Use a Bipolar Filter or Else


Hope you’re having a good day.

Lately, I have been hearing so much nonsense about so many things, my head hurts.

People tell me it’s the end of the world because of the stock market. People tell me stuff about bipolar that is TOTALLY wrong. Real estate people try to get me to buy a house in a bad market.

People then tell me how to run this organization with no clue.  That made me think of you.

Because you may be one of those supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder who other people tell you (who know nothing about you, your loved one, or bipolar disorder):

· exactly how you should be running your life

· what you should be doing

· what you shouldn’t be doing

· exactly how you should be a supporter

· how you should be taking care of your loved one

· what you’re doing wrong

· how they know so much more than you do

· how you should do things their way

· that they know how to do it

· etc., etc., etc.

These people could be people from your (or your loved one’s) support group, or they could even be friends and/or family. Sometimes even strangers offer unwanted advice when they find out you’re dealing with a loved one with bipolar disorder.

But the point is, they (of course) know more than you do about bipolar disorder and how to be a good supporter.

Just like these people who write to me and proclaim to know how to run my business better than me.

Doesn’t that make you mad? I know it makes me mad.

If your loved one is stable, or at least on the road to being stable, then you’re being a good supporter.

You’re doing it right.

And these other people shouldn’t be telling you different.

In my courses/systems, I talk about how to be a good supporter. I even talk about support groups, and how one of the bad things about them is just what I’ve been talking about:



One of the bad things about a support groups is that, although you have good people in them, you also have people like this (we used to call them know-it-all’s) who think they know everything and the way to do it, and they’re the ones who tell everyone else how to do it too.

Now, even if their loved one is stable, and even if their way does work, it does NOT mean it’s going to work for your loved one, because everyone is different.

So what you have to do is, you have to develop a bipolar filter, or else if you listen to them, and do what they say, you could stand the chance of making your loved one worse.

You know what works for your loved one and what doesn’t work.

Especially if your loved one is doing good, and/or is stable right now, or on the road to stability.

And even if they’re not, just try something else. Try some of the suggestions from my courses. But don’t just blindly listen to what other people tell you, because they may not work, and they may do more harm than good.

Remember to use your bipolar filter.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


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  1. Hi David, I have been reading your articles for several months now and I find them very helpful. My adult daughter was diagnosed as bipoler a few months ago after a failed suicide attempt. At first she was treated with anxiety and then she went into a real bad state of depression. She lived with me during the depression state. She told me something wasn’t right and she just wanted to know what was wrong with her. She wasn’t able to work for a year after the suicde attempt, but she is working now as a kitchen manager in a resturant. She seems to do pretty well as long as she
    takes her meds correctly, which she doesn’t always do. She also tries to have romantic relationships which is very difficult for her. So she is very unsettled, moving in and out of my house to live with other people, which makes it hard for me to keep up with her. I have also had some depression and anxiety issues from trying to deal with the bipolar and other family issues going on at this time. I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible about bipolar dissorder so I can understand and help her as much as possible. Thanks for all you do. I hope this will help you to get some positive feedback.
    Have a nice day and keep up the good work you’re doing!!!


  3. Thank you for that email. You hit it on the head. I feel at times that everyone thinks that they know more then me in regards to my support of my son who is bipolar. They are judge and jury and have found me guilty of supporting my son. They view it as enabling him. They see his episodes and think I should dump him in the streets to straighten him out. They think that I am spoiling him. But I filter them out. My son hasn’t had a major episode since Oct of 2007. Why? Because I got your emails and they set me on the right road to support of him the correct way. Today he is healthy, stable, and happy. Yet they continue to “judge” me. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how right you do something there is always that someone out there ready to point a finger and tell you that you are still doing it “the wrong way”. I say walk a mile in my shoes before you sit in judgement of how I’m doing it. Thanks again for reminding me to keep my filter in place. Thanks!

  4. Hi Dave

    Every situation has a lot of dimensions attach to it. If two people are talking you can for instance have two points of views because each might have his or her own point of view. Then one can look at this from an observer’s point of view where a person listens to both sides of the conversation. Then there are other dimensions that one can add like for instance information theory where one looks at the same situation from a totally different perspective where it is not so much about the meaning of what is said but more of the proses of the exchange of information. (The creation of information begins with a desire, which lead to an idea, which you express in words, which you break down into sounds and letters when you speak or write). So what I’m trying to say is that there are lots of ways or perspective of looking at the same thing. If one receives advice it can be viewed in a negative or positive way. If I tell you how to run your business you can listen to it and maybe find something in that information that can help your business or you can see it as you know how to run your business which is true because you are in that situation. So a person’s advice can be seen as, he or she is just trying to help you or it can be seen as unwanted advice. I would rather go for listening to the advice because just maybe there is some sort of good in it that just might help you. Being the owner of the business of course you make the decision of how you want to run the business but remember, LOTS OF DIMETIONS.
    I don’t believe this but then again I know it’s possible.

    Hope you have a great day.

  5. Your information has been so helpful to me. My son is bipolar and has gone through some awful times the last year. We are hopefully on the way to a normal life. I am always frightened that he will crash again. His new meds are helping a lot. We both take one day a time. As some of the other supporters I feel people don’t understand that a person needs you to just be there for them. You don’t have to do everything, but when they are trying to get a job and normalize their life, they have to have that backup. It lets them feel they can go on without having an episode over minor things. I truly believe that until people walk in their shoes, they don’t realize how tramatic the small things are. I am hopeful that more people will understand that bipolar is a disease that can be regulated, just like other diseases. Some people have more issues than others, but with help and care, they can succeed. Thanks for all your fine work.

  6. David, thank you for the “filter” letter. Everyone thinks they know the ONLY answer—and there are many, as you said.

  7. dear david, with great interest I am reading and reading, your feed backj and knowledge have been of great interest to support my sister who has bipolar disorder question to you should I identify to her that I am educating myself about this disorder for her and my interest .. what is a bipolar filter ?? my friedn as well has BPD… I take my time to listen to her via spseak a phone after 20mns of monologue and crying I end up the conversation by saying .. So nice of you to communicate .. just take a hot bath .. have a good night .. It’s seem to work but with my sister is differendt I donot know how to handle her… to be at her intellectual level it’s very hard …. she jus left the hospital after 2 months .and now expect the family to do more than ever .. HOW TO FACE REALITY FOR HER AND FOR US thanks liliane

  8. I have been reading your crap for far too long now!

    You prove Daily to know NOTHING!

    What you are doing should be illeagal. In ALL your Mail you have said NOTHING. HELPED ME? NO ENRAGED ME DAILY YES! MADE ME LATE FOR WORK YES!

    What you and the Psych. orginism know I could print on the back of a Postage stamp!

    Highway robery comes to mind! You see it as shooting Fish in a Barrrel. WE ARE ONLY DOLLARS TO YOU. WHY DOES ONE LIFT WEIGHTS FOR NO REASON? IS IT RETARDATION, OR A GAY THING, RETARDATION BOTH WAYS.You cannot Shoot. OK perhaps friendly fire. I should join your Nation. Then I could be taken by Friendly Fire. You invented it. And an IQ of 15.


    All of you FOOLS can Talk for Hours and say nothing, it’s amazing! But you KNOW nothing, and have NOTHING to say, mearly in love with the sound of your own Voices. DELUSIONS OF GRANDURE! YES YOU NEED THAT TO MAKE $$$ HOWEVER BEING SO INEPT WILL NOT CUT THE MUSTARD.


    I have studied these WORTHLESS organisms now for 8 Years. I have detailed files.

    Send me a photo.

  9. To David Oliver:

    Publishing the “stuff” (and I am being extremely polite) that Troy Henry has to say has absolutely NO benefit for anyone on this blog. Nobody can even understand what he is saying. Allowing him to babble on and on and on is not helpful to anyone. He is very rude and disrespectful, and as a long-time reader of this blog, I totally resent his rants being published.

  10. Hey there,

    I wanted to tell you what a great job your organisation is doing I myself have bipolar disorder and I signed up just for info even though its a supporter dooby thingy haha but anyway I also signed up for another site wich tries to sell you stuff called the davinci method or some crap but anyway they had great information that I think you should include the numbers wich you may no of substance abuse among the bi polar population is really high and almost all of thoses drugs make the disorder much worse but the information i got from this site was talking about why that is,its mostly because the disorder creates high levels of creativity and energy wich if not used up turns into frustration then substance abuse so ,I was a big drinker too by the way,so I started to exercise more,work out more,draw,paint,design machine things for no reason and well I didn’t need to drink it was like I needed it then all a sudden I felt like I never needed toand because alcohol makes the disorder worse I was feeling more alive than ever not only that but my body was benifiting from the creativity getting out-better lateral thinking and working out-bettter physical health ,not to mension the girls liking my body =P so I really think you should include this information here into your e mails because it would benifit society and everyone so much-except alchol selling companies’hahahaha’not only that but you never know maby someone reading your e mails will take it really seriously and turn out as a reborn leonardo davinci and you will probably benifit from people thinking this guy made my life better maby his books will make it more better and you have an increase in sold books (in theory).Well I hope you read this because if you do send this out it would make the hole world a better place,well cheers

    PS. you need some system for feedback this was the best way I could find to contact you

  11. Troy, answer me this:

    a) If psychiatrists and drugs are the problem, why is it that people with a mental illness who refuse to take the meds or see a psychiatrist, more often end up dead than those who heed much of the advice they get from their doctors?

    b) I sometimes cringe at the sycophantism we can get on this blog, but I feel there are a lot of useful contributions, not least from people with BP offering insights about the disorder that supporters may have not seen or considered. Obviously this isn’t your view, so answer me this: If what is written is totally worthless, why is it worth your while commenting on it?

  12. David, don’t be so ready to dismiss the idea of buying property. Values are artificially low because present conditions make it hard to buy or sell. So, if you buy while the values are low, you just might clean up when the values rise again to a natural level. I suppose the trick is to buy when prices hit rock bottom …

    So … it ‘might’ be a good time to buy if you have nothing to sell and cash in your pocket.

    It might also be a good time to sell your house and buy something bigger because the gap in value between a lower value house compared with a higher one is narrowing in real terms. I.e. take 25% off £100k and the value is £75k. Take 25% off £200k, and the value is £150k. Difference before loss of value = £100k. Difference after loss of value = £75k. The difference of £100k might have been too great whereas a difference of £75k may be manageable. So, the higher the percentage value lost, the better it is to trade up to a bigger/better house.

  13. To DEE DEE: I have to disagree with you on your post about Troy Henry. As this is a “democratic” blog, even those who are going through an “episode” should be allowed to “rant,” thereby showing the other people on the blog how really AWFUL it is to “lose your mind.”

    I agree; he DOES rant, and I, too, am upset by it. He is certainly in NEED of medication/therapy, and until he “gets it,” (as they say in politics), he’s going to continue down the road he is already on.

    There’s no sense in arguing with his “statements” about the “organism,” or the Psych docs, or anything ELSE in his post; he won’t/can’t see that he is WAAY off base.

    All we can do is say a collective prayer that he soon seeks the help he so desperately needs.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good.

  14. suzanne, I largely agree about giving voice to rants.

    While it’s generally useless to argue a point with someone who is in an episode (we cannot assume Troy is) I think it’s worth challenging views just a little as the arguments sometimes get through. (If they don’t get it, then of course there is no point in labouring on the issue but you know that anyway!) ;o)

  15. David, I interpret your point as being “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” My view is generally the same but I think it can be useful hearing different views because circumstances change requiring a change in strategy. Plus, we can’t rest on our laurels – there is usually room for improvement whatever is being done, be that caring for someone, caring for yourself or running a business. It’s the people/companies that think they’ve got everything all sussed who usually take a tumble because they fail to move forwards.

  16. judith, not sure I agree with your sentiment when you say “screw the goof balls”. For one thing, those of us with BP are usually ‘goof balls’ at sometime, and that’s when we need support, not rejection. Plus, ignoring someone who is “a goof ball” is a kin to refusing a sinner entry into a church – they need the “church” more than anyone.

  17. Suzanne,

    You are correct in what you say. You are one gracious lady. Thanks for reminding me that people like Troy Henry are obviously not in a good place. I was just getting a little tired of looking at his run on-and-on comments that make absolutely no sense at all and are insulting to David Oliver. But you are taking the moral high road and I commend you for it. I always enjoy your posts.
    May God Bless YOU real good!

  18. yep there all know it alls . ya know me and self we listen to each other and somtimes even that good ol god given concience.

  19. As to today’s letter, it sounds more like you’re talking about the loved one I am concerned with!
    I’m talking about world class, EXTREME projection! I am SO SICK OF IT! The problem is, there are quite a few mental/emotional disorders with virtually all or most of the same symptoms, and even though it may in fact, be something very bad, (and they make life hell for everyone around them), if the symptoms do not meet every little nuance of criteria, they consider themself off the hook. I opted to get your info, to explore yet another possibility, as well as to give every rightful consideration to the projection of someone else’s disease. How common is this projection? I’m OK. I’m with someone who wants me to be their problem. I only wish it was more clearly diagnosed as I think Bipolar is. Still, it is a lot alike. I’d gladly give 10 yrs off the top of my life to fix it myself for my loved one – if I could. They’re determined to remain ill for life. I didn’t sign on for this. I need to sign off!

    David, I’m sure you are doing the world a great service, but you send TOO MUCH MAIL!

  20. I want to let you know that thanks to you I and God I have been able to stand by my loved one during his episodes. Right now he is in a very stable time and it is because he is finally on the correct meds. Thanks for the support.

  21. Hi Dave,

    Boy you are right about the “know it alls” I have run across a few of them in my life and yes it makes me mad too. I know that people sometimes mean well, but other times I think they are avoiding dealing with their own issues by looking at everyone else’s and trying to tell them what to do when they don’t listen to anyone else about what “They” need to do. Life is about listening… I would say 90% listening to the right information and 10% doing the right things. Many people do 90% of the wrong things because they only listen 10% of the time! If your listening to others, that is a good sign, but like you said, you can’t listen to everyone all the time.

    People can’t presume to know you and your loved ones without getting to know you. I have run across people here recently that tried to tell me I need to forgive myself when I know in my heart I already have! I just said, ya, your right, just so they would stop pestering me. People like that will even argue with you that they know what is right for you or what you need to do when they really don’t have a clue. They are the ones who listen 10% of the time.

    Thanks for putting forth the effort to come up with interesting topics every day. I know it isn’t easy, but you make it look easy because you always have something interesting to say…


  22. HI David,

    Its been a while now that I have been reading your newslettes.. and quite a few times I have read about you being mad at something or someone.

    Being a bipolar supporter, I have myself got mad at various things.. and becoming quite irritable in nature.. nowadays I lose my patience more often than not.. and on slightest things..

    You are obviously interacting with more bipolar patients and supporters. So I wondered how you can continue with the good things and not get bogged down by the irritation that you are experiencing.

    Then I realised that you vent out your anger through your newsletters.. Its great that you have found this very nice way of not just venting out your anger but also making it a knowledge sharing things for all readers.

    Even I’ll find myself a good way to vent my anger and irritation to keep myself sane and healthy.

    Continue with the good work.. All the best!

  23. Hi Dave,
    Thank you very much for your e-mail, it is helping me a lot with my disorder. You are doing a good job, BP people will be wurse off without you, so everyone that has something bad to say about you can for all that I care go to hell, and my they burn. To TROY HENRY & TRIED THEM ALL – you two don’t want help, so carry on harry lets see where you end up, I can tell you where, TRIED THEM ALL – everyone with BP has there up’s and down’s you must learn to cope with it. I often have my bad days but I still funtion normal and I read and download DAVE’S e-mail because that is helping. TOM – why don’t you just send an mail stating that you don’t want the mail’s anymore, as simple as that, there are a lot of people who benefit from these mail’s that you are complaining about.
    Once again, Dave keep up the good work, I am live in South Africa and I have send many days on the net, and that’s how I come accros you,

  24. This filter goes if YOU have bipolar – too. I have family that tries to tell me how to run my life – that I should be in a group home or foster care. These are actually a father, step-mother and older sister. They KNOW nothing about my life because they don’t want to.
    I just started a full time job making very good money. The first time in over 10 years that I have been stable enough to work. I took and passed my medical boards here in India with very good marks. I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t stable. I have a loving husband. He drives me nuts some times, but he is a good man.
    So I focus on what my family that actually supports me says. I take my meds regularly (even when I don’t want to), eat right, sleep well and take time to myself every day.
    And to that man who wants – it is a free country, but if you don’t have anything nice to say……

  25. It’s true what you are saying about some people within the support groups. I know because it happen to me several times and I just could not stand for it. I am an introvert and don’t like to talk to others about how I feel. I rather withdraw and work things out for myself. I actually felt so depressed now lately and thought I will have to be hospitalised to be stabalised. Lucky for me I know how to get myself out of my depression or manic episodes. Partly you were also responsible by giving me all the positives so that we as bipolar sufferers can also live a full and normal life. At the moment I don’t attend support groups I read about it and learn as much about bipolar. It is important to know what to do when you feel you are entering an episode. You must always take note of your manic and depress symptoms as you should know when it is approaching. By taking my meds and keeping my symptoms under control and being proactive and by remaining positive, making time for myself (very important) I will always be stable.


  26. Hi Dave, Thanks for your determination to do something about this illness and help people make their life better.

    No-it-alls are a pain in the gizzard! I found I didn’t have an answer at first, but now I ask them, “Have you someone in your family with this illness?” They say, “No.” I respond, “I’ve read a lot about this and that isn’t a helpful idea.” Sometimes, I add, “You know I am a pretty smart guy and I feel a little insulted and hurt. I have been dealing with this for a long time and I worked very hard at it. I don’t know why you think you know more than I do. Bullshit means saying something you are not sure of. Bullshit doesn’t help and makes me feel bad, because I don’t like to confront people and ask them not to say it.” When I know someone well and they won’t be hurt, I smile nicely and ask, “Is that something you know, or is it bullshit?” Sometimes they admit they are just guessing. I have to try to put the bullshitters right out of my mind so I don’t get tired. But the best way is sometimes to figure out an answer, so I’m prepared next time to cut short their crap and discourage them from repeating it. I try to do this as politely, but as directly as possible.

    Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Ph.D. is a teacher of philosophy. He wrote a book in which he discussed all the bullshit in our society. He suggested that while liars need to know the truth, the better to conceal it, the bullshitter, interested solely in advancing his own agenda, has no use for the truth. Following from this, Frankfurt claimed that “bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

    Bullshitters waste your time and rob your energy if you dwell on it. Bullshitters want to feel important by thinking they can make your problem go away and then they can be a hero. As they say, if it was easy everyone could do it!

    Keep up the good work, Dave.

    (PS I’m shocked at all the mean-spirited people in this forum. They probably need to talk to a doctor about all their uncomfortable feelings. Bipolar isn’t the only emotional disorder.)

  27. simony, you said, “TRIED THEM ALL – everyone with BP has there up’s and down’s you must learn to cope with it. ” I cannot believe you said that! Not everyone is a lucky as you to be able to “control” their moods. If you can then you are probably in remission and only experiencing mood swings driven by psychological factors NOT the chemical influence. Your attitude is dangerously close to those misguided folk who are want to tell anyone with a depression, BP or Unipolar, that they can get out of that state by “pulling yourself together”, like their mood is their own fault! I grant that any depression is a complicated mix of both psychological factors and chemical – the one begets the other. But there are times when one, the psychological or the chemical, dominates. When it’s the former you can manage your moods effectively; when it’s the latter, you may be able to influence them – if you are lucky – but not control them. No one should ever be under the illusion, least of all people with BP, that the magic bullet to control is your own strength of will. It isn’t. Believe that and then you must believe that you are a failure when your strength of sill can’t manage the control. And THAT is when people jump under trains.

    You must also realise that the kind of Bipolar symptoms people get are not all the same anyway. Indeed, the University of Cardiff and their brethren at the University of Birmingham think there are sub-types of Bipolar. They are working on the hypothesis that the different genetic influences may cause different symptoms of BP, which is why they are collecting blood samples from several thousand people (me included) to try to match symptoms with the various genetic cues. So, you cannot, shouild not assume that everyone is able to do is able to control thweir moods as you can d. You are a very lucky fellow! I wish I was as you!

  28. HiDavid, I really know what you are talking about.One of my loved one is bipolar.At one time,I was the only optimistic person in my whole family who believed that this disorder could be overcome.I really had to repulse the onslaught of depressing advices.The problem was treated as something else for about 5-6years.Then,I ,being a doctor myself (not a psychiatrist),studied the symptoms myself,searched the net day and night and made a provisional diagnosis of BPD, which was correct.Then the right medicines were started and now my loved one is teaching in a college.Everyday of those 5-6 years was like the beginning of a new war.At that time I came across your site.It was a big moral support for me.It was a great support knowing that we are not the only ones who are facing these difficult circumstances.I feel you are a friend whose been with me in such a difficult time.Thank you and keep up the good work.

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