6 Types of Friends you need in your Life — Defying Shadows

This is a wonderful blog, and I particularly liked this post about friends. We tend to think of friends on a single dimension of “good” or “bad” but different friends meet different needs… My friends are one of the greatest blessings in my life. We have weathered many storms, and celebrated many victories. I learn from each of them on …

Support a Loved One with Bipolar – Gina

Many family members I speak with struggle with the question of how to best support a loved one with bipolar. As a loved one, it can be incredibly stressful to battle with unknowns, one’s own anxiety and feelings of helplessness. People are understandably eager for information that can equip them with tools to help. I have found there are numerous things …

Facebook Friends May Save Your Life

Facebook friends may help you live longer. This is the surprising result of a recent study that received a lot of attention, and which some of you may have thought was a marketing ploy. However, the study was published in the prestigious journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is a summary of the study and the findings …

Friends and Purpose

Maff Potts spent his professional life working with charities for the homeless in England. But he was frustrated that all of his work did not seem to be changing outcomes for the people he was working with. The result of his reassessment is a program that focuses on addressing what Maff feels are the two psychological problems that bedevil the homeless… …

Friends and Family Don’t Understand – Bipolar Communication Problems

Sometimes those without the challenges of bipolar neurochemistry simply “don’t get it” – how moods can shift abruptly and dramatically, and often without warning, or with subtle hints of the mood shift about to confront you  – and at what might be the slightest trigger a sudden onslaught of  overwhelming sensations due to hypersensitivity to stimuli, someone chewing can sound thunderous;  a repetitive noise, such …

Friends: Who to Tell and Who to Keep – Lyndsey

If you are like me, the life you created for yourself pre-diagnosis is probably not going to be the healthiest influence during this time of transition.  Remember that old adage about birds flocking together? Now is the time to be aware of which birds you are flying with. Family. So you can’t do anything about who you’re stuck with in …

Befriending Stress

A colleague recommended this fantastic TED talk by Kelly McGonigal on the cardiovascular and social benefits of befriending stress (and potentially other negative emotions) as opposed to fearing these types of feelings. Kelly offers a fascinating perspective on oxytocin as a stress hormone that serves as a mechanism for resilience, helping people connect with others in times of challenge. Kelly …

I Need New Friends

“I thought I needed to replace my friends.” This is how one of our patients described her experience of a several week period of mania last summer. Her friends insisted that she needed to get help and that something had to be done about her energized state. But she had just emerged from a many year depression and felt that …

Just Be Quiet

I just met with a smart, funny, attractive graduate student who had a severely traumatic childhood. She came in looking obviously frazzled and announced that she had been crying continuously since she got a terrible haircut the previous day.   I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel the urge to reassure her. Especially because, in addition to all her …

Parallel Universes: The Duality of Hopelessness and Optimism

It’s hard to explain how it is possible to go from a state of complete hopelessness and a sense that the universe is profoundly hostile, to a state of optimism and and the experience of receiving support from the world and others within a single day. The fact of the matter is that it often seems as though there are …

Coming Out Bipolar

When and whether to tell people about a mood disorder is a topic of great interest to readers of this blog. Disorderly Chickadee is a very personal, and very well written, blog about living with bipolar. Yesterday’s post was all about coming out about bipolar – in this case it was about telling your boss. We think many of you …

Giving Thanks

A friend asked “What is Thanksgiving all about?” There is the traditional answer about the Pilgrims and the Indians, but Thanksgiving as a national holiday has a shorter history. The holiday was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863. The idea was largely the product of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for …

Disaster’s Aftermath

The recent hurricane that hit New Jersey and New York reminded us of the research on the aftermath of disaster conducted by a friend and colleague, Kent Harber, PhD. Kent has been very interested in posttraumatic stress disorder, and in particular, the work of Dr. James Pennebaker, on the value of sharing one’s story in the aftermath of trauma. Jim …

Partners

This past week we had a chance to meet with a number of people who were very distressed when they first came to see us, and who made huge progress in creating lives worth living…. in living creatively with moods. It got us to thinking about why they succeeded. There are a number of reasons for their success – they …

Codependent no more

We have never been big fans of the way the term “codependent” evolved in the non-professional world into a way of describing almost any show of compassion for someone with difficult problems. On the other hand, after years of struggle (and, yes, our own therapy) we finally came up with our own rules of thumb for when to back away …

Loving Kindness or Metta

Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, you’ll end up having more… Last Sunday at church there was a children’s chorus singing, and this was one of the songs. It seemed very familiar… The cultivation of loving-kindness (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In some Buddhist traditions, the meditator begins cultivating loving-kindness …