Unfortunately, I've found a lot of online resources for bipolar disorder in the past few years. I say “unfortunately” because the reason I've found these resources is because I need them; I've been in treatment since 2004. I'm not this bold in “real life,” but I talk about my disorder here because I want to raise awareness in the hopes that others won't have the problems I've had. For this reason, I'm giving you links to some of the best online resources for bipolar disorder I've found. They're not a substitute for treatment, but they're worth checking out.
1. National Alliance on Mental Illness
I find this site to be one of the most comprehensive online resources for bipolar disorder out there. Not only can you find information about the condition, it also points you toward advocacy groups and support programs in your area. If you want recent news stories, you can find them here. If you want to raise awareness or organize a fundraiser, you can do so here. If you want to find a convention...well, you get the idea. There are so many ways to get involved, even if you're not a member. Visit nami.org here to find help in Spanish.
I find this site particularly useful because it links to articles about bipolar disorder in children and teens. This is essential because a) it doesn't present the same way, and b) it can be difficult for parents to tell the difference between the higher levels of teen angst and something more serious. It also links to support groups specifically for parents of bipolar children. For more information, visit the website. I also like that it links to personal blogs and current news articles.
3. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
While the site above links to resources for parents of bipolar children, this site focuses on it entirely. I mentioned it second because a lot of parents wouldn't think to come here if they hadn't read about the issue on the site above and others like it. Like I said, psychiatric problems often present differently in children than they do in adults. Like NAMI, it also has resources in Spanish at aacap.org.
I know some people discount About.com, but it's one of the most thorough online resources for bipolar disorder out there. I'll admit to being biased because this is the first site I went to, but it was immensely helpful because it has information about, well, everything. One of the good things about a wide-ranging site like this is that you can easily find information about the other disorders that can go along with bipolar, as well as communities for such.
This site is great because not only does it have information, it also points you toward books and other sites with information for things you might not think of otherwise. Even if the articles aren't new, they can prompt you to think of things like legal and housing issues, something most of us wouldn't notice. The forums aren't very active, but that's where you come in.
If bipolar disorder or a related condition gets in the way of your ability to work (as it has for me), Allsup is an agency that specializes in helping people get Social Security Disability benefits. This is immensely helpful because this process and the financial issues not working gave me are probably some of the most stressful things I've ever dealt with. I got mine within seven months; the average wait time in my state is two years. If you don't get paid (benefits), they don't get paid. Win-win.
I like this site because it not only talks about symptoms and treatment, it describes the history of the disorder as well. For instance, I find it fascinating that the ancient Greeks knew about the illness, even if it didn't have a name. That's interesting because a lot of people still don't acknowledge it! It also talks about how creative types like us can use the phases to our advantage. At least that way something good can come from it.
This is a site about, well, mental health forums. I'm a member and I find it useful because it has forums for issues I've never even seen before. For instance, I've never seen an active forum specifically about hearing voices, nor have I seen one for self-harm. It's based out of the UK, but the information and discussions are relevant anywhere.
9. A Bipolar Friend
If you have one, the most helpful resource of all is a bipolar friend. If not for the grace of God and the ear of a certain person, I might not be here today. I'm not exaggerating. Having someone to listen and understand what you're going through is essential, especially if you don't understand it yourself. And I didn't. Doctors can only do so much.
Like I said, I'm not usually this bold when talking about bipolar. I know it's not pleasant to talk about, but I do so in the hopes that I can use my experience to help others. What about you? Do you or does someone you know have bipolar or something like it? If so, what has helped you?