I hate pop psychology a lot. And I hate pop psychology a lot for a very good reason: it harms those with mental illness (among others). Pop psychology aims to answer the mind's and the brain's questions with simplistic, easily digestible answers. Unfortunately, the brain and mind don't actually work like that. The body and the psyche require more than what pop psychology has to offer. So, yes, I hate pop psychology.
While suicidality is often driven, at least in part, by lifestyle factors, a person with a good life can still be suicidal. This doesn't make sense to many people. How can someone with an objectively good life feel like they want to die? The answer to that is simple and complex. A person with a good life can be suicidal because of the brain.
Dating with an invisible illness has its pitfalls. When do you tell someone about your illness? When do you explain the impacts your illness has on your life? How do you try to make an invisible illness visible to the person you're dating? My own forays into the dating pool have been making me think about just these questions.
If you're a single person with bipolar disorder, surviving can be hard. Last time I outlined why this is in a piece about being alone with bipolar disorder, but this time, I'm focusing on successfully dealing with being a single person with bipolar disorder.
I talk to myself all the time. In fact, I don't think I know anyone who talks to themselves more than I do. It's an incessant, running commentary on my existence. It's like I have my own narrator — but not only are they saying what's happening, but they're commenting on it, too. The question is, if I talk to myself, is this a part of bipolar disorder?
Insomnia is common in bipolar disorder. Sleep changes (which can be insomnia or hypersomnia [oversleeping]) are noted in the symptoms of major depressive disorder, which is part of bipolar disorder. In fact, I would wager that without medication, every person with bipolar disorder would have sleep problems. In my case, I have insomnia with my bipolar disorder and have had it for three years. But last night, I was lucky. Last night I managed to sleep almost eight hours (interrupted, but still). So, why don't I feel any better?
Dating and depression don't mix very well. When you feel terrible about yourself because of depression, it's not the best time to meet new people and try to develop healthy connections. But if your depression is longstanding, does that mean you shouldn't date? Can you successfully date while depressed?
When treating bipolar disorder, I think it's critical to gain bipolar mood stability first and only then tweak up or down as needed. That means that if you're in a depression right now (and let's face it, that's when people seek help the most), the goal isn't to treat depression, per se, but rather to gain bipolar stability. Of course, I'm not the only one who thinks this. The esteemed psychiatrist Dr. Jim Phelps agrees: treatment should focus on bipolar mood stability first.
You can change a negative, harmful coping skill into a positive skill. Sometimes negative coping skills seem easier or better, but in the end, they aren't. I know initiating such a positive change can seem impossible sometimes, but you can do it.
There are positive and negative coping skills for mental illness. This means that while almost anything can be a coping skill, some are truly helpful, and some are actually harmful. But what are negative coping skills, and why would anyone use a negative coping skill if it's harmful?