Posts

Dr. Nassir Ghaemi

Nassir Ghaemi (@nassirghaemi) is a psychiatrist and researcher specializing in depression and bipolar illness.

He is Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, a Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

He has published over 200 scientific articles, over 50 scientific book chapters, and has written or edited over half a dozen books, including the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, the New York Times Best-Seller “A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness”.

In today’s episode we discuss the subject of Psychobiography and the methods involved in learning to understand the psychology of historical figures, we explore the link between manic depressive illness and leadership through examples such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, why mentally normal politicians make for good peacetime leaders but poor crisis leaders, and how people with mental illness can learn to channel their illness into something positive.

Related Links

NassirGhaemi.com – Nassir’s web site

Mood Swings – Nassir’s blog at Psychology Today

Book Recommendations

Image courtesy: Nasir Ghaemi / Penguin Press / Nicole Laroche

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter (@chimairamark) is a musician and photographer who spent almost two decades as the vocalist and one of the main songwriters for the heavy metal band Chimaira, a group which has sold more than a million albums worldwide and has debuted on the Billboard 200 Chart six times.

Marks latest project, in collaboration with award winning director Nick Cavalier, is a documentary film entitled “Down Again” in which Mark shares his personal story about utilizing art to combat personal struggles, which in his case includes depression and bipolar disorder.

In today’s episode we discuss Mark’s journey from a heavy metal fan to a heavy metal icon, his experience with a specific form of bipolar know as “hypomania”, the relationship between art and mental illness, the power of music to both represent and relieve emotional distress, the evolution of Mark’s artistic expression from music to photography, and whether of not creativity inspired by personal darkness is worth the price of admission.

Related Links

Mark Hunter Photo – Mark’s photography website

Down Again – A film exploring the connection between mental illness and creativity told through the lens of photographer and Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter.

@markhunterphoto – Mark’s Instagram page

Music Recommendations

               

Image courtesy: Nick Cavalier

DJ Jaffe

D.J. Jaffe (@MentalIllPolicy) is a writer and activist whose work is focused on improving care for the 4% of people who are the most severely mentally ill, including those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

D.J. is the founder and Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org, a think-tank dedicated to providing law enforcement, the media and policy makers with unbiased information on issues affecting the seriously mentally ill.

His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, and he is the author of the controversial and well-reviewed, “Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill“.

In today’s episode we discuss the distinctions between serious and non-serious mental illness, why anti-stigma and anti-suicide campaigns are misguided, the damaging myths about serious mental illness perpetuated by the media, and ultimately how mental health advocates are failing the very people they profess to be trying to help.

 

Related Links

Mental Illness Policy Org – Homepage

8 Myths About Mental Illness – by D.J. Jaffe

Mental Illness Policy Org – Facebook Page

National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness – Facebook Group

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: MJ Klaver

 

Prof. Fiona Lobban

Prof. Fiona Lobban (@fionalobban) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, and Co-director of the Spectrum Centre.

She is also co-editor of “A Casebook of Family Interventions for Psychosis“, and the lead researcher in the Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit (REACT) study, to see whether an online intervention is helpful for close friends or relatives of people with bipolar disorder or psychosis.

Lizzi Collinge (@LizziCollinge) is a Labour County Councillor for Lancaster East, representing over 10,000 people, with a particular focus on health, social care, and disability equality.

Lizzi Collinge

She also works as part of the REACT research team, supporting participants to use the REACT toolkit, and has first-hand experience of caring for somebody with a severe mental health issue.

So, what does caring for somebody with severe mental health issues involve, and who typically takes on this role?

In today’s episode we discuss the emotional impact that being a carer can have, such as feelings of self blame, isolation and the threat of social stigma, and thus why carers are more susceptible to developing their own mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

We explore how caring can alter, and sometimes destroy, the dynamics of certain relationships, the impact that caring can have on people’s social lives, the art of knowing when to step in and take control versus knowing when to step back and let go, and why communication is the key to avoiding anger and resentment.

We look at some of the costs involved in caring and how it can sometimes affect a person’s ability to work, the kind of support that already exists for carers and what needs to improve, the importance of speaking to other people with lived experience in keeping up morale, and all-in-all, why carers are ultimately the unsung heros of our mental health system.

 

Fiona’s Recommended Links

REACT – Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit

Young Carers and Getting Help – YoungMinds

Support for Young Carers – ReThink

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

Image courtesy: Hernán Piñera

Prof. Steven Jones

Professor Steven Jones (@lancsspectrum) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, and Director of the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research (@SpectrumCentre) conducting translational research into the understanding and psychological treatment of bipolar disorder and other related conditions.

He’s the editor and author of a number of books including “Coping with Schizophrenia: A Guide for Patients, Families and Caregivers“, and “Coping with Bipolar Disorder: A CBT-Informed Guide to Living with Manic Depression“.

So what is bipolar disorder, and how does it differ from plain old depression?

In this episode we untangle the various manifestations of bipolar including bipolar types 1 and 2, and cyclothymia. We discuss the nature and duration of mood swings and what triggers them, and we examine the concept of mania and manic episodes and how these affect people’s thoughts and behaviours.

We also explore mixed affective states, where the person experiences depression and mania simultaneously, and why this can increase the risk of suicide in people with bipolar.

We discover why both adolescence and middle age are times when people are particularly susceptible to the onset of bipolar, the causal link between sleep deprivation and mania, the controversial topic of bipolar in children and whether or not it actually exists, treatment options, personality variables, issues of cultural context, and loads more in between.

 

Steve’s Recommended Links

The Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research

Bipolar disorder: assessment and management – NICE

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – BPS

Books Mentioned in This Episode

 

 

Image courtesy: Al King