You know, many people look at my mom’s story and ask, “What’s the secret? How did she do it?” After thinking about this question for many months, I have identified the key to her success with bipolar disorder. It was the fact that she accepted that she had bipolar disorder and she took the diagnosis very seriously. I think that’s the first step to success with bipolar disorder. You can’t do anything else until you first do what my mom did. If you look at most people who DON’T manage their bipolar disorder successfully, you find they do not accept that they have this disorder. You also find they do not take their bipolar disorder seriously at all. These individuals continually pretend they do not have bipolar disorder. They almost never learn anything about bipolar disorder and how it is successfully treated. This is a HUGE mistake!
From the tens of thousands of people on my mailing list all over the world, from speaking with the individuals that work for me who have bipolar disorder, and from talking to many people that I meet at all the places where I do volunteer work for those that are supporting people with a mental illness, I have come to the conclusion that you absolutely must come to terms with bipolar disorder. You must realize that you do, in fact, have the disorder and that it is not going to simply go away. This is the only way you are going to be able to successfully manage this disorder and your life.
But you can lead a completely productive life if you want to. But not until you take the first step.
The choice is your loved one’s if they have bipolar disorder. They can choose to accept the fact they have bipolar disorder or not. Once they accept that they have the disorder, it paves the way for the next steps toward stability. They can choose to learn more about it. They can choose to follow a treatment plan prescribed by their doctor and/or therapist. The choices are theirs, remember.
They can keep following the steps to stability. They can keep learning – not just educate themselves, but educate others. Keep taking their medication (without fail, no matter what), and seeing their doctor, psychiatrist, and therapist whenever they have those appointments.
Following the steps means doing everything they have to do to stay stable. Keep a good sleep schedule. Exercise. Eat a healthy diet. Stay productive. Keep a mood chart or write in a journal.
Have a good social life, and do things that they enjoy. Spend time with family and friends.
Don’t isolate, because that can lead to a bipolar episode. You know the steps they have to take.
These steps keep them healthy. These steps keep them stable. Unfortunately, if they choose not to follow this path, they will probably end up as one of the sad stories of people who wind up doing something really bad to someone or something or wind up killing themselves.
Someone once said that the longest journey begins with one small step. The first step to stability begins with accepting that they have bipolar disorder. Then they can take the other steps.
If they already have, they should never stop doing them. It can mean the difference between stability and instability.
Well, I have to go!