Information about the List
BPSO is a private, closed and unmoderated internet mailing list for people who are trying to preserve a loving relationship with someone suffering from bipolar affective disorder (manic-depression). At the time of joining, list members should be living with or in almost daily contact with their bipolar loved one, or be struggling to preserve or restore a threatened relationship. The list's active membership is composed primarily of couples who are either living together or recently separated, and the parents of young adult bipolar children.
BPSO posts are accessible only to members. Unlike the discussion groups hosted by services such as Yahoo, MSN and AOL, e-mail from BPSO does not contain advertising. The web site, list server and the list itself are supported by donors and managed by volunteers from among the list membership.
|We discuss issues such as:|
- Treatment methods and treatment providers
- Hospitalization and residential treatment
- Mania, hypomania, depression, psychosis, & suicide
- Rage, euphoria, hypersexuality, grandiosity, paranoia, delusions & hallucinations
- Employment issues, SSI, SSDI & disability
- The effects of the disorder on behavior
- Ways to overcome denial and impart insight
- Autonomy, responsibility and self care for young adults
- Abuse, infidelity, reckless spending & impulsiveness
- Walking on eggshells, riding the rollercoaster
- Relations with friends and family
- Stress, coping & caring for the caregiver
- Codependence and enabling
- Detachment, disengagement, separation & divorce
- Alcoholism, drug abuse & criminal activity
The BPSO list is not primarily a medical information list, nor a resource center for information on bipolar disorder, although it can and does serve both of these functions. The essential purpose of the list is to give us a place to talk with those who understand our situations, to ask for support and advice from those who have been there, and to have a place to relax in lives which are often tense and sometimes unbearable. For this reason, the topic of this list is our lives. Members are encouraged to use the list to seek and provide support to one another on everything that pertains to our lives as SOs (significant others), as parents, and as people.
Jokes, stories, banter, vacillation, misery and despair are specifically on-topic. Success stories are met with acclaim. For those of us whose homes sometimes seem to contain an unkind and threatening stranger, BPSO is a haven, and a home in which we are welcome. Many people join the list expecting or hoping for facts and solutions, and then discover that its real value is in the sense of community and the emotional support it gives them.
Mail Volume and Discussion Guidelines
BPSO currently has 529 members. Mail volumes fluctuate widely; the average for the past year was 229 posts per month (about 8 per day).
If you wish to subscribe to BPSO, please understand that the list is private, closed, and unmoderated. Unlike internet newsgroups, BPSO is accessible only to members. Although discussion is relatively unstructured, there are a few important rules:
- Subscription is restricted to persons who are currently in an intimate, loving, caregiving, or nurturing relationship with a person who has bipolar disorder. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, parents, children, siblings, near relatives and close friends. The important factor is that the subscriber's life is significantly affected by the disorder on a daily basis.
- To protect freedom of discussion about the disease and its impact on relationships, subscribers must not have bipolar disorder themselves.
- Republishing of any post in this group to anyone outside the group without specific consent is forbidden.
- Discussion on the list should be conducted with civility, mutual respect and tolerance, and with due regard for:
- A wide diversity of opinion on matters such as religion, politics, race, gender, and sexual orientation;
- The extreme degree of stress that many of us endure in our daily lives;
- The role that combinations of many factors play in our differing responses to similar forms of the illness - factors such as diagnosis, denial, compliance with and response to treatment; severity of symptoms; complicating factors such as drug or alcohol addiction; our status as a spouse, partner, friend, child, and/or parent; income; religious preference; sexual orientation; the presence of dependent children, and other factors that define the configuration of our families.
While spirited debate is encouraged, it must not be allowed to threaten the prevailing supportive and welcoming environment of the list. Hostile confrontations and discussions that have become disrespectful will not be tolerated. In these cases, the list manager may remove one or more participants from the list.
- It must be borne in mind at all times that people with bipolar disorder are human beings. The injuries and abuses individual bipolars may inflict on a relationship -- and these may be considerable -- should be presented in context and not generalized to apply to all people with bipolar disorder. Every situation is different.
- Similarly, given the diversity of outcomes represented on the list, it may be disruptive to list harmony to assert, without qualification, that people with bipolar disorder lack capacity to form and sustain loving relationships, or that we who are attempting to do so might find more fulfilling lives if we terminated our relationships. Others may be offended if it is implied that the dissolution of a relationship was the result of a list member's weakness or failure. Each situation should be evaluated on its merits. The preservation of a broad range of opinion dictates that some tact and consideration be exercised when speculating about the nature of bipolar relationships generally.
- Newcomers should be welcomed and supported at all times. Where the list's experience suggests that improving the newcomer's situation may require difficult actions, these should be advocated initially with gentleness, patience and respect.
- Exceptions are at the discretion of the list manager. The list manager's judgement is final in all cases.
The list manager may occasionally request temporary suspension of discussion on any subject that seems likely to jeopardize the security of the list. In extreme cases, members may be temporarily or permanently suspended.
Members are encouraged to ask others to subscribe if they qualify under the above rules.