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 …

Hot Button Issues in a Relationship

Dealing with a partner with emotional or psychological issues is tricky. We spent some time today trying to figure out an approach that would work for one woman and her partner. This is what we came up with. It may help you if you are navigating in turbulent waters in your relationship. The link will take you to the video …

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 …

Take a Chance

If you are feeling depressed or anxious, today’s post from Rick Hanson (part of his Just One Thing blog) may be helpful. If you are already feeling energized, you might not need more encouragement to do something risky/taking a chance… Rick’s post is about how, as children, we learn to avoid certain types of conversations that seem too risky, and …

The Cycle of Disappointment

Today’s post revolves around the universal desire to find one or more other people who is perfectly attuned to our needs, and the resulting cycle of disappointment. A woman we have seen for years continually experiences a strong sense of disappointment and loss because her highly anxious mother was never really able to be attuned to her needs. She told …

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 …

Mismatched Energy

The wife of one of the people I work with sent me a short note saying that her husband was energized (not quite hypomanic), and she was finding it hard to cope with his constant animation and enthusiasm. It got me thinking about scale and how we constantly change the way we talk based on our audience. I am in …

Who’s to Blame?

“Is it my fault?” This is one of those questions that seems to easily dominate conversations between people in a romantic relationship who are having trouble getting along. It is also a question that is usually impossible to answer (who decides? what standards do you use?) and quite unhelpful. I was talking with a recently married woman yesterday about her …

Attachment

For most of us there is nothing more important than the quality of our closest relationships. In sometimes frustrating ways, many of us notice that our close relationships seem to follow familiar patterns. Attachment theory derives from the work of John Bowlby, who observed that separated infants would go to remarkable lengths (crying, clinging, frantically searching) to prevent separation from their …

Coming Out

Coming out– One of the topics that has generated the most interest on this site has to do with whether to tell others about the challenges you have to deal with as the result of moods, especially whether to tell people that you have a diagnosis of a mood disorder. I have written a bit about this topic in a …

To Tell or Not – Part 1

One of the hottest topics on our forum, and one that led to a request for a blog post ,is the topic of whether or not to tell someone about your moods, particularly if you have a mood diagnosis. For mostly historical reasons, this issue is especially a concern for people with bipolar mood variations as opposed to unipolar moods …

A Little Romance

This week we spent some time with a couple of people who, in different ways, have become “addicted” to romantic relationships. One is a man in his early 40’s. The other is a woman in her early 30’s. They are quite different in terms of personalities, but there are some very strong similarities in terms of their childhood and relationship history. Both had quite …

Family Scapegoat

I had a conversation with two women today about their relationship with their husbands and children. They often find themselves feeling scapegoated for things that go wrong in the household. While I was talking with them, I recalled many other women who have described similar experiences. I started to wonder how this happens, and what can be done about it. …

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 …