Tag Archive: friendships

Apr 07

Support a Loved One with Bipolar – Gina

Many family members I speak with struggle with the question of how to best support a loved one with bipolar. As a loved one, it can be incredibly stressful to battle with unknowns, one’s own anxiety and feelings of helplessness. People are understandably eager for information that can equip them with tools to help. I have …

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Jan 21

Facebook Friends May Save Your Life

Facebook friends may help you live longer. This is the surprising result of a recent study that received a lot of attention, and which some of you may have thought was a marketing ploy. However, the study was published in the prestigious journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is a summary of …

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Oct 24

Friends and Purpose

Maff Potts spent his professional life working with charities for the homeless in England. But he was frustrated that all of his work did not seem to be changing outcomes for the people he was working with. The result of his reassessment is a program that focuses on addressing what Maff feels are the two psychological …

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Jul 23

Friends and Family Don’t Understand – Bipolar Communication Problems


Sometimes those without the challenges of bipolar neurochemistry simply “don’t get it” – how moods can shift abruptly and dramatically, and often without warning, or with subtle hints of the mood shift about to confront you  – and at what might be the slightest trigger a sudden onslaught of  overwhelming sensations due to hypersensitivity to stimuli, someone chewing can sound …

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Jun 11

Seeing the Other – Kelsey

“I see you.” That is one of the many profound concepts in one of my favorite movies, Avatar. “I see you.” For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, “I see you,” is the greeting of the Na’Vi, which expresses a sense of being aware of being seen by another.* Whoa. To be seen …

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May 21

Friends: Who to Tell and Who to Keep – Lyndsey

If you are like me, the life you created for yourself pre-diagnosis is probably not going to be the healthiest influence during this time of transition.  Remember that old adage about birds flocking together? Now is the time to be aware of which birds you are flying with. Family. So you can’t do anything about …

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Feb 10

Befriending Stress

A colleague recommended this fantastic TED talk by Kelly McGonigal on the cardiovascular and social benefits of befriending stress (and potentially other negative emotions) as opposed to fearing these types of feelings. Kelly offers a fascinating perspective on oxytocin as a stress hormone that serves as a mechanism for resilience, helping people connect with others …

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Sep 06

I Need New Friends

“I thought I needed to replace my friends.” This is how one of our patients described her experience of a several week period of mania last summer. Her friends insisted that she needed to get help and that something had to be done about her energized state. But she had just emerged from a many …

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Aug 07

Just Be Quiet

I just met with a smart, funny, attractive graduate student who had a severely traumatic childhood. She came in looking obviously frazzled and announced that she had been crying continuously since she got a terrible haircut the previous day.   I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel the urge to reassure her. Especially because, …

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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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Feb 24

Mistrust in Action

I was talking to one of my clients, a very bright and wonderful woman, mother of a delightful young girl, and usually one of my favorite people. This visit, however,  I began to experience the cycle of mistrust. When she came in I was in a good mood, I smiled and said hello. She looked …

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Jan 19

Coming Out Bipolar

When and whether to tell people about a mood disorder is a topic of great interest to readers of this blog. Disorderly Chickadee is a very personal, and very well written, blog about living with bipolar. Yesterday’s post was all about coming out about bipolar – in this case it was about telling your boss. …

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Nov 22

Giving Thanks

A friend asked “What is Thanksgiving all about?” There is the traditional answer about the Pilgrims and the Indians, but Thanksgiving as a national holiday has a shorter history. The holiday was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863. The idea was largely the product of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who …

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Nov 06

Disaster’s Aftermath

The recent hurricane that hit New Jersey and New York reminded us of the research on the aftermath of disaster conducted by a friend and colleague, Kent Harber, PhD. Kent has been very interested in posttraumatic stress disorder, and in particular, the work of Dr. James Pennebaker, on the value of sharing one’s story in …

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Oct 05


This past week we had a chance to meet with a number of people who were very distressed when they first came to see us, and who made huge progress in creating lives worth living…. in living creatively with moods. It got us to thinking about why they succeeded. There are a number of reasons …

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Sep 18

Codependent no more

We have never been big fans of the way the term “codependent” evolved in the non-professional world into a way of describing almost any show of compassion for someone with difficult problems. On the other hand, after years of struggle (and, yes, our own therapy) we finally came up with our own rules of thumb …

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Aug 21

Men are from Mars: How Gender Affects Communication

Men and women sometimes don’t seem to be speaking the same language, and this is certainly true when it comes to discussing emotions. A young woman we have been coaching was thinking about a conversation she needed to have with her father about something that she was sure was going to be very upsetting to …

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Aug 18

Loving Kindness or Metta

Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, you’ll end up having more… Last Sunday at church there was a children’s chorus singing, and this was one of the songs. It seemed very familiar… The cultivation of loving-kindness (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In some Buddhist traditions, …

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Aug 05


Recent research points to vulnerability as an important component of deep, meaningful connection to others and to life. But, for some, just hearing the word can conjure up strong feelings of fear. But what is vulnerability exactly? What is its relationship to mood? And, if it is such a good thing, what is the fear about? Vulnerability can be simply …

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Jul 26

Staying Connected: How to Maintain Communication Even When You’re Not in the Mood

Let’s say you’re having one of those shabby old days when your mood’s in the gutter and you’re in the doldrums.If you’re feeling grim and can’t face the thought of a conversation of any kind? How can you possibly do the connecting thing at times like this? Here are five ideas: 1. Opt for a more …

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