You know, you hear a lot about the word WILLPOWER. But what happens if you don’t have willpower? Or that lack of willpower is one of your problems? It can certainly interfere with what you want to accomplish. For example, your loved one wants to take their medication regularly, but they keep forgetting to take it, then say that they just don’t have the willpower.
I want you to consider that lack of willpower is actually a cop-out. What if willpower is something that can be developed? What if you CAN do something about the problem? When I talk to people, I don’t recommend using willpower to do what you need to do to get stable –
I recommend using a system, or several systems instead.
People in 12-Step Programs have abandoned the use of the term “willpower” and instead talk about “powerlessness.” In other words, your loved one would say, “I am powerless over my bipolar disorder.” Which may be true, and may help them to think of it that way, as long as they don’t use it in terms of their bipolar disorder, in turn, having power over them. That is the exact opposite of what they want. There are some things you and your loved one do have power over, and some things you don’t. Your loved one, for example, is powerless over the fact that they have bipolar disorder, that is true. But they are not powerless over the disorder itself – they can fight it for control, they can learn how to manage it (instead of the other way around).
The way to fight lack of willpower is with consistent, conscious decisions and actions that follow. For example, many people, survivors and supporters alike, want to lose weight. Say they even made it a New Year’s resolution. But now they’re struggling, and saying that they just don’t have the necessary willpower to stick to a diet. Well, I would say that if you just change the wording, it might help. Again, I think lack of willpower is a cop-out. The reason many people can’t stick to a diet is because they aren’t committed. They believe they have to start eating different foods (foods they don’t like), or it’s too hard. I think those are the 3 biggest reasons.
But you CAN have control, in spite of having willpower issues.
You control what goes into your body. If you are trying to lose weight, it is your responsibility what foods you eat. You can vary your menu and eat foods that you like and that will help you to take the weight off, rather than focusing on what you cannot eat. If you don’t do that, you will probably find yourself craving those things that you have decided you can’t eat.
Does that make sense? So with bipolar disorder, you don’t think about the things you CAN’T do, you concentrate on the things you CAN do. For example, you may not be able to work out in a gym for an hour a day, but you find that you can walk for a block or two. Whether it’s dieting, exercise, or taking your bipolar medication, remember that it’s NOT about willpower. It’s about making good decisions, and then following through on them. If your loved one is struggling in this area, they should some of my suggestions and see what happens.
Well, I have to go!