Demi Lovato March for Our Lives

Demi Lovato Encourages Us to Be Vocal – Nancy

Recording artist Demi Lovato is supporting a project called Be Vocal that enables and encourages people living with mental illness to speak out and make their stories heard in the wider world.  Lovato, a platinum-selling artist who has been performing and recording since the age of ten, received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2010. “When I finally got diagnosed …

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet – Nancy

Can the Mediterranean Diet work like medicine? Can food be even BETTER than medicine? Studies have consistently shown that the Mediterranean Diet, heavy in fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds has great benefits for health and weight loss, but what you may not realize is that this way of eating also shows great promise for the reduction of depression, cognitive impairment …

Alone or lonely

Alone or Lonely

Why is there such a difference between being alone or lonely? Sometimes there’s nothing more desirable than to take a break from a good hectic and demanding life in order to enjoy some peaceful solitude. And other times the idea of being alone taps into a terrible fear that perhaps we are unlovable. Several years ago I was sitting with a …

Psychology of Chronic Depression

The Psychology of Chronic Depression

Many people who have been depressed for a long time, develop a pattern of interacting with others that is designed to protect them from disappointment, this pattern, the psychology of chronic depression, needs to be understood in order to help people successfully emerge from this devastating condition. Avoiding disappointment and rejection is obviously a good thing, but it can lead …

Mariah Carey has Bipolar

Mariah Carey Has Bipolar – Nancy

Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey has bipolar according to an interview with People magazine, carried on their April cover.  Now in her late 40’s, Carey says that she did not seek treatment for many years, thinking she only had severe insomnia. Now, she is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder and continuing to work in the studio on her …

Spring Mania

Spring Mania – Nancy

Spring Mania – Fact or Fiction? People struggling with mood disorders frequently find their moods tied to the rhythm of the seasons.  Spring heralds an upswing in energy and cheerfulness, while autumn and winter mean “down” times for many.  As the northern hemisphere enters the Spring season, people with bipolar symptoms are cautioned to watch out for signs of mania …

Finding a Psychiatrist

Finding a psychiatrist should not be so hard. With all of the feelings that people experience that can stand in the way of getting help (shame, guilt, hopelessness, etc.), Once people finally decide to get help it should be a lot easier to find a good psychiatrist than it is. It all begins with finding good doctors. In many parts of the country …

bipolar light therapy

Bipolar Light Therapy – Timing and Effect – Nancy

Bipolar light therapy can improve mood and daytime alertness.  Light therapy is often used as an adjunctive treatment for patients who experience residual depressive effects while taking lithium or valproate as mood stabilizers.  Light therapy can also be useful for those who need to minimize medications, such as pregnant women or the elderly. A study conducted at the at Northwestern …

World Bipolar Day 2018

World Bipolar Day 2018 – Nancy

It is time for our reminder about World Bipolar Day 2018. World Bipolar Day is celebrated each year on March 30, the birthday of the artist Vincent Van Gogh, who may have had a bipolar condition.  Nowadays, it gives us an opportunity to speak out, to raise awareness and to eliminate social stigma around bipolar conditions. The theme of the …

Crazy talk

Dealing with Crazy Talk

When an elderly father starts to accuse his caring daughter of being devious, this sudden change in their relationship is what I call “crazy talk.” It can happen in almost any relationship, and it is hardest to deal with when it takes place in a very close relationship. A common reaction is to feel that it is important to convince …

Impossible Job

Impossible Job – Nancy

Do you have an impossible job?  An impossible job is a job where the scope of the work is so great that it is not possible to do all of the reasonable things related to that job. As an extreme example, if you are a busy emergency room doctor, there is no way you can do everything that you possibly …

Unhappiness Epidemic

Unhappiness Epidemic – Nancy

Are you finding yourself a part of an unhappiness epidemic?  Researchers have found sharp drops in reported happiness among adults since about 2000, and in adolescents since 2012.  While there are significant drops reported during economic hard times, such as the recession of 2009, there have not been associated rises in happiness as the economy has improved, making it unlikely …

relationship breakup

Relationship Breakup – Nancy

Are you in a relationship breakup?  Breaking up can be a real “moodsurfing time” in ones life – ups are more up and downs are more down.  The loss of a marriage or intimate partnership can feel like a death in the family, and you have to give yourself permission to grieve the lost relationship, even as you look forward …

music and mood

MoodSurfing and Music – Nancy

Moodsurfing and Music. We’ve all felt the effect that music can have on moods, from a jumpy, cheerful marching band, to a sad-story country and western ballad to an uplifting inspirational song remembered from childhood, music can affect us powerfully, sometimes changing a whole day with just one excerpt on the radio during the morning commute. Syd Baumel in his …

Chronotherapy

Chronotherapy Success!

How can something as simple as manipulating the time you sleep – chronotherapy – work so well to improve the quality of your sleep, your energy during the day and your mood? A young mother who has often complained of feeling tired with many problems with aches and pains came in with a big smile today… “I am feeling so …

Digital Phenotyping

Data Mining for Mental Health – Digital Phenotyping

Digital phenotyping is Tom Insel’s fancy term for using some of the vast amount of data that our cell phones collect about our behavior to try to inform assessments of mental health diagnosis, symptoms and risk. Two years ago an article in JAMA Internal Medicine highlighted significant deficiencies in the way that smartphone-based conversational agents like Siri or Cortona responded to …

Bipolar Bloggers

Bipolar Bloggers – Nancy

Moodsurfing has often advocated for community support building as an important component of living creatively with moods, and we are also looking carefully at the still fairly new world of online communities.  Now we have three offerings of lists of “Bipolar Bloggers” that readers may want to explore. Reading blogs about other people’s experiences struggling with moods can be either …

Contemplation

Contemplation – By Deborah

Everyday Contemplation: Maintaining a Hush for Mental Health “Contemplation:” The word’s Latin root means “a space to view auguries.” (Those are implements used for divining the future.) I say that you don’t forecast the future by quiet sitting: you change it, and for the better! You reach into your heart, bring up from it your essence, and refine that into …

Preventing Mood Episodes

Preventing Mood Episodes – Nancy

A recent article in Bipolar News reminds us of the value of preventing mood episodes, even if that means aggressive treatment. By reducing the number of bipolar episodes a patient may experience, preventative treatment can protect the brain from the damaging effects of such episodes.  Preventative treatments with multiple medications have been shown to be very effective but the medication …