September 2

What Has Worked For You So Far?



What problems has bipolar or depression caused for you? What did you try for solutions? Did they work? Can you imagine what you would learn if you asked those three questions to 4,500 people? We don't have to imagine; we already did.

But we didn't stop with just three questions. We asked them what they thought were the important details that we should specifically ask to dig deeper into each of the three main questions above. They helped us refine the questions so that they best represented what people who actually live with bipolar and depression want to know.


When we asked "What problems has bipolar or depression caused for you?" we got some interesting answers that were not part of any study we have ever seen. They mentioned their diagnosis or lack thereof, but that is not what really mattered to most of them. They wanted to know if other people had similar experiences like anxiety, irritability, impatience, anger, hypo sexuality, hallucinations, delusions, mixed states, and a whole host of 'symptoms.' They wanted to know if others faced the same issues with family, friends, jobs, housing, money problems, inability to sometimes function, and a bunch of other things that anyone (without our condition) would be concerned with.

The list of things people tried to improve their lives is amazing. People have tried everything you can imagine and even a few you probably need thought of. And they didn't just try them once and give up; they tried every way they could think of and noticed different results based on how they used the tools.

We never imagined there were so many ways to go for a walk: fast or slow, long or short, alone, with a certain person, in the city, on the beach, in the forest... 

The most amazing thing of all is the results they got. That is when we knew we were onto something. We started hearing about results that were incredible, but also tragic ones. Some can't imagine a better outcome while others just got worse.

Still others got results better than those who said they could not even imagine it.

Many said they were not possible.

We said "How?" and the Depression and Bipolar Outcomes Research institute was born. We have to study as many people as we can and figure out what is working and how to help the most people we can with what we learn. It is the most important study of all our lives and we can't just wait until someone focused on how to maximize profits finally gets around to asking us what we want.

We need to do it ourselves. Will you join us?

About the author 

Tom Wootton

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  • Anonymous says:

    When I have looked online about what bipolar disorder entails, at the most I would find the list of symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. From taking Tom Wooton’s Bipolar In Order course repeatedly, I have become more and more aware of the nuances of both 1) my behaviors and 2) the various aspects of my experiential states.

    In our online meetings I hear people speak of similar experiences, yet it also appears that people’s style of experience and their resulting behaviors vary widely.

    I think we would do a great favor to the world if we could catalog the many facets of bipolar. I’m know I am not just sliding up and down a simple spectrum from depression to mania. There are other facets to it.

    For example it wasn’t until about 3 decades after being diagnosed that I experienced angry states and angry behaviors. I think that I was unusual in that. However, perhaps some people’s manic states are naturally a more excited, happy style.
    Why the anger showed itself after 28 years also brings up the issue of how bipolar changes across time or with stages of aging.

    Another important facet that comes to mind is how in touch with reality a person is. A person could be calmed down with medicine yet still maintain a delusion. Another person could be extremely excited and agitated, not on medicine but not delusional or hallucinatory at all.

    I think developing a matrix of factors would be helpful in understanding any one individual and what might help them at the time of an episode.

    I expect it would also turn out that different medicines address certain factors. If psychiatrists could have a more sophisticated understanding of a patient’s bipolar “style” at the time of an episode, they might be able to prescribe the most effective medicine immediately. This would make a giant improvement in the lives of people with bipolar disorder and of their friends and family. This would also improve society’s experience of person’s with bipolar disorder, therefore lessening its stigma.

  • Someone to speak with who understands without judgment.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Pamela. It is certainly an important thing to add to the questionnaire.

  • Mavis Johnson says:

    There is a significant difference between the ‘treatments” available for people with these disorders in community mental health clinics, and people with better access to mental healthcare. The people I know who have been treated for Bi Polar Disorder or any of the other issues have no improved. In many ways this is even worse than it was years ago. No one has looked into the outcomes at faith based non profit clinics, where there is zero accountability.

    There is reason to be suspicious of the social media type campaigns too. The patients groups on Facebook and Social Media have been deceptive with peoples data, and access is often sold to marketers. The Tech companies have a goldmine, which they have used to market dangerous and deceptive ideas, and create useless, time wasting information silos. People really need to be informed about how those Patients groups were used and their data harvested for marketing purposes.

    Think about it, things got worse, much worse for people with medical issues, and mental health issues. So called advocacy groups prove useless, because they are funded by big Pharma.

    • Thanks for sharing you thoughts Mavis. Your frustration and suspicion is well founded and the reason we exist. All of our research is anonymous and directed by our members. We do not share personal information with anyone and our data is available for anyone to analyze as long as the researcher is a member and has a well-designed study project that is approved by our members. Please visit our How Our Studies Work page for more information.

  • Michele Bee says:

    What has finally worked for me? Qigong and tai chi.

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