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When my life started to spiral out of my control, I didn’t know the cause. All I knew was that everything I did and every bit of self-control and discipline I exerted made no difference.My close relationship with my family was disintegrating, I was seeing my friends less and less, and work was something I frequently dreaded to go to. I often felt tired or restless for days on end.

And then there were the odd periods when I would disappear for a few days. Definitely not normal.

I knew things weren’t normal, but strongly resisted going to see a psychiatrist. After all, I wasn’t crazy or mentally ill. It was just that I was having a difficult time with the amount of work I was doing, or I had just finished a project and I was tired, or I needed some time alone away from people, or…well, there was always a reasonable excuse.

But one day, after a period in which everything had gone horribly wrong, more…

Welcome.

If you are here, then chances are that there’s stuff going wrong in your life. It could be that you were just diagnosed with mood swings, or with bipolar disorder, or depression and you are thinking “What happens next? What do I do next?”

Or it could be you feel that something is wrong with you, that you might suffer from depression or some other kind of mood stuff, but you aren’t really sure what is going on, or if even it is all in your head.

Or it could be that your boyfriend, or partner, or spouse, or friend has odd patterns of behaviour or has stopped communicating with you, and you aren’t sure what is going on or what to do next.

You are not alone.


information.

The purpose of this award winning website is to give you information so you can figure out if the things you are going through might be related to mood swings, or depression, or mania. This will help you understand yourself, or your child or parent, or why your partner or the person you are going out with is behaving the way they do.

practical.

If you do have mood swings, you’ll learn what kinds of things might go wrong, what you can do to try to stop them from happening, and how to recover gracefully if things do indeed go wrong. And instead of providing vague suggestions, the website offers specific, practical ways to deal with problems. This covers everything from dealing with medication to how to handle a relationship with a depressed boyfriend.

real life.

The descriptions here are not in confusing medical terms, but in simple language describing the living, daily, real details of our lives. After all, if you can’t figure out how to get the ideas and suggestions here to work in your life, they’re not much good.


This website is written by someone who was diagnosed as bipolar in 1996, who has had mood swings since the age of 17, who has put up with all the frustrations that the changing moods can cause in daily life, and who is aware how much the mood swings affect family, partners, and friends.

the bottom line.

Here’s the bottom line: The mood swings are survivable. You can learn to manage your life and the mood swings. If you get the hang of managing your life, you can be successful enough, satisfied with your life, and happy. Really.

the price.

There is a price, of course. You do need to accept that you have mood swings. You will need to pay attention to and understand what is happening to you daily.  And you will need to make the conscious effort to take control of your actions when things start to go awry.

And yes, it will take time to get to get your stuff together, measured in years. And it’s a frustrating journey. So expect that.


no magic solutions.

I’d like to tell you there is a magic solution. But so far, there are no magical pills or actions that will properly stabilise our moods. There are some lucky people for whom the medications will work well, but for a lot of us that won’t be true.

What you’ll find is that you will have to discover some medications that work somewhat, plus you’ll have to make changes to your habits to minimise the mood swings. The amount of changes may be a lot or a bit depending on who you are and how severe your mood swings are. It turns out that the people close you will also have to make a few changes to adapt to you as well.

Finally, it will probably do you good to get therapy to sort out the problems the mood swings have caused over the years.

It’s a lot of work. But it’s also your life. Remember that. And life really can become pretty great.


The website is pretty darned large.
You can find information in the following sections:

diary

The Bipolar Diary describes a span of my life from about 1997 to 2003, from diagnosis to relative stability, and is a blog before blogs even existed.  The Diary is the core of this website, and I’ve been told many times that there is nothing else like it on the web. You can start reading the Diary here.

symptoms

The Symptoms section lists the signs of mania and depression, in plain, easy to understand English. This is what it’s really like to be depressed or manic. This section also has the official symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as diagnostic worksheets that are used to measure mania and depression (to be added soon). If you think you might be showing signs of depression or mania, start in this section.

coping

The Coping section contains the strategies I use to cope with being bipolar. Some of these strategies deal directly with dealing with mania or depression symptoms, others deal with stepping back and looking at the big picture on how to organise and distress your life so that the mood swings don’t, er, drive you crazy. Check also under the Family and Friends section.

drugs

Wondering about taking medications? Wondering if they will work, or what the side effects might be like? The Drugs section has my ideas on this, as well as my experiences with specific drugs and the information the doctors don’t quite get around to telling you about the drugs.

doctors

The Doctors section contains information about how you might get over the embarrassment of going to a psychiatrist, and why you should see one. Or if you’ve started seeing one – here’s what to expect, what to ask for, and what not to put up with. Contains ideas on how to get your child or spouse to a psychiatrist as well.

family and friends

If your child, spouse, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, parent or friend is bipolar, you suffer almost as much as they do. This section contains an insight on what it’s like for us and also things you can do to help us, and yourself.


other ways to get around the site.

  1. You can use the menus on the top right of the page where the information is ordered into neat categories.
  2. You can use the tag cloud on the right to look for specific words you might be interested in.
  3. You can use the search box on the left (but don’t look for ‘depression’ or ‘mania’ – you’ll get every page on the site).