Category: Caregiver

Dating and Mental Illness: For Better or Worse

Dating and Mental Illness: For Better or Worse

Author: Eliora Mae Baker Dating is not always pretty, and love is hard at times. The difficulties of being in a relationship with someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder are many. Is a relationship with someone with bipolar completely out of the question?...

My Pharmacy And Me

My Pharmacy And Me

By Janet Coburn You may think that your psychiatrist and your psychotherapist constitute your treatment team. You can add your caregiver, your bipolar friends, and your online groups and call them your support system. But there’s one person you’ve left...

Three Concentric Circles

Three Concentric Circles

By: Karen Meadows In retrospect, during my daughter’s battle with mental illness, I wasted a lot of energy worrying about things I couldn’t control. When I learned about a framework called Three Concentric Circles at work, I realized this was a powerful approach I...

Questions About Bipolar My Friends Always Wanted To Ask

Questions About Bipolar My Friends Always Wanted To Ask

I have been very open about my diagnosis and journey to recovery and acceptance. I started my blog to chronicle the ups and downs that I experience during my journey. Recently my friends were open enough to ask me questions they have always wanted to know about living...

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Happy Birthday to a Brilliant Father From Your #1 Fan

Dear Dad,  On your birthday, and on every day, you should know how appreciated and loved you are. I am your daughter that was shy, was afraid of strangers, had separation anxiety from Mom (from what I hear), and was afraid of my own shadow. I played it safe...

Helping A Loved One When They’re Not Doing Well

Helping A Loved One When They’re Not Doing Well

I recently watched as a friend deteriorated as a result of a new medication. She was having an adverse reaction to it and within days was manic. Everyone else saw a happy-go-lucky her, while I saw the irritation building in her, as well as her frustration as she tried...

Mental Health Awareness Q&A with David Susman, PhD

Mental Health Awareness Q&A with David Susman, PhD

The Canadian Mental Health Association first introduced Mental Health Week in 1951, and it has since become a yearly tradition. This year, Canada celebrated its 65th annual Mental Health Week from May 2, 2016 to May 8, 2016.  In the US, Mental Health Month takes...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Coping with my Wife’s Mania

Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Coping with my Wife’s Mania

Sometimes the hardest part about being married to someone with bipolar disorder is trying to reconcile the actions of the illness from the actions of the person. When you live with someone long enough you get to know them pretty well.  You become comfortable...

Breaking the Stigma

Breaking the Stigma

When I first met my wife she was invisible. Sometime after her bipolar diagnosis she was led to believe that her illness was not something to be discussed, it was something to be ashamed of. Most people that knew her diagnosis tried to be supportive of her “moodiness”...

Someone Who Understands

Someone Who Understands

Jane and her fiance, Dana, each wrote about their relationship for our couples series. JaneWriting a blog set together is both an awesome and odd experience. I write without outlines, and pour everything out – much like I deal with my moods. My fiance Dana needed...

My Biggest Supporter

My Biggest Supporter

Lynn and her husband, Bill, each wrote about their relationship for our Couples Series. Lynn I do almost everything on my own and find it hard to let people help me. What I have learned with this illness is that sometimes it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to...

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Stephanie’s husband, Don, wrote an accompanying blog to his post for our Couples Series. We recommend reading them together. Relationships are hard. Add to them the element of a mental illness and they become almost impossible. But I’ve learned a lot from...

You and Me and Bipolar Makes Three

You and Me and Bipolar Makes Three

Don’s wife, Stephanie, wrote a blog that compliments this one for our Couples Series. We recommend reading them together. Stephanie and I, after being together for 9 years, finally got married last October. The question that I often get asked afterwards by...

What I’ve Learned Since We Found Out My Wife Has Bipolar Disorder

What I’ve Learned Since We Found Out My Wife Has Bipolar Disorder

Daniel’s wife Melanie wrote a blog that goes with this one for our Couples Series, we recommend reading them together. I have known my wife Melanie for over 9 years, and we got married in May of 2015. When we first met I was so happy because I had never been in...

My Wife, Bipolar, and I

My Wife, Bipolar, and I

Beka is one of our bloggers and her husband, Ron, wrote this post for our couples series. Read Beka’s accompanying post here.I read somewhere recently that the divorce rate when one marriage partner has bipolar disorder is 90%. While it seems kind of high to me,...

Couples Counseling: What’s It All About and Should You Go?

Couples Counseling: What’s It All About and Should You Go?

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...

What If He Won’t Commit to Regular Counseling

What If He Won’t Commit to Regular Counseling

“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...

What Love Means Now

What Love Means Now

My version of love has changed from the past several years. When I was younger, love to me was an infatuation. When I was in my 20’s, love was lust – yes, there is a difference, but the label of love was used. Now, in my late 30’s, love is completely...

I Can’t Guarantee I’ll Never Become Manic Again

I Can’t Guarantee I’ll Never Become Manic Again

I have only been hospitalised for mania once (you can read about my experience here). My memory of that time is hazy and distorted by the manic lenses I was wearing but to say that it was dramatic is putting it lightly. I had just turned 23, was newly diagnosed with...

How to Support a Loved One Dealing with Mania

How to Support a Loved One Dealing with Mania

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)...

Mental Health Issues – A Challenge We Can Handle

Mental Health Issues – A Challenge We Can Handle

Human beings are social animals. We live in communities and in addition to our basic needs of clothing, shelter and food, we need strong bonds, of belongingness to go through the motions of life through good and bad times. In the case of a serious health issue...

Advice for Teens with Bipolar Disorder

Advice for Teens with Bipolar Disorder

Being a teen is rough. That’s the understatement of the century. Add having bipolar disorder on top of that and life just gets that much harder. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 22, (I’m 28 now) but the signs were starting to show when I was in high school. It was...

When Someone You Care About is Institutionalized

When Someone You Care About is Institutionalized

I woke up sad and nervous before drug treatment court this morning.  My friend, Cee, was going to be held today in county jail until a bed opened up at a nearby drug treatment facility: she kept failing drug screens and this was her consequence. It would be meted...

What To Do If You Suspect Someone Has Bipolar

What To Do If You Suspect Someone Has Bipolar

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,...

The Caregiver Club

The Caregiver Club

IBPF recently did a lecture about families and bipolar disorder that featured both consumers and caregivers – there was someone living with bipolar disorder, their parent, and their sibling. Now, I thought that was an amazing idea because I have five siblings. Yup!...

Pregnancy Part 1 of 3 – I Didn’t Think I Would Make It This Far

Pregnancy Part 1 of 3 – I Didn’t Think I Would Make It This Far

“I didn’t think I’d make it this far.” This thought has been a constant on the minds of many, at least at one time or another. It is a blatant cry of lost hope, but the courageous steps of something to look forward to. It’s all about finding that ‘one thing’ that...

The Role of Love as a Healing Force in Bipolar Disorder

The Role of Love as a Healing Force in Bipolar Disorder

I just watched A Beautiful Mind again and found the premise that love conquers all somewhat hyperbolic in the film (I kept thinking, “If you’d just take your meds…”).  But then I remembered my college English teacher, who said hyperbole usually contains a shred...

Loneliness

Loneliness

The days following my dad’s death by suicide were the loneliest of my life.  In a roomful of people, in the midst of a hug, in the middle of a conversation, the resounding thought I had was that I was alone. No one had the relationship I did with my dad, no one...

Bipolar Mother, Bipolar Son

Bipolar Mother, Bipolar Son

I dreamed of having a child throughout my formative years.  When asked what I would be when I grew up, I readily answered “A Mommy!”  I doted on baby dolls, babysat throughout my teen years and dressed every cat we ever owned up as a baby.  I deeply...

Friends

Friends

“Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family; but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything.” WILLA CATHERI discovered I had bipolar disorder in May 2014. The diagnosis was delivered roughly 12 hours after I had...

Life Preserver

Life Preserver

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) logo is a life preserver. I think the idea is that the organization brings people together who want to preserve life and prevent suicide. For those of us who have tried to help a loved one who has to navigate...

Psychiatry in Jordan

Psychiatry in Jordan

Teamwork in Psychiatry: King Abdullah University Hospital as a ModelI would like to make it crystal clear that this story aims not as the title may suggest, to draw up a panoramic view of the mental health system in Jordan. Nor does it claim a science-based approach...

Family and Friends Who Mean Well But Really Have No Clue

Family and Friends Who Mean Well But Really Have No Clue

 We’ve all heard it before, or something similar, “This too shall pass”. “Just puts your big girl panties on”. “You’ve been here before, you can do it again”. While our loved ones mean well, in the throes of...

Caregiving Matters

Caregiving Matters

There are three things that I have begun to incorporate into my way of thinking as a caregiver. It started when I was in my early 20’s and began to lightly step onto the caregiving path for my aging grandmother. My parents long ago started something, (now defunct),...

Six Simple Things You Can Do

Six Simple Things You Can Do

Be HopefulHope is crucial for recovery, and there is good reason to be hopeful when it comes to mental health challenges.  The vast majority of us who get appropriate treatment and support get significantly better.  This is good news, but it is also not news...

Hinges of Marriage

Hinges of Marriage

“We don’t have anything in common” my friend lamented, “sometimes I wonder why we even stay together.” As I listened I absently glanced at our white patio doors with it’s 3 hinges. “Well” I shared with sudden inspiration “it only takes three hinges to hold a door...

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

For the past 5 ½ years I have concentrated on one thing and one thing only … getting my son’s and my own mental health in tip top shape.  Finding the answer to decades of issues with my diagnosis of bipolar illness in 2009 was just the beginning for me.  At...

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

‘Sometimes I just want to crawl under a rock. It seems as if that is the safest place; the hardness of the rock will protect me from what I don’t want to face and I don’t need to exert energy into doing anything anyone asks of me. I can escape to the darkness this...

A Garden Full of Flowers

A Garden Full of Flowers

What is the one thing that you love? What is the one thing that you hate? ‘Thing’ has so many definitions and in a broad sense covers the spectrum of anything and everything – no matter how minute, ‘it’ holds great significance. There are positives and negatives...

When Asked to Give Advice

When Asked to Give Advice

A few of my friends who know that I have been diagnosed with bipolar have come to ask for advice on how to help someone they know, someone who seems to be going off the rails. Recently an ex-colleague asked about how to engage a friend who has stopped taking his...

Tough Decisions!

Tough Decisions!

When I was a child, I always imagined myself living in the country when I was an adult. Living off the grid in a small cottage in the woods, completely self-sustainable surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and lush green fields and keeping a goat for company. As...

My Experience With “I’m Here if You Need to Talk”

My Experience With “I’m Here if You Need to Talk”

As a woman with bipolar I disorder I have experienced many major depressive episodes. During those times I’ve not only relied heavily on family, but also on friends and church leaders. As a recipient of the compassionate phrase: “I’m here if you need to talk”, I want...

A Call for Compassion

A Call for Compassion

It often feels as if my Bipolar Disorder is just one more relationship in my life; a being separate from myself but like a significant other who I speak to everyday. No one can make me mad or push my buttons quite the way my illness can, so she definitely feels like a...

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