High Hopes Low Expectations with Bipolar


I have a friend who struggles with bipolar disorder. Sometimes he is up, and sometimes he is

down. He went through a bad stretch a while back. He was real depressed. Every time I saw him, it seemed, he just looked really sad. Until this one day, it was like he had snapped out of it!

I had to ask him what happened. He told me he had been to his therapist. I asked him, did she give you great advice or what? Because you sure look different.

He said she taught him about this idea of high hopes and low expectations. I’d never heard of this idea, so I asked him to explain it to me.

He said high hopes and low expectations is exactly what it sounds like. You can have high hopes but have low expectations at the same time. And if you do that, you can handle disappointments much easier.

I’ve thought about that a lot since then. I’ve even applied it to my own life, and it does work.

I’ve been able to be more realistic than I was before. I look at things differently now. And it has even helped me to make decisions.

Ok, here’s an example. I had what I thought was a great idea for a new ad campaign for a new product I wanted to sell on the website. I was really excited about it. But I was going to have to put a lot of money into this campaign. So I did a lot of thinking about it first. And I remembered what my friend had said.

I definitely had high hopes for this product. So I had high hopes that this ad campaign would

be successful in selling it. So far so good. But when I checked my expectations, they were

also very high. That meant that if the campaign didn’t do as well as I hoped, I would be very disappointed, maybe even depressed. So it looked like I needed to lower my expectations. If I had lower expectations, I would be more realistic. That way, the campaign could still do good, but if it didn’t do as good as I hoped, I’d still be ok. I could settle for that.

So that’s the attitude I carried with me into the ad campaign.

Well, what happened was, the ad campaign did good. Not great, as I had hoped, but it did good.

So I felt good about it. I wasn’t disappointed, because I had already figured on it with my high hopes low expectations philosophy. But the way I looked at it was, it could have done great, but only for awhile, and then fizzled out, and then where would I be with this new product? No, I’d rather have it turn out the way it did.

You can apply the high hopes low expectations philosophy to all kinds of areas of your life.

My friend did it and it brought him out of his bipolar depression. I used it in my business and it helped me to make a sound business decision. This philosophy helps to keep you realistic.

That’s the main thing.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Recession a suicide concern
DO> Wow, very interesting, don’t you think?

Let’s Talk Life: Will my bipolar disorder flare again?
DO> Hmm. What do you think of this?

Top Paper of the Year: Antidepressants for Acute Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
DO> Interesting article, take a look.

West Dealing With Bipolar Disorder
DO> Good article, take a look.

For these stories and more, please visit:

==>Help with ALL aspects of bipolar disorder<==

Check out all my resources, programs and information for all aspects of bipolar disorder by visiting:

Your Friend,


Happy Thanksgiving and No Immediate Fix for Bipolar Disorder


I am getting ready to take off. I wanted to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to everyone

who celebrates it.

Before I take off…

Do you remember when you were little… And you would get hurt… Like falling down and getting a scrape on your knee? And your mom would kiss it and put a bandaid on it… It would be like getting an immediate fix to your hurt, wouldn’t it?

Unfortunately, when you grow up, there are very few (if any) immediate fixes to your problems

any more. Your problems are much bigger and more complicated than just scrapes on a knee.

And the answers are much bigger and more complicated than just kisses and bandaids, too.

And, for many of us, Mom isn’t around to fix our problems for us, either. Or, if she is, she isn’t able to.

Now there are problem solving techniques for when you’re facing some of those complicated

problems that you face not only when you’re an adult, but when you’re an adult dealing with

bipolar disorder.

Again, there are no immediate fixes when it comes to bipolar disorder. If there were, the psychiatrists and therapists would all be out of business, wouldn’t they? And there would be no need for your loved one to do any changing, because they’d be perfect.

Unfortunately, nobody is perfect. Especially someone who has bipolar disorder. Not even a supporter who is dealing with someone with the disorder.

There are no easy answers to the problems you face. This is not an illness that has an immediate fix to it, and the decisions you make have to reflect that. The choices you make today will be reflected in consequences down the line tomorrow, and the next day, and the days and weeks and months after that. We’re all responsible for the decisions and choices that we make.

That’s one thing that your loved one needs to understand. When they hurt you, there are consequences to their actions. They can’t just get away with it. You have feelings that get hurt, and you have reactions to their actions. You have a right to your feelings, too.

You shouldn’t have to walk around on eggshells, afraid to say or do the wrong thing. You shouldn’t be afraid all the time of setting them off, of making them go into a rage. You shouldn’t have to change who you are just to please them. You shouldn’t have to be so concerned about how what you do affects them so that they might take it out on you. You shouldn’t have to worry that something you do would make them go into a bipolar episode.

And, like I was saying earlier, there is no immediate fix to the problem of bipolar disorder.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Thanksgiving


Picture this:

The family (and extended family) are all sitting around the large table with the big Thanksgiving centerpiece in the middle of it. The luscious holiday dishes are passed around, and there are smiles on all the faces, much talk and laughter going on at the same time as the food is served.

When the meal is served, everyone looks to the head of the table, and the patriarch of the family, Grandpa, starts by saying, “Today I am grateful for…” And everyone goes around the room saying what they are grateful for. Then grace is said, and everyone digs in to the great Thanksgiving feast, as the laughter and conversations pick up again.

What a lovely picture of Thanksgiving, isn’t it? Don’t you wish it could be your picture of

the holiday as well? But chances are, it won’t be. Not when you’re a supporter to a loved one

with bipolar disorder.

The holidays, like Thanksgiving, can be very stressful for people with bipolar disorder. They can even be a trigger to a bipolar episode for some people with the disorder.

For example, being at a family gathering means being around more people, so for someone who is triggered by crowds, this would be a stressful situation for them. It would be best if you either avoid the family gathering or, if you do plan to attend it, you need to have a plan of what to do if your loved one does, indeed, become too stressed out or their bipolar disorder does become affected.

You might want to have some kind of signal that they can give you if you are not right next to them that tells you that they need to leave. Then you can make your excuses, and simply leave the gathering if your loved one becomes too overwhelmed.

Another plan might be that knowing ahead of time that this might be a problem, contact your loved one’s psychiatrist and have them prescribe an anti-anxiety medication that your loved one can take so they can stay at the gathering.

Be sure to give your loved one extra love and support during this time, so they know you are

on their side.

The holidays can also be a trigger to depression for someone with bipolar disorder. In this case, a family gathering can help them avoid the depression by not allowing them to isolate. Isolation can be a trigger to a bipolar episode.

Can you see how knowing your loved one’s triggers can help you know what to do (whether

to go to the gathering or not, in this case)?

If your loved one tends to get depressed around the holidays, try to get them involved in more


Part of the depression is a loss of interest in things that used to interest them. So try to spark their interest.

Have them help you with holiday preparations. Maybe have them help you with your Christmas

shopping list. If they are up to it, do a little bit of early Christmas shopping with them. Even wrapping some Christmas presents might help them get into the spirit. If this is something that interests them, have them help you with the holiday cooking. Have them go to the grocery store with you.

Be careful not to overwhelm your loved one, however. Too much excitement can trigger a person with bipolar disorder into a bipolar manic episode, and you don’t want that, either.

Try to stick to as normal a daily schedule as possible. That will help them the most.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


If at First You Don’t Succeed with Bipolar


Remember the old expression, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”? It is a good expression. It means to never give up until you reach your goal or solve your problem. It illustrates, too, what I’m always saying – that you should explore all options on the way to finding the right one for you. But what I really like about it is something that people usually

don’t like to talk about – The fact that you can fail.

There was another saying I recall, about that failure is not in the falling down, but in the failing to get back up and trying again. That says the same thing to me. When you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, some things you do, you are going to fail. That’s just a practical way of looking

at it. You can’t be right 100% of the time, or be perfect in everything you do or try to do. So sometimes you’re going to fail. But the important thing is that you don’t give up.

If something doesn’t work with your loved one, try something else. Remember the “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” idea.

For example, maybe your loved one is in a depression, and you say, “I understand how you feel.”

The next thing you know, your loved one is yelling at you, “How can you say that? You couldn’t possibly know how I feel!” So you might feel like you’ve failed to be a good supporter. But all that’s happened is that you’ve learned what NOT to say when they’re in a depression. And any time you learn something, that’s a positive thing. It’s just as important to know what NOT to do as it is to know what TO do.

So you learn from your mistake, and the next time your loved one is depressed, you know not to say that, so you might say something like, “I’m sorry that you’re feeling down. I’m here for you if you want to talk about it.”

Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. But at least they know you’re there for them. And you’re not saying you understand, because they’ve told you that you can’t understand. But you are being supportive in a non-threatening way – you’re just saying that you’re there if they need you. If that doesn’t work, then you just try something else.

What about fighting? That’s one of the biggest problem areas in a bipolar relationship. Say your loved one is angry and raging and fighting with you. You try to defend yourself and fight back, which just makes matters worse. So you learn that this doesn’t work.

Then the next time your loved one gets angry and rages at you, you know not to do that. So you try something else. You may not want to agree with them (especially if you believe you are right), but you may say something like, “I can understand that you feel very strongly about that. Why don’t we agree to disagree? I don’t want to fight.”

If that works, great! If it doesn’t work, try something else. Keep trying different things until you

find what does work for your loved one in your situation.

Remember that everyone’s different. It’s ok to ask for advice, say, at your support group meeting or from a friend, but understand that it may not work in your particular situation. You need to find what is right for you.

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter: Is This You


I want to tell you about one of the supporters in the support group I attend: She was afraid she had “caught” her husband’s bipolar disorder because she had started feeling depressed. This really got her worried, which just made her worse, to the point that she went to see a therapist herself.

She thought she would receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, or at least Major Depressive Disorder… But what she was told instead was that she was suffering from what is called Situational Depression. This is when the situation you are in causes you to become depressed. If you get out of the situation, or adapt to the situation (or change the situation so that you can deal with it), you will no longer be depressed over it. That’s why it’s called Situational Depression, because unlike bipolar disorder, it is not a chemical disorder in the brain – there is no physical cause for it.

So after the therapist explained that you can’t catch bipolar disorder like you catch the common

cold and explained more about Situational Depression, this woman understood more about what she was going through. It helped to explain why she was feeling the way she was. But it didn’t help her figure out how she was going to be able to stop being depressed. She had to do that on her own.

First, she had to figure out exactly what was causing her depression. It was too easy to say everything (even though that was the way she felt at first). She felt like if her husband just didn’t have bipolar disorder, then she wouldn’t be depressed. But that wasn’t realistic. He had bipolar disorder, and she had to learn to cope and deal with it in order to stop being so depressed.

Then she started thinking about when her depression started, since he had bipolar disorder for awhile, and she hadn’t been depressed the whole time. She figured out that her own depression had started at her husband’s last episode. He had gotten very depressed and retreated to his bed, sleeping all the time, and stayed there for a month.

Even though she knew it was the bipolar episode, and not her husband, she still felt rejected.

In thinking back on that period of time, she realized that was what started her depression,

that feeling of being rejected by her husband. Eventually he came out of the episode, but

he still remained quiet, and didn’t talk to her much about anything. He never seemed to share his thoughts and feelings with her. It appeared that their communications had simply broken down.

So she realized that if she wanted to get out of her situational depression, she needed to take

steps to restore their communication. One day, when her husband was in a pretty good mood, she sat him down and shared her thoughts and feelings with him. She was sure to tell him how much she loved him and how much she missed the way they used to be. In return, he started sharing his thoughts and feelings with her, and the session was quite enlightening for both of them. It brought them closer together.

After this, and many other close talks, her depression started to lift, since her situation had changed. Her husband began talking to her more, as he had learned that he could trust her with his thoughts and feelings since she had been so understanding that first time.

This story is not an uncommon one. It is easy for communication to break down in a relationship

where one of the people has bipolar disorder. When they suffer from bipolar depression, they

tend to close into themselves, even cutting their supporter off completely.

It is also not unusual for the supporter to fall into their own depression.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Mother: ‘My Son is Innocent’
DO> WOW, what do you think of this?

What is Bipolar? What is Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar in Order?
DO> Great article, take a look.

How Can You Help Fight the Stigma of ‘Mentally Ill’
DO> Good article, good tips

Recent Suicide hould Spark Overhaul of a Crumbling System
DO> This is so sad, please read

University of Michigan Research: Bipolar Disorder in Vets Shows Strongest
DO> This is just terrible but at least it’s coming out

For these stories and more, please visit:

==>Help with ALL aspects of bipolar disorder<==

Check out all my resources, programs and information for all aspects of bipolar disorder by visiting: http://www.bipolarcentralcatalog.com

Your Friend,


Bipolar? When the Weather Changes


Let me ask you a question: What do you do when the weather changes?

Don’t you: Change to winter wardrobe, wear a warmer coat, put the heat on, wear a scarf and gloves, drink hot chocolate or cocoa, warm up the car, etc. In other words, you adapt to your

changing environment.

What if you didn’t adapt to your changing environment? Say, when the weather started to change? Well, you’d be pretty cold, wouldn’t you?

The point is that there are signs for you. Signs that the environment around you is changing.

Warnings so that you can begin to change yourself and your habits and behavior to adapt to these changes as well. If you don’t… Well, you’ll get cold! In other words, you’ll have to pay the consequences.

For example… Let’s look at your loved one’s medications. Say one day they just decide that they

don’t want to take them any more, for whatever reason. After a few days, they’re going to

get a warning. Something isn’t going to “feel right.” They will start to feel different. They will notice a pattern – their moods will start to swing. Other signs and symptoms of an oncoming bipolar episode will start manifesting themselves.

These are the warnings that the “weather is changing.” If your loved one heeds these warnings, they’ll go back on their medication and everything will be ok. However, if they don’t heed these

warnings… they could very well end up in a full-blown bipolar episode. All because they didn’t heed the warnings.

Just like if you don’t heed the warnings that the weather is getting colder and turn on your

heater, you’re going to get cold!

Your loved one also needs to watch their triggers. First of all, they need to learn what triggers a bipolar episode for them (everybody is different). Then, if they are in dangerous territory, i.e., they observe a warning, like a trigger has been set off, they need to be aware that a bipolar episode may follow. Then it’s up to them to do what they have to do to avoid that episode.

Just like when the weather changes, you do what you have to do to prepare for that cold weather.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar: When Enough is Not Enough


Let me ask you something: When is enough not enough? In other words, do you sometimes

feel like you’re giving all you can, but it’s still not enough? Do you sometimes feel like it’s

not fair?

That’s what Mark told me about his wife Dianne one day while I was working out at the gym.

You see, Dianne has bipolar disorder, and Mark is her main supporter. Usually, Dianne is pretty good about taking her medication, going to see her doctor, and doing all the other things to keep her bipolar in check. And usually, she treats Mark pretty good. But sometimes, she gets in these

awful moods, Mark was telling me, and then she takes them out on him.

She doesn’t go into a full-blown episode or anything, but it’s like she just has a “bad day,” and just doesn’t act like herself. Then, no matter what he does, no matter how much compassion he

shows her, it’s just not enough. She gets really angry, for example. Taking it out on him, Mark gets on the defensive, and before you know it, they’re in a fight. He usually doesn’t even know what they’re even fighting about, but there you have it – they certainly are fighting!

And sometimes Mark can’t control his temper, so even though he knows he shouldn’t fight back, he does it anyway, which just makes matters worse, because Dianne just gets madder and the fight just goes on. But then Mark tries to end the fight, even admits he was wrong, and Dianne just keeps fighting. No matter what Mark does, it’s not good enough. She’s just in this bad mood, and she just keeps taking it out on him!

He says that it’s just so frustrating for him. He tries to show love and compassion for her, but it’s like it’s not good enough when she gets like this. He just doesn’t know what to do when she gets like this, so he was asking for my advice.

I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t know what to say. Then I explained to him that sometimes a person with bipolar disorder is going to have a bad bipolar day. That’s just going to happen sometimes.

It’s just really tough when they take it out on you. And, unfortunately, sometimes that will happen as well.

Because when we’re not at our best, we tend to take it out on the person closest to us, and for someone with bipolar disorder, that’s their supporter. I explained to Mark that it doesn’t mean

that Dianne doesn’t love him, or that she is even doing this on purpose, but that it’s part of her disorder.

Sometimes, when someone with bipolar disorder has a “bad bipolar day,” they take it out on those around them. They just aren’t themselves. However, this can leave their supporter

feeling like no matter how much they do, no matter how much compassion they show, that it’s just not enough. What I told Mark is the same thing I’ll tell you: Don’t take it personally. It’s just a bad day. They happen.

Try to keep your loved one separate from their disorder and remember what they’re like when they’re not manifesting symptoms of their disorder, and try to have more patience with them than usual.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter: Do You Have the Power?


You know, in life in general, there are things over which you have control and things over which you have no control. That’s where the Serenity Prayer came from:

God, grant me the serenity to

Accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference.

Many 12-step programs of recovery use this simple prayer because of the concept of having

control and not having control. They use the idea that there are some things you can change, and some things you just cannot change.

We deal with it when it comes to bipolar disorder with the idea that you do not have the power to change your loved one – they have to change themselves:

BUT… You DO have power over some things. Yourself, for instance. You do have power over yourself. You can change yourself – Your decisions, your choices, your behavior… The way you think, the way you perceive things… The way you react to things… The way you live your life… Your goals… Pretty much anything that has to do with you (as long as it isn’t other people), you have the power to change.

To a degree, you have the power to change what affects you. For example, you can affect your surroundings. If you don’t like where you are living, you can move. If you don’t like the way your home is decorated, you can redecorate it until it pleases you. You have the power to do this.

If you don’t like the way you look, you can change it. You can lose weight. You can gain weight.

You can work out at a gym. You can do yoga or another form of exercise. You can run, hike, or walk. You have the power to do this.

If you want to gain knowledge… You can go on the Internet and look up anything you want, researching to your heart’s delight. You can go to the library and look up as many books, research articles, etc. as you want. You can even go (back) to college if you want to and get a degree. You have the power to do this.

If you want to learn a new skill… You can become a volunteer at a place where you can learn that new skill… You can become an apprentice… You can find a mentor… You can get a job in the field… You can go to school for it. You have the power to do this.

The reason I brought all this up is that I get so frustrated when people say that they can’t change their situation – That this is the way it is and this is the way it has to stay, like with bipolar disorder. Too many people give up after they get the diagnosis. They think that now that they are mentally ill, that it is all over for them. But it’s not. You still have the power over your own life. You have the power to change things. And that means the power to get better.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,