Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Bipolar Blogroll

You can't have a blog without a blogroll, so I've created one here. With the exception of Blog Them Out of the Stone Age (my military history blog), all of them deal primarily with bipolar disorder. I've encountered one or two of them before. The rest are drawn mainly, though not exclusively, from PsychCentral's list of the Top Ten Bipolar Blogs of 2008.

The selection is tentative. Whether they'll remain on my blogroll is going to be a function of time and utility. Time in the sense that so far I've scarcely done more than skim a few entries; utility in the sense that some of them will probably prove more useful for my purposes than others. Then too of course there are the considerations that apply to pretty much any blog. Is it well written? Does it have a voice? Does it stay generally on topic? Is it updated on a regular basis?

From what I've seen thus far, blogs about bipolar disorder tend to have three characteristics.

First, they are heavily didactic in tone. They seek to educate others about the illness and/or to help those with the disorder manage it better. Sometimes they critique the mental health establishment, particularly the prescription of psychotropic medications.

Second, many take a rather catastrophic view of the illness. For most of them it seems to be a huge struggle that dominates their lives, as in some cases it indisputably does . All in all, the effect is to create the impression that bipolar disorder is not something they have, but a major component of who they are.

Third, and perhaps as a corollary of the second characteristic, the authors commonly refer to themselves and others with the disorder as being bipolar or, in at least one case, terming persons like myself "bipolars," as if we were a unique subset of humanity.

People are entitled to view the disorder in any way that seems helpful to them. I mention these characteristics not to judge, but rather to say that while I find most of them interesting, I identify with few of them. That's because I conceptualize the illness as external to me and simply something to be managed.

Nonetheless, they do provide a window into the disorder, and probably as time goes by I'll discover other blogs more relevant to my own situation and perspective.

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