I started thinking about alcoholism the other day because of some stuff going on with a friend and I started to think about how high-functioning people often don’t consider themselves alcoholics because they’re high-functioning. How can I be an alcoholic; I have a job? A family. A wife. Friends. Money. A house. And so on…
And the same is true for people with bipolar disorder. People think to themselves, “I can’t have a mental illness – I have a job.” Or, “I can’t have a mental illness – I’m a good mother.” Or, “I can’t have a mental illness – I have a degree from a top-tier school.”
But as I have told audiences over and over – mental illness happens, and it can happen to anyone.
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I’ve borrowed my title from a good friend. She struggles like me and when she suggested we were both “almost too sensitive for the regular world“, I finally had the words that I hadn’t been able to find. How do I fit into this regular world when so much of […]
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Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, but many of the problems that come with bipolar disorder are the actions that it provokes. The illness may be in the brain but much of the harm exists in the life around you. You may act out the illness in many ways through anger, hurt, overreaction, panic, hypersexuality, overspending or others. But the question is, are you responsible for your actions when you are in an acute bipolar episode? If you’re severely depressed or manic, are you accountable for your actions?
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Would you like the short answer or the long answer? In short, if you have bipolar disorder, no, you shouldn’t be taking an antidepressant – even if you’re depressed – in many, if not most, cases.
The long answer is, naturally, more complicated.
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I once had a very nice girl tell me that I was hard to get to know. I was surprised at this. I feel like I’m an open and honest person and if you want to know something about me, you can just ask and I’ll generally answer.
I didn’t prod her for more details when she said it, although I probably should have. What I think she might have meant was that I was hard to get to know emotionally. I think what she was saying is that I wasn’t showing my emotions around her and that was the hard part to get to know. This girl, in particular, wore her emotions on her sleeve, so I can understand the disconnect. She was right. My emotions are hidden. But that’s because not even I want to know them and I can tell you right now, no one else really wants to know them either.
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Sometimes I’m Just Mad As I have stated, over and over, that to experience bipolar disorder is to experience such inflated emotions that they swallow you whole. Bipolar emotions are bigger than you and the particularly nasty ones are bigger than any therapy or coping skill could ever be. However, not every emotion is a […]
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Recently I have been talking about bipolar coping skills. Really, I talk about bipolar coping skills all the time. Recently, though, there have been two:
In both cases, I argue that these techniques can help you in your everyday life. These coping skills are things that you can apply every day (pretty much all day) to try to dampen some of the overwhelmingness that is bipolar disorder.
However, practicing bipolar coping skills is a bit of an art. Sure, you could try to use them every moment of the day, and if that works for you, then great, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. I would suggest that’s not the best way to go about practicing bipolar coping skills.
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Those of you who follow me know that I’m not a big fan of TrueHope/EMPowerplus, in spite of having tried EMPowerplus myself. And one of the things I complained about is the lack of double-blind, controlled studies of the supplement. Well, one scientific study has now been published and I figured I should mention it to be fair. This new study indicates preliminary evidence for Truehope/EMPowerplus (a micronutrient formula) in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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There’s a moment in our lives, for all of us, when we realise that our parents have grown old, and after a lifetime of looking to them, now they are looking to us. A lifetime of you being their ‘child’, now in some ways, that is reversed. The only way you avoid this is if […]
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I’ve been super stressed lately. I have so many deadlines and I’ve been working on so many projects and I have so many requests to process it’s unbelievable. And, in clear Natasha fashion, many of these things were left to the last minute due to time constraints (and admitted procrastination). Oh, and it was my birthday on Monday which I nary had a moment for.
On top of all that, I had a speaking engagement yesterday. This speaking engagement was for the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia. I do many presentations for them but recently the presentation was changed at their request. No problem, but trying out this new material and fitting it into the existing timeline (which can already run long) was making me nervous. And, while usually I give this presentation to teens, this time I was giving it to teachers. This, too, was making me nervous. Teachers can be a bit critical – trust me.
Really, there was no reason to be nervous, but, secretly, I’m nervous before pretty much every speaking engagement. Luckily, no one ever knows this (except, of course, for you) but the nerves are there.
My “Normal” Bipolar Anxiety Plus Massive Stressors
So, you put my “normal” bipolar anxiety with the massive stress I was under, plus the nerves I was feeling and my anxiety was off the flipping charts.
And when things are like that, I know that one of two things will happen. The stress and anxiety will either make me hypomanic or depressed. In other words, massive stress will destabilize my mood. Period. Yes, I know it’s coming, and yes, I do it anyway. Just call me an overachiever (or masochistic).
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