Week of:
Oct 07, 2011

Bipolar disorder: Am I at risk?


My mother was recently diagnosed with bipolar, so it's been an emotional roller coaster ride as she adjusts to the medications. She is also obsessive-compulsive, and is being treated for anxiety and depression.

I'm terrified that this is going to happen to me or it already has. I see a shrink on a regular basis, but he hasn't suggested going for psychiatric testing. Should I? Because my mom has all these conditions...will I?


Bi Polar literate

Making friends when I have low self-esteem

Dear Alice,

Your advice to "Surround yourself with positive, healthy people" is good. But this is part of my insecurities. It seems that everyone will want to surround themselves with positive, healthy people; but if I'm not healthy mentally, why should people want to be around me? I fear I'm excluded because, even when I try to hide my insecurities, they still show and people don't want to be around a "downer." Any advice on this aspect?

Can I treat depression on my own?

Dear Alice,

I'm a first year college student. Since the holidays I started experiencing a very strong horrible feeling; so horrible I preferred to die than to keep on feeling it (the suicidal thoughts come and go still, but it's not as strong as in the beginning). It's very puzzling though because I don't have a reason to feel like this, not one that I know of at least.

I thought of going to a psychologist, or psychiatrist, but I don't have money to do so, and I thought that maybe I should try curing myself first. Is there any way to try to fight depression by myself? Also, if I don't have a reason to feel depressed, what reasons could there be for what's happening to me? I read in other things you wrote to people that depression may be also caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. How do I know if that's happening to me?

Thanks in advance,
Puzzled and Depressed

Types of therapists

Dear Alice,

I'm thinking about seeking therapy for my anxiety and I was wondering if you could talk about the different types of therapists out there. I know the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is a psychologist didn't go through med-school and so can't prescribe drugs, but what about cognitive-behavior therapists versus... well, whatever else is out there?

Thinkin' about Therapy