Michael Weitzman in this RadioRotary interview reveals that he has long suffered from a common form of mental illness—bipolar disorder (once known as manic-depressive state), although he was not diagnosed with the disease until age 40. Today he emphasizes the basic triangle for handling a mental illness—a psychiatrist to diagnose, medicine to alleviate, and therapy to help with coping. The depressive side of bipolar disorder tends to isolate a person in what Weitzman calls the “Cave of Hell,” where the person becomes nonfunctioning, while the manic side makes a person overly active and optimistic. In addition to the basic triangle, it helps to cope by masking a daily list of activities to prevent nonfunctioning and actually doing what is on the list; but mental recovery activities such as journaling and meditation; and by joining a support group for the disorder.
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