Bipolar and Mental Illnesses are written about here.

Archive for December, 2015


Crop Tops for Winter

Too much in love with your new crop top to let it go in the winter? This winter, crop tops are still trendy! But how to style crop tops in the winter – when we want to just wear a wool jacket over skinny jeans and call it a day!! How to look stylish without being cold? Don’t worry – it’s possible with just a bit of planning. And yes, you CAN pull it off!

Here are some great, fun and a little flirty tops that all are suitable for winter 2016. Some are smaller than others, but that just means you must pair it with a great jacket or coat!



Bipolar and Light – Vol. 2

light 5


rhythm 5

Treatment Implications

“There are two aspects of this story with major implications for treatment of bipolar disorder: first, sleep and rhythm; and then, darkness and light (particularly one kind of light).”

Sleep and Rhythm

“This one’s pretty simple. Everybody needs sleep. But people with bipolar disorder need to protect it. Sleep deprivation is associated with having manic symptoms. But perhaps even more important than sleep, or at least as important, is rhythm: the sleep needs to happen at the same time every day to keep your clock organized. Move it around too much and you may be setting yourself up for cycling, perhaps even the harder to treat version, “rapid cycling”.”


“Thus most people with bipolar disorder will not be able to do “shift work”, where the work day is rotating around the clock. That’s probably about the worst kind of job schedule you could arrange. A close second worst is might be an international job like pilot or flight attendant, changing time zones over and over again. Third worst would be graveyard shift work, unless you were extremely attentive to keeping your light exposure limited to your “day”, and avoiding real daylight during your “night” (heavy blinds and a sleep mask, for example). Even then we might wonder if there’s something about “real” daylight that’s important to synchronize with your internal clock.”

“So, the treatment bottom line: have regular sleep hours — even on weekends. I know, it’s going to feel really stupid to be getting up at 6 am on a Saturday. You’ll probably have to conduct some personal tests to find out if this is really worth it. I’ll admit: even if it’s theoretically a good idea for the long run, you’ll probably never be able to keep it up unless you discover some shorter-term benefit as well. So keep some mood/energy/sleep records  and see what you think.”

rhythm 1

Darkness and Light

“The following recommendations are not standard. You won’t hear these from your doctor, for a while yet, anyway. They are just my opinions, some logical extensions from our existing knowledge. But since they are easy and safe, I don’t have to worry too much about being right! You can try one, or several, and see what you think.”

“In my opinion, everything you just finished reading suggests that if you have bipolar disorder, you should very deliberately manage your exposure to light and darkness, especially darkness. I think this may be as important for some people with bipolar disorder as regular sleep. Obviously the easiest way to arrange this would be to make sure you’re getting good quality darkness when you’re asleep. That means no nightlights (in one study, as little as 1/500th of midday sunlight, just 200 lux, was enough to disturb people’s melatonin, the sleep chemical in our brainHallam). That means don’t turn on the lights in the middle of the night if you get up to go to the bathroom (no hallway nightlight either). Don’t let early morning sun, in the summer, hit your closed eyelids (which means using, if you have to, a $3.50 sleep mask you can buy at the pharmacy. You’ll get used to it. Older guys who have to get up to urinate anyway can put it on before going back to sleep in the middle of the night).”

rhythm 2

“Here a stunning case example to demonstrate how powerful “Dark Therapy” can be: a patient with severe rapid-cycling bipolar disorder who stopped cycling entirely — with no medications — just by carefully using very regular darkness (first 14 hrs a night, then within a few weeks, to stay well, only 10 hrs. a night). The graphs of his mood chart, before and after this treatment, are amazing.”

“No nightlights? 35% of new mothers use them; not good. Of course, the cell phone is worse:  You can use nightlights, actually, but they have to emit no blue light, as you’ll see in the next section.”

rhythm 3


Alert, Alert: watch out for blue light at night.

“Recent research has shown that one particular kind of light is the key to regulating the biological clock: blue light. The bottom line: blue light is a powerful signal telling your brain “it’s morning time, wake up!”  The last thing you’d want to be doing right before bed is looking at a blue light. Uh, oh. You can see it coming, can’t you: what color is the light from your television? How about from the computer screen you’re staring at right now? (not after 9 pm, is it? uh oh…)”

“The good news is this: you might be able to significantly regulate your bipolar cycling, and at least find it easier to go to sleep at night (without medications like zolpidem (Ambien), lorazepam (Ativan), trazodone, etc.), by avoiding blue light at night. So, here’s the treatment recommendation doctors ought to be giving you (if they had the time to read the recent research in this area, which few do): no TV or computer after 9 pm if you’re going to bed at 10 or 11. End the TV/computer even earlier if you go to bed earlier. I’ve had quite a few patients tell me this step alone really helped them. If you took the link above to the story about the guy whose rapid cycling was treated with “Dark Therapy” and no medications, you can see how closely this recommendation matches that treatment.”

rhythm 4






Bipolar and Light – Vol. 1

Petite Girls Guide

light 5

  • Why are persons with Bipolar affected so much more if they do not receive direct light everyday?

How Light Affects the Brain

“You know about rods and cones, right? Those are the two kinds of receptors in your eyeball, on your retina, for light. But you didn’t know that there is another receptor for light in the eye (I’m guessing you don’t know, because until I came across this research, I didn’t know either).”

light 7

“Whereas the rods and cones send information to the visual cortex (the “occipital cortex”, at the back of your head), this other light receptor sends its information to your internal clock. The nerve cables from these receptors don’t even go to the vision center at all. They go straight to the middle of your brain, to a region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is well known to be the location of the biological…

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Bipolar and Light – Vol. 1

light 5

  • Why are persons with Bipolar affected so much more if they do not receive direct light everyday?

How Light Affects the Brain

“You know about rods and cones, right? Those are the two kinds of receptors in your eyeball, on your retina, for light. But you didn’t know that there is another receptor for light in the eye (I’m guessing you don’t know, because until I came across this research, I didn’t know either).”

light 7

“Whereas the rods and cones send information to the visual cortex (the “occipital cortex”, at the back of your head), this other light receptor sends its information to your internal clock. The nerve cables from these receptors don’t even go to the vision center at all. They go straight to the middle of your brain, to a region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is well known to be the location of the biological clock for us humans.”

“You know about this clock, right? Everybody has one: it’s the gizmo that is setting your biological rhythms every day — when you feel like eating, when you feel like sleeping, when you feel like getting up in the morning. It’s the gizmo that gets confused by east-west travel, causing “jet lag”. It regulates hundreds of chemical reactions all timed to match the natural cycle of days and nights in our environment.”

light 2

‘Or what used to be our environment. Nowadays we’ve altered that environment in many ways, of course (Nature is getting ready to get back at us, big time; but hey, that’s our kids’ worry, right?). One of the most significant changes in our environment is our ability to have LIGHT when we used to have DARKNESS.’

“But our brains were not built for this. There were built for a regular period of darkness within every 24 hours (by whom or what doesn’t matter right now; don’t stop, read my page on evolution later. I keep interrupting you with these big-picture ideas like God and global warming. I must be worried about something). Some people are not very strongly affected by our artificially lit environment. But some people, perhaps especially those with bipolar disorder, may suffer when they get too little, or too much. Right now most such people just have to learn this the hard way.”

“Your biological clock resets itself every day by the appearance of morning light. That’s why you can, over a few days, adjust your clock if you fly to some other continent, or even across one. As you may know, our biological clocks are not perfect 24-hour machines. They drift a little bit every day. Most people drift toward a longer day (their clock takes more than 24 hours to complete a cycle). This is probably why most people find it easier to stay up late than to wake up early. For some people, that drift toward later hours can be very dramatic. They may be the ones who most need to learn about what I’m presenting here. They don’t stay glued to “real time” very well. They need to avoid getting “unglued” any further. And light at night may be one of the most important ungluing fact.”

So, how does the clock reset itself?

“Here’s the short answer. The long answer is a beautiful example of brain science; I’ll send you there in a minute if you’re interested. Briefly then: every morning light turns off a chemical process and allows the clock process, which is a very interesting string of chemical reactions, to start all over again. Clock researchers have identified all the important molecules in this process. Lo and behold: lithium directly affects one of the key enzymes in the resetting of the clock. Here we find “ground zero” of our biological rhythms, the very center of the clock process, and there’s lithium right in the middle of it. Very interesting. If that’s enough to get you interested, have a look at the long story about how the clock works, including how lithium affects it.”

light 4

Light is central to biological rhythms — and so is DARKNESS

“If light starts the clock every day, is it possible that darkness is a necessary ingredient as well? Look at the question this way: sleep deprivation can cause manic episodes. In part that’s too little sleep itself — but might part of the story be “too much light?” Generally when people are sleeping less and heading toward mania, they’re not hanging out in the dark. They’re up late at night in very well lit places, like casinos, roadways with bright car lights in their eyes, their office preparing the big talk that will secure their future millions, and so forth. They’re not sitting in some dark room. Is there any chance that being forced to stay in the dark during an emerging manic episode could actually turn them in the other direction? We’ll look at some evidence for that in just a moment.”

light 6

“Here’s another angle on light and dark: suppose that the appearance of light every morning can reset your clock only when you’ve had enough darkness. Maybe the brain needs to be able to see the contrast? What would happen if you didn’t get enough darkness? Maybe you’d lose your biological rhythm entirely; your body wouldn’t know when to make you sleep and when to wake you up. You’d be up in the middle of the night sometimes, for days in a row, backwards to real time. Then you might be so asleep during the real day you could hardly get out of bed; getting up in the morning would feel like getting up from sleep in the middle of the night does for the rest of us, ugh.”

“And finally, imagine that if your clock cuts loose from real time, you lose even the 24-hour connection. Remember, the clock is not really a 24 hour machine in most people. Maybe you would lose your rhythm entirely so that you body could do the sleep thing, or the really awake thing, at any time, on any day. You’d have no idea where you were, in terms of body cycling, totally erratic. Extreme forms of “rapid cycling bipolar disorder” look just like this: no rhythm at all.”

“All of these lines of thought led a research team at the National Institute of Mental Health to wonder: maybe some people with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder have lost the connection between their internal clock and external light/dark reality. Maybe one way to treat that would be to simply “enforce darkness”! The results of their test of this idea will be described in a moment.’

light 3






Holiday survival guide: Staying sane amid the stress

Holiday Advice & Tips
“Did you know that the average American will spend more than seven hours getting somewhere for the holidays? At least that’s what a new survey by SC Johnson suggests.”

“No doubt. Nearly 47 million Americans took to the highways for Thanksgiving this year, making it the busiest driving holiday in eight years, according to AAA. Expect more of the same for Christmas, fueled by a healthy economy and low fuel prices.”

“The skies will be crowded, too, where 45 million customers are predicted to fly during the 19-day period from just before Christmas to just after New Year’s Day, an increase of approximately 2%, says the Air Transport Association, an airline trade group.”

It doesn’t have to be seven hours of torture. Here are the most common holiday travel flash points, and how to handle them.
Pack early and light. 

There’s never enough room for your luggage, no matter which mode of transportation you choose. That’s because inexperienced travelers overpack, and they wait until the last minute to squeeze everything into their carry-on. Don’t be that person, says Tim Griffin, an airline pilot who runs a workshop that treats fear of flying. “Pack a few days early,” he recommends. “Rushing around packing the night before while you are already anxious will only add to the stress.””

•Bring toys

Leaving early or later to avoid the crush of cars remains the best advice for motorists. Dave Blackmer, who works for a health care company in Salt Lake City, offers this irreverent tip for destressing: “We have a family tradition of keeping bubbles in the car, so we can brighten our day when we’re stuck in traffic,” he says. “You’d be surprised how much fun you can have by blowing bubbles and how much people band together when they see the simplicity of bubbles floating by.” Other recommended destressing toys include Wiffle balls, coloring books (they have them for adults now) and relaxation CDs.”

•Say a prayer. 

“Yes, the airport is going to be a nuthouse if you’re flying just before a major holiday — no two ways about it. The pre-holiday strike by baggage handlers at seven major U.S. airports didn’t make anyone feel better. Maybe we should all say a prayer. At least that’s the recommendation of Ros Banks, who works for a vacation rental company in Berlin. “Find the prayer room,” she says. “If you find yourself in need of some quiet time for thinking or reflection, then go there.” Banks says you should treat these interfaith worship areas “with the utmost respect.” You will probably find serenity.”


“If you’re flying, here’s a little practical advice: Print your boarding pass, and check to make sure your flight is leaving on time. Check again a few hours before your scheduled departure. Too many inexperienced travelers forget. One more thing: Don’t forget to breathe. That’s what Micah Mortali, director of the Kripalu Schools of Yoga and Ayurveda in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, told me. Mortali recommends the neck roll, which you can do in your airline seat. “As you inhale, roll the right ear toward your right shoulder,” he explains. “As you exhale, roll the chin back down to center. Inhale as you roll the left ear to the left shoulder. Exhale down to center, and repeat as desired.” Ah, I feel much better already.”

•Out is inn. 

“Staying with family can amp up stress levels. I know a thing or two about that. “It can be well worth the expense to have your own space by staying at a nearby hotel or B&B,” advises Hilary Stockton, the CEO of a luxury travel company. “Balance family holiday gatherings with some time to yourself, relaxing in the hotel pool or with a spa massage.””

•Take care of yourself. 

“Perhaps the best way to cope with holiday stress is to mind your behavior. Mostly, be kind to yourself. “Make healthy choices to reduce stress levels,” says Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International, a travel risk management provider. “Don’t indulge in an airport drink or road trip latte, as flying and traveling dehydrate the body. Stay as active as possible, taking frequent breaks when driving long distances, or stretching during a flight.””

“If you treat yourself well, it’s easier to treat those around you well. When that happens, everyone has a great holiday trip.”

How to behave on your holiday trip:

Be nice. 

“Everyone is trying to see their loved ones and enjoy the holidays,” says Elizabeth McCormick, president of Uniglobe Travel Designers, a travel agency. “Kindness always prevails over rudeness.”

No yelling. 

“A recent poll of travelers by Homewood Suites and Home2Suites found one-third of respondents admitted to yelling at a total stranger when traveling. Don’t be that person. Raised voices will just ruin everyone’s holiday trip.”
Remember the four-second rule. 

“When you find yourself getting annoyed and frustrated by a situation, close your eyes, says Achim Nowak, author of The Moment (New Page Books) and interpersonal communication expert. Wait four seconds. “When you open your eyes, the world will look different to you,” he says. “Guaranteed.” Works for any holiday travel problem — except when you’re driving a car, of course.”


How to Plan for a Perfect Holiday

perfect christmas


Plan for a Perfect Holiday

“Wanna get away from your hectic schedule & spend some quiet time with your family? People often dream of a perfect holiday with white sands, blue beaches, palm trees and so on, but traveling or sometimes even planning a trip can be more of a stress. Here are some tips to make your holiday a memorable one.”


  1. “Set a budget. Before chalking out a plan for the holiday, the most important thing is to set a budget. It helps you to plan and enjoy the trip within your limits. Always estimate a little more than what you might need.”


2. “Plan ahead. The first thing you need to do is to be sure of what you need from this trip. Do you want to experience the local culture or just have fun on those sandy beaches? Do you wanna mingle with the locals or fade away from busy people and the world? Strategize your trip according to your needs and likes.”



holiday brochure

3. “Read up before you go. Prepare yourself before plunging into an unknown holiday destination. Buy a good guidebook and read up on the culture, history, local attractions of the destination. You can read the local publications on-line or surf the net for more information. The more you know, the better you can enjoy or appreciate the place and their traditions.”
TV Map

4. “Pack light and right. Pack only the essential things. Avoid carrying unnecessary things around. A heavy luggage may sometimes dampen your holiday spirit. Carry clothes that are comfortable and right for the season. As much as possible try to stuff everything you need in a single carry-on bag.”



5. “Always reserve your stay. It’s always better to book your stay if possible because all you need is a good night’s sleep after an exciting day.”


6. “Have Realistic Expectations: Unreasonable expectations can lead to unwanted stress, so enjoy the holiday by managing what you can with the time you have. Embrace each moment, whether good or bad.”



Men’s Fashion – Leather Jackets, Sweaters & Scarves

Looks like this winter season’s must have’s for guys include: a leather jacket, plenty of sweaters, and scarves of all colors, sizes and styles. I have been looking at what fashions keep being repeated, and these few items are always on the list. Check out these pictures of men, looking great while being fashionable. Take a mental note & don’t be left out. 


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