Bipolar Disorder? Are You Continuing This?


How are you today?

I’ve been noticing all the things you can buy for a college dorm room in the stores lately.

It’s amazing, really.

Even mini-refrigerators!

And all kinds of space savers.

So it made me think about these students.

They’re going to college to further their education.

They are trying to better themselves.

Well, you may not be going back to college, but let me ask you this:

Are you continuing to better yourself?

Everybody has gifts and talents – things that they are good at doing.

A teacher, for example – not everyone can be one, and you remember the ones that were really good for the rest of your life.

If you have children, you want them to have the best education possible, so naturally you want a teacher who has a talent and a gift for teaching.

Well, teachers always have to work on bettering themselves.

They have to go for what’s called CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) so they can improve themselves as teachers.

People in general should try to better themselves, too.

But a supporter particularly – that’s why one of the things I teach in my courses/systems is how to be a better supporter.







You need to better yourself not just as a supporter, though, because that’s only part of who you are.

But you need to continually better yourself as a person, too.

Your whole life should not be revolving around your loved one’s bipolar disorder.

You should have outside interests as well.

You need to examine yourself and ask yourself, “Am I bettering myself?”

Then ask yourself, “How can I better myself today?”

When you better yourself, you can reach further goals.

You can enrich your life.

You will grow as a person.

What do you enjoy doing? You can start there.

It can even help you and your loved one financially.

Many bipolar supporters (as well as survivors) start their own home businesses.

It helps with the cost of bipolar disorder, if nothing else.

Do you like dogs?

Maybe you can become a dog walker.

Are you good with children?

Maybe you can start a home babysitting service.

What are you interested in?

Do you like to read?

Join a reading club at your local library.

Do you like to help other people?

Maybe you can volunteer your services to help others.

Or maybe you would like to go to (or go back to) college to take a course or two.

All of these are ways that you can better yourself.

Bettering yourself is a way to increase your self-esteem as well.

People who do this are always growing.

And that’s definitely an advantage if you’re supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder.

Are you continuing to better yourself?

In what ways?

  1. Hi Dave,
    This is so true. I have been taught since I was a child to always look for ways to better myself. It took a while for this to sink in after I was diagnosed with bipolar but am a better person for it today. I read up on all I can find on it as well as make sure I keep all my apts. with the doctors and my theripist. This makes me stronger and a better person by doing this. I have also found that by working part time doing something I like( that is flexable) helps me feel better because I can still contribute something to society. I know that a lot of up can’t work as I do but take a baby step on a good day and do something extra around the house and you will see that you feel better and it will make you feel like a better person.

  2. I am one of your teachers, well actually a school social worker. No matter how long one is at their jobs or doing what they have a talent for, there is always room for more knowledge. There is always something one fails to know, or something new and useful to improve the quality of services to the students and families I work with.

    David thanks for all you do for us. You are of great help to those with bipolar disorder, and those of us who support them.

  3. Hi Dave–funny you should send this email today–What am I doing?–I have started college at the ripe old age of 59 and I love it –I am planning a good long career in a field that I never even thought about before –some may turn up their noses but I get to work with my brain instead of my back–

    I did aptitude testing and scored 93-100% with science and math at the top–that is where I left school in 1971 when my mother died and my brain was burned out from running 20 hr a day trying to be all to everyone in school and family-I was in pre-veterinary medicine at that time–surgical assistant

    I went back to school in 2007 and got straight A’s and 100% on all my math stuff but could not work 70 hr a week to make a living and go to school at the same time –I was injured and out of work for 13 mo–it was obvious that I could not continue with the job –I needed something easier and more fulfilling–

    after seeing my scores on the aptitude test ,my counselor said “Have you considered water quality and waste management?” –we need to get you out of the physical and mindless job and into something that challenges your mind–I looked at the requirements and every point clicked with my list of interests–I started last week and am in 7th heaven–I have chemistry,engineering,biology,math all tied up in one neat little bundle

    I am living on a 10 acre hobby farm with my sister,3 horses,2 dogs,2 cats,a huge garden,an art studio for the creative side and I sing in church–I don’t know how it would be better but I know it is coming

    I was diagnosed bipolar without taking any tests and the ones I took were not conclusive –now I have taken tests and there is no bipolar indicated –I think it was just the set of circumstances I was in–I am happy for the first time in a LONGGGGG time !!!

    thanks for being there when I needed you–GOD BLESS YOU!!!—–Cynthia Swanson

    Cynthia Swanson

  4. Dave,
    Your e mail message really hit home today. I have been dealing with a spouse going through a hyper manic episode over the past few days. I have had to be at his beck and call every second of the day, and tolerated his short temper and abusive words. He went out of town for business yeaterday and I am now putting myself back together. Thank you for the reminder of self worth. For the next few days it’s all about ME!

  5. Dear David,

    Honestly, I love receiving your emails about bipolar and bipolar support, but I haven’t had time to read them all.
    I have been a single mom of 3 for 20 yrs now. My oldest son, who has bipolar(early onset bipolar since 7th grade, oppositional defiant and adhd since he was 3 yrs old)is now 22 yrs old. He has refused all meds and doctors and counselors since about 4 yrs ago. He is adamant about “not relying on a pill to control him”. He is not “severe enough” for getting a case worker, I was told after a 20 min interview at the local mental health place.At the local hospital He was interviewed in depth and offered a spot in a “partial hospitalization” program called “Seneca” — a day outpatient prgm. My son refuses to go to that too because they want him to take medication to be in the program and refuse to do things “his way”. They aren’t interested in hearing how “he” thinks the program should run. And he won’t start with anyone who doesn’t want to listen to his views.
    Steven , my son, hasn’t been able to keep a job at a local grocery store or dunkin donuts even. He gets fired for what he says is stupid and unfair reasons that are untrue.He is then denied unemployment benefits. Then plays video games all day after sleeping until 3pm since he can’t get to sleep before 5 am every night. He doesn’t like how hung over he feels when he takes melatonin to sleep. And argues with me that I’m trying to change him and control him when I tell him this life of UNproductiveness isn’t helping him.I told him unless he shows me he has done job search things or set up counseling,etc he cannot have access to the computer for role play games all day. He has high anxiety around getting a job, of course. I just can’t kick him out — he has no one else. But I do not want to enable bad behavior that will hurt him not help him. He has a very high IQ and it bothers me to see him not fuctioning well let alone not being a somewhat independent 22 yr old young man.
    I see a counselor and occassionally attend a local NAMI mtg. But I feel the burden and it’s very tiring to try to push, not push, withstand the arguing and senseless “reasoning”,let it go for awhile and not say anything,etc.
    Your emails help me see I’m not alone and make some sense out of a crazy situation.

  6. Hello davie babe…..
    Ye thats what am doing am going back to school…something
    as to become off me am not sitting back and letting life pass me by… there as to be some purpose.
    Take Care Linda x

  7. To BETTY: Thank you for asking about my dizzyness! Actually, the doctors DON’T know WHAT is causing the vertigo. The MRA showed a slight thickening of the arteries in my neck, but not to suggest it causes the dizzyness. My PCP has ordered a referral to another ear-nose-and-throat doctor, supposing I have “stones” in my inner ear. This has been a VERY long siege of vertigo – and one I won’t be sorry to see LEAVE…:)

  8. When I had my out-patient breakdown in 1980, I went to the local community college to earn enough credits to account for my third year of college in order to “read” the law, being taught by my then-fiance. However, it turned out that I found myself being good in my REAL ESTATE course. This led to my taking the exam – which I passed! – and becoming a Realtor(R)! I got myself a job at a local realty – but, and here’s the irony – I was GOOD at “book learning,” but could not SELL worth a darn! So, my real estate license didn’t really do me any good…

    When I was first on disability, I was working as a landlady in my apartment house. It was really more or less a “lazy” job, though there were times I would “pull my hair out,” like when the first floor flooring crashed through to the basement ceiling, flooding EVERYTHING (as well as the tenant who was “on the pot!”) Fortunately, my other tenant knew a plumber, who she called and who immediately came to my aid…

    When I sold the apartment house, I moved to a condo, and spent the better part of every week for a year, watching DVDs EVERY afternoon and night. I finally firgured out that it was “boring,” so perused the Internet and found Mystery shopping, which I have been doing since 2006. It’s not so much the “undercover” work that I do, but the submission of the report, and how well writen they have to be. THAT is the TRUE “learning experience” I’ve had.

    I second Dave’s list of interesting things you can do to get yourself motivated to “get off the couch.” While it is good to volunteer, it’s even better to EARN something for your efforts. If I can do it – so can YOU!!

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my country.

  9. My sister is the one who struggles with this condition. I will be shortly going to the home where she is, and will have to do my best to help her stay on her diet. In the process of my being away and having another do a great job to take care of her, and my mom too, they have been able to eliminate one of the pills that she has had that she doesn’t like to take. But in the process of the eliminating her taking it, she has to be very good to follow the diet that will make that possible to do. She is struggling to follow that diet that is good for her, as she has had too many years of ‘eating what she wants, inspite of the fact that she needs to follow a dialasys diet, and avoid certain foods, minerals and salts. She craves then the things that are not good for her body, even though it is in the craving stage she needs to find an acceptable substitute that will satisfy her craving and not cause her any health complications. This she is fighting in the emotional sense and needs to know that what is best for her also enables her to save some cash too. While I was there I was not able to do that, and someone else has,and I am so grateful for their support in that area. So in a very real way she has been able to ‘better herself’ but only if it is enforced, and followed religiously for her own benifit in the long run. She needs that kind of discipline to make that kind of progress that is much needed in her life.

  10. Dear Dave, Now that my daughter is back at work ( after 9 years) and she really loves it , her sons( who are in my care) are now settled down and achieving , its about time I started to look after myself: in my other life I was a sculptor ( I had been for 30 years) until Rachel became very unwell. I now look forward to returning to my studio, dusting off my brain and thinking processes and picking up my tools and starting affresh What this (Biploar ) has taught me is huge, I feel I have gained both insight and vision that terrible period: what is both illuminating and satisfying is that the work I am beginning to produce is evocative and sensitive and new and positive , not at all what I thought I would be creating, it what my dealer calls “new directions .”
    I’d just like to say is that your emails never fail to uplift and positively charge my day , thank you Dave


  11. Dear Dave,
    this daily email really strikes a chord with me. My parents had questioned my intention[determination] of going to college and furthering my studies. They told me that since I qualify for disability I shouldn’t be wasting money or time getting that bachelor’s degree. To me it’s a different thing altogether. It’s not about landing that lucrative job. I come from a family of doctors, lawyers & engineers so I grew up being told I should be a working class professional. However everything started falling apart when I got really ill at the age of 13. My siblings were my biggest inspirations. My sister is a successful economist and my brother a mechatronic engineer. Ever since I fell ill with bipolar, I look at the world with a different point of view. No longer do I share the view that education is vital for monetary success. Now, I want to study simply because I’m determined to improve and better myself. I’d rather die trying than regretting it later on in life. Sometimes being sick make you look at things in a different way. I’m thankful and grateful for every single day that I’m healthy and not in an episode. Most of us takes things for granted. I learnt to appreciate the simple joys of life; like being able to get a night’s sleep, reading my favorite books, talking to my family and friends, watching my favorite shows on TV…and just living life itself. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to beginning college studies. One thing for sure, even when the going gets tough I’ll remember to just sit back and relax and enjoy what I do most(studying itself).

  12. I agree with David about the need to get a job, stay busy, with whatever you are passionate about. My husband is bipolar, and his abuse of me during episodes is absolutely brutal.
    The only reason I have survived in this 35 year marriage is because I love my job as a Principal in a school. I am respected there, and feel I have a lot to contribute. I do make a difference. On the other hand, sometimes I am like a sitting duck, powerless, and simply irrationally abused for days on end.
    My job has given me a life and I recommend that everyone, whether a supporter or someone with bipolar, gets involved with something outside of the house, preferably giving to others.

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