Bipolar: What Do Hiking and Concerts Have in Common?


One of the things I like doing best is to hike. I go on long hikes sometimes. I take food and water with me and plan on being out all day. This is my idea of a good time. (I know some of you out there would disagree with me, though! ) But I plan for it. I take what I take with me because I plan on being out all day. What would happen if I went on an all-day hike and hadn’t planned to bring water with me? Or food? My energy would lapse…I would be thirsty…I would be hungry…And I would certainly not have a good time. All because I didn’t have a plan.

When it comes to bipolar disorder, you have to have a plan. You can’t just go out on your “hike” and not plan for it. Like, if you know you’re not going to be home when it’s time for your loved one to take their medications, you need to plan to bring them with you. If you are going on a trip, you need to plan ahead and bring enough medication for the whole trip. I mean, what would happen if your loved one ran out of their medication and couldn’t get it where you’re going? What if they even went into an episode because of it? What if they ended up in the hospital? All because you didn’t plan ahead. And that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? It would totally ruin your vacation or trip or whatever. So, when it comes to bipolar disorder, you have to think ahead. You have to plan.

What if large crowds make your loved one anxious? And what if you want to go to a concert where you know there are going to be a lot of people? You better plan ahead. First of all, you need to know to expect that there will be a crowd. But then you make a plan. Like you might plan on arriving early to avoid the crowd. You might plan to stay a short time after the concert to avoid the crowds trying to get out (all at the same time). You can get a seat where there is a good view in front of you instead of a bunch of people which might make your loved one anxious. You may have to pay a little bit more money for that kind of seat, but that’s part of your planning ahead. This is something you want to do, but in order to do it, you have to plan ahead.

You also need to have plans in place for bipolar episodes. It’s the same thing. Your loved one has had them before, so you should know what to expect. That way you can make your plan ahead of time should you see one starting to form. Don’t be surprised – Plan for it, so you’ll know what to do. For example: If you see your loved one start to exhibit signs or symptoms of an oncoming episode, you can call their doctor right away and get them help, so you can avoid a full-blown episode.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,




  1. We have a 15 year old daughter who has been treated for 7 years for early onset BP. Meds have been up and down in effectiveness as her body stages have changed, mostly focused on controlling her anxiety, ocd, and rapid cycling symptoms.

    Your analogy is a good one, but with often a 20 minute time of cycling from beginning to end of her episode, it is very different from what you describe. We have been very fortunate at her not going off meds and have not had to hospitalize her because of an episode. What have been your experience with dealing with the difference of early Onset and the very different experiences from adults with BP?

  2. dave,

    this past weekend while I was frying up some chicken and talking to one of my neighbors I realized just how true what you are saying is right. As a result of this past weekend, I have acquired a brand new “career” – neighbor counselor. how hilarious

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