Many people don’t know how to tell their partner about their mental illness. In many intimate relationships, the topic of mental illness is unlikely to come up in casual conversation. You may be starting a conversation with no idea how it will transpire, even though you hope that the results will be positive. Before you tell your partner about your mental illness, you should prepare for the conversation so that your emotions are protected regardless of the outcome. Keep reading »

It’s important to know how to talk to your family about your mental illness. Some families have a long history of mental illness and may talk openly about mental illness diagnoses, symptoms and treatment. Though some diseases are hereditary, many of us need to break the news to our family members that we have a mental illness. Either way, sometimes it can be difficult to talk to your family about your mental illness. The way you grew up, the relationship you have with your parents and the closeness of your extended relatives all contribute to the way you talk to your family about your mental illness.
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Relationships during mental illness relapse can be critical to recovery. Many people with mental illness isolate and withdraw socially as symptoms of their disease. Though it may feel comforting to disconnect from the world and withdraw into one’s own thoughts, reaching out to loved ones is a great way to reap the benefits of your relationships during a mental illness relapse. Keep reading »

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 »