Relationships and Mental Illness, Week 4: Bipolar Disorder

 

A good visualization of the different levels of bipolar disorder (BP) from Sketchy Medicine.

It’s Week 4 of our exploration into mental illness and its impact on dating and relationships! We’ve covered anxiety, social anxiety, and depression so far. Today, let’s talk about bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is classified as a mood disorder, like depression is. However, unlike those with depression, who experience episodes of unexplained lows, those with bipolar experience episodes of unexplained lows along with episodes of unexplained highs that go beyond your run-of-the-mill good day.

The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) offers up a good overview of what bipolar disorder and what its symptoms are. The depressive episode may involve the usual depression symptoms: read more…

Relationships and Mental Illness, Week 3: Depression

 

So, let’s continue with our exploration of mental illness in dating and relationships. Week 0 was an overview on why we’re doing this, Week 1 focused on anxiety disorders, Week 2 was devoted to social anxiety, which means Week 3 will focus on the big D.

Depression.

Depression, along with anxiety, is one of the most prevalent mental disorders. About 16-17% of people will experience real depression in their lifetime. In the world of disorders, that’s a LOT of people.

According to Psychiatry.org, depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include: read more…

Relationships and Mental Illness, Week 2: Social Anxiety

 

Welcome to Week 2 of our multi-week focus on mental illness as it relates to dating and relationships. Last week we talked about anxiety disorders; this week we’ll focus specifically on social anxiety.

 

What is Social Anxiety?

The Social Anxiety Institute defines social anxiety as “the fear of  interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance. Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.”

read more…

Relationships and Mental Illness, Week 1: Anxiety

 

As I talked about last time, I’m devoting November and December to mental illness and psychopathology and the impact they have on dating and relationships. Today, we’ll talk about the most common (and perhaps most misunderstood) of the mental illness options:

Anxiety.

Google defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” They also give a psychiatric definition: “a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.”

read more…

Dating, Relationships, and Mental Health

 

The Bible of mental disorders

Happy November, peeps. Over the last few months, we’ve focused monthly themes. We’ve talked about getting your personal shit together... the stuff that makes you a better dating prospect and a better partner. We’ve talked about communication, and how easily relationships can go awry if communication channels aren’t working properly. Now, I want to devote November and December to a new topic:

Mental health and relationships.

One thing I’ve noticed with dating and relationship advice is that the advice-givers tend to tackle a problem as is (i.e. without context). The guy you’re dating is really moody? He’s got issues. The woman you love gets stressed out about every tiny thing? She’s got issues. What they might not see is that moody guy probably suffers from depression and that stressed-out woman may have anxiety issues. When you begin to look at relationships in the context of mental health, your entire approach changes. And trying to solve relationship problems that involve mental health won’t work without addressing the mental health issue itself. read more…

Communication in Relationships: What is Gaslighting?

 

Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film Gaslight

By now, you’ve probably heard of gaslighting. It’s a hot term these days, mentioned and discussed in blog articles and on internet forums like sociopathy was two years ago, and narcissism two years before that. It describes a set of disturbing behaviors and a way of communicating with loved ones that’s extremely damaging and troublesome. And since October is communication month, it made sense to talk about it here.

So, what is gaslighting anyway?

Google offers up this definition:

“To manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”

Here’s a more complete definition from Wikipedia:

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to a 1938 play Gas Light and its 1944 film adaptation. The term has been used in clinical and research literature, as well as in political commentary. read more…

Christie Hartman, PhD

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