Tag Archive: change

Aug 10

Recovery from Disability

Sometimes we are privileged to help someone who is disabled due to bipolar or depression to recover and resume a full and happy life. In the beginning we face many questions about the process. Family members may have become very skeptical about the value of treatment. Or they may wonder if the disabled person is …

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Jun 20

A Spoonful of Courage

In a previous post, I shared Linda Graham’s views on resilience from an excerpt from her article Bouncing Back :Rewiring the Brian for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. After further reading, Graham also discusses the importance of having courage when creating a more positive outlook on life. We have the ability to experience great personal growth …

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Jun 19

Chronic Depression: What You See Depends on Where You Look

It can be hard to sit with someone with depression, especially chronic depression. For me it is the fact that I am trained to try to enter a person’s world, and understand that world… but the visit to the world of someone who is depressed can be depressing. One of the reasons for this is …

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May 21

Check Your Wallet

Recently, we were writing about the bias that practitioners have that the technique that they they have mastered is the most effective treatment for any condition. We were reminded of this issue very vividly this morning when we met up with one of our favorite people, an older man who has been seeing us for …

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May 16

Parallel Universes: The Duality of Hopelessness and Optimism

It’s hard to explain how it is possible to go from a state of complete hopelessness and a sense that the universe is profoundly hostile, to a state of optimism and and the experience of receiving support from the world and others within a single day. The fact of the matter is that it often …

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May 08

The Facts are Friendly

We have found ourselves wrestling with a couple of situations where patients seem to be trying to help us come to the “right” conclusion about their problems.  For example, one young woman is very adamant about the fact that she does not have bipolar disorder.  She has a family history of bipolar moods (her mother …

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Apr 21

Phew… That’s Done: Sustaining Attention

It is such a relief, after worrying about some health problem for a long time, to suddenly realize that that problem no longer needs acute and urgent attention. This is as true for an ankle or knee injury in sports as it is of anxiety or depression, or any other mood state that impairs our …

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Mar 22

The Gift of Hope

I have never been able to find the short article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that talked about a miraculous treatment for many ailments of the human mind and body… The article was about “hope.” When we have it there is hardly any problem we can’t tackle, and when we lack it …

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Mar 19

Trojan Horse Medications

From time to time we are asked to review the care that people with cycling moods have received, trying to figure out, from a complicated story of medication changes and mood cycles, what to do to get someone out of a period of deep pain and dysfunction. A few years ago I did such a …

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Mar 13

Small Rewards

A young woman who was scheduled to go on a big trek in the Himalayas was not doing the training she needed to in order to have a good experience. She had been depressed for the last few months and this was probably a manifestation of that mood. She told me that she felt she …

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Mar 06

A Protest

So many of us have to deal with things that are not fair – depression, unsupporting spouses, financial reversals, weight gain, etcetera, it can be tempting to launch a protest of some kind against the unfairness. These protest actions don’t have to be obvious at all, but they can have powerful effects, nonetheless. A few …

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Feb 10

Mood and Food

Today’s post was inspired by Disorderly Chickadee’s blog. She has been in an unstable (irritable) mood but her post is about how proud she is of the fact that she has been losing weight. For some reason, several people we have been working with have also been feeling irritable and agitated, and using some of …

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Feb 06

Be Helpful

We love today’s post from Just One Thing! (And yes, we have had several references to this site in the last few days… but he is starting the year by reviewing the best ideas on his site). And we felt compelled to put this post up today when we checked our email and found that …

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Jan 26

Take a Chance

If you are feeling depressed or anxious, today’s post from Rick Hanson (part of his Just One Thing blog) may be helpful. If you are already feeling energized, you might not need more encouragement to do something risky/taking a chance… Rick’s post is about how, as children, we learn to avoid certain types of conversations …

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Jan 22

Running a Marathon

Many of us are strongly motivated by the desire to achieve results, complete tasks and succeed. Often we want to get where we are going quickly. Life is too short. Seize the day. Dealing with moods can be very frustrating. Change may take place slowly. Sometimes you have to put in a fair amount of …

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Jan 10

Of Two Minds

This morning I was thinking about the relationship between your pre-frontal cortex and your limbic system. I know, it’s a little strange to be having these thoughts while out riding a bicycle in the morning… a hazard of the profession I guess. The reason I was thinking about this subject is that people’s moods appear …

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Dec 29

No More New Year’s Resolutions

We’re going to make a strong pitch for you to not have to make any more New Year’s Resolutions. Honestly, why this idea of deciding to make big changes in your life on January 1st has persisted, is one of the mysteries of human mythology. Perhaps it’s because we are such incurable optimists at heart. …

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Dec 15

Inspiration and Skepticism

A very dear and cherished friend is visiting us. She has inspired this post. Every time we are fortunate enough to visit with her I have an opportunity to wrestle with the dichotomy of faith and inspiration, as opposed to science and skeptical inquiry, that is at the heart of Western medicine. Carey has vigorously …

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Nov 27


Traveling can be exciting, but it can also be very stressful. It is particularly important for people living with moods to do prepare for travel before they leave. A surprisingly high percentage of serious mood catastrophes, in our experience, happen during trips. And they are almost always preventable. First, if your traveling to some place without …

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Nov 23


The “hot” thing in the therapy world these days is something called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The radical notion behind ACT is that therapy should not be primarily about reducing symptoms (like depression) but rather increasing our ability to have a valued life (a life that is based on our deepest values) even though …

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