Bipolar

The Life-Saving Power of Purpose

Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Two years ago I tested that theory.

I’ve always been depressed. I must have emerged from my mother’s womb with an overactive amygdala and a deficient prefrontal cortex -- creative brain wiring that generates panic and sadness. I was almost hospitalized in the fourth grade because I simply could not stop crying.

However, since December of 2008, when the market crashed, I hadn’t been able to surface into the land of the living and do things like pick up the kids from school and be at places like swim practice without hearing constant
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Bipolar

Is Physician-Assisted Suicide Right for Severe Psychiatric Disorders?

Two summers ago, our family grabbed a bite to eat in downtown Annapolis and headed over to the Naval Academy for a parade -- celebrating the end of Plebe Summer, six weeks of rigorous physical and mental training for new midshipmen.

It was late August, and I was horribly depressed, trying out medication combination No. 45 or something like that (in the last 10 years). My inner dialogue sounded like this:

Does everyone want to be dead?
Where do these people get the energy to function?
I wonder if the young plebes would be excited if they had a way of dying.
Don’t all of us just want to die as soon as possible?
Why do we have to wait so long?
I wish I could die today.

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Anxiety and Panic

Should You Have Kids If You’re Depressed?

“Were you frightened to have children with your history of suicidal depression?” a young woman asked me the other day. “Did you have to stop medication while you were pregnant?”

In the last 10 years writing about mental health issues, these two questions keep surfacing, especially among young women who dream of pushing a baby stroller to the park and disciplining a toddler and yet are daunted by a history of serious depression. Every time I answer them, I do so with a different perspective and new research.

Yes, I was terrified to have children.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: May 7, 2016


As I mentioned last Saturday, I had a pretty stressful last week of April. I was crunched for time to meet an important deadline, and it looked like I was going to fail.

I did -- fail, that is -- but fortunately, my boss was completely chill about it. So, I spent this week finishing up and, given how tightly wound I've been for the past, oh, five or so weeks, I am absolutely ecstatic about today (well, "today" if you're reading this on Saturday).

Why, you ask?

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Bipolar

What Bipolar Depression Looks Like — And What Can Help

Sadness. Hopelessness. Loss of interest. Loss of energy. Difficulty sleeping. Difficulty concentrating. Low self-esteem. Weight gain. Weight loss. Suicidal thoughts.

These are some of the symptoms listed for a depressive episode (also called bipolar depression) in bipolar disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But these clear-cut signs don’t exactly capture the complicated course of bipolar disorder or the palpable anguish that people with bipolar depression really feel. They don’t capture the angst or fear or confusion.
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Bipolar

Dealing with the Pressure to Succeed When You Have a Mental Illness

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I feel a constant need to succeed, and there are definite moments when I feel desperately overwhelmed with the amount of pressure I’ve put on myself.

For years I’ve had the goal of living in a mountain house surrounded by a large grove of trees. I’ve worked hard to try to get to that point, but here I am, still on Section 8, still receiving money from the government for my disability.

I’m frustrated and, at times, angry with myself for not being able to mentally do what I have to do to get to the point where I’m satisfied.
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Bipolar

Bipolar: What Mania Looks Like for Me

What is a grandiose idea in bipolar disorder? Most people believe that's something like believing you are Jesus or a superhero. I have had bipolar disorder for most of my life and never experienced such feelings. I never understood what it could feel like until recently. I was reading an article one day and started to see a much clearer picture of what it looked like from my perspective.

Like a lot of people with bipolar I disorder, I tend to gravitate toward the manic side of things. I spend a lot of time in a hypomanic state.

I have a very creative side to me. I start projects that I usually don’t finish, and sometimes I talk about household projects that never even get started.
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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

Genes and Mental Illness: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

During my long and narrow-eyed search to find information online regarding having a schizophrenic mother, I have often been faced with information which is a complete and utter downer. Something like this:

Hey, you know how your mother is schizophrenic? Well, guess what? That means you have more chance than other people of being schizophrenic yourself! You also have more of a chance of being depressed! And of living in poverty!

I’ve read statistics about how likely the child of a schizophrenic is to develop the same illness. It’s like Death knocking at your door.
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Bipolar

With Depression, Nothing Is Permanent

Robert J. Wicks, psychologist and bestselling author of Riding the Dragon, recently told me a story about impermanence.
A psychiatrist (Epstein) went to Thailand with some colleagues to meet a well-known Buddhist sage. As they were about to leave they asked if he had a final message for them.

He was drinking a glass of water at the time so he held it up and said, "You see this glass. I love this glass. It holds water so I can drink from it."

He then held it up to the light and said, "When the sun shines through it you can see colors."

"It also plays music." He set it down and pinged it with his finger to make a noise.

"Then when I set it down, the wind blows through the window, knocks it over, and breaks it," he said. "And because I know this possibility to be true, I love this glass even more."
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 16, 2016


Good morning (or afternoon, evening, or night?) lovely readers!

If you checked in with me last week, you know I was dreading a weekend of snow; well, Mother Nature smiled on my little neck of the woods and gave us a few inches only on Sunday.

All in all, not a raw deal.

Anyway, I'm probably working this weekend (boo!), but I have some great tips, resources, and other updates from the mental health community to share with you first. Read on to get the latest on tips for anger management, find out which of your seemingly harmless common daily habits could actually hurt your health, why sarcasm could be good for creative thinking, and more!

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