Bipolar Disorder? It’s In The Small Things and Happy Thanksgiving


How are you today?

I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving if  you celebrate it. I am actually visiting family in Texas today and have a limited internet connection.

I kind of have to make this short, okay, so here we go…

Think about these things:

  • A dollar is made of 100 pennies.
  • A year is made up of 12 months.
  • A week is made up of 7 days.
  • A career is made up of doing a good job over a period of weeks/years.
  • A car is made up of all of its parts.
  • A house is made up of several rooms.
  • A family is made up of several members.
  • A degree is made up of the courses taken to get it.

I’m sure you can think of some examples of your own. But you get the idea, right?

Have you ever heard the expression: “The whole is made up of the sum of its parts”?

It’s like stability with bipolar disorder. It’s made up of the sum of the parts that you go through to achieve it (and maintain it). In my courses/systems, I strongly suggest having plans of what to do in case things happen, like an episode, losing insurance, etc. Taking care of a small plan can avoid having a bigger problem later.

In other words, success is in the small things. Or, I should say, in the case of bipolar disorder, stability is made up of the small things done consistently over a period of time.

Here are some examples:

1.    Taking medication
Your loved one needs to take their medication each and every day, and eventually their moods
should even out.

2.    Seeing a therapist
Progress is only made in therapy if you attend all your sessions.  (Although you also have to be a willing participant in your own therapy, that is important, too.)

3.    Seeing a doctor
It’s important to have those shorter term general health exams than to have to deal later with a big physical problem.

4.    Seeing a psychiatrist
Your psychiatrist is the one who tracks and prescribes medications.  Your loved one needs to go to each visit, so that the psychiatrist can determine if their medication is working or, if it isn’t, trying something else.

5.    Being a part of a support group
A support group is made up of the sum of its members.  They help each other deal with the issues surrounding bipolar disorder.

6.    Asking for help from your support system
Your support system is made up of a number of people.  Each person has something to offer you in the way of help.  Tell them what you need.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

7.    Good sleep
A night’s sleep is made up of the hours in it.  Your loved one must have at least 8 hours of good, uninterrupted sleep each night to stay stable.

8.    Exercise
Exercise is made up of all the things you do in an exercise session – whether it’s using equipment, or dumbbells, or just walking (made up of steps).

9.    A healthy diet
A diet is made up of each meal you eat.  If you take care of each day’s meals, and you are eating healthy meals at that, you should stay in good health.

10.    Having a good life (in spite of having bipolar disorder)
A good life consists of a lot of things.  Everybody’s different, so I can’t state specifically what would make up a good life for you.  What I can state in general is that if you do all the above things, as well as other things that make you feel good about yourself and lead to stability, you will have a good life.

It’s all in the small things.  Tend to what you need to on a daily basis, and eventually the reward will be stability with bipolar disorder.

What are some of your “small things” that your life (stability) is made of? Any suggestions that might help someone else?

  1. Hi Dave
    How r things going with you? I am having big time issues with my son. He doesnt do anything that he is suppose to do. He quit taking his pills smokes weed instead and doesnt go to any appts. I am at a loss as to what to do. right now i kicked him out and cant put up with the swearing and getting very angry. thanks for listening Holly Howard.

  2. “God is in the details.” If you DO take care of the small things, they DO add up. I have been relatively stable (not hospitalized) for 32 years, and every day is a struggle. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy life; it’s just that I look over my shoulder for the “elephant in the room” to appear and take everything I’ve worked for away.

    I’m in the process of selling my condo and downsizing to a 1-bedroom apartment. This will take MONTHS, but, as the saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” At times, I feel overwhelmed by everything that has to be done (including filing for bankruptcy), putting the condo on the market, clearing out the condo (I’m a hoarder, which is a viable “mental illness”), so this will be the hardest part. Fortunately, I’ve located an apartment complex that sounds EXCELLENT and will suit me fine. At this point, I am unable to pay my bills, and I get harrassing phone calls about them. I have a $195 overdraft fee to start off December with, so “catching up” is nearly impossible. BUT – I’m a survivor, and with the Grace of God, it will all come to completion.

    I want to wish everybody a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Take this time to count your blessings (of which you must have some), and be grateful.

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

  3. I asked my ‘supporters’ for some Thanksgiving food today (since it is too late and I could not find any Turkey at the grocery store). Our family does NOT want us at their table. I overdosed two days ago, arguing about that with them via phone. I nearly did myself in. Now, I am wondering why I couldn’t just finish myself off. Oh, the day is still young. Finito. Done. Goodbye Hilvitz, Alberts.

  4. I suppose I have not ‘failed,’yet. I apologize to all the readers for my recent postings. But, hopefully one supporter will be able to relate to what I’ve been saying. If I help ONE person, it would be good.
    Don’t ignore someone ‘crying for help.’ I have overdosed many times. I the past three years, I have been in the Emergency Room 28 times. If I had not been stopped this time (by one of the bank tellers who called 911), I would likely not be here now.
    I’ve been speaking of suicide for several weeks again. I go through times of serious depression. I am not joking about suicide. I do want someone to stop me.
    The hospital no longer believes me. They give me charcoal, pump my stomach or whatever they have to do, then they send me home. I have been in the hospital ER three times the past month.
    There is a shortage of psych hospital beds in our city. They don’t waste one on me anymore. I am sure, someday, I will probably need extended hospitilzation. I probably should be hospitilized now. I’ve called the ‘Suicide’ hotline three times tonight.
    It is a desperate situation. So, don’t let your loved ones suffer. If you have any doubts, take them to the ER, call 911 or do whatever is necessary. Make sure that the hospital evaluators don’t send them home without ensuring they have been helped and are no longer feeling suicidal.

  5. To TRIED THEM ALL…This is the BEST post you have EVER written…it’s honest and inspiring. You SHOULD get the help you so desperately need. What it sounds like to me, is your ER is “rationing” patients, and that is NOT good. With a bona fide diagnosis of “clinical depression,” they should take you more seriously and let SOMEONE figure out that you need help NOW. I just hope you hang onto what you’ve written, and BELIEVE it. I’m sooo proud of your attitude now, though I know it might not last. For calling the Suicide hotline – I commend you. You’re reaching out to people who don’t seem to WANT to help you. TRY Dr. Meyers again; give him a chance to help you. There are a LOT of people on this blog who love you and are concerned for your welfare. I care, and I’m sure there are many in the same situation. Your’s is the voice for the “silent minoritiy,” and surely there is real help out there for you AND them.

  6. Thanks, SUZANNE.
    I do not know what label I am, I have been diagnosed with “major depression,” “clinical depression,” and “bipolar.” Regardless, the depression is serious enough to need immediate attention because of the number of suicide attempts I have had. I have had a lot of quacks and many ‘professionals’ who were not on my team. I am definitely a person often requiring more than 50 minutes of ‘couch time.’
    I do believe that my mental health issues were brought on by a major loss in 2002. Since that time, I have had many stressful events, but my depression is way beyond what would be considered as normal.
    Currently, in addition to being a ‘survivor,’ I am a ‘supporter’/caregiver of a parent with a serious illness. With the exception of a couple friends (who include Suzanne), I have absolutely NO supporters. My family members are critical, hateful and evil. While at the hospital, (after my most recent overdose), I called my uncle. He told me I am ‘crazy,’ and he hung up on me. Yesterday, I emailed my brother (who lives only 20 minutes away) and asked him for some assistance with OUR mom. He told me that I am ‘taking the wrong route, not helping myself or MY mom.’ He also said that I am self-centered and am just trying to ease ‘MY burden’….Where has my brother been? He has the nerve to criticize me….he only lets his daugher see her grandmother every six months and he can’t be there when his mom is sick. Who is wrong? It is NOT me. I am trying the best I can. I am not crazy and I certainly and not wrong.

    So…I made a major step today. I threw away my phone book with the addresses/phone numbers of my brother and family. I tore it up and threw it in the trash. I deleted them all from my phone list. They cannot hurt me any longer. The only person who can hurt me now is myself.

  7. To TRIED THEM ALL: “Hear, hear!!” But you must understand that the only person who can “help” yourself is YOU. Regardless of a diagnosis (which sometimes mean nothing at all, becaise no 2 shrinks are alike in their assessment of an issue), I CAN understand your depression and where/how it leads. To have a brother like yours’ (something like my biological, millionaire brother who, when I asked for a small loan, told me to move into an assisted living facility or declare bankruptcy!), IS hard, to say the least. I can’t believe your Mother’s grandchild only gets to see her every six months; that is NOT right, it seems to me.

    I have NO 24/7 Supporter, either. I have to take my meds and follow my “treatment plan” as best I can, on my own. So far, I’ve been EXTREMELY lucky…I haven’t had a hospitalization in 32 years. That DOESN’T make me “better” than you…just different in how our illnesses affect us. BUT – it IS a constant struggle to “stay on top of things,” especially financial, and I’m afraid I’m overwhelmed with not being able to pay my bills.

    I DON’T mean to vent on you like this. I understand your trying to “make it” with all the tools our Maker gave you, and I’m proud of you for the attitude I read in your blog today. Keep up the good work; I’m behind you all the way!!!

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