Bipolar Disorder: What’s Your Score?


Hope your day is going well.

I have to get going really quick today because I am going on a super long hike. More than 11 miles so it’s going to take a while today. Plus I have to drive almost 1.5 hours to get there.

Okay enough about me.

Today’s email isn’t about how much you know about bipolar disorder, or even how much you know about your loved one.

It’s about how much you know about yourself.

Let me ask you something:

If you were to rate yourself as a supporter on a scale from 1-10, what would your score be?

No, don’t compare yourself to other supporters, just rate yourself. And be honest!


Maybe you should score yourself on the following lists first.

Here’s a list of traits. Count how many you have, and score yourself:

1. Exhausted

2. Overwhelmed

3. Angry

4. Frustrated

5. Resentful

6. Lonely

7. Defeated

8. Discouraged

9. Hopeless

10. Helpless

Now score yourself. How did you rate?

Here’s another list of traits. See how you score on these:

1. Energetic

2. Enthusiastic

3. Positive

4. Optimistic

5. Forgiving

6. Proactive

7. Winner

8. Encouraged

9. Fulfilled

10. Hopeful

Now score yourself on these. How did you rate?

Considering both lists, now how would you rate yourself on a scale from 1-10, both personally and as a supporter?

One point to remember – these lists are for YOUR eyes only!

They are only to point out your own weaknesses and strengths.

These lists, and your scores on them, can show you where you are doing well, and where you might need improvement.

In my courses/systems below, I talk about the qualities that make up a good supporter:







All of us should take a good, hard look at ourselves from time to time and “rate” ourselves on how we are doing as supporters (remember, I am one, too).

We always want to improve ourselves not just as supporters, but as people as well.

We want to check our attitudes, see if they are positive. We want to check our personal growth.

We want to check our thoughts and feelings, and make sure they are positive, optimistic, and encouraging for ourselves and our loved ones.

I hope you had a good score, and that you feel better about yourself.

Hey I have to run. Catch you tomorrow.



David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. Good Morning David,
    Thanks for the e-mail this morning, it sure makes
    a person think about how we feel and how
    we are doing to help our loved one.
    Have a great day.
    Your friend, Darlene

  2. hope you have a great time hiking today and thank you for the score lists i didn’t do to well but maybe i can start getting a little better

  3. Thx David,
    I am doing & feelin much better luv the daily boughts of encourgement from you.and all the tips.. Have a blast on your hike.

  4. Dear; David,

    i would like you to know how much you have help me since i subscribed to your web site

    Not only am I calmer but now I realize that yes it’s true I am bi polar
    after over 6 spychiatrist telling me still I was in denial. But now I realize I am not alone and that there is hope. My doctor has me on topomax and zolof and clonazapam but yet things are still so dark around me, I feel like a failure, like I don’t belong in this world, I am a nurse and was told I was unable to work and am now on disabilty. The sad part is I once looked down on people like me. After working the medical feild for 10 years before knowing what was wrong me, i went from one job to an other never feeling satisfied never feeling GOOD ENOUGH I just could not find my place in this world. Then I decided to fake it…always trying to be perfect. it would last a few weeks sometimes a few months I was amazing at pretending I was ok that I was just a little sad sometimes. Until I started to hate myself for always being the supporter, my husband is also depressive therefor in front of him I was strong and served him hand and foot while he laid in bed 24-7. I would get ahigh on being such a great wife and mother. I can’t even begin to count the people I drove away after being admitted in hospital for mania. I took on way more than i could actually handle. I had the lives of patients in my hand I had a sick husband and knowing that I made them feel better gave me a sense of grandiosis until the day can when i just lost it,,,crying,, yelling,, going from sadness to anger and my physiology and cognitive just crashed. Like a big tone had just fell on me. It would be so humiliating to tell you everything I’ve done while the high lasted. i stole I lied I cheated I self medicated all of a sudden my brain felt frozen I could not think or even get out of bed i attempted suicide at least 30 times. And would find myself in I.C.U on life support 5 times in 8 months. And would wake up to a trachial tube and i’vin the arm and an other in the thigh for cardiac support I have damaged my body so much by cutting My arms look like road maps and yet each cut had it’s own painful story. The worse was coming to reality in hospital I would yell and cry at the attending physician WHY DID YOU BRING ME BACK HERE? WHY? wHY ARE YOU PUNISHING ME? I had the attitute that it was my life and if i wanted to take it away i would and deffinatly had the right. Since then i’ve lost my children my whole family and even doctors. I lost our home to the bank. I was always acting on impulse my mind races so much and so quick I could not make sense of anything. People spoke to me I could see their lips moving but yet i couldn’t absorbe anything the said. I just had to deal with the fact that with me there is no happy middle.
    just really happy even thinkng i could save anyone and that no matter what the bills could be paid later. I had to spend all the time not on myself but those that i love. To me it was a rush to see that iI had the power of making people happy. Until it all just came to the point that so many people depended on me emotionnally and financially I thought that by buying things for those I love would briing me forgiveness. It would make the pain a little less harder to handle. But deep inside i thought i was just a real waste of protoplasm. Now I look back I had my children a beautiful home and a loving family financial security but nothing was ever good enough to make me convince myself that yes they where right. I was REALLY sick. My moods would change from 1 hour to the next. I could no longer morning I woke up thinking i was dead and in hell. I just hated myself and still do. I lost everything. I couldn’t get out of bed my head was just racing with so much guilt hurt and blame. I hate myself for so many reasons.
    I was a horrible mother.
    I felt that the world was out to get me
    because i was so scared of being alone i would lie to him and tell him we had plenty of money,
    I thought God hated me and this was his revenge
    I thought that they were so selfish and jealous that they took my kids for their own past mistakes. and were trying to make up for it by stealing my kids for a second chance
    And then came the anger, instead of saying please help me. I would just yell and blame everything on THEY ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER
    UntilI started to read your emails.
    At first I was SHOKED
    a real awakening…
    I could no longer pretent it was just post partum depression.
    Now I”M realizing that all this time I thought I had control over it…IT had me
    i felt as though i was sitting on death row
    can’t eat, can’t sleep. can’t move, can’t understand a word they were saying. I had chronic headaches and still do.
    my husband is the only one who stood by me I remember him telling the doctors this isn’t her.
    she’s so loving and giving and always so ready to help others.
    now Ican’t even help myself.
    but through the course as i wait every day to get that email I realize I am Not alone but my meds don’t work I never know what’s gonna come out of my mouth next.
    Or if I will hurt myself again?
    but now I have hope and I only have you to thank. I am no longer comtemplatimg suicide but i keep wondering when will I go up again.
    the guilt of not being able to serve my husband like royalty kills me
    There is so much i and my husband have learned through your emails
    he now knows how to not trigger me, but as far as everyone else they fear what’s next.
    But you have saved my marriage and now I don’t have to be the super heroe anymore he understands me better and now we are actually talking not yelling…I just wish I knew how to get back on my feet. Here where I live there is no support. If I want to keep my doctor I have pretend the meds are working. I once told him that i wished i could just end it all. He looked at me and laughed and said JUST DON”T DO IT and you won’t die.
    He doesn’t have a clue on how deep the hurt runs.
    But a total stranger knows how I feel?
    And you are that stanger…now a friend.
    I am trying to save up for the opportunaty to purchase your book.
    I know that I will find so much insight and help and understanding and most of al some guidance on how to get my life back. How to manage the insomniance and anxiety….Since my husband found your site we are actaully trying to make plans for the future..He has an understanding that he never did have before. So David tnak-You for giving me back my husband I ‘m not yelling anymore I’m actually accepting things no matter how painful they are. I know that everyday when i open my p’c i have that text message waiting for me and right it’s what is starting to a process of healing… I can’t wait to learn more so that I can be more constuctive than distructive. I can actually say now I WANT TO LIVE ans slowly now i’m getting out of bed little by little. And i have HOPE..

    THANK_YOU so very much

    yours truly

  5. Thanks David, putting both lists made me start thinking, with my son home only a week from jail I am very optimistic. I think he really knows now that the bipolar will not go away and needs the medication. It’s been a good week and am very hopeful we can get him on the road to a good life. The last two months with him in jail I was so angery at him, but got thru it and am glad. His mom and him are in the next room and used to fight and not talk, but now they are working on his forms and laughing, alls good. Thanks for your e-mails read daily, and found your site at the right time in our lives, God’s plan, “Yes” another prayer answered. As long as we have God in our lives prayers do get answered, as my son now read’s the “Bible” something he wouldn’t do two months ago.
    Have a good hike and I hope you feel the rewards of helping so many others with their lives, the Bipolars and their supporters thank you.

  6. Hi all…
    Great point, Dave–a method to look at ourself is always helpful to begin making change, or to just be more aware. I think every supporter has, at one time or other, felt all of those emotions from both lists. Getting stuck in any one of them can be problematic. Even if it is one of the “good” emotions, if it is inappropriate at the time. We would be something other than human if we were enthusiastic if our loved one just had a big meltdown. Unless, of course, the enthusiasm is directed at finding and implementing treatment. My point is we need to keep aware of the total picture. I think Dave said that last week… Stay aware, that’s my motto!
    Have a safe and fun holiday, everyone!

  7. I thought you should know how much your encouragement has helped me. My daughter is sooo Bi-polar. She was on suicide watch last week. My husband has serious schitzophrenia.
    Most of the time I feel as I can’t do this, then I read one of your articles.
    I wish I could afford your courses. Maybe someday! Thanks! Dian

  8. To LINE: I, too, have had the “superwoman” complex – the “God-complex,” if you will. I tried sooo hard to be “perfect;” helping other people (even when they didn’t want it), trying to earn “high marks” at work, even “meddling” in affairs where I shouldn’t be, because I thought it was MY problem.

    I have had three major hospitalizations since my first one in 1968; back then, I was labeled “schizophrenic.” By my third, and last, in 1977, it was “manic depressive.” Sometimes it DOES take the proper diagnosis to let us know it’s a “chemical imbalance,” and NOT “us” that is exhibiting the behaviors. In 2000, the label was “bipolar disorder.” If you think about it, doesn’t it seem we know MORE about bipolar than we did even 7 years ago? It has become somewhat of a “designer disorder;” if you don’t have it, someone you know DOES!!

    When I read your post – I cried. I recognized myself in your comments, and felt I had to reach out to you. Thank God, your marriage is still intact, and like you say, you “talk” instead of “yell” – that’s coming a LONG way. Your story was sooo much like mine (except for the parts of cutting and suicide attempts).

    I’ve had soooo many surgeries, the thought of my hurting myself never enters my mind – tooo much PAIN. And I’m NOT good with pain. Fortunately, I’ve only had ONE major clinical depression – and that’s ONE too many. I stay mainly on the manic side of bipolar, and my fear is of crossing the boundary between hypomania and mania.

    Right now, I’m doing pretty well. I have quite a number of situations that are getting me down, but I’m being proactive with them, and am always hopeful that they will turn out OK. When we finally admit to ourselves that there IS something wrong, and it CAN be “fixed” with the proper medications and therapy, we can, in a sense, “relax,” and not try to be such perfectionists. In fact, the doctor who admitted me to the psych ward in 1968, called me a “perfectionist!” I didn’t understand what he was talking about (I’m a clutterer, and very un-neat), but now I think I do. The explanation is in your story, and I thank you for pointing it out. It’s a REAL revelation. I read a quote once on the Internet that went something like this – “When we stop trying to be perfect, we can find ourselves.” I had to stop and think about that, but it’s true…

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. AND – have a GREAT Labor Day!!

  9. Hello Dave and All,

    Your 2 checklists are a excellent way to be aware if things in life are on the right path or not. You also said:

    “We want to check our thoughts and feelings, and
    make sure they are positive, optimistic, and
    encouraging for ourselves and our loved ones”.

    The first list (and I’m sure we’ve all experienced this), feels to me like my spirit has lost it’s faith, in the circumstance, the person I love or even myself. It can feel like a devastating downer.

    The second list, I believe (and have also seen examples in the writings of others on this blog) are motivated by “faith and love”. This gives us the ability to project the upbeat attitude.

    Our family has been through a lot. And we are stronger, closer and better for it. Keep, work and yes, even fight (not physically) for your faith! Expect good things from your loved one. It is worth it!

    To Dave and your crew, I appreciate your commitment to help us be the best support for our loved ones that we can be. Your daily emails give me something to think about and make positive changes in my family’s life.

    May God bless superabundantly all who have been enduring, Vicky

  10. Thaqnk you so much, you are helping all of us, to think positive and help our son who has still to be evaluate, but all the symptems are there. We feel he has bipolar and will as soon as possible get hime assessed. Thanks once again

  11. 09/01/08
    Hello Dave,
    I thank God for your unending support and commitment to help:
    Your 2 checklists are the best opportunity to examen oneself for where we are now as Christian.
    For bipolar survivors: Congratulations! for your strength and courage to face and accept the straggles of life. Rest assured of my prayers especially for Line, I was touch by your life history.

  12. Hi David,

    I want to Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge and the encouragement that we all receive through your site. I am 30 years old and support my brother, who is 28, that has a severe case of bipolar. He is home now after his third stint in prison. It is very difficult at times. He wants to work, but because of lengthy criminal record, violent behavior, and the mental illness he is unable to attain or keep a job, which at times seems to be a contributing factor to his anger. I am raising my 8 year old nephew who was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD last year. Though going to all of the doctors appointments and such I to was diagnosed with bipolar and OCD. I consider myself lucky in that I realized that I had a problem and have the ability to manage my illness through medication, counseling, and your site. I am able to work, I’ve recently graduated from college, I’ve been promoted at work, and even so I struggle with money (because of poor money management) I thought I was holding it “together” for my brother and nephew. Unfortunately, I feel like things are starting to crumble slowly around me. I have a four year old son that is not getting the attention that he needs because I am constantly torn between my brother and nephew that need my help more. I am sure you can imagine a household with three people suffering from mental illness we don’t have much to laugh at. Even so I go to counseling I feel like it’s not enough. I am having a difficult time finding a support group of some sort to vent, talk about what’s going (because there is always something happening in our home) exchange ideas on how to handle certain situations, anything….I feel so helpless. It’s difficult to find groups that address children (especially under the age of 14). I talked with my mother and she suggested that maybe we should start our own support group. Please let me know your thoughts and if you have any advise on how to start a support group. Thanks again for all that you do.

    Helpless in Il


    signed useless

  14. Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Hello David,

    I am so hoping that you are well when receiving this. Because I too, am a very busy person, I’d not gotten a chance to write you. I am glad to being able to receive this opportunity. YOU ARE TRULY AMAZING, and I felt the VERY NEED and want to saying this.

    I read your articles from time to time, and they are inspiring, informative, and most of all CARING.

    I am not the one with bipolar. My step-grandson has it, and I’d signed up with you to receive more feed-back from someone who’s experiencing the disease, versus, just reading it from a “medical” point-of-view.

    While my grandson has more than just bipolar, this seems to be the “main” focal point of his problems. So much so, he could no longer live at home. That was almost three years ago.

    While he still try fighting those who help him along the way, he’s in a FAR better place with himself when I’d seen him last. He will, however, NOT be able to be on his own fully. He’ll always need someone to lend him a hand in every form, shape, and fashion, of the words.

    While we miss him “terribly”, the household is somewhat calm. NOW, my step-granddaughter has stepped up to the plate to taking over where he’d left off. Also, there’s another step grandson who’s on that SAME path, not-to-mention, my two “biological” grands can sneak up in there as well.

    Mental illness runs deep on my daughter-in-laws side of the family.

    SO FAR, they’re doing really well educationally, and I oversee this. While they do and might have issues, they’re pretty bright children, I am pleased to say. They also attend therapy sessions to helping out with the sister on the “path”, and they attend church.

    So, know that I’ll continue to, as much as I can, stick and stay reading your articles.

    AGAIN, I “thank you” ever-so-kindly for your care and concern about a subject that was always a “SHHHHHH” one.

    All of my blessings to you, and everyone that has someone fighting with bipolar. May the “Author of LIfe”, continue to bless you with the gift you have for caring. GOD BLESS US ALL!!!!

    Very sincerely,


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