On March 30th, 2020, in honour of World Bipolar Day, experts and scientists from CREST.BD’s network came together for our second Reddit “Ask Me Anything (AMA).” The response was overwhelming – with over 400 questions and 1000 comments overall, it’s by far the largest bipolar-related AMA ever held!
Reddit and r/IAMA
Our AMA was hosted on Reddit’s r/IAmA – a forum where any user can submit questions for interactive, text-based interviews. AMA interviewees have ranged from celebrities to people in various lines of work, and include Barack Obama, Jane Goodall, Bill Gates.
Check out our World Bipolar Day AMA on r/IAmA:
We’re grateful to have had multiple experts in bipolar disorder join us: psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, people with lived experience – with overlap between these groups! Here’s a quick list of everyone involved.
Dr. Erin Michalak, CREST.BD founder and Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Steven Barnes, co-director of CREST.BD, Professor in Psychology and Artist
Victoria Maxwell, Mental Health Educator and Performing Artist
Prof. Greg Murray, co-director of CREST.BD, Psychologist and Professor of Psychological Sciences
Dr. Emma Morton, Psychologist and Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatry
Dr. Fiona Lobban, Co-Director at the Spectrum Centre and Professor of Clinical Psychology
Dr. Steven Jones, Co-Director at the Spectrum Centre and Professor of Clinical Psychology
Dr. Ivan Torres, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Jill Murphy, Strategic Initiatives Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health and Postdoctoral Fellow of Psychiatry
Dr. Rob Tarzwell, Psychiatrist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Stéphanie Fontaine, MIAW Face of Mental Illness 2016 and Ambassador for self-management support
Dr. Trisha Chakrabarty, Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Dr. Ben Goldstein, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry
To learn more about each of our hosts, visit our AMA announcement post!
With so many thoughtful and interesting questions asked, it’s hard to choose which to feature! Here are some of the most popular questions, covering a range of areas of bipolar disorder research.
- “Has any link been established or observed between mood disorders and gut flora? Have any studies been undertaken?”
- “I have severe Bipolar in my family with my mom, grandma, brother and a cousin afflicted. Where is “Gattaca” science on this for potential parents? I perhaps want to be a dad, and that window is happening now, but I would never forgive myself for having a severely disturbed child.Where are we with risk factors and the ethics of this whole thing? Thx”
- “How do you care for a loved one who is bipolar? How do you make sure you’re helping them without “enabling” them if that makes sense?”
- “Hi, as someone who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was wondering what actually triggers it. I know that you can have genetic predispositions to it but what if that’s not the case. Where does it start?”
- “As an artist, I am constantly worrying that medication is blunting my emotional receptiveness and my motivation. […] I was wondering if there are suggestions for counteracting the “blunting” effect of meds through non-medical means?”
- “My mother has bipolar type 1. Is there any advice you can give me to help her get through some of her patches of depression, especially in a time like this where she’s encouraged to isolate?”
- “Thanks for doing this ama! I have BP2 and I’m currently medicated and the side effects affect my memory (not quite memory loss) so I feel frustrated over what seems like cognitive decline related to all of this. Is there anything that can be done about this or will there ever be progress you think relating to this?”
- “What are non western (e.g Far Eastern) perspectives on bipolar as a psychiatric condition? Do they still use a medical model to assess and treat? Are rates of associated symptoms lower?”
- “Is it possible to be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after being diagnosed with other mental conditions (i.e Depression and Anxiety) if symptoms of Bipolar are perceived? Or is it more likely that there was a misdiagnosis of Bipolar on the first place?”
- “Why are so many psychiatrists ‘so bad’ at treating this? I’ve been bipolar for about 35 years, and it seems like the standard treatment regimen is ‘well, gee… let’s try this drug and see what it does for you?’ […] Are the drugs just that poorly understood, and, if so, why the heck should we ever trust them, since those of us with the problem seem to be a running laboratory?”
World Bipolar Day
The vision of World Bipolar Day is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma. Celebrated every year on March 30th, World Bipolar Day falls on the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who some believe was affected by bipolar disorder. This international awareness event is an initiative of the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) in conjunction with the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD).
Leading up to World Bipolar Day, we received great support from our friends from IBPF, ISBD, and the official World Bipolar Day page in promoting our AMA on social media.
We would like to thank everyone who participated and sent us your questions! A special thank you to the r/IAmA moderators, as well as the moderators of r/bipolar, r/bipolar2, and r/BipolarReddit, who allowed us to advertise on their subreddits.
We’ll be back for another AMA for World Bipolar Day 2021!