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Can those with psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder benefit from interaction with animals? For most people the answer is a resounding “YES!” There are an increasing number of dogs being trained to assist individuals with a range of disabilities. It has been noted through many types of studies that service dogs have a positive impact...
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I was standing at the kitchen sink crying. I had just screamed at my 7 year old again. Albeit he was being really annoying, and he talked back to me for the umpteenth time, but it was no reason to scream at him. I just couldn’t control my anger. I was in that agitated, almost-manic state. As soon as I yelled, he got very quiet – and I...
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Emotions and moods fluctuate for everyone. When life is going our way we are happy and when things are rough we can be down. This ebb and flow of moods is normal; it is what makes us human. So what is the difference between ‘normal’ and ‘bipolar’? Bipolar Disorder takes those highs and lows to the extreme: mania and depression. Manic...
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My Formula for Recovery

October 20, 2015
It took me a few years to figure out just what I need to stay mentally healthy with no risk of relapse. I had been on the road to recovery so long that I forgot how important all the things I do every day are. I learned the hard way that I need to stay on my plan indefinitely or it will be very difficult to get back on track. This past summer...
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Guys Supporting Guy Friends

October 20, 2015
Often I hear of women getting together with one or more friends to do things to support one person and/or another. Some examples are getting a manicure, meeting for coffee, or going to a movie. Sadly this isn’t as common in guys doing things together with their buddies from a place of support. Sure a lot of guys hang out with each other. However I...
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I used to think that I could tell easily whether or not I was feeling emotional. But recently, I have realised that it isn’t as easy as I thought. There have been times that I thought I was calm enough when talking to my partner after a disagreement – only to find out that I apparently was not. You can guess what happened in those situations....
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Headaches have been my companion off and on for years. I usually take Excedrine and Tylenol and put a cold pack on my neck. I often have to lie down as well. I even suffered with migraines for a time and lived with shots, dark rooms, and tremors. Having bipolar has only exasperated the problem because the pain sometimes plunged me head first...
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Another Diagnosis

October 20, 2015
A month ago it was just another Tuesday morning: wake up, shower and dress, drink some coffee, then leave my husband and puppy at home to drive 45min to my doctor’s appointment. It felt like the same as before: go in for 45 min, talk, get refill prescriptions if I need to, and then go home, but – not this time. I walked into my doctor’s feeling...
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When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was in shock. I had no idea about mental illness or mania or psychosis. I had no idea that my brain could be responsible for altering my reality, for making me think certain thoughts, or for making me feel sad when there was no apparent reason. Up until that point, I took reality for granted, as...
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I know what you’re thinking, “A coloring book? Has she lost her mind?” But studies have shown that adults struggling with mental illnesses have benefitted greatly from coloring books geared for grown-ups and I’m one of them! I was given one for my 29th birthday in September. I can spend up to an hour carefully coloring the detailed pictures...
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Self-harm is a way of dealing with deep emotional pain. Hurting myself made me feel better when it was the only way I knew how to cope with feelings like anxiety, sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. It’s an outward expression of inner pain—pain that often has its roots in early life. It may start as an impulsive reaction. It...
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Dealing with Stigma

September 30, 2015
“Are you on Facebook?” Those four little words make me cringe more than anything. Never did one sentence cause so much fear and anxiety. Then I have to weigh very carefully how I respond. There are questions I ask myself about the person: Are they open-minded? Will they understand? Every friend I have on Facebook, I trust. I trust that they won’t...
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