Category: Coping Strategies

An Alternative Christmas

An Alternative Christmas

By: Sophie Prosolek Christmas is a time of festive joy, of giving and receiving – ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’, or so the song goes. But several years ago I decided to make a change to the way I celebrate Christmas – I decided to...

Holding on to Hope

Holding on to Hope

By: Thea Madeline Porter I grew up in a typical middle class neighborhood in southern California. During my childhood I enjoyed being creative, playing sports, taking Irish dancing, listening to music, watching movies and hanging out with friends and family. I was...

Vigilance

Vigilance

By: Malcolm Kerec A few weeks ago, I had a sharp reminder of how looking after my mental health is a constant battle and that staying well is not a set-and-forget task. After years of relative stability, it’s all too easy to take good mental health for granted....

The Weight Gain Roller Coaster

The Weight Gain Roller Coaster

By: Ivory Smith Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a big meal only to feel hungry 2 hours later? Do you eat that 4th meal of the day at 3:00 am at night standing in the kitchen? Have you watched your clothes get tight and hope that it is because the dryer that...

Supporting a Friend in a Bipolar Depressive Episode

Supporting a Friend in a Bipolar Depressive Episode

By: Allan G. Cooper When I am experiencing a Depressive Episode it feels like I am walking in a dark haze of sadness and fatigue. My limbs feel like they are twice as heavy and it takes a tremendous amount of will power to complete the simplest of tasks. Social...

Accepting My Diagnosis

Accepting My Diagnosis

By: Sydney Batt I felt slightly relieved the day I was diagnosed with having bipolar disorder– it felt good to have an explanation for my actions, however the days to come were very difficult. I was very emotional the first couple months after my...

Hold On

Hold On

By: Laura Sanscartier (Trigger warning for sexual assault) There’s a song by Sarah MacLachlan called “Hold On”. The first line is “Hold on, hold on to yourself, for this is gonna hurt like hell.” I often think of it when it comes to hard...

Life After Psychosis

Life After Psychosis

By: Allan G. Cooper Do you know what it feels like to help NASA calculate the speed of light? Or, maybe you know what it’s like to find a formula that makes nuclear fusion possible. How about being the sole person responsible for averting a disaster that would...

The Power of Peer Support

The Power of Peer Support

By: Allan G. Cooper “Psychiatrists can tell you about the ocean by reading about it and seeing it in their practice but we know what it’s like to be in the water”. This is how my co-worker Ray explains peer support. We work for an agency called OBAD, the...

Managing School While Feeling Depressed or Manic

Managing School While Feeling Depressed or Manic

By: Sydney Batt Students living with Bipolar disorder have challenges not many people see or understand. Features of bipolar disorder make it tough to thrive in school, so it may feel like a lonely battle in the classroom. School stressors can contribute to triggering...

Maintaining My Mental Illness Is A Lifestyle

Maintaining My Mental Illness Is A Lifestyle

By: Andrienne Kennedy If someone had asked me five years ago how do I manage a mental illness, I would have not been able to give an answer. For years, I was uneducated about mental illnesses or mental health all together. That changed back in 2014 when I was...

Working Toward Mental Wellness

Working Toward Mental Wellness

By: Tosha Maaks Remaining balanced when you live life with bipolar disorder isn’t some magical trick and it isn’t some tricky formula that only those who have super powers have figured out. However, stability I can say is a magical place to be after years of living in...

Navigating Communication During The Holidays

Navigating Communication During The Holidays

By: Courtney Davey, MA, LMFT The holidays are a wonderful time: family, friends, feelings of good will etc. However, these additions to your schedule also can create high levels of stress. Holiday movies are notorious for making gags out of the difficulties with...

How To Stress Less Even When The Holidays Are Hard

How To Stress Less Even When The Holidays Are Hard

By: Andrienne Kennedy This is the most wonderful time of the year! For many people the holidays signifies happiness, family and fun. But what about those who struggle when holiday time comes around? While the meaning of the holidays is beautiful, it can be a rough...

The Masks We Wear: Being Honest About Our Feelings

By: Conor Bezane I feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to take my meds and stay on them. Pressure to be a good son, brother, and uncle. Pressure to be a man. Pressure to conform and lead a healthy, happy life. It’s tough, but I’ve learned to maintain composure and grace...

Why I Stay

Why I Stay

By: Laura Sanscartier In the throes of my bipolar depression and psychosis, all I wanted to do was die. This has happened multiple times in my life. I have attempted suicide multiple times. I was sure that the only way to relieve the stress on my spouse and family was...

It’s Cool To Be Kind

It’s Cool To Be Kind

By: Andrienne Kennedy “As you get older, you will discover that you have two hands.  One for helping yourself, one for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn Last year was a pivotal year for me. I was 39, and really started thinking about my 40th birthday which would...

“Bipolar” Is The Wrong Word

“Bipolar” Is The Wrong Word

By: James Phelps, M.D. “Bipolar” is the wrong word. Worse than inaccurate — it’s directly misleading: 1. Depression is the main problem for most folks. Bipolar should be called “Depression Plus.” 2. Depression and manic symptoms frequently occur together,...

5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Was Diagnosed

5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Was Diagnosed

By: Danielle Workman I’ve said it in many other posts and even in my book, but the day I received my diagnosis and was told I had Bipolar Disorder, I truly felt alone. The days that followed, the feeling remained. The more I searched online and the more I dug, the...

New To Dual Diagnosis? – Five Critical Life Hacks

New To Dual Diagnosis? – Five Critical Life Hacks

By: Conor Bezane There are 5.7 million bipolar people in the US, and 60 percent of them are addicts, according to the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. Co-occurring addiction is more common in bipolar people than in any other psychiatric group. We drink and use...

Finding Strength in my Story

Finding Strength in my Story

By: Danielle Workman The day I received my diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder, I felt so alone. I remember it vividly, because it was so incredibly painful. I didn’t know anyone with Bipolar Disorder I could talk to about it. The people I knew that had anxiety and...

My Thoughts On Stigma And Having A Bipolar Diagnosis

My Thoughts On Stigma And Having A Bipolar Diagnosis

By: Serena Goldsmith As a peer counselor, speaker, and mental health clinician, many people have shared with me that they feel stigmatized by having a mental health diagnosis and they feel reluctant to tell others about it. I felt that way too for many years after I...

Hiding In Plain Sight

By: Aubrey Good I am an intern at the International Bipolar Foundation. I spend a few hours a week at the office finding articles, writers, resources, etc. that I believe are beneficial to educating the public on bipolar disorder and also offer hope and understanding....

My Journey With DBT: Part 3

By: Allison Strong I’m in a year-long Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program.  Many people repeat the course. More than once! They say in their first year they felt more like passengers than patients because there’s so much material to cover.  I agree. Now that we’re...

My Journey With DBT: Part 2

By: Allison Strong When I first did intake for group dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), I sorta ‘flunked.’ Temporarily. It was determined that I’d been traumatized and I was transferred to their Trauma Resolution and Integration Program (T.R.I.P.) for individual...

A Step Back From The Edge

By: Nic Fleming It has been almost 8 months since my last blog. It is hard to believe how much time has passed. I literally could not write- or read for that matter. So yes, I have been exceptionally unwell but I would like to share some aspects of my experience over...

How DBT Helps Me Deal With Bipolar Disorder

How DBT Helps Me Deal With Bipolar Disorder

By: Allison Strong A year ago, I wrote about Zen, Mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is an update on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—both written by Marsha M Linehan, Ph D. Originally, DBT was strictly for the treatment of borderline personality...

What Happens If You Let Anxiety Get The Best Of You?

What Happens If You Let Anxiety Get The Best Of You?

By Melanie Luxenberg You don’t want anxiety to win, but let’s face it; sometimes it happens. I say don’t be hard on yourself when it does. Anxiety and bipolar disorder seem to really like each other- a lot. Or at least that’s what my experience has been. Anxiety...

Positively Changing My Own World

Positively Changing My Own World

By Allison Clemmons I have been very excited about sharing my recent remission story with the world. I have bipolar disorder, PTSD, and ADHD. I have struggled all of my life to some degree. Traumatic events involving my family a few years ago sent me into a tailspin,...

Self-Stigma

Self-Stigma

by Kelly C. Kirby, MS, LPCC I oscillate between thinking of my bipolar disorder diagnosis as my enemy and my partner in life. When I reflect on this ideological difference, I wish I could blame external events or influential people for my shifting perspective;...

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...

The Thrill of Shopping While Hypomanic

The Thrill of Shopping While Hypomanic

First, let me say that I hate shopping. Not just grocery shopping, which I assume pretty much everyone hates, but all the kinds of shopping that women are stereo-typically supposed to love: clothing shopping, shoe shopping, makeup shopping, and furniture shopping. I...

Why Keeping A Positive Attitude Matters In Spite Of Depression

Why Keeping A Positive Attitude Matters In Spite Of Depression

It is frustrating to live with depression. I get it. I walk to the beat of humming depression almost every day. It is even more frustrating to take a handful of medications that still do not eliminate my symptoms entirely. What helps me feel better is that I try very...

Reading And Writing As My Therapy For Bipolar Disorder

Reading And Writing As My Therapy For Bipolar Disorder

Art, music, modelling, and crafts – these are just some examples of activities that people with bipolar disorder have been using as personal therapy. I enjoy all of these creative outlets, but there are two things in particular that I have been doing to keep...

Coping With Bipolar Spending

Coping With Bipolar Spending

Impulsivity is a common symptom of mania, and it can present itself in different ways depending on the person. I tend to talk excessively or start new, often costly projects. I make a lot of poor decisions because I am not thinking clearly. My thoughts race, leaping...

Noise Sensitivity During Mania

Noise Sensitivity During Mania

Loud noises bother me to the point of rage during certain moods. If I am near switching moods to mania, the noise will send me into mania quicker and launch a case of full-blown rage. I also think the constant assault on my ears can trigger an episode of mania even if...

A Journey Through Mania and Back

A Journey Through Mania and Back

My name is Nicole, but most people call me Nic. Mostly because it’s easier and faster to say, but also because Australians are fond of a nickname.I have bipolar disorder Type 1 and am presently recovering from another lengthy manic episode. I could try and put a...

Dealing with Anger

Dealing with Anger

I have learned over time how to express anger. It’s taken me a while to figure this out. For the longest time I have thought that expressing anger meant that there was going to be an aggressive confrontation, which scares me. I am afraid of all forms of confrontation;...

More Than Meds

More Than Meds

Bipolar disorder is a complex and difficult condition. Even after getting stabilized, we still have to work so hard to keep things going in the right direction. For me, medication is necessary, but the best advice I ever received was from a psychiatrist and it had...

Carrying the Weight

Carrying the Weight

Prior to my diagnosis and starting my treatment, I spent countless hours each day stuck in a cycle of worry and panic. I would ruminate, the worst moments of my life and every single mistake I’ve ever made surfacing in my mind and stuck in an infinite replay....

10 Lessons From 10 Years of Living With Bipolar

10 Lessons From 10 Years of Living With Bipolar

I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years since I received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I wish I could go back and tell my terrified teenage self that though life would sometimes be a roller coaster of ups and downs, a very bright future full of hope and joy...

Practicing Gratitude and Curiosity With Bipolar

Practicing Gratitude and Curiosity With Bipolar

Coping with the side effects of bipolar is often a matter of trial and error. What works one day, sometimes doesn’t work the next. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for ways to get through the day that can connect me with the world while also...

Tips on Minimizing The Damage of Emotional Eating

Tips on Minimizing The Damage of Emotional Eating

Most people can say that they’ve been emotional eaters before, whether it’s crying over Chinese food after a breakup or eating too much cake on your 20th birthday. Even I can’t lie and say that my hand was not in a box of Cheez-Its just before I started writing this....

Riding the Waves of Depression

Riding the Waves of Depression

Depression can swiftly overtake you like the tide rolling in, its current pulling you out to sea. It is like drowning, like suffocating beneath the surface as the world goes on above you. The water muffles sound and slows your movements. There is only darkness below,...

Running Stop Signs

Running Stop Signs

I was driving much too fast. I didn’t see the stop sign. I sailed right through. The stereo was pumping and my hands gripped the wheel. My foot was pushing harder on the accelerator.I came up to a second stop sign and again I saw nothing. I pushed on the pedal to go...

My Symbol of Hope

My Symbol of Hope

For many months, I have been suffering from suicidal ideations. I was completely honest with my psychiatrist, my family and friends who support me. I told them that it was not something I wanted to act on, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. For more than...

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