Bipolar: It’s in the Small Things


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). When I talk to people, 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.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,




  1. Mental illness is no joke! but yes the small things are what really matters – good things always come in small packages but GREAT THINGS come in huge envelopes!!!!!



  2. Hi, all, Lynn here, recovered alcoholic, and also I live w/Bipolar II on a DAILY basis. This article is so right on!! I’ve been stable now for abt. 4 1/2 yrs., and it’s so lovely. It’s hard to get affordable 1-on-1 counseling in my county, so I’ve been attending 12-wk. support grps. that deal w/symptom mgmt., stress mgmt., and mutual support. I see my A.A. sponsor, my PCP, and my case mgr. on a regular basis, as well as attending A.A. mtgs. regularly, and being of svc. in Alcoholics Anonymous. I survived breast cancer in the last yr.-and-a-half, so I feel especially blessed. I have a very strong faith in God, and also attend church as often as I can; I’ll be picking up another Bible study, starting tomorrow, as well. Hope if any of this inspires you, then I give the credit to God. Tks., too, Dave, for always having support in the form of the emails. Tks. for letting me share.
    Lynn, alcoholic, cancer thriver

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