I’ve written a lot about myself and my relationships on this blog, but now I’m turning to the tumultuous relationship of a public figure for my inspiration.  Last week, we lost an icon, the incandescent Whitney Houston. Now, in her demise, the talk turns to her drug addictions and her relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown. Keep reading

When you are in treatment for a mental illness, you’ve likely undergone a certain amount of talk therapy. If you’re well into recovery, you may very well have experienced years of therapy and, hopefully, a measure of success at uncovering and eliminating negative patterns and gaining self-awareness. So, if you’ve walked the path to psychological enlightenment, disease management and overall mental health, can you have a romantic relationship with someone who’s never been in therapy? Keep reading

I am at an impasse, with my writing and with my feelings.  Of course, these issues are related. Keep reading

In 1972, a kids program called “The Most Important Person” gave 3-minute self-esteem lessons about respecting yourself, learning from mistakes, and protecting yourself in the face of various meanies.  The theme song began with the following lyric:

The most important person in the whole wide world is you and you hardly even know you.

Almost 40 years after hearing that song for the first time, I often find myself repeating the lyric in my head.  Wouldn’t it be great if that program was redone for adults?  What if someone made a “love yourself” cartoon for people with bipolar?

Keep reading

Lots of people take the last week of the year to reflect on the past and to look ahead to a new year where things are going to be different, dammit.   Those of you who have bipolar depression with a soupcon of borderline personality disorder – like me – might even spend a day alone fixating on what they did wrong this year. And, if you’re anything like me, relationships probably take up the majority of your obsession time. Keep reading

Let’s admit it: family dynamics can be huge triggers for those of us with mental illness. Social support can be great, and we all need to know that we have people in our corner when things get bad. However, families are often the breeding ground for the very emotions that make our illnesses harder to manage. So, how do you prevent Aunt Margaret and Uncle Joe from sending you from the living room couch to the therapists’ couch? Keep reading

In business school, I slept with my best friend Bob and then proceeded to fall in love with him.  As these things go, he didn’t return my feelings, we fought a few times then left town without speaking to each other.  A few years ago we reconnected – figuratively and literally – with similarly disastrous results.  Now, Bob and I are speaking again and I’m committed to making the friendship work.  No, I’m not a glutton for punishment.  Rather, I believe that making amends with Bob will help me be healthier and better manage my bipolar disorder. Keep reading

In my last video post, Emotion Regulation and Dating with Bipolar Disorder, I talked about what I thought was a burgeoning relationship or something with Erik.  Well, that something has become a nothing and I’m crushed.  Not because I was in love with him or anything, but because in spite of my new-found emotional health I ended up where I’ve generally been:  alone. Keep reading

Since my bipolar diagnosis, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about romantic relationships: how to find one, how to act right when I’m in one, how to pick the right one. I’ve dedicated tons of blog air time to dating and to family because those relationships are my triggers. But I’ve neglected to address a very important person in many of our lives, an important relationship for people with mental illness: the therapeutic relationship. Keep reading