Bipolar Supporter? Use This Therapeutic Technique to Cope


Do you ever have a bad day? I mean, I know everyone has a bad day every once in a while. But I mean, one of those days when nothing seems to go right.

I had one of those the other day. I had placed an order for CDs, and the printer printed the wrong date on them. And they had to go out to our customers that way! Sheesh! Then I had to print an apology to every one of them for the printer printing them with the wrong date.

Then my computer got a glitch in it and my emails started going haywire. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. That really frustrated me, because I’m usually pretty good with computers. But I just couldn’t figure this thing out. It took me hours! I finally got it right, but I was so frustrated by then that I thought I would tear my hair all out!

Then I needed to talk to someone on my team and she was nowhere to be found. My fault – she had told me she would be unavailable, but I was so busy I had forgotten. Still, I was flustered that I wasn’t able to contact her when I needed her, because I couldn’t get the answer I needed when I needed it! Ahhhh!

Then my car started making funny noises. You know how that can be. That can mean anything.

Then just before I got so frustrated I wanted to kick the darn thing, the noise disappeared as mysteriously as it had come! Now I’m just puzzled, because I wonder what it could have been!

And that’s almost as frustrating as if it had never gone away!

So many things went wrong in that one day that I wished I had never woke up that day. I actually wanted to go to sleep and start the day over again!

That’s the kind of day I’m talking about. You ever have one of those kind of days? The kind you wish you could start over?

I bet you’re wondering what any of this has to do with bipolar disorder, right?

Well, in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, there is something called “mindfulness.” Mindfulness is about “being in the moment.” It has to do with dealing with things the way they are instead of the way you wish they could be.

Like the kind of day I was talking about. There were many times I wished I could change the circumstances I was facing (like with the computer). But I had to accept things the way they were. I couldn’t do anything about them.

Many times, as a supporter to a loved one with bipolar disorder, you will face the same thing. There may be times that you will want to not only change the situation, but even want to change your loved one, but you can’t. That’s when you practice mindfulness.

You just need to accept things the way they are instead of the way you would like for them to be.

If you practice this principle long enough, you will find that you will have more peace in your life.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. I look forward to reading your emails on a daily basis. My husband watches his triggers, attends a weekly DBSA meeting, and faithfully takes his 2 rxs knowing he never wants to return what he calls his scrambled mind.

    Your email today is a particularly good reminder because my stepdaughter is coming to live with us. She has been dxed w/ bipolarity. I am aware I will need much “mindfulness” while my husband’s daughter is here.

    Keep up your stellar work!

  2. The Sr complex that I work for is taking on more services for our tenants and I feel that this is what I see in a lot of them. And I feel we can never stop learning about people that need help and everyone can help a little by understanding.

    Thank you, thank you!!


  3. hi Dave!

    Yes, I’ve been having quit a few days like that. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2001. I’ve been to doctor after doctor and they said “You don’t have bipolar disorder. You have what we call a roller coaster bipolar disorder.” I don’t understand what that is. See growing up I had and still have trouble comprehending things and I get so frustrated with myself when my friends have to explain things to me so I can understand what they mean.

    Getting off that sore subject.

    You said that you are good with computers. I have viruses in mine. Would you help me find a way to get rid of them? I have windows vista, that bites the big one, sorry about the language.

    Thank you very much!

    Your friend,

  4. Well said David. The days where you just have to accept you can’t change everything and have to accept that we are all just doing our best to contain this debilitating disorder.
    My son is trying so hard with his medications at the moment but he had a very scary reaction to a new medication last night.
    He has slept it off and now gone to work. He is lucky he works in the family business and we are all tolerant of his condition .However ,he must feel so frustrated as in his mind he is really trying to arrest this illness and he must feel at times it’s two steps forward and three back.
    My thoughts are with you all sufferers and also with you wonderful carers.
    Thank you David for all your upbuilding comments.

  5. Hi David
    I just love to read your e-mail everyday. I have to give it to you you have a great sence of humor. The one of today is relly funny, when you read it and it happened to someone else but when it happens to you it is far from being funny. Yes I have some of those days even to often I should say. My husband has had bipolar disorder for at least 20 years. Plus he has prostate cancer with metastases in his bones, so they can’t operate on him. The doctors kept treating him for depression but I have been a nurse for 47years and I have known for about 20 years that he had bipolar disorder but How to react to it I didn,t know.I am a breast cancer survivor I had a mastectomy 7 years ago. I also have a depression but I have medications for it so I am not too bad, but my husband is having me going around in circle because his mental illness is worse than ever ex:(one day I ruin his life and the next day I am his life savor. He finaly started to see a psychiatric one month ago because they just found out he has bipolar desorder. We have been married 46 years but more bad then good years. I am very tired of tiptoeing through the tulip. That is why your site is very important to me. For that matter I really feel that you are after God my only friend. Thank you David, waiting to read you again.
    Francine H

  6. Hi Dave,
    Not sure I follow you on this one. Being mindful of who the person is and knowing you can not change them is one thing, but also not wanting to be the object of their tirade is something different altogether. So accepting they have an illness yes we should, but expecting them to stop yelling at you even when the meds. don’t seem to be working 100% yet is something we should expect.
    Right? We had one of those mornings here today. Not a pleasant way to start ones day.

  7. I so agree with you. I was just Dx with bipolar about 4 mos. ago after some therapy sessions because my SON is bipolar – and my husband (not his father.) Son takes meds and is thankfully stable at 15, I am working on med stability, but my husband has no insurance so he is out in the cold. I find “living in the moment” helps alot. I have always believed this way but never called it that. I am having computer issues right now. I’m dealing with this as my husband gets up for work. Still, I have some good hazelnut coffee here, and its going to be a GoOD day! 🙂

  8. I meant to say my husband is a functioning bipolar 1 patient and I am caretaking for him and my son. Got sidetracked with parenthesis :p

  9. Dave,
    I recently had a day like the one you had while traveling for interviews. My debt card wouldn’t work leaving the parking lot at the airport, I lost my cell phone, had a panic attack in heavy traffic,fell asleep aside of the highway after calming down, the battery died in my car from using the hazard flashers,got back on the road after the battery was recharged,ran out of gas in a construction area after dark on a major highway without my phone,hazard flashers ran the battery dead again,spent the night in my car when nobody stopped or called the police.Well I unfortunatlly could go on. If this had happened several months ago while I was going through an episode I would have been found dead in my car. My medication and using the coping skill of mindfullness had saved me and now Iam able to laugh about the whole thing.I did get one of the jobs I interviewed for,I start in August.

  10. Good lesson Dave. Mindfulness. When my unstable loved one insists I’m to blame for everything and then demands I fix everything… I get all twisted up inside. My problem solver mode kicks in. Then I get yelled at again for trying to make things better…
    I’m just doing the best I can and learning to accept that. It’s amazing how you can search, search, search for the answer only to discover that there really isn’t one. That is the answer… just accept

  11. Hi Dave,

    I’m not a supporter, I am an “experiencer.” Recently diagnosed about 90 days or so ago. I’ve been receiving your emails regularly since then. A couple of times when you have asked for feedback I’ve clicked – only to receive a “broken link” type message. This is the first time I’ve gotten through & I want to say thanks so much for everything you do, – I’ve benefited greatly from everything I’ve read from you, and I am sure that folks who ARE supporters receive the kind of psychological and emotional benefit they can only get from another person who has “been there.” Keep up the good work! w

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