8 Tips for Communicating with Bipolar


More difficult to find than a cure for bipolar is someone who will listen. Not just hear you, but actually listen.

Those of us with bipolar typically have an abundance of thoughts and feelings rolling around in our heads. Releasing those thoughts and feelings can help lighten our burden. As I’m sure you’ve heard, keeping feelings pent up inside is never a good thing. When we bottle up emotions they can percolate inside for perhaps years, until one day the lid pops off and we emotionally explode over everyone. Then we wonder where all that came from. Not pretty.

Instead of allowing the explosion to take place, we should be proactive about communicating our thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. What do I mean by “a healthy way?”

1.  Don’t wait for someone to ask you how you are feeling or thinking. Nine out of ten times that won’t happen. Instead, ask a trusted friend or family member to make some time in their day to talk. Do not just throw all your thoughts and feelings on someone when they can’t give you their full attention for risk of not feeling heard.

2.  Do talk with people only when you are calm. A conversation never ends well when one person is angry or upset to begin with. If you need some cool-down-time, be sure to take all the time you need before you involve yourself in a well-thought-out conversation.

3.  Do realize that because bipolar emotions can be incredibly strong, they might also come across to others as very strong. Try to be aware of your audience and tailor the way you present your thoughts and feelings to how they will best be perceived.

4.  If you really trust the person you are speaking with, sometimes I like to ask (usually my husband, in my case) if what I am saying is irrational. I trust him to tell me if I sound like I am in a more hypermanic phase than perhaps I realized.

5.  Do give others credit for doing their best at listening.  Especially for those who are not naturally emotional people, it can be very difficult for them.

6.  Try not to start a sentence with the word “you” during a more confrontational conversation. It makes the other person automatically defensive. Instead start your sentence with something like “when this happens, I feel (fill in the blank).

7.  Don’t just talk about problems without offering solutions. Otherwise the conversation will just turn into a giant whine-fest.

8.  Thank someone for listening. It takes a selfless person to listen. Also, remember conversations are a two-way street. Allow the other person to speak and be heard as well. We ALL need to be heard and feel valued.

These tips should have you on your way to communicating your bipolar feelings and thoughts more effectively while keeping your relationships intact. Do you have any other tips to add?

Bipolar: Good or Bad?


Is bipolar a gift? Or simply an illness, as we are told by the medical community?

Some will argue, “how can a disorder of any kind be a gift?” I will do my best to explain.

Almost everyday of my life these days I am knocked down by my brain telling me: you are not good enough, end your life, you are a burden to your family, you will never succeed. Everyday I fight like hell pushing back saying: I am good enough, my life is worth living, I am needed by my family, I will succeed.

This thought process has created a resilience, a kind of stamina that only someone with mental health struggles would know. My bipolar has made me mentally strong, contrary to what people would think. When others quit, I keep going because I am used to the fight.

Bipolar has given me some of the best days of my life. When my brain is manic and rapidly thinking, my best ideas and passions come to fruition.

On a spiritual level, I am a Catholic and my faith is paramountly important. When I am suffering in a deep depression, I am able to align my suffering with the suffering Jesus went through dying on the cross for me. If you are not of a Christian faith, it can be a powerful tool to suffer. You learn compassion, and I believe a deeper understanding to the meaning of life. I do not believe we were created as human beings to lead easy and cushy lives. I believe there is much value in suffering. In suffering we are humbled, in humility we find understanding, in understanding we find compassion, in compassion we find love, which is what I believe we were created to do; love.

On the opposite side of the argument, people will say that bipolar is bad. In fact, if you look at a previous post, I asked people to describe bipolar using one word. Out of 215 comments, only 20 responded with a word that had a positive connotation. Most words were extremely negative in nature. And I get it, bipolar can be exhausting and all the other words mentioned.

Bipolar’s very nature is a chemical imbalance. There is something “wrong” with how our brains function. Or so we are told. Could it be that our brains are wired differently for a bigger purpose than we can see?

The one dreadful bipolar side effect is its contribution to suicidal behaviors and suicide. Which easily makes the argument that bipolar is a bad thing. But is bipolar bad without the suicidal tendencies? I’m asking you. I want to know your opinion on this. Is bipolar good or bad?

Bipolar Mixed Episodes


A mixed episode creates an experience of entrapment inside her mind. She is itching with desire to reach deep inside her skull to purge her tormented brain. Her brain suffocates her. She cannot breathe.

Her body unmistakably trembles with fear, her hands twitch from excess energy. Tears overflow in her eyes. She wants to run away from herself as quickly as possible. How does she escape her agitated herself? She can’t. She will indefinitely be trapped. Waiting for her brain to decide when and how she will come down from this mixed episode of hell.

She wants to sleep. In sleep, she is unaware of the torture occurring in her mind. Unfortunately, the mania during the mixed episode relentlessly and viciously keep her awake. She is like a trapped lion in cage, heart bursting out of her chest. The tossing and turning she endures is enough to make her cry out. Please God, take this from me! I cannot go on. The clock changes from midnight to 3 o’clock, from 3 o’clock to 7 o’clock until she wearily gives up on the notion of sleep. Bipolar wins again, she feels as though she is losing her mind. She is terrified.

The world and her life do not slow down. She is a mother who pretends like all is okay in the world. She does not allow her children to know of her suffering. She loves them too much to have them worry. After three nights of sleeplessness, her body cannot keep up. Finally she crashes. She closes her eyes, and sleeps at last.

She is me. I am her. Or is she simply her bipolar? The confusion ensues.

4 Lies About Depression


4 Lies About Bipolar Depression That Need to End:

1. Depression means you are lazy. False. You are the farthest thing from lazy. If you were lazy, by definition, you would be unwilling to exert energy. More than likely, you are not only willing, but begging for energy, and lots of it! But your brain is unwilling to give it to you. It feels similar to taking sleeping pills during the day and trying to get your regular routine done. Just add in the relentless sadness and anxiety, that are depression’s best friends.

2. Depression means you are mentally weak. False. Some may argue that people with a mental illness are quite the opposite, and are mentally stronger than most. The war that goes on inside your head would bring many to their knees because of its excruciating pain. So please, don’t ever say you are not mentally strong. You have fought a million wars in your head and won every one. After all, you are still standing.

3. Depression means you are nutritionally deficient. False. Perhaps you have taken every supplement in the book. And quite frankly, you are sick and tired of trying out “the natural way.” Yes, supplementing has helped in some ways. But many people are convinced that bipolar disorder is somehow rooted in the fact that you are fundamentally lacking certain nutrients. Many have taken most every supplement, and guess what? They still have bipolar.

4. Depression means you have “unresolved issues.” False. Yup, we’ve all got them. As an example, I can say with great certainty that I had an amazing childhood and do not have any significant unresolved issues. I had loving and supportive parents, a best friend for a sister, and a ton of close friends. Nothing stands out to me that I need to “resolve.” But I still have bipolar.

What is not understood or maybe even known, is that bipolar is genetic. Rooted in biology. My great-great grandma, great-grandma, grandma, mom, and myself ALL have/had bipolar disorder. Or is it still possible that FIVE generations were simply lazy, weak-minded, nutrient deficient, and bad at resolving their issues? I am inclined to say, no.

Many people have made these assumptions or suggestions from a very loving place. So on my behalf, thank you for loving and trying to support those who have bipolar. I am, however, voicing a perspective from someone who deals with bipolar symptoms on a regular basis. We are who we are, and most likely will not be “fixed” by one of these simple changes in our lives. It is all incredibly complex.

If you have bipolar, you are so incredibly strong, never forget that.

WebMD documentary released!

My husband and I were filmed for a WebMD documentary series.  Our video is called “Married to Bipolar.”  The more we talk about mental health issues, the more people will feel comfortable sharing their own stories.  The more stories are shared, the less stigma will exist.  The less stigma exists, the more people are willing to seek professional help.  All of this means more lives saved from suicide.


Bipolar Problem: Which Person Will Show Up?

IMG_0992Picture this. A brand new race car. It is the fasted race car ever built. This race car laps the other race cars with great ease. It wins race, after race, after race, with only a couple crashes. The driver signs up for the most prestigious motor race in the world. The driver knows with great certainty his car will win since it wins every race.

Race time arrives, the driver is set, and the race begins. The driver puts the petal to the metal, but nothing happens. His car does not budge. It seems as though this new car has an idiosyncrasy the driver was unaware of. After a dozen races, it has to stay parked in the garage for about three months. After three months it will be the fastest car in the world again. The driver will never know though when the car will be in working-condition.

So how in the world is the driver supposed to plan his racing schedule? How many races will he show up to only to be frustrated that his car won’t move again?

The above analogy is how I explain my depression (low energy) and mania (high energy). Many times I will sign myself up for throwing a party, committing to an activity, or completing a variety of tasks. This is because I’ve become accustomed to, and crave the manic energy that allows me to easily get these things done more quickly than most everyone else.

Then the time will come to throw that party, but all the manic energy is gone and I am left with the body and mind of the race car that won’t budge on the race track. It’s frustrating because I make grand plans, and then when the time comes, I lose all momentum and energy because my brain decided it needs to stop…. for however long it needs.

This is one of many reasons why life with bipolar can be a struggle. I’ve succumbed to the notion that planning my life cannot happen. Naturally a person who likes to plan things, I’ve had to learn to let life fall where it may, no matter where all the pieces may fall. Silver lining; this has helped me to live more in the present.

Whenever I make plans, in the back of my mind I think, ‘I wonder how my brain will be acting that day?’

How do you manage ‘planning’ anything in your life? Do you find it difficult to follow through on plans?


I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar & Exercise

IMG_0133Every human who breathes needs exercise, but people with Bipolar really NEED exercise. No amount of psych medication, supplementation, or proper nutrition will make up for lack of daily exercise. There are many people on psych meds who do not incorporate exercise into their daily lives who wonder why they’re not getting better despite the meds. While it’s obviously possible the meds just aren’t working, it’s also equally as obvious that you can’t expect to feel mentally better if your physical self feels badly.

When I miss a workout I feel existentially more irritable, depressed, sluggish, and exhausted. All of these symptoms are ironically bipolar symptoms. We can’t expect for our psych meds to do what daily exercise will do for our bodies. Those feel-good, mood-pick-me-up endorphins created from exercise are like gold to a bipolar mind! So get as much as possible (so long as you are in good standing health, and have an exercise routine cleared by your doctor).

Maybe pick something from this list…. swimming, kayaking, biking, Pilates, yoga, boxing, jiu jitsu, karate, beach volleyball, workout DVDs, aerobics, running, golfing, tennis, basketball, weight lifting, rock climbing, barre, hiking, lacrosse, frisbee golf, jump roping, rowing….. and there are so many more!

If you don’t have a form of exercise you love right now, just pick one you’ve never tried. Don’t expect to be an expert right away, be patient with yourself. The first time I ever tried Pilates I made a ton of mistakes, my form was terrible, and I left incredibly frustrated with myself. But two years later, Pilates was my favorite exercise I had ever done. So take a chance on yourself, try something new! Your body AND mind will thank you. 💚


I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.



Bipolar Creativity

IMG_9749Painting, sculpting, singing, writing… whatever your creative outlet is, it is begging to be released to the world. I strongly believe we were created in part to change the world for the better through our various creative gifts.

Bipolar is often associated with famous creatives such as Vincent Van Gogh, Demi Lovato, and Carrie Fisher. All of them used/use their creative thinking, which is a hallmark of bipolar, to make huge impacts on our world. This makes the strong argument that bipolar disorder can indeed be a blessing and may not necessarily even be a disorder at all.

Without people who think “differently” with dramatic bipolar highs and lows, our world would most certainly be a less colorful and much more boring place to live.

My goal is to get back in touch with my creative side. As a little girl I’d spend countless hours simply creating. My mind worked quickly and thrived on the whole creative process. Now, as an adult with responsibilities, my creative moments are fewer and farther between. I intend on changing that! My mind is craving a creative release, badly.

If you have bipolar, think about creating something today that didn’t exist before you brought it to existence.💚

I’d love to see in the comments below how many of you @so_bipolar followers are artists, and what your creative outlet is! 💚💚💚


I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar Meds Hurt!

IMG_9826It’s bedtime, you’re exhausted, but you still need to take your nightly handful of psych meds and vitamins. Instead of taking one or two at a time, you pop the whole handful into your mouth as some kind of challenge.

Challenge accepted. As the water hits your lips you panic that maybe, just maybe, you are being overzealous in your pill swallowing endeavor. But you persevere.

Then, it happens. You feel every pill slowly, painstakingly move through your throat and esophagus as if every pill is a tiny knife cutting its way through.

For the next ten minutes you chug gallons of water to keep them moving. A time-saving idea totally backfired. I will never do that again, you think to yourself… until the next time….

This happens to me way more than I’d like! You?

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.