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 …

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 …

Pay Attention

We need to be noticed and attended to. It is one of the most important psychological needs we have. For several years, I have been lecturing residents in psychiatry at UCSF on the management of people in crisis. One of the topics, is how to work with people who are potentially violent. On an inpatient psychiatric unit there are, from …

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 …

The Loving Brain

Get ready, because the month of July has an exciting event coming up! Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is hosting a free interview series called the Loving Brain starting July 15. For the 8 following Mondays, experts will be giving talks on how to develop positive relationships with others and establish a healthy self image. If you happen to miss a speaker …

Cling Less and Love More

Right in the midst of working with a young woman who has been struggling with how to accept the possibility that a new relationship might have to end (her boyfriend is still caught up in thoughts and feeling evoked by his ex, who sounds like the kind of intense woman who can easily trap a young man in a prolonged …

The Big Fight

How is it that so many couples end up having knock down, drag out fights?  How can seemingly rational people end up saying things that just don’t make any sense? Several people that I’ve seen recently have told me a similar story.  As in every relationship, they have had certain long-standing issues in their relationships, areas where one or the …

Lowering Your Profile

This is the season (spring) when there is suddenly lots of energy around. I used to regularly run around a local lake. The run was peaceful and pleasant at all times of year except in the spring. In the spring the male geese suddenly felt that that had to make their presence known. They would flap their wings and attack …

New Spouse by Friday

I’ve been working with a very successful attorney who has been struggling to find a way of staying in his marriage for a couple of years. The heart of the problem is that his wife had a serious health problem (which is now resolved), but through the process of dealing with this health problem she  became depressed and discouraged about her health and …

Compulsions, Addictions and Secrecy

I got an urgent call yesterday from somebody that I’ve been seeing for several years.  His fiancee had just left him.  They had been having problems for several months, problems mostly rooted in his ambivalence about commitment.  She went on his cell phone and found evidence that he had been having flirtatious conversations with seven different woman over the last …

Creative Tension

I was inspired to write today’s post after watching a video sent out by a colleague as her “Valentine’s Day gift” to a group of mental health professionals interested  in women’s issues. The video was from the TED series (strongly recommended) and had to do with the challenge of having a long-term passionate relationship. The author was a delightful, French …

The “Pause” Button

Do you know the feeling of desperate urgency in a conversation with a close friend or romantic partner? The sense that you have to defend yourself from attack, or make a very important point? This feeling is often a signal that it is a good time to use the “pause” button in the conversation. The “pause” button is a previously worked out …

Give Love

We really liked the recent post from Just One Thing on the practice of “giving love.” It resonated with research on how helping others (altruism) improves your mood, and also on the data that shows that one of the most effective antidotes for depression is to systematically try to act more in line with your deepest values. The post is …

Coming Out Can Help Your Health

We saw this article and thought it probably has a lot to say about the reasons to be direct with others about moods, and how they affect you. It is from Psychiatric News, January 29, 2013. The same reductions in stress hormone levels have been shown in a number of studies about disclosing potentially stigmatizing conditions. For more on the …