Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Know What to Expect When You Love Someone with Bipolar Disorder


It's no one's fault.

I was 18 years old, pregnant, scared, and lonely when I met my now-husband. We became best friends, and two years later he married another woman and had a baby. Fast forward six years: we were madly in love and engaged, then married.

One year after that, my husband came home after work, sat down at the kitchen table, and told me he wanted a divorce. I refused, and not very nicely. A few months after that, he was diagnosed with 
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Bipolar

Can You Wrap Your Head Around Delusional Thinking?

Delusion -- noun. an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
What makes delusional thinking so scary? Well, from the outside we can’t understand the logic of the delusion. The delusion itself causes the individual to feel distress and behave erratically. And their belief in something that is unreal distresses everyone around them.

Listening to a recent episode of “This American Life” I had an aha-moment. A 26-year-old student, Alan Pean, explains the delusions he was suffering when he entered a Texas hospital last August.
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Caregivers

Outdated Notions about Schizophrenia

Every parent’s worst nightmare. These are the words one mother used in a magazine article to describe her child having schizophrenia. When hearing her daughter’s diagnosis, another mother blurted out that she’d wished she had leukemia or some other disease instead. Even after the doctor told her that schizophrenia is much more treatable than leukemia, she said she’d still prefer leukemia. *

We see schizophrenia as a devastating diagnosis. We assume that our loved ones are doomed to a horrible life. This is something Psych Central blogger Rebecca Chamaa, who has schizophrenia, hears often. “People say it’s the worst thing that could happen to you. To hear that all the time and to be put in that category all the time, it’s a terrible thing to do to people.”
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Caregivers

Caregiving: Trading Solitude for a New Place of Wholeness


For many years, I looked to solitude as a sacred space for nurturing my soul. My routine was to get up early, retreat to a small desk by a window, light a candle, and then meditate while waiting for the sun to rise. I found this morning ritual deeply satisfying and helpful in setting an intention for the day. I never posted an actual “Do not disturb” sign, but I certainly relished this time alone for meditating, reflecting, and journal writing.

But then things changed. My husband became chronically ill, and I became his caregiver. This meant being available and responsive to his needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Brain and Behavior

Why We Hide

The wise Seth Godin recently posted a blog titled "Hiding." He included these words: "We hide by avoiding things that will change us ... We hide by asking for reassurance. We hide by letting someone else speak up and lead ... We live in fear of feelings."

Shame is the hiding emotion. Here are some of my thoughts on the origin of hiding:

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Caregivers

The Embodiment of Motherhood

As my tired eyes squint from the harshness of a brightly lit grocery store, my gaze follows all different types of mothers: young and old, frazzled and worn, rested and carefully put together. These are your average, run-of-the-mill mothers, standing impatiently at the grocery store with newborns in baby carriers and a toddler navigating an iPad with impish delight.

As my gaze slides to the scuffed tile and lands upon my feet, I have an epiphany. It is a realization that I am not only one of these mothers, I am the embodiment of all these mothers. I never thought I would even partake in motherhood, let alone have it embody my entire life.

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Alcoholism

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship with Your Teenager

As any parent will know -- or at least will have been warned -- a child’s teenage years can be some of the toughest. It can be particularly hard if their parents are divorced or separated.

A whirlwind combination of puberty, hormones, high school years, and the growing need for independence can be a challenge for any parent. In a household with a teenager, every day can seem like a battle -- sometimes over the smallest things. As a parent, you want to be able to love and guide your child like you always have, but you need to understand that just as they’re changing, your relationship with them needs to change as well. These are some of the most formative years of their lives, so it’s good for them to know that their parents are there for them, and are willing to realize that they have a young adult who deserves their respect and guidance.

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Caregivers

The Effects of Overparenting on Children

The term helicopter parenting was coined in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott, psychotherapist and parent educator, in his book “Between Parent and Teenager.” A helicopter parent is defined as someone who is overprotective or overly interested in their child’s life. Several examples of this include telling a child how to play correctly, brushing a child’s teeth for him when he is a healthy 12-year-old, completing a child’s science project for her, cutting meat at the dinner table for a 16-year-old boy, or talking to a college professor about an adult child's grades.

Being an involved parent is not a bad thing. Being active in a child’s life can increase the child's confidence, build a closer bond between parent and child, and increase chances of the child being a successful adult. But where is the line that divides the actively involved parent and the overly involved parent?

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ADHD and ADD

I Am a Special-Needs Parent Raising a Special-Needs Child

My 11-year-old son Sam has anxiety disorder, for which he takes a daily dose of Zoloft. He’s also being treated with Adderall for ADHD. And he was recently diagnosed with autism.

I’m 52 years old and bipolar. I ingest a nightly cocktail of four psychotropic meds.

Because both son and mother have notable disabilities, the going, as they say, can get rough. Thank goodness, Sam's father and my husband, Pete, has both feet planted firmly on the ground and is without mental illness.
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Caregivers

5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Spouse after Baby

If you’re a new or expectant parent, you’re probably relishing all of the joy, excitement and memories your new baby will bring. You’re also probably fretting over the changes and challenges that will occur, too.

No one prepares us for the relationship struggles that happen after a baby arrives. We don’t realize how taxing sleep deprivation, uncertain parenting roles, money worries and everyday stressors can be on our marriage. You soon realize that your precious arrival has set off a bigger cascade of problems between you and your spouse than you ever knew possible.

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Bipolar

Living through a Medication Change

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. Since then, I’ve taken a variety of drugs, starting with Lithium and moving forward to drugs that worked and felt better on my psyche.

For five years, I’ve taken a nightly cocktail of meds including Depakote, Cymbalta, Clomipramine and
Trilafon.

On these drugs, I was perfectly stabilized and high-functioning. I could hold down a part-time job, raise a child, take care of a home and a hubby, and work on a freelance writing career.
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