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Therapy

This is the fourth in a series of 26 posts covering a variety of stress management tools and techniques, starting with the letter A. For some background information on stress and bipolar disorder, the blogger recommends reading her three-part series, “Getting a Handle on Stress When You Have Bipolar Disorder,” starting with the first one. Welcome...
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Two years ago there was one thing above all in the mental health world that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and it was electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Not the thought of the procedure itself, but the side effects. As a nursing student, I did a psychiatric placement and part of it involved observing ECT. I saw the amount of...
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A good support system can mean the difference between living a possibly comfortable life and suffering alone without help. We who suffer know that support is important, but so many people just don't have access to acceptable support or even a partial support situation. It is such a shame to see people who don't even have familial support, let...
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Warning Signs

April 6, 2016
It’s so important with a mental illness to be vigilant of errant emotions because it could be a warning sign of the start of an episode. This has happened only a few times since I’ve been stable on medication.  The first time was during the summer a couple of years ago. I’m a teacher so I have the summers off. That year I didn’t get a summer...
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Valentine’s Day is all about the romantic, idealistic side of love. While it can be fun and meaningful to celebrate your relationship with your spouse or partner (if you have one), the reality is that relationships can be hard. The Hollywood, happily-ever-after ideal image of relationships makes for enjoyable movies, but it’s not realistic—in the...
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“You’re right, I’m a terrible mother, I’m a horrible wife, I just can’t do anything right!” I confessed as I faced my husband following his recital of my shortcomings after coming home to a messy house and 2 unkept daughters. That night I decided that my husband and daughters would be better off without me.  I left my home and began...
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DBT and Me

September 15, 2015
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally designed to treat individuals diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder (which I was), but has skills and tools for everyone. DBT has been, notably, successful in individuals with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD as well. I have /have had all three diagnoses, so I started trying to find DBT...
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Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an effective approach for a variety of issues, including bipolar disorder. It’s based on the ancient philosophical idea that suffering isn’t the result of what happens to us, but the result of how we interpret what happens to us. According to CBT, it’s largely our thoughts that lead to moods like depression and...
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Taming My Mental Illness

June 22, 2015
Quite a while ago I was told that during spring and summer I would most likely be controlling underlying mania and during winter I would be fighting depression. This is because medication doesn’t work very well for me, my moods are very seasonal and I have the type of bipolar that would make me constantly unwell if I didn’t control it. This is...
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A few months ago my mood tipped the scales into hypomania, dangerously verging on mania. This is an issue for me because once hypomanic I very quickly become chaotically manic. Fortunately I wasn’t bad enough to lose all insight and didn’t stop taking my medication which most definitely would have ended in psychosis and hospitalisation. It...
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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...
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In the beginning I thought that it would kill me, my personality, and my future. But after a few weeks I’m hugely grateful for this experience. I got there because I wanted to attempt suicide. I’ve had a few suicide attempts before but this one was extremely dangerous and real. And so sudden and unexpected. So when my feet touched the ground...
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