Different is Not Always Bad with Bipolar


I have something really interesting to tell you today.

You might not know this but I have about 14 people now who work for me with one or more mental illnesses. One has even been diagnosed with 10 different disorders, and she is still able to work for me.

Am I out of my mind? Some people think that I am.

But I want to tell you two things.

First, that if you have one or more mental disorders, you can still do well.

Just look at this one person’s story:

She is a writer who has 10 different disorders, starting from when she was 12 years old! She is

on disability, but she loves to write, so maybe that’s part of it – she is doing what she loves to do.

Do you think that’s her secret? I think her secret is that she is stable. And she is stable because she follows a good treatment plan, including taking her medication and seeing a therapist on a regular basis.

Secondly, I have found that people who have mental disorders like bipolar disorder are really

very smart when they are stable. It’s amazing actually. I have found people in my company that once stable can do tasks and projects that nobody else can do or wants to do. These people can think faster, better, solve problems faster, and are solution-oriented, proactive, take initiative, etc.

It’s amazing!

If your loved one has a mental illness, remember this. Great things in society were done by many people with mental illnesses.

Edgar Allen Poe was a great writer, and they say that even he had a mental illness. There were (and are) a number of great authors, actors, composers, writers, etc., who they say had (have) mental illnesses. They say that even Van Gogh had a mental illness. Believe it or not, even Abraham Lincoln was thought to suffer from bipolar disorder because of his documented

depressions. And Mozart, too!

People today include:

• Patty Duke

• Carrie Fisher

• Jane Pauley

• Jim Carey

• Robin Williams

• Ted Turner

• Mel Gibson

• Patricia Cornwell

• Robert Downey Jr.

• Tim Burton

If someone says you are odd, the only reason you would be odd is because you have such

tremendous potential. But does that mean you have a mental illness? Not necessarily.

Many times, I talk about the stigma associated with mental illness, and that it’s due to society’s fear of people who are different than they are. Different? Smarter? More creative? If your loved one is these things, it’s not something to be afraid of.

As long as they are stable, and taking their medication and following a good treatment plan, you can remain supportive without fear of them. Remember about the people I told you about who work for me. Think about all the famous people I told you about, both in the past and the present.

Different is not always bad. It just means that you look at things differently, as people with bipolar disorder do. I call it “coloring outside the lines.” Or, as it is more commonly known, “thinking outside the box.” I can always count on the people who work for me to do that.

If your loved one seems different than other people, embrace that difference. It can be a good thing.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter? Lesson from the Weatherman

Hi, how are you today? I hope you’re having a great day.

Generally speaking, I believe my weatherman. Usually he’s right. But not today. We had a snowstorm predicted, and it’s sunny and warm instead. How much more wrong could he get? 

So, even though in general, I can count on the weather, in reality it can be very different. I can’t predict the weather, any more than I could predict my mom’s mood swings. At least at first.

Then I learned something. And it’s like the weatherman. He determines what the weather will be based on patterns. Wind patterns, storm patterns, etc. That’s how he can predict what should happen with the weather. So what I learned was to watch my mom for patterns. Specifically, I watched for changes in her behavior. And the length of time it went on.

For example, if she started spending more time in bed than usual, I would note that as a changing pattern. Because one of her signs of an oncoming episode is sleeping more. Her sleeping more in and of itself wasn’t really anything wrong, but if it continued, and if it was accompanied by other patterns, I became concerned that she was going to go into a bipolar episode. Like if she also started spending more money.

You know your loved one better than anybody. Hopefully, you are close enough to them to notice patterns, or changes in their behavior. It’s a little harder to do that if they are not living with you, but you still need to watch for them. You’ve also been with them through episodes, before, so you should be familiar with their episodic behavior.

Stay vigilant, no matter how long it’s been since they’ve had an episode. Don’t take it for granted. Continue to watch for signs, or patterns, such as:

• Sleeping too much or too little.

• Changes in eating habits.

• Lack of productivity.

• Agitation and irritation (even short-tempered or angry).

• Increase in speech, and jumping from topic to topic.

• A new happiness, above their usual good mood.

• A deepening sadness, or depression that goes on for longer than a couple days.

• Loss of interest in what they usually are interested in.

• Skipping medication, and/or skipping appointments with their doctor, psychiatrist, and/

or therapist.

• Decrease in communication with you (they might be hiding how they are really feeling).

These are all examples of changes in behavior patterns that can indicate an oncoming episode.

You know your loved one’s triggers as well, and you can watch that they avoid them or, if they happen to be tripped by one (like lack of sleep triggers a manic episode). Just like the weatherman, you can predict your loved one’s moods and behavioral changes by watching for


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:

Does Charlie Sheen Have a Mental Illness? Is He Bipolar? Manic?
DO> What do you think of Charlie?

Bipolar Disorder Often Mistaken for Depression in Primary Care
DO> This is old news but a great review, take a look.

Recovery from Top to Bottom: A Journey Through Mental Illness
DO> Great article, take a look.

Bipolar Disorder: 10 Subtle Signs
DO> Wow this is a great article

Bipolar Disorder – 40 Million US Adults Affected By Anxiety Disorders
DO> WOW, what do you think of this number?

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? Is Your Loved One Doing This?

Hi, how’s it going? I hope things are going well for you today.

I was just reading on a blog about a person with bipolar disorder who claims to be “just fine” without their meds. To tell you the truth, I find that hard to believe. I believe it’s the medication

that makes you feel “just fine” when you have bipolar disorder.

But I was also bothered by some of the responses to this person as well. They got some actual support for stopping their medications! That is so dangerous.

I would never tell someone who is truly diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and not misdiagnosed) to go off their medications. Like I said, it’s the medications that make you feel better, but if you

stop them, you’ll go back to the way you felt before!

I hope this person doesn’t listen to the people advising him to go off his medications, because that can be very dangerous for him.

Does your loved one do this? Are you struggling with keeping them on their medications? Are they reading blogs like this one that tells you it’s ok to go off your medications without a doctor’s advice?

First of all, find out why they want to stop taking their meds. Are they experiencing side effects?

Tell them that the usual side effects from bipolar drugs can be dealt with.

For example, for dry mouth, just suck on some ice cubes or hard, sugarless candy. For nausea, eat something when you take your medications, and/or drink something carbonated. For lightheadedness (dizziness), stand up or sit down slowly, and it will usually pass.

For drowsiness from medications that you’re taking during the day, you need to tell your doctor, as they may have you take them at night (bedtime) instead, and this will resolve the side effect.

If you have any side effects that are really bothering you, you do need to check with your doctor.

The answer is probably easier than you think. But most often, the answer will NOT be to go off your medication.

Your doctor can help you get through the side effects, but you have to tell them about them. It may be that just a dosage change is all that is required to make you feel better. It could be that an additional drug can help stop the side effects. It could be that just changing when you take the medication will solve the problem.

But it is never the right answer to just go off your medication without working with your doctor on it. Never. It could be life-threatening if you do. If you stop your medications without a doctor’s advice or tapering, it could cause you to go into a bipolar episode, and you might commit suicide. So you really need to report all side effects to your doctor, and let him/her help you work things out, rather than going off your medications on your own.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


6 Ways to Help Your Loved One with Bipolar


Today I want to talk about 6 Ways to Help Your Loved One Stay On Track

1. Don’t Let Them Get Lazy

It’s hard for your loved one when they, perhaps, have lost their job and are now on disability. Some people lose their sense of direction when they have nothing to wake up for any more when they have no job to go to. Don’t let your loved one get lazy just because they aren’t working any more. Encourage them to make a To-Do List, or something else that forces them to be productive in some way every day – just something that gets them out of bed with a day’s goal in mind.

2. Make Sure They Stick to Their Treatment Plan

Sometimes loved ones may stick to their treatment plans in the beginning, when they know you’re watching them, but then they slack off when they think you’re not looking. Don’t let that happen to your loved one. Make sure they stick to their treatment plan. This is so important. Especially when it comes to their medication. No, they’re not a child, and you can’t make them take their medication by forcing it down their throat. But you can encourage them and reinforce the importance of taking it. Be the same way with the rest of their treatment plan – going to their appointments with their psychiatrist, doctor, and therapist. Eat a good diet, exercise, and sleep right, etc.

3. Use a Buddy System

Try to keep them on track by finding a “BP Buddy” for them – maybe someone from their bipolar support group. Someone who knows what they’re going through, and is perhaps sharing the same struggles. Maybe they can do some things together, maybe some things to keep them from getting bored – maybe they share the same interests, or at

least could go out to eat or to the movies, etc.

4. Encourage Them to be Independent

Don’t act like your loved one’s babysitter. Encourage them to be independent, and not

dependent on you. You want to be supportive, and you want them to feel your support and to know that you’re there for them, but at the same time, you don’t want them to feel as if you’re smothering them. If you have grown children, remember back to when your children were teenagers and were trying to show that they were “grown up.” Your loved one is going through the same thing. Stay close enough that if they want your help, you can help them, but give them enough room that they can do what they can for themselves.

5. Be Their Cheerleader

When your loved one does make advances in their growth, say, in therapy, be their

personal cheerleader! Make sure they know that you are on their side, not only NOT

nagging them, but being positive and encouraging, and cheering them on to do good so that they don’t get depressed. Even small advances can be good ones.

6. Be a Good Listener

Your loved one may not always be in the mood to talk, but when they are, they are going to want a good listener. It’s not very hard to be a good listener. The biggest rule is to listen more than you talk! Most people just don’t get that. It’s good to use non-verbal

communication as well – be sure to nod to show that you are listening, for example. Do not cross your arms or legs, as these can give negative connotations. Hopefully, this will

encourage your loved one to talk to you more often and share more.

Being a good supporter isn’t an easy job. But it is so important to your loved one that you encourage them every step of the way.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Takes These Two Things For Bipolar Diagnosis


Today I want to talk to you about bipolar disorder and how it takes these two things for a correct diagnosis of it: time and history.

Many, many people have written or talked to me about how it took them a long time to get diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Even though the mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) and even the

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is the “Bible” that

psychiatrists go by to diagnose bipolar disorder will tell you that it’s between ages 17-21 that

you first get diagnosed with bipolar disorder, most people are NOT diagnosed between those

ages. It usually takes more time than that to be diagnosed with the disorder, as most of you will attest. Most people tell me it wasn’t until their thirties or forties that they were finally diagnosed.

And they tell me (most of them) that they pretty much knew that something was wrong with them long before that – usually they say that they knew it their whole lives, even.

So firstly, it takes time to be diagnosed. Mostly because people who have the disorder usually

don’t come to the doctor/psychiatrist when they are younger, because either they are scared, or

they don’t want to hear the diagnosis.

Michele, who works for me, wasn’t diagnosed until she was 45, but when she realized her son

was showing the same symptoms, she got him diagnosed when he was 12 years old. However, she has a 28-year-old son who she believes knows that he has bipolar disorder, but he will not

go to a psychiatrist, because he doesn’t want the diagnosis confirmed.

Maybe because he’s scared, maybe because he’s seen what his mom has gone through, maybe because he knows if he goes to the doctor/psychiatrist, it will become real for him. Maybe because he knows if he gets diagnosed, he’ll be put on medication that he’ll have to take for the

rest of his life. This is called denial, and many people have to face it – they just don’t want to believe that they have bipolar disorder, so they put off getting diagnosed.

When these people who have been in denial finally do seek help, one of the things the doctor/psychiatrist will use to determine the diagnosis will be the person’s history. The doctor/psychiatrist will not only ask for a medical history, but will want a family history as well, because research done on bipolar disorder does show a hereditary element to it, usually passed down the female side of the family, from mother to child. So, like in Michele’s case, it was passed from her to her two sons. Even though one of them is still in denial, he will eventually have to face the truth.

So there is a time element to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and there is also a history element.

But what happens AFTER you’re diagnosed?

The first thing is that you have to develop a treatment plan, because without it, you will have no direction to the management of the disorder – and if you ever want to manage it (and it CAN be managed, even if there is no cure – believe me), you must have a treatment plan.

A treatment plan usually consists of medication and therapy. Medication is SO important. Without it, there can be no stability at all. Medication helps to normalize the extremes in mood that bipolar disorder consists of. Although it may take some time to find the right medications

and in the right dosages.

The treatment plan will usually consist of therapy as well – especially in the beginning, because finding out that you have bipolar disorder may now interfere with what your life was like before. You may even go through a “grieving process” over your past life. So you will need therapy for all the issues that the disorder will bring into your life.

Here’s where the supporter will be such a help to you. Supporters help their loved ones in so many ways – they will encourage you, help you learn to take your medications, get to doctor and therapist appointments, learn to de-stress your life, and help manage your disorder.

It may take time and effort to find the right treatment plan for you, but that’s also another way a supporter can help. Most of all, a supporter can help someone with bipolar disorder to realize that they are still loved and cared for in spite of having a disorder that might otherwise cause

them to feel isolated and alone.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter? What Does Your Loved One Need?

Hi, how are you today? I hope you’re fine. How is your loved one doing? Are they getting all their needs met? Do you even know what those needs are? Because they may or may not be telling you about them.

Especially if they have a tendency to get quiet, withdrawn, or even to isolate when they’re not feeling right,” or going into a bipolar episode. Unfortunately, it may take a little bit of aggressiveness on your part to get them to open up if they are not. But be careful, as you don’t want to “bug” them. It is important, though, for them to know that you are concerned about them (their behavior).

Some people with bipolar disorder isolate before they go into an episode. If your loved one is doing this, try to catch them before they completely drift away from you, and you might be able to catch the bipolar episode before it really digs in to them.

It might start with a little depression. And if you notice the depression and can get them to talk about it, they might not isolate and, again, might not go into a full-blown episode.

Although this takes some effort on your part, it is worth it if it can keep your loved one from going into an episode.

You may not want to hear this, but I will tell you anyway – It’s at least partly your responsibility

to keep your loved one from an episode by meeting their needs. What are their needs? Do you know? Have you talked to them about it?

Some people with bipolar disorder need to talk and share about how they’re feeling… While others want to be left alone about it, and will see it as interfering if you try to get them to open up. You need to find out which type of person your loved one is, so you can meet their needs.

They may just need a little encouragement from you before they open up. But the result will be worth your efforts. Because you will be helping your loved one.

Ok, so maybe they need to talk. Or maybe they need to be left alone. What else do they need?

Do they need prompting and reminders to take their medications? You can do that. Especially if it will keep them from going into an episode.

Do they need encouragement from you to go to appointments with their doctor, psychiatrist or

therapist? I’m not saying to treat your loved one like a baby, but just to help them get their needs met.

If they don’t want to talk about things, maybe you can at least encourage them to write in their journal about it.

The most important thing that they need from you is your support. Try to get them to tell you how to show it in the best way, in a way that won’t distance them from you or make them mad or defensive.

This should, if done right, make you feel even closer to them and more of a help.

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:

A New Clue to the Genetics of Bipolar Disorder: Piccolo

Students Destigmatize Mental Illness

As Mental Health Cuts Mount, Psychiatric Cases Fill Jails

Should Children Be On These Medications?

Risk Factors for Violence in Bipolar Disorder

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? What if You Don’t Want To?

Hi, how are things going for you today? I hope you’re having a good day.

My friend has a story she tells about her childhood, where she made the critical mistake of saying, “What if I don’t want to?” and got the biggest whipping of her life! Then, when she had kids, one of them said to her, “What if I don’t want to?” Needless to say, they got a whipping, too! LOL

I know it’s a sort of funny way to introduce this topic, and I even called it “What if You Don’t Want To?” But what I’m talking about here is not being rebellious, just the opposite, in fact. I’m talking about being cooperative even when you DON’T want to! It’s about being motivated no matter how you FEEL.

One thing I’m always talking about is that you can’t go by how you feel, because with bipolar

disorder, sometimes your feelings can lie to you:

You may not be able to “feel” your way into stability, but you can “will” yourself into it. You can do things you don’t necessarily feel like doing and still gain bipolar stability, that’s my point.

For example, I know a few guys who are like me and like to work out, but most people who work out rarely “feel” like it. Still, they do it because they want the results. It doesn’t have anything to do with how they feel but, rather, what they have decided to do. What they have committed to. See?

So it can be the same thing with bipolar disorder. In fact, part of stability does have to do with exercising, so that’s a good place to start. What if you don’t feel like it? Well, you have to motivate yourself. Talk it up, talk yourself into doing it, even though you don’t feel like it, because you know it will be good for you in the long run.

That’s what makes some of these things so hard to bring yourself to do – You don’t want to do them naturally. Naturally, we are basically a lazy nation. And so we let our bodies go. I’m just talking in general.

But if you have bipolar disorder, you want to better yourself. So you exercise, even when you don’t “feel” like it. Same with taking your medications. You may not “feel” like doing it, but you take them because they keep you stable in the long run.

You may “feel” like eating a whole pie, but you eat a healthy diet anyway, because you like

the results you get in the long run.

Part of bipolar stability is doing like I just said – taking your medications and living a healthy

lifestyle. The point is to do it whether you “feel” like it or not.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


You Need to Stop Doing This Bipolar Behavior


Today I wanted to write you about something really, really important. Something you may be doing that you may not even be aware of. Ok, ok, enough of the secrecy. I’m talking about enabling. It’s when you do things for your loved one that they can do for themselves. And you think you’re helping them, but in reality, you’re really making things worse for them, as well as for yourself.

It’s real easy for this to happen when you’re a supporter of a loved one who has bipolar disorder.

I’m not saying this makes you a bad person or anything – in fact, it says just the opposite – just

that you may be trying too hard.

Here’s an example of an enabler: Say, the father of a drug addict, and his son keeps getting thrown in jail, and the father just keeps bailing him out of jail. This pattern keeps repeating

and keeps repeating. So the son learns that every time he gets arrested, he can call his father, and his father will bail him out of jail. The father is enabling his son to continue the pattern.

But what would happen if just one time, the father wouldn’t bail his son out of jail? What if he told his son that from now on, he wouldn’t bail him out of jail, but hoped he would stay out of trouble, but that if he didn’t, here was the name of a bail bondsman?

See what I mean?

In your case, think of some patterns that keep on repeating themselves. Things that, during episodes, you keep “bailing” your loved one out of. Maybe the “lying” (distortions of the truth) you keep experiencing with your loved one. Or the financial repercussions that you are left with in the wake of after one of their episodes.

I’ve talked about the definition of insanity before: Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. If you keep repeating the same behavior, then you are enabling your loved one. And you are not helping either one of you. Enabling is “bailing them out.” Rescuing them. Not

making them take responsibility for their behavior. Covering up for them. It’s anything you do that “enables” them to keep repeating their same old behavior.

See, the thing is, you can’t change them. You can’t change their behavior. You can’t make their choices for them. (No matter how much you would like to.) The only one you can do anything about is yourself. You can only change yourself. You have got to stop enabling your loved one. But boy, is it going to be hard.

Any habit that has been going on for any length of time is going to be hard to quit. But in this case, because your loved one has become used to you being there in a certain way, they are not going to take it well when you stop being there in that certain way.

For example, if they come to you for money after an episode, and in the past you’ve always given it to them, even though they’ve misspent it during that episode – they are going to expect you to give them money now. Well, what would happen if you don’t give them money this time? They are not going to be happy about it if you don’t give them money this time, even if you try to explain why you aren’t giving it to them – that during their episode, they squandered the family’s money, and it just isn’t there to give to them this time. What if you tell them that they need to take responsibility for the money they wasted during their episode?

Are they going to be mad? Probably so. Are they going to understand? Probably not. Is it going to take a few times to make this a permanent change? Definitely so. Things didn’t get this way overnight and will not become a permanent change overnight either.

The hard part for you is going to be not caving in. It would be so easy for you to just go back to the way things were before – to continue enabling your loved one. I told you this wouldn’t be easy. But if you really want permanent change here, you are going to have to stick to your guns. This will eventually work if you stick to your guns.

Your loved one will eventually learn that they can’t come to you for money (or whatever you’ve been enabling them), and that they will have to take responsibility for their actions and decisions and poor choices. Then eventually, they will not overspend when they go into the episode, because they will learn that if they do, there won’t be money for them when they come out of the


The only way to change the end of the movie is to change the plot of the movie. You are the director, and you have control over this. Take control, and stop enabling your loved one – I know

it will be hard, but I know you can do it, because I have heard from hundreds of people who have gotten my courses and have learned to do it, and I know it can be done!

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,