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Impulsivity: What’s Happening in the Brain

By Robin L. Flanigan

Last Updated: 17 Nov 2021

Impulsivity is a common symptom of bipolar disorder, even outside of mania. Researchers are working to pinpoint why this predisposition toward rapid, unplanned reactions occurs.

Scientists around the world are trying to understand the roots of impulsivity and impulse control disorders in the brain (a category that includes pathological gambling and kleptomania).

There is even an International Society for Research on Impulsivity, founded to promote collaborative study.

 

The Principles of Bipolar Management

By Stephen Propst
Last Updated: 28 Jul 2022

Managing bipolar is more than doctor and therapy appointments and medications. Lifestyle practices—sleeping soundly, eating nutritiously, and exercising regularly—are also critical.

Maintaining Mood with Bipolar
Managing a mood disorder is an ongoing undertaking. Contrary to what some people think, you don’t just “get over it.” How you see the situation is key.


Adopting the right perspective takes time, so be patient. Searching for quick fixes only makes matters worse. Let’s look at three important principles to put into practice—over time, not overnight!  (click on the link button to read more...)

 
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13 TV Shows Featuring Characters with Bipolar Disorder

By Tanya Hvilivitzky
Last Updated: 7 Jan 2021

While not all television characters with bipolar disorder are accurately portrayed, there are some shows that get it right, with an authentic dramatization of mania, depression, and paranoia, and how relationships are affected. 
TV Shows featuring Characters with Bipolar.

 

Best Apps to De-Stress & Ease Your Mind

By bp Magazine
Last Updated: 13 May 2022

Smartphones, apps, and notifications can be stress-inducing, but they are tools that can also be harnessed for stress reduction, mindfulness, mood tracking, mental wellness, resilience, and emotional stability. 

Tech for Stress Relief
Technology can ramp up your anxiety or be the key to calming your nerves. If you’re struggling to slow down rapidly spiraling self-talk or to escape the pings and dings demanding your attention, look no further than your smartphone.

Thanks to an array of apps designed for stress management, relief is literally at your fingertips. So go ahead and set your notifications to “Do Not Disturb,” then plug in to unwind.

 

17 People Describe What It's Like to Have Bipolar Disorder

Sarah Schuster
February 6, 2017

While most people know those with bipolar disorder experience periods of “ups” and “downs,” it can be hard to understand exactly what that means, since we all experiences mood fluctuations to some extent. But bipolar disorder isn’t an everyday shift from happiness to sadness — its periods of depression and mania can be much more extreme and sometimes debilitating.  
Bipolar disorder isn’t a scary thing, either. There are several ways to manage it, and many go on to live fulfilling lives riding its waves.
To get a better idea of what it’s like to have bipolar disorder, we asked people in our mental health community to describe what it’s like.
Here’s what they had to say:

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Path to Acceptance of Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis


Kitt O'Malley
October 29, 2019

Acceptance has been an ongoing process for me. Not just overcoming denial or stigma, but owning my diagnosis of bipolar disorder and allowing others in to help me. I had been a high achiever, a perfectionist. Accepting I have a mental illness has involved accepting myself as “broken,” as imperfect, as fallible, as human.

Forgiving Myself for Not Being Perfect
Acceptance allowed me to forgive myself for not living up to early life expectations. I quit UCLA after my freshman year, taking a semester off. I then attended community college part-time before transferring to UC Berkeley. I never became a doctor or a lawyer. But I did get my bachelor’s, a master’s in psychology and much later even attended seminary twice after my hospitalization, but never finished my religious studies.

Finding Purpose
The fact I attended seminary twice after I had been hospitalized indicates my sense of calling never quite died. The psychologist I saw... 

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Maintaining a “High-Functioning” Lifestyle with Bipolar Disorder

By Karl Shallowhorn

Last Updated: 6 May 2022

Developing a lifestyle to cope with bipolar disorder—the challenges that arise with finances, relationships, and self-care—is a process that takes time and patience.

Challenges with Bipolar Disorder

For many of us who have had this illness for a while, life can be overwhelming. It’s overwhelming for anybody, right?

Well, when it comes to living with bipolar, it can be even more so:

  • Dealing with finances can be difficult.

  • Finding and keeping a job can be overwhelming.

  • Dealing with family and friends who may not understand or be supportive of our illness can be challenging.

  • Also, learning to take care of ourselves can be overwhelming as well.

All of these things can be difficult. And I’ve struggled in all of these areas myself. It took a while for me to develop the tools to learn how to manage my bipolar disorder and be successful.

 

5 Ways to Stay Stable During a Job Hunt

By Tanya Hvilivitzky
Last Updated: 22 Apr 2022

Searching for a job can be a trigger for anxiety and bipolar episodes. Here are some practical tips to remain balanced throughout the employment-seeking process.

Job & Mood Stability
It’s no secret that bipolar disorder can affect one’s employment situation, sometimes dramatically. As such, you may find yourself between jobs—for a brief time or a long while.

When you are prepared to reenter the workforce, you may face new difficulties, such as stigma, questions of disclosure, awkwardness surrounding symptoms that caused gaps in employment, and so on.

Coping with all of these very real concerns takes a different kind of strength while seeking a new job or income stream. Here are some strategies to help:

#1 Stay Positive
During the hunt for employment, it can be hard to keep your spirits up, especially if doors are closing on prospective jobs. For your mental health and well-being, it’s important that you reframe how you look at the employment-seeking process.

If you’re not already keeping a gratitude journal, now is a great time to start. Cultivating gratitude is one of the easiest ways to stay positive and enjoy life, as we cannot feel appreciation and despair simultaneously.

Take time to write down several things, experiences, or people you feel grateful to have in your life. A resilient sense of gratitude can go a long way toward bolstering a positive mindset; staying positive translates into confidence, which can help with finding and taking advantage of opportunities.

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When Mental Illness Manifests as Rage

Samantha Reddoch - from themighty.com

In her blog post for The Mighty titled, “The Symptom of Bipolar Disorder We Don’t Talk About,” Jess Melancholia writes about hypersexuality, a symptom of bipolar disorder that sometimes presents during times of hypomania and mania. As I read her blog post, I couldn’t help but think of another symptom of bipolar disorder we don’t talk about: rage. 

This is something Stephanie Stephens wrote about in her blog post, “Bipolar Disorder and Anger: Stuck on the Rage Road.”

Many people with bipolar say that uncontrolled anger has destroyed their marriages, families and personal relationships, ruined their careers and left them emotionally isolated.

Stephens states that her “long-simmering irritability and rage” can result in angry outbursts that last over the course of a few days and is a symptom of her bipolar disorder mania and agitated depression.

Bipolar disorder rage can lasts for days, as an anger that can destroy relationships and careers. But what does bipolar disorder rage look and feel like?

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The Bipolar Trickster

By Carin Meyer
Last Updated: 9 Mar 2022 - bphope.com

I learned long ago, when you have bipolar, you cannot tell everyone—and, much of the time, you cannot tell anyone. To keep the day going, I mask my struggles with a smile. I leaned to the left in the photograph, laughing as I held a puppy on the bow of a green riverboat. I was smiling my slightly crooked smile, and, in the background—in a dark sky above black spruce trees—were two bright arcs of a double rainbow. A puppy, a smile, a rainbow—all three were unmistakable symbols of pure happiness. Little did the photographer, or anyone else, know that it was all a “trick.” Despite the props in that photograph, despite being surrounded by joy and backlit by rainbows, the sky was still dark.

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Bipolar & the Entrepreneur Advantage - bphope.com

By Robin L. Flanigan
Last Updated: 21 Mar 2022

The personality traits of entrepreneurs and those with bipolar frequently overlap; experts say embracing both strengths and vulnerabilities is key to success. 
Entrepreneurs are always “on,” which is why they need to have lots of energy, an inventive streak, and a sizable appetite for risk—but they’re often stressed out, sleep-deprived, responding to high levels of unpredictability, and susceptible to putting self-care at the bottom of the priority list.
Sound familiar?
Many of the characteristics that make someone a good entrepreneur are characteristics of people with bipolar—including perseverance.
Two studies published in Biological Psychiatry and Journal of Abnormal Psychology linked perseverance with bipolar. The latter was referenced in the 2018 article “Mental Disorders in the Entrepreneurship Context: When Being Different Can Be an Advantage.” In that article, the authors submit, among other things, that entrepreneurship likely provides an important alternative career path for people with mental health challenges.

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What I Wish the World Knew about Bipolar Disorder - bphope.com

By Gabe Howard
Last Updated: 18 Mar 2022

When it comes to bipolar disorder, what people don’t understand greatly outweighs what people do understand. 
The internet is filled with blog posts titled, “What I wish the world knew about …” and then filled in with something that, while seemingly common, like “being on food stamps,” is actually quite misunderstood.
I love reading these articles because what I thought I knew to be true isn’t true at all. I’ve found that I only knew half the story or believed a stereotype or wasn’t aware of a key fact—and that changed my perspective. Since these types of articles were able to enlighten me, I thought it would be a good idea to write one about bipolar.
So, without further ado: What I wish the world knew about bipolar disorder.

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NbN3

Neuroscience-based Nomenclature
2nd Edition - Revised

A discovery I made recently is a new psychotropic drug classification system name NbN3. It was created to remove stigma and increase adherence. The old W.H.O. "ATC" system named drugs based on indication. This new system is categorized by pharmacological domain and mode of action. A free phone app "NbN3" is available. For more information visit the website below.

 
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Searching for the “Upside” of Bipolar - (bphope.com)

By Elizabeth Forbes
Last Updated: 17 Feb 2022

Photo from bphope.com

(Please read the whole article. Long, but very good.)

People with lived experience share their stories of how optimism has helped them cope with and manage their bipolar.

In the decade since she was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, musician Sara L. has developed some ideas about what might be called the “upside” of the illness.

“This is just my own kind of pet theory,” explains Sara, 39, “that it confers personality characteristics … drive, ambition, energy, enthusiasm, and self-confidence. And when you’re well, those things come across in a positive, pro-social way.”

Of course, Sara knows all about the “life-trashing” side of bipolar. As a punk rocker with dark moods, she spent her 20s overindulging in alcohol and marijuana. When she rebounded from a deep depression into extreme mania after a romantic breakup, symptoms like religious delusions, incoherent speech, and agitation landed her in the hospital.

With medication to smooth out her mood swings and talk therapy to defuse the distorted thinking of depression, she’s able to see some pluses to having bipolar.

Ambition & Creative Drive

“Research is showing that there are links between creativity and bipolar disorder,” explains Sara, who is now studying for a master’s in counseling psychology.

 
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BIPOLAR DISORDER AWARENESS

from the National Institute of Mental Health

Who is affected by bipolar disorder?
·         Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year. (National Institute of Mental Health)
·         The median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years (National Institute of Mental Health), although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40’s and 50’s.
·         An equal number of men and women develop bipolar illness and it is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.
·         Women and people with bipolar II disorder are significantly more likely to experience periods of rapid cycling than men with the same condition. (Damone, A. L., Joham, A. E., Loxton, D., Earnest, A., Teede, H. J., & Moran, L. J. (2018).

 

20 Unexpected Signs of Bipolar Depression

By Julie A. Fast
Last Updated: 18 Mar 2022

I’ve found that there are two kinds of bipolar depression, and few seek treatment for the second type. By identifying our depressive symptoms before we get sick, we can manage bipolar disorder far more successfully. Here are the signs of an angry and irritated downswing.

 

Do People with Bipolar Disorder “Recover”? - bphope.com

By Julie A. Fast

Last Updated: 2 Mar 2022

You aren’t alone in wondering about your loved one’s future. As an expert in bipolar management—with bipolar—I still face mood swings and symptoms. Here’s why.  

Bipolar Disorder, Expertise, & Mood Management

I’ve been writing books about bipolar disorder management since 1998, and my web page started in 2002. How is it possible that I still deal with so many mood swings? Shouldn’t I be “better” by now? Why am I still talking about my own mood every day and bipolar in general?

Well, it comes down to this: It’s all about the nature of this illness.

 

Stay Well, Even When It's Boring - themighty.com

Tricia Chilcott - October 6, 2016

It’s hard being well. It’s hard to continue to take the same medication, day in and day out. It’s hard to “keep your nose clean,” and stay out of trouble. It gets boring.
Living with bipolar disorder is much like walking a tight rope. Too much “fun” and I’m manic; too much “down in the doldrums,” and I’m in depression. God forbid I have an emotion that is human because it will be analyzed to pieces by myself, my husband and my doctor.
Staying out of trouble gets hard to do when you’re bipolar. Many people, myself included, get an adrenaline rush like no other from the heights of mania. Giving that up for stability sometimes looks like a poor choice. You can feel as if you’ve lost your creativity, your “spark,” your muchness, to quote the Mad Hatter.

 

Bipolar & Fostering Healthy Relationships

Thriving with bipolar rests on developing positive, supportive connections, rather than dysfunctional ones. Here’s how to start.  

Patterns of Success & Failure

When you’re as public as I am about living with bipolar, people tell you things. Personal things. Heartbreaking things. Inspiring things.

They tell you about their most intimate struggles, hopes, traumas, failures, and triumphs. And if you pay close attention, you’ll find patterns. Nearly all of their greatest failures involve dysfunctional relationships, and nearly all of the greatest successes involve healthy ones.

Read more... Bipolar & Fostering Healthy Relationships | bpHope.com

By Melody Moezzi

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2022 - bphope.com

 

Bipolar Symptoms

13 Bipolar Disorder Symptoms You Need to Know, According to Psychologists

 

9 Ways Bipolar Can Differ Between Men & Women

Bipolar disorder affects men and women in equal numbers, but how its symptoms manifest can be significantly different. These nine features display this disparity.

9 Ways Bipolar Can Differ Between Men & Women | bpHope.com

By Tanya Hvilivitzky
Last Updated: 12 Nov 2021

 

Bipolar Medication & the Creativity Question

By Bruce Goldstein

I delayed treatment—and mood stability—because I feared that medication for bipolar disorder would squander my creativity and imagination.  Read more here: 

Bipolar Medication & the Creativity Question | bpHope.com

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How I Keep Loneliness at Bay During the Holidays

(This is from bphope.com)

I’ve found that the holiday season can stir up strong feelings of loneliness. With so much emphasis on family, I’m repeatedly reminded of personal losses and how bipolar has disrupted my past. Now, I turn to specific coping strategies that allow me to experience the holidays with more gratitude and cheer.

Read more... How I Keep Loneliness at Bay During the Holidays | bpHope.com

By Carrie Cantwell 

Last Updated: 9 Dec 2020

 

5 Types of Narcissism and How to Recognize Each

from PsychCentral.com; Medically reviewed by Jeffrey Ditzell, DO — Written by Courtney Telloian on September 15, 2021

As a personality trait, narcissism can come in many forms and levels of severity. As a mental health condition, there’s only one diagnosis. 

Read more:  How Many Types of Narcissism are There? (psychcentral.com)

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Are You a Perfectionist? Bipolar and Perfectionism May Go Hand in Hand

ibpf.org; By: Conor Bezane

A perfectionist strives for that which is flawless. Impeccable. Immaculate. My name is Conor, and I’m a perfectionist. I also have bipolar disorder.

According to Psychology Today:

Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. A fast and enduring track to unhappiness, it is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation.

Read more: Are You a Perfectionist? Bipolar and Perfectionism May Go Hand in Hand - International Bipolar Foundation (ibpf.org)

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bphope article

"Moving from Regret to Acceptance"

- Robin L. Flanigan

Moving from Regret to Acceptance
By Robin L. Flanigan

Senior writer, bphope newsletters

“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So, it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.” —Patty Duke, actress and mental health advocate with bipolar

It can be much easier to do things for others than for ourselves—and that includes offering forgiveness.

Instead, we can tend to hang onto shame and regret, especially after a bipolar episode, and avoid taking responsibility for our behavior, which would help us move on.

“Regret is a powerful and potentially devastating emotion,” says Michael Craig Miller, MD.

Here’s where the power of self-forgiveness comes in.

Studies have shown that the inability to self-forgive can be a factor in depression, anxiety, and a weakened immune system. According to therapist Keir Brady, that’s because beating ourselves up strengthens feelings of guilt and shame and reinforces the belief that we’re inherently flawed.


On the other hand, says Brady: “Self-forgiveness enables you to separate who you are from the mistakes you have made. This way, you can begin to learn from your choices and find ways to make amends when possible.”

In fact, as psychology researchers from Baylor University found, making amends makes self-forgiveness easier.

To take ownership of our actions and gradually move to a place of self-compassion and growth, Helen Brown, PhD, suggests fostering benevolent thoughts and emotions, as well as actively trying to make things right by repairing relationships and reaffirming any moral values that were broken.

No one is perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. However, learning from them helps cultivate an inner strength that can be used during—and after—the next mood episode.

When bphope blogger Carin Meyer comes out of a mood cycle, she writes down a list of her qualities: “I remind myself that bipolar does not define me,” she says, “that it is a biological disorder, and—most importantly, that I am a good person.”

From Regret to Self-Forgiveness | bpHope.com

 
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8 Best Quotes about Bipolar Disorder from Kay Redfield Jamison

 
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ORGANIZATIONS & WEBSITES

·         www.nimh.nih.gov  National Institute for Mental Health, NIH, Department of H&HS

·         www.nami.org  National Alliance for Mental Health

·         www.dbsalliance.org  Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

·         www.ibpf.org  International Bipolar Foundation

·         www.apa.org  American Psychology Association – publishes the DSM5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (The Bible used by practitioners for diagnoses.)

·         www.bphope.com bipolar website publishes daily articles as well as bp magazine.

·         www.themighty.com another bipolar website that publishes daily articles as well.

·         www.betterhelp.com  online therapy group that has licensed psychologists. Chat online, text, e-mail, phone contact.

 
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RECOMMENDED READING

  1. Bipolar 101 – R. White / J. Preston

  2. Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder – J. Fast / J. Preston

  3. Bipolar Disorder for Dummies – C. Fink / J. Kraynak

  4. Getting it Done When You’re Depressed - 2nd ed.– J. Fast / J. Preston

  5. Welcome to the Jungle – H. Smith

  6. All the Bright Places – J. Niven

  7. Touched with Fire – K. Jamison

  8. An Unquiet Mind – K. Jamison

  9. Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder – W. Marchand

  10. Cognitive Behavior Therapy – S. Watson

  11. Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder – J. Fast / J. Preston

  12. Wishful Drinking – C. Fisher

 

                Unipolar                                         vs.                                   Bipolar               Depression

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Food for Thought

12 Super foods that help manage bipolar moods

Read the whole article here. 12 “Superfoods” That Help Manage Bipolar Moods | bpHope.com

#1 Avocados

#2 Beans

#3 Walnuts

#4 Dark Chocolate

#5 Fruit...

for more, click on the link above.

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