Lessons Learned From My Own STRUGGLING. Overcoming the struggles related to having bipolar disorder


This was taken directly from a post I made on Facebook on “Thrive With Bipolar Disorder” known as “team THRIVE”.



team THRIVE! I made a mistake in my life that I want to share with you…

Everything I have achieved in my life was due to perseverance and persistence. Everything I have done has been hard for me.

I believed that I am meant to ALWAYS STRUGGLE in life.

This is NOT TRUE. I was wrong.

Everything does NOT have to be a struggle.

I stayed in circumstances where I struggled so much because struggling was what I knew how to do well.

I know how to struggle.

I believe this is true for many people with bipolar disorder.

As a result, I caused my own suffering.

When I wasn’t struggling…I created struggle.

Not struggling, was scary for me.

I needed to struggle in order to feel normal…my normal…and in order to feel safe.

If I was struggling, it meant that I had self-control.

My deepest fear ever is losing control of myself.

I struggled so that I would always know that I was in control of me.

team THRIVE, everything does not have to be a struggle.

I don’t want you to struggle to thrive.


It took me 15 years to learn this…I hope that it won’t take you 15 years.

Well, it really took me 31 years to learn it…but who is counting. ūüėČ


How to talk with young children about Depression, Mania & Mental Illness: Strategies for talking about bipolar disorder and mental illness with children

I have worked as a therapist with parents have bipolar disorder.

Here are examples of what I share with parents to help them talk with their children about bipolar disorder.

I will turn these ideas into a video to share with your children.

How to talk about DEPRESSION with young children


KEY: Children need to know that what you are experiencing is NOT their fault AND that there is nothing they can do to make you not feel how you feel.  They need to know that they are not responsible for making you happy or changing your mood.


Here is how I encourage people to talk about DEPRESSION with children.

If a child is afraid of monsters, mom or dad can say…

“Monsters are scary. I am scared of monsters too.”

“Sometimes MONSTERS come into my life, and just like you, I do my best to face them.”

“Sometimes the MONSTERS are soooo scary, that I have to go to sleep and cover up under the covers so I can face them in my dreams and win.”

“When I go to sleep, I am winning against the MONSTERS. I don’t want you to worry about me when I sleep…that is when I am WINNING.”

“Sometimes it takes a long time to WIN. But don’t worry, I will WIN.”

“Sometimes the MONSTERS make me sad and make me cry. It is a good thing to cry…it means I am facing the monsters. In order to WIN, I have to face the MONSTERS.”

“Sometimes the MONSTERS steal all of my energy. It is no fun at all. But don’t worry…when the MONSTERS do this…I will go to sleep and start WINNING in my dreams.”

“You can’t make the MONSTERS go away.¬† But you can help me by letting me know when you see the MONSTER in my life because sometimes it sneaks into my life and I cannot see it.”

“When MONSTERS come into my life, sometimes I have so many of them that I have to go to the doctor.¬† Don’t worry, the doctor is helping me so I don’t have too many MONSTERS.”

“When I have too many MONSTERS, I lose control and do some pretty wacky things.¬† When that happens, it is not your fault and it is not my fault.¬†¬† It is the MONSTER’S fault.”

How to talk about MANIA with young children

KEY: Children need to know that what you are experiencing is NOT their fault AND that there is nothing they can do to make you not feel how you feel.  They need to know that they are not responsible for making you happy or changing your mood.

How to talk about mania with young children…


“Sometimes I get the HAPPINESS BUG! The HAPPINESS BUG makes me sooooo incredibly happy.”

“The HAPPINESS BUG makes me want to dance and sing…it makes me feel that I can do ANYTHING.”

“The HAPPINESS BUG gives me so much energy and makes it so that I can’t sleep.”

“When I can’t sleep, it is scary. I really want to sleep, but the HAPPINESS BUG doesn’t want me to, it wants me to play.”

“Sometimes the HAPPINESS BUG plays way too much for me…and it cheats in the games we play…and it makes me soooo angry.”

“When I get angry…I am never angry at you. I am angry at the HAPPINESS BUG for cheating in our game.”

“You can’t make the HAPPINESS BUG go away.¬† But you can help me by letting me know when you see the HAPPINESS BUG in my life because sometimes it sneaks into my life and I cannot see it.”

“When I get the HAPPINESS BUG, sometimes I have so many of them that I have to go to the doctor.¬† Don’t worry, the doctor is helping me so I don’t have too many HAPPINESS BUGS.”

“When I have too many HAPPINESS BUGS, I lose control and do some pretty wacky things.¬† When that happens, it is not your fault and it is not my fault.¬†¬† It is the HAPPINESS BUG’s fault.”

A key for talking with children about bipolar disorder is we want them to know:

“When I am sad or angry, it is never ever your fault.”

“You do not make me sad or angry. I love you very, very much.”

“Sometimes the MONSTER keeps me from being able to be happy. It is NOT your fault, ever.”

“Sometimes the HAPPINESS BUG makes me really, really angry. It is NOT your fault, ever.”


I survived being a teenager with Bipolar Disorder; so did my parents

I was a good kid.

Being a teenager was the most difficult period of my life thus far.

I survived.

So did my parents.


Being a teenager for me meant…

I just want to belong

(in the eyes of someone other than my parents).


Way before I was a teenager, I loved being with my mom and dad. They could do no wrong. They were my heroes.

(This was before my brain developed the ability to critically think and make my own decisions.)

My mom was my safety blanket in life. I crawled into bed with her and lay beside her and shared with her anything I thought or felt about life. She made me feel that what I had to say was important and she appeared interested in all my ideas. She explored all of my curiosities with me by sitting down together with the encyclopedia to look for any questions I had about life. She inspired and encouraged in me my love of learning and taught me how to learn and gave me structure to research and study. She taught me how to be her helper (which was actually the only effective thing she did to get me to do chores, yet she was not consistent enough with it to make it routine and habit in my life). However, she did ignite a passion within me for helping people, just not for helping her do chores. She and my dad gave me the space to explore and play freely…they truly encouraged me to be me and dream and believe that I could be anything I truly want to be if I work hard enough. I believe this planted the seeds for my tremendous work ethic.

I was the last person to wish my dad a good day and the first person to welcome him home. I was my dad’s first-mate as a sailor. On long drives, I stayed up to keep him company. I just wanted my dad’s attention and affection. He expressed his care by doing things with me and spending time with me. He taught me how to throw and catch a football and a baseball. My dad taught me about politics and instilled in me values about how people deserve to be treated and have access to resources. I learned to take a stand for what I believe in from my dad. He encouraged me to be strong and persistent in going after what I want and believe in in life. Little did he and my mom know that I would drive them nuts with my persistence to own dogs and boats and anything that would be more responsibility for them.

As a child, I knew the rules and had structure, unfortunately for my mom, she didn’t get that I pay way more attention to what she did than what she said.

My mother could not tolerate messiness. At a young age, I learned that if I wait long enough, she would clean up after me. I would have to deal with her persistent nagging, but after years of it, I learned to tune her out. It worked like a charm. My mother didn’t know it, but she was very good at teaching me how to manipulate her based on my own understanding of her needs. Her need for a clean house and organization was far greater than mine.

By my mom picking up after me, not only did I take her for granted, but I lost respect for what she does and how incredibly hard she works.

As a child, no matter what I did, my mom could not stay mad at me. It didn’t matter if I exploded something in the kitchen or completely destroyed the family room while turning it into a pirate ship OR got into trouble with my friends…I could climb into bed with my mom and share with her everything I felt and thought and no matter how upset she was with me, she could not stay mad at me. I learned from her that if I simply share my feelings and thoughts honestly and transparently that I am loveable and it does not get me into trouble.

By my mom consistently being there for me, no matter what I did or said, without being disappointed in me, I developed expectations for how people should treat me. I developed the belief system that I can mess up as much as I want in life and if I am honest and open about it, people will love me anyways. As an adult, this is still an underlying core belief that by no means is always true, but it does work for me enough of the time.

Unfortunately, my older sister became a teenager before I did and her teen years were very, very difficult on my parents. She had undiagnosed bipolar disorder (until she was 31) and it was like living with a demon throughout her teenage years. So much of my mom’s time and energy went to trying to help my sister and cope with her, that I was neglected for way too long.


I no longer climbed into bed with her and shared openly and honestly my feelings. I did not want to be a burden…so I learned to bottle things up inside me starting around the age of nine years old. I learned to keep a smile on my face and tried to help out as much as I could…I turned into the “angel” child, but I was in a lot of pain and no one knew.



The year I became a teenager, my mom had breast cancer (and survived) and her mother died (my heroic grandma) and my sister was at the peak of her horrible teens and still had not received the help she needed.


Being a teenager was incredibly hard for me. While in Junior High, I lost all my childhood friends due to the cruelness of pre-teen hormonal girls and I isolated myself from the friends who had been there for me during my mom’s cancer because I unknowingly associated them with horrible pain.



I had incredibly low self-esteem.


I did not feel safe with girls.

I did not feel safe with anyone.

I never let anyone get to close to me. As a result I went through friends like water all through the rest of Junior High and High School. I only had a limited trust for one person at a time and completely stayed away from groups, especially if girls were involved.

I chose friends who made me feel good about myself. I chose friends who made me feel wanted. Some of my friends were good people…other friends were just using me because they could.



I did not get into drugs and alcohol as a teenager. At the age of eight, when I was unsupervised and drank enough alcohol to knock out a horse at our family Passover Seder, I learned how much I do not like the feeling of being drunk and how incredibly sick too much alcohol makes me, so I stayed away from it until I was twenty and then remembered how much I don’t like it.


My dad learned a lot from that experience and said to me, “If you ever want to try drugs, try them with me.” He educated me as best he could about the effects of drugs and told me stories of what happened to people he knew, bad stories, but without judging them at all. Then said, “If you would like to try it, try it with me.” The way my dad talked with me made me never want to do drugs. He stole the excitement from them and he made me feel normal for being curious and wanting to try things that would make me feel all sorts of different pleasures. My dad made me feel safe talking with him and I never got in trouble for sharing my curiosities and mistakes with either of my parents.



Some parents would be infuriated by this because they see it as giving a child permission to do drugs. It was not the case for me. My dad removed my desire to experiment by how he talked with me about drugs. I did not have to hide anything from my parents. Those conversations and always being able to talk with my parents openly about drugs and sex without fear of judgment or being in trouble, kept me from trying drugs and becoming sexually active even when I really wanted to be sexually active and was frequently viewing websites like www.tubev.sex and many others to try and satisfy myself (while manic).



Mania came into my life right before turning sixteen. I got my drivers license while manic. I’ve written a lot about my mania and depression, but not a whole lot about how it affected me as a teenager.



Mania and depression stole from me the one thing I was really trying to figure out in life as a teenager…MY IDENTITY.



I had very low self-esteem when mania and depression came into my life and they destroyed what little esteem I had. Self-trust went out the window. I was completely afraid of myself. I was afraid to be with anyone I associated with mania and afraid to drive.


My parents didn’t know how to help me. Therapy was not working for me because I did not feel the therapist got me and I was able to be incredibly self-aware and not let the therapist in at all.


My family helped me heal by trusting me when I was unable to trust myself. My family encouraged me to face my fears and drive the car again. They encouraged me to set goals again and take chances in life. They encouraged me to be excited about life again without fearing that I was manic. They gave me the freedom to begin exploring again and removed the pressure of things like AP classes and college. They gave me permission to be and do whatever I want in my life and took away the fear of failure. This freedom to explore who I am and decide who I choose to become is how I got to where I am today.










FANTASY: How the conflict between fantasy and reality can lead to episodes of bipolar disorder and any mental illness & cause difficulty in relationships


When we are in our teens or younger, we pick a career path and study for it for years…then eventually, if we persist, we become that profession and take on that identity. ¬† We commit to doing that path and being that identity for the next 30-50+ years of life.¬† We make this decision solely based on our fantasy for the job.


FANTASY in this context is defined as using our imaginations to set goals for possibilities in our lives.¬†¬† Fantasy is what we believe “should” happen for our lives.


We often don’t spend time envisioning a good enough partner or quality of life…instead we fantasize about our IDEAL SELF (our concept of perfect) and want to find those qualities in a partner or career.


When we are dating, we are basically figuring out if this person we meet fits into our fantasy for ourselves and our lives.  If they fit, meaning that they have a similar fantasy for themselves, we continue dating them.  If not, we find someone else to date with the hopes that eventually we will find someone with a compatible fantasy to our own and hope that the reality of being with them fits the fantasy we both have.


When we get married, we commit to spend the rest of our lives with our partners based on who we fantasize they will be and who we fantasize we will be.¬†¬† We create a fantasy for the family we will have.¬† The home we will make together…our dogs.¬† We fantasize about vacations and travels together.¬† Everything we plan with our partners is the journey of two people creating one fantasy.


When relationships end or we change our minds and lives in big ways…it is often because we have discovered that our fantasy and reality don’t fit each other and we either accept the reality (and stay on course in our relationship and/or field of work) OR we decide that the reality is not what we truly want for ourselves and we create a new fantasy to pursue.




Fantasy Causes Difficulty In Relationships


We often fail in commitments because relationships don’t live up to the fantasies we have for them.¬† When we are in love, it is so hard to see all the giant red flags waving in our faces…they look like rainbows.


We convince ourselves to believe that if only we love our partner enough, we can mold them into our ideal partner (which is really our ideal self that we are not even able to be).


If we don’t let go of this fantasy and accept our partners and our relationship for who and what it is…we will be miserable.


The reality will never be the fantasy AND reality will not be “good enough” until we let go of the fantasy.


Letting go of our own personal fantasy and creating a fantasy with our partner is how we build and sustain our relationship so that it has a future.





Why do we base our lives on FANTASY?




Everything in our lives beyond the present moment is UNKNOWN. How else could we handle the sheer terror of NOT KNOWING ANYTHING, if we did not keep a picture in our minds of what “should” “could” or “would” be IDEAL?


As human beings, we build a future based on what we fantasize today and we hope and pray that all of our efforts will give us just a small percentage of our fantasy…but when we don’t know any better, we hope for 100% of it and may not be willing to settle for less.¬† This is one reason why so many people are so unhappy about their lives.¬† As we get more life experience 50% of our fantasy is AWESOME!


In order to cope with NOT KNOWING ANYTHING, we create in our minds the “SHOULDs” and “SUPPOSED TOs” of life…this gives us our structure of how to make sense of the world…and so much of it is based on fantasy, the rest is based on what we know from past experience.


THIS IS HOW WE SURVIVE.  We inherit from our families our beliefs and values and choose our own set of beliefs as individuals that will structure our lives and we hope and pray that it works.





How Fantasy Becomes A Problem


This causes major STRESS.

Because we so often build the structure for our lives based on what we truly hope and believe “should” and “will” happen…when what we believe SHOULD happen is not happening, it causes tremendous CONFLICT. It causes us to question everything we believe in ways that cause incredible pain, fear, anxiety and depression.

The conflict between fantasy and reality causes us to doubt our beliefs and ourselves.¬† It can cause us to experience an “existential crisis” where we question why we are alive and what is our purpose in life.¬† We do anything we possibly can to make meaning when our fantasies don’t come true.

When we are able to make meanings for our fantasies not coming true that soothe pain, reduce anxiety and allow us to function…we are successfully coping in life.

However, when the meanings we make for our fantasy not coming true create pain, increase anxiety and depression…this can develop into mental illness.

Mania and depression can be triggered when this conflict between fantasy and reality occurs because the conflict causes STRESS in the forms of incredible fear, overwhelm, urgency, pain, loss and possibly trauma.

When we refuse to acknowledge reality and live as if the fantasy is real, this is psychosis.

How we respond to what happens…how we respond to not having our fantasy…determines our quality of life and our mental health.



The GIFT of Fantasy

FANTASY allows us to bring out the best in ourselves.

It is all about our potential as human beings. Fantasy motivates and inspires us. Fantasy gives us something to have faith in and hope for. Fantasy gets us through the toughest times in our lives.

We need our fantasy. We need our fantasy to get us through life. Without fantasy, all we would have is not knowing what will be and fear.

Without fantasy, we could not build a future.

We don’t just create fantasies for ourselves…we create fantasies for our children…we create fantasies for our friends…we create fantasies for everyone we come in contact with based on how we would like them to respond and how we want to be treated.

So much of who we are as human beings is based on the fantasies that we have been building throughout our entire lives.

As human beings we use fantasy as a primary coping skill in order to survive.


We learn

We grow

We plan our lives

We build our lives with others

We have families and raise children to be good people

We put faith in our community and trust that people will follow our societal structure

Fantasy is a key ingredient that makes up part of the foundation and our abilities for survival as human beings.


  • FOCUS ON GRATITUDE. Notice what you do have in your life that is what you want it to be.¬† This is accepting reality as it is and seeing all the goodness you do have in your life.


  • CHANGE THE FANTASY. Change your fantasy to better fit reality by setting realistic goals for yourself.¬† Focus on what IS possible instead of investing so much of yourself into what you believe SHOULD be possible.


  • FORGIVENESS. Forgive yourself and others for life not being what you hoped it would be.¬† Stay away from blame, shame and guilt…they will not help you.¬† Know that you and others did the very best you could with the resources and abilities that you had at the time and you simply were not able to create what you hoped for yourself.

Mania & Depression disrupt our CIRCADIAN RHYTHM – How to get our RHYTHM OF LIFE back.



Our circadian rhythm is our RHYTHM IN LIFE.

It guides the structure and flow of all our bodily systems and our brains:

    • It tells our body and mind that we are tired.
    • When to sleep.
    • How long to sleep.
    • When to wake.
    • Our sleep cycle being out of whack can cause stress on our bodies which has the ability to trigger mania or depression. Many people are letting their sleep cycles diminish in the modern world due to the exposure of blue lights being emitted from digital devices with bright screens, one way people can find their rhythm again is to use the likes of these blue light glasses to filter the blue light their eyes are being exposed to, allowing the brain to realize the day and night cycles correctly.


    • It tells our body when we are hungry
    • What to eat…what we crave
    • How much to eat / when we are full
    • What and how much acid etc our body needs to break down food etc.


    • When our hormones are disrupted it has a huge affect on our mood, emotion and all human drives
    • Affects our reproductive cycle, stress, mania and depression can significantly alter the reproductive cycle.
    • This plays a huge role in our social drives toward connection with others as well as need for autonomy.
    • This plays a huge role in all bodily functions.
    • Our hormone system being out of whack can cause stress on our bodies which has the ability to trigger mania or depression.


    • During times of stress – including: lack of sleep, mania and depression our immune systems can become over-active or under-active
    • Some people get sick just after the stressor passes, other people get sick when they experience stress
    • Our immune system being out of whack can cause stress on our bodies which has the ability to trigger mania or depression.


    • Our blood pressure and heart rate are affected by all of the other systems in our bodies.
    • When our rhythm is messed up by stressors (lack of sleep, mania, depression etc), our heart rate and blood pressure can increase or decrease.
    • This can be unsafe and should be examined by medical doctors if you experience significant changes in your circulatory system.


    • When we are affected by stressors (including mania and depression) our physical energy and strength are heightened or impaired.
    • Mania causes and increase in physical energy and strength
    • Depression causes a decrease in physical energy and strength
    • Depression can cause psychomotor retardation, which is the inability or have difficulty moving.


  • ALL OF OUR ORGANS necessary for our survival ARE AFFECTED BY THESE CHANGES


    • Emotion is a physical release of energy. It is “Energy in Motion”.
    • When emotion is unpredictable it may be because our circadian rhythm is out of balance AND we have an abundance of energy produced and we must release it or a lack of energy and are unable to release anything.


    • We do not know what comes first…does the brain get out of whack causing a chemical imbalance that leads to a disturbance in our circadian rhythm OR does the circadian rhythm become out of whack and cause chemical imbalance in our brain?
    • EITHER WAY, it truly affects our MOOD and the result is mania and depression.




How to get our RHYTHM OF LIFE back



  • When we go to sleep and wake up.
    • Our body is able to re-set because we can depend on sleep-time which is when the body repairs itself, generates memory, works through challenge etc.


  • When we eat AND what we eat.
    • Our body is able to re-set because we can depend on nutrition.


  • The use of our bodies (exercise).
    • Our body is able to re-set our energy and strength levels.


  • Routine activity throughout the day lets our bodies know how much energy we need for each task, creating predictability and stability.








SUICIDE: PLAN OF ACTION for “team THRIVE” (team of people who come together to thrive with bipolar disorder)




1. We want to know if they are alone.

No one can commit suicide if they are NOT in isolation.


We may not physically be together…but as a team, we are not isolated.


All we have to do and can do, to prevent suicide, is CARE.



As a team THRIVE member said, “I think that once a person has TRUELY resolved to killing themselves, there isn’t much we can do…the important thing is to try to help them not get to that point…when people care enough to help…and not simply call 9-1-1 on you like so many people have on me…it really makes a difference…its harder to commit suicide if you feel love regardless of the source…its almost impossible if you have hope…”



2. We want to know if they have a PLAN for committing suicide.


Having a plan means that they are at INCREASED RISK and we must proceed with caution.




‚Äé3. We want to know if they have a MEANS (weapon, medications, rope etc) to commit suicide.



4. If they have a PLAN & THE MEANS to commit suicide they are at VERY HIGH RISK FOR SUICIDE.



5. If someone has only suicidal thoughts, but no plan or means to commit suicide they are at LOWER RISK.



6.¬† BUT…Mania is different. People experiencing full-blown mania accidentally kill themselves or kill themselves on impulse.





When people are FULLY DEPRESSED…they do NOT have enough energy to commit suicide…as soon as they start to get to improve, as soon as they get some energy back IS THE TIME OF GREATEST RISK FOR SUICIDE.



team THRIVE! I want you to know that if you are in a depression and wanting to commit suicide…when you start to get the energy to do so…THAT IS WHEN THE DEPRESSION IS LIFTING.



If you feel suicidal WAIT…that means things are starting to get better…when YOU FEEL NOTHING, when YOU FEEL DEAD…that is when the depression is at its WORST.


Feeling suicidal feelings means you are getting BETTER…even if you are in incredible pain.



Important things to Note:


  • People who talk about suicide are less likely to commit suicide, unless they are planning it in their conversation.
  • MEN are at greater risk for suicide because they are often in EMOTIONAL ISOLATION and do not talk about their feelings, they ACT.


Advantageous Coping Skills: Ways to contain impulsive outbursts of emotion and rage. Strategies for thriving with bipolar disorder.


A VERY common problem we experience when living with bipolar disorder is the impulsive outburst of emotion and rage.

These impulsive outbursts can be very difficult to contain, especially once you are already riding an emotional roller coaster.

Here is a basic guide for how to prevent impulsive outbursts before you get on an emotional roller coaster:


1. We must have the awareness that impulsiveness in our emotion and/or temper is a problem.

We must be aware that we actually do lose control OR can lose control of our emotion.


2. Just like mania, our impulsive responses have triggers…we must learn how to identify when we FEEL TRIGGERED…then we can identify the trigger.


For example, I feel triggered when someone pokes one of my wounds…my family is really good at poking me in my wounds…as a result, at times I do lash out with anger and I am out of control.

When I am triggered for an emotional outburst of rage or emotion, the thoughts and feelings I get within me are similar to when I was a child.  I feel that no one is listening to me and that my needs are being ignored and will not be met.  I feel scared, whatever is taking place is a threat to me and it is beyond my control.

However, before I have the time to process this, I have already lashed out with anger or emotion.

This is why awareness of the triggers is NOT enough.


‚Äé3. By having awareness of our triggers, we can identify the kind of environments and situations that make us most vulnerable.


I have learned that I am most vulnerable to emotional outbursts in environments  and with people where I feel very safe, such as home.

I am also highly likely to have emotional impulsiveness over text-messages because it is a contained form of communication.¬† Those text-messages are classified as books…I have written books by text messaging.

However, in my work I have learned that environments that cause people to be the most vulnerable are environments where there is NO EXIT or NO WAY TO ESCAPE from whatever is doing the triggering.






When I am triggered, the best thing I can possibly do for myself is give myself time to PAUSE…for me pausing is often stopping my current action…walking away…getting alone time and nurturing myself to gain containment.

  • STOP the trigger…just PAUSE…stop talking…stop doing anything

  • REMOVE OURSELVES from what is burning or poking us causing us to lash out

  • TAKE ALONE TIME (this prevents us from doing harm)


    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Making Art
    • Journaling
    • Listening to Music

To nurture myself in the heat of emotion, I breathe deeply into my belly until those intense emotions stop churning and I physically contain myself either hugging myself…wrapping myself tightly in a blanket…or in my cocoon hammock chair (that I love and highly recommend)….then I pray and make art (from my Mandala coloring book)


What do you do if there is NO trigger, what if you just snap?



When we “just snap” that is because we have been building the emotion up for as long as we are able to tolerate and we simply are not able to tolerate it anymore.

This is a common problem with people living with bipolar disorder…we bottle things up and snap.
In order to THRIVE we are required to learn new coping skills that are more advantageous for living with bipolar disorder….we have to say goodbye to the bottle.

Bottling things up inside when we have bipolar disorder is setting us all up for disaster.

Learning how to vent will prevent build up in our emotional bottles AND by not holding things in that bother us, our emotions will not boil.

I encourage you to participate in the group I facilitate “team THRIVE” located at www.facebook.com/teamTHRIVE.

I highly recommend learning how to let emotion out of the bottle by participating in the “VENTING SPACE” daily section.


PTSD and Bipolar Disorder can be partners and look a lot like each other

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

is NOT a genetic disorder like bipolar disorder.


It comes into our lives based on

HOW WE RESPOND to a traumatic event.


When PTSD partners with bipolar disorder, it can cause mania and depression without any specific triggers in your life.


PTSD itself is a trigger.


PTSD is a response to an event that causes intense fear, horror or helplessness in which there is an actual or perceived threat to our lives or serious injury of self or others.



Symptoms of PTSD



RECOLLECTIONS: images, thoughts, and perceptions that are recurrent and intrustive or distressing

DREAMS of the event

ACTING or FEELING as if the event were reoccurring…RELIVING the experience¬† (this can look like mania)

ILLUSIONS or HALLUCINATIONS seeing and sensing things that are not really there or happening

FLASHBACKS feeling as though you are re-living an earlier time.


How PTSD Looks in Real Life

PERSISTENT AVOIDANCE – avoid thoughts and feelings, conversations, activities and places associated with the trauma

NUMBING of RESPONSIVENESS – shutting down or not responding to any triggers of fear.

INABILITY TO RECALL important aspects of the trauma

FEELING DETACHED or ESTRANGED from others (causes isolation and the loss of relationships)

RESTRICTED AFFECT – inability or difficulty to feel and/or express emotion (this looks like depression)

EXPECTATION TO NOT LIVE A NORMAL LIFE.  (This can look like suicidality, mania or depression)


SLEEP DIFFICULTY -Difficulty falling and staying asleep (big problem with bipolar disorder)

IRRITABILITY-outbursts of anger (may look like mania)

DIFFICULTY CONCENTRATING  (can look like mania, depression, or ADHD)

HYPERVIGILENCE – obsession (this can look like mania)

EXAGGERATED STARTLE RESPONSE – responding to a small fear trigger as though it is incredibly scary to you.



PTSD is diagnosed when these symptoms begin within 4 weeks of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event AND if the symptoms persist BEYOND 4 WEEKS.

PTSD is an ANXIETY DISORDER that has depressive and manic symptoms.

There are many people who have PTSD and are misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

There are also many people who have BOTH bipolar disorder and PTSD.