness, was it depression? No suicide note was found. I suppose it is logical to assume that he did this because of his illness, and suppose that this illness was mental illness. But nothing has yet been found to completely support these ideas. If he did, indeed, do this because he wanted to commit suicide because he was in a depression, how awful! In so many ways. Of course, it’s tragic for the passengers’ families and the co pilot’s family as well. Then it is also really bad for the German airlines, perhaps all airlines, that they hired this man who apparently hid his medical records from them. After that, it is really bad for us, who have mental illnesses. Yes sadly this is possible, it can happen that a person with mental illness would do this sort of thing. This is the kind of thing that reinforces the stigma against people with mental illnesses. That mentally ill people are dangerous and violent and frightening. Yes, some are. But the vast majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by people who are NOT mentally ill.


In fact look at the whole google search I did here:

I understand other people’s fears. I understand that they are afraid of mental illness. But I also am a person with a mental illness, and know others who have it and I can’t think of anyone who has committed a violent crime. Yes, I know, it’s only anecdotal evidence, but please look at the google search I did to see that it really is true, that most mentally ill people are not violent, and also that most violent crimes are committed by people who are NOT mentally.

Aaah, this is cringeworthy indeed. I would be the happiest person on this earth if all mental illness was cured. But until that happens, please wait and see what the facts are before jumping to the conclusion, and it may well be true, that the pilot killed himself due to depression and took a 149 people with him. Heinous no matter why he did it.

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