Bipolar: This Quality is a Strong One


I want you to look carefully at this word: CONTROL. Think about it. 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. I frequently talk about all the qualities needed in order to manage bipolar disorder successfully. And self-control is one of them.

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 and our lives, whether

we have a disorder like bipolar disorder or not. When it comes to bipolar disorder, though, you

need that power and authority to guide and to manage the disorder as well as your life in general.

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. And you need to have control over your choices and decisions, for another thing. Because these are the two 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, and what it makes you do during that episode. 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 as well. For example, 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.

Can you see how necessary self-control is for both the survivor and the supporter in the management of bipolar disorder? It can really make a difference. It’s not just the word that is strong…It’s the quality that is strong in the person. And it can make you strong.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. Dear Dave,
    the other day my daughter and I were making our weary way home in the car in peak traffic( not the most favorite occupation for the pair of us ) Rachel said something that really hurt my feelings suffice to say I replied that I felt really hurt by the remark but I said I realised that I was just feeling really crappy sitting in a car in peak traffic on a hot hot day. In the past the whole argument would have turned to custard Rachel ( she has been battling bipolar for the last 3 years and winning)would have leapt out of the car and headed off into the great unknown leaving me to panic about her chances of survival.
    This time with an enormous amount of self control ,she said she wanted to leap out of the car in a grand gesture of defiance and independence she paused for a bit then she said that she really didn’t want to jump out into fast moving traffic causing all sorts of havoc on a hot hot day and it was such a long way to walk home that the gesture would be quite futile. So maybe she said that it was ok to be in the car and be quiet and sensible because it was the heat and the traffic and the noise that was getting to her – sorry mum she said.
    I absolutely respect my daughter she has made great strides in her journey towards wellness.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I’m had severe depression/ bi-polar for over 25yrs., know right from wrong, & still mess up from time to time. I guess all I can do is to keep striving for self-control along w/ meds & therapy.

  3. Thank you very much for the encouragement. I need it because when i’m trying to show self control, onlookers say that he has you whipped into shape. He knows how to handle you. I don’t respond to them either but it makes me seem that i’m not capable to handle the situation. I don’t return fire for fire because it would turn into an explosion. If anything i want to de-escalate him. Pam

  4. If my loved one came raging at me, i’d simply say gently now now, darling there’s no reason to be sooo nasty …let us come together and reason with one another — clearly we are not on the same planet this very minute…what upset you sooooo much??? I like your suggestion of exercising self-control as that is only person a person can control – just you. Can’t control anyone else, especially a grown up like urself. Thank you so much.

    p.s. if you think this loved one is worth being patient for which means the love is real, then patience is a sign of “growth” in a very difficult environment.

    key — u r the supporter – try to listen and support their point of views no matter how “dizzy” they seem to make you

    my former boss was bipolar – just in case i marry someone with this disorder, i’ll be ready! lol!

  5. Dave – Can you please post articles addressing Expungement, notably how people who have called 911 for help with a child with a medication problem have, instead of having their child taken to the hospital as requested, have had their child arrested and booked, with a (dismissed) Police Record on their Background Check…?

    Please help…Thanks.

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