VICTORIA MAXWELLBFA,BPP*

Mental Health Speaker, Actor, Writer

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

Blog

Nov 24 14

What’s Your Psychiatric Super Power?

supermanWhat’s your psychiatric super power? What’s the strength of your bipolar  bicep? The power to…persevere in the face of tall challenges…unearth humor from painful places? The power to be vulnerable and brave simultaneously?

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Nov 11 14

The Bipolar Love-Child Quiz: Who are your parents?

Love Child

Ok so I’m not a love-child. You know: the product of two people who loved each other but weren’t married and usually want to keep their identities a secret. An out-dated term but one I find is a pretty cool self-assessment tool. Seriously, even and actually especially if you’re not a love-child. When I’m hit hard by the nasty symptoms of bipolar (despite my efforts to manage them), I find I forget about any gifts I might legitimately have (sorry pun not intended). Enter the Love-Child Quiz to discover your strengths. Think of it as a Glamour magazine pop test, except for people with bipolar disorder. This is how it goes: Read more to take the quiz


Nov 11 14

The Bells & Whistles of Hypomania: Noise Pollution?

I had a light bulb moment. I should give myself more credit. I have had several over my lifetime. But this is one of the more recent ones. This is what popped into my head: ‘If everything we have has all the bells and whistle, we may be overwhelmed by noise pollution.’

In our striving to have everything, be the best, get all the fancy toys – we may overlook a very healing element: solitude and quiet. Not the isolation of depression, but the nurturance of keeping our own company, recharging without a party of people.

There is a tendency, at least for me with hypomania to go full speed in both behavior and thinking. This can be a great thing. I get things done, have the energy of initiative, pour great ideas onto paper and start strategizing. (Mania however is another animal all together, but that’s another post).

But with all the bells and whistles of hypomania, I tend to dismiss my need to rest and recharge. I dis my desire for naps and more sleep. My husband has to remind me that when I go full-bore, my brain and body have been putting out extra energy, and it’s only natural to need to replenish it by down time.

I just had another light bulb moment. Seriously! Having all the bells and whistles isn’t the problem. The problem is if we never get a break from the noise. Balance your brilliant bells and whistle like mind with moments of peace, gentle quiet and time to stop.

Do you have difficulty with solitude? What helps you slow down?

© Victoria Maxwell

 

Photo credit: Steven Depolo


Nov 10 14

Finding Your Light

Recently, I’ve had a string of ‘feeling-pretty-bitter-resentful-jealous-nasty-and-down-right-ornery-look-at-everyone-else-who-is-doing-better-bigger-more-creative-things-how-come-they-get-recognized-for-it-and-not-me’ kind of days! Yup – that about sums it up.

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Nov 3 14

Ride Don't Hide

At this time there may be no cure for the collection of emotional/cognitive afflictions known as ‘mental illness.’ That said, the medicine to cure the social disease of mental illness stigma has been discovered. The medicine is community mental health awareness events.

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Oct 22 14

The Path to Liberty is Openness

Andrew Solomon is very clear: “There is a sense of it, depression being shameful. And the only way it will to cease to be shameful is for people to be open and to talk about it.”

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Oct 6 14

The Bipolar Aesthetic

After living in ashamed secrecy for 17 years, artist Missy Douglas, who lives with bipolar disorder, uses painting to expose her true identity.

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Sep 23 14

Healing Caregiver Collapse

The more we feed our soul, the more we can feed others. Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Medicine and Miracles, issues ‘creativity prescriptions’ to his patients. “Every single day it’s critical that we create something.” he emphasizes. The very act of creating is healing. It’s not about skill or talent, quality or quantity. It’s about engaging in meaningful expression.

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Sep 10 14

Misery Needs Company and Compassion

We are not isolated in our suffering. We all suffer from the vulnerability of the human condition. We all have imperfect and messy parts that can lead to dysfunction and despair. And we all desperately need kindness, connection, and compassion to make it through. As American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said, “I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay.”

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Aug 22 14

The Means to Help Ourselves is at Our Fingertips

bp Magazine Blog

In July, Dr. Sagar Parikh in partnership with CREST.BD presented a great webinar entitled “Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder: What works, and when?” Dr. Parikh offered information about evidence based psychosocial interventions to help manage bipolar disorder.

I was most interested in the practical self-help strategies and resources he suggested. All elements of our treatment are important, but especially helpful are tools we can access ourselves at anytime. Read more here.