Count Down to Recovery


Did you ever make some really great plans that you did a count down for? Like a cruise, or a vacation? You anticipated the day that you would leave, and counted down the days until that final day would come…Just biding your time, so excited that you could hardly contain yourself!

Some days you felt like you just couldn’t wait, that the wait itself was killing you! You just didn’t think you’d have enough patience to wait until it was time to go.

But finally you made the count down and that inevitable day came, and you went on that long-awaited trip or vacation. And, of course, it was worth the wait, wasn’t it?

It’s like a child waiting for Christmas. They even have special calendars for that now, where you can cross off or color in each day as the countdown for another day closer to Christmas passes.
It’s supposed to help you contain your child’s excitement for that great day. But how can it?
Their excitement is just so great!

But at least it helps to give them something visual to show them how many days are left in their count down. Too bad there isn’t something like a count down to bipolar recovery for you and your loved one.

Unfortunately, you have to deal with the day-to-day’s of living with the disorder and just do the best that you can sometimes. It’s a shame that recovery is not more clear-cut for you, like that count down calendar to Christmas is for children.

Unfortunately, things just aren’t that clear-cut when it comes to bipolar disorder. That’s because everybody is different. And also because it’s just the nature of the disorder that it can be so unpredictable.

So even if your loved one’s doctor did explain something of the disorder to you, they had to stick to things in a general way – they couldn’t be too specific.

Although there is more and more research being done every day into bipolar disorder, there are still mostly things that we know in the most general of ways. Again, because everyone is different.

Like we know how medication is supposed to work. But still, different medications affect different people in different ways. And what works great for one person might not work great
for your loved one.

So it’s really best for them to stick to the medication that their doctor or psychiatrist has prescribed for them, because he/she knows them better as an individual. And also, because of the unpredictable nature of things, they need to be monitored with their medication as they go
along, in case their medication, or its dosage, needs to be changed along the way.

Keeping the same doctor or psychiatrist is important for this, as they will get to know your loved one (and you) better and treatment will be more consistent.

Therapy is important for consistency too. And different therapists meet different needs. One person’s therapist won’t necessarily be the best therapist for your loved one, and vice versa.

You need to find a therapist who is best suited for your loved one’s needs, and stick to them.
That way your loved one can build a relationship with them and learn to cope and deal with the issues that surround their bipolar disorder on a consistent basis.

No, unfortunately, there is no count down to recovery, but treatment with medication and therapy will help to insure stability.

Your loved one can also do things that will help to insure their own stability. Things like sticking to a good sleep schedule, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and being productive will help them to do that.

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:

Marijuana Linked To Manic, Depressive Symptoms
DO> Interesting study, don’t you agree?

Parma Heights man who set fire to city hall sentenced to four years in prison
DO> Do you think this sentence is fair?

Georgia woman’s rare reaction to medication caused skin, hair to peel off
DO> You’ll be shocked by this woman’s story.

Supreme Court to weigh impact of disability law on police
DO> Don’t you think the police should pay more attention to this law?

NYCHA looks to boot Bronx widow,
DO> Don’t you feel sorry for this woman?

Recurrence dominates bipolar illness course
DO> Important study, don’t you think?

Subthreshold mania signals impending bipolarity in children of bipolar patients
DO> This study makes an important point.

Sleep Loss Tied to Emotional Reactions
DO> This study reveals something very interesting.

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: When You’re Positive



Have you ever heard the following expression: “Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.” It’s sort of a humorous way to look at a serious subject. It’s about how you look at life.

Like whether you’re one of those people who are always worrying from day to day. Or if you project from one day to the next what might happen. And especially if you tend to think on the
negative side of things.

Many times, I talk about how you need to be a positive thinker if you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, because it helps you cope with the disorder better. It just helps to look at things in a positive way when you’re dealing with life in general, because so much of it can be negative.

But you don’t have to worry all the time, that’s for sure. If you do, you’re just going to set yourself up for negative things to happen. Because you’re going to be looking for them.

Enough bad things are going to happen in life all by themselves, you don’t have to help them along. To fight them, you have to think and act positively.

For example, when your loved one picks a fight with you, which can be a normal occurrence
when you’re dealing with the rage of a bipolar manic episode, you can either react in a negative
or a positive manner.

If you react in a negative manner, it’s just going to prolong the fight. But if you react in a positive manner, it might just de-escalate your loved one’s behavior.

So what I’m talking about are things that may be inevitable, but that you can do something
about just by changing your attitude and outlook about them.

If you go around expecting bad things to happen, they probably will. You’d be a sort of magnet that bad things will be attracted to. But it can work the opposite way, too.

Like with people. Have you ever noticed that negative people seem to attract other negative people? But that positive people tend to attract other positive people? It is like a magnet sort of thing.

Think of it this way: Your positive attitude can help change a negative situation. Like the example I used of fighting with your loved one.

When your loved one is negative, your being positive can have that positive kind of influence
on them. Who wants to fight with someone who won’t fight back?

Now, I never said that having a positive attitude in the face of a negative situation would be
easy. It isn’t. But it sure gets you further, and with a whole lot less stress. And, hopefully, eventually, it will turn things around for you.

Hopefully, given time, your loved one will even change. Hopefully, they will begin to be more like you. And hopefully, you will begin to experience more positive situations than negative ones.

And, like I said, a lot less stress as a by-product as well. Positive people just seem to be healthier, too. Probably because they have less stress, they are physically healthier.

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:

Depression Treatment Could Reduce Heart Disease Risk
DO> Important study, don’t you think?

Extreme Rate of Prenatal Alcohol Disorders in Poor
DO> Interesting study, don’t you agree?

Subthreshold Mania May Mean Bipolarity in High-Risk Youth
DO> This study makes an important point.

Bus Driver Accused of Assaulting Special Needs Teen Headed to Trial
DO> What do you think should happen to the bus driver?

Health Check: Video game for bipolar disorder
DO> This can be useful to you if you have a child with bipolar.

Chilling moment cops shot dead mentally disabled man wielding a screwdriver caught on body …
DO> You may find this video shocking.

Rape claim victim committed suicide to avoid ‘shame’ for family
DO> Don’t you feel sorry for this woman?

Parma Heights man who set fire to city hall sentenced to four years in prison
DO> Do you think this sentence is fair?

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 Supporter – Be Like a Chameleon


Have you ever seen a chameleon? I mean, like in the zoo or something? These things are amazing! They actually change color to adapt to their surroundings! Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that? Oh, I don’t mean change color. LOL I mean, adapt to our surroundings. I think we could get along a whole lot better, don’t you?

It just seems that a lot of times we fight against what’s happening around us. Instead of accepting it (adapting to it). If you could adapt to it instead of fighting it, you’d be more like a chameleon!

In the case of your loved one’s bipolar disorder, I think you’d be happier if you could do that.
Like, there are certain behaviors that come with their bipolar disorder.

For example: Say there are certain things they do when they go into a bipolar episode. Like, for instance…Whenever they get manic, they talk a lot, and they lie. And this usually makes you really mad.

But if you were to be like a chameleon, you could adapt to this instead of getting mad over it.
You could stop reacting to it. You could just accept it.

In other words, you would just know that it’s a pattern. That every time your loved one goes into a manic episode, they’re going to lie. That it’s just a given.

So you just don’t believe what they say when they’re in a manic episode. You don’t have to get mad. You just don’t believe what they say. In other words, you adapt. See? Do you see how it could save a whole lot of heartache on your part?

Here’s another example: Say that every time your loved one goes into a manic episode, they spend money excessively. You’ve noticed this is a pattern. It happens every time.

So instead of letting it continue, you adapt. You ensure that they don’t have access to more
money than you can afford to lose. You limit the amount of cash they have on hand at any given time.

You make sure they don’t have access to the checking and savings accounts. You make sure they don’t have any credit cards and that they don’t have access to yours. That way they can’t spend any money excessively during their manic episodes.

So…You have adapted. You have ensured that your finances are protected in case your loved one goes into a manic episode. See how being a chameleon can help you? By adapting to things, you can change them.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Bipolar Bad Days


Everybody has good days and bad days. You don’t have to have bipolar disorder to have a bad day. But when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, the bad days can be really bad. And it can seem like you have more bad days than good days. But that isn’t true.

There are more good days than bad days, generally speaking. It’s just that the bad days are so bad that they overshadow the good days. At least it seems that way, doesn’t it? Sometimes it seems that all you do is go from episode to episode, with barely a break in between.

But that really isn’t true. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-V) says that your loved one should only have about four major episodes in their whole lives.

But I know that, for you, there are many more bad bipolar days than just four. Your loved one doesn’t have to be in a full-blown episode for it to be a bad bipolar day. They may just be a bit “off.” Or just be down, or a little sad. Or in a bad mood. Or agitated. Or irritated. Or edgy. Or hyper.

They don’t have to be in an episode to feel those things. But feeling those things can make it a bad day for them (and for you).

So what can you do when you’re faced with a bad bipolar day? Sometimes, on days like that, when a person with bipolar disorder feels a bit down, they’ll just try to sleep it off. Then there’s nothing for you to do. Or if they feel hyper, they might throw that hyperactivity into doing something productive. Then there’s nothing for you to do, either.

However, if they are just sitting in those feelings, they may turn to you for help. One of the biggest things you can do is simply to listen. They may just want to talk about the way they are
feeling, or whatever is on their mind.

Try to be non-judgmental. Listen more than you speak. Don’t interrupt. Use phrases like, “Go on,” or “Tell me more.” Use your body language to indicate that you’re listening – nod your head, or lean into them, for example.

But what about when your loved one doesn’t seem to want your help? What if they are confrontational? What if they pick a fight with you, for example? Well, if they pick a fight with you, first of all, do NOT fight back! This will only escalate their bipolar behavior, and do
nothing to help end the fight. In fact, it will prolong the fight.

The best thing for you to do if your loved one doesn’t want your help is to leave them alone. Let them try to work it out for themselves. Watch them for signs and symptoms of an episode,
however, and if they get worse, get them professional help. Otherwise, just let them know that you are there if they need you.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


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

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,


Current Bipolar News


What’s new? Hope you are doing well.

To read this week’s news visit:

Mental Illness, Homelessness Linked to Heart Disease in Study
DO> This study makes an important point.

Judge: Florham Park man insane when he threatened cops
DO> Do you agree with this ruling?

At-risk individuals show possible treatment targets for bipolar disorder
DO> Interesting study, don’t you agree?

Mexican women with mental health problems pressured into sterilisation
DO> Shocking study, wouldn’t you say?

Vitamin D and omega-3 together may help mental illness
DO> Important study, don’t you think?

Woman admits role in slaying of 17-year-old runaway
DO> What do you think should happen to her?

For these stories and more, please visit:

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

Your Friend,


Bipolar: An Interesting Email


I got a comment on my blog recently that I wanted to share with you (It’s kind of long, so bear with me. I have used R. for the daughter’s name to protect anonymity):

“Apart from a month where my daughter R. was very fragile and in need of respite care away from the home to settle down again not long after we relocated…R. has been great . I must note that R. and I had talked about the probability of her becoming fragile because of the stress of the move so we had made contingency plans re contacting her mental health team and directing the transfer of her mental and medical details before we relocated – set up a meeting with her mental health team when we arrived , informed them 1 week after our arrival that R. was experiencing real difficulties and pushing to have R. accepted as an acute case into respite.

But today I awoke a whole new ball game. R. has not slept for 24 hours. This morning she informed me cheerily that she had not slept last night – and how did I respond- I pushed the panic button – such a dumb idea!!! I yelled at her about that being a dumb thing today and if she wasn’t careful I would ring up her mental health team pronto!!!!!!! And of course she jumped down my throat – she not only hyperactive at this point but a tad irritable!!! Realising there would be no way out of this dead end I had started in my panic – I left her at home without further argument….BUT…..Then I felt so guilty then I began to get really really anxious at work – and THEN I remembered why I had persuaded R. to move ……..MORE FAMILY SUPPORTERS.

So I put PLAN SUPPORT into place I rang her brother- he told me to settle down – that I wasn’t a bad person, that number 1 importance…I needed to look to my own health situation first(very high anxiety state)and my job was to settle that down swiftly. He would talk to his sister – they have a closer relationship and she does listen to him. My son rang me back a while later having contacted R. and elicited a plan of action from her. She was going to have a quiet day at home
and have a sleep and that if things had not improved by tonight then it would be Plan C the involvement of her Mental Health Care Team. I know its absolutely not R.’s fault at all and its not mine either, the episodes come… just like that… It is the nature of the Beast called Bipolar.”

Now, first of all…It’s easy to look from an outsider’s point of view and point fingers at someone else’s reaction to their situation, because maybe you think you might’ve done things differently if you were her, but I don’t want you to do that. I just want to look at this email objectively.

This is a mom struggling with her daughter’s bipolar disorder. And the daughter, too, is obviously struggling. Most obviously, with a current manic episode due to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep can be a trigger to a manic episode. But they have both just also faced a major move, which can also be a trigger to a bipolar episode.

But one thing the mom did right was try to prepare ahead of time, as she talked about in the email. That was a good thing.

She also, seeing that her daughter was “fragile,” said that she “set up a meeting with her mental health team when we arrived , informed them 1 week after our arrival that R. was experiencing real difficulties and pushing to have R. accepted as an acute case into respite.” That was a good thing too.

But then something bad happened. Her daughter didn’t sleep for 24 hours and told her so. Then
she says, “…and how did I respond- I pushed the panic button – such a dumb idea!!! I yelled at her about that being a dumb thing today and if she wasn’t careful I would ring up her mental health team pronto!!!!!!!”

This caused a fight between them, which wasn’t a good thing. It’s easy for us to see as outsiders that this woman should not have “pushed the panic button” and should have been more understanding of her daughter not sleeping.

But then she tried to turn things around, at least. She put PLAN SUPPORT into place, and called her son. He gave her good advice, primarily to take care of herself.

Then she says, “My son rang me back a while later having contacted R. and elicited a plan of action from her. She was going to have a quiet day at home and have a sleep and that if things had not improved by tonight then it would be Plan C the involvement of her Mental Health Care Team.”

There would be a Plan C if things didn’t work out the way they planned, and that, too, is a good thing. You should always have a backup plan.

Then she ends by saying she doesn’t blame her daughter for her episode, and I want to stress that point. It truly isn’t your loved one’s fault, and it’s good to remember that. Much of their behavior is due to their bipolar disorder. It’s also good to remember, as this woman says, that it’s not your fault, either.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


Dreams and Goals


Let me ask you something: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? An artist? A musician? An author? A teacher? A ballerina? Or even the President? Whatever you wanted to be, I bet it didn’t include bipolar disorder, did it?

So what did happen to your dreams? I mean, maybe it wasn’t the bipolar disorder that knocked
your dreams to the side – maybe it happened before the diagnosis? What happens to our dreams between childhood and adulthood?

Most likely there was some adult (parents, teacher) who told you that your dream wasn’t realistic. Some dreams (doctor, lawyer) maybe are realistic, but ballerina or President? No. Maybe not so realistic.

We give up our childhood dreams to become responsible adults. We graduate from school, grow up, get a (real) job, get married, buy a house, raise children…and before you know it, we’re too old to follow our childhood dreams even if we wanted to.

Or is it? Maybe too late (or unrealistic) for childhood dreams, but still possible for adult dreams. And yes, you can still have them despite bipolar disorder. You just might have to be a little more creative.

What if we were to call them goals instead of dreams? Like, “I’ve always wanted to cruise the Mediterranean…” Or, “I’d like to visit Europe someday…” Or, “I’d like to go back to college and finish my degree…” Or, “I’d like to finally write that book…” Or, “I’d love to lose those extra 50 pounds…” Or, “I’d like to learn ballroom dancing…”

You get the picture. The point is, these are all attainable goals. And I’m sure when put this way, you can think of a few yourself.

Perhaps the reason you haven’t pursued your dream is because it’s too big. But if you put your dream into terms of long- and short-term goals instead, you can turn it into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

Here’s what I mean: Like the example of going back to college for that degree that you want. That would be your long-term goal. But the short-term goals would be to think of it in terms of semesters, or even courses.

Writing a book could be a long-term goal, with writing chapters as the short-term goals. Losing 50 pounds as a long-term goal could be broken down into 10-pound short-term goals. See what I mean?

So what does all this have to do with bipolar disorder? The fact that you can still attain your dreams even with the disorder if you break it down into setting goals, because with bipolar disorder, the setting of goals is something that is attainable, because you have room for flexibility. You can work around mood swings and episodes.

Understandably, some of your goals might be limited by bipolar disorder. For example, making plans to travel is one of the things that people write to me all the time about, because it’s difficult to do when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder.

I get questions like, “What if we’re going on a trip and my loved one goes into an episode?” Or, “How can I keep my loved one from going into an episode when we’re travelling?”

I’ve gone into these answers in-depth in my articles, website, and courses, but I’ll just tell you briefly here: It can be done, but it takes a lot of planning, and you need to make sure that your loved one is STABLE. Stability is crucial in avoiding bipolar episodes when you’re travelling.

You also need to plan for every eventuality. You need to have safety plans in place, just like you should when you’re home. And make sure you have plenty of back-up medication.

The point is, though, you can still, for example, fulfill your dream of visiting Europe – you just have to plan for it (set it as a long-term goal).

I know a woman who has been successful at setting goals and achieving her dreams. Her secret is that she does the hardest part first – that way she gets it out of the way.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,