Getting Things Done

One of the perennial challenges for anyone with problems with depression or mood swings, and perhaps for anyone in our increasingly busy and frantic world, is how to not get overwhelmed by work and personal tasks.It is a challenge and we have historically relied on two sources of wisdom when we counsel people who are struggling with this:1.  David Allen’s …

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 …

Bipolar Suicide Film – Here One Day

I just attended the screening of a remarkable documentary at the Institute for Psychiatric Services meeting in San Francisco. The film is called Here One Day. It is an incredibly personal story by documentary film maker Kathy Leichter, about her mother, and her mother’s struggle with bipolar. The film is a tribute to a remarkable woman, who’s bipolar disorder both …

Foundations of Wellbeing

Rick Hanson’s Foundations of Wellbeing online seminar is going to help many people enjoy better, richer, happier lives. As regular readers of this blog know, we very much like Rick Hanson’s books and other writings, and now he has created a wonderful online seminar. We don’t usually make such a big deal about programs, but we think this is going …

Mood Charting Part 1

“My medications work for a while and then they just stop working…” “I have tried everything and nothing works…” “I have been in treatment forever but I just never seem to get better…” In our experience these very common concerns are often symptoms of an everyday problem in psychiatric treatment of mood disorders: it is very hard in a traditional …

Yoga for Mood and Health

Many of our patients with chronic mood disorders report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability. There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page are some additional resources. One …

Reduce Your Social Stress

Regular readers of this blog know that I really like the writings of Rick Hanson (he has a wonderful email list called “Just One Thing” and a new book that is an excellent resource for personal transformation called Hardwiring Happiness). For the last couple of months, however, his posts have seemed a bit repetitive. Just in time for the New …

Blog for Mental Health 2014

One of the benefits of blogging is that you run into interesting people and ideas. If you blog on WordPress you also get regular information about others who are doing the same thing. This past week I learned about a group of bloggers who are all working to reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental health – the Blog for …

Bay Area Bipolar Educational Group

Dr. Descartes Li (see interview in our “Conversations” section) is starting another Psycho-Educational Group for Bipolar Disorder this spring. We are happy to encourage all readers in the Bay Area to find out more information about these excellent groups. The group is an especially good option if you still suffer from mood swings, or have questions about managing your meds (and …

Sleep Therapy and Depression

What would you do if you could double the effectiveness of your antidepressants? Let’s say that this new treatment also had no known side effects, and was completely safe. That is what four studies have suggested could happen if people who were started on antidepressants received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). However, this treatment is not widely available. We …

Winter Leads to Spring

Someone shared with us a wonderful video about John O’Donohue, a Celtic poet, philosopher and writer. In it we found this quote that resonated very much with our experience. It is about winter. And depression. And how life blossoms from the seeming dreariness of a period of fallowness. We think you might appreciate it. If you like this clip we …

Cognition Enhancing Apps

An experimental computer program is associated with improved attention and working memory in people over age 60, even 6 months after training. Somewhat fuzzy-brained after a poor night of sleep I ran across this summary of a paper that was just published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature (Anguera JA et al., Nature 2013 Sep 5; 501:97). Where could I test drive this application, …

Online Resources: Links and Apps Update

The very useful listserve of the Northern California Cognitive Behavioral Therapy association has had a great thread about favorite apps for mental health. We took advantage of the opportunity to update the page entitled “Links and Apps” with some more options. Here is an unedited list of the favorites from that group… note that this list is heavy on iPhone …

Brain Power

Problems with memory are common for people with depression (and the rest of us, as we age, as well). Although the most important thing to do to improve brain function is to address mood extremes, there are often residual problems, and sometimes there are negative brain effects from the medications that help stabilize mood. A wonderful older man who came …

Iron for PMS

A recent study suggested that women who consumed higher amounts of iron (from plant not animal sources) had a lower rate of premenstrual symptoms. Those who consumed more than 20 milligrams per day had about a 30% reduction in PMS symptoms compared with those who consumed less than the average amount  (average intake of 9.4 milligrams per day). This study …