Bipolar: Self-Control and Bipolar Disorder


CONTROL. Let’s look at that word. Just by its insinuation it’s a strong word. Webster’s dictionary defines control as, “power or authority to guide or to manage.” It also defines it as “direction, regulation, and coordination…restraint and reserve.” These state important qualities of the word CONTROL.

But today I want to look at the quality of SELF-CONTROL as it relates to bipolar disorder.
Whether you are the one with the disorder, or whether you are the supporter, self-control is
an important quality to possess.

Just look at the definition per Webster’s dictionary. “Power or authority to guide or to manage.”
We all need that power and authority to guide and to manage ourselves. When it comes to bipolar disorder, you need that power and authority to guide and to manage the disorder as well.

If you are a supporter, you need that power and authority to guide and to manage your part as a
supporter to a loved one with the disorder. For example: You need the power and authority to guide and to manage the finances for your family. You also need the power and authority to guide and to manage the home environment, as you need to make it as stress-free as possible for
your loved one.

Speaking to the person who has bipolar disorder for a second here…You absolutely need self-control when it comes to dealing with your bipolar disorder. Medication and therapy can only go so far in the management of your disorder. It is up to you to manage what you can, and self-
control has something to do with that.

You need to have control over your behavior, for one thing. You also need to have control over your actions, over what you do, especially when you are in a bipolar episode. And you need to have control over your choices and decisions, for another thing. Because these are the areas where you get into trouble when you go into a bipolar episode. The more self-control you have, the less trouble the episode itself will get you into.

For example: In a manic episode, you will have a tendency to have grandiose thoughts and ideas.
You may want to act on these thoughts and ideas because of your bipolar disorder. But the greater your sense of self-control, the greater the chance that you won’t act on them, and will make better choices and decisions, despite the bipolar disorder.

Now, to the supporter…You need to exercise self-control in many areas as well. For example:
Say those times when your loved one is raging at you, which they may sometimes do in a manic
episode. Your natural instinct will be to fight back, but if you exercise self-control, you won’t, and it will end the fight that much easier, and may even de-escalate your loved one’s bipolar behavior.

There are other times when you need to exert self-control as well. That’s just part of being a good supporter.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. Anger, frustration, and lack of self control — they are all intertwined. My friend with bipolar II loses self control when the details of life overwhelm him. My strategy is to remain calm and sympathetic and to
    let him talk (or yell) out his frustration. It may take a little time, but letting him blow off steam generally helps. I’m lucky — the anger is not directed toward me personally. That would be hard to take, but the strategy would be the same — remain calm and let him vent. It takes so much patience on the part of the supporter!!

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