Bipolar – It’s Not a Good Thing


I had someone write to me the other day. He has a wife who has bipolar disorder. And he was telling me something about how she’s been acting. It sounded to me like she’s been in a bipolar

episode. She sure was exhibiting many of the signs and symptoms of one. And he was asking me for advice. But I’m not a doctor, so I couldn’t help him as far as diagnosis or anything like that. Many times, I talk to people about what to do to avoid going into a bipolar episode, like what triggers to avoid, and things like that. I even go into some things NOT to do…Like NOT to stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor first, as that is really dangerous –

usually it will make you go into a bipolar episode, and you don’t want that.

But this man was talking about that, and was saying that he thought they’d tried to do all the

things you’re supposed to do to avoid an episode…But that maybe they hadn’t avoided all the

things you’re NOT supposed to do…So I thought maybe it would be a good idea to go over some of them here so that you’d know about them too. You might even want to share this with your loved one.

Like…It’s not good to…Stop taking your bipolar medications without talking to your doctor first. It would be better to…Discuss any side effects you’re experiencing, or any desire to go off your medication for whatever reason, with your doctor, so they can help you.

It’s not good to…Go to different doctors. It would be better to…Find one doctor that you trust, and stick with them.

It’s not good to…Drink alcohol, as it can mess with your bipolar medications. It would be better to…Drink herbal tea instead, if you are feeling nervous, or otherwise desire to drink alcohol, or to drink soda if you are wanting to be social.

It’s not good to…Take drugs, as they could interact in a negative way with your bipolar medications, and also leave you with a substance abuse disorder in addition to your bipolar

disorder. It would be better to…Deal with the issues in therapy that make you want to take drugs in the first place.

It’s not good to…Eat lots of sugar or caffeine in your diet, as that can make you hyper, and also make you gain weight (which you have enough problems with, with your bipolar medications).

It would be better to…Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, as this will help you stay more stable and healthy physically.

It’s not good to…Neglect your physical health. It would be better to…Get regular physical check-ups, and to see your family doctor if you feel ill in any way physically, as well as to tend to any physical disorders in addition to your bipolar disorder, to keep yourself healthy.

It’s not good to…Sit around the house all the time with nothing to do, or lay around in bed or on the couch, as this can lead to depression and/or a bipolar depressive episode. It would be better to…At least have a hobby or even a volunteer job, or at least be productive in some way, like having a To-Do List every day with tasks to complete on a daily basis so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar? This Can Wipe You Out

Hi, how’s it going? I hope this is a great day for you!

Did you know that there are two types of pride? There is a good kind…And a bad kind. And the bad kind of pride can wipe you out!

Webster’s dictionary gives one definition as: “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect; delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship (to congratulate oneself because of

something one is, has, or has done or achieved).” That’s the good kind of pride.

The other kind is described by Webster’s dictionary under prideful, and means: “full of pride; disdainful, haughty.” That’s the bad kind of pride.

Both have to do with EGO as well. And Webster’s defines ego as: “the self, especially as

contrasted with another self or the world.”

So, on the one hand, we can be talking about positive self-esteem, which is very good for someone with bipolar disorder and/or their supporter.


We could also be talking about self-esteem as in too much of it, or thinking you’re better than

someone else. That’s where the disdainful and haughty attitude comes in. And that can cost you.

What if your loved one was prideful and thought they no longer needed their therapist? That can truly interfere with their treatment and recovery from bipolar disorder.

Or what about a supporter attitude of “You’re sick, but I’m not,” acting superior to their loved one? Think how awful that would be to your loved one.

You should have goals – both short-term and long-term, and you CAN take pride in meeting

those goals, or in a job well done, and especially in achieving stability with bipolar disorder. But you have to watch out for the bad kind of pride.

I’ve seen this illustrated in person in some of the support groups I attend: Say, Mary, thinks she is a better supporter than say, Joan, because her loved one is more stable. Now, that’s not right.

It’s a very negative thing. Because then Joan’s self-esteem might suffer, thinking she is not a good supporter just because her loved one is struggling more than Mary’s loved one.

So pride and ego have to be juggled, kept in balance, and you have to have the right attitude.

Here is the key: You need to be HUMBLE. Webster’s defines humble as: “not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive.” Arrogant is being full of pride and ego.

So the point of all this is to encourage you to have good self-esteem (take pride in what you accomplish), while avoiding the bad kind of pride that makes you think you’re better than someone else. In other words, don’t compare yourself or your loved one to anyone else. Just do the best you can and strive toward stability. Don’t let the bad pride wipe you out.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Disorder and Fishing


I bet you’d never in a million years think that bipolar disorder could have anything to do with fishing, would you? Well, let me show you how this guy who actually has bipolar disorder changed my mind.

This guy really likes to fish. He goes fishing wherever he goes. So he was down in Florida on vacation, and he went on one of those excursion fishing trips where they take you night fishing out on the gulf.

Well, there was this one woman on the boat who’d been fishing for hours, and nothing was happening. Everything was so calm, in fact, that she had almost fallen asleep.

Then all chaos broke loose! Her line went crazy! She was losing control of it! She couldn’t keep hold! She just couldn’t do it by herself! She needed help, and she needed it badly.

Well, she ended up catching the biggest fish caught on the entire boat that night!

Do you know why?

Because the deck hands helped her reel it in.

And this guy was watching the whole thing happen from beginning to end.

So he told me (like I’m sure you’re wondering) how this made him think of his bipolar disorder. He said that usually, his life is really peaceful. Life goes along, and things are usually pretty good for him, no real problems to speak of. But then some things start to go wrong. He gets a little stressed. He might start losing some sleep. His meds get a little off. He just “doesn’t feel right.” Then all chaos breaks loose! He feels like he’s going crazy! He’s losing control of it!

He can’t keep hold! He just can’t do it by himself! He needs help, and he needs it badly. He’s headed for a full-blown manic episode!

But, just like the lady with the fish, he doesn’t have to go into the episode, because he gets

the help he needs. He has a great supporter and a strong support system.

He told me that remembering that fishing trip and that woman’s experience with the fish

helps him stay stable, because he remembers that he can’t do it by himself, and that there

is help for him if he needs it.

Each person with bipolar disorder is different.

For this guy, remembering his fishing trip in Florida helps keep him stable.

For others, unfortunately, it’s remembering the last episode, when they forgot that they couldn’t

do it by themselves, and that all they had to do was reach out for help.

Some stay stable out of fear of being put in the hospital again.

Some stay stable because they have a great family and gang of friends who make up their support system.

Other people stay stable because they monitor their moods, take their medication religiously, eat right, exercise, have a good sleep routine, go see a psychiatrist and therapist regularly, are part of a bipolar support group, volunteer, and have a balanced life.

Still others stay stable because to think of otherwise just isn’t an option for them, so they do what they have to do.

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:

Bipolar Disorder: Extreme Mood Swings Decoded
DO> Interesting article, take a look

Unraveling How A Mutation Can Lead To Psychiatric Illness
DO> WOW, this sounds pretty amazing don’t you think?

Omega-3, Psychotherapy May Help Kids With Bipolar, Depression
DO> What do you think of this?

Increased Drug Options for Mental Health
DO> Do you think this is good or bad?

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,


Happy Thanksgiving and Bipolar? Who’s in Control?


Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.

How are you doing today? I hope you’re having a great day.

You know I talk a lot about being in control of your bipolar disorder. That’s because if you don’t,

the bipolar disorder will be in control of you. So how do you take control? By doing the things you need to do to be stable.

Although you are not the only one with bipolar disorder, you are the only one who can take care of your own disorder. It’s different for different people.

But there are some things that people with bipolar disorder should have in common:

1. Take your medication. If there are any problems with your medication, you

need to report it to your doctor so they can help you.

2. Eat a healthy diet. There are some foods that are bad for people in general,

much less people who have bipolar disorder. For example, caffeine (even

in chocolate) can be bad for you.

3. Live a healthy lifestyle. You can’t smoke, drink, and/or take drugs if you

want to get better. Even nicotine can possibly affect your stability. And

substance abuse is a problem in itself (and can also have bad consequences

for your bipolar medication).

4. Stick to a good sleep schedule. You should get at least 8 hours of

uninterrupted sleep every night, and go to bed at the same time and rise at

the same time every day. Your body clock needs to be stable in order for

you to be stable.

5. Go to all your appointments. Not everyone with bipolar disorder is on the same treatment plan, but each should have at least a doctor and therapist. You may

have a psychiatrist as well, who manages your bipolar medications. Missing

appointments can become a very bad habit, and hurt you in the long run.

6. Have a strong support system. Not everyone has the same people in their

support system, as each person decides for themselves, but they should all

have a support system. You could have your supporter, friends, family,

co-workers, your clergy person, your pharmacist, and others to help you.

In addition to these common things, there are other things that some people with bipolar disorder do to maintain control over the disorder.

1. Keep a mood chart or diary. Recording your moods on a daily basis can be very beneficial for you if you have bipolar disorder. You can see at a glance any patterns, such as a prolonged depression, that can indicate that you might be going into an

episode, and you can avoid it.

2. Have a good social life. You don’t need to hide just because you have bipolar disorder. And you shouldn’t be alone a lot of the time, because isolation is one of the biggest triggers to a bipolar episode. Having friends and a “normal” social life is good for your self-esteem as well.

3. Stay close to family. Many people with bipolar disorder shy away from their family, or have offended them when they were in an episode. It’s important to maintain these relationships, so they can be there for you.

4. Be productive. You may no longer work outside the house, you may even be on disability, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive with your time. Some people with bipolar disorder start their own home business, while others volunteer their time to a worthy cause. Being idle and/or bored can lead to a bipolar episode.

So who is in control? If you do these things, chances are that YOU will be in control of your

bipolar disorder. If you aren’t doing these things, or not doing them consistently, your stability

is in jeopardy, as your bipolar disorder has control over you.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Dealing with Bipolar Frustration


When you’re a supporter to a loved one with bipolar disorder, there can be many feelings that you have to learn to cope and deal with. Along with positive feelings such as compassion and

understanding…Unfortunately, there are also negative feelings with which you also have to deal as well.

Some of these negative feelings can include:

• Resentment

• Fear

• Disillusionment

• Disappointment

• Despair

• Depression

• Loneliness

• Anger

• Helplessness

• Hopelessness

• Guilt

• Shame

…and frustration. Frustration is one of the top negative feelings that supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder express to me. Here’s what some of them have told me:

“I love my wife. But I hate her bipolar disorder. It makes her do things she wouldn’t normally do. And it makes me do things I wouldn’t normally do, too. I hate the way I have to act just to try to control her. I hate the way I feel, too. I really resent her when she gets depressed and won’t even get out of bed. I know it’s just her bipolar acting up, but sometimes I still feel like she could get out of bed if she really wanted to, I can’t help it, so I say stuff to her.”

Another supporter says: “My boyfriend just withdraws from me when he gets depressed. He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He won’t do anything. Nothing I do is right in his eyes. He says he just wants to be left alone, but I don’t believe him. He says he doesn’t want to talk about it, but I still try to get him to talk anyway. Then I get mad at him when he won’t open up. It seems like I’m mad at him all the time these days.”

Another supporter says: “Bipolar disorder changed my daughter. She used to be real outgoing. Cheerleader, head of her class, good student, active in church, lots of friends, everything. Then she started having all these mood swings. She even started drinking and doing drugs. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Then she tried to kill herself. I hated that it took that to really make me listen. Now I’m scared all the time – I don’t know what to do to help her.”

Still another supporters says: “My wife has so many mood swings, and I just don’t know

what to do any more. I’ve tried to be a good supporter, I really have. But it just seems like I can never do the right thing. Everything I try just doesn’t seem to work. I just can’t keep up with her. I am so frustrated!”

I’ve asked some supporters what they do to deal with their frustration. Here’s what they said:

“I just take a time out. Really. I literally walk out the door and go for a walk around the block.”

“I go for a long drive. A real long drive. I don’t go anywhere specific, just drive aimlessly, as long as it’s really long. Anywhere just to get out of the house for awhile.”

“I go talk to a friend. It’s like literally crying on someone’s shoulder. Everyone needs a good cry now and then, right? I find that after I cry it all out, I can go back home and face another day of the neverending frustration.”

“I yell into a pillow. Really. I put the pillow over my head and scream as loud as I can. It really helps me.”

“I take a shower and scream in the shower as loud as I can. The noise of the shower helps to drown out my screams. But I feel better afterwards.”

“I write in my journal. I don’t care about things like spelling or grammar. It doesn’t even matter what I write – I just keep writing and writing until all the frustration is out on the paper and I feel better. Then I stop writing.”

“I go to the park and watch the children play. It’s to remind me that even though there are bad things like bipolar disorder in the world, there are still some good things in the world, too.”

The one main thing you need to know about dealing with frustration is that you do need to deal with it. If you just stuff your feelings, you can make yourself sick physically, and then you won’t be any good to your loved one or yourself. Maybe you can use one of these suggestions.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bringing Bipolar Past Into Present


I was recently reading an online article by Faith Deeter of “YourTango,” who was writing about how sometimes people bring up their painful past in their present. This can be applied to your loved one with bipolar disorder as well, and may explain why they do some of the things that they do.

She says: “When a person brings up the past, there is often something they want or need in the present. It’s evidence of what they need right now. It’s a here-and-now problem, not a past problem. That is why apologizing doesn’t work. Regardless of what happened before, the person bringing up the past is feeling something similar now. They may feel hurt, unloved, insecure, misunderstood, or distrustful right now just like they felt before. They are trying to communicate to you what they need right now. Most likely, what they need is for you to understand how they feel in the present or what they need to change.”

I like how she says that what was a past problem is now a here-and-now problem. Because that’s how it can seem to your loved one. Like the feelings that Deeter describes as well – they are just as real in the present for your loved one as they were in the past. But it is also an indication that they never learned to deal with whatever it was that made them feel those feelings in the first place. Although Deeter says,” what they need is for you to understand how they feel in the present or what they need to change,” that isn’t always easy to do, as she illustrates by what she goes on to say:

“Unfortunately, many people do not communicate their needs directly. Some people may not even know what they need. Instead, many people express their needs in the form of complaints. “I need more attention” may come out as, “You never spend time with me,” which would naturally cause you to feel defensive. But defending yourself won’t work because the issue isn’t really about you.”

In other words, like Deeter says, your loved one may say to you: “You don’t care about me …” When what they really mean is: “I need more attention.” They just can’t tell you that. And where that really comes from is a painful place in their past that they’re bringing into their present with you. And the thing is, they are probably not even aware of it! It is probably just an unconscious thing. All they know is how they are feeling now.

For instance, in the above example, they were probably feeling as if no one cared about them, because they were feeling bad about themselves, or just feeling depressed. Especially if they were in a bipolar depressive episode.

And if you get defensive and say: “I do so care about you …” You can expect an answer somewhere along the lines of: “Oh no you don’t. Last Sunday…and before that…” And your loved one will list several examples of when they feel you did not show them that you cared about them – probably situations in which you never even noticed that you weren’t paying them enough attention at all, situations you don’t even remember.

So you can see how getting on the defensive won’t help you in this situation. The only thing that will help you is to deal with your loved one’s actual feelings, as that is what they are acting on in the present. What you need to do is acknowledge and validate their feelings. You need to do this whether you remember the situation or not, and whether you feel you were right or wrong in the situation if you do remember it (because the fact is that your loved one believes they were wronged by you).

So you could say something like: “You’re right. I know I should have spent more time with you

and showed you that I care…” The more specific you can be, the better. Also say something like: “I know that I made you feel as if I was ignoring you or that I didn’t care, and for that I am sorry.” This validates their feelings. It tells them that they have a right to feel what they’re feeling. Like I said, even if you don’t feel that you were wrong.

Now you need to know what they want you to do differently now. The problem is, they may not know what that is, so this may be difficult. But they wouldn’t have brought it up if they didn’t want you to do something different. So you can ask them something like: “How can I stop this from happening again?” Or you can at least say something like: “I’ll try harder to not let something like that happen in the future.” Once you know what they need, act on it as soon as you can. For example, if they have said: “You only care about your job…” Which you translated as “You don’t care about me,” Or, “You don’t pay enough attention to me,” Make sure that you say something like: “Let’s do something fun together right now.”

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Supporter – Do You Know How to Listen?

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

Did you know that you spend 50% of your time listening?

You need to know how to really listen to your loved one with bipolar disorder in order to be an effective supporter, so I’m going to give you some suggestions.

Following are some suggestions to help you be a better listener:

1. Be ready to listen.

If your loved one comes to you and they have something on their mind, stop what you’re

doing and be ready to listen.

2. Concentrate on what they are saying.

Look at your loved one as they talk to you, and try to avoid distractions. Focus on them and

what they are saying.

3. Be an active listener

Insert comments like, “Uh huh,” “Yeah,” or “Go on,” to show that you are actively listening to your loved one.

4. Ignore negative feelings

Your loved one may say something that you may not approve of, or which may hurt your feelings. Try to keep your own negative feelings out of the conversation, and simply listen.

5. Say your loved one’s name

Saying your loved one’s name during the conversation shows them that you really are listening to them.

6. Listen without adding your own ideas or giving advice.

Most of the time, your loved one just needs you to listen – they are not necessarily asking for advice or your opinion about them and/or their problems.

7. Don’t be judgmental

You may not agree with something your loved one tells you, but keep your opinion to yourself, or your loved one may sense you being judgmental of them and/or their comments and feelings and may stop talking to you.

8. Keep your loved one’s point of view in mind

Remember that you’re just listening and, like the last point, not being judgmental. Keeping your loved one’s point of view in mind at all times will help you to do this.

9. Use non-verbal communication to show understanding

Your loved one will be looking at you while they are talking, so they will notice your body language. Make sure that you are fully facing them, watching them, nodding your head, and not fidgeting.

10. Encourage your loved one to keep talking

Sometimes the best way to do this is by asking open-ended (not yes or no) questions. Just be sure not to ask too many, as they may feel as if you’re “quizzing” them.

11. Listen to what they are NOT saying

Your loved one may say something but actually mean something else. Try to pick up on what they are NOT saying as well as what they ARE saying.

12. Watch your loved one’s body language

This can go along with the last point. Your loved one may be speaking but they won’t look at you, or they are distracted by things around them, or other things which show that they may

be uncomfortable with what they are saying. Just be understanding and encouraging to get them to keep talking.

13. Don’t give advice

As stated before, your loved one may be talking to you just to have someone to listen to them. They may not actually want your advice or for you to “fix” their problems. Just listen and don’t give advice unless they ask you to.

14. Let your loved one know that their feelings are acceptable

Your loved one might be confused about their feelings, or even feel as if they are “stupid” or “wrong” for having those feelings. Make sure that you remain nonjudgmental and encourage them that whatever they are feeling, they have a right to feel that way.

15. Understand that you won’t always know what to say to your loved one

You may not always know the right thing to say to your loved one when they talk to you, so understand that, and accept it. Just remain an encouraging listener.

Remember in general that your loved one may only be looking for a listener, not an advisor.

They don’t necessarily want you to “fix” them or their problems. The better a listener you are, and by following these suggestions, the more your loved one will talk to you.

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:

It’s Your Health: How open should medical records be?
DO> What do you think?

Diagnoses of bipolar disorder are very lucrative for psychiatrists
DO> Wow can you believe this?

No Myth: Creativity and Mental Disorders Are Linked
DO> I have been saying this for years 🙂

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? You Aren’t the Only One

Hi, how are you today? Are you having a good day? I hope so.

Do you ever feel as if you’re the only one going through what you’re going through? The only one who has to deal with the problems that you have to deal with? Would it help to know that you aren’t the only one?

If you have financial problems, well, so do other people. Maybe you can learn from them. Maybe it’s just a matter of learning how to problem solve. Like in the case of financial problems, you might want to look at getting out of debt. You can talk to a debt counselor

about that. You might want to look at where your money is going. You can sit down with your loved one and figure that out, and then develop a budget. Then you have to stick to living within your means. It may take time, but if you do these things, you may no longer have financial problems.

And you must know that you’re not the only person with a loved one who has bipolar disorder.

You can go to just one support group meeting and find other people in the same boat as you are in. You can even get some good advice on dealing with your own loved one from a support group.

Unfortunately, in our culture we have become isolated from each other. To the point that we sometimes think we’re the only people with the problems that we have. That makes those problems harder to solve.

Everyone has problems. Would you even want to trade yours for someone else’s? Think about it. You know the expression, “No matter how bad you’ve got it, someone else has it worse.” That’s true. And remembering that can help you have a more positive attitude.

Some people just sit around waiting for “the other shoe to fall.” They expect that they’re going to have more problems. That’s like you waiting on the edge of your seat for your loved one’s next episode. That’s no way to live.

You have to believe in their stability. Otherwise, it’s just another unsolvable problem.

No, you are not the only one. Many millions of people right now are struggling with bipolar disorder. The difference between it being a problem or not is how you approach it. Either it controls you, or you control it.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,