About Speaking Bipolar

Speaking Bipolar originally started as a joke. In the years since my mental illness diagnosis, I have grown a fairly large circle of bipolar friends. We joke frequently about how interacting with someone with manic depression can be a struggle.

One reason for that challenge is that we often do not say what we really mean. Another reason is that we often hear something completely different than what is actually said.

With that in mind, I said I was going to write a book. In the book, I would work to translate bipolar. For a long time, it never got further than being a joke.

Over the years, the idea has come to mean more to me. The book isn’t a reality yet, but Speaking Bipolar was born from its inspiration, and has helped thousands of people as a result.

Men and Suicide

While I hope I will be able to add humor to this site, the thing that finally pushed me to start a blog is very serious.

Suicide has become a terrible pandemic. In the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. There are on average 123 suicides per day. Roughly 70% of these suicides are men.

To make matters worse, as much as 90% of those suicides are tied to a mental illness. As many as two-thirds of that number are untreated or undertreated.

Depression and suicide in men are called the “silent epidemic.” It is silent because far too many of us, myself included, are afraid to bring this subject out into the light.

Male suicide has made headline news with celebrities like Robin Williams and Chris Cornell. Unfortunately, we are not learning the lesson fast enough.

Personally, I have lost several men and women in my life to suicide.

My goal with this blog is to help get the conversation started.

This is me. | Image rights owned by author.

My Story

My name is Scott Ninneman, and I’m the voice behind Speaking Bipolar. I fight every day with bipolar, anxiety, and chronic illness. I know the struggles you are fighting.

I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1995. The diagnosis followed three years of me putting my family, friends, and girlfriends through hell. Finally, I had to be hospitalized for my own protection.

You can read more of my personal story in the series, Surviving Bipolar. I try to post a new installment in the series each week.

Additionally, a few years ago I was diagnosed with Familial Mediterranean Fever. As there is very little information available for patients trying to cope with the condition, I decided to write another series about chronic illness and living with FMF specifically.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. Through this blog, I hope to share my personal experiences and those of close friends. Every effort will be made to post links to helpful sources and organizations.

Healthy Individuals

One of the therapists I saw once told me that, “Healthy individuals never think about suicide.”

I thought she was crazy.

Thoughts of suicide are part of my history as far back as I can remember. I have clear memories of discussing suicide with my friends back in the fifth grade. Those friends didn’t know how to help me, and I was afraid to ask an adult for help.

In the years since, I have asked many “healthy” individuals about suicide. Almost everyone told me they had never considered the idea. Never.

That information was eye opening and life changing.

Seek help today.

You Are Not Okay, but That’s Okay

If you are thinking about suicide, something is wrong. Seriously wrong. Tell someone today and get the help you need. If the first person can’t help you, tell someone else.

I nearly lost my fight with bipolar disorder, but eventually, I did seek help. I found the best support for me and now live a happy and productive life. I hope the content on this blog will help you do the same.

Don’t Give Up!

If you learn nothing else from this blog, please know that better days are possible. As cliche as it sometimes sounds, things really do get better.

Yes, really.

You do not have to feel depressed, crazy, buried, hopeless, or whatever other feelings you are experiencing. There are treatments that work. Don’t give up, because, with the right treatment, life gets so much better.

Until next time, keep fighting.

Scott Ninneman