Bipolar? Think in Terms of Effective


How’s it going?

I hope you’re having a good day.

Here’s a funny question for you:

Do you ever yell at your computer?

I do.

Like the other day, I was trying to get it to do something, and it just wouldn’t do it!

So I started yelling at it, like, “You know you can do this! Do it for me!”

I thought I had lost a document I was working on.

So of course it’s not my fault, it’s the computer’s fault, right?

And yelling accomplished what?

Just that if anyone had walked by and saw me yelling at my computer, they would think there was something wrong with me!

Here I am yelling at an inanimate object, like it could really hear me.

What I was really doing was taking out my frustrations on the computer.

I ended up finding what I was looking for, but then I felt silly that I had yelled at the computer.

And yelling got me nowhere.

It sure didn’t help my problem, did it?

It just got me all frustrated.

It’s like those people on the road who yell at other drivers.

Do you think they really hear them?

Of course not.

But the person yells anyway, out of their own frustration.

It doesn’t solve their problem, either, just like my yelling at my computer didn’t solve my problem.

I know a lot of people who do yell at their computers, though! 

So what does yelling at my computer have to do with bipolar disorder?

Well, it’s about two things:

1. Taking your frustrations out on


2. How you solve your problems.

In my courses/systems, I teach how to

solve your problems in an effective way:







For example, here’s a different way of looking at your problems:

Instead of thinking which would be the right way to handle them and which would be the wrong way…

You think instead in terms of what would be most EFFECTIVE.

So let’s go back to my problem with my computer.

Was it an EFFECTIVE problem- solving technique for me to yell at it?

No. It got me nowhere.

Was it EFFECTIVE to take my frustrations out on it?

No. That also got me nowhere.

It wasn’t until I approached the problem with what skills I had and tried different things to solve the problem that I got what I wanted.

Ok, here’s an example for you:

Say your loved one is wanting to stop taking their medication.

Everything in you says you just

want to yell at them…

To just tell them to take their medication.

No ifs ands or buts.

If you speak out from a point of frustration, you probably won’t get anywhere except to make yourself more frustrated, and maybe even start a fight with your loved one.

So that’s definitely what you don’t want to do.

The more EFFECTIVE thing to do would be to stay calm and talk quietly to your loved one.

Tell them that you’re concerned.

Maybe even remind them of what might happen if they do go off their medication.

If they’ve gone off it before, you might want to remind them of that.

You could nicely remind them that it’s the medication that’s keeping them stable.

You might try several different things – whatever is effective for you and your loved one.

But if you come from a place of frustration, or if you yell at them, that wouldn’t be effective at all.

It’s just like those drivers who get mad and yell at other drivers.

What have you done to effectively solve your problems?

Do you agree that getting frustrated doesn’t get you anywhere?

  1. Yes, I have found myself fustrated at bad drivers and express it to myself verbally out loud. I know it won’t change them but I feel better after I have vented. But as I thought about this, I said to myself,”Gosh, when you’re venting you don’t have your full attention to the driving and I may be someone that someone else sees as a bad driver.” Now I take a different approach and say,”I pray to God that he protects you and all us other drivers from your bad driving!” This way I am more in control of my driving and it keeps my blood pressure down. Bob Goodwin

  2. I want to thank you so much for your e.mails they help me very much.I still cannot find my wife who is hidding since march 20th and is totally frustrating not being able to get to her somehow.I am the only one left on this planet who can help by loving her so much.I am like totally out of venues trying to get to her.I wnt to the police and ask them to send a unit for suicide watch but they told me that the manager said she doesn’tlive there anymoremIshould hire a PI to find her.I am thinking to go to the mayor’s office and press the issue.Please advise.Blessings to you David.Danny

  3. My husband and I read your e-mails every day. We have a daughter with bipolar disorder. Your help is so very appreciated.


  5. Unfortunately, when I’m anxious (which is most of the time now), I will get frustrated and vent toward bad drivers or whoever else gets in my way. Things are going to get easier now that I’ve gotten a handle on what’s causing my dizziness. AND, my shrink is increasing my tranquilizer for this period.

    Went to PCP, and he was STUMPED, until he read a referral’s note that I couldn’ seem to do the exercises because my “neck hurt.” At first, the doc wanted to put me on Valium (which he said helped other people with vertigo), but I told him that wouldn’t mix with my other meds. He continued to look at his notes, and as a last-ditch effort, ordered X-rays of my neck.

    Well, they showed a LOT of ARTHRITIS in my neck, which could indicate a lack of blood flow from the arterie to the brain! I’m scheduled for an MRA (like an MRI, but dealing with the arteries) sometime this week or the next. At LAST I have a “hold” on what’s causing my siege of dizziness!! Do you KNOW what a RELIEF that is??!! To know it’s not all in my head (meaning psycho), but a REAL, physical problem!!

    I wish I could say I feel better already, but truth is,I don’t. I just feel better knowing that SOMETHING can be done about it, and I won’t have it forever.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my country.

  6. hi dave, I like reading your emails. I don’t feel alone with the illness. Sometimes I get frustrated with my computer, but I just turn it off and let it rest for awhile then try again. The medications are helping me control my anger and my moods. My husband is the one that gets frustrated with me because i repeat things and get depressed sometimes. I know he loves me and wants what’s best for me and my kids. And I know it has been hard on him since I became ill. My mom and dad were the ones that took care of me when I was not able to take care of myself then they past away and now it’s only him and my kids. Sometimes I feel like a burden to the family and I don’t want to talk about my problems cuz it always stems from the past. All I can do is pray and take my medications and hope for a better future. I would like to someday write a book about my illness, bipolar/schizoaffective disorder. I’ve learned alot from reading your emails and your website. Thank you.

  7. The real trouble is that sometimes a bipolar family member will start yelling to just cause chaos because they are bored and want attention. That’s the kind of yelling and screaming and insulting and abusing that gets them no-where. Yet they bottle up all their frustrations and take them out on us when they should be finding better ways to communicate so that people might listen to them instead of threatening and cursing and becoming delusional the more chaotic their thoughts that come out of their mouth become. So sometimes no matter how we try to stay calm, there is still a part of us as a supporter that wants to scream back at them. I did this recently and it actually felt good instead of taking his crap all the time. I think it is the first time I have done this in many years and it didn’t help but it sure felt good to fight back. The only problem was knowing afterwards I was yelling back at someone who was being completely irrational and i broke rule number 1 – never fight with someone that is irrational. Bipolar is impossible I swear. He told me that he was never manic, just passionate. He goes to doctors and therapists to trick them – it’s all a game for him, how many people he can trick into believing he has nothing wrong with him. But bottom line was that if he isn’t manic than he is just plain old abusive without any excuse at all (mania could cause inadvertent abuse and it usually does).

  8. Dear Dave et al,

    Thank you for your words(research) and support! Now about yelling at things. I`m glad you said
    ‘inanimate object’. I believe an inanimate object cannot defeat you; you are only defeating yourself(not a good place to pick a fight}
    As for drivng, you can’t change a leopard’s spots,you can only yourself. Live and let live.(or live and let God.) Any time you talk to yourself is not good. My plants are in front of my windows where people can see in. My family says “Talk to your plants”, so I now water my plants with a ‘dead’ phone at my ear!(Heh). As for the disclaimer, I appreciate that you are not a doctor(this is probably a good thing!). Anything that I hear and don’t like, I file it in to the back of my head. If it’s good to use in the future, I’ll use it; if not it stays in the back of my head.
    Most thankful for your time,

    John Senske

  9. I want to say that this email was very comforting to hear. Sometimes I yell out of frustration and feeling like I’m not being understood, or my family members get frustrated with me and my illness and yell at me and tell me that I can control my emotions and actions better, when in all actuallity, this is not a bipolar person’s first thought. One of the things that you mentioned in your article is that I shouldnt be trying to figure out the right or wrong response, but the outcome. I have done this many times and ended up in fight anyway! The computer analogy was great and gave me something to relate to the next time my emotions are aroused to have a better outcome for me and my family. Thnks.

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