Bipolar: Walking in Big Clown Shoes


Have you ever been to the circus? Or a local fair? Maybe even just a kid’s birthday party. I’m sure you have. If you have, you’ve seen a clown. And you’ve seen those great big shoes they wear. Haven’t you ever wondered how they can ever walk in them? I mean, they’re HUGE!

But that’s just part of their thing. They’re used to it. But can you imagine if you or I tried to walk in them? We’d probably fall flat on our faces, wouldn’t we? Well, that’s the way I see trying to negotiate bipolar disorder without a plan. Yep. Trying to manage bipolar disorder without a plan is like walking in big clown shoes. Can you get the picture? It’s like I tell people all the time – you have to have a plan.

Without a plan, you have no sense of direction. It’s like a ship without a rudder. A cake without a recipe. A college degree without its coursework. Without a plan…How will you know what to do when your loved one goes into a bipolar episode? You have to have a plan. There’s just no two ways about it. Having a plan just makes sense. And it will make your life so much easier. It is hard enough trying to cope and deal with a loved one with bipolar disorder. Things are confusing and frustrating enough as it is. But with a plan…It can take away some of that confusion and frustration for you. There isn’t a whole lot that you have control over when it comes to bipolar disorder. And sometimes you can feel really helpless. It can get really overwhelming sometimes, too. But having a plan can give you that sense of power back. This is one thing over which you can have control.

There is a saying: “Life is 1% what happens to you…And 99% your reaction to it.” Having a good, strong plan in place will help you to control your reaction to what happens when your loved one does go into that inevitable bipolar episode. And what comes afterward. First of all…

Let’s deal with the beforehand. You need to be on guard. I’m not saying that you can never relax. I’m just saying that when it comes to bipolar disorder, you can never let down your guard and trust it. You always have to be on watch for any triggers, signs, and symptoms of a bipolar episode in your loved one. When you see one happening, you need to have a plan of action as to what to do: Call the psychiatrist first, increase in medication, hospitalization if necessary, etc.

Then afterwards, you need to sit down with your loved one and do what I call a Post-Episode Analysis, so you know better for the next time what to do and can improve your plan.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,




  1. My son will agree to visit Mental Health Department for an evaluation and services. He always bails out regardless of his initial agreement. People tell me that he should be let go on to the streets. That will be the only way to get my life back and hopefully get him to cooperate.

  2. How can I handle an adult son who refuses medication or treatment? He is living at home and works with his father 6 days a week but hardly speaks to me and avoids me if he can. After his last episode in Dec. where he tried to commit suicide, he will not trust anyone or anything that anyone wants to do for him. I made him sign himself into the hospital and he is angry at me. I’m at wits end.

  3. DAVE,



  4. Here’s a situation someone can help me out with. I have 2 children. One is extremly bipolar and the other is depressed.
    anytime my dau comes to see me, she gets too involved in my sons business. He is getting really mad and says if she touches one more thing of his, he’ leaving. My son is a high school graduate, goin to school ft and also has a job he is doing well at. It bothers me so much because i love both. Any ideas how i can resolve this situation

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