How I Beat Bipolar

‘How I Beat Bipolar’ is a day of presentations, activities and discussions in Leicester, UK.

This is for:

  • people who experience excess anxiety, depression or mania
  • charity workers, professionals, family, carers and supporters

Beat-Bipolar-Leicester-2017-Sept-19 - online advert

  1. Understanding my internal and external moods
  2. Getting into, on-to and then over recovery
  3. Divide and conquer – ‘causes’ and ‘cures’
  4. Know what you want / Behaviour for what you need
  5. From victim/rescuer to driver/navigator

Reserve a place:

Example slide:
How I Beat Bipolar - example slide

Brain Health – Maximizing Memory – Roger Smith

Maximizing Memory (Part 1 – Focus on Food and Drink)

Thursday 23rd February 2017

Folks and Fables, Bingham

2:30pm to 3:30pm    and    6:30pm to 7:30pm

This is my next talk, followed by discussion, sharing much of the new research into:

  • Improving our memory
  • Growing new brain cells

Find out more from Folks and Fables

Mental Wellness Summit

A friend just emailed me a link to the Mental Wellness Summit

I see that Robert Whitaker is talking on the first day.

Eliminating Disorder Bipolar and more

It can take a long time to learn enough to move beyond any psychiatric label. I took prescription drugs to treat bipolar disorder for 14 years with no intention of ever stopping. That period and the years of relatively good health since have greatly influenced my career and created my passion for discovering and sharing the root causes of diseases and disorders.

Now that I am free from bipolar disorder you may notice I am increasingly sharing information about other aspects of recovery, greater well-being and resilience regardless of diagnosis.

What has worked best for me? Focusing on health, eliminating disorder and not being too concerned about what it might mean to be bipolar.

Roger while visiting friends in France Sept 2015

This is me – Taken while staying with friends in France in Sept 2015

Being Bipolar – 3 of 3 – Contrasting psychiatric views #Moncrieff

Being Bipolar (Channel 4 shown on 6th March 2015):

Sian, who has been diagnosed as bipolar II and psychotherapist, Philippa Perry, meet with an NHS psychiatrist, who waffles at some length about chemical imbalances, without being able to suggest which chemicals could be out of balance or why such an imbalance might exist.

After this, Philippa meets with psychiatrist, Dr Joanna Moncrieff, who shares her knowledge as an expert in psychiatric drug research. Joanna makes it clear that the psychiatric drugs are mainly sedating people and not treating any specific chemical imbalance.

I believe all three of the subjects of this documentary would be living better lives if they were getting help based on their real challenges rather than from a psychiatric system that talks of treating chemical imbalances and genetic disorders from birth. All three had things happen to them that influenced the way they feel and expressed their moods. All three need help with understanding and overcoming their troubles.

At the end Philippa shares, “I don’t know how useful the bipolar diagnosis is, because they are all so different. I feel it might be more helpful to approach everyone as individuals with unique issues, because although being labelled bipolar may help some people make sense of their moods it too often marks the end of self-exploration when really, in fact, it should be the beginning.”

It really is time to stop just Being Bipolar and for more of us to be Rethinking Bipolar and so reaching our fullest potential.

Being Bipolar – 2 of 3 – But not really manic depressives

Being Bipolar (Channel 4 Documentary shown on 6th March 2015):

Three people diagnosed as bipolar were filmed and their troubles considered by psychotherapist Philippa Perry.

Paul, who is a self-made millionaire, was filmed while high, Sian was mainly low and Ashley was rapidly going from high to low. Paul seemed happy enough in his manic state, while Sian and Ashley brought out their boxes of prescribed drugs and revealed how desperate they felt with no real prospects of recovery.

What struck me, was how without any special psychotherapy, it became clear that all was not as it first seemed.

Near the end, Paul has come down from his high and tells Philippa how his high was fueled by smoking ‘legal highs’ that he explains certainly were not just ordinary cigarettes! These were the drugs on which he got high. This was not a manic episode caused solely by his perfectionism or a random mood swing.

Sian’s greatest fear turns out to be from the misconception that bipolar can be passed on genetically to her children. When Philippa takes Sian to meet genetics researcher, Prof Ian Jones, it is explained, “It is not a genetic disorder in that there is a gene for bipolar” and that “Nine out of ten children of a bipolar parent are not being diagnosed as bipolar”. This is new knowledge for Sian, who is now able to consider bipolar in a very different way. From having said earlier that she could not think of any causes other than genetics, she now feels able to talk with to Philippa about wanting to investigate what it was in her life/her environment that had led to mood problems and diagnosis. Towards the end of the programme Sian talks about wanting “to be open to change” and goes to see a psychotherapist based on her discovery that bipolar is not all genetic and pre-determined. She comes to believe that, “It is the start of the end of it.” And when asked “Do you think this is going to be transformative?” She answers, “Yes”.

Ashley suffered from something like autism from an early age and was bullied badly at school. Being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs since he was 8 years old, it comes as no surprise to find him struggling so much. These drugs are known to alter the brain’s development. Philippa says, “It is difficult to find a therapist who is on the same wavelength as someone who is on the autistic spectrum.” Interestingly, after Philippa’s visit, Ashley forms a band with two local musicians who are able to cope with his struggles to stay focused. This seems to give hope that he will be able to fit in better than he was ever able to at school, perhaps simply by being with people who share similar interests.

Overall, the programme did well in showing how diverse bipolar can be. For me, though the most important outcome was how none of three people filmed would, years ago, have been regarded as manic depressives, while each could be so much healthier if they could get access to help beyond their prescribed or acquired drugs.

Being Bipolar – 1 of 3 – Every person is different – #Channel4 #Bipolar

Regarding the UK’s Channel 4 programme, “Being Bipolar” that was shown on 6th March 2015:

I tend to agree with journalist, Yvette Caster, as she shares her personal experiences as a person diagnosed as bipolar. Yvette writes,

The talking cure can help to an extent but, for me at least, the doing cure is far more effective.

As in taking dance classes to cheer me up, singing, going to bed before 11pm, avoiding too much alcohol, not smoking, never taking drugs, taking baths, meditating, swimming, walking and, crucially, working.

This last bit of ‘therapy’ has helped me more than any amount of sitting in a room with a lady with inadvisable style choices attempting to answer personal questions ever could.

Regular, productive activity that gives you a sense of achievement and purpose is crucial to happiness, bipolar or no.

Yvette’s full article is here: London-Metro-Newspaper

A 40 second preview on youtube:

Glutinous Bipolar – Gluten and Bipolar Symptoms

Glutinous Bipolar – Gluten and Bipolar Symptoms

It is 16 years since I was last detained on a psychiatric ward, 15 years since I learned how to self-manage and stay away from psychiatrists. It is now more than 4 years since I last took any psychiatric drug.

Today, it feels like I am ‘back to square one’ with words from a 1960’s song in my head.

Lock me away and don’t allow the day, here inside, where I hide with my loneliness…

Everything was going well, so why am I feeling this way?

It was cold and dark with a bitter wind. I was walking back to the train station when I got some bad news on my phone just as a welcoming fish ‘n’ chip shop came into view. I had promised a friend I would not eat chips. I went in and bought a sausage instead.

Somehow I convinced myself that any gluten in the sausage would not matter. This was not good food for me, but it was hot and seemed to be what I needed to deal with the cold and bad news. Was this self-harm? Were things going too well? Could it be my “inner saboteur” getting the better of me?

After more than a month with no gluten at all, with minimal pain, great positivity and plenty of sustained energy, just an hour after eating the gluten… my world was starting to fall apart.

Three days of misery followed with stupid coffee drinking and loads of dairy produce. Three days of binging, increasing gut pains and foggy and confused thinking.

Was it always gluten? It is 19 years since I was prescribed medications to calm my guts, but it was one of these that made my insomnia worse and led to the psychiatric drugs. These sedated me and in many ways made my life easier, but all the time they were allowing more gut damage to occur.

Each new doctor said it was all in my head and nothing to do with my gut, so I had to figure it out for myself. Now it seems I can only survive and thrive if I can learn from my mistakes and so avoid gluten regardless of what life throws at me.

Food and Mood / Natural Nutrition courses and support from Rethinking Health

After a few weeks of being really well and pain free…

I ate walnuts and figs at 9pm and now been awake since 1am with pain in my gut.

My old GP used to say such pains that kept me awake were due to me no longer taking drugs for bipolar disorder.

He was wrong. There are definitely foods I need to keep avoiding.

Anyway, a little 4am yoga helped and the pain has gone now.

On the plus side, being up in the night has allowed me write 1,400 words which I can have on an editor’s desktop for breakfast time.

Whether big changes in mood are called bipolar or simply attributed to obvious causes, like eating the wrong things at the wrong times, it isn’t much of a disorder if we are still able to do useful things and we are not disturbing those around us.

Mental Illness Becomes Mental Wellness

How mental illness becomes mental wellness. An idea I saw at


Illness Becomes Wellness

View original post

Grain Brain #grainbrain, #perlmutter, #mercola #bipolar

FAQ: Where is the Dr Perlmutter, Grain Brain video? (Thank to a reader from Leicester UK the reminder)

Answer: I posted a shortened version, of Dr Mercola interviewing Dr Permutter on  Rethinking Bipolar in Oct 2014:

Low fat diets damage brains #Perlmutter <

It gives a lot of essential information in less than half the time of the full interview. However, please consider this:

For me, taking note of what these two doctors are saying about diet, health and especially brain health has been a huge step in developing resilience to all sorts of disorders. It allows me to say, for sure, I do not have the disorder part of bipolar in me these days.

Like Tom Whootton, I continue to be aware of my moods, especially the higher energy and positive feelings, just that I am free of that disorder. I sleep well. I, at last, have good steady energy levels again. I get lots of good stuff done every day. I get on with friends, family, neighbors and other health professionals. Life is good.

A lot of this goodness is due to doing the sorts of things discussed in this interview. This is why I am adding both a link and a ‘watch here option’ for this 1 hour 18 minutes version. It could be that, like me, you need to know precisely what these doctors are saying about brain health.

If you have concerns about the health of your brain or simply want to be thinking clearer and feeling better, then please watch and listen to all of this and let me know if you decide to include some of the ideas into your life – either using the reply option on this blog or through this contact form.

Mercola and Perlmutter

Wellness Recovery Action Planning – WRAP

Wellness Recovery Action Planning – WRAP has been an important part of my recovery. If in USA you probably know of The Copeland Center.

Not so many use WRAP in the UK. If you live here and want to learn about WRAP and how it can help, I will be facilitating a one day WRAP course in Leicester on 10th February 2015. Click on image to find out more.

WRAP Training in Leicester UK

WRAP Training in Leicester UK

Habit or Self-Harm?

The mind is a curious thing. We can know what is good for us and yet keep doing exactly the opposite.

It is as if somewhere in us there is a need to fail, a need to keep being unwell or a fear of what will happen if we were to become a lot fitter.

We all seem to have habits that hinder our recovery. For many it is smoking or drinking alcohol, while there are so many other ways in which we seem to choose to hurt ourselves.

For me, it is usually eating too much or eating things that I know will harm me. I have decided this has gone on too long so I am teaming up with Maria from a social enterprise called Mind’s Well to better understand why it is that I and millions of others can get stuck in a loop something like this:

self-harm or habit

I want to know the latest thinking on how we break-out of such loops whether these are described as self-harming or habitual*?

If you have suffered from bipolar or for that matter anything at all then you may be interested in one of Maria’s courses such as:

BPS Accredited Training on Managing Self-harming Behaviours

in York on 24th September 2014


*Note: Many people manage to go for long periods without self-harming and would not describe their self-harm as at all habitual.

Rethinking Bipolar Disorder at Beyond Meds – Monica Cassani

It seems I am not the only one encouraging the rethinking of bipolar disorder…


No mention of bipolar: Lisa Rodrigues: A very personal ‘personal best’

I heard from a reader of rethinkingbipolar yesterday. They said how this blog had helped them greatly. This has inspired me to start blogging again. I never stopped completely. It is just that i have not published much while going through divorce, moving house several times in a year, closing down my office, being given several new diagnosis and generally beating myself up for being such a loser. I never wanted to be a divorcee – now I just need to accept that I am and get on with what I set out to do with rethinking bipolar – and that is to get more people to realize bipolar is nothing like what it says in the text books and most importantly people and perhaps all of us can one day move on from the diagnosis.

I am doing something unusual here by reproducing an entire article because it impressed me so much. You can simply click here to read the original or read on and see what I say at the end…

——————————————————– A Brilliant Article ——– Please read on ——————————————–

Lisa Rodrigues: A very personal ‘personal best’


Lisa Rodrigues recently told HSJ (Health Service Journal) that she will be retiring from her role in charge of Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust in 2014. In this article, she makes a further important personal announcement.

Britain’s Personal Best is an Olympic legacy charity aimed at getting people to do things they have never done before to help others and themselves. Challenges can be physical, intellectual, artistic or just brave.

When I became an ambassador for Britain’s Personal Best, I had an idea of what my own challenge was going to be. It helps that the dates for the first annual Britain’s Personal Best weekend of 4-6 October coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. World Mental Health Day aims to reduce the stigma still associated with using mental health services.

So this is my Personal Best, which I dedicate to World Mental Health Day 2013. I’m coming out.

More on mental health

Like one in four members of the population, I too have experienced mental illness; in my case depression, anxiety and the occasional bit of mania. I’ve been told I was a waste of space by an accident and emergency nurse while he washed out my stomach after an overdose. I’ve sat opposite a psychiatrist and been unable to find an answer when pressed to think of a reason for living. And I know how it feels to be an utter disappointment to my parents, teachers and friends.

Managing wellbeing

It would be a cop out to say that this was many years ago. Some of it was, but it is also right here and now. I have learned, by trial and error, ways to manage my wellbeing. I use mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy. I gave up alcohol 12 years ago because I’m bad at moderation and it was a trigger for feeling ghastly. I suffer if I don’t exercise, outside if possible, and I need healthy food. I’m married to the kindest of men, and have a wonderful family and amazing friends. Some of this is luck, but there is judgement involved.

A major part of staying well is doing a job that stretches, motivates and moves me, although it’s tough and daily I face things that are deeply distressing. Suicide is devastating for families, but also very tough on staff, whether or not we learn with hindsight we could have prevented it. The 24/7 responsibility of being the accountable officer of high risk services, especially these days, weighs heavily. And I really hate conflict.

But I also love my job. We change people’s lives for the better. I love the continuity of having started my NHS career as a nursing assistant at a learning disability hospital in Sussex − over 40 years it has evolved into one of the best services my trust runs today. I love our patients; their bravery, quirkiness and the almost impossible challenges they pose. And I love our staff, for their kindness, endless patience, intelligence and long term commitment to people others may have given up on.

Shift in attitudes

I’ve recently told my board I plan to leave Sussex Partnership next summer, when I’m 59. That’s all part of my personal care plan. In my 13th year, I’m getting ready to leave well and to have some time out to think about my next thing.

I talked to Sue Baker at Time To Change before taking the plunge to write this. She clinched it. Over the last five years there has been a considerable shift in public attitudes towards those who experience mental illness, although still a way to go. Sadly, the ones who’ve shown the least change are NHS staff, including senior leaders. Expectations of people’s ability to live full and productive lives despite having experienced mental illness remain low.

Some readers might think my disclosure is self-indulgent psychobabble. Others may feel that someone so flaky shouldn’t be running a big mental health trust. My reason for writing it is because of views like these.

As I look back over the last 12 years, I’m proud that despite occasional days when I can barely face getting out of bed, I hold down a responsible job and am respected by my team, staff, peers and the people we serve. I said back in January that I wasn’t always CBE material. But I’ve done my very best with the material I’ve got. And that’s what Personal Bests are all about.

With love and thanks to Sue Baker of Time to Change, Steve Moore at Britain’s Personal Best, HSJ’s Shaun Lintern, my wonderful chairman and team. And to Betty, Steve, Alice and Joey.

Lisa Rodrigues is chief executive at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust

———————————————————- That is a Brilliant Article —————————————————–

Roger’s thoughts on this article reproduced from

I love the idea of doing our personal best rather than having to do what others expect of us,

Thinking about rethinkingbipolar the thing that really stood out for me was Lisa saying,

“I too have experienced mental illness; in my case depression, anxiety and the occasional bit of mania.”

So easily, Lisa could have said that she had ‘bipolar’ or ‘something like bipolar’ but instead she has chosen not to label herself in this article. Do any of us need to use the labels that psychiatrists use? I suspect that almost everyone who has read this blog could also say, “I too have experienced mental illness; in my case depression, anxiety and the occasional bit of mania.” None of us has to say the word BIPOLAR.