A Guide To Maintaining Mood Stability
Mary Ellen Copeland experienced episodes of severe mania and depression for most of her life. She interviewed numerous people to find out how people who experience psychiatric symptoms relieve these symptoms and get on with their lives.
David Roberts is the HealthyPlace.com moderator.
The people in blue are audience members.
online conference transcript
David: Good Evening. I'm David Roberts, the moderator for tonight's conference. I want to welcome everyone to HealthyPlace.com. Our topic tonight is "Living Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Guide To Maintaining Mood Stability". Our guest is author and researcher, Mary Ellen Copeland. Besides writing about it, Mary Ellen experienced episodes of severe mania and depression for most of her life. She underwent numerous hospitalizations and medication trials that weren't helpful.
For the last ten years, or so, she's been studying how people who experience psychiatric symptoms, relieve these symptoms and get on with their lives. She's incorporated those self-help methods into her own life and tonight she's here to share with us the tools to maintaining mood stability. You can read more about Mary Ellen Copeland here.
Good Evening, Mary Ellen, and welcome to HealthyPlace.com. We appreciate you being our guest tonight. Before we get into some of the self-help methods, I mentioned that you tried psychiatric medications, antidepressants, along with the hospitalizations and therapy. Why, in your estimation, where those things not as effective or helpful as I'm sure you hoped they would be?
Mary Ellen Copeland: It's really nice to be here, David!
I think the therapies that were suggested by the doctors were not helpful because my life was so chaotic. I had no idea how to take care of myself. I sabotaged my own efforts at wellness.
David: Can you elaborate on that a bit?
Mary Ellen Copeland: Yes, I would be glad too. I didn't get enough rest. I ate lots of junk food. I didn't exercise. I had no idea how to relax. I didn't know how to say no to the requests of others. I sometimes abused substances. You can't get well when you live like that.
David: How many years have you suffered with mania and depression?
Mary Ellen Copeland: I think most of my life. I remember being very depressed for long periods of time when I was a child. I wish I had gotten help then. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I finally reached out for help.
David: And why did it take so long?
Mary Ellen Copeland: I thought I could control it myself. But I was never able to. I didn't know how. That's why it has become so important to me to reach out to others and find out how they have helped themselves relieve these horrible symptoms.
David: I'm assuming, since you titled your book A Guide To Maintaining Mood Stability, that the goal here isn't really to cure depression and manic depression (bipolar disorder), but to really stabilize your moods, so that you don't experience these huge mood swings. Is that correct?
Mary Ellen Copeland: That's correct. I work on managing my moods every day. But now I know a lot of ways to help myself feel better, so the moods no longer overwhelm me and my life. I still have symptoms, but they are much milder and of shorter duration. I used to spend months in the hospital, but now I have either a bad day, or several days, or sometimes just a bad afternoon.
David: That is a huge improvement.
I want to mention here that Mary Ellen is not a medical doctor, but she is a therapist, and now is involved primarily in educating others about mental health. The information she has to share with us tonight is based on interviews she did with others and her own experiences.
Please tell us, Mary Ellen, who you interviewed and what they were suffering with?
Mary Ellen Copeland: I have, in the last twelve years interviewed thousands of people from all over the country, who experience psychiatric symptoms or mental health problems.
David: And what have you found out in terms of self-help methods that worked?
Mary Ellen Copeland: I have found many things that are helpful to people. I have found so many things, that now I have ten books based on my findings. One of the first things I learned for myself, was that I, myself, had to do things that I enjoy. I had forgotten how to play and how to have a good time. So I began sewing, playing the piano, painting pictures, getting together with friends, and it made a huge difference in how I felt. I learned about the effects of diet, light and exercise on my moods and how to use them as ways to get my moods back under control. I could go on and on about this. There is so much to tell.