Bipolar: You Need to Take the Bad with the Good


There used to be an old nursery rhyme that went:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good
But when she was bad she was horrid!


I don’t know why that made me think of today’s topic, but it did: How you have to take the bad with the good when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder. Or maybe it should be the other way around if you continually dwell on the bad – that you might need to be reminded that underneath it all, there is still some good to be found. Just in life in general, there is both bad and good to be had. You don’t have to be dealing with bipolar disorder for that to happen. But it just seems to be amplified when you are dealing with the disorder.

Like the nursery rhyme line, “but when she was bad she was horrid,” sometimes what you have to go through can seem almost intolerable. But it could be just your subjective interpretation of
events – to someone else it might not seem so bad. Not to belittle what you have to go through as a bipolar supporter, because I know it’s rough. I know how bad it was for me when I was going through it with my mom.

But taking the bad with the good, you have to admit that there is some good in there. Even though the bad times are, as the nursery rhyme says, “horrid,” the good times are just as good.
And there are good times in between your loved one’s bipolar episodes, you’ve got to admit.

One of the facts I’ve talked about before is that someone with bipolar disorder only has about
4-5 full-blown episodes in their lives. It is a fallacy that they go from one episode to another
all the time. But it can seem like it sometimes, can’t it? Because you are there for the worst of it.

You know your loved one better than anyone else. You know the bad side of the disorder. You know firsthand what “horrid” means. Yes, it’s true that during episodes your loved one can get pretty out of control. But in between bipolar episodes, your loved one can be normal. So you have experienced those times as well. And you need those times to balance out the bad times.
Otherwise you wouldn’t still be with your loved one, would you? It would just be too hard to take. Too much bad all the time.

But it’s the good times that make it worth it to stay with your loved one. And the good times can be very, very good, can’t they? So you have to take the bad with the good. And you have to focus on the good in order to put up with the bad. It helps if you can separate your loved one from their disorder. Have you been able to do that? One supporter I know does this by keeping a photograph of him and his wife from when she was at her best, between episodes. He looks at this picture whenever his wife is in an episode and exhibiting acting-out behavior, so he can separate his wife from her bipolar disorder. Another supporter keeps a scrapbook of “best times”
that she and her sister have had.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,



  1. that nursery sounds like my Aunt Yanick – when under attack by the “noontime Demon” called DEPRESSION


  2. My daughter can have 4 and 5 episodes a month. Her version of the facts are usually distorted and I have learned to always back down and not correct the story even though I want to scream many times,”this is the way it is. Why must the truth not be told in order to maintain peace All the time”!
    It seems that only the bipolar person’s feelings and control of the household count.
    These people are very entertaining and personable which disguises the severity of the disorder to professionals therefore the help given is minimal and a diagnosis inaccurate.

  3. After living with my BP wife for over 50 years I can say that your premise of good with bad is valid in my case. The problem is human nature always remembers the bad because it is so intense while the good is fleeting and unpredictable. Like tonite for example. I went out to the store and returned to find her very upset about everything within her reach. So from “good to Bad” in less than 1 hour.
    These Mini episodes occur more frequently and unpredictablle than the “expected” good times. Meds help but this disease is very horrid.

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