New Spouse by Friday

I’ve been working with a very successful attorney who has been struggling to find a way to stay in his marriage for a couple of years.  The heart of the matter is that his wife had a serious health problem, which is now resolved. Through the process of dealing with this health problem she probably became depressed and certainly became …

The Complete How to Repair Your World Toolkit

A wise woman who has had more than her share of challenges and yet has overcome them with grace, intelligence and determination, Deborahmichelle Sanders, recently published a toolkit for people who are recovering from a serious mental illness. She has kindly offered to allow us to excerpt some portions of the toolkit for readers of this blog. I am so …

Mindfulness for Bipolar – Eric

Could mindfulness meditation be a viable treatment for bipolar disorder? What are the aims of modern-day meditation? Transcendence? Inner peace? Maybe a sort of vague, on-and-off tingling around your body where you think your chakras should be? With mindfulness meditation, there really aren’t any guarantees. In fact, just having any expectations, or the experience of “anticipation,” runs counter to the …

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success in the business world (The Hypomanic …

Welcome to the Jungle

Since Welcome to the Jungle is a book about bipolar written for young adults. And since most people are diagnosed with bipolar as young adults, often thrown into a world of confusingly contradictory information, needing to suddenly understand a complicated condition, and make important self care decisions, when they have only recently started living independently, we thought this book could …

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is a nice addition to the large list of bipolar self help books. Hillary Smith has written a book for the young person dealing with a new diagnosis. The information is up to date, but the tone is informal, and respectful of the mix of feelings that many people have facing a new diagnosis of bipolar …

Bipolar Books – Marbles

Bipolar books are coming out with greater frequency. I’m hoping to focus on some of the more creative examples in this site. I’m happy, once again, to post a sample of a wonderful book by Ellen Forney called Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. This is a delightful cartoon book that was a New York Times bestseller. I’m hoping that …

“Normal” Sleep

One of the justifiable criticisms of psychiatry is that it has a tendency to define a relatively narrow range of behavior as normal. We often tell the psychiatry residents to watch out for this tendency, and try to avoid it. Certainly sleep medicine is at least as prone to this tendency as psychiatry, as we are reminded by a fascinating …

My Brain is Trying to Kill Me

Sometimes brains do terrible things. One of the worst of those things is the suicidal preoccupation that can, eventually, lead to suicide itself. Over the years I have done a lot of thinking about suicide and suicidal preoccupation. One aspect of thoughts of suicide is the data about what happens when someone tries to kill him or herself and is …

DSM5

In the next few days the American Psychiatric Association is meeting in San Francisco and will announce the latest version of its diagnostic and statistical manual: DSM5. Tom Insel, the Chief of the National Institute for Mental Health, created quite a stir last week by seeming to announce that the new diagnostic manual was an emperor with no clothes. The …

WorkSurfing

The New York Times recently published an intriguing article entitled “Relax, You Will Be More Effective.” It arrived at just the right time. Preparing for an upcoming vacation had made me particularly hectic. And then, while I was on vacation and writing this post, I got a blog post from MoodScope which was devoted to the importance of taking regular …

ACT

The “hot” thing in the therapy world these days is something called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The radical notion behind ACT is that therapy should not be primarily about reducing symptoms (like depression) but rather increasing our ability to have a valued life (a life that is based on our deepest values) even though we have symptoms. And, by …

Moodsurfing: Catching Our Breath

It has been four months since Moodsurfing has started. More than a hundred articles, thousands of visitors. Thanks for your support. We have obviously had things to say that were meaningful, maybe we said things that were annoying, hopefully not too many things were flat out dumb. It is a good start, but we still have some short term goals …

Bad Memories

Unstable moods and bad memories seem to go together. In the clinic where many of us work we have noticed how often it is that folks who we see with bipolar have had traumatic experiences in childhood. Why that happens is speculation. But we do know that dealing with those experiences can be very, very hard, and, potentially, life transforming. …