Keeping Priorities with Bipolar Disorder


I heard a saying the other day that I like a lot: “Keep the main thing the main thing.” I know it’s used in a 12-Step Program, but it can be used for other things as well. For instance, it can be used with bipolar disorder, when you’re talking about trying to cope and deal with it, or just trying to cope and deal with life in general. What am I talking about? I’m talking about priorities. Specifically, about keeping your priorities in order. That’s important in life, but especially important when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder. For example: If your loved one gets their priorities out of order…Say, they start to take on too many projects all at once, they can get overwhelmed. And many times, if a person with bipolar disorder gets overwhelmed, they can too easily go right into a bipolar manic episode. And it can take a long time to de-tangle them out of that episode. Because then it’s a matter of getting their priorities back in order. And that can take some time. The important thing is to keep them in order to begin with so that doesn’t happen.

Before you can keep your priorities in order, you first have to SET your priorities. You want your priorities to be well-balanced and healthy for you. For example: For a supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder, they often miss the main priority, believe it or not. Too many supporters believe that the main priority is their loved one. Well, it’s not. Now, some people might get mad at me for saying this, but I believe it’s important. Your main priority should be taking care of yourself first. Think about it. If you don’t take care of yourself, who else is going

to take care of you? And if you don’t take care of yourself FIRST, how are you going to be able to take care of anyone else? Even the airlines know this. It’s true: In pre-flight instructions, they always tell you that if the oxygen masks come down, to put yours on FIRST, and THEN put your child’s mask on them. That’s so that you can take care of them. That’s having your priorities in order. You can only take care of your loved one if you take care of yourself first. So your first priority should be to take care of yourself.

And there are other things that go along with that priority, of course. Like that you need to be well-balanced: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Like that you should keep a good sleep schedule, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, and exercise. In other words, you should keep yourself healthy, in all ways possible. That’s so that you can be the best “you” that you can

be, both for yourself and for your loved one. In that way, you’ll be keeping “the main thing the

main thing” as well.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. Dear David,

    You are on the main point,about the main thing staying the main thing. It is about setting priorities and the individuals’ wellbeing and being balanced in becoming wholesome person personally.

  2. This is soooo true, Dave….In the past, I’ve gotten so wrapped up in my husband’s struggles & behaviors, that it’s made me of no use to him or our daughter or others! I’m not sure if you allow it here, but I was introduced to a supplement that has TOTALLY transformed my husband!!!! I’m not sure how to effectively get the word out, maybe you should email me & we can share. He’s not overwhelmed hardly ever anymore, no more migraines, very infrequent anger & when he does get mad, he apologizes right away! I’m praising God for this discovery & would love to share with others…Oh & NO more depression & infrequent irrititability! If it’s ok I can post more info here or Dave can check into it with me & post himself…Blessings, Stacy

  3. First things first,being manic is hard to get a grip when you open up so many things and just cant seem to stop. Iam thankful for your letters that I make my-self stop and think about what you say….all i can say is , dont forget to breath!!

    Chow and keep up the good work.


  4. Dear David,

    This is an easy and effective tool (setting priorities). I am speaking from experience.
    It has helped me get the most from each day.
    Taking some alone time first thing in the
    morning: meditating, then writing in my Daily
    Journal, asking God to guide me through the
    day, then listing 4 to 5 things important to
    accomplish that day in their order of importance.

    I am the oldest person with Bipolar I know at age
    76, and have probably been Bipolar all my life.
    Throughout the years, I have come to realize,
    probably by 70 years of age that “staying out of
    the hospital had to be my primary goal.” All the
    rest come after that. It also took me that long
    to realize how very important it is to take my
    daily meds.

    I have been hospital-free for two years now, and will do everything in my power to try to make it

    I hope this mail will help some of my sisters and
    brothers with Bipolar, take this advice alot sooner
    than I did.

    Thank you for helping so many, with your good advice
    for staying well.

    My friends call me Jean.

  5. Dearest Jean, you lovely woman! I’m “catching up” to you at 64, and my last hospitalization was in 1977. To say that my goal was to be hospital-free is it in a nutshell. I, too, realize the importance of taking my meds religiously,and knowing WHEN to get them tweaked. I’m at the end (I hope) of a mini-depression that started after Thanksgiving. After my pdocs tweaked the meds (took them twice to get it right!), I can see the proverbial “light.” I’m wishing you GREAT GOOD LUCK in keeping episode-free; ALWAYS start with God, and you’re on the right track! Congratulations on making it THIS far!!

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I continue to pray for my country.

  6. Dear Virginia
    I hope you see this post. I was happy to hear from you
    and know your outlook is great! You have done so very
    well. I think being hospital-free since 1977 is quite
    a big deal. It gives me encouragement that I may be
    able to succeed in the future with all the changes I
    have made in my daily life.

    I would like you to know that my Baptismal name is also
    Virginia. If you care to write to me my email address

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