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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Anxiety and Panic

What You Really Lose When You Lose Perspective

“What can you do with a person who says that he is absolutely uncertain about everything, and that he is absolutely certain about that?” -- Idries Shah

Our perspective is how we perceive people, situations, ideas, etc. It’s informed by our personal experience, which makes it as unique as anything could be. Perspective shapes our life by affecting our choices. But the minute our minds become steeped in worry, perspective goes out of the window. We forget about our triumphs. We stop being optimistic as fear takes the wheel.

Fear gives rise to negative feelings: insecure, critical, defensive, abandoned, desperate, lonely, resentful, overwhelmed, aggressive, and so on. These cloud our minds and consume our thoughts.
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Brain and Behavior

Building a Guilt-Free Relationship with Food through Mindful Eating

The primary role of food in young children’s lives is one of sustenance. Young children tend to eat when they’re hungry and push away food when they’re full. Food is a source of nourishment and joy, one of the many joyful things life has to offer.

This role can change as children grow, depending on the messages received. Some children may be told to finish everything on their plate even if they’re full, a lesson telling them they can’t waste food. Parents may restrict eating due to what they perceive is a weight problem for their children. These children may grow up feeling shame for eating, resulting in binge behaviors or eating in secret. Children may witness unhealthy habits, eating only processed foods or having a lack of structure around eating. This can result in making poor food choices throughout their lives or a lack of moderation with eating.

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Anxiety and Panic

A Doctorate in Life: Dual Degrees

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since the age of 4,” an ex-girlfriend once confided. She said this with absolute certitude.

At age 4, I was whimpering for Little Debbies. Doctor? Sure, I was a precocious child, at least according to my mother, but terrorizing babysitters and sparring with brothers was my chosen profession.

I marveled at Haley’s preternatural obsession with medicine. She knew, like, in her bones knew, that medicine was her destined profession. “How do you know?” I would inquire -- a touch of amazement and disbelief lining my voice.
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Anxiety and Panic

An Anxious Comedian Attempts to Talk about It

Being anxious is awful. And one of the worst parts is being too afraid to even talk about it.

Sometimes this reluctance is due to fear of judgment. It's easy to imagine that others will think less of me if I am honest with them about it.

Sometimes it's a more nameless fear. I know it's not rational, but it can feel as if the simple act of talking about anxiety -- of acknowledging its existence -- might somehow make it stronger. Even sharing with a close friend can feel next to impossible.
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Anxiety and Panic

Three Tips to Muscle Through Social Anxiety

Something strange happens when I have to talk to a new person or someone I don’t feel comfortable with. My heart rate increases, my hands shake a little and I can feel a tightening in my chest.

It happens to everyone to some extent when they socialize, especially in instances where you're taking a risk (, asking for a raise, asking someone for a date). But for me the anxiety happens every time, from...
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