Positive Things Can Come From Amanda Bynes’s Extended Hospital Stay


When I read an article by ABC News that Amanda would be required to stay at the psychiatric hospital for another two weeks, I was relieved and am really hoping that good things can come from this.

I wrote a blog yesterday that talked about how I was disappointed in her mother that she after trying to get help for her daughter, denied that she had a mental illness after Amanda was discharged.

Being admitted is good for Amanda, it is helpful to others who know nothing about mental illness, and is important for those who have a mental illness to hear that even celebrities struggle with mental illness.

Although Lynn, Amanda’s mother, said that the marijuana made her do all the bizarre things back in May, I am not convinced that this is true and explained that in my other blog.

As I discussed in my other blog, so many good things can happen from this all.  Most importantly, Amanda will get the help she desperately needs.  In addition, others will see her struggles and hopefully learn things from it all.

However, why I think good can  happen from this, other than her having a chance to get treated, is that by having these experiences, she can share her story and help others.  Yes, she had a successful childhood career. Yes, she could turn her life around and act again or work in the fashion industry (what she was going to school for).

What I hope for is that she becomes another person who uses their fame and misfortune of having a mental illness to join the other celebrities who have been coming forward and using their experiences to raise awareness, educate others, and do their part in erasing the stigma.

For a complete list of Famous People with Mental Illnesses or Famous People with Bipolar Disorder, please check out my Pinterest boards.

You will be amazed at how many celebrities have a mental illness.  This goes to show that mental illness can affect anyone and that just because you have a mental illness does not mean that you won’t be able to make a difference or accomplish great things.

Although so many celebrities have come forward, I especially am impressed with Demi Lovato, Glenn Close‘s family, Patrick Kennedy, and Brandon Marshall.

Amanda could  deny that she has a mental illness or she could show the world that there is nothing to be ashamed of.   She could contribute to the stigma or she could become part of the solution when it comes to mental illnesses.

She could use her mental illness as a platform and I guarantee that more people will respect her especially in the mental health community. I believe that would help her career gain momentum. She would be known as an actress with a mental illness rather than a “crazy” former actress who denies she has a problem and does not care about other people who have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, ADHD, autism/aspergers, PTSD, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, drug addictions, etc.

What do you think she will decide to do?  Do you feel strongly enough about letting her know what you believe she should do? If so, contact her.  One way would be to tweet her.  Support her and encourage her and let her know why you think she should do the right thing.

I hope to be writing a blog in the near future about how much I admire her and add her to the list of people who are making a difference when it comes to mental health advocacy.

In conclusion, I truly believe that no matter what happens, that her being in the psychiatric hospital for two more weeks is a good thing and a lot of good can come from it- I hope.

Picture found at: www.starpulse.com




Does Amanda Bynes’s mother regret telling everyone that her daughter does not have a mental illness?

del10Amanda Bynes’s tweets and recent actions show that she is obviously not doing well.

In May, when the stories first were breaking that Amanda Bynes had done some “crazy” things, was arrested for DUI, and then was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, it prompted me to write “My Opinion on Involuntary Commitment and Conservatorships (For example, Amanda Bynes)”   There is a serious problem in our country that parents can’t get their children admitted if they are obviously mentally ill and in trouble. This was the case for Amanda’s parents. They had to wait until she was arrested and ordered to go to the hospital.

When stories kept coming out that she most likely had bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, I hoped that Amanda and her family would use their experiences to help others and  help to erase the stigma.

However, the total opposite happened.  Amanda’s mom, Lynn, denied that she had a mental illness like they were all ashamed of it.  They caved into the stigma and did not use her mental illness in a way that so many other celebrities have recently.

Instead, they contributed to the stigma like it was something to hide and would ruin her career.  Having a mental illness is not something to be ashamed of.  Dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses shows that your strength.  If they are trying to not ruin her career  maybe they should admit she needs help and for what. They could use  her mental illness as a platform.  If they don’t and she continues on this path, not only her career will be over, but her life could possibly be too.

Now that she is back in the hospital due to her bizarre behavior, does her mom finally get it?  We may never know the truth and since mental illness information should be confidential, maybe we never should.   I don’t know if her doctors were so incompetent that they could not see she had a mental illness or if her mom was trying to hide it and lied.  What I do know is that I am happy that she is back in the hospital where she needs to be.

Was she diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?  Was she prescribed medications that aren’t working or is she not taking them?  Is she in denial?  Is she ashamed?  Will she get the help she needs this time or will she say it is because of marijuana why she has been doing strange things?  We might not ever know the answer to all of these questions if any.

Her mental health and medical problems should be confidential. However, when you are famous and do bizarre things, the public is going to speculate.  In my opinion, it would be better to be honest, proud, educate others, raise awareness, and get the help you need than to continue on the path she has been taking.  I hope the hospital keeps her long enough so she is able to get the help she needs.

Amanda and Lynn Bynes- Please don’t deny that she has a problem and make sure she gets treated so she can tell the world that you can recover from mental illness, there is hope, and that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of.  Denying that you have a problem, feeds the stigma by showing you are ashamed.  Use these experiences to educate others and let them know what the symptoms are of the various mental illnesses and where people can go to get help if they or someone else is exhibiting the signs of a mental illness.






Writings from Bipolar Bandit’s Father Part 2: Privileged to be a Bipolar Dad

dad and meThis post is long overdue. As the Dad of a daughter with bipolar disorder,  I experienced many heartaches, sleepless nights and long road trips to bail her out of many crisis situations. I would do it all again. I will do it again and I am thankful that this daughter chose to stand and fight and is now fighting for others.

Bipolar disorder is a terrible illness. It took away our daughter’s teenage years, yet she managed to not only graduate from high school, she stayed with it to get her college degree. and taught school for over 10 years before the illness finally took her out of the workforce altogether. She fought that eventuality with everything she had. She had debilitating dystonia, long bouts of depression, multiple hospitalizations and much more before finally realizing she just could not longer work.

Her mother and I are very proud of how she continues to battle back, stays alive, stays on her medication and has finally found her own soul mate.  So here are some of the joys of being a Bipolar Dad:

  • Cards out of the blue saying “I love you Dad”
  • Special gifts that express thoughtfulness and love – Don’t Quit, Eagle, and more
  • Special hugs and knowing smiles
  • Our own special language – eye luv ewe too
  • The moon
  • Sharing with family
  • First of our daughters to graduate high school and college
  • Some very special and dedicated friends that became a part of us
  • Unbelievably dependable in times of stress for the family
  • Helping to heal damaged relationships
  • Smart as a whip – she could be a doctor in different circumstances
  • A great editor
  • Caring, devoted to her family and friends
  • An advocate beyond belief – helping others deal with this terrible illness

I truly could go on forever and will come back and add more things as I think of them, but this should give anyone who reads this an appreciation for my belief that being the Dad of a Bipolar is a blessing and not a curse. I am thankful that my wife and I stayed with her through all the trials and tribulations and we are now very proud to be the parents of a wonderful daughter.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week: Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

This week provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI

These are some pictures I created in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week for my Mental Health Advocates United Facebook page that aim to educate and raise awareness of some of the mental illnesses.

MIAW day 1

miaw day 2

MIAW day 3

miaw day 4

miaw day 5

miaw day 6

miaw day 7

Thank an Advocate Challenge

MHAU thank an advocate challengeI am the founder of Mental Health Advocates United and Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses. Yesterday, I challenged both my group and followers of my page to thank a mental health advocate.  As the day continued, the idea developed into the Thank an Advocate Challenge.

I have taken the challenge on myself and have thanked several advocates including ones I know personally, politicians, musicians, FB page and Twitter page owners that have accounts that deal with mental illnesses.

Please take a few moments to thank at least one other advocate. Make sure you let them know that it is part of the this challenge by simply using the hashtag #thankanadvocatechallenge. In addition, help spread the word about this challenge.

Let’s encourage each other. By doing so, we will be helping and encouraging other advocates, but also those who have a mental illness.

As mental health advocates, it is important that we encourage other advocates to continue fighting the fight.  The discrimination and stigma that come with mental illness is only going to change through education and awareness.  Advocates, working together, can show that there is hope and recovery when you have a mental illness.

Thank an Advocate Challenge hosted by Mental Health Advocates United
1. Contact someone you know who is a mental health advocate and thank them for what they are doing.
2. Use Twitter, email, Facebook, phone, snail mail, etc
3.We need to encourage those who are advocating for us.
4. It would be helpful if you let others know the contact information of who you have contacted in case they want to thank the same person.
5. Share this with your fellow advocates and on your page to spread the word.
6. Use hashtag #thankanadvocatechallenge

If you are looking for some people to thank:

Mental Health Related Facebook Pages

Brandon Marshall NFL Borderline Personality Disorder

Senator Creigh Deeds Politician/ son committed suicide

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness – Mental Health Support, Education and Advocacy

Bring Change 2 Mind

Patrick J. Kennedy Politician Bipolar Disorder

Demi Lovato Singer/ Eating Disorder/Bipolar Disorder

Black Dog Tribe


Psych Central

United States’s National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Famous People with Mental Illnesses

Keith O’Neil NFL Bipolar

Carrie Fisher actress/bipolar

Congressman Tim Murphy


Mental Health America

Rethink Mental Illness


My Personal Experiences with Suicide TRIGGER

suicide prevention monthToday is World Suicide Prevention Day.  According to WHO, nearly 3,000 people on average commit suicide daily. Suicide rates are at an all time high for veterans. In addition, for every person who commits suicide, 20 or more others attempt to end their lives. About one million people die by suicide each year!

Before I get started, if you are contemplating suicide, there is help out there!  Suicide Hotline   International Hotlines

In honor of this day, I have decided to share my personal experiences. I would guess that most people know at least one person who has attempted suicide or unfortunately lost someone to suicide.

The recent death of Robin Williams has drawn a lot of attention to suicide. Depression is a lonely thing and misunderstood.  We need to raise more awareness about depression, mental illness, and suicide.  We need to talk about it! Therefore, I am doing what I can do to raise awareness and will share not only about two people I know who committed suicide, but also my own personal attempt. (My first experience was when I attempted to kill myself, but will talk about that last.)

My second experience with suicide was when a neighbor/friend was found on the ground near a tall building with marks around his neck.  I remember how devastated I was.  I was shocked to hear of his death and in the way he did it.  He must have felt very lonely.  I had not seen him in awhile, but really didn’t see him as a person who would do such a thing.  It just goes to show we have no idea what people are going through. I wonder now if he had gotten help if it would have changed anything. I did not judge his as I understood that dark, hopeless feeling. You don’t want to hurt your family, but yet the pain is so great that you just don’t see another way out.

My third  experience with suicide was when I learned of a family friend’s death.  He had eaten dinner with his family.  They had a regular conversation and there was no sign of any distress.  His parents had no idea that pain he was in.  He went upstairs into his room and shot himself. I can’t imagine the horror his parents went through when they heard the gun shot and the events that followed. Not to sound graphic, but it is a reality:  I remember hearing about how they had to hire someone to clean up all the blood.  Our family had moved away at that point and weren’t in as much contact as we once had. However, I had fond memories of us all playing together. I remembered his parents as happy people who loved their four kids.  I did see them years later. It was sad to see how much their life had changed. They had to move on, but I know they never got over it. How can you?  They had become alcoholics to deal with the pain and were no longer working due to the depression that overcame their lives.

For the person who kills themselves, it feels like it is the only way out.  Are they being selfish or a coward? Some may think so and I can see their point.  However, I don’t think so.  Oftentimes, they feel like the world would be a better place without them and this is part of the depression.  It is a symptom of the disease that they have just not been able to overcome.  There are a lot of what ifs? and people who loved them left behind. It is really sad that the pain trumped the feeling of wanting to stay alive for the people they loved.

I am not proud of my attempt and have spent 25 years thinking about what I could have possibly put my family through. That is why I have never attempted it again.  At the time, I was not being selfish as I was so deeply depressed my mind was just capable of rationalizing anything. I did not want to hurt my family, but I just did not see any way out  and really believed that they would be better without me.   I know some people think that is cowardly to take your own life. However, as sick as this may sound, it took  a lot of courage to finally decide to end it all.  I still can remember like it was yesterday.

I was sitting at the table and had two bottles of pills laid out in front of me.  I took handfuls at a time and took them with water.  I went into my room and laid down on my bed knowing I would not wake up.  In fact, when I did wake up throwing everything up, I really was disappointed.  The pain was going to continue.  That was how dark things were. Now I think that I was lucky that my life was spared.  I think how much I would have missed if I had succeeded in taking my own life.  However, at the time I was so discouraged and disappointed.

I decided to tell my story to raise awareness, but to show a different side of me that I don’t share very often.  It is a reality that there is a suicide every 40 seconds. We need to talk about it! We need to share with others the devastation that families left behind endure.  It is important to tell the stories of how people who attempted to take their own lives regret it later.  Talking about it can be triggering to others.  However, if we don’t talk about it, the rate will increase.

“Depression does not discriminate, cannot be bargained with and shows no mercy. Depression does not care how wonderful your life is or how may people you’ve touched. Robin Williams seemed to have it all: He was adored by fans, loved by family and friends and had fame and fortune…As a society, we need to hear these collective cries for help, take depression seriously as a public health issue and eradicate the stigma of mental illness. It must be a public health priority.” ~Michael Friedman

suicide prevention day

Sports Used to Describe Bipolar Disorder


Downhill Skiing- You get all the way to the top easily (mania) and then come down (depression) quickly.

Wrestling- It is a constant struggle

Ping pong- rapid unpredictable bouncing

Football- Sometimes with all of your friends and family, you make a touchdown. However, sometimes you fall short.

Basketball-  Dribbling represents small ups and downs that are somewhat normal. However, when the ball is thrown towards the basket it goes straight up (mania) and comes crashing down (mania)

Gymnastics- Scoring a perfect ten is difficult, but can be done. However, most of the time you are working hard to get it.

NASCAR racing- It’s  fast and furious with a lot of crashes along the way and casualties sometimes include by-standers.

Hockey- It can get rough and scoring does not happen very often, but it can be done

Marathon Running- With hard work and persaverence, you can do just about anything

Swimming- You have to dive in to get started

Baseball- With help from your loved ones, you can make it all the way around the bases

Tennis- Back and forth, back and forth (mania and depression)

Pole vaulting- The higher you go, the harder you fall

Archery- It is hard to get it right every time, but when you do hit the bull’s eye, it is a wonderful feeling

Boxing- Even if you are ready for a fight, sometimes you get knocked out anyway

Volleyball- Dig, Set, Spike= Mildly depressed, jolted into mania, crashing into depression

Bowling- Sometimes you do your best and strike out

Canoeing/Kayaking- Even if you capsize, you can get back in the boat and glide a long again

Horseback Riding- If you don’t do everything you can to control the horse (illness), it will take off can go its own way.  However, sometimes even if you try and control the horse, (it gets spooked), you can’t control it

Fishing- You never know for sure what you’re going to get

Cheer leading- You can cheer for others, but you must take care of yourself first

Hiking- It’s simply hard work to up and down the hills

Rock Climbing- It is really hard to get to the top , but with determination you can achieve great things. You might fall a long the way and things might be difficult, but you have to keep trying

Weight Lifting- It might feel like all the weight is on your shoulders, but with the proper training (treatment)  you can lift the weight off

Tug of War- You feel like you are being pulled between mania and depression, but you can win

Camping- You can have a lot of fun (mania), but there is usually a mess to clean up afterwards

Soccer- Even though it takes effort by you and all your team mates (loved ones)  it is possible to get past the goalie and score.

Golf- You don’t always get a hole-in-one, but you shouldn’t let that keep you from still trying


Note: A few of these ideas I got from a group I run called Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses

Picture found at: FreeImages