Mental illness can damage relationships but you can repair relationships damaged by mental illness too. When you have a mental illness it can be difficult to maintain all kinds of relationships. Symptoms of unchecked mental illness are often the very factors that cause rifts in relationships between two healthy people. But it is possible to repair a mental illness-damaged relationship. As repairing your relationship with, and feelings about, yourself takes time, so does rebuilding the trust and closeness you have with others. Keep reading »

Making and maintaining friendships when living with a mental illness takes effort, as it does for everyone. Maintaining friendships with a mental illness requires attention, sharing and emotional honesty which are some areas affected by symptoms of mental illness. Those who live with conditions like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder may need to put extra effort into keeping their friendships healthy. Keep reading »

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?

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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 »

I hate Christmas.  There I said it.

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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 »