Category: Tips and Advice

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....

30 Things Not To Say To Those With Bipolar Disorder

30 Things Not To Say To Those With Bipolar Disorder

I always enjoy reading “listicles” about “what not to say” and “what to say” to someone with a mental illness. I read them and nod my head in agreement, as I can relate all too well. There are sayings or comments that may seem helpful, but aren’t in reality because...

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...

International Self-Care Day — July 24

International Self-Care Day — July 24

The International Self-Care Foundation (ISF) has designated July 24 every year as International Self-Care Day (ISD) to symbolize that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7). The benefits of self-care are life-long. Each...

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....

An Activist’s Preparation for the Challenges of Bipolar

An Activist’s Preparation for the Challenges of Bipolar

Above: The Revs. Aaron Maurice Saari and John Freeman being interviewed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in front of First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs. My friends are going to laugh that I have the chutzpah to write an essay on self-care. You see, I am...

5 Things Bipolar II Disorder Has Taught Me

5 Things Bipolar II Disorder Has Taught Me

This year my psychiatrist changed my initial diagnosis of severe depression to Bipolar II Disorder. For a moment I felt like my world had stopped spinning. I felt lost and betrayed because I did not know what this new diagnosis meant for me. For days I lived in denial...

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...

Healthy Nutrition for Healthier Moods Part 1: The Happy Salad

Healthy Nutrition for Healthier Moods Part 1: The Happy Salad

In the past 16 years, I have been on a lot of different medications – all of which have affected me differently. Some caused me to gain weight due to feeling hungry all the time and overeating, sometimes they caused me to retain water, and who knows what triggered...

10 Tips for Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

10 Tips for Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

This advice can help you better communicate with your doctor(s) to get the most out of your appointment. 1. Don’t miss appointments! Typically, a psychiatrist is usually booked up to three months in advance and primary care physicians are booked up to at...

What Do You Do When You Can’t Get To Sleep?

What Do You Do When You Can’t Get To Sleep?

Thankfully I normally get to sleep very quickly. However, about a month ago it took me a VERY long time to get to sleep. I had a bunch of ideas swirling in my head and my mind kept firing off new ones. They were exciting ideas about a variety of things: a fundraising...

Being Healthy Both Mentally and Physically

Being Healthy Both Mentally and Physically

You probably hear all the time that if you eat right and exercise, you’ll feel better both mentally and physically. This can be challenging when we live in a world that thrives on junk food and unrealistic expectations on how people should look. So, is it even worth...

Prevention Strategies for 3 Types of Self Harm

Prevention Strategies for 3 Types of Self Harm

Trigger Warning. This article talks explicitly about self-harm and different types. If you feel as though you may be triggered but still want the tips, read with a supportive person present. We feel out of control and in control at the same time. We hurt...

A Healthy Mind Starting Now

A Healthy Mind Starting Now

It’s January, a time of the year when people make the resolution to throw on their workout gear and make a healthier version of themselves. Usually, this doesn’t last very long. I know, because I was one of them. But a new body shouldn’t be your only reason for...

Goals, Not Resolutions

Goals, Not Resolutions

It’s the first month of the year and most people are posting about their New Year’s resolutions. There are plenty of articles with ideas and they’re almost all the same: work out, save more money for retirement, remove toxic friendships, eliminate processed foods, and...

Avoiding Alcohol and The 3rd Degree

Avoiding Alcohol and The 3rd Degree

Alcoholism is well known in my family, on both of my parents’ sides. This doesn’t mean I do not drink because of this, but I have never been “drunk.” I have will power and know my limits. I don’t find the attraction in getting to the point where things are blurry and...

Coping with the Pressure of Christmas

Coping with the Pressure of Christmas

Not too long ago, I wrote about Thanksgiving and about how it can be a difficult time. As I’m sure a lot of us know, Christmas can be just as hard to get through, if not harder. This is during a point of time in the year where we’re supposed to be reflective and put...

Surviving Bipolar Depression

Surviving Bipolar Depression

It’s like I’m Paralyzed. Not physically but mentally. It’s this gripping fear of facing the day when I can barely muster the strength to get up and hit snooze on my alarm clock for the fourth or fifth time in a row. There’s a relentless...

Dealing with My Anxiety

Dealing with My Anxiety

I have bipolar disorder, but I also have an anxiety disorder. I really dislike feeling anxious so there are various things that I do to fight it. The first thing I do is try to see if there is anything to be anxious about. If there is then I see if I...

5 Ways Service Dogs Can Help People Living With Bipolar Disorder

5 Ways Service Dogs Can Help People Living With Bipolar Disorder

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...

How To Tell Someone You Have Bipolar Disorder

Sarah shares tips for telling someone that you have bipolar disorder, and what to do when someone has a negative reaction. She is speaking from her personal experience living with bipolar disorder. Sarah regularly blogs for IBPF and has done some...

I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder

I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder

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...

My Formula for Recovery

My Formula for Recovery

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...

Guys Supporting Guy Friends

Guys Supporting Guy Friends

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...

When You’re First Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

When You’re First Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

When you’re first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it’s normal to be confused, scared, and upset. You may be grieving, and that’s okay. The pain may feel unbearable, but it will eventually fade. Though you may feel alone right now, you are never alone. There are...

Self Care for Men

Self Care for Men

I know, I know…some of you guys out there have raised eyebrows as you’re reading this.  You may be thinking something along the lines of “self care is for women” and/or “self care is for sissies.” I used to think that way too. In the past five years my...

Total, Partial, and No Control

Total, Partial, and No Control

The couch at the hospital near the bed of my brother felt hard and impersonal. He was facing surgery to have part of his foot amputated as a result of diabetes. The medical staff told us he would go into surgery at 11:45 am. It turned out to be 2:30 pm. Since he...

Overcoming Bipolar Relapses

Overcoming Bipolar Relapses

When an earthquake occurs in the ocean, the ripple effect causes tsunamis whose effects are felt on shores thousands of miles away. The intrigue about tsunamis is that they can never be predicted and even when they are anticipated the damage caused is always...

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...

Putting Your Thoughts on Trial: How to Use CBT Thought Records

Putting Your Thoughts on Trial: How to Use CBT Thought Records

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....

70,000 Thoughts Per Day

70,000 Thoughts Per Day

I’ve read in many places that the average person has around 70,000 thoughts per day. You may have already heard this. That is a huge number! Seventy thousand. It’s also been said that the typical person has more negative than positive thoughts.  And for...

Make a Personalized Self-Help Resource with Social Media

Make a Personalized Self-Help Resource with Social Media

Though problematic or compulsive internet use has been debated as far as validity and scope, it is not currently recognized as a psychiatric disorder.  However, a cautionary word from my Mom: “Anything in excess is a problem. Everything in moderation!” With that...

What Tools Do You Use to Manage Bipolar?

What Tools Do You Use to Manage Bipolar?

What Tools Do You Consistently Use to Effectively Manage Your Bipolar Disorder? The intention of this post is to get people sharing what works for them.  And for those who are not as far along in their path to mental stability and wellness, it can serve as...

Happiness Jar

Happiness Jar

This is a tool that I learned about on a Facebook post late last year written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author who wrote “Eat Pray Love”.  I’ve been consistently using this tool since January 1, 2015 and am grateful to have come across it! This tool helps anyone,...

Not a Problem for Today

Not a Problem for Today

I’m not sure where I learned this string of 5 words but it has been a mighty big help in my life! For example:  Today I was working on my Facebook page and for promotional purposes I wanted to view the people who had “liked” my page. I...

Lift Me Up File

Lift Me Up File

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...

Drop-In Peer Centers for Behavioral Health: An Exploding Trend

Drop-In Peer Centers for Behavioral Health: An Exploding Trend

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...

Reschedule Your Worries

Reschedule Your Worries

Are you worried?  Thinking about a loved one or trouble at work? Worried about something you are in charge of or a relationship problem? Have you ever considered “rescheduling” your worry? Can you give yourself 5 minutes to worry about it today then...

Getting Through a Major Medication Change

Getting Through a Major Medication Change

For many of us who have had bipolar disorder for several years, we may need to undergo a medication change for various reasons.  When you are taking medications over the long term, they may stop working as well as they did initially.  Or a new drug might...

Planning Ahead for Your Next Episode

Planning Ahead for Your Next Episode

I just finished filling out a WRAP plan with the help of my therapist. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan. The plan can be found at mentalhealthrecovery.com and is free to print out. This isn’t the first time I’ve filled out the plan. Years ago while I...

How to Deal with A Negative Person

How to Deal with A Negative Person

My daughter was having challenges with her boss.  Despite her best efforts all she got was verbal and non-verbal criticism. “I don’t like that…you need to do it my way…you’re not good enough.” Although she is naturally a positive person, every time her boss came...

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...

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