Bipolar Disorder and Anger


I know that anger is a huge problem for people dealing with bipolar disorder. How do I know? Not just because I’m a supporter myself or because my mom has it, but because I get TONS of emails on just this subject. You wouldn’t believe how many people are dealing with anger these days – Whether they have bipolar disorder or not. (Well, yes you would, because you’re probably one of them.)

Well, Robert Allan PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, wrote a whole book on anger, called “Getting Control of Your Anger.”

In Dr. Allan’s book, he talks about a 3-step process for taming rage:

1. Identify the hook (trigger) that feeds your anger.

In other words, he says that just by knowing that there is a trigger that sets your anger off can be liberating in itself. It’s the first step toward changing your reaction to your anger and not allowing yourself to directly express that anger by yelling or getting physical.

2. Step back or remove yourself from the situation causing your anger.

By doing this, you can figure out WHY you need the anger. Then you can try some relaxation

or deep-breathing exercises to try to get back some of your self-control.

He also suggests developing an OBSERVING self, a mini-version of yourself who you visualize sitting on your shoulder viewing the big picture and warning you not to take the anger bait (hook or trigger).

Kind of reminds me of the old cartoon picture of the “mini-you” angel on one shoulder and the “mini-you” devil on the other shoulder, both trying to tell you what to do.

Dr. Allan says that when we get angry, the feeling is usually fueled by the need for respect or the need not to have our territory breached, or both.

3. Fill the need without expressing anger directly. Instead, ASK for what you need.

Many people feel a need, but instead of talking about it, go straight to the feeling behind the need, which many times is anger. That anger can quickly turn to rage, and they can easily turn that rage onto the other person. Then, instead of talking about their need, they start a fight with the other person. Now they’re somewhere they never intended to go in the first place. What they should have done is ask for what they needed instead. If they would have done that, their need would have been met, and they would not have ended up in a fight.


Let’s continue to discuss the issue of anger as it relates to bipolar disorder.

Many times it is the supporter who is angry at their loved one. They don’t mean to be. They certainly don’t want to be. It just somehow happened as a result of what they’re having to deal with. Or something that their loved one has specifically done.

Here’s a good example:

Mary’s husband Jack has bipolar disorder. Whenever Jack goes into a manic episode, he lies to Mary. When Mary confronts Jack about it, he denies it. Maybe Mary would be able to take it if she could understand why he lies, but when he denies it, it really makes her mad; actually, it makes her even madder because this she really doesn’t understand.

It makes her so mad because she thinks Jack is lying on purpose just to get to her. She doesn’t believe him when he says it’s just part of his bipolar disorder. This has led to real problems in their marriage.

Jack tries to defend himself, but by now Mary is so angry, there isn’t even any talking about it – she just won’t listen to him.


I wish I could say that this is the exception rather than the rule but, unfortunately, it isn’t.

I know too many angry supporters.

The answer is for them to talk to their loved one and tell them how they’re feeling, rather than to hold that anger in or let it come out in a fight.

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:

Advocates Push to Keep Mental Health Court Funding
DO> Very interesting

Should You Divorce Someone Who’s Suicidal?
DO> What do you think of this article?

Are Antipsychotics Overprescribed?
DO> Do you think

Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab Offers Hope and Help
DO> Wow this looks great

Can Antidepressants Jump-start Bipolar Disorder?
DO> Another great article, take a look.

For these stories and more, please visit:

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

Your Friend,


Bipolar Disorder – Can You Tell?


I was thinking about something today. I have several people who work for me who have

bipolar disorder, and I always brag on them… You know, about how you would never know that they have the disorder, unless they told you, things like that.

Of course, I live in New Jersey, and they live in other places, all over the map. But I was wondering about what they look like in person. I mean, not their looks, but whether in person, whether you could or couldn’t tell that they have bipolar disorder.

So that made me think about you and your loved ones. If there’s almost 6 million people with bipolar disorder, chances are that you know more than just your loved one with the disorder. Can you tell or can you NOT tell just by looking, if someone has bipolar disorder or not?

Interesting question, don’t you think?

See, what made me think about it, too, was the many emails I’ve gotten from people like

you, asking me about whether “it” is the bipolar or the loved one, and about whether they are “faking” it or not. That’s been a real big issue, according to the emails and calls I’ve gotten.

So I give it to you. What do you think? What has been your experience? Can you tell just by looking, if your loved one has bipolar disorder or not? If so, what is it about their behavior that gives them away?

For those of you who can’t tell, what is it about your loved one’s behavior that is different, that doesn’t give them away?

I talk a lot about what makes a person high-functioning. This is what I think, at least by what the people who work for me are concerned, is what makes them different.

High-functioning behavior can make a person with bipolar disorder NOT stand out as someone with the disorder. Does that make sense?

Whereas, on the other hand, someone who has bipolar disorder, but is NOT high functioning, would be someone who you can tell DOES have bipolar disorder.

I have seen this firsthand – in the people who work for me, those I have interviewed for my courses, those who I have talked to at the support groups I attend, and others I have heard from via email and phone.

Being high functioning also has to do with how stable someone is. I think stability is another key factor in whether you can tell if a person has bipolar disorder or whether

you can’t tell that they have the disorder. See, the more stable someone is, the more things they can do, and the more independently they can do them. People who are stable don’t draw attention to themselves, either.

They are productive, active members of the community and/or work force. And, like I was saying, they don’t stand out. I mean, they don’t stand out as being any different

than anyone else. Except maybe in positive ways:

For example, they may be more creative or more talented. Or they may be better problem-solvers. Or they may think outside the box.

People who act like they have bipolar disorder are people who you can tell have the disorder. These people are more unstable. They are just the opposite of the people I just


They usually show their emotions on their face, which is sometimes not so good, especially if those emotions are depression or anger. Many of them, in their instability, are easily provoked, fly off the handle easily, are short-tempered, easily upset, easily stressed, and the like.

They can’t hold down a job for very long, because they can’t handle the stress. They have a problem with absenteeism, because many times they can’t even get out of bed or groom themselves to go to work.

Instability is a key word when you’re talking about the people who you can tell have bipolar disorder, I think.

While stability is a key word when you’re talking about people who you cannot tell have bipolar disorder.

Your Friend,


When You Mess Up This Part of Bipolar


I’ve been thinking about something I want to talk to you about. Cause you know how I get so many calls and emails about certain subjects, right? And a lot of times that’s where I get my

topics for my daily emails. So that’s where I got the topic for today’s email.

So many people have talked to me about messing something up with their treatment plan. Then they don’t know what to do, so many of them just keep messing up.

One example is getting off their medications, which, I’ll tell you right now is NOT the right thing to do! Or they stop seeing their therapist, and again, that is NOT the right thing to do. Or they start skipping appointments with their other medical professionals, and again – NOT the right thing to do. They might have started an exercise program but not exercised in awhile because they’re not sticking to their treatment plan. Same thing with eating healthy. They may have started on a diet, decided to eat healthy, but just didn’t stick with it, so they messed up that part of their treatment plan.

I want to talk about what happens when you do start to mess up some of the parts of your treatment plan, and what you should do. It’s easy, like I just did above, to talk about what you shouldn’t do! So that part is easy. And in most cases, just do the opposite of that.

So for instance, what should you do if you’ve messed up your medication? You need to start

taking it again, but here’s the problem. You can’t just start where you were, because depending

on how long you were off it, you may need to build back up to that. So in that case, you need to go back to your psychiatrist and have him help you get back to where you were.

If you’ve messed up with your therapist, just make a new appointment, and start going regularly. If they accept you back as a patient, then all is forgiven. If they reject you, you will just have to start over with another therapist. And that’s ok, you can do that. Don’t let that get you down.

Just don’t let any more time lapse before finding another therapist, because you really do need to

be in therapy.

But now let’s say you’ve begun isolating again. Here’s where it gets tricky. People with bipolar

disorder are very good at isolating. It’s one of the top indicators for having bipolar disorder and one of the top triggers for a bipolar episode.

Supporters who have loved ones with bipolar disorder watch for this trigger in their loved one.

But if the person with bipolar disorder has let this slip, has started isolating again, then they are in a dangerous place – they have obviously let part of their treatment plan get out of control.

Now they have two choices when confronted with this by their supporter: they can close down, shut out the world, get all depressed, climb into bed, pull the covers over their head, feel sorry for themselves, cry, and go into a depressive episode… OR…they can accept that even tho they let a PART of their treatment plan get out of control, that the WHOLE treatment plan is still working, and they can still fix it!

If they are lucky enough to have a supporter who is still sticking by them through this, then they can both work on the problem together.

First you identify what went wrong. Then you can fix it. It doesn’t have to be something all dramatic and such. It can be something as small as just not sleeping right. But once it’s identified, you can work on it. And it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming that it drives

your loved one to their bed – it only has to be faced One Day at a Time.

Just today. Only today. Work on your treatment plan the best that you can only one day at a time. Just do the best that you can. That’s all anybody is expecting you to do. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect. And they are certainly not expecting you to be perfect overnight!

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


This Can Be a Bad Thing with Bipolar


I was thinking about hope today. But not in the usual way. I was thinking about how hope can

be a bad thing. See, I’ll compare it to the lottery.

There are some people, well, all they do is spend their money on the lottery, hoping to get rich and be able to quit their jobs and have an easy life.

Those people don’t try very hard at work – some of them aren’t even able to hold down a job very long, because of their attitude, thinking that they’re not going to be there long because they’re going to be rich this week, just you wait and see, this week is the week they’ll win the lottery! See what I’m getting at? And that’s how they live their lives. On hope. From day to day. But it’s not a good hope. It’s not a realistic hope.

This “hope thinking” person will sit back and almost be (or might actually be) lazy, just waiting

for luck to find him, so he doesn’t think he has to do anything in order to get ahead and be successful at anything. He won’t take responsibility for anything. He might even act like the world owes him a living! Or if he’s got bipolar disorder, he’ll act like HE’S the victim! Have you ever known anyone like that (or maybe your loved one is even like that)?

And there he sits, day after day, buying his lottery tickets, hoping to “win” his way out of poverty.

Now let’s take this same man who, ok, maybe he’s not rich, maybe his job isn’t the greatest job in the world, but it’s enough to put food on the table, and it makes him feel good about himself because he’s being productive. Sure, he’d love it if he won a million dollars (we all would).

But he doesn’t sit at home waiting for it to come to him. He works hard for the money he makes, and in his small world of influence, he is considered a success. No, he’s not a millionaire, but he’s got a fairly decent life. He pays his bills, has a wonderful wife and family, a few friends, etc. And he’s happy.

Do you think the first guy, the one waiting around to win the lottery so he can be a millionaire and finally be rich is happy? Or do you think he is discontent, always wanting for something that just seems to elude his grasp?

So what does this have to do with bipolar disorder?

Well, first of all, we can talk about how to be proactive – you can’t just sit around waiting for help to come to you – you have to get out there and do some things for yourself. You can’t just sit at home waiting to be a millionaire by buying lottery tickets, either. But you can still hold down a job outside the home, or work from home, start a home based business, etc. Bipolar disorder does NOT have to stop anyone from caring for their family. It’s up to you.

And this concept can go for more than just money, or work, or financial things. Like, you can sit back and “hope” that your loved one’s bipolar disorder will magically go away by itself, or you can be proactive and see what you can do to help your loved one manage their disorder better.

You can “hope” to be a better supporter, or you can be proactive and learn how to be a better supporter. You can either “hope” for things to get better, or you can actively do things to make them better.

The best thing is to be realistic. For both you and your loved one to work together proactively to help them get better with their bipolar disorder and handle things as they come up, solving problems as they happen.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar? How Would You Answer This Question?

Hi, how are you? I hope you’re doing well.

So, let me ask you: Now that things are back to “normal,” how are you doing? I mean, how are you really doing? Too many people, when asked that question, will simply answer, “Fine,” when that isn’t the truth.

It could be because they are a private person…Or they don’t want to be honest for whatever reason…Or they are afraid of the other person’s response…Or they just tell people what they think they want to hear…Or they want to believe it themselves…Or they just don’t want to go into it…Or they don’t think it’s anybody else’s business…Or they are trying to believe it themselves.

There are many reasons for an inaccurate or incomplete answer to the question, “How are you?” Those are just some of them.

Supporters have told me that it’s just easier to answer “Fine,” instead of telling the truth if things aren’t fine, because of one of the previously stated answers. Survivors as well.

If you ask your loved one how they are really doing and they answer, “Fine,” yet you’ve noticed some bipolar symptoms in them and know that they are actually not fine, you may have to press them for an honest answer. They could be in denial that anything is really wrong, or be in denial of symptomatic behavior.

Your loved one, if they are still thinking rationally, might not want you to know that they’re struggling because they don’t want to make a big deal out of it. If they have crossed over into irrationality, say, into a manic episode, they may actually believe that they are “Fine.” Then it’s up to you to tell if they really are or not.

The key is to have good communication with your loved one, paying attention not only to what they say, but also to what they don’t say. How are they behaving? Is it their normal behavior?

Or is it bipolar behavior? You know them better than anybody else, and you should be able to tell the difference.

Even if they try to hide something, like the fact that they’re depressed, you might still be able to tell by their mannerisms, or just the fact that they are quieter than usual, or sleeping more.

You need to be as familiar with the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder as you are with your loved one. This way you can tell the difference between when they are in an episode and when they are not.

Be very vigilant, never letting down your guard… Or before you know it… You’ve stopped watching for signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode… And your loved one could be in one,

which could have been avoided if you had noticed their off-behavior earlier.

I’m not saying to overprotect them or to smother them…I’m just saying to stay vigilant, or you might miss something.

If you ask your loved one how they are really doing, and they answer, “Fine,” yet you know they aren’t, try to get them to agree to see one of their professionals so that they don’t have to go into the hospital when the episode becomes worse.

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:

The Rise In Bipolar Disorder Is A Myth
DO> Do you agree with this?

Mental Health Services In A Fragile State In Colorado
DO> Sad isn’t it?

Stigma Blinds Us, And Destroys Lives
DO> This is great.

Joe Pantoliano Interviewed on Mental Health
DO> Very interesting, take a look.

A Subtle Misunderstanding in Suicide Prevention:
DO> Wow another very interesting article

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? If You Don’t Have Willpower

Hi, how’s it going? I hope you’re having a good day.

You know, you hear a lot about the word WILLPOWER. But what happens if you don’t have willpower? Or that lack of willpower is one of your problems? It can certainly interfere with

what you want to accomplish.

For example, your loved one wants to take their medication regularly, but they keep forgetting

to take it, then say that they just don’t have the willpower.

I want you to consider that lack of willpower is actually a cop-out. What if willpower is something that can be developed? What if you CAN do something about the problem?

What if you stop blaming your problems on lack of willpower and come up with systems that work instead?

People in 12-Step Programs have abandoned the use of the term “willpower” and instead talk about “powerlessness.” In other words, you would say, “I am powerless over my bipolar

disorder.” Which may be true, and may help you to think of it that way, as long as you don’t use it in terms of your bipolar disorder, in turn, having power over you. That is the exact opposite of what you want.

There are some things you do have power over, and some things you don’t. You are powerless over the fact that you have bipolar disorder, that is true. But you are not powerless over the disorder itself – you can fight it for control, you can learn how to manage it (instead of the other

way around).

The way to fight lack of willpower is with consistent, conscious decisions and actions that follow. For example, many people, survivors and supporters alike, want to lose weight. Say they even made it a New Year’s resolution. But now they’re struggling, and saying that they just don’t have the necessary willpower to stick to a diet.

Well, I would say that if you just change the wording, it might help. Again, I think lack of willpower is a cop-out. The reason many people can’t stick to a diet is because they aren’t committed, they believe they have to start eating different foods (foods they don’t like), or it’s too hard. I think those are the 3 biggest reasons.

But you CAN have control, in spite of having willpower issues. You control what goes into your body. If you are trying to lose weight, it is your responsibility what foods you eat. You can vary your menu and eat foods that you like and that will help you to take the weight off, rather than focusing on what you cannot eat. If you don’t do that, you will probably find yourself craving those things that you have decided you can’t eat.

Does that make sense?

So with bipolar disorder, you don’t think about the things you CAN’T do, you concentrate on the things you CAN do.

For example, you may not be able to work out in a gym for an hour a day, but you can walk for a block or two.

Whether it’s dieting, exercise, or taking your bipolar medication, remember that it’s NOT about

willpower. It’s about making good decisions, and then following through on them.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


11 Letter Magic Bipolar Word


Today I want to talk to you about: AN 11 LETTER MAGIC BIPOLAR WORD!

Now, I know I’m always telling you there are no magic words when it comes to bipolar disorder, so before you get out the rocks and start throwing them at me, let me explain! You will want to hear about this word, believe me! And you would never guess this 11 letter word, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you what it is:


Bet you’d have never guessed that was the word, huh? But this one word is magical in the sense that when it comes to bipolar disorder it carries a lot of power with it.

Just like the story of the tortoise and the hare, and the lesson that we all learned about “slow and

steady wins the race,” we must then follow it with consistency.

Consistency in the thesaurus uses other synonyms for it, like: Symmetry, clearness, uniformity, agreement, connection, tenacity, and conformity. I think I would add another word to that list:


One of the definitions of consistency is persistence. So if you put all that together, you get someone who is persistent in their goals… Who has a real connection and conformity to their treatment. You see where I’m going with this?

If you have bipolar disorder, you need to be consistent with your treatment to be successful at managing your disorder. Actually, I’ll take it a step further, and talk to supporters – you have to be consistent as well, with your own “program,” your own regimen or routine, so that you can be successful as well.

Someone famous said, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” But you cannot achieve it by sitting at home just thinking about it. You CAN achieve it by using CONSISTENCY and persistency, though! Think about it. Everywhere you’ve gotten, you’ve gotten there by consistency.

You graduated from school by consistently going through one grade at a time until you

finally graduated. Same if you went to college, consistently going through one course at a time until you finally got that degree.

If you are married (or in a committed relationship), you can only have a good, strong relationship

if you consistently work at it, like consistently communicating and things like that.

When you become a parent, the only way you can be a good parent is if you are consistent –

like with discipline and with listening to your child, or with going to school events, and supporting your child consistently.

At work, you get promoted based on how consistently you perform your job and your duties. If you consistently perform them well, you will advance in your career.

The same is true in friendships. If you prove to be a consistent, loyal friend, you will have many friends, because these are cherished characteristics in a friendship.

And if you have consistency in your life, you will stay balanced, and you will stay emotionally

healthy (or more emotionally healthy, if you have bipolar disorder).

The point is that having consistency is a good characteristic to have, as it will bring you many

good things.

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:

Family secrets: Peer-led class opens door to understanding mental illness
DO> Sounds like a great idea, don’t you think?

Shedding light on postpartum depression
DO> Great article.

Poetry, the creative process and mental illness
DO> This is very interesting

The Shrinking Of Self For The Bipolar Disorder Or Dementia Care Giver
DO> VERY good article, must read for supporters

Marijuana use may speed psychosis
DO> I agree based on what people have told me, do you?

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,