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This is the third article in a 3-part series. The blogger recommends reading the first article and second article before reading this one. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder over 15 years ago, everything I read suggested that people with bipolar disorder should avoid stress as much as possible. As someone who had studied...
Sometimes mania seems like the ugly stepchild of the bipolar duo of mania and depression. Depression seems to get all the hype, all the attention. And mania sits in a corner like Baby from Dirty Dancing. But if any of you have seen a loved one (or you yourself) have experienced a manic episode, then you know mania is not some passive, quiet,...

Beauty Can Emerge

July 20, 2015
The other day I noticed that a plant in my cactus garden began to grow something that looked like horns and then like green candy canes!  At first I thought I should pluck them out because they were weird looking.  I asked a friend what she thought I should do.  She said that maybe that was my plant’s way of flowering. Within a week...

Who Do You Support?

June 22, 2015
In the past week I had an in-depth conversation about bipolar disorder with a friend of mine who knows very little about it. I appreciated her honesty and being open to learn about something that has been a big part of my life. One question that she asked me really stuck out. “What assisted you the most in getting out of depression?” ...
Recently a friend asked me what to do about someone that he suspects has bipolar. It was not someone I knew and as he was back in his home country, I could only give some pointers over Facebook message. Firstly, I asked him to read up about the condition, especially how to recognise possible symptoms. That’s the easy part. The difficult part...

Be The Village

May 26, 2015
Parenting isn’t easy. Anyone who’s ever parented, or has even just been parented well knows that. Don’t they say, “It takes a village to raise a child”? As if to say raising children well takes more than just one person, it takes a community, right?  Let’s suppose, God forbid, that your child has been diagnosed with a very serious illness,...
Last month, I wrote about my drop in center, Rebel’s Drop In, which offers peer mentoring, art classes, outings, and other activities.  What would it take to start one?  What is peer mentoring?A peer is someone who has personal experience living with mental illness.  Seventy eight comparative research studies that I read prove that...

Lift Me Up File

March 3, 2015
The purpose of this tool is to be reminded of good things that people have said about us.  When I've felt low in the past and taken a look through this file, it has helped to improve my mood.  This tool consists of both a physical file folder and a digital folder in your email, or somewhere in your computer.  Physical file - in a...
During the past year I received wonderful online support from bipolar-themed social media contacts and bloggers.  As fulfilling as their encouragement was, I also craved real life support, connection and friendships with people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A peer-to-peer support group is a great place to do just that! The...
One of the reasons I am glad that I moved to Florida is that it led me to a peer run drop in center near my house called Rebel’s Drop In. In my small county, Broward, between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, we have 5 of these centers. Peer run drop in centers average 5 per state, see the links below to find one near you. Mindfulness, OA, NAMI...

Group Therapy Provides Hope

February 12, 2015
I recently joined a bipolar support group. My doctor and therapist have been encouraging me for months to join the group. They believed it would help me "normalize" some of my feelings by being around others who might have the same experiences. I put off going to the group because 1) I was either too sick (manic or depressed) to feel like...

Why Recovery is Possible

February 10, 2015
I recently read an article written by a person who is tired of people like me talking about recovery from psychiatric disorders.  She wanted us to “stop talking about recovery and start using a more useful and less stigmatizing word: hope.”  I am not sure what she wants us to have hope of.  Stabilization?  Maintenance?  ...