Stopping Medications – How and When to Do It

Most people with depression and/or bipolar think about stopping medications at one point or another. The results can be disastrous or good depending, in part, on the motivation for change and how it is done. As with any major life decision, it is best not to approach the decision with too much of a sense of urgency. If you’re feeling …

Raising Healthy Children

Raising Healthy Children

Raising healthy children is always challenging, a source of joy but also a source of anxiety. And having depression can add to the challenge. And yet many, many women that we have worked with have had successful pregnancies and raised wonderful, healthy, happy children. One key to success is paying attention to how mood can influence not only ourselves but …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Elon Musk is Bipolar

Elon Musk is Bipolar – Twitter

Elon Musk is bipolar, according to a series of articles based on an exchange on Twitter. Responding to another tweet he said, “The reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress…” “I’m sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you’re doing.” He was …

Impatience Warning

Sometimes I wish that my depressed patients had more impatience. Eagerness for change when you have been depressed for a long time can be a good thing. But if you have bipolar depression, impatience is not always a useful emotion. This past week, several people began expressing impatience with their progress. A couple of them expressed the view that I …

Ride the Tiger

Ride the Tiger is a wonderful PBS documentary that covers a lot of important information about bipolar in an entertaining and informative one hour program. One of my patients strongly recommended it. Treatment Stories about treatment, the good, the bad and the ugly. Self Care The importance of self care. A brief introduction to some useful ideas. The Genetics of …

Radical Acceptance and Coping with Bipolar Disorder – Gina

What is radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is an approach named by Marsha Linehan, PhD who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is about completely and totally accepting something, stopping the fight against reality, and ultimately, suffering less. Things will regularly happen in our lives that are outside of our control, such as having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or experiencing a …

Shame and Guilt After Mania – Gina

Addressing Shame and Guilt After a Manic Episode I have witnessed the immense pain caused by the shame and guilt experienced by people with bipolar disorder following a manic episode.After a manic episode, most have engaged in behaviors that they regret. The resulting shame and guilt can contribute greatly to symptoms of depression that follow an episode. Understanding techniques and …

Bipolar 101 Online

We are putting our Bipolar 101 course online. The first portion of that 9 part course is going to be available free on our sister site, Gateway Psychiatric Services, but here is a preview of one section entitled “What is Bipolar?” Future sections will address self care, medications, other therapies, and a host of other issues and concerns.

Cognitive Recovery from Mania

Cognitive recovery from mania or depression seems to lack behind the improvement in mood symptoms. In our experience full cognitive recovery may take up to three months after the mood symptoms have remitted. One way of thinking about this is that an episode of mania, or depression, upsets the normal function of the brain and it takes a while for …

Smartphone Apps for Bipolar

How good are smartphone apps for bipolar? A 2015 journal article provides details of a careful review of 82 apps providing either information or tracking tools. There were a range of resources available… 32 apps provided information 35 apps offered symptom monitoring 10 apps included screening and assessment tools 4 apps offered community support 1 app provided treatment of some …

Mania Warning Signs in the Eyes – Gina

Recognizing Mania Warning Signs, Even in the Eyes Knowing and understanding warning signs of depression, hypomania and mania can be crucial in accessing the resources and supports needed at different times in your life. Warning signs can vary across individuals but there are also many warning signs that are thought to be more universal such as changes in sleep. The …

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy and ideas after a long …

Celebrating World Bipolar Day 2017

  On March 30, 2017 we will be celebrating World Bipolar Day as a platform to provide global education, open dialogue and improved sensitivity about bipolar disorder. Stigma can play a huge role in access to care, and the way an illness can impact our relationships, work and engagement in the world. World Bipolar Day is about battling stigma and …