Bipolar Articles

5 New Theories on the Cause of Depression

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

depression-brainI grew up thinking depression was as simple as one little transmitter getting lost somewhere on his way from one neuron to the other, much like I do when I venture farther than five miles from home. It’s an easy explanation — a chemical imbalance in the brain — one that pharmaceutical companies have adopted to craft creative commercials like the Zoloft egg not chasing the butterfly.

But depression is so much more complex than that.

Why Real Love Is Hard Work

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

rainbow loomA month into our relationship, my now-husband asked me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I didn’t hesitate.

“As a nun in a third-world country doing missionary work,” I said.

“Interesting.”

Somewhere around that time I also told him it would be five years before I slept with him. It was the quickest five years of my life.

What Drives a Person to Suicide?

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

What Drives a Person to Suicide?Each of us has swings in our mood or has highs and lows in our emotional feelings. If these swings are within a certain normal range, we remain self-governed and functional. But when they become extreme, they can lead us into the poles of mania and depression. In some cases if the manias become extremely high, the depressions can become extremely low.

Similar, but other forms of these manias and depressions can be fantasies and nightmares or extreme degrees of pride and shame. When we are up, manic and elated, our brain can become flooded by increased releasing of dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, enkephalins and serotonin. When we are depressed the reverse can occur and cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, dihydrotestosterone, substance P and other neurotransmitters can surge.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

Introducing Bipolar Lifehacks

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Introducing Bipolar Lifehacks

All too often, we focus on the negatives of a disorder while not focusing enough on the positives. Nowhere can this be more challenging than with bipolar disorder.

Yet some people seem to be able to live a successful life with bipolar disorder. How do they do it? What coping skills and lifehacks have they employed to cope with the challenges unique to bipolar disorder?

That’s why I’m pleased to introduce Bipolar Lifehacks with Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

Psychology Around the Net: September 27, 2014

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Computer Troll

Need caught up on this week’s psychology-related news around the ‘net? From Alanis Morissette’s view on happiness to what NOT to say to someone with bipolar disorder, we’ve got you covered.

Behind the Online Comments: The Psychology of Online Trolls: We’ve all experienced them. Now find out what motivates them.

Most US Kids Who Take ADHD Meds Don’t Get Therapy: Fewer than a quarter of US children prescribed ADHD also receive talk therapy, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics recently reported of the findings from study conducted by the nonprofit research organization RAND.

Tax Court: Anxiety, Depression Are Not Physical Injuries: Ever wonder how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) views anxiety?

Better is Not Well: Consumer-Clinician Collaboration to Raise Treatment Expectations

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Better is Not Well: Consumer-Clinician Collaboration to Raise Treatment Expectations

Our friends over at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) will host an interactive panel discussion between peers and clinicians on raising expectations for the treatment of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. We invite you to join them for this free, live web-stream broadcast of the event.

The interactive panel is a live event that will be broadcast on the DBSA website on September 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm ET (2:30 PT). Click through to learn more about this free event.

‘I Don’t Want My Friends to Think I’m Crazy’: The Stigma of Bipolar on the College Campus

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / Massachusetts Office of Travel & TourismMental illness is a prevalent issue on college campuses that often goes unseen and unacknowledged. When I decided I wanted to write an article about students at my university with bipolar disorder, I ran into the difficulty of finding subjects to interview. I asked around my fellow students to see if anyone knew someone who might be willing to speak to me.

“My friend is dating this one crazy girl,” one of my friends jokingly told me. “She’s so bipolar. You should try interviewing her.”

3 Ways to Cultivate Hope

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

P2200022I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a hope builder. I feel like that, more than anything else I do on this earth, is my purpose. Because hope, when you really think about it, is the only thing you need to get better (besides lots of drugs, exercise, fish oil, probiotics, friends, self-help books, doctors, sleep, therapists, nutritionists, support groups, meditation, yoga, divine intervention, etc.). Once you stop believing in a better tomorrow, you’re in trouble.

Psychology Around the Net: August 23, 2014

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

cant-stop-thinking-of-ex

Overthinking, oversharing, and — well, a few celebrities to boot. That’s what you’ll find in this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

When to Think Less About Your Choices: Thinking too much about something could mean you’re focusing on only a few variables instead of blending a more holistic, emotional view into the situation.

The Psychology of Oversharing Facebook Couples: We all have one or three of these couples within our Facebook feeds. Now find out the psychology behind them.

Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ is a Rare Bright Spot in Track Sales This Year: Admit it: You can’t help but feel a little boost in mood when you hear this song! Well, according to Billboard it’s also bucking the downward trend record sales have seen lately.

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