Bipolar: It’s What You Do With It That Counts


So many people have problems, especially people who have bipolar disorder and their supporters. Not that they’re a special population, or anything like that, but anyone with a mental

illness and their supporter have a difficult time with things.

They not only have to cope with the every day problems that other people have to cope with, but they also have to cope with the added problems that bipolar disorder brings with it, both for the survivor and for the supporter. And the problems that it brings to their relationship, to a job situation, family, etc. It’s not an easy thing, living with bipolar disorder. Or living with someone who has the disorder.

But it’s not the fact that you (or your loved one) have bipolar disorder, it’s what you do with it that counts. Even at the worst of it.

I know someone who has bipolar disorder and her sister had it as well. These two women were like twins, even though they were several years apart, but that’s how close they were. However, one of the women went off her bipolar medication, went into a bipolar episode, and ended up taking her own life.

The other sister, the one who had stayed on her medication, was devastated! She went into a deep, deep depression, although not a full-blown bipolar depressive episode (she thinks only because she stayed on her bipolar medication), because she was so sad over her sister killing herself. She had a real hard time coming to terms with her sister’s suicide. It took years for her to find peace with it.

At first, she felt angry with her sister for doing what she did. Then she felt angry at the bipolar itself, for giving her sister the irrational thoughts that caused her to kill herself. That helped her find more peace with it. She understood that her sister would not have done what she did if she had not gone off her medication.

So what did she do? She had a blog for people with bipolar disorder. She used that blog to tell her sister’s story, and to encourage people with bipolar NOT to go off their medication! And every year after that, on her sister’s birthday and death day, she repeated the story, again begging

people with the disorder not to go off their medication.

So what she thought was that “it’s what you do with it that counts,” and she was going to use her sister’s suicide for good. She was going to keep telling her story so that other people wouldn’t do the same thing that her sister had done. She would keep telling it in the hopes that it would save someone else’s life. She would use what had hurt her so deeply to try to do some good for someone else with bipolar disorder.

She still does this today. At her sister’s every birthday and death day, this woman gets on her blog and makes the same plea, for people with bipolar disorder to stay on their medications so that they won’t go into an episode and kill themselves like her sister did. And she’s doing a lot of good!

So it just goes to show you that good can come out of bad – it’s just what you do with it that counts.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Fun with Bipolar Disorder


I had someone tell me that at their bipolar support group the topic for discussion one night was “Fun with Bipolar Disorder.” At first I thought that was crazy! How can you have fun with bipolar disorder? I guess I thought that because I’m usually dealing with the seriousness of it most of the time. Supporters as well as survivors are always telling me the worst of it.

So naturally at first it was hard for me to think of fun associated with bipolar disorder. But she started telling me a little about what had happened at her support group, and I thought I would share it with you.

Yes, bipolar disorder is a serious disorder, as we both know. But if you don’t have any fun in your life, the disorder can overwhelm you and the stress of it can take over your life. Everybody has to have some fun in their lives to have a healthy life.

So here are some suggestions on how to have fun despite dealing with bipolar disorder in your life:

1. Go out to eat

You may be on a budget because bipolar disorder is an expensive disorder, or your loved one may be on disability, but if you’re creative financially, you can still afford to go out for dinner here and there. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a way to enjoy the

experience together.

2. Play games or cards

Just staying in and playing board games (the old fashioned ones) or cards can be enjoyable sometimes. Games like Monopoly, backgammon, chess, checkers, and even Battleship can be fun if you like them.

3. Get together with friends

Just because your loved one has bipolar disorder doesn’t mean that you can’t still get together with friends and have a good time. It doesn’t matter what you do – just visiting and talking can be fun as long as it’s with friends!

4. Get together with family

Getting together with family can be fun because they don’t expect you to be anyone other than who you are – they accept you just the way you are, so you can relax and just be yourself! That in itself can be relaxing and fun, no matter what you choose to do!

5. Go to a museum or art gallery

If you haven’t been for a long time, going to a museum or art gallery can be an especially enjoyable thing to do. There is so much to see, and exhibits change all the time! And

usually they are low-cost as well.

6. Go to a park

Pretend you’re a kid again, and go to the park! You can even have a good, old-fashioned picnic if you want. Watching the children play is always an enjoyable activity as well, and if you’re daring, you can always go on the swings for fun!

7. Go to a movie

Yes, in this age of DVD’s, they still have movies in the theater that you can go to, some even in 3-D! Pick one that you would both like to see, get some gooey buttered popcorn and a soda, sit back, and enjoy!

Whatever you decide to do is limited only by your imagination. Anything you do can be fun if you put your mind to it!

Different people enjoy different things. Just make sure that what you choose is enjoyable for the both of you, and you’ll be sure to have fun!

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:

Hidden Disabilities Series: Bipolar Disorder and Autism
DO> Very interesting article, take a look.

Mood Clinic finds High Rates of Undiagnosed Bipolar
DO> Do you agree with this?

Mental-health Cuts are Life-Threatening for Some
DO> This is so true, don’t you agree?

Early Results Positive for New Bipolar, Depression Treatments
DO> Great article, take a look.

The Monster Lurking Within
DO> Do you think this really like it is?

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,


Does Bipolar Come Along With This?


I got this email and wanted to share it with you:

“I have a question/comment. Dave, you mention that bipolar disorder comes along with rages in several different blogs you have posted. I find this difficult to digest. I have never accepted the raging and abusing. It is simply not healthy for the family, as it affects the atmosphere of a home and makes the nervous system of the family members very unstable !

Someone with bipolar should be held to the same standards as someone without bipolar. We cannot walk in an AT&T store and rage and threaten and get away with it, nor would we want to. We cannot throw chairs and typewriters or get up in peoples faces, just because we feel like it, yet you write that with bipolar this is part of it. Perhaps no-one has held the bipolar person accountable for their destructive behavior. It is not normal and the minute we accept it as “well they have rages” it is us who have gone crazy.

Intolerable behavior should never be allowed, especially when it is used to manipulate you with. Family members can only take so much crap from one person. And another thing, there is a huge difference in someone who has bipolar and has episodes but realizes how they behave and wants to change their behavior or take the medications that hold that behavior in check. It is completely different when a person with bipolar et al, refuses to acknowledge how their behavior affects other people around them.

It is not normal to rage. It is not normal to verbally abuse just for sport. And it should not be tolerated in the name of “oh well, they are bipolar” or whatever. The behavior is stuck below 5 years old and that is the awful truth. You cannot have an adult relationship with someone who

behaves like a pre-kindergartener !”


First of all, let me say that I agree with this person. Now, that may sound contradictory, since I have said what they said I did at the beginning of their email, so let me defend myself here. I have said in certain blog posts that bipolar does come with rages. Manic rages. I’m talking about manic episodes here. And it does not happen to everyone, just to many people.

Now that I’ve got that straight, let me continue.

Much of what this person said in their email can be typical of a person in a bipolar manic rage.

They can fly off the handle over seemingly nothing. They can throw a tantrum in a store. They can embarrass you in public.

But one thing I think this person is missing that I do tell people about is that you have to set limits and boundaries. You have to decide what is tolerable and what is intolerable behavior and then set limits and boundaries on what you will take. Then you have to set up consequences for intolerable behavior.

The person who wrote the email talked about the loved one’s behavior being stuck below that of a 5 year old. So, basically, you treat them like one. If your 5 year old threw a tantrum in a store, what would you do? Would you tolerate the behavior? Or would there be consequences for the behavior because it is intolerable behavior? Then gradually they learn not to repeat the behavior,

don’t they?

It’s the same thing with your loved one. That’s what limits, boundaries, and consequences are

for. And if they do their job, eventually your loved one will stop doing intolerable behavior and will learn to act like an adult, like anyone without bipolar disorder would act. Like the person in the email said, about holding the loved one to the same standards as anyone who does not have bipolar disorder.

They also point out that there is a huge difference in someone who has bipolar disorder but realizes that they have this behavior and need to change it and someone who doesn’t see a need to change their behavior. You can work with the one who sees that they need to change their behavior. The other one is not ready yet.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


The Amazing Difference This Can Make


I read an article about this businessman who went from almost bankruptcy to come back to be one of the top businesses in the country. What was his secret? This one amazing difference:


He had Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. He had plans for everything. He had a plan for if this went wrong or if that went wrong. He had a plan for finances, marketing, advertising, his employees, his products, just about everything he could think of. He had a plan for everything to go right

and if everything went wrong. And if something went wrong, he had a plan to make it go right.

That was the difference. And it made a big difference in his company and in his success.

It is important for you to plan as well. The more and the better you plan, the less you are taken by surprise. And the less things can hurt you.

For example: Say that when your loved one goes into a manic rage, they say things that hurt you. Well, you can plan in advance how you’re going to handle this rage and what they say. You can plan how you’re going to react, and that you’re not going to overreact. You can plan that you’re not going to fight back, that you’ll keep your voice low, and that you won’t do anything to escalate your loved one’s rage.

What do you think will happen? Don’t you think this will help your situation? Do you think the rage will end earlier than it might have if you hadn’t planned for it?

And what about planning for bipolar episodes? The difference it has made in my mother is


If you remember, when she had her episode back in 2004, she was so disorganized that when we needed it, she didn’t even have her doctor’s phone number, and we had to keep digging and looking around until we finally found his card.

Now she not only knows where his phone number is, but it is part of her Bipolar Episode Plan that if she even feels “off” to call her psychiatrist and decide what to do. The big difference is that by planning in advance, it could mean just an adjustment in her medication rather than the hospitalization it took in 2004 to help her out of her episode.

You can do the same thing with your loved one. You can plan for bipolar episodes. Sit down with them and discuss what they would want you to do should you see that they are exhibiting signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode.

The first thing should be that you plan to call their psychiatrist. They may have you bring your loved one in for an emergency visit. Or they may have you take them to the emergency room at the hospital for evaluation, and possibly even a hospital stay.

You also need to plan for what you’ll do if you need to hospitalize your loved one. You need to have a signed Medical Release Form in your loved one’s files at each of their medical and mental health professionals’ offices. You may even want a Power of Attorney form signed in advance as well. These things take planning.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


The Three Bears and Bipolar Disorder


I was telling my goddaughter the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears the Other Day. It started off well enough… I told her about the little girl and how she had found the three bowls

of porridge (I told her porridge was like oatmeal)… And how one was too hot… And how one was too cold… And how one was just right!

Then I told her about how the girl was tired, so she went to the beds. And how one was too hard… And how one was too soft… And how one was just right!

Well, my goddaughter, who is really smart, goes: “Why didn’t she just go to the ones that were just right in the first place?” I just laughed! She can be too smart for her own good sometimes, my goddaughter can.

But she made a point, and it made me think of bipolar disorder (doesn’t everything? lol) Why do we complicate everything? Why not go to the “just right” in the first place, instead of going to

the “too hard” or “too soft” first?

Well, here’s how I related it to bipolar disorder: You can be too soft on your loved one. This is what I would call enabling.

You can do too much for them in your role as a supporter. You can do things for them that they

should be doing for themselves. For example, as a supporter, you can oversee that they take their medications. You can just ask them, say, if they took their medications that day.

But to stand over them every time they take their medications to make sure that they take them, or to give them their medications every time they’re supposed to take them, that would be crossing the line into enabling them. In other words, making things too “soft” for them. Doing something for them that they should be doing for themselves.

They should be becoming more independent, and not leaning on you for everything, while still appreciating you for the supporter that you are to them.

Then we’ve got the “too hard” type of supporter. The one who expects them to do everything

by themselves with no help from them. That’s going to the other extreme.

As a supporter, there are some ways that you can help. Perhaps your loved one isn’t up to driving themselves to their doctor’s appointments yet. By driving them to their appointments, you

are not enabling them, because they are willing to go, but you are being a help to them, because

they are unable to drive themselves yet.

What if being around crowds is a trigger to their bipolar disorder? If you insist that they accompany you to a large gathering (family, office, friends, etc.), even though they are nervous and don’t want to go because it may be a trigger for them, you are being too harsh on them.

You want to fall into the “just right” category as a supporter. Not to go to either extreme.

Be loving, kind, supportive, and understanding without enabling or having unrealistic expectations of your loved one, either.

Your Friend,


Cause of Worsening Bipolar Disorder


I got the following email and wanted to share it with you:

“Dave, I have to tell you about my wife, because I don’t know what to do and was hoping you might have some advice for me.

Susan has bipolar disorder. I knew she had it when I married her, but she was pretty stable at the time, and over the next few years, too.

Then something happened. She got really stressed out and went into an episode. She spent a lot of money, and even started to gamble. She went through all of our savings.

I learned through your courses to forgive her for this, so I did. But our finances were really stretched and it took a long time to get them back to normal. Just when they were, she did the same thing again! Now, I know I’m supposed to forgive her, but it wasn’t so easy this time. I know she didn’t do it on purpose, that it was another bipolar episode, but it was still hard for me to take. I hadn’t expected another episode to happen so soon, that was the thing. I thought she

would be ok for awhile. But there she was, in another episode. Only this time it was worse. She didn’t just spend all kinds of money and gamble – she also had an affair. She was all apologetic

about it and everything, and I knew she wouldn’t have done it if she wasn’t in an episode, but this time I really didn’t think I could forgive her.

This increase in episodes, and the things she is doing really has me worried. I thought she would get better with age, but instead, she is getting worse. The mood swings are happening more often, and so is the episodic behavior.

What do you think about all this? What should I do?”


Wow. It sure sounds like this man has his hands full with his wife.

Yes, you would think that with time, she should get better instead of worse. However, there are some researchers who believe that bipolar disorder does get worse over time. And untreated bipolar disorder definitely gets worse over time.

The first thing I would tell this man would be that his wife’s medication needs to be looked at.

It seems like something isn’t working there. It could be that some of her medication just needs to be changed, or at least the dosages need to be changed.

I would also look at her treatment plan. Is she seeing a psychiatrist? How often? Is he regulating her medications? When was the last time her medications were changed?

Is she seeing a therapist? On a regular basis? A therapist would help her look at some of her

bipolar behaviors and help her to change them. They would work together on some of the

issues surrounding her bipolar disorder.

It sounds like she might still have some unresolved issues going on. It also seems that maybe his wife is still holding some things in that she isn’t talking to him about. So I think there needs to be some work done on their communication.

So it could be not just that her bipolar disorder is getting worse, but these issues that surround

her bipolar disorder that need attention. For example, if she is holding in negative feelings, and not talking to her husband or her therapist about them, they will build up inside her and eventually come out and “blow up” possibly into a bipolar episode.

Also, other things need to be looked at. For example, what are her sleep habits like? Is she sticking to a regular sleep schedule? Loss of sleep can be a trigger to a manic episode.

Any one of these things can be making her bipolar disorder worse.

What do you think?

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:

Koch donates $2 million to research on bipolar disorders
DO> Hopefully advances can be made

In death, Carol Anne is still touching lives
DO> Wow, this is sad, don’t you think?

Natural substances treat depression
DO> Interesting, take a look.

Changing the Conversation
DO> Do you agree with this?

Councillor speaks out about mental health problems
DO> What do you think about this?

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,


Bipolar Supporter – You Can Do Anything


Many (most) parents raise their children to believe that they can do anything they set their minds to. If they want to be a doctor, they can do that. If they want to be a lawyer, they can do that. If they want to help people, they can do that. If they want to work with their hands, they can pick a profession (like auto mechanic) where they can do that.

They see their child and their particular gifts and talents, and they try to steer them in a direction that will use those gifts and talents, while all the time telling them that they can be anything and do anything that they want to.

That’s positive reinforcement. That’s a good thing for a parent to do. That’s a good thing for a bipolar supporter to do as well.

You shouldn’t let their bipolar disorder hold them back. But it shouldn’t hold you back, either. You should still be able to do anything you want to do, too.

If you still want to work a full-time job, for example, you should be able to do that without worrying about what your loved one will do without having you around. If you do, that’s called codependency. If they get in trouble without you around, perhaps they are too dependent on you to keep them out of trouble, and that is not a healthy thing. You should be able to trust them to be ok when you’re not around, at least as much as to be able to work.

However, I know one woman who tried to work, but her husband would call her 10 and 12 times a day at work, until she was let go from work because they said they just couldn’t have that happening.

Your loved one needs to have something to do while you work so that they don’t do things like that. They need to be productive in their own right so that they are not so dependent on you. They need to have their own strong support network, and their own social network as well.

They could even have their own job – either part-time, or even a volunteer position, just something that gets them out of the house – or even a home business might work for them.

You should also be able to have your own friends that you can see when you want. It is healthy for you to have a social life outside of your loved one so that their bipolar disorder doesn’t overwhelm you. Go to lunch with a friend every once in a while – it will do you good.

For your own mental and emotional well-being, you should be able to go out and do things on your own. You shouldn’t feel trapped by your loved one. And you shouldn’t feel guilty at leaving them alone at home, or fear for what might happen. They should be learning how to manage their own disorder, and to be independent to some degree. They shouldn’t need you to such a degree that you can’t do what you want to do, or it isn’t healthy.

If you feel as if your loved one and/or their bipolar disorder is holding you back, then you need to talk to them about it. You need to be able to do the things you need and want to do.

Your Friend,


Bipolar: After Thanksgiving


You know, many people are grateful around Thanksgiving. In fact, many people go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner telling what they are thankful for. One person might be thankful for their friends and family. One person might be thankful for their health. One person might be thankful that they’re getting good grades in school. One person might be grateful that their car is running good this year. One person might be thankful for a happy marriage. One person might be thankful that they have a roof over their heads. And on and on…

While someone with bipolar disorder might simply be thankful that they’re stable at the time.

Especially when stability does not come easily. Some people really have to work at it to become

stable with their bipolar disorder. And some supporters have to work really hard at being good supporters. For some it’s easy, but for others it’s harder. Especially when the person who is so thankful at Thanksgiving stops being so thankful after the holiday is over…And goes back to being their old self. And not their good self, either!

You may have really enjoyed your loved one’s “holiday self,” being on their best behavior…

Being nice to you and everyone else… No starting any fights… No bipolar behavior… No mood swings… No depression… No isolation… No idleness… Or any of the other bipolar behaviors

that they sometimes exhibit. What a wonderful break at Thanksgiving!

But what a letdown after Thanksgiving when they start up all that behavior all over again. Like a balloon that gets a hole popped into it. And all that air comes rushing out. That’s like your loved one, who has been trying to be so good through the Thanksgiving holiday, but now the stress all comes rushing out and they start all their bipolar behavior again.

And who gets the brunt of it? You do. You are their supporter, and the person closest to them.

So you get the worst of it. Most of their worst behavior is directed toward you. Then the stress falls on you. First of all, you’re disappointed, because they were acting so good for the holiday… … and now this.

Then the stress descends on you. You’re walking around on eggshells again… Trying not to do or say anything wrong to set off your loved one and their bipolar behavior and rages. But you’re trying to deal with your own feelings at the same time. And right now, those feelings are pretty negative ones.

You probably resent your loved one for this change in them. You might even be angry at them for how they’re treating you. You could even feel that your situation is hopeless or that your loved one is hopeless, that they’ll never change. You probably feel disappointed that things aren’t staying as good as they were at Thanksgiving. You might even feel betrayed by your loved one, feeling as if they have let you down. You might be depressed now, feeling sad that your

loved one is acting like their old negative self, acting out on old behaviors.

But it is normal to feel these feelings. Many supporters feel these types of feelings after the Thanksgiving holiday when things go back to “normal.”

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,