Reasons why people refuse to acknowledge and get help for Bipolar Disorder

Many people find it incredibly difficult to acknowledge and accept that they are living with bipolar disorder….let alone be willing to get help.  They have really good reasons.

Here are some perspectives people have shared with me as well as my own experience that I have overcome in order to get to be who I am.

I share this is so that people who want their loved one to admit they have diagnoses can understand where their loved one is coming from.

  • “This way of thinking and being is normal for me. I have always been this way. Why should I need a doctor, medication and therapy to feel “normal”. This is what I know. Nothing is wrong with me.”
  • “I’m not hurting anyone but myself. I don’t care what people think about me.”
  • “This is who I am. I don’t want to change.”
  • “I don’t want to be controlled by medication. I don’t want to be a robot……I am afraid that if I take medication, I will lose who I am.”
  • “Struggling with the ups and downs is something that I know how to do well. I don’t know what I would do with myself.”
  • “I am so scared of medication. I have heard stories of people not being able to feel and think. I have heard stories of people not able to be who they were. That really scares me.”
  • “I can’t believe that the most wonderful, beautiful, life changing experience didn’t come from God and is considered as a disorder…I can’t believe that it means there is something wrong with my brain.”
  • “I don’t want to be treated as though I am crazy.”
  • ” I don’t want to find out that there is something wrong with me.”
  • “Society has a problem for not valuing and putting to use your creativity, brilliance and energy. I have something to offer just the way I am.”
  • “Moses saw a burning bush and said God was talking to him…AND he’s a prophet. Why is it that when I see God and we talk that I am crazy?”
  • “I love mania.”
  • “I don’t see it as a problem.”

Underlying Fears:

  • “What if no matter how hard I try, I can’t be “normal”?”
  • “What if I can’t be fixed?”
  • “I am broken.”
  • “I don’t belong. No one will accept me.”
  • “My life feels over.”
  • “I don’t know who I am.”
  • “No one will love me.  I am not loveable.”
  • “I am so scared of myself.”

No one can be forced to see that they are living with bipolar disorder. No one can be forced to take action and receive treatment.

Have compassion and empathy.

People usually do not seek out treatment unless it affects their functioning on the following levels:

  • They feel out of control of their mind and body.
  • There loved ones do not feel safe being around them.
  • They are at risk for self-harm or a danger to others.
  • They are not able to function in their work.
  • They are not able to be the partner they want to be in their romantic relationship due to their behavior and emotion.
  • They are having difficulty maintaining friendships due to their behavior.

Sometimes people are not able to see that this is taking place.  They are so deep in the mania that they can’t see what is happening.

Therefore, it is important for loved one’s of a person who is allegedly experiencing bipolar disorder to share their concerns and help them develop their awareness.


The Bipolar Brain: The Fight For Domination…when the left cerebral hemisphere is winning

One question I often get is, “What’s happening in the brain during a manic and depressive episode?”

The truth is that scientists don’t fully know. Scientists are finding common evidence, but the brain is so complex that nothing we know about it can not be considered fact that will apply to everyone.

Therefore, I am going to share with you my ideas that are based on both my current research and my own experience of my brain in action.

A Balanced Brain – (No brain is truly balance, but let’s pretend)

A balanced brain does its best to equally disperse resources. Therefore there is no competition for resources. Both hemispheres have what they need, the layers of cortex (where our higher functioning takes place) have what they need. The limbic system (the seat of our emotions) has what its needs. Everything is basically working together and there’s harmony.

Yeah right! No brain works like this most of the time.

Bipolar brains just happen to be extreme.

A bipolar brain is a highly competitive brain, which is why many of us are so intelligent, inventive and creative. Different structures and hemispheres of our brain compete for resources to be able to do extreme things that require a lot of energy and brain power.

During Mania – Reminder this is not fact it is my theory

During Mania the left hemisphere of the brain is dominating the right hemisphere. But the right hemisphere isn’t turning it’s cheek, it is fighting back with all it’s got.  This is how the peak of mania and mixed episodes may come to be.

Mood – Mood Swings

This may be do to a structure in our brain called the Orbitofrontal Cortex getting too much energy and not enough energy as it gets pushed and pulled back and forth during the battle between the hemispheres. The Orbitofrontal Cortex is responsible for things like decision making and is sensitive to reward and punishment which may be a large factor in mood.


The structure in the brain called the Hippocampus (that is responsible for forming, sorting and storing memory) appears to be significantly inhibited during mania and/or depression. My experience was that it was incredibly inhibited when the right hemisphere took over and I went into depression, but not inhibited at all during mania.

When we are able to consume analytical information faster and easier than ever before, when our thoughts are racing, when we have multiple thoughts at once and when these thoughts get jumbled up because we cannot keep up with them….

This may be our left hemisphere, particularly in a structure called our Pre-Frontal Cortex, that is consuming so much energy and power that it has taken by dominating the right hemisphere that we cannot keep up with our brain’s ability to function and we cannot express ourselves because we cannot get it out fast enough.

They say that the average human being uses 7-10% of their brain power, well that’s a joke to someone who is manic!

When we are impulsive and take tremendous risks…

This may mean that two specific structures called the Anterior Cingulate (responsible for social inhibition)and Posterior Cingulate (responsible for being sensitive to risk) have been shut down by the lack of resources in the battle between the hemispheres. Research shows that these structures are somewhat depleted in bipolar brains to begin with, so during mania they may not be functioning.

When we feel invincible…

The battle in our brain may be taking a huge toll on our Amygdalas. The amygdalas are both responsible for emotional responses as well as our response to fear.  According to some studies, bipolar brains may have smaller amygdala in the left hemisphere and larger in the right. Therefore, when the left hemisphere is taking over during mania, the little amygdala is overloaded and may be depleted of its resources to appropriately respond to fear.

When we have a heightened sense of spirituality or oneness with all life…basically when we feel we are a god, prophets, higher being, aliens etc…

There is a part of the left hemisphere, whose name I do not know, that has been identified as the seat of spirituality. Some people have it, other people do not. During mania when the left hemisphere is consuming all of the brain’s resources this part of the brain soaks it up and runs with the energy until it is all burned up.

When we experience hallucinations or delusions…

Hallucinations and Delusions may be where the true battle between the left and right brain taking place. This may be where the right brain starts to win at times. This is all my theory from experience.

I believe that as the left and right hemispheres of the brain are battling the messages that get passed from neuron to neuron get disrupted or convoluted causing the message to change so extremely because the message gets changed by each neuron in the neural pathway.

It is basically like playing the telephone game, gone out of control.

When this happens our brain no longer sees what our eyes see and no longer hears what our ears hear. We are no longer able to be in touch with the world outside our our brain. Our brain is battling and doesn’t have the resources that moment to focus on getting accurate messages through.

During the Peak of Mania or a Mixed Episode- when all emotions explode out

This is the last fight. Mania gives the battle everything it’s got by exploding out positive feelings and emotion. But the left hemisphere has been exhausted by the right and doesn’t have many energy left.

The right hemisphere dominates with the power it has and explodes negative, ugly, nasty, horrible feelings and emotions. It does this until it exhausts itself.

During Depression – The Exhaustion

Both left and right hemispheres are depleted. They are done. Finished. And gave up the battle. Neither has any energy left to give.

Hence this is why we feel our brain is dead.

To learn about my theory about how the right brain dominates during depression, I welcome you to come back for more.


SPECIAL FOR MOTHER’S DAY: My Own Story of Depression Coming After Full-Blown Mania

This is dedicated to my mom who loved me and stood beside me when I was horrible to her. I will never be able to thank her enough for how she has been there for me and believed in me. I love you, Mom.

This is my personal story of experiencing severe depression after full blown mania at the age of sixteen.

For two weeks straight every emotion I ever had, came exploding out of my body. I was the full emotional spectrum all at once. And no one ever knew what they were going to get and much of it was aimed at my mom. My family was playing Russian roulette with a ticking time bomb made of their own flesh and blood. After multiple explosions, I finally depleted myself. And it was over. It was as though the lights went out and the mania that I had grown to love, before it got really nasty and ugly, was over.

The transition between mania and depression happened in my sleep during a nine hour car ride home from what was supposed to be a vacation.

I remember being like Satan’s spawn in the beginning of the car ride, wanting to buy a vicious dog so I could have it sick my mom. But by the time we arrived home. I was weak and quiet. Something put out my raging fire and I knew that what came next was not going to be good.

I went to sleep that night and woke up feeling like I was unable to move, but my body still worked good enough.  All the emotion I had was gone. I felt nothing. Feeling nothing is the most horrible feeling ever.

It kept getting worse. I couldn’t think enough words to put a thought together, let alone express myself. It was like my brain was dead. However, I had the awareness of what was happening to me. It was like I was floating over myself, watching myself go through this but unable to do anything about it.  If I could have hope, I probably would have hoped for someone to pull the plug or shoot me.

I believe two weeks went by in this state until Zooloft kicked in and my lithium was starting to work, maybe.

As Zooloft began working, I began to feel the fear and pain of depression.

I felt tremendous guilt for how I treated my family, particularly my mom, during my mania.  I was horrible to her and wanted to hurt her badly. I feared that they would not love me anymore.

Then more shame and guilt hit me like a brick by blaming myself for  grandmother’s death that occurred when I was thirteen because the night she had her final stroke, I resented her and wished she would go away so I could have my bedroom back. And I felt horrible for running away when my mom had cancer (at the same time my grandma died), when she needed me the most. All these feelings of powerlessness flooded me. I was swallowed by shame and guilt as I was coming out of this deep depression that was worse than death. Now that I could think, I couldn’t even think of reasons why I should live.

At that time I had forgotten about all the things that I did during my mania to my friends, teachers and in front of my peers at school that I could be held accountable for. I was lucky, people treated me with curiosity and kindness. I lost some close friends, but my best friend stood by my side (even though during mania I told him he needed to get me pregnant because our child would be the messiah….but that’s for another time and that story is on my websites).

Nonetheless, the medication started to work and I was able to get off the couch little by little. I didn’t admit this to my mom until I was an adult, but what saved me from this depression was her forcing me to go to summer school to take a creative writing class. I loved creative writing, but had no desire to do anything at the time.

I sat in that class with my cheek glued to the desk writing beautiful poetry about the ocean and doodling. When people asked me what’s wrong, I announced to the class, “I am crazy.”. No one knew how to respond to that, so they just gave me my space.

As the days passed, my face became less glued to the desk. I moved onto resting my face on my fists and eventually as my medication lithium fully kicked in I was able to sit up and participate in class.

This is quite embarrassing to admit, especially when I feel comfortable sharing a lot of stuff openly. Of all things, a multi-level marketing opportunity selling long-distance phone service deeply excited me and triggered me into a mild hypomanic state that lifted me completely out of the depression and stabilized me in that state.  As the consequence of investing myself for a few years into a get rich scheme (that I will never do again), I began the process of re-building myself by immersing myself in personal growth books (I refused therapy because I hated therapy…even though I am a therapist now)  (I’ll share more about these experiences in another blog down the line.)

Too this day, I will do anything I possibly can to prevent a manic episode, even though I can’t even put words to how amazing my full blown manic episode was….the depression was so bad, that the most beautiful experience I have had in life (not the nasty part of mania) is not worth it.

I hope sharing my own story of living with Bipolar Disorder is useful.

With Love,



How depression knocks on your door…And how not to let it in.

Do you ever hear the doorbell, and feel the rush of anticipation feeling that it’s a friend surprising you. Then when you open the door…it’s a salesman, trying to sell you something you don’t need. That salesman is just like depression. But when it knocks, it is carrying all of your “baggage” and it will do anything it can to sell it to you and get you into bed.

Our goal today is to explore how it does this and ways to not answer the door. But if we do because depression is very sneaky, our goal is to not let it stay in bed with you long.

In order for depression to come into your life, there are things it needs to take from you.

Like mania, depression needs to either prevent you from sleeping OR cause you to sleep too much. Hence, why the first place it wants to get you is into bed…it MUST do this before it can even sell you its crap.

It does this because it knows sleep is very vulnerable. You cannot force yourself to sleep, so depression goes after sleep first. Sleep is best target because it regulates your brain and body. Without sleep you cannot function. Not being able to function is exactly what depression needs in order to come into your life and for it to survive.

To prevent depression or mania from having easy access to your sleep here are some actions to take:

  • Be consistent in your sleep pattern – go to bed and wake up daily at the same time.
  • Do not work on anything past a specific hour you set that is a few hours before bed time. (This is the hardest one especially if you are manic or having mixed episodes.)
  • Have a relaxation routine that you start an hour before bed. Ex. Turn the lights low, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, burn a candle. If you are tempted to try a natural approach to getting to sleep, you might even find that using a cannabis strain such as blue dream weed can help you to relax and unwind. Never smoked cannabis before? If so, you might want to consider using a mini bong. You can learn more about mini bongs here:
  • Keep a notepad by your bed so that when ideas wake you up in the middle of the night you can write them down and go back to sleep.
  • Don’t use alcohol to sleep. It will only let depression in more.
  • Talk with your doctor and request a non-addictive sleep aid.

Depression’s next easiest tool for plowing down your door is FEAR.

Fear is depression’s most highly developed and effective tool. This tool affects your life on many levels including: how you think, what you feel, what you do and how you do it – your body’s heightened stress response.

How You Think:

In order for depression to be in your life, it needs to manipulate and control your thoughts. In order to do so it will persistently tell you things like, “You will ALWAYS be (insert negative statement here)….You will NEVER (insert positive statement here)….You CAN’T…” And it plays these ugly messages to you like a tape recorder in an authoritative voice (sometimes your own, or maybe your mother and father’s etc).

This is how depression gains your trust….


When depression comes into your life after mania or hits you like a ton of bricks, it controls your thoughts differently. Because it didn’t knock on your door at all, it keeps you depressed by making you incapable of thinking and feeling PERIOD. (But this will be discussed another time.)

How You Feel:

When depression knocks on your door it needs you to feel bad. So bad that you hurt. It can’t exist unless you feel so much guilt, shame, blame, doubt, sadness, loss, pain etc…that you are willing to not resist the feelings and own them.

This is why it tells you, “Everything is your fault….” “You aren’t worthy of…” “No one will love you.” “No one wants you.” “No one will believe you.” etc.

Depression’s goal is hurt you until you go numb and can’t feel anything because it needs you to not be willing and able to do anything about it.

Depression does NOT want you to care. It needs you to not care in order for it to survive. This process often invites suicide.

What You Do:

Depression needs you to do absolutely NOTHING. In order for it to survive and make itself at home with you, it steals your energy, interests, your ability to focus, your ability to experience pleasure.

Depression needs your strength, resources and abilities in order to live.

How you do it – Your Bodies Heightened Stress Response:

The best way for depression to make you believe the thoughts and feelings that it feeds you is by making you feel it in your body.

It does this through agitation, anxiety and panic attacks.

Depression needs you to feel out of control in your body so that it can control you.

To not answer the door when depression tries to control how you think, feel, and respond in your body:

  • Acknowledge that the thoughts and feelings you are having are depression, NOT YOU.
  • See depression for what it is: Like all other living creatures it wants to survive. In order to survive it must manipulate and control you so you give it your resources. It is like a parasite.
  • Do not believe the tape recorded lies depression tells you about yourself and your life. Don’t buy what the salesman is trying to sell you. If you have to curse at him, “F*** You Depression!” It just feels good.
  • When you feel negative feelings in your body, PAUSE, breathe deeply and slowly, and ask yourself is this F.E.A.R. “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
  • When depression is stealing your interests from you, find at least one thing and keep doing it no matter what…even if its just getting out of bed.
  • Exercise – your body needs to release the stress hormones and exercise is how your body does it.
  • Focus on the “Here and Now”. You will find that when you are in the moment, depression can’t exist. Depression gets to you by focusing your attention on the past (what happened or what could have been) and the future (what might happen or “what if…”)…but never the present (what is, right now). Right now, there is no problem. The present lacks FEAR.

Doing these actions can be challenging. For help overcoming these obstacles and taking action, feel free to set up a consultation with me if you are in the Los Angeles area OR seek out a psychotherapist in your area:

I will be writing a blog on what to look for that will make a therapist a good fit.


Early Warning Signs of Mania: 6 Areas to Notice Mania on the Horizon

No single one of these qualities means that you are manic, but they mean that you could be vulnerable to mania.

1. Notice your sleep.

If you are not feeling tired, having difficulty falling or staying asleep, or your need for sleep is decreasing this is a very important warning sign that your body and mind are giving you to alert you that mania is on the horizon.

Pay attention to is what is keeping you awake. If there is a repetitive thought playing like a tape recorder in your mind, if you can’t stop thinking about a goal that doesn’t have an external stressor, or nothing of importance is on your mind and you simply can’t sleep, mania may be on the horizon.

This is different from having difficulty sleeping one night because you have an exam, deadline, or any external stressor.  However, if you are unable to sleep multiple nights due to external stressors it could very easily lead to mania.

2. Notice your thoughts.

If you notice that the speed of your thoughts are increasing, the number of thoughts you have at once are multiplying, your thoughts get jumbled or you have difficulty expressing your thoughts…mania may be on the horizon.

3. Notice your drive towards goals.

If you have a sense of urgency towards a goal, especially a goal that does not have a deadline or any external pressure, you may be experiencing the early signs of mania.

4. Notice your energy.

If you experience yourself as having more energy than usual. For instance, if you find yourself more exuberant than YOUR usual, you may be approaching an early sign of mania. This is especially true if you find that you cannot contain your energy appropriately to fit the situation you are in.

5. Notice your impulses and drives.

If you notice that you are more impulsive than usual – spending money, gambling, taking risks, sexually etc. If you are beginning to be driven by your impulses you may be in the clutch of mania.

6. Notice your emotional sensitivity and emotional response. Also known as agitation.

If you are experiencing levels of sensitivity or agitation that are greater than usual, keep a look out for mania on the horizon.

However, if your response to an emotion causes you feel out of control, mania may be close. This does not mean that if you get angry and yell that you are manic. Nonetheless, if you find yourself feeling out of control of your emotions then you may be vulnerable to mania.


I’m Bipolar & Proud! 5 Ways to Be Bipolar & Proud

Proud to Be Bipolar

Facing the Waves Without Fear.

5 Ways to be Bipolar and proud:

1.  You don’t take stigma personally.

You clearly see that stigma is based on fear and lack of knowledge.  You know that you have nothing to be ashamed of and you know you are not a disgrace. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you have compassion for people because their fear and ignorance can only cause them pain.

You don’t have to suffer from other people’s pain.

2.  You have a sense of humor about bipolar disorder.

Laughing at yourself is so important.  It keeps you from being so attached to the mood or episode you are experiencing and helps you center yourself. You know you’re not a mood, risky behaviors, jumbled or racing thoughts, memory loss, mania or depression, but sometimes we all forget we’re not these things because we get so deep into them. Laughing at yourself allows you to be an observer of yourself, you connect to the part of you that is what you refer to as “Me”.

3. You educate yourself about bipolar disorder and have an awareness of what triggers your moods and episodes. You take responsibility to be aware of your episodes and do your best to manage them.

Notice how I didn’t say that you’re ALWAYS good about responding to moods and episodes effectively. You aren’t going to always be able to respond well or prevent episodes. Nonetheless, if you have the knowledge you can be aware of what you are experiencing and not be so afraid of it because you know what to expect.

4.  You accept yourself.

You don’t feel sorry for yourself. You like who you are. You know that you are worthy of love, respect and kindness and that is how you treat people.

5. You ask for help and support from people when you need it.

This is the hardest thing to do when living with bipolar disorder. One of the most common coping mechanisms we have as people living with bipolar disorder is that we believe that we ALWAYS must be strong. We hold things in. We don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. By doing this we are inviting an episode to happen. We must find it within ourselves to allow someone to help us.