Hope & Harmony Headlines: The Essential Guide to Maintaining Friendships with Bipolar

Last Updated: 20 Aug 2019

July 18, 2019   •   Volume 12, Issue 29
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The Power of Friendship

Friendship is a two-way street. And as you know, sometimes traffic patterns get a bit confusing. There’s unanticipated construction, for instance, or too many cars on the road on a holiday weekend.

The point is, friendship requires dealing with some detours. With the ups and downs that come with bipolar, a friend you typically rely on may say some things that test the strength of your bond. It’s also not easy to hear such comments. Take for example these harsh remarks passed on by our bphope community:

“It’s exhausting being around you.”

“You’re too self-centered.”

“I never know what to expect.”

Obviously it can be hard for someone without bipolar to understand and accept symptoms that challenge a relationship—not that navigating them is a walk in the park—but it’s important to find and invest in those who care enough to do the work on your relationship—and who you trust.

And to help them along the way.

Maybe share with them, for example, this suggestion from Robert T. Muller, PhD: “Don’t pretend to understand how someone with bipolar disorder feels. Being empathetic and actively listening to what your friend has to say will go much further than telling them about that time you were sad and how it’s the same. It’s not.”

Seek friends who will support you, who you can trust to stick around even through times that can become tense.

In the words of philosopher and essayist George Santayana: “One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.”

That goes both ways. Other people are going to need your tolerance and understanding as well, especially if they’re going to stay committed to the friendship. Expect some trial and error.

“Not every friend is going to be good with handling bipolar,” says Dennis H., who sometimes communicates through social media to create friendships and get support. “They might have a thin skin or be dealing with their own traumas. People need to be a friend, give as well as receive, and invest the time and effort.” Read more >>

Ultra-processed Foods Lead to Greater Weight Gain

May 16, 2019, Bethesda, MD—People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet, according to results from a new study by researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had the same number of calories and macronutrients.

“Over time, extra calories add up,” says NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., “and that extra weight can lead to serious health conditions.”

The small-scale trial was the first randomized, controlled research of its kind. The classification of “ultra-processed” foods includes ingredients predominantly found “in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.” Read more >>

5 Essential Tips For A Successful Psychiatrist Appointment

Although it is a vital part of bipolar management, seeing a psychiatrist can be intimidating. Here’s what you need to know to have a successful appointment:

By Kea Paton

Seeing a psychiatrist can be scary at first. It is important to keep in mind that psychiatrists are trained to HELP you. Below are 5 tips to working with your psychiatrist, which will hopefully make your appointments both helpful and successful.

1) Make sure you are comfortable. If you feel that they are not a good fit for your needs, you need to trust your gut instinct. I personally experienced working with a psychiatrist who severely messed up my medication. My gut instinct when I met him was simply that I did not like him. Instead of going to someone else, I leaned on the fact that he was a practicing professional, and that he would have my best interests in mind. I should have noticed the warning signs, but long story short, my gut instinct was right: he was awful! Keep in mind that when you first meet your psychiatrist, you should have the feeling that you will be able to create a relationship and connection with the doctor. Otherwise, you should search for someone different! Read more >>

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