Decision Making

Better Decision Making – Nancy

Better decision making is important for many people dealing with how moods can influence our choices. How much self-control do you have?  Do you make the decisions you really want to make?  A new field of brain science is discovering how people make decisions, and how they utilize self-control to make better decisions.  A recent article in Medical Xpress included …

Bipolar at Work

Bipolar at Work – Nancy

Bipolar At Work: Disclosure and Accommodation Federal law provides important protections for workers who are coping with disabling mental or physical illnesses in the workplace.  Know your rights, and plan carefully for whether, when and how to request accommodations and disclose special needs at work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against anyone with a health-realted disablitiy in …

Feeling Trapped

Feeling trapped is one of the most painful emotional experiences. The need to escape from this place can sometimes lead us to do things that are irrational and self-destructive. A young woman who I’ve been working with for couple of years and he was struggled with depression on and off for many years, finally seem to be making some headway …

Mood Planning – Gina

Mood planning is an activity that is closely aligned with the goal of this website: helping people to live creatively with moods.  Having a plan in place ahead to time for when you notice warning signs or full symptoms of mania can minimize the negative impact a mood episode can have on your life. I often work with patients in …

Contagious Moods

A well designed study of adolescents suggests that there are contagious moods. This study follows on earlier research suggesting that surrounding yourself with more “contented” or “discontented” people affects how likely you are to feel contented. The new research involved groups of junior-high and high-school students who took part in depression screenings and answered questions about their best friends, many of whom were …

Mood Spectrum

Author and psychiatrist James Phelps presented a thought provoking presentation about the notion of a mood spectrum (from very unipolar to very bipolar) and how that idea is changing the way that clinicians work with people with depression. The title of the presentation was “A More Nuanced View of Hypomania” but the talk itself is broader than that. The spectrum …

Mindfulness and Illness

Newcomers to the practice of mindfulness meditation tend to imagine that mindfulness practice should ideally be associated with a state of calm happiness or relaxed bliss, so the idea of mindfulness as an approach to illness may seem odd or incongruous. It is worth going back a few years to Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s early work popularizing mindfulness in the United States. …

Online Group Therapy – Bipolar 101 – Gina

Gateway’s Bipolar 101 – Online Group Therapy Last week we started the Bipolar 101 Group at Gateway Psychiatric, the second time we’ve hosted this group. It was inspiring to see how a sense of community and connection can develop so quickly in an online meeting.  I regularly hear of the value that support plays in the lives of people I …

Supercharge Your Circadian Rhythms

Why a post about how to supercharge your circadian rhythms? The fact is that for a lot of us our bodies and our brains have a hard time adapting to modern life and the result is poor quality sleep, daytime fatigue, and, for some, depression. What Are Circadian Rhythms? Circadian rhythms are what allow your body to go from vigorous …

Campfire – Online Support

Isolation.  Seems like we should have conquered that by now.  With all our high tech tools, friending, connecting and tweeting, how can anybody be lonely anymore?  Yet isolation and loneliness are real problems, burdening people who struggle with the ordinary stresses of life, and exacerbating mental and physical illnesses. The Internet is not a solution to all our problems, it’s …

Strength, Rock Climbing and Recovery – Gina

Strength, Rock Climbing and Recovery I recently had a conversation with a client who started rock climbing. As a rock climber myself, I get very excited to see people taking up the sport. Over the years I have witnessed how rock climbing can be an important part of someone’s recovery, whether healing from an addiction, depression, anxiety, or a break …

Meditation

This is a quote from one of my patients which illustrates how profoundly a regular meditation practice can affect mood and anxiety. The woman who shared this experience with me is a genuine skeptic about all things “new age” and that made her words even more meaningful in my mind… “The most important thing to know is that for the …

An Epidemic of Fatigue

Several of my patients reported odd changes in their sleep and  their energy level this past week, as though there was an epidemic of fatigue going around. They noted that their sleep was a bit more disrupted and that they didn’t feel as rested in the morning and, for the first time in months, they began taking afternoon naps. Going …

How High is High?

We met a few days ago with one of our favorite people. She’s a writer and an artist and she has been gradually reducing some of her medications to see whether the combination of more diligent self-care and a lower dose of medications can lead to better quality of life and a return of some of her creative capacities. This …

return to work

Return to Work

Successful Return to Work Return to work is an important step in the recovery process for many people with bipolar or depression. Work is not just important financially. It is an key source of self-esteem and purpose, and a place where many people experience a strong sense of community. For these reasons, return to work is often an extremely important …