Understanding your Mood Swings and Depression

Bipolar, Not So Much is a book by James Phelps and Chris Aiken, both psychiatrists who work with patients with mood disorders. Jim Phelps has been a strong voice for 20 or more years regarding soft bipolar and/or the bipolar spectrum. He previously published a book called “Why am I Still Depressed?” He also maintains a website called PsychEducation.org that has tons of information about the mood disorder spectrum from unipolar depression to bipolar 1. While Phelps hails from Corvallis Oregon, Aikens runs a Mood Treatment Center in Winston-Salem North Carolina. The website for the center, https://www.moodtreatmentcenter.com, also has lots of good info.


I have been recommending this material to folks I work with for years. This current book, like the other materials, speaks to the person with the mood issues. Am I depressed? What type of depression do I have? If antidepressants and psychotherapy didn’t work for me is there still hope? Phelps and Aiken lay it all out. They describe symptoms and diagnosis. There are useful visuals and self tests. But that is just part one. The authors also go on to describe a healing lifestyle for those with depression and bipolar disorder. Part three is about medications and treatment. Then there is a final section on reclaiming your life. They include a range of treatments and supports in addition to medications.

I share this book with clients primarily because it is empowering. If you are working with a psychiatrist it sets you up to collaborate, to be informed, to be able to ask important questions. I have worked with folks who have read this book and written a summary of their symptoms, history and medications that they have tried. They were able to lay out their observations to their docs and ask the doc to consider whether they have soft bipolar and if a different treatment path might be more effective.

And I want those who fit this diagnostic picture to connect with the information and services that can be life changing.

For more posts about Bipolar Disorders go to my website SupportforDepression.com