If you’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder,
then I don’t have to tell you that you are
dealing with one of the most challenging
mental health diagnoses that exist.
After Anorexia Nervosa, it’s the diagnosis in
our field most likely to lead to death.
Surviving the ups and downs of mania and
suicidal depression, decade after decade,
becomes harder and harder to do.
Without help and a plan, it’s near impossible.
Then I just have to take my meds?
I don’t have to tell you that you are going to be
in a lifelong course of learning how to manage
Bipolar symptoms and take care of yourself.
Or maybe I do.
Living with Bipolar Disorder is not as simple
as taking your psychotropic medication and
you’ll be “just fine.” (Don’t you wish?)
As anyone who takes medication for Bipolar
will tell you, medication only does so much.
YOU have to do a whole lot more than that if
you are going to live a good quality of life
and achieve your goals and dreams.
Back To Basics
Human beings can achieve their best
quality of life if they make sure that they
are attending to the basics in their lives.
So what are the basics?
The basics are food, sleep, stress management,
social connection, and having meaning in your life.
If you are paying attention to these on a regular
basis, chances are you will not get out of balance
as often, get sick too much, or suffer from the
things that reduce your quality of life.
Bipolar Basics = Basics x 10
If you are trying to have a good life managing
Bipolar Disorder, then you have less “wiggle room”
when it comes to the basics. You can’t ditch sleep.
You can’t mess around with your nutrition and
exercise program. You can’t isolate and withdraw
from others. You can’t have a philosophy of life
that is devoid of a greater sense of meaning.
Well, I guess you can, but you’re going to pay for
it…and you are going to pay a lot more than
someone who is not diagnosed with Bipolar.
Dos and Don’ts
Here is my short and not exhaustive list of DOs and
DON’Ts for living with Bipolar Disorder:
—DO find the best psychiatrist you can afford. Your partner
in medication management is going to be a huge factor
in how well you are able to function and with the
fewest and most livable side effects.
—DON’T self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. It cancels out
the benefits of working with a good psychiatrist, and you
will always end up feeling worse.
—DO educate yourself about nutrition and exercise. Both
have significant effects on brain functioning, and the
changes you can make in these areas give you the most
positive outcome for the least investment, hands down.
—DO work with a psychologist or therapist. Coping with
Bipolar Disorder affects every aspect of your life, and
you deserve to work with someone who understands
this and wants to help you cope with that.
—DON’T neglect your friends, your community,or your
spiritual path. These are all aspects of your life which
will help you in the difficult times, be with you in the
good times, and keep you steadier and more stable.
Two websites that give you accurate and honest
information about living with Bipolar Disorder are
encourage you to check them out.
There are also amazing blogs being written by
people living with Bipolar Disorder…
maybe you could be one of them?
You have my utmost respect if you are living with
Bipolar Disorder. Yours is a more difficult path
to walk, and I appreciate your willingness to
continue to do so, so that you can offer your
unique contributions to the world.
“Clear your energy, honor your rhythm, live your vision ”
― George Denslow, Living Out of Darkness: A Personal Journey of Embracing the Bipolar Opportunity