Mental Health Speaker, Actor, Writer

“Recovery shouldn’t be a possibility. It should be the expectation.” -Victoria Maxwell, Bi-Polar Princess


Apr 14 15

The Zen of Managing Chaos: 5 tips to welcome change

Photo: Pixabay/TT

Photo: Pixabay/TT


Learning to befriend change helps make change less daunting when it inevitably comes.

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Mar 24 15

Is Community Based Participatory Research Just the New Macrame for Patients??

Photo credit: Flickr / Miracle Design

Photo credit: Flickr/Miracle Design

At a talk, a researcher discussed a community based participatory research project where individuals with mental illness were involved from start to finish. In the next row, I heard a delegate say “it’s just the new macramé.” Ironically the talk was being presented at an anti-stigma conference. Go figure. But perhaps due to the history of tokenism, skepticism is justified.

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Mar 12 15

Fear of Failure and Bipolar Disorder. Or Is It?

Photo credit: Flckr/martapiqs

Photo credit: Flickr/martapiqs

Have you encountered the phenomenon of being able to tackle activities except for the ones that could lead you to your most cherished dreams? I certainly have. Still do.

It’s fear of failure right? Well, maybe not.

The issue could actually be ‘success anxiety’ – not fear of failure but fear of success. I disagreed with my doc when he first proposed this but as we explored it I had to agree. See if any of the following resonates with you and your path of wellness.

The question my psychiatrist asks me to ponder is this: How much is it okay for me to go beyond my family, my friends and my community in how many different ways, how soon, how comfortably? Well the question itself made me uncomfortable, so I knew he was on to something.

I was and am moving out of my comfort zone; out of what I call my initial ‘tribe’ (being my birth family and the level of success – or lack thereof – they had, and stayed in). It applies to my moving into more recovery and wellness in relation to others. Read more.

Feb 28 15

What I Know for Sure about People with Mental Illness

standup_tribe11 Things I know to be true about those of us in the mental illness tribe.

1. Our experiences have cultivated compassion for others as wide and equal to the lack of understanding we face.

2. Our humor is deep, and often dark.

3. Our bullshit detectors are finely tuned.

4. We need to be represented not resented in policy and politics.

5. We are creative, resourceful and tenacious. Anyone who navigates the psychiatric system must be.

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Feb 24 15

The ‘F’ Word & Bipolar Disorder: Thoughts, Tips & a Quiz

The ‘F’ word being ‘FUN’. What were you thinking?

I never thought much about fun until my shrink started asking me “What have you done for fun lately?”

Why is he asking me this? I have a serious illness. I come to him for serious help about serious life issues, serious medication issues. Why the hell would he think I was having fun? Managing bipolar disorder is a serious task! But then I saw the connection.

To be wholly well, I need my wellness plan to include all parts of life. A very important part ofhappy-friendship-day-background_zyzmyad_-300x300 life (that gets overlooked far too often) is having fun (or as the case may be, re-learning to have fun).


To be clear: my psychiatrist doesn’t ask me about fun when I’m in the midst of a severe depression. But he does when I’m fighting a mild one, feeling anxious, stressed out or not all together happy.


When I’m off kilter, it’s because, well, my life is off kilter. I’m usually overly focused on certain wellness tools (medication, exercise, Chi Kung, therapy, eating and sleeping well) and working so much that fun has fallen off my radar.

Am I saying those things are unimportant? An unequivocal ‘no’! They are essential. BUT – to have a full blown, wonderful, juicy life and for wellness tools to benefit us fully, we need to embrace all areas of our lives. And fun is one of those areas.

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Feb 19 15

Crazywise – Rethinking Madness

Photo credit: Phil Borges

Photo credit: Phil Borges


A new documentary by Phil Borges and his team portrays psychosis in a wider, more inclusive perspective than I’ve ever seen. It is unusual and doesn’t apply to everyone who experiences psychosis. But for those it does, it may be refreshing and a relief. Read more


Feb 10 15

Three Steps to Start Living Again When You’re Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

There’s no easy answer on how to re-enter life, as it were, after a diagnosis of bipolar. But if you’re wondering how to do this, you already have part of it licked. The most difficult aspect (usually) is accepting you have the illness in the first place. It took me over 4 years to admit there might be a problem. This doesn’t mean the rest of the journey is a cakewalk though. Read more


Jan 27 15

Envisioning Your Future: Bipolar Recovery

It’s common to do it during the first couple weeks of January. Even the end of January. But I say, humbug to common practice! I say do it any time of the year. You can do it by yourself, with a friend, even in groups. Seriously. I’ve done it all. I particularly like to do it when I want more clarity in my life. What am I talking about? Read More

Victoria’s 2015 Vision Board

Victoria’s 2015 Vision Board




Dec 1 14

I’m a bipolar love-child. What about you?

I already felt like an alien amongst my own kin, not to mention uncomfortable in my own skin. Then when I was hit with bipolar disorder, well, talk about feeling like even more of an outsider. Now I wasn’t just that weird artsy kid of Jack and Velma Maxwell’s, I was the CRAZY weird artsy kid who been in the psych ward. Like icing on the cake I was a loony tunes times two. Read morehippies-van

Photo credit: Pixaby – PublicDomainPictures

Nov 25 14

Bipolar Coming Between Brothers: 4 Tips to Heal a Sibling Relationship

handshake and sunlightIt’s hard to watch a relationship become estranged. And even harder when you don’t know what the future holds. I cannot predict the future, but I have seen horribly wounded relationships return to loving caring ones (including my own). Here are four tips that may help start the healing journey.

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