“Newly Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Club” Topic #1: Complying & Coping With Medication

This blog series is dedicated to everyone Newly Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Welcome to the club!  You have unwillingly joined an elite club in which some of the members are among the most brilliant, creative and talented in history.

Unfortunately there is no manual that comes with our bipolar disorder diagnoses when becoming a member of this club.

This blog will be followed by a series of blogs called “Newly Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Club”. Each blog will address issues that members have shared with me or issues I or clients I have worked with when newly diagnosed face.

Today’s topic is coping with medication and medication compliance.

Topics coming soon based on members’ request will include:

  • Building daily routine and structure
  • Developing sleep patterns

If you would like to make a request for this series, please contact me and I will be happy to address your concern.

Today”s Topic:

The #1 problem that people have when joining this club is coping with medication and medication compliance.

There are not many people in a club like ours where the medication completely changes your experience of yourself.

Our medications may change:

  • Our energy and exuberance level
  • Our ability to feel the rich emotion of emotion
  • How we think
  • How we express ourselves
  • Our creativity and innovation
  • Our memory
  • Our weight
  • Our ability to be super productive and goal-focused

*Note: Not all medications cause these effects, but all medications are mood stabilizers which function to reduce emotional extremes.

Nobody would want to take medication if it did changed who they are AND keeps them from feeling like themselves and maybe weird or slightly off at first.

This is why we, the members of this club, are so strong and courageous. Each one of us has a different reason for why we are willing to sacrifice the amount of some these of these things. I made this sacrifice because I was willing to do anything I possibly could to prevent myself from experiencing the peak of full-blown mania and feeling like I am dead in depression. Some of the people I’ve had the privilege of working with shared with me that they made this sacrifice because medication made their quality of life so much better. They got to experience stability for the first time. It improved their abilities to function at work and improved their quality of relationships.

Most often, the consequences of not making the sacrifice are far more painful than what there is to gain by taking medication.

It’s a hard choice to make, but something we remember by taking our medication every day at the same time.

Before continuing on to an activity, take a moment and ask yourself what has you committed to being on medication.

Now that we understand why we are committed to being on medication, let’s explore how to cope with the losses:

The loss you experience is a death because it is that significant of a loss therefore in order to cope, I invite you to mourn the loss for a specific set amount of time before taking actions to explore your new life.

Ways to take action and help mourn the loss of your manic and depressive self:

1.  Write down the qualities you miss.
Examples: creativity, exuberance, productivity, passion, emotion etc

2.  Write down what you miss about each quality.

3.  How did it affect your life?

4.  How did you feel when you experienced it?

5.  What did you tell yourself about yourself when you experienced it?

6.  What abilities did each quality give you?

7.  What qualities or parts of qualities did you get to keep?

8.  What new abilities do you have because of being on medication?

9.  What action are you willing to take to further develop these abilities?

* This is an activity that could be very useful done in therapy if it feels overwhelming to do on your own.

Here’s one example put in action from my life.

1.  Write down the qualities you miss.

I miss my exuberance that was expressed through passion and an energy that completely filled the room.

2.  Write down what you miss about each quality.

I miss the feeling I had when I walked into the room and the affect my presence had on people. I felt special. I felt wanted. It felt so good to make people smile. (I wasn’t aware of how uncomfortable it made some people until I was in graduate school.)

3.  How did it affect your life?

People relied on my presence to make them feel good. I relied on my presence as a way to not be vulnerable because I always had a smile on my face and was a burst of energy. It made it easy for me to meet people and engage groups of people.

4.  How did you feel when you experienced it?

Wanted. My presence made people’s day. I felt passionate and alive. I felt seen.  At times insecure because with age, I could feel that it made people uncomfortable.

5.  What did you tell yourself about yourself when you experienced it?

People like me. People want me around. My presence matters and makes a difference. I make people’s days better.

6.  What abilities did each quality give you?

The ability to be free and break social rules (which I didn’t inherently know what they were anyway).  I could get away with so much because I did everything with a smile on my face.

7.  What qualities or parts of qualities did you get to keep?

I still have my passion and exuberance, but it has changed form. Now I’m a light in the room, instead of completely filling the room. I am not overwhelming. My energy is more relaxed and channeled, yet still very passionate. My energy isn’t as anxious and manic, except when I go to the doctor.

8.  What new abilities do you have because of being on medication?

I am able to feel peace and centered. I don’t feel the need to be “on” or performing all the time. Instead, I feel more genuine because I don’t always have to have a permanent smile on my face.  I’m able to use the abilities I’ve always had with more ease. I could go on and on…it has been tremendous.

9.  What actions are you willing to take to further develop these abilities?

Focus on my breathing during to increase my feelings of peace and centered. Continue to be transparent about what I’m thinking and feeling and continue being honest when I’m not able to be what people expect from me.

If this is helpful, feel free to contact me with interests for future blogs.


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: https://fatbuddhaglass.com/collections/mini-bongs.
  • 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.


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.