Asking Yourself Tough Questions


I’m going to ask you a question. A hard question, but one you need to ask yourself.

What about YOU?

Have you ever asked yourself that? “What about ME?”

Sometimes bipolar disorder can take over your lives to such a degree that you really can get to the point that you ask yourself that question. If you have, you need to know that it is NORMAL! You’re not alone – many supporters ask themselves that question.

Do you sometimes feel as if you have a child instead of a partner? That’s a normal feeling, too. You may sometimes wonder why you are in the relationship at all if it only means taking care of someone who is ill more times than they are not. And this may be harder on you than you thought it would be.

Maybe the bipolar disorder cast you in a role you have no desire to play, but you see no way

out because there is no one else to do it if you don’t.

Maybe you’re just plain burnt out. That happens sometimes. So what about you? If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of your loved one. Remember that.

You may be asking yourself, “What about me and what I want from life?” Well, what about you? What do you want and need?

Now that you have the tools to manage the disorder, it’s time for you to become clear about

the role you want to play in your relationship. You may feel that the bipolar disorder has taken

the choice away from you. This, too, is a normal feeling.

When your loved one is in an episode, you may feel that you HAVE to play the role of the loving

supporter. That you have to hold things together. But you don’t. Everything you do is a choice.

Whether it’s going to the hospital when your loved one is in an episode, helping your loved one take their medication, or putting up with constant mood swings, there is a choice. It may not be an easy choice, or you may feel like you have no choice, but it is all a choice.

If you choose to stay in a relationship where your loved one is often sick (in an episode), it’s important that you at least know who you are and why you do what you do.

Many of the people who write to me who are married to a loved one with bipolar disorder say that if they knew ahead of time what they would be getting into, they wouldn’t have married that person.

Is this you? Do you feel this way? It’s ok if you do, because others do, but not if you let this feeling turn into a resentment against your loved one, or you stuff it and it bubbles up inside you and reflects how you feel about your loved one. You need to deal with it.

If it’s your choice to stay with your loved one, no matter what (and remember, you do have a choice), then feeling like that is something that you just have to get over, as it will get in the way of being a good supporter.

I know, because I am a supporter myself, that sometimes it’s just not good enough to know that you’re not alone in your struggle against bipolar disorder – that you’re not the only one who feels the way you do…that so much is expected of you, especially when your loved one goes into an episode, because even though you’re the one who does all the work, your loved one is probably the one who gets all the attention.

“In sickness and in health” can be hard to take when it seems sometimes that there just isn’t any “health”! Your role gets so complicated sometimes that you wonder who you really are any more: You often have to be a financial planner, a confidant, a therapist, a nurse, a parent, a provider, a supporter, and any number of roles that maybe you didn’t sign on for.

This is a lot to ask of you. And many times it is a thankless job. And, again, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you may burn out from it. Don’t despair if it’s wearing you out. It wears everyone out.

Again, ask yourself the tough questions: What about ME? Who am I? What do I want out of life? How much longer can I continue on like this? Can I continue on like this? Is this all worth it?

Because you need to know the answers.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Disorder is a THIEF!


I’m going to tell you something, and you may not have thought of it in this way before, but…


The first thing it does is that it robs your loved one of their identity – of their true self. They become this “bipolar self” – this person they weren’t before they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Which is hard for you, because they aren’t the same person they are in an episode than they are when they aren’t in an episode, and that can be very, very hard to deal with. So you have to try to remember what they’re like when they’re not in an episode.

It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the disorder. It’s a thief! It steals your loved one’s real self.

Bipolar disorder can steal your jobs – your loved one’s because they might lose their job either

because their boss might find out they have bipolar disorder, or they can’t keep doing their job because of the disorder and have to go on disability. Or your job because you have to quit it to become a full-time supporter.

Bipolar disorder can steal your financial security. If your loved one goes into a manic episode (and you haven’t taken charge of the checkbook and credit cards), they can go on a spending spree, spend all the money in the checking account, and/or max out your credit cards. You can go broke, lose your car, house, and even go into bankruptcy, in one manic episode.

But, again, I’m telling you: BIPOLAR DISORDER IS A THIEF!

It can steal your friends. Sometimes friends, like society, don’t understand the disorder (or mental illness in general), and they will turn away from you. It’s like they’re scared of your loved one all of a sudden – scared that they’re going to “catch” their bipolar disorder. It’s not even necessarily your loved one’s fault. It’s the fault of the disorder itself.

It can steal your social life. Not just what I just said, but also because your loved one may be

embarrassed in public, or just may be too depressed to go out. Again, it’s the disorder, not your loved one.

It can steal your family. Again, possibly because your loved one is too depressed to go out, but also it may be because they’ve driven away their family because of what they’ve done in episodes, too. And because of that, it can also steal your family gatherings, so that holidays are especially difficult and probably a very lonely time not only for your loved one, but for you as well. People with bipolar disorder are usually more depressed around the holidays.

It can steal your standing in church and/or in the community. Your loved one may have once thrived in the community and as a leader. Now they may be just a shadow of their old self. Now they may be afraid of what people think of them.

It can steal your intimacy. Not just sex (either because of the depression or the medication), but just the closeness you used to share.

It can steal your trust, because you don’t know what your loved one is doing during a manic

episode, or what the consequences are going to be.

It can steal your fun (when was the last time you had any), and your happiness and enjoyment of life, because of your loved one’s depression and the disorder itself.

It can steal your health – both your loved one’s and your own, because of stress and other health issues that are caused by bipolar disorder.


It can steal your time, when your loved one has to spend time in a treatment facility and/or hospital.

It can steal your self-esteem.

It can steal your security as well, as you wonder when the next episode will come?

It can steal your loved one’s fulfillment and satisfaction with life, as they struggle with no

sense of productivity.

It can steal your dreams…

It can steal your lives, as bipolar disorder takes over your whole lives, and everything begins to

revolve around the disorder. Everything I’ve just talked about.

But worst of all… Bipolar disorder can steal your loved one’s life. If your loved one stops taking their medication, they can kill themselves.

Now do you see why I say that… BIPOLAR DISORDER IS A THIEF!!!

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Lesson From a Child


I saw this child in the grocery store the other day with his mother. Now, this kid couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5. Usually, kids that age are tugging on their Mama’s sleeve, wanting this or that, screaming or yelling, and causing general havoc to everyone around them.

What made this child different was that he was just walking down each aisle looking at everything like he was amazed, like everything was brand new to him – like he was seeing everything for the very first time!

When I go to the grocery store, I just go in and get what I need, and leave, don’t you? I’ve been there so many times, that it’s just a chore for me. How could anyone possibly find it exciting

and new? But remember, now, I’m an adult, and things like grocery stores no longer hold any

allure for me. Maybe I’m just getting old… LOL

But I kept thinking about this child even as I left the grocery store and went on with my errands.

For some reason, he had left a big impression upon me. I asked myself, What if we could all stay like that child? What if we still looked at life that way? Like everything was still new and exciting… Like there was wonder and awe in little things… New things to still explore and delight in… Instead of being “adult” and “mature” about everything, so grown-up that we forget how to be a child and just enjoy life?

What does this have to do with bipolar disorder? Well, I think we can all learn a lesson from this child.

Just because your loved one has bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you have to lose the perspective of a child. Just because they have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you can’t still be happy. Just because they have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you have to go around like you have this chip on your shoulder all the time.

Having bipolar disorder isn’t the end of your life. You can still have a “normal” life between

episodes. In fact, you should be living as normal a life as possible so that stability becomes a reality and there are fewer episodes in your loved one’s life.

I’m not saying to go bungie-jumping or anything just to have excitement in your life, but there are other things you can do to make your life enjoyable in spite of the bipolar disorder. It’s all in your attitude! Think about that child in the grocery store. What made him different than other kids his age? His wonderment at the things around him! You can have that same wonderment again. Try to see the beauty in the things around you. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Be grateful each day that your loved one is not in an episode. Do things together that you both enjoy. These things don’t have to be complicated, extravagant, or expensive.

I know a couple who both have bipolar disorder. And one of the things they both enjoy doing

is playing board games together, like backgammon. They enjoy just being together and talking. About “everything” and “nothing,” they say.

One of the greatest pleasures in life is simple companionship. Having family around you. Going through old photographs. Watching the birds in your backyard. Seeing a movie together. Reading books side by side. Cooking a meal together. Going on a date (no matter how long you’ve been together). Watching the rain fall outside your window.

Take a lesson from the child in the grocery store. Try to see the world from a child’s perspective

again, and you’ll be much happier. Don’t let bipolar disorder steal your joy!

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Here are the news headlines:

Self Help for the Mentally Ill?
DO> What do you think about this?

Despite Bipolar Diagnosis, Judge Labels Man Predator
DO> Do you agree with this or not?

Antipsychotics in Pregnancy Risky for Newborns
DO> Take a look at this, great article.

Peers Provide that Essential Difference
DO> I totally agree, do you?

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 Email – Loser Attitude or Sad Story?


I got an email that said:


I am sick and tired of you people saying bipolar disorder is so easy to manage. You don’t understand. We try to manage it and you mock us. We can’t get jobs. We can’t handle money. We can’t help ourselves. The government doesn’t help. No one cares. You people don’t understand.”


Now, I ask you, is this a loser attitude, or is this just a sad story?

Either way, I want to respond to it, line by line, because I feel like I have a responsibility to (and I need to defend myself and the people who work for me).

She says she is sick and tired of “you people” saying bipolar disorder is so easy to manage.

When have I EVER said that? I talk about how HARD it is to manage, as far as I know. That’s

why I write all these emails! I try so hard to teach supporters how to help their loved ones how to manage their bipolar disorder.

In the courses that I write, I try very hard to teach people how to manage their bipolar disorder, and these materials are HUNDREDS of pages long!

I KNOW how hard it is to manage the disorder, because I’m a supporter myself and I watched my mother go through it (still go through it).

Then she says I don’t understand. Oh, how well I do understand. I get hundreds and hundreds of

responses to these emails. And I have over 10,000 testimonials about my courses and materials about bipolar disorder. If I didn’t understand, why would all these people thank me for understanding?

What about her line about, “We try to manage it and you mock us.”? Where is THAT coming

from? Have you EVER heard me say anything that is mocking?

Sometimes I might say something in my emails that is humorous, but as one of my people who

works for me that has bipolar disorder says, “Sometimes if you don’t laugh about it, you’ll cry.”

But mocking? No. I think bipolar disorder is a VERY serious disorder. I talk about that all the


“We can’t get jobs,” she says. Then what about all the people who work for me? They got jobs.

And what about all the people who bought my material on getting jobs even though you have

bipolar disorder? That one is a BIG seller! Those people have gotten jobs, too.

Just because you have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you can’t work. Many people who have

the disorder have even started their own home businesses. Another one of my materials is

about just that – starting your own home business, and that is another one that a lot of people buy, and they do very well. They don’t let their bipolar disorder stop them.

“We can’t handle money.” Well, that may be true. Many people with bipolar disorder can’t

handle money. But they have supporters who can. In my courses/materials I do go into that as

well. And I have talked about it in my emails, too. So there is a solution for that.

Yes, one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder is excessive spending. But bipolar medication does help with that, too. So maybe this woman is just off her medication?

“We can’t help ourselves.” Well, I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree. I have just known too many

people with bipolar disorder who HAVE been able to help themselves.

“The government doesn’t help.” I’ve tried and tried to tell people that you can’t live on disability alone. You have to supplement your income somehow. But I also know a woman on SSDI who says she is not too proud to take charity or go to food banks to feed her kids. She says she does whatever she has to.

“No one cares. You people don’t understand.” I guess I would leave that for you to answer. Do

you agree with her? Do you think I don’t care? Do you think I don’t understand? Because by now I am frustrated with this woman and her email.

Because I have so many people who work for me who have bipolar disorder, and they are some of the most creative, hard-working, problem-solvers, and productive, stable people I have ever known. They are not like this woman at all.

I told one of the people who works for me about this email, because at first I felt sorry for this woman. I thought her story was so sad.

This is what my employee told me: “When I was first diagnosed, I felt sorry for myself, and I told my girlfriend my problems. She told me, “You’re not on a pity-pot, you’re in a pity-bathtub!” In other words, she didn’t get any sympathy from her girlfriend. She was practically told that she had a loser attitude, not that she had a sad story.

So that’s what I’m asking you. I’m done defending myself. Do you think this woman has a loser attitude or a sad story?

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Failing to Do This with Bipolar


I was just sitting around and doing some planning. What kind of planning? Well I was planning my workout and meals for the next 7 days or so. I do that a lot. Many of my friends think I am out of my mind because I do so much planning. But you know the old saying: “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

I was thinking about bipolar disorder as well and how many things that people don’t plan for. And with bipolar disorder you MUST plan.

First let me step back and say one thing about myself. The reason why I am so serious about health and fitness is because I realized about…hmmm…10 years ago how important it was.

Let me quickly tell you the story so you know it.

Okay, I was in my last year of football. I played football for 14 years and a bunch of other

sports. But football was my focus. I was also a power lifter at the time. A power lifter is a person that lifts very heavy weights. Usually in three major exercises: bench, squat, and dead lift.

I was, I would say, really strong. I could do 465 pounds on squat for 17 repetitions, which is really pretty strong (not to brag). I was also 282 pounds at the time. Some of my really

good friends were over 300 pounds.

We had no problem ever eating really late at night. Actually it was common for us to have a double from WAWA (like a convenience store that sells food). A double is 2 foot long subs with double cheese, double meat, double lettuce, double everything with two large drinks and two bags of potato chips.

We made up the term, but that’s what a double was. We used to do this about 12:00 at night, no problem. NO ONE ever thought about whether it was healthy or not.

Anyway, we all did well in football and we were in good football lineman shape. I was NOT low in body fat but could run really fast – I could sprint and I could do what a lineman had to do. Could I run 5 miles? No way! I would fall over!

So anyway, all we were into was getting bigger and stronger. We were what people call meatheads.” A meathead is a slang term for a person who only focuses on getting big and strong. A meathead is like a caveman from back in the day.


So here’s what changed me. I remember it just like it was the other day. After our last football game, we had like a get together. Old football players from back in the day were going to be coming to school to hang out. Some of them were really, really good. Like legends.

I never met some but I saw them in films, on the wall, or in pictures.

I will never forget this. When they came it was scary. Most of the people looked – guess what? HORRIBLE! They were big and fat. I mean like 350 pounds fat. Some could barely move. I remember this one guy that was super good and looked like a machine in old pictures almost couldn’t move he was so darn big!

I asked around in a nice way what the heck happened to these people? It was like they all caught a strange illness that made them go from being super athletic to really big and fat.

My coached laughed, and said, and I will never forget this: “That’s how you guys end up.”

I said, “Huh?” and he said, “You guys get big and fat after you stop playing ball.”

Right then I said to myself, “This will NOT be me. There is no way I am going to let that happen to me.”

I felt like I had just gone through a sacred straight problem—you know when they take bad kids and bring them to jails and say, “Look at these people, if you keep being bad, you’ll be in here as well,” and the kids say, “Oh my God, I don’t want to be in jail, I will be good.”

Anyway, I decided I was going to stop the power lifting and stop being a “meathead” and get into super good shape, have abs, have low body fat, etc.

I just didn’t know how to do it.

What did I need? I needed a clear cut plan.

I went and like you can imagine because you know me pretty well now. I bought every book on dieting, body building and losing weight. I tried everything.

The books were not good enough. I could only get so far.

One day I met a guy who became my mentor. His name was Ismail. He taught me the real little secrets to getting the results I was looking for. He was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, smart and good at what he did. He is the one who told me that quote, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” He gave me a plan.

Getting back to bipolar disorder, the problem with bipolar disorder is 99% of people don’t have a plan. Supporters don’t have a plan. Most people just throw caution to the wind and hope for the best.

When I’m talking to people, I talk about all the different plans they’ll need to have. I talk about the importance of planning and most importantly, I give them the plans to accomplish probably 95% of the goals they’ll have–no matter what their situation.

Today take a minute and ask yourself the following questions:

-do you believe in planning?

-do you have a plan to get to where you want to go whether you are a bipolar supporter or a bipolar survivor?

-do you have a clear picture of what you’ll be up against to accomplish your plans?

I want to warn you, if you don’t know the importance of planning and don’t know what you’ll be up against, how are you going to actually accomplish anything with bipolar disorder?

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter? One Thing You Can Count On

Hi, how’s your day going? I hope you’re doing well today.

They say that the one thing you can count on in life is change. Change is inevitable. And we have to accept that. But we also have to accept that there are some things we can change and some things we cannot change. Like you cannot change your loved one – they have to change themselves. You can encourage them, however. You can also set boundaries for them to help them control their behavior.

For example, if they tend to get angry and yell at you, you can tell them that whenever they do that, you won’t stand for it, and you will leave the room. Then when they do get angry at you, you do leave the room. And you have to be consistent about it for any real change to happen.

You can change yourself. And in this example, perhaps the only change that will happen is that you will have learned how to deal with your loved one’s anger better. It’s definitely less stressful for you if you leave the room when your loved one is taking their anger out on you than if you stay and take it. You’re also sending them a message that there is some behavior that you just won’t tolerate. Then it’s up to them to make the change.

Remember, you can’t change your loved one, but you can change how you react to their behavior. And setting limits, or boundaries, is one way to do that.

Unfortunately, when it comes to bipolar disorder, there is another thing you can always count on.

UNPREDICTABILITY. You have probably learned from the past that your loved one can go into an episode without any forewarning to you. If they are episodic, you can count on their unpredictability. Now, this isn’t a good thing, but it can be managed.

You can learn your loved one’s triggers, so you would watch them more closely for episodic behavior if you knew they were experiencing one of their triggers, like increased stress or lack of sleep. Knowing your own loved one’s triggers can help you fight the unpredictability of their episodes.

Another way is to continually watch for signs and symptoms of an oncoming episode. I’m not saying that you have to watch your loved one like a hawk, just that you don’t take their stability for granted. Stay on top of it. Help them to do the things they need to do to maintain their stability, so that they are less unpredictable.

You may not always be able to predict when a bipolar episode is going to happen, but it helps if you know the signs and symptoms. You can read up on them in my courses/systems and books, etc., but your loved one is unique, and the way they manifest the symptoms of an episode may not exactly be textbook. Still, you can fight the unpredictability of bipolar disorder by being knowledgeable about your loved one’s particular signs and symptoms, and hopefully help them to avoid an episode.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter? Is What You Think Important?

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

Some supporters don’t feel that what they think matters at all. They don’t think that their opinion can make a difference. So mostly, they keep everything to themselves, and guess what happens?

Their loved one goes into a full-blown episode.

I know there’s a fine line between being supportive and enabling, but you need to learn where that line is. Sometimes what you think can be the most important part of the situation. For example, if your loved one is out of control and not making sense, you need to do something.

You are the best judge of whether they are ok or not. Since you know them best, you can be a better judge of whether they are in an episode or not.

You may think that just because you don’t have an M.D. after your name, that you aren’t the right person to judge how good or bad your loved one is doing. But that’s a false assumption. You are actually the best person, doctor or not. Your loved one’s doctor only sees them periodically, and even then only for a few minutes. You know your loved one more intimately and are a better judge than even the doctor is.

On the other hand, I’m NOT telling you to “play doctor” for your loved one, not at all. If you do notice signs and symptoms of a bipolar episode, you should report it to your loved one’s doctor anyway. The doctor can judge whether to hospitalize your loved one or not, and you may need their help to do so.


IF you can catch these signs and symptoms early enough (by being so familiar with your loved one’s bipolar disorder), you may be able to prevent their needing to be hospitalized.

So, YES…

What you think is very important when it comes to your loved one’s behavior. Like I said earlier, you know them best, even better than their doctors, therapist, etc.

Don’t ever think that your opinion is not valuable – it is so valuable that it can make the difference between your loved one experiencing no episode, a mini-episode, or a full-blown episode.

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:

Survey: Americans Have Highest Risk of Developing Bipolar Disorder
DO> Wow, what do you think of this?

Half of Bipolar Patients Don’t Receive Proper Treatment
DO> This is really sad, don’t you think.

Mental Illness Stigma: How Women Can Make a Big Impact Against It
DO> Another great article, take a look.

Mentally Ill Suffer from States’ Budget Cuts
DO> I have been pointing this out for years now

Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder; New Treatments are on the Horizon…
DO> This is great, I am glad this is being worked on.

Writer and Mom Talks about Teens and Mental Illness
DO> Very interesting story, 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 a Lie?


You’re not going to believe this, but I have actually been accused of being a fraud, because of having this website for people with bipolar disorder and their supporters, because there is this person who doesn’t believe that bipolar disorder is real. This person actually said that bipolar disorder is a LIE!

Now, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I was stuck between not wanting to say anything to even defend myself because it was obvious that this guy knew absolutely nothing and I would be wasting my breath — and totally telling him off, which would also probably have been wasting my breath, since I don’t think this guy would have listened to a word anyway – he was too sure of himself.

But to believe that bipolar disorder is a LIE? Then how come 13 million people in this country

have it? Now I know our government isn’t always forthcoming about a lot of things, but that is their statistic! And that’s only the REPORTED cases! I wonder how many UNREPORTED cases there are? I wonder how many people really have bipolar disorder?

At any rate, it’s impossible to believe that the disorder is a lie. A person who has bipolar disorder would certainly say that the disorder is NOT a lie! And a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder would definitely say that the disorder is NOT a lie! That’s because you deal with the disorder day in and day out.

I talk a lot about how society looks at bipolar disorder and that this kind of thinking is part of the stigma of the disorder. So since I teach about it, you would think I would be used to it, right?


It still makes me mad that other people are still so ignorant of the facts about bipolar disorder.

I have tried so hard to build up from scratch and did so much research (taking 9 months off from work) and took so much time at first to help my mom and then to help so many other people with bipolar disorder who I discovered needed help too, that I KNOW that bipolar disorder is real.

Obviously, this man doesn’t have someone with the disorder, or he wouldn’t say it’s a lie.

But what do you say to someone like this?

Years ago, when bipolar disorder first started being diagnosed, I know someone who got disability for bipolar disorder in only 90 days. Recently, I ran into someone who didn’t get his disability for 3 years, because by the time he applied for it, everyone and their brother was claiming to have the disorder! It probably took the second guy 3 years to get his disability because most likely by then some people were lying about having the disorder just to get disability. The point is, that these people might be lying, but that doesn’t mean that bipolar disorder itself is a lie.. See the difference?

Still, I think this guy is way off base calling bipolar disorder a lie. Anyone who lives with it KNOWS that bipolar disorder is NOT a LIE.

Still, I don’t think it’s fair that in this day and age it is still up to us to be educating the public about bipolar disorder. You would think that with 13 million people having it, that more people would be aware of it (and the fact that it is not a lie) by now.

I always teach that when your loved one is first diagnosed, one of the first things you should do is find out all you can about the disorder itself, so you can be a better supporter to your loved one, and so you can help them more and understand them better. After all, knowledge is power, right?

Unfortunately, not everyone listens to me. So there are a lot of supporters who are still pretty

ignorant of the facts about bipolar disorder. I’m not saying that these people are wrong or bad

or anything, just that they could be better supporters if they knew more about the disorder.

Just like this man – I think if he knew more about the disorder, there is NO way he could say it was a lie!

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,