Chronic Health Condition

A woman who works in the health care field came in for a visit with us today.  We’ve been seeing her for about five months.  She had a problem with depression and then developed a hypomanic episode. She has continued to have mood cycles for the last several months. It’s now clear that she has developed a bipolar type of …

Mismatched Energy

The wife of one of the people I work with sent me a short note saying that her husband was energized (not quite hypomanic), and she was finding it hard to cope with his constant animation and enthusiasm. It got me thinking about scale and how we constantly change the way we talk based on our audience. I am in …

Exercise and Brain Health

According to the Exercise and Brain Health: Good Points to Remember article in the December 27, 2012 issue of Bipolar Network News, “(…) exercise is extremely important in (…) helping to improve depressed mood, increasing cardiovascular fitness, and maintaining healthy cognition.” It is also suggested that aerobic fitness may increase the size of the hippocampus which in turn decreases risk factors for …

Coming Out

Coming out– One of the topics that has generated the most interest on this site has to do with whether to tell others about the challenges you have to deal with as the result of moods, especially whether to tell people that you have a diagnosis of a mood disorder. I have written a bit about this topic in a …

Two Minute Meditation

Sometimes when we most need to get to the meditative or mindful state… it can be hardest to get there. For many people, being a bit energized.. with our thoughts going quickly, many ideas, drawn to many things… sounds are more profound, colors are brighter, smells and tastes are richer… is such a time. There is good news. We have …

To Tell or Not – Part 2

In another post, we talked about the question of whether or not to tell friends and family about the challenges of living with mood disorders and, in particular, whether or not to share a diagnosis (such as bipolar). The discussions there about the many misunderstandings and misconceptions about moods and mood disorders that are commonplace in our society is relevant …

To Tell or Not – Part 1

One of the hottest topics on our forum, and one that led to a request for a blog post ,is the topic of whether or not to tell someone about your moods, particularly if you have a mood diagnosis. For mostly historical reasons, this issue is especially a concern for people with bipolar mood variations as opposed to unipolar moods …

Traveling

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 good medical care, it’s a …

Talking to Yourself

Sometimes talking to yourself is a sign of health. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, know that I am very impressed with how mood shapes our reality. One day I wake up and the world is bright and filled with hope, and the next day, nothing works, nothing feels right, and there is no …

In Memoriam

In memoriam. He was brilliant, a creative artist and writer with a strong and clear voice. He was impulsive and he had a generally paranoid view of the police, which they reciprocated. He had been arrested several times. When we met him he was on probation and that was why he came to see us at all. He could be …

Mood Phobias

We were talking with a couple of wonderful psychologists about what it is that helps people come to terms with moods and learn to live with them creatively.  One of the barriers to successful mood surfing is a fear of moods.  I suppose the analogy is of someone who is afraid of the waves trying to learn how to surf. …

Starting a Forum

We have finally gotten started with our online forum. This is a place where frequent visitors and subscribers can ask questions, make suggestions, offer advice, share wisdom, etcetera, related to living creatively with moods. We want this forum to be lively, positive, candid and meaningful. To that end we can promise that we will give top priority to answering questions …

Appreciating Depression?

We are indebted to Tom Wootton for his observation that the key to living creatively with bipolar is accepting and making use of depression. Tom wrote a book about depression (The Depression Advantage) that was one of the first things he wrote about bipolar (for more, see his website, Bipolar Advantage). He noted that it was a difficult book to …

Magic

It’s hard not to believe in magic when you have the experience of mood shifts. What can be more extraordinary and more magical than waking up one day, after a long stretch of struggles and pain, and seeing the world transformed all of a sudden into something positive and hopeful and vibrant and alive. This is about as close to …

Fire of Anxiety: Stop, Drop and Roll

Remember those Public Service Announcements about how to protect yourself in a fire? I can hear it in my head now–STOP, DROP, AND ROLL. That PSA must have been on heavy rotation when I was a child because any time I even see a hint of a fire, I can hear the narrator’s voice in my head telling me what …

Starbucks Therapy

We aren’t sure how we feel about the spread of Starbucks into every corner of America. But it does allow us to suggest a kind of intervention that may help you if you are depressed. It is based on Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy – which is one of the best validated psychotherapies for people with bipolar moods. Every morning, at …

Shamelessness

We think it’s about time for a little shamelessness. We have spent our entire lives trying to help people with moods find happy, satisfying lives. Honestly, one of the biggest challenges that we face is the shame and stigma that accompanies, for so many of us, any thought about depression or bipolar, or any of the other labels that we …