Welcome to this, the inaugural South African linkdump, may blog bless her and all who sail in her. First up, human interest stories, featuring a word from the owner of this lovely blog (OK, OK, several words), Yvette Hess.
“I remember during my times of severe depression or manic episodes, I’d lay awake at night searching for fellow sufferers in South Africa online who could relate to anything I was experiencing. The friends I made abroad also directed me to a handful of South African bloggers, but I needed more. I was done just surviving- I wanted to thrive, and learn from others and share my experiences too. I decided to start a project where anyone suffering from mental illness could share their story- and so become a point of reference where one’s life, albeit a challenging one, it is captured and celebrated in all its glory. It was then that I started Our Lived Experience (OLE).” Across the Miles: Living in South Africa with Bipolar Disorder
“Make no mistake, you are often unlikely to succeed in convincing someone who is behaving manically that they require medical attention. How can something that feels so incredible be bad for you? The sense of optimism and euphoria is overwhelming. The world suddenly reveals itself as a magnificent, kaleidoscopic tapestry, each thread undeniably connected to every other. Patterns and significances begin to emerge in places where before there was no meaning. If you were not deeply spiritual before, the universe now feels as if it is speaking to you directly. In fact, it is not uncommon for those experiencing a manic episode to show symptoms of a messianic complex. I myself began to believe that, on some level, I had mystical powers, that I was untouchable. I would happily wander the streets at night, invite strangers into my home, feeling no threat to my person.” How I learned to love life with bipolar disorder
“Maz is a Fashion Designer from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a full-time working mom to two of the most gorgeous, yet tiring kids you will ever lay eyes upon. She maintains her sanity by blogging at Caffeine and Fairydust and rocking from side-to-side in her bath tub at night (with a glass of bubbly – no one ever said you can’t be fabulous while having a nervous breakdown).” My life with bipolar disorder – growing up, pregnancy and motherhood.
Playlist: Mental Health in South Africa: (I’ll add to it whenever there’s something to add.)
Celebripolar (tenuous links to SA, anyone know any more?)
Expat Robert Calvert – – bipolar South African-English musician, Hawkwind front man and poet.
South African born actor, Jessica Marais
News & Views
“Sisulu dismissed Thembinkosi Lehloesa’s claims, saying: “I know him from Rhodes (University). He was a bright young chap but I think he has a psychiatric problem. “I’m not sure if it’s a psychiatric or bipolar problem but he is a kind of person who is schizophrenic. The ANC has suggested he should be sued, until we decided he is not well.” Row over tell-all book about ANC
“Mental disorders, the associated stigma and the failure of South African government institutions to adequately provide for South Africa’s mentally ill receive far too little media coverage.” Do a third of South Africans really suffer from mental illnesses?
Stats by country for bipolar disorder
“Vittee explains that the law in South Africa notes that an employee with a mental health condition has constitutional rights to equality, human dignity, fair labour practices and access to social security. Once in employment, an employer cannot demote or transfer a person, or reduce their salary because of their condition – this would constitute an unfair labour practice in terms of the Labour Relations Act. Mental illness and work – dealing with it.”
Documentary: (watch online). Living with Bipolar Disorder. Director: Simon Barnard. Producer: Katinka Heyns. Genre: Documentary. Produced In: 2009. Country: South Africa.
Claire Newton: understanding mental disorders.
Supporting those with bipolar disorder: Helping patients understand their disorder is very important.
“In addition to a lack of resources, stigmas surrounding mental health pose a major stumbling block when it comes to treating the disease in South Africa, explains Chambers. “In Zulu, there is not even a word for ‘depression’ – it’s basically not deemed a real illness in the African culture. As a result, sufferers are afraid of being discriminated against, disowned by their families or even fired from work, should they admit to having a problem. There is still the perception that someone with a mental illness is crazy, dangerous or weak. Because there is often an absence of physical symptoms with mental illness, it is considered ‘not real’, a figment of the imagination.” Mental health in South Africa – whose problem is it?
SACAP Monthly Psychology Talks: Bipolar — “My Manic Marriage”
I guess the thing about bipolar websites, is that if they’re created by bipolar people, there’s a chance that hypomania assisted the process and then dumped the site owner like a rough wave. I ran into so many dead ends and so much tumbleweed while collecting links, that I thought I’d save you time and irritation by mentioning whether they’re inactive, or useless, or both.
Bipolar South Africa (what a waste of a great domain name)
Mental Health Information Centre (University of Stellenbosch)
South African Society of Psychiatrists (there’s only one psychiatrist per 150 000 South Africans)
Let’s Talk Mental (what a great project, but looks like it’s been dormant since 2013)
Bipolar Kids South Africa (As far as I can tell, no updates for about a year. The message saying use our site map to find subpages would be useful if there was a site map link somewhere.)
Moody Blue (the site is a little bit Geocities and the link to the online support group gives a 404, a sadly outdated project.)