Bipolar

No Longer At The Mercy Of Our Moods

I recently watched a movie about the life of Jackson Pollock. (Sony Pictures, Ed Harris, 2000) It left me thinking about how a generation of young artists were taught the mythology of the Abstract Expressionist painters, not just the concepts of their work. What got passed down along with the art history was the Modern American version of the myth of the tormented artist. The same mythology has been used in mental health.

"At the...
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Bipolar

The Most Important Thing To Know During Bipolar Episodes

Bipolar disorder is an incredibly complex condition. It can be approached from so many angles that you might specialize in any one of them. Unfortunately, most of the specialized approaches will do you no good when in the throes of an intense mania or depression. The only thing that matters at that point is whether your specialty is knowing how to function during the state.

I find many of the points of view about bipolar...
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Bipolar

Confusing How and Why Is Prolonging The Suffering in Bipolar Disorder

Do you suffer from bipolar disorder or know someone who does? If you want to end all suffering you need to understand the difference between why and how. The reason so many people are still suffering is because this difference has not been made clear enough.

Why do people go to a psychiatrist? To end the suffering. Why do they go to a therapist? To end the suffering. Why do...
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Bipolar

We Are Capable Of Far More Than The Limitations Most People Accept

Do you have bipolar disorder or know somebody who does? What would change if you could learn how to turn depression and mania on and off whenever you wanted to? The entire way we look at bipolar disorder would change in profound ways. Some of them are beyond most people’s imagination, but a simple illustration will help you to see why some of us say bipolar is an advantage that we do...
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Bipolar

Robin Williams’ Depression and Suicide

Robin Williams killed himself yesterday. I tried to kill myself August 8th of 2005 so I know perhaps a little bit about how he felt. My best friend Santiago killed himself in November 2005 so I also know what it feels like for those who are left behind to sort it out.
I have been contacted by several people since the news of Robin Williams' suicide. His...
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Bipolar

X-Men: Days of Future Past Explores Bipolar Disorder

I have long argued that the X-Men movies are a great metaphor for bipolar disorder. When X-Men: The Last Stand came out I wrote an article about how the X-Men’s struggle to control their “super powers” are analogous to our struggles with mania and depression. When the newest movie came out I was hoping to see further evidence in support of my ideas and was not disappointed.

There are so many parallels between X-Men: Days of Future Past and...
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Bipolar

Bipolar People Get Angry Too

Bipolar in disorder combined with anger is a very dangerous mix. The disordered person tends to become very volatile and can explode into a rage with little provocation. It is best for the person to avoid anything that might trigger anger until the disorder is in remission, but even then an angering stimulus can trigger another manic or depressive episode with anger as one of the troubling elements.

Bipolar people who have their condition in order have learned important...
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Bipolar

Is The Delusion That Comes With Remission Holding You Back?

Some call it 'state specific memory,' but after ten years and thousands of interviews I prefer to call it 'bi-cycling delusion.' It is the delusion that comes with the bipolar cycles and a primary reason people remain in disorder even with the best intentions.

Bipolar is a cyclical condition. We cycle through depressions and manias, sometimes reaching intensities that cause a crisis for us. We also periodically cycle into remission. It might be easier if the cycles...
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Bipolar

Bipolar Advantages – No Longer If, But Why And How

I attended a great presentation at the APA annual conference in San Francisco about Achievement, Innovation, and Leadership in the Affective Spectrum. Four distinguished panelists gave presentations about their research into why people with bipolar disorder tend to exhibit advantages in some parts of their lives. They said it was the first time ever that the APA had such a discussion and it was a great honor to be a part of it.

First up was
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Bipolar

Functionality-Based Understanding For Depression and Bipolar Disorder

When I first started putting together the protocol for assessing depression and bipolar disorder, I was working with a professor of Psychiatry to make sure the ideas were sound. His advice was to combine both awareness and understanding in the graph to keep it simpler. I am glad that I did not take the advice.

Awareness and understanding are different in ways that matter. Expertise might help someone understand why things happen, but does...
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Bipolar

Becoming More Aware of Depression and Bipolar

You can live in the same neighborhood for thirty years and still have little idea of what is going on there. You can shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants, talk with the neighbors, and feel that you know the community very well. But there are still more things going on than you know about. You simply never knew to look for them or were never taught how.

The police that...
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Bipolar

The Six Stages Of Bipolar And Depression

Moving From Bipolar Disorder To Bipolar IN Order

Everyone has up and down times. It is a natural part of life. If we observe our lives over time we might say there are two poles that we have; some days we feel on top of the world and other days perhaps on the bottom. That is the basis for the word bipolar and the reason I say that everyone is bipolar. Some may argue...
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Bipolar

How I Found Ecstasy In Depression


I have been meditating for over 50 years. I started when, at five years old, I became fascinated with watching my breath go in and out. I intuitively knew that this and other meditative practices would bring me to a state of ecstasy. It didn't take long before pursuing that state became the most important thing in my life.

Although I got incredibly close through my efforts in meditation, it wasn't...
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Bipolar

The Elephant In The Bipolar Room

Stigma, medication, treatment options, recovery, patient rights and physiological basis are some of the most discussed topics regarding bipolar. There are, of course, many other interesting aspects to debate, but it is hard to find any discussions about bipolar that do not include one or more of these central topics.

While it has been very healthy to debate all of them, there is an underlying assumption that must be addressed too.

The paradigm that all of...
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Bipolar

Why I Am Against Bipolar Meds

Many people say you should not discuss politics or religion with your friends because you might not be friends much longer. If your friends are Bipolar or associated with it in any way you might want to add meds to the list. The extremes both for and against meds give new meaning to the word Bipolar. The poles often seem further apart than the most intense debates in politics or religion.

I have been speaking with groups...
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Bipolar

What Depressives Can Teach Doctors About Grieving

My daughter Kate is in her fourth year of medical school and is well on her way to becoming a very caring doctor. Her greatest gift is the ability to connect with people, which thankfully is being recognized in the hospital settings as an asset.

She creates strong bonds with her patients and their families by communicating how much she cares about them. Among so many other admirable traits it is the one that makes...
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Bipolar

The Avengers – Dr. Banner’s Wisdom About Bipolar

I have long been a fan of The Hulk, but I had not noticed the incredible wisdom of Dr. David Banner until The Avengers movie made it clear.

In his wisdom about managing rage he grasps the secret to managing depression and mania too. In one brief statement he captured the greatest flaw in the current paradigm about treating bipolar.

Unfortunately, most people missed it because they thought it was just one of the many great...
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Bipolar

The Four Secrets to Being Hypomanic Successfully

My previous article covered the controversy about why people think it is not possible to be hypomanic without losing control. It's a good backdrop for this article.

There are four steps that lead to hypomanic success: Determine the starting point.
Assemble the tools necessary for the task and become proficient at using them.
Create a realistic plan.
Do the work.

Assessments
Most assessment tools for bipolar disorder are only for making a diagnosis. Rarely does...
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Depression

What Are Some Of The Positives About Having Experienced Bouts Of Depression?

A recent question on our Depression and Bipolar Advantage LinkedIN Group brings up a point that needs to be addressed if we are to fully understand depression: What are some of the positives about having experienced bouts of depression? Since most people assume there are none it is important to put it in perspective.

The answer to the question depends completely on where one is on the six stage of growth from bipolar disorder...
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Bipolar

The Missing Pieces Of The Bipolar Puzzle

You cannot fully understand bipolar until you see the whole picture. This video shows the pieces that are missing in most descriptions. For those of you who have seen the video along with the article "The Shocking Truth About Recovery From Bipolar Disorder" you can skip forward in this video to about 3:15.

The first few minutes repeat the study by the National Institute of Mental...
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Bipolar

How A Simple Eye Exam Can Lead To Better Bipolar Assessments

One of the many traits of being bipolar is the ability to see the world in a different way. Many might say it is a curse, but it can also be a gift when looked at from a positive perspective. This change in perspective can literally help you to see with greater clarity.

From early childhood, we have been taking tests to assess our understanding of the world. These tests have had a profound impact on...
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Depression

Is This Why Depressives Have Shorter Lives?

Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, in part because depressed patients are at risk of dying by suicide.1 However, we also have a higher rate of dying from other causes.2 Some researchers conclude that we may be more susceptible to medical conditions such as heart disease.3 I had an experience that might point to another cause that we...
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Bipolar

The Black Swan of Bipolar and Depression

I gave a talk the other day for NAMI Santa Rosa about my next book and a woman remarked how different it is from my previous ones. I said that my first three were about me being the black swan.

The black swan is Karl Popper's concept from the 1930s that suggested that if you observe only white swans, you are using inductive reasoning to extrapolate that all swans are white. This was falsified when black swans...
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Bipolar

How Do We Treat A Mental Health Crisis?

I am no expert on mental health crisis intervention. I have only seven personal experiences to base my opinions on. Nonetheless, it is not a stretch to say that there are some major flaws in the system that should be addressed. I know I am not alone in such an assessment and hope that we can share our ideas for how to make it better.
In trying to better understand all of the points...
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Bipolar

What Is Bipolar? What is Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar In Order?

We often hear people make the distinction between HAVING Bipolar and BEING Bipolar. Rarely, do we hear a distinction comparing Bipolar to Bipolar Disorder. I coined the term Bipolar In Order ten years ago to help make the distinction, but wonder what it means to you?

Bipolar used to be called Manic-Depression. Mania means that we are elevated. Depression means lowered. Bipolar means that we have two poles (high and low), so it is meant to...
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Bipolar

Getting Comfortable With Bipolar


One of my earliest memories is of learning to ride a bike. I remember the fear, exhilaration, and hyper-awareness, along with the tension in my body and how my breath became both more rapid and shorter. I was outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself to grow. It was also a blast!

My father had a wisdom common with most dads. He didn’t push me down a steep hill and hope I survived; he ran...
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Bipolar

How Understanding Depression Helped Me Through Election Anxiety

My sister died in my arms last June in the middle of one of the deepest impressions of my life. The fact that I understand depression and I have learned to live with it instead of against it made my depression an asset for my entire family instead of the burden that my depression once was.

This election-infused depression was not normal for me. Because of the prevalent election anxiety among so many people on the left and the right, I was experiencing levels of...
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