Dr Bradt's Mailbag 2

1.  Argument beginning of manic attack?
2.  When was Bipolar first diagnosed?
3.  I hate my mother
4.  I hate the person I am on meds
5.  Panic Attacks and Guns
6.  Harrassment from ex husband
7.  Girlfriend Suicidal over two men in life
8.  Tests for Bipolar?
9.  Should I give son drug or not?
10. Are manic people safe to be around?
11. 11 year old daughter acting out
12. Who is best to diagnose Bipolar Disorder, a psychologist or psychiatrist?
13. My girlfriend is showing all the signs of bipolar disorder.  What to do?
14. Will I have to take depakote the rest of my life?
15. Is it common among family members to deny bipolar illness in their loved one?
16. Is it ok to have imaginary friends?
17. Are drugs necessary when moods come from thoughts?
18. Daughter's male friend Bipolar
19. Link between child abuse and Bipolar Disorder?
20. Is there a bipolar conference?
21. Actor looking for Advice
22. Questions on adult thumbsucking
23. Is there anything good about Bipolar Disorder?
24. Suicide caused by Bipolar Meds
25. How to keep fiance on meds?
26. Trouble Getting into a Relationship
27. What exactly is bipolar disorder?
28. Is it normal to go through a lot of different meds before finding the ones that work?
29. Exercising like a fiend and not losing weight.
30. 17 year old boy has doubts about dating bipolar girl
31. How to tell my friend to react to my manic episodes
32. How does depression feel?
33. Can you give me general information about bipolar disorder?


Q. My girl friend has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. If we have a
disagreement, she becomes obsessed with the topic and can't seem to let it
go. I feel that we have exhausted the subject but she continues on and the
argument escalates. Could this be the beginning of a manic episode or cycle?


A. Yes, Keith, it could. But you aren't asking a psychiatrist; you're asking
a psychologist. And here's the psychologist's response:

So then, what if she is manic? What will you do about it?

If you say, "You're getting manic," or, "Calm down," or, "See? Bipolars
argue a lot," she'll just get more angry. And justifiably so, because those
aren't nice things to say.

"Go see your psychiatrist for more medication," isn't cool either.

There isn't really anything you can do to help your girlfriend. In fact, it'
s very important that you not try to help her or "save" her.

What do you do? You help yourself. When your girlfriend is having trouble
letting an argument go, you do whatever it takes to calm yourself down,
e.g., you remind yourself that you have your faults too. You smile and crack
a joke that makes fun of yourself, not her. You explain to her that you
yourself need some quiet time for a while. Whatever is the honest thing to
do at the moment. Try to keep yourself from being drawn into arguments with
her. And be loving about it!

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I am doing a project in psychology class on psychological disorders, and
I cannot find the answers to these questions. Can you please help me?

1. When was bipolar first diagnosed?

Actually, it wasn't. Psychiatrists were diagnosing their patients with
"hysteria" or "psychosis" or other Freudian labels. When they realized that
these diagnoses weren't working, they decided to classify some of their
patients as "manic depressives", and that worked better. Then the diagnostic
label "manic depression" was changed to "bipolar affective disorder".

2. And who was credited with treating or discovering it?

A lot of very good psychiatrists deserve the credit for sorting bipolar
disorder out from the other diagnoses.

Dr Bradt

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Hello, my name is Lynda. I'm 28 and I hate my mother. I really can't stand

her. I want nothing to do with her. She has hurt me and helped ruin my life.

My question to you is: if I go on without her, can I make it? Can I do

without her?

Dear Lynda,

If you have to ask, the answer is clear. No, you can't. You need her in your

life at least once in a while, in some way, on some terms.

(Maybe the real question is: can she do without you?)

Dr. Bradt

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I hate the person I am when I am on medication. My family hates me when I am

not. Is it worth it to give up my self for a wife who has lied and cheated

and a mother and father I don't trust?


Dear Mike,

You are taking the wrong medication(s). Please, get your psychiatrist to

change them. If your psychiatrist tries to tell you that you're on the right

medication(s), your best bet is to change psychiatrists.

There are psychotropic medications that don't compromise your personality or

make you into the kind of person you don't want to be.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I'm a 23-year-old woman in her last year of college. I have found the man

of my dreams, and he truly is my best friend and lover. He asked me to move

in with him after I graduate, and

after some thought, I agreed. There are guns in my boyfriend's house. He has

to have them for part of his job and, also, he hunts. But I won't go near

them. I hate guns.

Three days ago while staying over at my boyfriend's house, I woke up out of

a sound sleep thinking about guns. I was laying in bed thinking about

putting the gun to my boyfriend's back! I would never ever do a thing like

that or hurt any living creature. I was so horrified by that thought that I

was physically nauseous. If I picked up a gun and killed my boyfriend, my

happiness is over and my security is gone, and it would be all my fault. I

don't trust myself any more.

I've been known to have panic attacks in the past, but after I met my

boyfriend my panic attacks went away. I feel these attacks are a huge

weakness for me and I'm embarrassed by them, so I haven't told him about



A. Michele,

First, please say these sentences to yourself any time you feel scared or

horrified by guns (or anything else):



You have an illness, a panic disorder, and disorders like this are liars.

They try to convince you that there's something wrong with you and,

actually, the disorders are to blame, not you.

Think about it. It's the people who use guns to kill people and start wars

who have something wrong with them, not you. The panic disorder is lying to

you, trying to convince you that you might ever kill somebody. There's no


Second, tell your boyfriend about your occasional panic attacks right away.

When you do this, you'll be telling the disorder, "Hah! I'm not afraid of

you! You can't embarrass me any more!" Stand up to that liar, and watch what

happens to it!

Third, see a psychiatrist and get some more meds. There's no shame in taking

meds. I take meds, and I'm a successful psychologist. Also, ask your

boyfriend if he'd like to come along with you for therapy. I think it would

be a good idea because you probably have some underlying issues (problems

you can't see without a counselor's help) and these issues probably involve

your boyfriend a little bit.

Remember, the disorder is a liar. You are a good person. (Try reading


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Dr. Bradt

I have an ex-husband who I believe to have bi-polar disorder or some type of

mania. I left him 3 years ago because he was verbally abusive. I am happily

remarried -- to a wonderful, loving man, and together we raise my two small

children 50% of the time. My ex-husband

has them the other 50% of the time, and he tells them "what a bad man Bill


He sends me abusive mail, leaves harassing messages, and calls me to get

together with him to

discuss the fact that my current husband is "abusing" my children. He also

assures me that my children "hate" my new husband. He is extremely vicious

about this.

My children in fact have a wonderful relationship with my husband, despite

the fact that their father is promoting this hatred. What is the appropriate

way to deal with my ex? I usually cannot get a word in edgewise when he

calls and end up hanging up to free myself from his anger and bullying. What

do I say when he says something irrational? How can I help him see that we

do not wish to hurt him and simply want to raise the children in peace?


Dear T., Bullies are hard for me to deal with too. I've thought about

bullies a lot and even written a story about how to handle them.

http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch08a16.htm I'll try to answer your questions but,

please, remember that I'm just guessing as well:

What do I say when he says something irrational?


How can I help him see that we do not wish to hurt him and simply want to

raise the children in peace?

You can't.

What is the appropriate way to deal with my ex?

Try doing what the woman in the story http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch08a16.htm

did: ignore him (by not answering his calls) and just go on. Whatever you

do, don't show fear! Act as if he doesn't bother you at all. (Also, you

could ask your kids for advice. You'd be surprised how much kids can help!)

Dr. Bradt

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I have been going out with my girlfriend for about half a year now. We have

a very good friend whom I will call Bob. Recently, Bob told my girlfriend

that he likes her and that it makes him very sad to see us together. Because

of this, Bob does not want to hang out with us any more.

This puts my girlfriend with a choice: either break up with me, or continue

going out with me and having Bob be hurt. This is a very hard decision for

her because we have been very happy together and it would hurt her to break

up with me. But if she chooses to continue to go out with me, Bob will

be hurt and she would feel really bad about that too.

She has been VERY depressed about this lately. She is crying and cutting

herself, and she has said she wants to die. I am in DESPERATE need of help

here. Based on the way she has been lately, I am scared that my girlfriend

might commit suicide.


Dear Reese, Your girlfriendís dilemma is not serious enough to make her

depressed and suicidal. There has to be something else going on. She could

be suffering from a chemical imbalance thatís making her depressed. (A

chemical imbalance can make problems seem bigger than they really are.) Or

there could be an issue between the two of you that you donít know about.

Please do whatever you have to do to find out what the underlying problem


Dr. Bradt

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I think I may have Bipolar Disorder. I'm wondering how should I go about

talking to a psychiatrist about it, to run some tests. I don't want people

to start thinking I'm crazy or weird. I told my mom I wanted to take some

tests, but she just said I'm being silly and dismissed it. Is there any way

to take these tests without her knowing? I'd appreciate the help.


Dear Jen, There are no tests that diagnose bipolar disorder. There are some

quizzes on the net, but they're not very reliable. Your answers to those

quizzes only tell you whether or not you should see a psychiatrist, not

whether or not you are bipolar. Only seeing a psychiatrist in person can

tell you if you have the disorder or not.

To find a psychiatrist, you might want to talk to your school counselor.

People won't think you're crazy or weird because they won't find out about

it. School counselors and psychiatrists are required by law to keep their

mouths shut.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. My son is 8 1/2. Mark, the psychiatrist we are currently seeing, told us

that he has schizoaffective disorder. The medication he prescribed is a very

new drug called Aripiprazole (Abilify). But I researched it and found out

that this drug is not approved for children. So I tapered his dose quickly

down to nothing. Amazingly (to me anyway), for the next four days of no meds

he did just as well at school.

At our next appointment with Mark, he strongly encouraged me to re-start the

Abilify. But I'm not sure that schizoaffective disorder is the correct

diagnosis for my son. Mark told me that if you start giving a schizophrenic

person anti-psychotic drugs as soon as symptoms are suspected, you can

probably stop the progression of the disorder. He also told me that when I

take my son off meds, I'm causing him to relapse and it will be harder to

"bring him back". So I'm terrified. I don't know if I'm hurting my son by

giving him these meds or if I'll be hurting him to keep him off them. I

almost feel like Mark is using my son as a guinea pig. And when Mark senses

my anxiety or when I question him about things I've read he tells me I

shouldn't take him off instead of trying to remove my fears.

I know I have the final say, but I truly don't know the right thing to do.


Dear Carly, It's true that if you start giving a schizophrenic person

anti-psychotic drugs as soon as symptoms are correctly diagnosed, you can

sometimes stop the progression of the disorder. But is your son's diagnosis

correct? You want to be pretty sure because, if you give a person the wrong

psychotropic drug for a long period, you can cause harm.

You do have time. It would be a good idea to check with a second

psychiatrist, do all the research you want to do, and watch your son's

behavior a little longer before making important medication decisions. I

suggest that you not trust any psychiatrist who seems to be pressuring you

to start your son on a certain medication immediately or who says or does

anything that scares you. If Mark were doing his job right, you wouldn't be


I believe that the word "relapse" only applies when a medication has clearly

been working effectively for at least a few months. Don't let Mark use that

word to scare you.

You are very smart to do research and think through your decisions. Don't

let anybody, even a psychiatrist, imply that you aren't!

Dr. Bradt

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Q. Sadly, bipolars have a tendency to commit suicide or think of it. Is

there also a tendency for them to commit homicide or think of it? Are people

in the midst of a manic episode generally safe to be around?


A. John, Research shows that bipolars are only slightly more likely than the

general population to commit violent crimes. If prejudiced people didnít

constantly persecute bipolars, Iíll bet you all the money in my wallet that

bipolars would be slightly LESS likely than the general population to commit

violent crimes.

I havenít seen any research on how much bipolars think about committing

violent crimes. And, to answer your last question, people in the midst of

manic episodes are generally safe to be around.

Dr. Bradt

Q. I have an 11-year-old girl who is acting out both sexually and

aggressively. She has bipolar disorder, and I would like to know how to

discipline her. I donít want to punish her for what she cannot help, but her

behavior could result in her getting harmed some day, and I will not always

be able to see everything she does. I love my child. Please help me!



A. Sunny, It would take a whole book to answer your question! You might

consider enrolling in a child-rearing course at a local college or talking

to a counselor, or reading child-care books. But I can tell you two things:

1. Raising a bipolar child requires the same skills as raising any child.

2. Donít punish her for her bad behaviors until you must, that is, until you

íve tried rewarding her for her good behaviors. (You've probably done that

already, but maybe you can think of even more good behaviors to reward.)

Good luck,

Dr. Bradt

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Q. Who is best to diagnose bipolar disorder, a psychologist or psychiatrist?

Or are they the same?


A. Dear Julie, It takes a psychiatrist to diagnose bipolar disorder. Iím a

psychologist, and I havenít been trained to diagnose or treat BD. People

often ask me if so-and-so has BD or which meds are best for people who have

already been diagnosed with BD, and I canít help them. I send them to a


Dr. Bradt

Q. My girlfriend and I are so close that we are discussing marriage and

starting a family, and I

am starting to get frightened that she has bipolar disorder.

Georgette shows many of the symptoms that are listed in diagnosing this

disorder. She has frequent mood swings. She will be fine one moment, and

then suddenly get VERY depressed and tell me she is giving up on herself.

Basically, anything that I have ever read on a website that discusses

bipolar symptoms I have seen in her.

When she goes through these depressive times, it is really starting to wear

on me. I feel bad not only for her, but for myself as well. I have thought

about mentioning it to her, but never have for fear of triggering something

or making her want to leave me. Can you please offer any advice on what I

should do?


A. Patrick, Iím glad youíre smart enough not to walk up to Georgette and

say, ďYou have bipolar disorder.Ē Only a psychiatrist can diagnose BD.

Which matters more to you: (1) whether Georgetteís label or diagnosis is

officially ďbipolar disorder,Ē or (2) how she treats you? Will you please

give this some thought? I hope that you will choose (2), because nobody can

do anything about (1). If itís (2), you can go to a counselor who will help

you figure out whatís really going on between the two of you and whether you

can establish a happy, permanent relationship. (If the counselor happens to

see evidence of some kind of mental illness [in either one of you], the

counselor will know what to do.)

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder II. (I don't experience

mania, but I cycle through depression and normal moods.) I am currently

taking 1000mg. Depakote ER a day. My biggest fear of all is having to rely

on a medicine and not be able to function without it. Will I have to take

this medicine the rest of my life, or will I be able to stop taking it after

some time of being better?


A. Dear Matt, You probably won't have to take Depakote for the rest of your

life. People's needs change, and some day you may benefit from changing your

meds. Or a medicine may be invented that works better for you than Depakote.

Your concern is a common one among bipolars. But will you please give it

some thought? Is taking a given medicine for the rest of your life really

something to be afraid of? There are plenty of medicines that people take on

a long-range basis, e.g., calcium for bones and insulin for diabetes.

Are you thinking that, as long as you're taking Depakote, you're still

"sick"? I disagree. I've been taking psychotropic meds for 13 years, and

that doesn't make me "sick". I know that, if I stopped taking my meds, my

mood swings would start up again, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm

a successful psychologist with lots of friends, not some "sick" person.

Will you please take the time to read http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm (Sick

of the "Sick" Label)? And please don't think of your meds as pills for a

"sick" person. Think of them as "happiness insurance". As long as you keep

taking them, you don't have to worry about the chemicals in your brain

getting imbalanced and screwing up your life.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. My father and sister seem to think that I've had bipolar disorder II

quite long enough, thank you. My sister, especially, is condescending and

rude to me whenever I talk about my disease. Because of this, I am no longer

on speaking terms with either of them because they cause me too much anxiety

and depression. They are both smart, well-educated people. Is this common

among family members or people close to the patient, to deny that the

patient is sick?

A. Dear Sarah, Yes, it's common. A lot of our families have trouble figuring

out how to treat us bipolars. I finally started missing my family and

decided to go back. Now I just don't talk to them about my bipolar disorder.

Although I know they could benefit from learning more about it, it's just

not worth the hassle and, anyway, it's their loss.

Dr. Bradt

Q. I don't have any friends at all. Is it OK if I draw the imaginary face of

2 characters and make them my friends? I have learned cartooning. Is it OK

if I write emails to those 2 characters and also write email replies from

them to me? The girl to whom I am engaged is 12 years old. Her parents said

they will let us marry after 4 years. 'Till then I am all alone.


No, Zubair, it's not OK. This is very important: getting married is too late

to start making friends. You need to find men your age to be your friends

right now. One very good place to find friends is in school.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. My boyfriend has been diagnosed with 'mild' bipolar disorder. He

attempted suicide 3 years ago. His brother is an alcoholic. He is now 30 and

an artist. My question is this:

He believes he can control his emotions, feelings and moods because he now

understands what motivates/scares him. He does not think drugs are

necessary. He believes he is not genetically bipolar but that his moods

result from his thoughts.


Dear Gina, Both facts are true. Bipolar disorder is genetic, and moods

result from thoughts. How is this possible? Simple! Bipolar disorder ->

thoughts -> moods.

Your boyfriend sounds very intelligent. He understands that pills don't just

take care of everything, that understanding and changing your thought

patterns is a crucial component of recovery.

One more fact: sometimes you need both understanding and control of your own

thoughts AND a few pills.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. My daughter (16) has a male friend (17) who was diagnosed bipolar about a

year ago. He has moved out of his home and into a home where there is little

to no supervision, drugs

available all the time, no rules, and no medication to treat his disorder.

The boy has his ups and downs and when down causes a lot of commotion. My

daughter feels she can save him. How can I convince my child that until he

gets off drugs and seeks help we or she can't help him? I have asked her to

look into a support group for herself where she may be able to get ideas as

to what to do or what to expect. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.


Dear Jan, You're already doing the right things. He is the only one who can

kick his drug problem. He is the only one who can recover from bipolar

disorder. And the support group is an excellent idea.

Now there's only one thing left for you to do. Sit back, take a deep breath,

and let it all go!

Dr. Bradt

Q. I am looking for the link between childhood abuse and bipolar disorder.

Where can I find information regarding abuse and the effects it has in

reference to bipolar disorder?


Dear Athena, There's no direct link between childhood abuse and bipolar

disorder, but childhood abuse often causes PTSD, and PTSD often occurs

(co-exists) with bipolar disorder. Also, many of the same treatments are

effective for both bipolar disorder and PTSD. I would look for any reliable

information on treating childhood abuse or PTSD, whether or not the source

mentions bipolar disorder.

Dr. Bradt

Q. Hi! My name is Breanne and I'm from Missouri. I am 22 years old and I

have bipolar disorder. I was wondering if there is a bipolar conference?

Breanne, Yes, there is. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is

having their annual convention in August. Click on http://www.dbsalliance.org

Dr. Bradt

Q. I'm an actor about to play a young father who has bipolar disorder. There

is a scene where I can't find my lithium and I'm starting to go crazy. Can

you describe to me some of the feelings that I might have as a result of not

having my lithium, e.g., irritability, panic, etc.?


Robert, Describing feelings is pretty tough but I can describe, and have

described, the accompanying thoughts - on my website. Click on

http://www.willigocrazy.org/stories.htm and read Transition and Bipolar Zombie.

Then read L.A. Woman, because a bipolar deprived of medication will have a

couple of positive thoughts too. What I'm saying is that we'll be confused

about whether we're happy or sad, and our behavior might be contradictory at


Dr. Bradt

Q. I just have some general questions about adult thumb sucking. I have done

many searches on the computer and in book stores trying to find information

on the subject. I thought you, as a psychologist, may have more information

about where I may find this information. Perhaps you know the right

terminology for me to look under.

I am an adult thumb sucker myself and thanks to a group on the web I have

many new friends that are also thumb suckers. I would be interested to hear

some theories about it... see if there is anything other than, "it is a

regressive behavior," and, ďthere must have been some childhood trauma that

caused it.Ē


Dear Marian, The negative theories you mentioned are pretty much the party

line, because Sigmund Freud was just about the only psychologist who studied

thumb sucking. As you undoubtedly know from your net searches, Freud

believed that thumb sucking, along with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking,

etc., are alternate ways of getting sexual gratification.

I believe that thumb sucking isnít much more than a convenient way to calm

yourself down when youíre under stress. And it sure beats drug and alcohol


Dr. Bradt

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Q. Doc, is there anything good about being bipolar?


Dear Andrew, Yes, there is. I wrote a whole website, http://www.willigocrazy.org, to tell bipolars, ďYes, we have a disorder but, mostly, weíre great people!Ē

Specifically, click on http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm for a list of good

traits bipolars tend to have.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I used to have a friend who was a really great guy. OK, so he got

depressed sometimes and cut his arms just to see them bleed, but he didnít

mind. And when he was manic, he was a lot of fun. Then he was diagnosed

bipolar and forced to take four different meds, and his whole personality

changed. He was born both Jekyll/Mr. Hyde ó he was unique ó and the meds

changed him into boring, mild-mannered, Jekyll. He wasnít manic or depressed

any more; he just felt nothing at all. He lost his personality, and he

couldnít stand it, so he killed himself.


A. Dear Sam, I wonít lie to you. For the first few months that you take

them, many (not all, and certainly not Trileptal) bipolar meds change you to

what is often called a "zombie"; they make you slow and groggy. What's

worse, before your mood swings abate, you often go through a temporary

depression. During this period, many bipolars become (falsely) convinced

that they are in a state that's neither manic nor depressed, that they "feel

nothing". They're being illogical because:

1. nobody can "feel nothing", at least not for long. They do feel something.

2. If you so seriously dislike how you feel that you would rather die,

you're depressed.

Convictions that you "feel nothing" or that you have lost your personality

are very common symptoms of depression. Also, the feeling that you will

never be yourself again, that everything is hopeless (unless you go off your

meds or whatever) is a common depressive symptom.

Then the temporary depression lifts, and you're REALLY in a state that's

neither manic nor depressed. I've been there. You're so surprised! "Of

course!" I said. "I should have known that not being manic any more doesn't

mean not being happy or funny or 'crazy' any more." Once the pills stop

making you groggy and depressed, you're really glad you're taking them, even

if you were forced to at the beginning.

Your friend was like Richard Cory, the character in the Beatles song, who

"blew his mind out in a car. He didn't notice that the lights had changed."

Dr. Bradt

Q. My boyfriend is bipolar. He keeps talking about quitting his meds, and I

keep trying to tell him no. How can I keep him on them?

Also, we just got engaged. What will be the hardest thing about being in a

relationship with him being bipolar?


A. Dear Tina, To keep your boyfriend on his meds, you have to tell him that

you wonít marry him unless heís going to stay on his meds forever ó and then

you have to follow through.

The hardest thing about being in a relationship with him? If heís on his

meds, the hardest thing will be keeping him on them. If he goes off his

meds, everything will be hard.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I am 19 and I have trouble getting into relationships with guys. When I

am interested in a guy, I chase after him. But once I have him I no longer

want anything to do with him. Itís almost like Iím scared of intimacy. When

I donít have a guy that likes me, I want one, but when I do, I donít want



A. Dear Katrina, You and a lot of other people, most of whom are not

mental-health consumers! Thereís nothing wrong with you. Relationships are

tough. Hold on, and keep your eyes open for a guy who is chasing you. I

think theyíre the best kind.

Dr. Bradt


Q. There is a lot of information about support groups and treatments on mood

disorders and bipolar disorder i was just wondering what exactly is it I

have been looking and looking but nothing can give me a clear answer that I

can understand


A. Dear Nicole, I think youíve hit on a good point. I get one answer from

one site, and another site says the opposite thing. Sometimes I do get good,

accurate information (especially from the Bipolar World site) but all the

details make my head swim. Bipolar disorder is part of human behavior, and

nobody can completely understand or predict human behavior.

Thatís why I developed my site, http://www.willigocrazy.org. Itís more

inspirational than informational. I give a few BRIEF tips about how to cope

with bipolar disorder, teeth-grinding, hiccups, etc., but I use most of the

site to remind bipolars what great people we are and that we donít deserve

the prejudice against us. The rest of the site is inspirational stories I

wrote for my friends, mental-health consumers.

I think itís more important to love ourselves and others than to know every

detail about mental illness.

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I currently am on lithium and lamictal. These are my 6th and 7th

medications. I am growing increasingly worried that there is no "wonder"

drug out there for me. The meds have put my psyche and body through a lot in

the past year and a half. Is it normal to go through a lot

of meds until an effective one is found?


Dear Vanessa, Yes, it is normal. Iíve known people who had to go through

even more meds than seven. When they finally found the right meds, they were

really glad they kept trying.

Dr. Bradt

Q. I've been exercising like a fiend for about a month now, and I haven't

lost any weight. (I have watched my diet.) I have been burning about 1000

calories a day, biking. The books say that 7000 calories a week should

translate to a 2 lb. loss. While it's true I haven't lost any weight, and

you do say that exercise is not what makes people lose weight, I still don't

understand. Where have I gone wrong?


A. Dear Sherry, Maybe you havenít gone wrong at all. The exercise may be

building up your muscles. Muscles weigh more than fat, so the increase in

weight could be good, not bad. Instead of measuring your progress by

weighing yourself, go to a gym and have them test you. If youíre watching

your diet really well, the test results will be good news.

By the way, exercising like a fiend can burn off weight, just not as much

weight as the books say. Exercise works better for keeping weight off than

for losing weight. I admire your will power. Keep it up!

Dr. Bradt

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Q. I'm a 17-year-old male (will be 18 soon) and I seriously want to date

this girl I've known for about a year now. We've been kinda getting into

arguments because I can't seem to make up my mind about going out with her.

I'm not sure if it will or would be OK for me to go out with a bipolar girl,

though it seems that nothing is wrong with her. She seems perfectly fine to

me but, nonetheless, she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What suggestion

can you give me on making this decision? I really need some advice.


A. Dear Unknown, Thereís no such thing as a bipolar girl, or bipolar man,

woman, or child. There are only people who happen to have been born with the

bipolar complex, which consists of both good and bad traits (see

http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05a.htm), and all human beings have both good and bad

traits. You're thinking of going out with her, not marrying her, right? What

are you afraid of?

Dr. Bradt

Q. Hello, my name is Meg and I have a serious question. I have this really

close friend who means the world to me, but she doesnít know how to react

when I have my manic episodes. I donít know what to tell her. When Iím

manic, should she ignore me? What is the best thing for my friend to do?

A. Dear Meg, Look into your heart and see what you WANT your friend to do

when youíre manic. Would you like it if she ignored you? If she yelled at

you? If she just sat quietly with you for a while? If you would like for you

to tell you something, what would you like her to say?

It sounds as if sheís such a good friend that sheís giving you a chance to

ask for whatever you want. Take it!

Bacck to Top

Q. My friend swears that in psych class she was taught that depression is a

lack of feeling altogether and that it has nothing at all to do with

sadness. She believes she's not depressed

because she feels sadness, and thatís a feeling. According to her, sheís

only depressed when she feels nothing at all. Is this true?


A. Dear Chad, When youíre depressed you can feel:

1. sadness

2. anger

3. fear

4. any combination of the above

5. nothing at all

You can feel sadness one minute, anger the next, fear the next, and nothing

the next. You can even feel sad and angry, or afraid and angry, at the same

time. And all those feelings can burn you out and make you stop feeling


Dr. Bradt

Q. Hello, Doctor. My husband was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I

just gave birth to twin boys, and he took it out on them, so I left. Well,

he is pretty bad off, and I am having a really hard time dealing with this.

I was wondering if you could give me just some details about bipolar

disorder. What can I do to deal with this the best way possible for the sake

of my children? I only know a little bit about the disease, so any advice

and facts about it you can give me would be very helpful. Thank you for your



A. Dear Pam,

Iím going to refer you to my website. You can get information on bipolar

disorder at http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch02.htm


and http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch05c.htm

. After you have read these pages, you

might want to go to http://www.willigocrazy.org/Ch04.htm

 where there are links to

other Bipolar Disorder sites.

Dr. Bradt

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