Owning Bipolar with Michael Pipich

by Scott Barry Kaufman, July 24, 2019

“Don’t be afraid. You are not alone.” – Michael Pipich

Today we have Michael Pipich on the podcast. Pippich is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and has treated a wide range of mental disorders and relationship problems in adults and adolescents for over 30 years. Michael is also a national speaker on Bipolar Disorder and has been featured on radio and in print media on a variety of topics. His latest book is Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The main characteristics of bipolar disorder
  • The three main types of bipolar
  • The suicidal potential among bipolar
  • Michael’s three-phase approach to treat patients with bipolar
  • The benefits of mania
  • The link between bipolar and creativity
  • How people with bipolar can thrive
  • Taking responsibility for your bipolar
  • How loved ones and family members can support those with bipolar
  • Linkages between bipolar and the different types of narcissism
  • Reaching out to help others


2 Responses to “Owning Bipolar with Michael Pipich”

  1. Deirdre says:

    Thank you for your amazing podcasts.

    I find them fascinating and have inspired me to go a degree in psychology with counselling at the open university.
    I have finished my first year, doing it part time whilst still working as a counsellor at a senior school. I do love what I do.

    I agree with Michael. Taking responsibility for bi-polar and also about the creative side of things reframing that you don’t need to be in that mania. He explains it better. Thank you so much I am going to put out there Michaels ideas to someone I know who has no-polar and also reiterate the responsibility. I have been saying that. So it’s good to know I have being saying something right.
    Bless you.
    Deirdre

  2. Wendy says:

    So where do I begin? I really enjoyed listening to this episode but have a great deal of feedback. I really appreciated the idea that the DSM is broadening its idea that we ALL may perhaps fit SOMEWHERE onto the spectrum of disorders.

    First, I grew up with a mother who is very mentally ill and was labeled “manic depressive” my whole life. I have been diagnosed and undiagnosed with bipolar multiple times by multiple different psychiatrists. I have been through batteries of psychological tests, blood tests, etc. to aid in these diagnoses.

    1. I didn’t seen a psychiatrist about this until my husband pushed me to in a very tumultuous time early in our marriage. In fact, I feel he bullied me into seeking help.
    2. My first diagnostic psychiatrist did not believe in talk therapy; prescribed Lithium, and saw me ONLY when he needed to re-prescribe. He wasn’t a very good listener and I hated being on Lithium because it made me tired, dulled my sense of EVERYTHING – no joy, no creativity. I had to GREATLY watch my salt intake and I slept constantly or not at all.
    3. Years go by of varying diagnoses and cocktails of meds and nothing helps.
    4. I am diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I am prescribed Lamictal. This changed my WHOLE WORLD. I slept better. My joy came back. My psychiatrist also suspected something about my spouse – Narcissism.
    5. Enter marriage therapy: clinical therapist also suspects this about my spouse as well. She does both couples and solo counseling and I begin to see the world differently. My symptoms of being overwrought and high strung start to subside because of talk therapy.
    6. My point is – could not many of these diagnoses be a part of Stockholm Syndrome? Even if genetically you are predisposed to bipolar, could it be that the symptoms don’t manifest until something conditions them or magnifies them? Since figuring out some of the toxic behaviors to which I am subjected in my life, my behavior management has changed because I know longer feel like I AM A CRAZY PERSON. Instead, it seems that I may be sharing a life with someone whose own disorder may be toxic at least when coupled with mine (as it may be).
    7. Correct me if I am wrong but you spoke of research reflecting that Narcissistic qualities of vulnerability may become more prevalent the more grandiose someone becomes. I see this. The more pompous my spouse behaves, the more he knows, the more he “falls” or is called out by others in our lives as incorrect, the more self-deprecating he has become. Likewise, on occasion, he will suddenly spout off a long list of things he “should have said” to someone but didn’t because “you can’t talk to idiots”…when in the past, he WOULD have said those things…this is merely a small example.

    Anyway, I know this was a lot. I’ve been listening for years and will continue to do so!! Thanks for your work.!! PS: I’m still trying to find a good source for lemon balm or some non-addictive anti-anxiety supplement.

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