Bipolar: Spiritually Coping with Bipolar Disorder


There are many ways that people with bipolar disorder use to cope with their disorder, and one way is spiritually. There is a difference between being spiritual, though, and being religious.
Now, I want to be clear about this: I’m not talking about religion here, as in going to church or adhering to any type of dogma. I’m just talking about spirituality in general.

One of the most basic ways I’ve discovered that people with bipolar disorder use as a coping strategy to deal with the disorder is the familiar Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

It doesn’t matter whether you are “religious” or not, the prayer still works. From what people who write and talk to me about their disorder have told me, they get tired of the ups and downs of their mood swings, and seek some kind of “serenity,” or peace. So they can relate to the first line of the prayer.

Many times I have talked about how you need medication, therapy, and support to help you with your bipolar disorder, and how important they are in helping you to achieve stability. But in addition to medication, therapy, and support group meetings, many people with the disorder still
feel that they need something more to help them feel “balanced” from the excessive mood swings.

In any 12-Step Program, they call it a Higher Power, and that works for some people, but for
others it is just simpler to call this God. In the Serenity Prayer, they ask God to help them
“to accept the things I cannot change.” For many people with bipolar disorder this is really hard, because they have to ask him to help them to accept the fact that they have bipolar disorder, and many of them are still struggling with their diagnosis.

They just do not want to have bipolar disorder and to tell you the truth, I don’t blame them –
this is something that is very hard to do. Being told that you have a disorder for which there is no cure, and for which you would have to take medication the rest of your life…That you would have to live with these mood swings for the rest of your life…That you would never be “normal”…Well, this is definitely one of those things that you cannot change, no matter how
much you want to.

You have no power over bipolar disorder and the fact that you have it and always will. This is a very hard truth to swallow for many people with bipolar disorder.

“The courage to change the things I can.” There is only one thing you DO have power over, however, and that is yourself. YOUR decisions. YOUR choices. You do need courage to face up to the disorder, as well as the other things you have to do to get to stability.

You have to take your medications, see the doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist regularly, go to a support group, take care of yourself, learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder, etc. It might even feel as if you’re taking on a second job! But the point is, that you can become proactive in your own recovery. That is your own choice. It is the only thing you can change. The only thing you have power over.

“And the wisdom to know the difference.” That’s the tough part. Because some people still try to play God in their own life. Some people still don’t get this line of the prayer right. But if they just do the little bit that they can do, one day at a time, and let God do the rest, they will find that their stress level is much lower, their stability is much higher, and overall, their life will be much better, in spite of the fact that they have bipolar disorder.
Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,



  1. Well Dave,
    I have appreciated your website of bipolar disorder for a while now, just reading and not responding because I never know what to say because my situation was overwhelming and I never knew what I could do to change the situation I was in until one day I had enough. I left and haven’t gone back. It will be a year July 29th that I’ve been gone. August 1st we will have been married 40 years. I couldn’t take the constant negativity, trying to support him and yet never being supported, love or even touched. He came home after being gone for three months working in another state and I picked him up at the airport. The first thing he did was start yelling at me for texting him too many times, I tried to explain that I didn’t but he already destroyed the first moments of contact so I clammed up because it never pays to argue or go against his way of thinking so I don’t anymore. It was quite all the way home. We ended up in an argument later that night and I got upset so I began to wimper and he told me,”oh no, that’s not going to work this time”. So I told him it won’t happen again, and I packed up and left. We’ve tried to talk, cry, work things out, but he has shown me that this marriage isn’t going to workout anymore. I’ve been going to counseling and got names and phone numbers for lawyers but I just haven’t called yet. I’m not really sure why I’m responding to you at this time but I felt I owed you a thanks for all your input on bipolar disorder. Keep up the good work of educating people like me to attempt at being supporters, self-
    Education or to educate others.
    Thank you for all your caring. Don’t give up the cause.


  2. I just knew god was listening this morning as I prayed to him because of my condition. I asked god for 2 things. I first told him, having been a wife and a mother – those are two things I never want to repeat in my life.

    I asked him for new things namely to send a sign or a friend that would tell me of this sign of “merely a true neighbor/lover” The Boyfriend in My Head that will always stay there (and I got a sign at a very significant “time” and I said well I guess this is it!

    The second thing I prayed for because of my past career – MOM for 38 years – was this:

    I asked god to send me a “Parent Figure” one that I never had but knew I would love and asked that it came in the form of Friend that I would truly love and again I watched the “View” and I already knew – God had provided me with the Mother I never Had!

    this helps me cope with my up and downs of uncertainty of OPP, i asked him to provide something I would need!


  3. i have a Peer who needed a “Time Out” today for sure!!!! the entire neighborhood heard her “expelling demons” from many different past jobs and past love lives – probably the entire neighborhoods! lol!

    I explained to her that whenever it was her time, she’d have manifested all those things that she had deeply desired

    Permanent Employment lasting up to her retirement
    win a major lottery 2 – 100 million dollars
    and her and her beau would be on a Disney Cruise.

    She’d have to use her “special holy water” (she is one of those people that view water as one of the holiest beverages on Earth and never equates it with negative things and believe while keeping busy.

    She agreed she would stop bringing her entire neighborhood into her “bedroom” and light candles of hope instead.

    Look, the way I see things – you’ve been “rich” before gotta find the way back and not stay with “mediocre”.

    spirituality is a good thing and hurts no one but it does wonders on making what you dont want – disappear! Poof! the Demons are gone! lol at least for now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.