1. Argument beginning of manic attack?
Q. My girl friend has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
If we have a
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her. I want nothing to do with her. She has hurt me and helped ruin my life.
My question to you is: if I go on without her, can I make it? Can I do
If you have to ask, the answer is clear. No, you can't. You need her in your
life at least once in a while, in some way, on some terms.
(Maybe the real question is: can she do without you?)
not. Is it worth it to give up my self for a wife who has lied and cheated
and a mother and father I don't trust?
You are taking the wrong medication(s). Please, get your psychiatrist to
change them. If your psychiatrist tries to tell you that you're on the right
medication(s), your best bet is to change psychiatrists.
There are psychotropic medications that don't compromise your personality or
make you into the kind of person you don't want to be.
of my dreams, and he truly is my best friend and lover. He asked me to move
in with him after I graduate, and
after some thought, I agreed. There are guns in my boyfriend's house. He has
to have them for part of his job and, also, he hunts. But I won't go near
them. I hate guns.
Three days ago while staying over at my boyfriend's house, I woke up out of
a sound sleep thinking about guns. I was laying in bed thinking about
putting the gun to my boyfriend's back! I would never ever do a thing like
that or hurt any living creature. I was so horrified by that thought that I
was physically nauseous. If I picked up a gun and killed my boyfriend, my
happiness is over and my security is gone, and it would be all my fault. I
don't trust myself any more.
I've been known to have panic attacks in the past, but after I met my
boyfriend my panic attacks went away. I feel these attacks are a huge
weakness for me and I'm embarrassed by them, so I haven't told him about
First, please say these sentences to yourself any time you feel scared or
horrified by guns (or anything else):
IT'S NOT MY FAULT!
THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!
You have an illness, a panic disorder, and disorders like this are liars.
They try to convince you that there's something wrong with you and,
actually, the disorders are to blame, not you.
Think about it. It's the people who use guns to kill people and start wars
who have something wrong with them, not you. The panic disorder is lying to
you, trying to convince you that you might ever kill somebody. There's no
Second, tell your boyfriend about your occasional panic attacks right away.
When you do this, you'll be telling the disorder, "Hah! I'm not afraid of
you! You can't embarrass me any more!" Stand up to that liar, and watch what
happens to it!
Third, see a psychiatrist and get some more meds. There's no shame in taking
meds. I take meds, and I'm a successful psychologist. Also, ask your
boyfriend if he'd like to come along with you for therapy. I think it would
be a good idea because you probably have some underlying issues (problems
you can't see without a counselor's help) and these issues probably involve
your boyfriend a little bit.
Remember, the disorder is a liar. You are a good person. (Try reading
I have an ex-husband who I believe to have bi-polar disorder or some type of
mania. I left him 3 years ago because he was verbally abusive. I am happily
remarried -- to a wonderful, loving man, and together we raise my two small
children 50% of the time. My ex-husband
has them the other 50% of the time, and he tells them "what a bad man Bill
He sends me abusive mail, leaves harassing messages, and calls me to get
together with him to
discuss the fact that my current husband is "abusing" my children. He also
assures me that my children "hate" my new husband. He is extremely vicious
My children in fact have a wonderful relationship with my husband, despite
the fact that their father is promoting this hatred. What is the appropriate
way to deal with my ex? I usually cannot get a word in edgewise when he
calls and end up hanging up to free myself from his anger and bullying. What
do I say when he says something irrational? How can I help him see that we
do not wish to hurt him and simply want to raise the children in peace?
Dear T., Bullies are hard for me to deal with too. I've thought about
bullies a lot and even written a story about how to handle them.
http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch08a16.htm I'll try to answer your questions but,
please, remember that I'm just guessing as well:
What do I say when he says something irrational?
How can I help him see that we do not wish to hurt him and simply want to
raise the children in peace?
What is the appropriate way to deal with my ex?
Try doing what the woman in the story http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch08a16.htm
did: ignore him (by not answering his calls) and just go on. Whatever you
do, don't show fear! Act as if he doesn't bother you at all. (Also, you
could ask your kids for advice. You'd be surprised how much kids can help!)
a very good friend whom I will call Bob. Recently, Bob told my girlfriend
that he likes her and that it makes him very sad to see us together. Because
of this, Bob does not want to hang out with us any more.
This puts my girlfriend with a choice: either break up with me, or continue
going out with me and having Bob be hurt. This is a very hard decision for
her because we have been very happy together and it would hurt her to break
up with me. But if she chooses to continue to go out with me, Bob will
be hurt and she would feel really bad about that too.
She has been VERY depressed about this lately. She is crying and cutting
herself, and she has said she wants to die. I am in DESPERATE need of help
here. Based on the way she has been lately, I am scared that my girlfriend
might commit suicide.
Dear Reese, Your girlfriendís dilemma is not serious enough to make her
depressed and suicidal. There has to be something else going on. She could
be suffering from a chemical imbalance thatís making her depressed. (A
chemical imbalance can make problems seem bigger than they really are.) Or
there could be an issue between the two of you that you donít know about.
Please do whatever you have to do to find out what the underlying problem
talking to a psychiatrist about it, to run some tests. I don't want people
to start thinking I'm crazy or weird. I told my mom I wanted to take some
tests, but she just said I'm being silly and dismissed it. Is there any way
to take these tests without her knowing? I'd appreciate the help.
Dear Jen, There are no tests that diagnose bipolar disorder. There are some
quizzes on the net, but they're not very reliable. Your answers to those
quizzes only tell you whether or not you should see a psychiatrist, not
whether or not you are bipolar. Only seeing a psychiatrist in person can
tell you if you have the disorder or not.
To find a psychiatrist, you might want to talk to your school counselor.
People won't think you're crazy or weird because they won't find out about
it. School counselors and psychiatrists are required by law to keep their
that he has schizoaffective disorder. The medication he prescribed is a very
new drug called Aripiprazole (Abilify). But I researched it and found out
that this drug is not approved for children. So I tapered his dose quickly
down to nothing. Amazingly (to me anyway), for the next four days of no meds
he did just as well at school.
At our next appointment with Mark, he strongly encouraged me to re-start the
Abilify. But I'm not sure that schizoaffective disorder is the correct
diagnosis for my son. Mark told me that if you start giving a schizophrenic
person anti-psychotic drugs as soon as symptoms are suspected, you can
probably stop the progression of the disorder. He also told me that when I
take my son off meds, I'm causing him to relapse and it will be harder to
"bring him back". So I'm terrified. I don't know if I'm hurting my son by
giving him these meds or if I'll be hurting him to keep him off them. I
almost feel like Mark is using my son as a guinea pig. And when Mark senses
my anxiety or when I question him about things I've read he tells me I
shouldn't take him off instead of trying to remove my fears.
I know I have the final say, but I truly don't know the right thing to do.
Dear Carly, It's true that if you start giving a schizophrenic person
anti-psychotic drugs as soon as symptoms are correctly diagnosed, you can
sometimes stop the progression of the disorder. But is your son's diagnosis
correct? You want to be pretty sure because, if you give a person the wrong
psychotropic drug for a long period, you can cause harm.
You do have time. It would be a good idea to check with a second
psychiatrist, do all the research you want to do, and watch your son's
behavior a little longer before making important medication decisions. I
suggest that you not trust any psychiatrist who seems to be pressuring you
to start your son on a certain medication immediately or who says or does
anything that scares you. If Mark were doing his job right, you wouldn't be
I believe that the word "relapse" only applies when a medication has clearly
been working effectively for at least a few months. Don't let Mark use that
word to scare you.
You are very smart to do research and think through your decisions. Don't
let anybody, even a psychiatrist, imply that you aren't!
there also a tendency for them to commit homicide or think of it? Are people
in the midst of a manic episode generally safe to be around?
A. John, Research shows that bipolars are only slightly more likely than the
general population to commit violent crimes. If prejudiced people didnít
constantly persecute bipolars, Iíll bet you all the money in my wallet that
bipolars would be slightly LESS likely than the general population to commit
I havenít seen any research on how much bipolars think about committing
violent crimes. And, to answer your last question, people in the midst of
manic episodes are generally safe to be around.
aggressively. She has bipolar disorder, and I would like to know how to
discipline her. I donít want to punish her for what she cannot help, but her
behavior could result in her getting harmed some day, and I will not always
be able to see everything she does. I love my child. Please help me!
A. Sunny, It would take a whole book to answer your question! You might
consider enrolling in a child-rearing course at a local college or talking
to a counselor, or reading child-care books. But I can tell you two things:
1. Raising a bipolar child requires the same skills as raising any child.
2. Donít punish her for her bad behaviors until you must, that is, until you
íve tried rewarding her for her good behaviors. (You've probably done that
already, but maybe you can think of even more good behaviors to reward.)
Or are they the same?
A. Dear Julie, It takes a psychiatrist to diagnose bipolar disorder. Iím a
psychologist, and I havenít been trained to diagnose or treat BD. People
often ask me if so-and-so has BD or which meds are best for people who have
already been diagnosed with BD, and I canít help them. I send them to a
starting a family, and I
am starting to get frightened that she has bipolar disorder.
Georgette shows many of the symptoms that are listed in diagnosing this
disorder. She has frequent mood swings. She will be fine one moment, and
then suddenly get VERY depressed and tell me she is giving up on herself.
Basically, anything that I have ever read on a website that discusses
bipolar symptoms I have seen in her.
When she goes through these depressive times, it is really starting to wear
on me. I feel bad not only for her, but for myself as well. I have thought
about mentioning it to her, but never have for fear of triggering something
or making her want to leave me. Can you please offer any advice on what I
A. Patrick, Iím glad youíre smart enough not to walk up to Georgette and
say, ďYou have bipolar disorder.Ē Only a psychiatrist can diagnose BD.
Which matters more to you: (1) whether Georgetteís label or diagnosis is
officially ďbipolar disorder,Ē or (2) how she treats you? Will you please
give this some thought? I hope that you will choose (2), because nobody can
do anything about (1). If itís (2), you can go to a counselor who will help
you figure out whatís really going on between the two of you and whether you
can establish a happy, permanent relationship. (If the counselor happens to
see evidence of some kind of mental illness [in either one of you], the
counselor will know what to do.)
mania, but I cycle through depression and normal moods.) I am currently
taking 1000mg. Depakote ER a day. My biggest fear of all is having to rely
on a medicine and not be able to function without it. Will I have to take
this medicine the rest of my life, or will I be able to stop taking it after
some time of being better?
A. Dear Matt, You probably won't have to take Depakote for the rest of your
life. People's needs change, and some day you may benefit from changing your
meds. Or a medicine may be invented that works better for you than Depakote.
Your concern is a common one among bipolars. But will you please give it
some thought? Is taking a given medicine for the rest of your life really
something to be afraid of? There are plenty of medicines that people take on
a long-range basis, e.g., calcium for bones and insulin for diabetes.
Are you thinking that, as long as you're taking Depakote, you're still
"sick"? I disagree. I've been taking psychotropic meds for 13 years, and
that doesn't make me "sick". I know that, if I stopped taking my meds, my
mood swings would start up again, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm
a successful psychologist with lots of friends, not some "sick" person.
Will you please take the time to read http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm (Sick
of the "Sick" Label)? And please don't think of your meds as pills for a
"sick" person. Think of them as "happiness insurance". As long as you keep
taking them, you don't have to worry about the chemicals in your brain
getting imbalanced and screwing up your life.
quite long enough, thank you. My sister, especially, is condescending and
rude to me whenever I talk about my disease. Because of this, I am no longer
on speaking terms with either of them because they cause me too much anxiety
and depression. They are both smart, well-educated people. Is this common
among family members or people close to the patient, to deny that the
patient is sick?
A. Dear Sarah, Yes, it's common. A lot of our families have trouble figuring
out how to treat us bipolars. I finally started missing my family and
decided to go back. Now I just don't talk to them about my bipolar disorder.
Although I know they could benefit from learning more about it, it's just
not worth the hassle and, anyway, it's their loss.
2 characters and make them my friends? I have learned cartooning. Is it OK
if I write emails to those 2 characters and also write email replies from
them to me? The girl to whom I am engaged is 12 years old. Her parents said
they will let us marry after 4 years. 'Till then I am all alone.
No, Zubair, it's not OK. This is very important: getting married is too late
to start making friends. You need to find men your age to be your friends
right now. One very good place to find friends is in school.
attempted suicide 3 years ago. His brother is an alcoholic. He is now 30 and
an artist. My question is this:
He believes he can control his emotions, feelings and moods because he now
understands what motivates/scares him. He does not think drugs are
necessary. He believes he is not genetically bipolar but that his moods
result from his thoughts.
Dear Gina, Both facts are true. Bipolar disorder is genetic, and moods
result from thoughts. How is this possible? Simple! Bipolar disorder ->
thoughts -> moods.
Your boyfriend sounds very intelligent. He understands that pills don't just
take care of everything, that understanding and changing your thought
patterns is a crucial component of recovery.
One more fact: sometimes you need both understanding and control of your own
thoughts AND a few pills.
year ago. He has moved out of his home and into a home where there is little
to no supervision, drugs
available all the time, no rules, and no medication to treat his disorder.
The boy has his ups and downs and when down causes a lot of commotion. My
daughter feels she can save him. How can I convince my child that until he
gets off drugs and seeks help we or she can't help him? I have asked her to
look into a support group for herself where she may be able to get ideas as
to what to do or what to expect. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
Dear Jan, You're already doing the right things. He is the only one who can
kick his drug problem. He is the only one who can recover from bipolar
disorder. And the support group is an excellent idea.
Now there's only one thing left for you to do. Sit back, take a deep breath,
and let it all go!
Where can I find information regarding abuse and the effects it has in
reference to bipolar disorder?
Dear Athena, There's no direct link between childhood abuse and bipolar
disorder, but childhood abuse often causes PTSD, and PTSD often occurs
(co-exists) with bipolar disorder. Also, many of the same treatments are
effective for both bipolar disorder and PTSD. I would look for any reliable
information on treating childhood abuse or PTSD, whether or not the source
mentions bipolar disorder.
have bipolar disorder. I was wondering if there is a bipolar conference?
Breanne, Yes, there is. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is
having their annual convention in August. Click on http://www.dbsalliance.org
is a scene where I can't find my lithium and I'm starting to go crazy. Can
you describe to me some of the feelings that I might have as a result of not
having my lithium, e.g., irritability, panic, etc.?
Robert, Describing feelings is pretty tough but I can describe, and have
described, the accompanying thoughts - on my website. Click on
http://www.willigocrazy.org/stories.htm and read Transition and Bipolar Zombie.
Then read L.A. Woman, because a bipolar deprived of medication will have a
couple of positive thoughts too. What I'm saying is that we'll be confused
about whether we're happy or sad, and our behavior might be contradictory at
many searches on the computer and in book stores trying to find information
on the subject. I thought you, as a psychologist, may have more information
about where I may find this information. Perhaps you know the right
terminology for me to look under.
I am an adult thumb sucker myself and thanks to a group on the web I have
many new friends that are also thumb suckers. I would be interested to hear
some theories about it... see if there is anything other than, "it is a
regressive behavior," and, ďthere must have been some childhood trauma that
Dear Marian, The negative theories you mentioned are pretty much the party
line, because Sigmund Freud was just about the only psychologist who studied
thumb sucking. As you undoubtedly know from your net searches, Freud
believed that thumb sucking, along with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking,
etc., are alternate ways of getting sexual gratification.
I believe that thumb sucking isnít much more than a convenient way to calm
yourself down when youíre under stress. And it sure beats drug and alcohol
Dear Andrew, Yes, there is. I wrote a whole website, http://www.willigocrazy.org, to tell bipolars, ďYes, we have a disorder but, mostly, weíre great people!Ē
Specifically, click on http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm for a list of good
traits bipolars tend to have.
depressed sometimes and cut his arms just to see them bleed, but he didnít
mind. And when he was manic, he was a lot of fun. Then he was diagnosed
bipolar and forced to take four different meds, and his whole personality
changed. He was born both Jekyll/Mr. Hyde ó he was unique ó and the meds
changed him into boring, mild-mannered, Jekyll. He wasnít manic or depressed
any more; he just felt nothing at all. He lost his personality, and he
couldnít stand it, so he killed himself.
A. Dear Sam, I wonít lie to you. For the first few months that you take
them, many (not all, and certainly not Trileptal) bipolar meds change you to
what is often called a "zombie"; they make you slow and groggy. What's
worse, before your mood swings abate, you often go through a temporary
depression. During this period, many bipolars become (falsely) convinced
that they are in a state that's neither manic nor depressed, that they "feel
nothing". They're being illogical because:
1. nobody can "feel nothing", at least not for long. They do feel something.
2. If you so seriously dislike how you feel that you would rather die,
Convictions that you "feel nothing" or that you have lost your personality
are very common symptoms of depression. Also, the feeling that you will
never be yourself again, that everything is hopeless (unless you go off your
meds or whatever) is a common depressive symptom.
Then the temporary depression lifts, and you're REALLY in a state that's
neither manic nor depressed. I've been there. You're so surprised! "Of
course!" I said. "I should have known that not being manic any more doesn't
mean not being happy or funny or 'crazy' any more." Once the pills stop
making you groggy and depressed, you're really glad you're taking them, even
if you were forced to at the beginning.
Your friend was like Richard Cory, the character in the Beatles song, who
"blew his mind out in a car. He didn't notice that the lights had changed."
keep trying to tell him no. How can I keep him on them?
Also, we just got engaged. What will be the hardest thing about being in a
relationship with him being bipolar?
A. Dear Tina, To keep your boyfriend on his meds, you have to tell him that
you wonít marry him unless heís going to stay on his meds forever ó and then
you have to follow through.
The hardest thing about being in a relationship with him? If heís on his
meds, the hardest thing will be keeping him on them. If he goes off his
meds, everything will be hard.
am interested in a guy, I chase after him. But once I have him I no longer
want anything to do with him. Itís almost like Iím scared of intimacy. When
I donít have a guy that likes me, I want one, but when I do, I donít want
A. Dear Katrina, You and a lot of other people, most of whom are not
mental-health consumers! Thereís nothing wrong with you. Relationships are
tough. Hold on, and keep your eyes open for a guy who is chasing you. I
think theyíre the best kind.
disorders and bipolar disorder i was just wondering what exactly is it I
have been looking and looking but nothing can give me a clear answer that I
A. Dear Nicole, I think youíve hit on a good point. I get one answer from
one site, and another site says the opposite thing. Sometimes I do get good,
accurate information (especially from the Bipolar World site) but all the
details make my head swim. Bipolar disorder is part of human behavior, and
nobody can completely understand or predict human behavior.
Thatís why I developed my site, http://www.willigocrazy.org. Itís more
inspirational than informational. I give a few BRIEF tips about how to cope
with bipolar disorder, teeth-grinding, hiccups, etc., but I use most of the
site to remind bipolars what great people we are and that we donít deserve
the prejudice against us. The rest of the site is inspirational stories I
wrote for my friends, mental-health consumers.
I think itís more important to love ourselves and others than to know every
detail about mental illness.
medications. I am growing increasingly worried that there is no "wonder"
drug out there for me. The meds have put my psyche and body through a lot in
the past year and a half. Is it normal to go through a lot
of meds until an effective one is found?
Dear Vanessa, Yes, it is normal. Iíve known people who had to go through
even more meds than seven. When they finally found the right meds, they were
really glad they kept trying.
lost any weight. (I have watched my diet.) I have been burning about 1000
calories a day, biking. The books say that 7000 calories a week should
translate to a 2 lb. loss. While it's true I haven't lost any weight, and
you do say that exercise is not what makes people lose weight, I still don't
understand. Where have I gone wrong?
A. Dear Sherry, Maybe you havenít gone wrong at all. The exercise may be
building up your muscles. Muscles weigh more than fat, so the increase in
weight could be good, not bad. Instead of measuring your progress by
weighing yourself, go to a gym and have them test you. If youíre watching
your diet really well, the test results will be good news.
By the way, exercising like a fiend can burn off weight, just not as much
weight as the books say. Exercise works better for keeping weight off than
for losing weight. I admire your will power. Keep it up!
this girl I've known for about a year now. We've been kinda getting into
arguments because I can't seem to make up my mind about going out with her.
I'm not sure if it will or would be OK for me to go out with a bipolar girl,
though it seems that nothing is wrong with her. She seems perfectly fine to
me but, nonetheless, she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What suggestion
can you give me on making this decision? I really need some advice.
A. Dear Unknown, Thereís no such thing as a bipolar girl, or bipolar man,
woman, or child. There are only people who happen to have been born with the
bipolar complex, which consists of both good and bad traits (see
http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm), and all human beings have both good and bad
traits. You're thinking of going out with her, not marrying her, right? What
are you afraid of?
close friend who means the world to me, but she doesnít know how to react
when I have my manic episodes. I donít know what to tell her. When Iím
manic, should she ignore me? What is the best thing for my friend to do?
A. Dear Meg, Look into your heart and see what you WANT your friend to do
when youíre manic. Would you like it if she ignored you? If she yelled at
you? If she just sat quietly with you for a while? If you would like for you
to tell you something, what would you like her to say?
It sounds as if sheís such a good friend that sheís giving you a chance to
ask for whatever you want. Take it!
lack of feeling altogether and that it has nothing at all to do with
sadness. She believes she's not depressed
because she feels sadness, and thatís a feeling. According to her, sheís
only depressed when she feels nothing at all. Is this true?
A. Dear Chad, When youíre depressed you can feel:
4. any combination of the above
5. nothing at all
You can feel sadness one minute, anger the next, fear the next, and nothing
the next. You can even feel sad and angry, or afraid and angry, at the same
time. And all those feelings can burn you out and make you stop feeling
just gave birth to twin boys, and he took it out on them, so I left. Well,
he is pretty bad off, and I am having a really hard time dealing with this.
I was wondering if you could give me just some details about bipolar
disorder. What can I do to deal with this the best way possible for the sake
of my children? I only know a little bit about the disease, so any advice
and facts about it you can give me would be very helpful. Thank you for your
A. Dear Pam,
Iím going to refer you to my website. You can get information on bipolar
disorder at http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch02.htm
. After you have read these pages, you
might want to go to http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch04.htm
where there are links to
other Bipolar Disorder sites.
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