A coffee company chief recovers from ‘CEO’s disease’

Toronto psychotherapist

September 30, 2015 | Posted in balance, bipolar, Blog posts, psychotherapy, reframe | By

(From Crains Chicago Business. By Shia Kapos)

Tony Dreyfuss, co-founder of Metropolis Coffee, and his wife were celebrating Mother's Day with their infant child in 2006 when he got a call about a broken coffee brewer.

“I said, 'Gotta go.' And I left on my wife's first Mother's Day. I wasn't taking stock,” Dreyfuss recalls. It was a low point for them, but not low enough to make him pull back from the long hours building his business. Six years and two more children later, his wife, Karen, pulled him aside and said something had to change.

Dreyfuss saw a doctor and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1, a mental illness that led to an intense attention to work. The disease often is referred to as manic depression or sometimes “the CEO's disease.”

“I simply ran manic for years. I got a lot done, but it deeply affected my relationships. I wasn't present with anyone,” he says. Though he didn't exhibit other common symptoms of the disease—“I didn't spend money, sleep around or drive like a maniac”—“I just worked, worked, worked.”

The Chicago businessman, 41, grew up in Madison, Wis. He was a skateboarder who took up juggling and photography. Since he was a child, “he's had a limitless imagination,” says Tony's father and business partner, Jeff Dreyfuss.

Tony Dreyfuss says he was prone to making life-changing decisions on a whim. His career began while he was driving a cab as a student at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a philosophy degree. He pulled over one night for coffee and was so struck by that particular cup's flavor, he decided right then to make the drink a career.

To him, that meant running a coffee shop. “At that point I wasn't thinking about roasting it,” he says.

He and his wife moved to Portland, Ore., which along with Seattle is the epicenter of specialty coffee. He took a job at a Peet's Coffee & Tea, working his way up from bean-scooper to management before taking a pay cut to become a taster and “fill a knowledge gap.”

His parents, both linguists, had moved to Seattle, and his father also had become a coffee connoisseur. While attending a trade show in Seattle, father and son purchased a coffee-roasting machine with the idea of going into business.

'JACKED UP'

“We were jacked up on caffeine after drinking a dozen espressos. It was like drunk people getting tattoos,” says the younger Dreyfuss, who already was planning to move to Chicago, where his wife had grown up.

Dreyfuss found retail space in the city's Edgewater neighborhood for a coffeehouse and roasting facility. That was in 2002.

By 2003, the Dreyfusses were in business and counted Hopleaf Bar and M.Henryrestaurant among early clients.

Today, Metropolis has 400 wholesale customers in Chicago and 200 beyond and expects revenue of more than $7 million this year. The company still operates its only cafe on Granville Avenue, and it employs people with disabilities through nonprofit Aspire.

After his diagnosis in 2012, Dreyfuss told his staff he was taking a three-month leave. The response, he says, was “Oh, thank God!”

Bipolar disorder, he continues, “makes you completely incapable of understanding how your actions affect other people. You have great ideas and you just dump them on other people and move to the next thing.”

With counseling, medication, dietary changes and at least eight hours of sleep a night, Dreyfuss says he's as healthy as he's ever been. He carves out open time on his calendar, which allows him more time to think creatively. The company has thrived as a result, he says.

Karen Dreyfuss calls the change at home “miraculous,” adding that the diagnosis explained a lot.

“When you start out in marriage, you support all the meetings and all those fires that have to be put out,” she says. “But year after year there will always be more fires and more meetings and if you don't draw that line, it will consume you.”

On the patio of Metropolis' new headquarters in the Avondale neighborhood, Dreyfuss' phone goes off midconversation. He pulls it out and turns it off.

“Three years ago I would have answered it,” he says. “I really try to be present with who I'm with. That's what I've learned the most.”

full story at: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150925/ISSUE09/150929894?X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

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‘I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium’ My 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder.

June 26, 2015 | Posted in balance, bipolar, psychotherapy | By

from the new york times...

The manila folder is full of faded faxes. The top sheet contains a brief description of my first medically confirmed manic episode, more than 20 years ago, when I was admitted as a teenager to U.C.L.A.’s Neuropsychiatric Institute: “Increased psychomotor rate, decreased need for sleep (about two to three hours a night), racing thoughts and paranoid ideation regarding her parents following her and watching her, as well as taping the phone calls that she was making.”

I believed I had special powers, the report noted; I knew ‘‘when the end of the world was coming due to toxic substances’’ and felt that I was the only one who could stop it. There was also an account of my elaborate academic sponsorship plan so I could afford to attend Yale — some corporation would pay for a year of education in exchange for labor or repayment down the line. (Another grand delusion. I was a B-plus student, at best.) more

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My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward

January 21, 2015 | Posted in bipolar, psychotherapy, reframe | By

This is a wonderful story about a man, madly in love with his wife, who has gone mad. He talks about madness, psychiatry, trying to help without getting in the way, and about the dilemmas he has faced. It's really worth the read if you have about twenty minutes to spare. Read the full post on Pacific Standard....

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British Psychiatrists Under Attack

July 14, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Fraud, psychotherapy | By

British Psychological Society to launch attack on rival profession, casting doubt on biomedical model of mental illness

There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain's clinical psychologists. The Guardian reported that the British Psychological Society it's time for a paradigm shift in how mental health is understood and is particularly critical of how psychiatrists treat mental illness. In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society's division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a "paradigm shift" in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry's predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out "reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems", used by psychiatry. Read the rest of the article...

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Anatomy of An Epidemic

June 27, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, psychotherapy, Uncategorized | By

AnaotmyEpidemic_20cThis is a must read for anyone who takes a psychoactive drug. It's brilliantly written and well researched. I think he makes some excellent points on the nature of how Mental Illness is diagnosed and treated in western countries. Could the meds actually be causing mental illness? Read it and find out what he says... Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness skyrocketed over the past fifty years? There are now more than four million people in the United States who receive a government disability check because of a mental illness, and the number continues to soar. Every day, 850 adults and 250 children with a mental illness are added to the government disability rolls. What is going on? Read the full post from Robert Whitaker's website, where you can also download the first chapter: http://robertwhitaker.org/robertwhitaker.org/Anatomy%20of%20an%20Epidemic.html

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Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy

April 8, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Blog posts | By

balanceClinical studies of Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) show that it is a very effective treatment for bipolar disorder type I and type II.  As a Toronto-based psychotherapist and coach, I have developed many of the same techniques as Ellen Frank, the originator of the IPSR Therapy. It has to do with modelling effective behaviour and habits in my clients, including good diet, exercise, impulse control, sleep, balance and moderation in life habits. The following is an excerpt from a brochure from Ellen Frank. Please excuse the clinical language.... IPSRT is an empirically-supported individual psychotherapy for the treatment of adults with bipolar disorder. This innovative approach to the management of bipolar disorder was developed by Ellen Frank and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and has now been shown to be efficacious in preventing relapse of mania and depression and in treating acute episodes of bipolar depression when used in combination with pharmacotherapy. Open studies suggest that it has utility as a monotherapy for adults with bipolar II disorder and for adolescents with bipolar I or II illness. IPSRT combines a behavioral approach to increasing the regularity of daily routines (social rhythms) with an interpersonal approach to coping with the stresses of the bipolar illness itself, as well as with common interpersonal stressors and social role problems. This approach has now been expanded to include group models for inpatient, intensive outpatient (day-hospital) and standard outpatient treatment.

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Bipolar and Circadian Rhythms

February 24, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Integrative | By

In my experience as a therapist who helps people with bipolar disorder stabilize themselves, one of the challenges has to do with getting them to be more in tune with their circadian rhythms. This is the body's internal chemical clock whose impulses regulate the our sleep and waking cycles, our appetites and our moods. Most of us stay tuned to our clock, especially if we have a regular schedule, and have good habits around diet, exercise and imbibe with moderation. When we get out of sync, it's usually not by much and we seem to adjust accordingly. People who have bipolar seem to be more out of touch with their circadian rhythm and when they do, it's much harder for them to adjust. In this light, mania can be seen as a complete breakdown of the regulation of our internal clock, or at least ignoring the signals. This is why it's extremely important for people with bipolar disorder to keep to a schedule and to listen more closely to signals our clocks send us. There is a very good, concise article about this at Psych Central by John Grohol.

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Stephen Fry on Bipolar

February 18, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Blog posts | By

Stephen Fry is a fabulously gifted British comedy actor. He starred in a two part BBC documentary about his experiences with Bipolar Disorder. In it he interviews other famous and not so famous people with the disorder. It's a fabulous introduction to not only living with it but thriving with it. See it here... http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/stephen-fry-the-secret-life-of-the-manic-depressive/

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Bipolar: The ‘New Normal’

February 18, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Integrative, psychotherapy, reframe | By

Robin Flanigan wrote a very good piece in BP Canada in which she discusses how people suffering from bipolar disorder can adapt and have the power to decide where to set your goalposts for a fulfilling future. She quotes me based on an interview we did last year. Here is an except from the article: It took a long time for Gretchen B. to come to terms with having a chronic mental illness. But lately, the 41-year-old from Illinois has been looking beyond her bipolar. With the skills and support to manage her symptoms, she’s ready to make the most of her life and her abilities. “There’s an end point to ‘I survived the day,’” she says, referring to her post-diagnosis bunker mentality. “Now I’m more focused on what I can do to thrive. “I’m not necessarily letting go of my struggle with bipolar disorder, but I am learning to thrive inside of it.… I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time.” In other words, Gretchen has embraced her “new normal.” The phrase describes a foundational shift that creates a new baseline moving forward—which is what happens when bipolar symptoms turn our expectations upside down. Basic milestones like getting a degree, keeping a job, sustaining a relationship, and buying a home can begin to feel out of reach. A bipolar diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your hopes and dreams. Mental health experts agree that with patience, commitment, and a plan for setting realistic goals, you can still map out a deeply satisfying existence. And sometimes, the difficult process of re-evaluation can yield new and more meaningful aims. Read the full excert here: http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/1124/redefining-your-own-future To read more you will have to subscribe to the magazine...

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