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General

Anxiety and Agoraphobia

I have anxiety disorder and it all started around the time I broke up with an abusive boyfriend. After the breakup he started to harass me and spread lies about me and pop up at my home having driven 7 hours from his own. It got bad. Really bad. The police became involved. I was scared. All. The. Time. And so I began to have panic attacks in the grocery store. I spent nights at...


General

Do you tell your date you have bipolar disorder?

Sharing your mental illness diagnosis is a very personal thing. Who you tell and how you tell them is completely up to you. So, do you have to tell your date you have bipolar disorder?

There are a few things to consider. The first is this horrible thing called stigma. Some people will think you are less of a person because you have a mental illness. Some people would rather not date someone with a...


General

Dark and Dreary Days

I have been out sick with a terrible cold that I picked up over the holidays. I feel like, well, I feel like shit. So as I laid in bed at noon today I thought about being sick and being well, about good days and bad. See, here's what I believe - if I never knew bad days, I wouldn't appreciate the good ones as much as I do. If...


General

Prayers

I believe in God. Even though I no longer go to church, I pray. Every night.

I thank God for my stability, for the fact that my mind is still intact, that it didn't wander away - because it has. It has wandered far sometimes. When I am neither depressed nor manic I am stable and it is this stability that I thank God for. It is this stability that I pray I will find when...


Coping Skills

Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people. Those of us who experience social anxiety are bombarded with situations that toss us into a sea of people - parties, shopping for gifts, family get-togethers. Many people leave home to spend the holidays elsewhere and the simple fact of being out of their familiar environment can be stressful. Not all family members get along, so sometimes just sharing the...


General

Should you feel sorry for me?

I have "friended" and "liked" and "followed" quite a few other bipolar people on Facebook and Twitter. If you spent a day looking at my feeds you would feel sorry for me. Because being bipolar isn't beautiful. It is horrible.

These people with bipolar disorder make jokes about the illness, like "laugh with me, not at me." There are jokes about bipolar disorder and OCD. There are jokes about the over-spending money that occurs when...


General

Holiday Depression

For many, the holidays are a joyful time of year. They get to spend time with family and friends. Some people like to give gifts, others like to receive them. Some do a little of both. There are parties and family gatherings.

But for some, the holidays are very tough. There is a lot of stress - to find the perfect gift, to even afford gifts! Some parents get depressed because they cannot afford to...


General

Anxiety over Holiday Shopping

As you may know, this beautifully bipolar chick also lives with anxiety problems. I don't like large crowds. I like to know the people in my personal space. I like to know I can escape.

Even in the off season shopping isn't always easy because going in big box stores or department stores causes me anxiety.  This problem started years ago and sometimes it doesn't bother me a bit and some days, like yesterday, I...


Bipolar

Genetic and Environmental Effects on Bipolar Disorder

Last week I listened to a fascinating free webinar given by the International Bipolar Foundation. The topic was genetic counseling for psychiatric illnesses. It isn't the same thing as genetic testing, but rather counseling based on genetics. They take into account family histories and life events. Like I said, it was fascinating.

But the most important thing I learned was that you can't blame your mental illness entirely on your genes. It takes life events...


General

When Depression Feels like the Flu

I'm having a rough day, dear reader. No, nothing has or has not happened. It is just my old friend depression coming to breathe on my neck. I know for those of you who do not live with a mental illness that includes depression, it may be hard to understand. "What's the problem?" you might say. Or "I don't understand why you feel so down." And that is...