Breaking the stigma
Annemiek Dols, psychiatrist and research associate at Amsterdam UMC, and Moniek van Dijk, nurse at GGZ inGeest, were driven by their passion to break the stigma of people with bipolar disorder. “It is striking that these people with bipolar disorder, often strong and special people, keep their psychological problems to themselves. As practitioners we saw the loneliness they experience,” says Dols. “There is a lot of misunderstanding and shame, among these patients themselves, their immediate environment and within society as a whole.” Dols continues: “Now it’s time to break that stigma and illustrate the real lives of people with bipolar disorder and their loved ones.” With this new book Dols and Van Dijk want to open the doors to the lives of people with bipolar disorder and start a new era where psychological problems should not be kept a secret.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding and shame, among the patients themselves, their immediate environment and within society as a whole.”
Difficult to recognize
Bipolar disorder occurs in 2% of people in the Netherlands, just as often in men and women. Research has shown that the life expectancy of people with bipolar disorder is ten to twenty years lower than that of the general population, mainly due to cardiovascular diseases, but also due to higher suicide rates. Moreover, in the Netherlands many people with bipolar disorder have not yet been correctly diagnosed, since the pattern of bipolar disorder behavior is sometimes difficult to recognize. On the one hand, because the first symptoms are often not very noticeable and the diagnosis can only be made when several periods have alternated. On the other hand, people often do not seek help, because they are ashamed, or do not actually suffer from manic episodes themselves.
Adds up to science
In the search for the right treatment, psychiatrists question themselves ‘what works for whom, when and in which combination’. Being able to tell and listen to the personal stories is important.. As Dols represents both the clinical as research perspective it was important for Amsterdam UMC to support her in the development of this book. It gave both Dols and Van Dijk the opportunity to enter into a conversation with their patients in a totally different way. By this means the personal stories add up to the scientific knowledge.
We proudly announce that the book ‘Koorddansers’ by Annemiek Dols and Moniek van Dijk is now available at publishing company Boom. This photo book, with beautiful black-and-white portraits and personal stories of people with bipolar disorder, their loved ones and their shows a realistic image of life with bipolar disorder. It shows the vulnerability and the strength, the sadness and the resilience.