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Archives for July, 2011

Anxiety and Panic

Resources for Healthy Partners About Mental Illness

One of the things I always ask my clients is how much they know about their diagnoses, and commonly, I hear, "Not much," beyond the fact that they are living it, of course. I find that having just a little information can go a long way in helping people understand their illness and jumpstart their recovery.

For partners of those with a mental illness, it's just as important that you understand what your partner is dealing...
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Marriage

The Kids Are Alright: What to Do When Your Partner is Ill

They say there's no greater love than the love you have for your children. So when you see your partner struggling with the effects of a mental illness, panic can set in, making rational people think emotionally, which often leads to rash decisions.

This is especially true if you are in a panic about whether your partner is capable of caring for the children. (Or if you are looking for a reason to take the children...
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Marriage

In Sickness and In (Mental) Health

For those who are new to reading this blog, I introduced it back in March by saying that the inspiration for it was the many clients I have seen whose relationships were shattered by the impact of their illness. My hope was that if a partner who was reaching their wit's end with dealing with their partner's illness could read a post that resonated, perhaps a relationship or two could be saved.

One of...
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ADHD

What Your Partner With ADHD Would Like You to Know

My previous post on what people with depression would like their partners to know was quite popular, so I thought perhaps I'd give a voice to patients who struggle with other mental health concerns. This time, we're going to hear from the folks with adult ADHD.

Adults with ADHD are often misunderstood by others around them--after all, there's still the widespread perception that ADHD is a kids thing, and really,...
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Partners

Empowering Your Partner in Recovery

In my previous post, I talked about how your partner is not their illness--rather, their illness is just one part of who they are now. Often, when people hear about mental illness, they mistakenly assume that the illness is forever, and that's often not the case.

But the definition of "recovery" from a mental illness can be elusive, not to mention different for each person. According to the National Consensus Statement on...
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ADHD

Your Partner is Not Their Diagnosis

It's an easy trap to fall into: "I'm bipolar"...."My partner is OCD"...."She's anorexic"...."He's borderline"...

Describing your partner as the illness, instead of as having an illness, can make a subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) impact on both your and your partner's perceptions of them, their capabilities, and their hope for recovery. It implies that the illness is woven into the fabric of your partner's being, and that things will never improve.

Saying your partner has bipolar,...
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Partners

Are You Hiding Your Feelings About Your Partner’s Illness?

A few years ago, a man in Maryland began an art project that invited people to send their secrets anonymously via postcard to his mailing address. Four books, a lively discussion board, and a popular blog later, thousands of people have shared their innermost secrets with a perfect stranger, many of them finding relief in finally putting their feelings into words, even if they don’t get a personal response or ever see their...
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Depression

Tips for Relieving Summertime Depression in Your Partner

Most people associate summertime with good things: vacations, longer days, warmer temperatures, outdoor activities, and seeing friends and family you may not be able to connect with during the cold, dark winter months.

What may startle some people who have never experienced depression is that summertime episodes of depression are quite common. WebMD recently published an article about common causes of summer depression, including summertime seasonal affective disorder (SAD), disrupted schedules, body...
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Partners In Wellness with Joan Winifred

Psychiatric Advance Directives: What Partners Need to Know

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on preparing for partner relapse. In that blog, I briefly discussed psychiatric advance directives (PADs), and felt that this topic was important enough to have a blog post of its own.

According to the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives, "Psychiatric advance directives are relatively new legal instruments that may be used to document a competent person’s specific instructions or preferences regarding future...
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Partners

When You and Your Partner Disagree About Treatment

Today I've received two frantic phone calls from partners of people who are struggling with mental illness. Both of these ill partners had acute episodes of mania over the weekend, in response to stressful events that had recently transpired. And in both cases, the ill partners were reluctant to seek help, so the partners were trying to schedule appointments on their partners' behalf, hoping they could "talk them into coming" because an appointment had been...
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