Bipolar? The Fighting Attitude


I hope you’re having a good day.

You know I like to hike, right?

It’s where I do some of my best thinking.

And, usually, that’s about bipolar disorder, of course.

But I was hiking the other day and thinking about the staggering numbers of people who have the disorder, are supporting someone who does, or know of someone who has it.

And the numbers are staggering.

Then I was thinking about the difference between people when it comes to bipolar disorder.

I hear from a lot of people in response to my daily emails, courses/systems, website, etc.

And it’s almost like they’re divided in half.

Half the people are really struggling with it, and the other half seem to have mastered it.

Well, maybe mastered it is the wrong way to put it – but they control and manage the disorder instead of it controlling or managing them.

These are the people I like to hear from, because they have that “fighting attitude.”

And that’s what you have to have when it comes to bipolar disorder – a FIGHTING ATTITUDE.

I talk a lot in my courses/systems about what it takes to become stable with bipolar disorder, and that’s one of the things, I believe.







There are those people who take the diagnosis lying down, just like in a boxing match where you throw in the towel and give up.

They don’t believe that stability is a possibility for them.

Those people don’t do the right things, so they don’t get stable.

But have you ever known someone who no matter what happens to them, they fight back?

Like cancer survivors.

I think it’s all in having a “fighting attitude.”

They don’t take it laying down – they fight back!

And many of them do win.

Even a doctor will tell you that your attitude towards your illness (whatever it is) can be crucial to your recovery.

Well, that’s as true for bipolar disorder as it is for cancer.

You’ve got to come out of your corner fighting.

That’s the way to control it.

Of course, just like any fight, you have to be prepared.

You have to have strategies.

You have to have plans in place.

And you have to have these things in advance, just like an army does in a war.

Like, you need to sit down with your loved one and decide what to do in case they need to go in the hospital.

Strategies would include:

• A better lifestyle

• Eating a healthy diet

• Exercising

• Keeping a good sleep


• Staying productive

• Attending a support group

• Having a strong support system

• Adhering to all treatment

Those who look at battling bipolar disorder as just that – a battle – and are willing to do what it takes to win, do find success.

It is possible to recover from the disorder.

I know, because I’ve gotten so many success stories.

But all success stories have one thing in common:

They did whatever they had to do to gain stability, including those things I just listed.

They had a “fighting attitude.”

Do you have a “fighting attitude?”

  1. Good Morning David, I just first want to say thank you so much for your daily emails. It helps me so much. I am living with 1 adult (my husband) and 2 children with the disorder. It took me awhile but for the past year i have been doing everything in my power to help my kids especially to gain control. My youngest (who is Six) had to be put in a treatment facility for over 6 months because he was in one of his rages with them happening every day and lasting for over 4 hours at a time in which he would get really physical with who ever was around. When he was able to return home one of the conditions was we had to have in home therapy come in everyday for 2 hours a day and trust me its not fun but with all that and me keeping to the system that they have helped with its very hard but i do it because i feel that it will help my kids in the long run to be successful.The doctors have tried every kind of medicine poosible that they could give to kids and nothing has helped, actually some made it worse. In just a few short months i really see a big difference in my kids all around. I just hope that it will carry over to school when they after labor day. That is my next goal. But please keep sending those emails every day its what i look forward too and its help alot.


  2. I’ve beem “battling” bipolar for 41 years, and still continue to fight the “skirmishes” that occur without a moment’s notice. I constantly monitor my moods, and when something goes awry, I ALWAYS contact my shrink and we tweak meds until SOMETHING works.

    To answer another post, YES, it IS possible to be diagnosed bipolar at a late age. My mother – herself the daughter of a paranoid schizophrenic – was just diagnosed at 83 with bipolar disorder!! She’s compliant with her meds and treatment plan, and sees life on the “sunny side” instead of being depressive most of the time. It DOES seem unusual to me, too, but the doctors have “rescued” my Mom so she can have a happy and healthy rest of her life. I’m OVERJOYED, not for her diagnosis exactly, but that there is a REASON for her mood swings.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my country.

  3. Dave, thank you for your daily emails. I have learned a lot reading them. I know that your systems are all about treatment plans and such, and those are great. But what about those of us that don’t have insurance and only one working. I am supporting my whole household because everyone has been laid off and isn’t able to find work. My husband, has bipolar, and has been off work for over a year. There isnt much work around here for him to do. So that adds to the issues. We also lost our insurance because we couldn’t afford the premiums. So now we are left with the huge hill of medications and treatments that we really can’t afford. We had to stop the counseling sessions becuase they got to be to expensive. And now the Dr’s aren’t continuing his meds because they want him to come in and do testing. Well, we can’t afford the dr’s visit. So now he isn’t on meds anymore because the Dr’s won’t refill them….What do I do now????? I am at my wits end, he has been cycling really bad lately and this is just making it worse. I don’t know what to do.

  4. Thanks again Dave
    I,ve said this once before, I,ll say this once more~ We need to get you a cape and tights! Thanks for the super job! My name is John, 46. My ‘responsible’ life started in 1999 with A.A. 1&1/2 yrs. into sobiety I ‘spun out’ and was diagnosed with Bipol. Thanks to the ‘program’ A.A. quickly took on the meaning of Attitude Adjustment.
    (strong emphasis on step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory…”). But enough here; what I write here about is to find out more about natural treatments(and suppliments). Can you point me in the right direction please? Maybe there’s something missing in this bag of chemicals I own.
    Most grateful thanks(capeman!)
    John Senske.

  5. I appreciate your input, but today you said something that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. When you referred to cancer survivors as having the “fighting spirit”, you implied that those who died from it were weaklings who could have “beaten it” if they had simply not rolled over and accepted it. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Many who are stricken have a kind of cancer that can’t be cured or one that is too advanced to be “beaten”. You do them a disservice. One of my friends, Pam, has been living with serious cancer for 5 years, long past the average. Why? Because she has excellent health care benefits and “top of the line” care. She follows all instructions for her medication, and calls her doctors if anything doesn’t feel “right”. When I asked if she felt she is “fighting this”, she answered “no, just living with cancer. She says it would be much worse to have bipolar. Cancer patients may have a “positive attitude” and remain cheerful most of the time that they are sick. Still, with advanced liver cancer or pancreatic cancer or metastisized any kind of cancer, people can fight all they want and still just get worse. You owe cancer patients an apology, including four of my friends. All are going to die of this even though they all choose to live as normally as possible and contribute to life while they are alive. They are the real heroes!

  6. Hi Dave,

    Yes, it does take a fighting spirit to beat, or successfully deal with bipolar. I wrote this poem back in ’88 before I knew I had bipolar. It is about my struggle with bipolar, it is named appropriatly enough, “A Battle”. I hope others can relate and understand we must fight, fight, fight and fight some more. As one lyricist said, “It seems like I’ve been fighting since the day I was born, but I know that I can’t be wrong. And it looks like I’ll be fighting till the day that I die, but I don’t let it bring me down.” Garfield I believe was the artist who sang that song…

    “A BATTLE”
    Sept. 10, 1988

    I want to run,
    I want to hide.
    I do not know,
    what’s going on inside,

    Wrath beyond anger,
    things couldn’t be stranger…
    Confusion misguides me,
    as passion rails inside me.

    A hope that eludes me,
    an opportunity that blinds me.
    A resistance that collides with-in me,
    a resilience that drives me.

    I’m shattered inside,
    frustrated beyond my means.
    I feel an urge to express my self,
    but it only comes out wrong.
    No-one to listen anyway
    All I can do is write, and pray.

    Suicide, oh what a temptation,
    but even it won’t express what I feel
    I must.
    Why, Why, Why,
    Why can’t I come outside,
    Who dares to resist my mind?

    It’s only myself,
    a twisted, tortured soul.
    God please help me,
    I feel so out of control.

    Cataclysmic forces of
    right and wrong,
    explode in defiance,
    of each others command.

    Please Lord keep me from misbehaving,
    in such an ill gotten rage,
    from being locked up,
    in this cage.

    How can one collide within them-self?
    Yet this battle is ever raging.
    Two sworn enemies
    battle on inside me.
    Never giving in,
    each side aiming to guide me.

    One of peace, and one of wrath,
    a contention that divides me.
    First one is on top,
    then the other.
    When they’re both knocked out,
    I have nothing left to guide me.

    Were is the Promise?
    When all I see is battles.
    The weaker gets destroyed,
    The stronger holds the reigns.

    Contention, more contention,
    will this ever stop?
    I don’t want to give in,
    when it’s the darkness that’s on top!

    Waves of strife,
    crashing down within my head.
    Stubborn resilience,
    keeping me in bed.

    I will not bow to the darkness,
    I will not give in,
    due to this torture.
    I will live for God,
    and, none other.

    Restlessness to drive me,
    Wisdom to stop me,
    Peace is the goal,
    Love is to guide me.

    I won’t give up God.
    This just isn’t enough.
    To stop this man of compassion,
    from completeing my mission.

    So much for this pit stop,
    be sure I’m full of fuel.
    There’s no telling what’s coming up next,
    in this life long duel.

    (C)1988 Robert Parrillo II

  7. Oh, Bob – how relentless were your mood swings..I especially enjoyed your anguished poetry…it says sooo much about what we bipolar survivors go through. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. BOB, thank you for this poem. I will print it out. I know I can only partly imagine what torture you must be going through at times. My boyfriend is in a lot of pain. I can see it in his eyes many times. He tells me he is not suicidal, but I think he is working on killing himself slowly with smoke and drink. I’m wrecking my head on how to help him now. I must try to speak to his psych. I don’t want him to go to the psych ward again, but I do believe he needs his meds changing. He is battling but not fighting.

  9. I have been bipolar since my teens but was not diagnosed until I was 43 and only the depression was treated before then; Having been hosp. 3 times for depression. I am now 53 and only recently was hypomanic due to needing a med change but I live a productive life. I work Full time but am currently divorced. My bipolar illness scares many people but I now have a boyfriend who though does not understand it all but is willing to learn what it is all about. It has been a constant fight to lead a productive life with as few pitfalls as possible. I have had a counselor, a phsych. and a PCP for the past 12 years. It is hard work to keep it all in balance and at times I want to just stop but I am at least able to convey these thoughts to my support team who then helps me get back on track or get to the correct professional for help. Being Bipolar is expensive in many ways. It cost me alot of money, time for appts., and even friendships as many don’t and won’t take the time to understand my illness. How do you think that makes us feel that suffer from the disease. More to add to the fight to stay alive at a acceptable level. It is frustrating to know there is no cure just management that changes as my moods do. YES it would be easier to throw in the towel but I want to enjoy life the most I can while I can so I keep trying my best to stay one step ahead of my illness. I have no more hospitalizations left in my life time due to my insurance only allows 2 life time hosp for mental illness (that is another soap box) so that is another fear I have but I but them in the back of my mind and bring forward my friends who accept me for who I am and am thankful for what I have and use the system as I have to to get what I need to stay as healthy as I can so I may enjoy life as it really is for me. I thank you Dave for your work to bring about awareness of Bipolar disease as it does it if left to its own devices..I know. I talk to anyone who will listen about Bipolar in an effort to get others help and get the coping well with their disease. Keep up the good work.

  10. There’s another side to the fighting spirit. As a supporter when you are constantly verbally and physically threatened, you have to stand up and protect yourself and not take it anymnore. Make boundaries that will save your own life. Example: for the 100th time I was offered “if you don’t shut up i’ll give you free dental work” and this time I stood up and said “go right ahead and your ass will go to jail so fast”. Befoer that I would be scared and intimidated but no more, I have had enough of being abused all in the name of being passionate because he won’t treat the abuse and the codependencies or the mania but instead just wants to believe he is himself and passionate. So as supporters or x supporters we have to have a fighting spirit or we will go down in the ring with the desctruction that their long winded episodes cause.

  11. To Bob: Every bipolar supporter needs to read this. period. Excellent read and just an inside peek of what we do not understand as supporters. thankyou.

  12. i have a bipolar….my way of taking it is by keep on fighting like a pro inside your head. bipolar made a fighter out of maybe as difficult as hell sometimes….but it me made as tough as a fucking badger and it made me more tenacious as i though i could never ever become……i always put in my head that i could be tougher than i am today….a bit tougher than my previous attitude by an inch a time or day………….i will fight bleed or die fighting……………bipolars are in born fighters….all we need to do is to recognize that innate nature of ourselves….use it in a right way, like give your family a home,shelter,security and etc….use that energy and a bit of a anger to give you extra strength to get what you need and want. most people dont have what we have,an energy that are abondant…..just keep that anger under abs or keep it on check all the time……………….we have the energy and the strength that most could never ever have, even if others would use energy drinks, muscle building drugs and other stuffs to make them stronger..but it is nothing compared to what we have….me for instance i work out almost everyday,sleep less, and drive 1 to 2 hours for miles to go to school then go home late at night and still manage to be awake for hours before going to sleep, then do all of these all over again the next day with the same performance…..AND MOST OF ALL WITHOUT ENERGY DRINKS AND ANYTHING ELSE….i dont get tired easily, i may get bored easily and once i heat up, its hard to put me down to sleep…….once in momentum,i dont stop easily…………..we bipolars have the gift of the gifts, all we need to do is understand it and understand ourselves with it.then we can become conqueror of ourselves and even the world!!!!!


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