The only reason to join my meetup is if you're someone who wants to know as much as possible about bipolar disorder, especially in regards to how best to thrive with our disorder. I come armed with numerous thorough, expensive and informative Psychiatric textbooks, a few Clinical Psychology Textbooks, as well as numerous excellent books on Bipolar Disorder, which you will have full access to once you join the group. The books alone are worth thousands of dollars. Then I also add to the mix professional, peer-reviewed papers found on PubMed or PsychINFO that address salient issues that those with Bipolar Disorder must face.
I ask for a $40 initiation fee from each member not to cover the costs of the thousands of dollars of excellent written resources that you'd otherwise be without. Rather, I ask for a one-time $40 fee to show your support of my emails reviewing literature that are very easy to read when some of these original documents/textbooks are not written for the general public. In my emails, I also share my personal struggles/insights that come from having Bipolar Disorder myself. You also get stellar email responses from other members who share your passion for knowing as much as possible about what may help us get better while weeding out the junk information that is not credible.
A little more about me. I don't mean to boast, but I feel I must if I am to ask for your money to hear from me. I was a medical student at New York Medical College in Westchester when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder type I. After my diagnosis, I found medical school to be much more of a struggle, especially during my third year when I was suicidally depressed while having to work extremely hard on the wards, only to go home to more studying in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. Anyone with Bipolar Disorder knows that extreme sleep deprivation and highly stressful environments can make it incredibly hard to thrive with our disease. I'm skipping over a little bit of the story here, but basically I decided to pursue a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology instead of pursuing a residency in Psychiatry because 1. I would learn psychotherapy much better this way and 2. I would not have to subject myself to a lifestyle that is incompatible with my illness. While there's a bit more to the story, what I shared is a pretty good summary of what happened.
I have a few test scores that I wish to share because I think it helps me justify asking for an initiation fee, while I don't like boasting. On the Psychiatry shelf exam (the test all third year medical students take to assess how well they understand/can properly treat Psychiatric illness, I scored 2 standard deviations above the national mean. That means 98% of the nation's med students scored below me on this assessment of our mastery of Psychiatry. Then in order to apply to the field of Clinical Psychology, I took the GRE Psychology subject test and got a 790 with 98% scoring below me again. The point is I humbly consider myself on the road to becoming a true expert on Bipolar Disorder and Clinical Psychology/Psychiatry in general. This means I can answer a lot of your questions, and I'm a very good researcher so I can almost always look up the answer when I don't know it.
And finally, the $40 buys you the ability to ask me to provide a detailed summary of whatever topic you are interested in, so long as it pertains to Bipolar Disorder or Psychiatry more generally. Since I work for you, I ask for a one-time fee for compensation.
Here are the topics that I review on a regular basis:
*The importance of sleep in Bipolar Disorder, including how we can best get ourselves sleeping well
*A review of the things that those with Bipolar Disorder do who thrive that is different from the rest of us. This includes understanding the importance of trying to spot depression or mania as early on as possible, and then act in such a way as to prevent a pathological state from occurring. I believe everyone with Bipolar Disorder who wishes to thrive must play a very active role in self-monitoring and prevention of disease states.
*Reevaluating the nature of hypomania and mania, and how it's different from genuine well-being. I share why I believe living without hypomania (or mania) is ideal for me. I challenge those who are drawn to reexperiencing hypomania or mania to consider the wisdom and how much more rewarding living a symptomless life can be.
*How to thrive with Bipolar Disorder at work and school, and the importance of becoming aware of the cognitive deficits that are common to Bipolar Disorder.
*Everything you didn't know about why lithium and other mood stabilizers are good for the Bipolar brain and how lithium is the best drug for preventing suicide in individuals with Bipolar Disorder.
*Suicide, especially focusing on elucidating how big a problem is it and what can we do to get out of a suicidal situation.
*Understanding how we differ from a "normal" person, even when we are in our "normal" state (aka when we're euthymic).
*The importance of getting regular blood work to prevent organ damage that might otherwise result in extensive damage as this type of organ damage largely occurs silently.
*Thorough review of all medication related to Bipolar Disorder, including efficacy and common side effects. In particular, I focus on antipsychotics, and how best to balance desired effect with the potential for horrible side effects.
*Understanding Bipolar Depression, which is different from Unipolar Depression and generally harder to treat. On average someone with Bipolar Disorder will spend 3x more time in a state of depression than mania.
*The power of Positive Psychology to help with all things Bipolar, most especially when one suffers from depression.
*A review of the major forms of psychotherapies being used for Bipolar Disorder, including efficacy and when they're indicated.
*A review of how Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) may be a critical component in the treatment of many individuals with Bipolar Disorder.
*Quirky facts about Bipolar Disorder like how on average people with Bipolar Disorder are smarter than the general population, noteworthy characters in history/the media who have Bipolar Disorder, the truth behind the mad genius stereotype, and when are we most creative.
*A review of the neuroscience associated with Bipolar Disorder.
I could keep listing topics, but I've probably already overwhelmed the reader with my list. Any member can email me asking for a synopsis on any of these topics or any other topic that you believe is important, and I will respond with an informative and easily readable summary of the salient points. If I drop the ball and do not produce such a response within 3 weeks of your request, then I will grant you a full refund of your initiation fee.
Note: This meetup is currently too small for regular in person meetups, but it is constantly growing so I'm confident in the not-so-distant future we will do in person meetups regularly. That was the primary aim of my meetup when I brought it into inception. In the meantime, if it's in person meetups that you're primarily after, I refer you to the numerous other excellent Bipolar Disorder support groups offered on meetup that are based in NYC. That said, we will do occasional meetups, and, again, I promise in the not-so-distant future we will start doing in person meetups frequently.
I think I finally stopped talking. Thank you for reading this far if you did. And to those who are about to join, I say "Welcome!"
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