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 …

Contagious Moods

A well designed study of adolescents suggests that there are contagious moods. This study follows on earlier research suggesting that surrounding yourself with more “contented” or “discontented” people affects how likely you are to feel contented. The new research involved groups of junior-high and high-school students who took part in depression screenings and answered questions about their best friends, many of whom were …

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 …

States of Mind and Task Planning

How can we think about the relationship between states of mind (moods, energy levels, focus, etcetera) and task planning? All of us are aware that there are times when we are able to be very effective with certain tasks, and other times when it is practically impossible to complete a certain kind of project. This is not entirely a random …

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 …

Mood Trends

  Mood trends are useful to track in order to prevent a full blown episode of depression, hypomania or mania. I think of them as equivalent to the idea of a falling or rising barometer. Before satellites and modern weather forecasting, whether the barometer was rising or falling was the best predictor of the weather. If the barometer was rising …

Positive Change or Mania?

Charlie is concerned that by being too positive he will trigger mania. He has been hospitalized once a year and the pattern always seems to be the same. He will have settled into a seemingly fixed state of depression, and then will begin to feel frustrated with that state and tried to make changes to escape from the swampy morass. He …

Life Lived as a Bipolar – Stuart Jessiman

Introducing myself, my name is Stuart Jessiman. I’m British, I come from London and I am Bipolar. I was diagnosed in Paris five years ago after seeing a Psychologist following a particularly hypo-manic period that nearly saw the collapse of my marriage and work. People react differently when diagnosed with bipolar. Strangely, this diagnosis far from shocking me gave me a quite profound sense …

Robin Williams: Preparing for Depression – Lyndsey

Much has been made of Robin Williams’ ongoing struggle with darkness culminating with his suicide after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. People have commented mostly on how confusing it seems that someone who gave so much laughter could be visited by such exquisite pain. But we bipolars know all about this. It’s almost like living with two distinct personalities in …

Mood Swings – What Causes Them?

What causes mood swings? What do we think about when someone says their mood has been “up and down?”Among the most common causes of mood shifts are the following: A mood disorder such as bipolar, or an atypical depression. Bipolar as a cause is obvious, but an atypical depression can also be associated with mood swings. In the case of bipolar …

Social Media Makes Moods Go Viral

Previously we reviewed evidence that the people we live with (family, neighbors, even the larger community of people in a metropolitan area) have an effect on our mood, so it is not surprising to learn of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Yale, and Facebook that found that moods can go viral, just like ideas and …

Evaluating Emotions and Experiences: Could I Be Bipolar?

People often wonder whether the notion of bipolar moods really applies to their experiences. They compare what they have heard about bipolar (crazy person running berserk) and their life which is never that intense and wonder whether the doctor (or whoever else raised the idea) is just making a wild suggestion about the problem that they have. After all, it …

Odd Couple’s Therapy

I met today with two interesting people: they’re both attorneys. They have a remarkably different style and presentation. One of them is usually animated, energetic, and optimistic. However, he also has bipolar mood cycles. Sometimes his energized vibe may get a bit intense, while at other times he will be in a depressed state that makes it hard for him …