Bipolar Disorder is a Journey


How are you doing today?

I hope you’re doing well.

You know, there are many people who have written about how life is a journey.

But I wanted to share with you something that Michele, who works for me and has bipolar disorder, wrote about bipolar disorder being a journey.

She writes:

“The road to recovery is more of a

journey than an actual destination.

You will never fully “arrive,” for

there is no cure. But you do have a

choice in how you make your journey.”


Aren’t those words of wisdom?

It’s certainly a positive way of looking at the disorder.

Michele is a very good worker for me, and I enjoy working with her, because she has such a positive attitude, which you can see by what she wrote.

She’s a good example of someone who controls the disorder instead of the disorder controlling her.

In my courses/systems, I talk about how you have to make choices, and that those choices have to be good ones.







It’s like what Michele said:

You have a CHOICE in how you make your journey.

Many people, when they’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder, think of it like a death sentence.

They let that color their whole approach to the disorder and, even, their lives.

But I’m always telling you, aren’t I, that part of recovery is in your attitude.

The success stories that I have from people are from positive people.

Their attitude helps them to manage their disorder.

See, some people don’t think they have a choice in things.

Like bipolar disorder.

When they’re first diagnosed, they think that just because an episode influences your thoughts and causes you to make bad choices, that it will be that way all the time, and you can never trust your own choices at all.

But that’s not true.

Bipolar disorder can be managed.

And there are more times without episodes than there are with episodes.

Of course, during an episode, no major decisions should be made, but I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about the fact that YOU have some control over bipolar disorder.

YOU have control over your attitude.

YOU have control over your decisions.

Like Michele said, YOU have a CHOICE.

She has the attitude that you need to reach recovery.

By looking at it as a journey, you realize that it will take time.

You won’t be as disappointed with setbacks.

Because in the journey of life there are setbacks, too.

But they don’t stop you from continuing on your journey.

You learn from your mistakes, and hopefully won’t repeat them.

It can be the same with dealing with bipolar disorder, whether you have the disorder or are supporting someone who does.

It’s up to YOU how you make this journey.

The important thing to remember is that you DO have a choice.

You CAN choose to have control over the disorder instead of letting the disorder control you and your life.

What do you think about what Michele said?

Do you agree or disagree?

  1. I was 11 yrs old, Diagnosed back then as a Manic Depressive! Now it’s called Bi-Polar Disorder, and that was well over 25 yrs ago. My life has been a RollarCoaster (needless to say) I’m up and I’m down….. to date I’ve seen over 20 different Drs, 15 different Psychologists, Counselors and 10+ Psychiatrists. Lets top it off with the fact, “I’m a Gemini (emotional and personality TWINS)” SWALLOW THAT !!! BI-POLAR & GEMINI !!! I’ve taken almost every Rx to supposedly help the ‘chemical imbalance’ in different series and dosages, Name It – and I’ve probably taken it. The longest ever gone without a BIG eppisode was about 3yrs… and on 8 medications at the same time DRINKING ALCOHOL day through night (working as a Bartender) those 3yrs are a blurr, that was 12yrs ago!! Jobs are hard for me to keep, and I’m considering going on Disability, all of my current Dr’s agree together it would be in my best interest, and no one gets HURT! I’m VERY ANGRY about being BI-POLAR!! I keep trying every day though, and I haven’t been arrested in 6yrs- I haven’t gone back into the Hospital in 2yrs. I really do try hard to containe myself- but myself getts in the way sometimes. I believe I’ve been in a dark fog for the last 11yrs with the occasional break of sunshine (manic) I’M ANGRY ABOUT BEING BI-POLAR! I’M ANGRY THERE IS NO CURE! I’M ANGRY AT LIFE! AND I’M SAD THAT IT HURTS MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS… should I scrub the cabinets and corners? or go back to bed? I ask that question every day- without an answer, so I sit ( ANGRY ) has anyone seen my smile? I lost it……

  2. I totally agree that living with my bipolar disorder is a journey and all journeys have their ups and downs. I choose to look at the ups and learn from the downs. I also choose to be around those and have friends who understand and accept mental illness not criticize us. I also have educated myself about my illness. I pride myself when people discover I am Bipolar and tell me they would never have guessed. I get to discuss and dispel their ideas and educated them.

  3. Want ask for your opinion. My son,24, married the love of his life on June 5th, 2009. The were together for 3yrs prior to getting married. Anyway, they have been married now for a little over two months. My son just found out for the past month maybe longer, his wife has been seeing another man, clearly just out of the blue. When my son asked her why she is doing this she said she didn’t know she is now staying at this man’s home caring for his son, she quit work and is just doing that. She tells my son she really wants to be with him but my son is just devasted. He told me he loves her to death but doesn’t like her much right now. He says he can’t even kiss her because he knows she’s been doing that with someone else. Oh also her mother has Bipolar. I was wondering if you think her actions clearly out of the blue and not knowing why she is doing this is Biolar speaking up or is she a woman is it something else. She has never done this before. Thanks for your time

  4. Yes, I used to think that same way until last April. My son was diagnosed with Bipolar, and he killed himself within months. He was only 24. Sad to say, he refused medications, and revelled in the highs. However, his lows were just ubelievable, and he could not find a way out. I am bipolar as well, and have used ECT to help with my depression…which has worked wonders. I believe in Michel’s statement, although just know it won’t apply to everyone.

  5. Dear David,

    I pulled up your website and read every word you wrote, (as well as the messages in each of the emails you have sent.) It is EXCELLENT MATERIAL!!!

    My purpose in researching information about Bipolar Disorder is NOT because I have been diagnosed, but a close relative has been. I have saved all of your information, and when the timing is right, I intend to share it with that person and the rest of the family. I will then leave it up to them to order your program.

    My best wishes to you in your worthwhile undertaking!

  6. I agree with you. I believe that a big part of the journey is accepting that you have bipolar. Once you do that the journey gets a little easier to travel and makes you realize that you can control bipolar rather than it controlling you.

  7. Just because I have bipolar disorder, doesn’t mean I don’t have a GOAL (destination) of being “maintained” on my psychotropic medications. For anyone, life is a journey, with its peaks and valleys. It’s just a “little” harder for someone with bipolar.

    When I find myself confronted with what I “might” want to do which is relative to something I did while in a manic episode, I DO have a choice whether to do it or not. I’ve quit drinking; I’ve quit doing pot; I take my meds religiously (always have); and I’m TRYING to get a good sleep/wake cycle. When one of my shrinks said, “Suzanne, you MUST realize that you have CHOICES,” I started to think about that. Could my bipolar be “controlled” by my thinking?? The “key” to choices is ATTITUDE. By TRYING to maintain a positiive attitude, you CAN manage your bipolar instead of it managing you.

    My last hospitaliztion for mania was 32 years ago, so I must be doing SOMETHING right. Of course, I have the assistance of the local Community Mental Health Clinic, that oversee my “rehabilitation,” even when I have “mini-episodes.”

    I think Michele is a VERY wise woman, who has dealt with her bipolar in a superlative way. I just wish I had her talent for writing…

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

    P.S. Listen to “Glenn Beck” tomorrow and Friday; you might learn something. He’s on Fox News at 5.

  8. I’m not sure if my boyfriend is able to make choices at the moment. He has lost all interest in life – doesn’t want to go out, or be with anyone, or do anything productive. He has been like this for 3 months and there is no change in sight. He tells the psych he is well and has no worries. I don’t know if the psych believes him – I don’t. I can see that he is in pain and everytime I see him I’m in pain too. He is just wasting his life away. If he was happy he wouldn’t reach for the bottle and that makes everything worse. i suppose in that zombie state he is not fully aware of worrying. He has no interest in the emails or blogs either, so I can’t persuade him to see an example like Michelle’s, on how to live well with bipolar disorder. He is not really living at all now and says it’s better than being in a manic episode (he really fears that). And he probably fears that coming out of the zombie state (by a change or adjustment of meds) he would get stressed again, leading to an episode and the psych ward. He is not positive anymore and I am so sad to see what has become of him.

  9. SUZANNE, you are definitely “doing something right.” My loved one is not. I’m not sure if he has a bad attitude or no attitude at all. His journey is going around in a circle. The situation is breaking my heart, when I see what he could be compared to what he is now. I wonder more and more often how much longer I can take this and if he will ever be “alive” again or stay like this. We aren’t married or have made any sort of commitment, so I have thought many times that maybe I should go and find someone else. Somehow I can’t bring myself to “cheat” on him, but am I wasting my life away waiting for him to be himself again? Right now I am very unhappy.

  10. To NIGHTLADY: It sounds as if you’ve traveled the “peaks and valleys” with your boyfriend, with little or no response on his part. I realize that the “depression” part of bipolar can be MORE than frustrating, but until and unless he’s honest with his doctors, he’s NOT going to change. There is very LITTLE you cn do to “change” him while he is in the “zombie” state. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but (and I’m assuming you’re in your middle 20s to early 30s) I feel you should move on (or threaten it) to shake up your boyfriend, or to REALLY move on with your life so that you can become the woman you were meant to be, with a man who won’t HURT you like your current bipolar boyfriend. I’ve read your other posts, and you seem drawn to men with mental health issues. I’m SURE there’s someone out there who is “normal” that can satisfy you better than the relationship you’re in now. If you feel I’m being heartless and cold – I am not. Just being realistic. I lived with a paranoid schizophrenic for 3 years, until I met the man who became my husband – perfectly “normal.” It was HARD leaving my mentally-challenged lover – but I had a MUCH better (and more financially sound) life with my husband. So – you can either take what I’ve said with a grain of salt, or you CAN make a new life with someone who makes you HAPPY!!

  11. I am 45 yrs old and have been dealing with this extremeness for all my life but didn’t known the name of it till about 6 yrs ago. I had been told about 5 yrs before that I had circumstantial depression and was put on Prozac. It worked real good until I started getting unbearable headaches! I was the one that told my DR. it was the Prozac. I quit the medicine and seemed to be better till I started having panic attacks and ocd symptoms when we moved to Nashville about 5 yrs later. I swear I thought I was going crazy. I was staying up all night and couldn’t eat and praying all the time. Oh yeah, I was driving my family nuts. I was having an episode one time and I ran to the hospital when I had been dropped off at the health dept. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t breathe and had not slept in 4 days. They saw me right away and I did not have any money or insurance. They put me in a room and called my husband. The Dr checked me and listened to me and then told us I had bipolar!!! I had no idea what he was talking about they put me on zanax and I started seeing a therapist. They tried all kinds of meds. No sucess!!! I am in an episode right now. I feel sucidal but I know it is the illness. I call it the bear because my family refers to me as the bi-polar bear. I hate this!! I can’t gain control of it. I can’t be me cause I go to the extreme. When I am going to church and praying I have no balance and it seems I wind up in the hospital. So I don’t go to church and pray and I can’t be happy. I’m thru now thanks for listening

  12. SUZANNE, all my friends are telling me the same as you, but then they don’t understand bipolar. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, it was much easier to move on and try again. But we are both in our 50’s now and have both had fairly turbulent lives. Together we did have a lot of happiness, love and fun, as well as some great sex. Much of the love is still there on both sides, though on his part it’s asleep along with the rest of him. He is definitely in denial when he says he is “happy” with his situation and I’m sure his psych can see that. I think one reason why you are doing well is because you are on the meds that really work for you. He is not. Zyprexa has turned him into a zombie. I’m still hoping to be able to speak to his psych one day, to try and get him to discuss the developing drink problem. I love him very much and this doesn’t mean just wanting to be with him. It also means I care about him and his well-being.

  13. i agree with michell total but it is diffucult i am a supporter, i know that comes eith time i just things could go faster .thanks for your words dave always marie

  14. Life IS a journey. That much I agree with . . . but looking back in my life I don’t like what I see . . . and feel that it is about more than choosing the positive going forward. All that makes up my past contributes to WHO I AM going forward. I ordered the free DVDs for my husband hoping he can begin to understand what is going on inside me. GREAT PRESSURE to choose POSITVE by all surrounding me when I just do not have the energy or motivation to do so. I AM faithful in taking my medication (in that my husband at least has commented that it seems to help me be more stable)and faithfully go to my therapist (that I try to explain to my husband is part of helping me become stronger — relating it to physical therapy which my husband has had after a physical injury)but still I feel this journey is a constant uphill battle that I do not progress in. In fact I feel as I grow older (now in my early 50s)I have to fight harder but with less strength. Perhaps this is because other than my psychiatrist and therapist, my support system is only superficial — ie. those who know about my disorder (very few) see it as something they believe they are SO SUPPORTIVE of, but in actuality see it as their battle more than mine . . . “just choose to be more positive” is a message I honestly don’t need to hear over and over . . . by my husband, family, church, friends . . . and on and on. Yes, I know all about faking it til you make it . . . but it just does not seem to work for me at all. I am just being honest about that. It does allow me to keep my job, stay out of the hospital and appear to those who need me be well as though I am well — but inside and in private I loath myself, because I KNOW it is all pretending for the audience. Yes, life is a journey — but what I don’t need to hear is ‘just choose to be positive . . .” not again and again. I know that is the answer that makes everyone around you happy . . . but it is NOT what will make everything inside you any better. Trust me I try. Thanks for this opportunity to post (this is my first time to do so) and be real about what I know to be true for me.

  15. My life with bi-polar has been a journey also. It’s been around nine years since I was given that diagnosis and 21 yeasr since becoming ill with Crohn’s Disease. I have a very painful life and am on lots of meds. I feel that staying on my meds was a big issue for me for a good while. But no longer want the “extreme’s” in my life. Patience has been a great learning asset. My journey of bi-polar has cost me a lot, lost me a lot, and taught me a lot. And there’s definate power in positive thinking and in prayer. (This is my 1st post.)
    But I’m an avid reader to David’s e-mail. Thanks.

  16. I don’t know what to think at this point. I’ve totally hit rock bottom. My happy “perfect life” may be taken away from me at any monent. Child protective services has gotten involved for the past week. I am not allowed to be alone with my kids, not even for a moment. If I am found alone with my kids, they will take them away from me for 3 months to 1 year. What am I supposed to be thinking right now? I mean, it can’t get worse than this. When am I going to stop my rages? My son has 2 bite marks on him from I got angry that he choked up his peanut butter sandwich because it was “chunky”. The stupidest things get me angry. I have constant anger inside me. I am a bomb waiting to go off.
    Do you have any words of encouragement for me?

  17. Our journey as a family –
    quite a journey – the family is fragmented – no-one will speak to anyone else – no family anymore so to speak
    the kids are terrified
    friends refuse to see us in case “he shows up”
    meanwhile he is out lying, stealing, manic, out of control rapid cycling but is able to trick doctors into believing he is ok
    i got an email from a friend the other day that said “he can’t be helped” “don’t try”.
    quite a journey
    we have all given up on him to get ourselves back together
    we are alive, we have survived, but at what cost
    the continued post trauma issues – we are now just realizing what we have come through, by making ourselves distant from it
    you cannot clearly SEE the path you are on with a destructive family member until you get off the path, and then it all seems very surreal
    do i wish we could be a family still – of course, and that will always remain to be seen – whether there actually is a silver lining behind all the bipolar antics and destructive behavior –
    but it is unlikely because of the right of the mentally ill to remain unmedicated properly if they so choose !

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