Together at the Poles

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Guest Post: On The Job or How Not To Take Care of Me

In this guest post from Mental Canyons, she describes some of her experiences and lessons that come from living with bipolar disorder at the workplace.

The past several days have been tough. I lost my job last January – I was fired. I know I contributed to the dismissal.

When it came to caring for me, I made poor choices. Lunch time would find me shoveling food into my mouth while feverishly working at my computer. Short breaks throughout the day were non-existent. One of my colleagues implored me to join her in the break room, but I repeatedly declined. “You need a break. You need structured breaks to replenish your well.” I was working 50 to 60 hours per week. Why was I so driven? The workload was intense, and I thought I had no choice. I had to work hard to support my family. I began to think management was watching me in particular. Now I think everyone was “under the microscope.” Continue reading

A Reason To Get Better: Lessons as a Bipolar Husband and Father

I’ve been a bipolar husband for almost six years now, and a bipolar father for just over five. Being a bipolar husband and father has been a real challenge in a lot of ways, but it has also been an incredible experience and opportunity. It has really taught me a lot about myself, my condition and relationships in general. In this article, I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve learned. Continue reading

If I Could Push a Button and Get Rid of Bipolar Disorder, Would I?

In his fascinating documentary, “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive,” Stephen Fry asks a number of people with bipolar disorder whether or not they would get rid of bipolar disorder, if they could simply push a button. Almost everyone answers, “No.” Stephen Fry himself says that he wouldn’t, and he ends the documentary on that note.

This question really got me thinking. Would I be willing to push that button if I had the opportunity? Continue reading

Rings of Power: Is the Social Media Beneficial for People with Bipolar Disorder?

The social media has exploded in the last ten years. Millions if not billions of people spend hours online every month, catching up with people, updating their status, and looking at the latest viral images, stories and videos.

A someone with bipolar disorder, I’ve noticed that social media has some positive and negative effects. After all, I’m engaging in it right now :). Overall, I think it is a very positive thing for people with mental illnesses, as I will discuss below. However, social media carries with it some dangers for people with bipolar disorder that are difficult to prevent. Continue reading

Guest Post: My Bipolar – A Journey Toward Grace

Maz writes us from Australia, and runs the blog “My Bipolar – A Journey Toward Grace“. Today she writes about her experiences on that journey.

I’ve been diagnosed bipolar 1 disorder for 33 years. I am a 57-year-old female , divorced, two kids in their 30s, one granddaughter. I live on the Gold Coast, Australia. I love music, my family and friends, a home-loving Cancerian.

It’s not that I haven’t got many stories of being up, down and everything in between, screwed by the system, used as a guinea pig with medications. It’s not that I haven’t totally researched my bipolar experience to the point of doctors saying I am the most knowledgeable patient they have met with this disorder (of course this is very disputable). Continue reading

Caging the Lion: Identifying and Managing Bipolar Triggers

While episodes of bipolar disorder are often cyclical, for many people with bipolar disorder, episodes are often brought on by what are called “triggers.” A trigger is something that often precedes an episode, and managing triggers is one an important part of managing bipolar disorder. However, in order to manage triggers, it is necessary to identify them.

Given the apparently random nature of bipolar disorder, how do we identify them? Fortunately, there are several techniques that can be used to identify our triggers and reduce their presence or at least their influence on our bipolar disorder. In this article, I will look at some ways of identifying triggers and how to handle them once discovered. Continue reading

The Heroism of Everyday Life with Bipolar Disorder

It is very easy to become disappointed with ourselves when we have bipolar disorder. After all, we often won’t accomplish as much as other people. Moreover, we often develop grand plans while hypomanic, only to find that we cannot carry them out. This level of disappointment can really affect our overall happiness, as it makes us feel like we are not what we should be.

However, I want to suggest a different way of looking at it. If we look at our accomplishments not relative to a standard that society or we have set up for ourselves, but relative to our actual challenges, people with bipolar disorder actually accomplish quite a bit. In fact, just the process of going through everyday life can be a heroic endeavor. Continue reading

Gifts of the Storm: Creativity and Bipolar Disorder

I’ve written a lot about the difficulties with having bipolar disorder. Today, I want to talk about one of the most positive aspects: how it affects our creativity. Bipolar disorder gives us wonderful connections between ideas, many of which can be very insightful. It gives us a passion for beauty that expresses itself artistically. This positive aspect is not without its challenges, but when focused, can be an exciting part of our lives. Continue reading

The Off-Label Marketing War: How Much Do We Really Trust Our Physicians?

The federal and state governments in the United States have declared war on pharmaceutical companies that are marketing medications off-label. In the United States, medications are approved for certain purposes. Physicians are free to use approved medications for different purposes, which is called prescribing “off label.” However, pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to market their medications for any of the unapproved purposes. That is called “off-label marketing”, and it is illegal. Continue reading

The Smeared Rainbow: How Bipolar Disorder Can Be a Different Experience for Different People

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of people with bipolar disorder, and one thing that I’ve really noticed is the way that bipolar disorder affects people in very different ways. The difference isn’t simply the difference between types like bipolar I and bipolar II. It also isn’t just the difference between people themselves. Rather, bipolar disorder really differs in the way that it manifests itself in people’s lives. Continue reading

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Psychotherapy from Daniel

Daniel Bader, Ph.D., RP (Qualifying), CCC

Daniel Bader, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and Canadian Certified Counsellor specializing in bipolar disorder, offering in-person psychotherapy in Kitchener, Ontario, and online and telephone psychotherapy within Canada.

To book an appointment with Daniel, please visit his Psychology Today profile.