Life Has No Limits – Does Bipolar?


Have you ever heard the expression “Life has no limits”?

It’s one of those sayings that motivational speakers use that try to get you to believe that you can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, go anywhere you want to go, and accomplish anything you want to accomplish in life. No limits.

And I agree with that.

But does the same thing apply to people with bipolar disorder and their supporters?

Think about it.

I volunteer at several bipolar support groups, and I’m not saying that if you go to a bipolar support group that yours is like this, but a couple of the ones I go to are like his. But they complain and talk about all the limits that bipolar disorder all of a sudden have put on their lives.

This isn’t how I talk about it in my courses/systems, though:







In my courses/systems, I talk about how if your loved one is on their medication and sticking to their treatment program, there is no reason that they shouldn’t be living a fairly normal life. And the same for you as a supporter.  Now, I know your loved one might feel that taking medication for the rest of their life isn’t fun and might feel limiting, but think about it (and tell them to think about it) – isn’t it more like the other way around? It’s really the medication that allows the limitations to be taken OFF your life when you’re living with bipolar disorder!

I teach people how to become high functioning, and what that means is that you learn ways to deal with the disorder so that you have way fewer episodes. Things like learning how to manage your disorder, manage stress, manage time etc.

When you can do that, your whole life is more manageable, and there’s no reason that, despite having bipolar disorder in it, life should have any limits for you or your loved one –  In other words, you (and your loved one) should be able to do anything you want to do, go anywhere you want to go, and accomplish anything you want to accomplish in life. No limits.

What do you think? Let me know.

David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. Taking pills for the rest of your life is not very appealing, but certainly the better option than going without when dealing with Bi-po or any chronic illness. What chaffs my butt is when they (Drs and Pyschs) will not increase a medication because you might become addicted to it! Like that really makes a difference when you are already addicted and will be taking it for the rest of your life anyways! There is a set amount to certain meds that you can’t exceed or the standards say you will become addicted to it. I say you can become addicted to anything, even aspirin.

  2. I am very interested in the Admin position you have posted and reading the job description carefully, I believe it would be great job for me(I worked as an HR generalist, for more than 2 years). Also, the bi-polars support activities would be a great challenge for me, as for any other medical person, I believe ( I am a dentist by profession).
    I would rather apply for the position, but I am not a US citizen and I live outside the US. If there is any on-line activity of job that I can do-I would be happy to apply, help, work or whatever else works for you

  3. Hello Dave,

    I must commend you on all you do for Bi-polar. I myself suffer with this horrible condition. I made my families life a living hell for so many years before i found out it was out of my control. I am 43, and did not realise what was wrong until i became suicidal 4 years ago. I just couldnt live with myself and the way i was hurting my family. I was hurting my husband and he loved me so very much. i lost him this past Dec. and i live with the fact that for 20 years i made his life miserable, and now he is gone. I take effexor and tegritol and i have found them to be a Godsend. I recieve SS disability and find it very hard to pay for my meds. now , and i am so scared i will have to go off them. I cannot imagine going back to being that person. I dont know that i would survive the depression. I pray for you and all the others who deal with this.


  4. I totally agree with Dave on this one..My 16 yr old grandson has grown accustome to hearing me say,:you can if you want to”. Nothing is impossible,it is your choice to be who you are. Bipolar or not.”.Thanks for your info.I have learned alot from you..Sincerly,Beverly

  5. Hi
    I am not sure where to start. I have a grown daughter with bipoler after reading everyting I can get my hands on I now realize she has had this all of her life. She is at the point now where it is out of control. She is on many medications which scares the hell out of me. I would not care if I thought they were helping her but they are not. Another problem is she lives so far away from me. To compensate for that I do a lot of talking and listening over the phone. I really me just trying to understand and help. Thanks Helene

  6. Dear Mr. Oliver,

    Thank you for taking the time every day to write. You keep me positive. What you said about no limits with medication is right on. I have had biploar since I was 15 and I am not 52. I thought when they finally diagnoised me it was a blessing because then I knew what I was dealing with. I don’t seem to be high functioning anymore. In August I am getting a new psychiatrist and am going to ask for a review of my medications. Well didn’t mean to take up so much of your time. Thank You for being as close as an email every day.

    sandie Porter

  7. Another thing with encouraging people to take their medicine, another danger is taking TOO much medication. As some one with BiPolar and a seizure disorder, I take medication 3 times a day. For years I have been using a box with 3 slots so that I can see at a glance if I have taken my meds or not. Life is busy and sometimes you wonder. Just like the just the right dose of medicine can do wonders, too much can be very harmful. In addition to increasing the side effects, you are doing damage to your liver and kidneys.
    When I was in middle school I had a very nasty bout of bronchitis that wasn’t clearing up. My mom took me to the doctor for treatment. Well, my doctor gave me an antibiotic and a cough syrup. Turned out I was allergic to something in the cough syrup and the antibiotic was not strong enough. After mixing and matching medication – and my doctor being on vacation – I started to feel better in my chest but became very sick to my stomach. It turned out that all the mixing of medication over the past few weeks had poisoned my body. The doctor was an idiot and said to my mom “Oh, no big deal! We just poisoned her.” Like it was an every day thing. My mom was livid.
    As I got older I made friends with a nurse. Turns out that poisoning due to the wrong amount or wrong mix of meds is VERY common and can be deadly! This is most common in older people AND people who take several medications at a time. I take 4 meds right now, and if I couldn’t keep them straight with my box, I could see how it is possible to poison yourself – even on accident.
    Just a warning! I don’t want what happened to me to happen to others. Develop a system so that you take your medicine(s) and are able to remember when and where you took them.


  9. Hi Dave I could not agree with you more. I have been diagnosed with manic depression, Personality disorder, Severe Mood Swings; PTSD Along with a lot of other things the Military does not want to admit. Point is that my Dr. and I have thru the years worked out a program working together with me being totally honest about my feelings and trying different medications until the right ones were found. It was not easy it took quiet some time in the hospital until we finally got it all under control and either I were not trying to either hurt myself or someone else. Point being I refuse to give in and kept fighting. I kept talking about my feelings and what was happening with 10 years and me later I am helping others with Bipolar to have a place to live and to learn to live with it. I show them that I am living proof that one can function “normally” (whatever that is). I was recently laid off because of other health problems and am currently looking for employment. But I am still running my house and taking care of bipolar people that come to me for help. Grant it most of them have other problems like Drug or Alcohol addictions some don’t. Just whatever God sees fit to send my way. Well hope to hear from you. Hope I can help in some way.

  10. AMEN and good for you, Dave. The ONLY limits any of us have are those we place upon ourselves or ALLOW others to place upon any of us.

  11. Dear Dave
    thank you for all the information and support.I live in Belfast Northern Ireland and sent my friend fo assessment as I felt he was bi-polar as well as Aspergers Syndrome..
    I have researched and there is no support group here or in the Republic of Ireland….the nearest is in Wales which has 12 support centres…and one in Scotland…so why is this region without support group..?
    your mails a re very valuable and greatly appreciated by me so thank you again

  12. I have a 19 year old daughter who has been diagnosed as PTSD (severe) and Bipolar (mild). Her father’s side of the family is rampant with mental illness diagnosed and not. It feels as if she is the next one in the line to have this illness.

    She alternates between tremendous rage and hatred and calm and motivated. She moved out of our home to attend college in San Francisco and her boyfriend went with her. He has a myriad of mental health problems as well. When she is doing okay – he is not doing okay. It seems that at this point he is going to return to his uncle’s home in southern California and she will be on her own. She is afraid to be on her own, but her doctors tell her and me that at this point she has not come to terms with her PTSD and it is extremely detrimental to her (as well as myself and my 12 year old daughter) to come to our home in southern California. She feels abandoned.

    At this point her care and housing is costing me a tremendous amount of money (I am widowed from her father who is the source of her PTSD). We have been lucky in that she has been deemed an overage dependent for my health coverage and that is a blessing for her.

    My fear is that my health is becoming affected by her bipolar. As a previous writer stated, her health is at risk so is mine. My blood pressure escalates when I hear her voice or see I have a text message from her. I am constantly tearful. When I am at work, I never know if a phone call will be her calling me with a huge problem.

    At this point her problems stem from non-compliance with her medications because she has not secured a psychiatrist in SF to maintain them. She went through a day program and learned a lot of good things to help her cope and referrals for doctors but she has not done the work to secure a psychiatrist.

    How do you motivate a 19 year old who is just starting her life, that she must follow the medication regimen, keep her doctor appointments, and accept that she has to take the medicine like anybody else with a significant illness? If I could see that she was trying, I might be able to relax.

  13. dear dave, you are sooooooooo right. anyone can be whatever they want to be! It just takes a little disapline, and dedication, and persistance, to follow your dream and become whatever it is you want to become. by the way, there are a number of programs that people with disorders can use to alliviate their problems. some are as easy as listening to subliminale tapes, or cd’s. some have to do with mentally tapping into the universe through a portal that is available to everyone, that provides the answers they are looking for. but knowing your own disorder, and getting help for it is key to the happiness that we all deserve. Anyone interested in gaining some of the knowledge that can cure some of the disorders found in bipolar people can contact me: I am more than willing to share and help any way I can. I also suffered from depression and bipolar until I found these remarkable programs. The best part about them is the fact that I no longer have to take any medications, or suffer any side effects! Thank God !

  14. I think that your philosophy is wonderful, Dave, but I don’t think that it’s realistic in 100% of the cases. Some people respond better to medication and therapy than others do. Some of us have screwed up our lives so terribly before we were diagnosed and started treatment that it may be impossible to ever overcome the wreckage we’ve made. Relationships can be damaged – some never have a good supporter – some will never be able to work again because, in spite of the best treatment, they’ll never be able to function that well.

    I think that you have had experiences, Dave, with people who have had a lot of “success stories” – including your Mom and many of the people who work with you, so I can see where you get your optimism. Many bipolar sufferers do all the right things – in terms of educating themselves and their supporters, taking their meds as prescribed, working hard in therapy… but still do not have stable moods. I don’t know why; I only know that it is true.

    I know you mean well, and that you have spoken to many people who have had recurring, very severe depressive episodes, but unless you’ve actually “been there” personally, there is no way for you to know what it is like. It grabs ahold of you and just won’t let go sometimes. Every aspect of a person’s life is affected when they are clinically depressed. No amount of “cheerleading” or trying to make that person feel optimistic about their future is going to be effective. People who are severely depressed are almost unable to hear what is being said to them. Their thinking is distorted, and they feel tremendously isolated, even when there are loving and caring people around them. There is no way to describe how deep and dark that hold can be.

    You know that at least 20% of bipolars end up committing suicide. Not all of that 20% do so because they don’t take their meds, don’t go to therapy, don’t have a supportor, etc. Some of them are just so very sick that, in spite of every effort, they are unable to survive the disease.

    I sincerely hope that no one reading this feels depressed or suicidal now, but I’ll bet that many, many people know what I’m talking about.

    You said, one day this week, something about how bipolar can be managed. For many (if not most), this is true. But it’s a disease very much like diabetes. Diabetes can usually be managed by watching their diet, taking their oral meds or taking their insulin, by carefully monitoring their glucose levels, and by seeing their Dr.’s frequently. But, for some diabetics, even though they do everything “right”, their diabetes can be very difficult, if not impossible, to manage. It can be fatal. So can bipolar disorder.

    For this subgroup of people with bipolar disorder, their disease is extremely resistant to treatment. There’s a whole other set of problems for those whose main nemesis is manic or hypomanic states. But for depression – it’s impossible to put how it feels into words that someone who has not experienced it can understand. They may be unable to “pull themselves up” by their bootstraps. It would be extremely unreasonable for them to have a positive lookout on the future.

    20% is a large amount of people (1 out of 5). These people have a different reality. EVEN IF they are doing everything they can to try to manage their bipolar disorder, some are just, through no fault of their own or their mental health professionals, they just won’t be able to conquer their disease. That is just the way it is.

  15. Ok, this is kind of a tricky one. Yes, everyone should be encouraged to, well ok I’ll say it though I hated that phrase when I was a kid, everyone has a potential and should be encouraged, helped and supported to work to achieve all they can given their limitations.
    Now before anyone freaks, I’m not saying that bipolar in and of itself needs to be limiting. I agree that support groups are often not the places to go to get motivated. I’ve had similar experiences with bipolar support groups and, for that matter, with twelve step groups and with support groups for other conditions, particularly those for supporters/caregivers who often feel an obligation to assume their roles but harbor resentment both toward the diagnosis and their loved ones. When I have led support groups, I have allowed time for people to vent. Some of them have no other people who will listen to them nonjudgmentally and that includes both supporters and survivors. However, while initial frustration and anger are normal, after all, some may view the need to take medication, to deal with issues such as self-medication, the need for a concrete action plan and the fact that they are mnore vulnerable to go into episodes if they don’t follow a sensible treatment plan, though I realize that a diagnosis of bipolar can be viewed either as a relief, because then you know what you’re dealing with and can proceed to take steps to increase functioning, I also know that some view it as a loss and are grieving for what they once had and now, at least temporarily, have lost. I realize that people generally go through the five stages of grief, though they overlap sometimes. I know everybody goes through that at different rates. But when I listen to the complaints, the floor is then opened for solutions, for what other people say has worked for them. During that time, the person who has presented a problem, such as anger over need to take meds resulting in medication noncompliance, must agree to listen to feedback before further commenting and then the comments have to be on the feedback, not diverted to another issue. This has worked sometimes for me when I’ve led support groups for people with disabilities, for blind people, for people with dissociative identity disorder (also known as multiple personality disorder) and for groups for depression and anxiety disorders as well as those for incest survivors, grief groups for widows, and even groups for teenagers. I remember in one of the several blindness groups which I led, every one of the people was older than me but none were totally blind. While such issues as giving up their cars, something which to them meant a loss of independence were dealt with with empathy and compassion and understanding by those who had been there, done that, the discussion would follow to ways they could get around, such as specialized medical transportation services, home health care, special transit, busses, taxis (occasionally since most were low income), rides with others who were going to the same places, offers to pay for gas in exchange for rides, (though with the current ridiculous gas prices I’m not sure that one would work now.) (lol) Running groups this way quickly weeded out the ones who were there solely to complain. Of course, it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t want them to leave, I just wanted them to be open to new ideas, new ways of coping so they could experience better quality of life. But you can’t force anyone to change except yourself and how you react to the crazy environment around you. I felt sad when someone dropped out but gratified if they came back later with a more positive mindset and were open to feedback. Sometimes, they even had good suggestions for newbies because they’d gone through the negative stuff and come through it for the better.
    Unfortunately, the DBSA groups in our area are pretty negative so I don’t go. NAMI isn’t very active here either and many NAMI groups I have been to were more geared to families than to survivors which is fine since that’s a lot of NAMI’s focus though they do have a recovery program for people with mental illness.

    But, as I said before, limits are tricky. I used to be in a program for children with disabilities called CHAP (children have a potential). Everybody has some potential and I believe should work to maximize it. But everyone is an individual with unique gifts and possibilities. I, for instance, have mentall illnesses and physical ones. I am totally blind and have spatial difficulties that some other blind people don’t have. So that along with the anxiety I constantly battle, makes it difficult for me in new surroundings. When I’m less stressed, when I’m not in episodes, I do better. But that is a limitation. At the moment and probably for the foreseable future, until they develop actual eye transplants that include the ability to connect with the optic nerve, it is unlikely that I will be able to see. So, I’ll bet you wouldn’t want me as your chauffeur. (lol) I’d have a better chance as an airline pilot because with the technology they have now, I might be able to get the computer system that runs the instruments to convert the information to text like my computer software does. But seriously, that wouldn’t work well either because it’s faster for a pilot to glance at the instruments and know what to do than it would be for a blind person to have to listen. It just takes longer. Now i know blind people who have done what would be incredible things even for a stable sighted person, such as mountain climbing (I’ve actually done that but not on one of the big, famous peaks, skydiving (in tandem, tethered to someone who could see) ski, (done that too, with an instructor with a walkie-talkie) my husband who is also blind did scuba diving for awhile. So ok, motivated people can do a lot. But the unemployment rate for blind people, even those who are well educated and trained, is always between 70 and 90 percent. Put one or more mental illnesses and other disabilities into the mix and life can seem pretty daunting. Limits? Well, I applied one time for what I thought would be a great job for me. I love to talk on the phone and an answering service was hiring. But they wouldn’t allow me to try the job, despite previous switchboard operator work and crisis hotline work, because their dinosaur mainframe conputer system was inaccessible to me. I pointed out that I could receive incoming calls and type messages, keeping a Braille copy for me in case there was a problem, and I could get them to the person by various means, which I elaborated. But they wouldn’t agree to try. I have had many such incidents. Limits? Our limits are more because of other people’s attitudes and discrimination than because we actually have limits. We are perceived by others to have limits and, though we may really not have them in an ideal world, we are often forced to bend to the negative attitudes of prospective employers and the general public as well.
    I won’t bore you with further details except to say that I have been able to do some jobs without disclosing my “hidden” disabilities like mental illness and diabetes etc., at least for awhile until I go into an episode or something. But I know, at least for things like employment, access to such basic things as, say, a sign on the door of a rest room or some restaurant menus, the physical disabilities, which are also often not understood by an ignorant and often unwilling to be educated public, have caused me more problems than some of the more hidden ones.
    A survey was done a number of years ago which listed about 25 disabilities including “hidden” ones as well as obvious ones. At the time, people were asked to rank the disabilities in order from the one they would least like to have to the one they would most be able to manage. In the first survey, blindness was ranked at the top as the disability the participants would least like to have. In a subsequent survey it was ranked second and I forget which was first. People have postulated that this is because of the primeval fear of the dark and the fact that people depend so much on sight, that they say at least 75 % of learning is visual etc.
    With blind people, though some are in employment in private companies, that is often because a state agency has intervened to help provide training and support. Most work for government agencies, some in make-work programs, or they work in blindness rehab agencies, teach at schools for the blind or teach blind children in schools, work in sheltered workshops like Goodwill and/or the Lighthouse for the Blind. Although I am a good musician and music teacher, music is still often considered a very stereotypical career for blind people though many are talented, few become truly successful.
    Interestingly, Governor Paterson (I think he’s governor of New Jersey?) is legally blind but does not know Braille, does not use a mobility aid such as a guide dog or white cane and, though he has served for several years on the board of the American Foundation for the blind, downplays his visual impairment rather than telling the world, “See what I’ve been able to do? You can too!” But his reaction is typical of many people who are considered legally blind (20/200 in the best eye with correction or no less than 20 degree field of vision) who can often hide that disability. It is true that some prefer to hide it rather than explain some of their visual difficulties, such as being able to see better when it’s cloudy than when it’s sunny or being able to see sometimes better than others) but, just as paraplegics and quadriplegics, those with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities, sometimes people who are profoundly deaf, can not hide their disabilities. They face them every day and every day they face other people’s reactions to them, many of which are fear, ignorance, lack of respect and outright discrimination.
    When I was a child, unwanted, told that I would be mentally retarded and shoved into institutions where girls were routinely “sterilized” so we wouldn’t produce any more blind kids like ourselves, even if our blindness was not hereditary. There was horrific abuse, both by schools and family. It was only when I got out that I started trying to make a life for myself and by that point I had tried to run away numerous times, had two suicide attempts, the first at age nine, and was finally diagnosed as bipolar, with more diagnoses to follow. But I have completed several college degrees and worked successfully at teaching jobs, clerical jobs, phone work, medical transcription, and won awards for writing and for crafts. I try to encourage everyone I deal with to do the best you can with what you have. If I can do that, then the limits I may have are most often due to other people’s ignorance and closed mindedness. But not all of them.
    There’s an old joke that Bob Hope used to tell about a friend of his who was a blind golfer. Actually, Bob Hope was very involved with the Blind Golfers Association, going to tournaments, lending his name to publicize and legitimize (in the eyes of the public) the sport. Anyway, one of the association members bragged that he could beat Bob Hope fair and square with no “handicap” (used the sports way as in bowling, giving someone a few strokes or pins as a start so they don’t start from scratch). Bob agreed. So Bob said, “Let’s set up a time to meet for this historic match.” “Sure,” said the blind golfer. “I’ll meet you at the first tee at midnight.”
    There are positive things to many situations. I used to get away with reading Braille at night when the lights were out. I used to love leading sighted people around when there was a power outage. I’d tell them we were out of candles and there were no batteries left for the flashlight. So you find the positives. You know, for instance, that many high-functioning people with disabilities do the job well. Even in the Bible, when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, then left to rot in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, though people meant it all for evil, it was used for good when Joseph became a great leader in a foreign land. The same can be said for Daniel.
    Limits? Yes, we do have them. Sometimes, they are imposed by others. Sometimes, we need an attitude adjustment. Sometimes they are not true limits, but a person is so weighed down with the negative that the positive is difficult to see. Sometimes our limits are self-imposed. Sometimes they are caused bbby the bipolar only in that one must take meds, get adequate sleep, diet etc. as with diabetes, so perhaps you have to say no to certain activities in which you formerly engaged. This can sometimes mean you have to turn down being in a situation that is overly stressful and could trigger an episode. That’s plain common sense and good self-care. Is it a limit? Maybe in the short term. Sometimes we have to accept certain things that we perceive to be limitations in order to yield something better down the road.

  16. Dear Dave,

    I know I signed up for your newsletters,but I don’t really know if I have Bipolar.

    As a child I was diagnose as emotionally disturb. I wasn’t medicated till I was an adult with Prozac I worked find. The doctor I was seeing lost her right to practice, and the new doctor felt I didn’t need it. I was off the meds for a year and a half before I crashed I quit my job and stayed in bed for weeks.

    my moods go from sad to suicidal,I have days when I am happy and I go out, but is not long before I am back to my room in my bed.

    my children think its a joke and I’m faking and they laugh at my expense.

    I just want to be well so I can go hiking too.

  17. Dear Dave,
    Thank you for replying to my e-mail.
    I am not interested in the jobs.
    The reason I wrote you is because my granddaughter was just diognosed with Bipolar.
    Really, I wanted more information. However, I have to leave this up to my daughter.She is so stressed out over this diognosis after taking her to
    therapists and psychiatrists for about 12 years,(the girls age is 17)

    This was found through a evaluation. Now, my daughter will not talk to me or any one else.So I don’t think I can go any further than getting infor-mation, which I already got.

    Thanks again for the reply

  18. Hi,
    Just wanted to ck to see if job opening has been filled, is it a stay at home job ? I worked for NC Dept. of Public Instruction for 13 years, office supervisor. I am a good data entry person and have lots more skills. I am dependable and trustworthy.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my email.
    Carolyn P. Pate

  19. Ihave adaughter 40years old who swears she has a hormone disorder.
    I cannot get her to a Psyh Doc because she says they are all idiots. She taking steroids for her hormones and this makes her moods worse. The other day she told me in an e-mail she cannot stand me. She argues with all her friends and doesnot have a good suppot system . I don’t know what to do anymore because there is no communication, this makes it easier
    for her not to face the truth. Please give me some advice as to what to do.

    Very Grateful, BarbH

  20. Hi Dave,
    I want to first of all say; Thank you for all the hard work that you and your team in the trenches do. It always helps to get up and turn on the computer to see a e-mail from you. I don’t always get to them all right then. I never delete them. I save them for a day when i get the chance to go back to them. And today was one of those days. I have been having a difficult time for the past month or so, but u could say it has been a difficult yr. for my partner. Her health is a HUGE ELEPHANT in the room. she has a lot of health problems. they include being dietibic. Sorry i tried like 6 times to spell that right and still can’t. but i hope it is close. but back to my point. she and I have bipolar. she has mpd or did, whichever is the correct term now a days. i have ptsd and i am a self mutiladter, cutter, sorry couldn’t spell that one either. but the point is her health has not been very good for the past yr. my mental health lately has been stable.
    until now. i have been having a rough time. but i am trying to stay strong and not back slide. that is very hard for me right now. i am on my med’s correctly. i have a good team to support me. what i don’t have is her to support me. it has been a while and i get frustrated by that. i am also afraid that i will lose her to her aliments. that is what shakes me to my core. i have a quote that one of my special friends said to me which works well most of the time. “CUTTING IS NOT AN OPTION!” WHICH IT ISN’T!
    i also have another quote from her which helps me , that i would like to share. this one gets me through the times when i think i am all alone in this. “YOU ARE NOT ALONE YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH YOURSELF!” Which means to me that, if you feel alone you can always reach out and give yourself a HUG when there is no one else to do it for you. it doesn’t mean it is easy or that it will take all your troubles away but it is a place to start!
    i am just having a hard time accepting that i could lose my partner and then how do i go on from there? that is the question? i am trying to find some answers for myself and maybe for others who have a similar situation. and Dave don’t let the people who write and say that you are wrong in this get you down. it is only that they just don’t have the skills they need yet to fully understand what you are really trying to do for our community! Today you have been a godsend to me. And hopefully a lot of others.
    God Bless, and may the Angels come to you ear tonight and whisper my warmest wishes for a peaceful nights sleep~ Amen

  21. Hey Dave, i also wanted to send a HUGE HUG TO ANYONE TODAY WHO MAY NEED ONE~ JEAN

  22. Sorry, but I can’t agree with telling people there are no limits. That’s setting people up for big disappointments because the sky is NOT the limit.

    You want to work for MI6, the UK overseas espionage organisaton? Is that possible? Hey, I’m British, I’m well educated – I’ve got a MA and (ahem!) I even have some “private experience” in that area of work, too. Got to be an ideal candidate, right? Wrong because they don’t employ anyone who is Bipolar.

    Okay, what about MI5, the Security Service? You are disabled? Then you can’t work for them either.

    You want to be an airline pilot? Have you got 20:20 vision? No? Then you can’t be an airline pilot.

    You want to joint the Navy? How’s your hearing? Deaf in one ear? You can’t join the Navy.

    You want to be a Cop? How high are you? 4’8″? Forget it.

    You want to be a professional flat race jockey? How big are you? 6’2″? You can’t be a professional jockey.

    You want to be a nuclear physicist? You only have an IQ of 90? Forget it.

    There are lots of things that each individual cannot over come to be whatever they want. Sure, there are many things that we can achieve if only we believed in ourselves. Why, you’ll all have heard of Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin. He’s severely dyslexic! So too is Michael Heseltine, and he was once the Deputy Prime Minister of Britain. But to suggest that anyone can do anything they want is to set them up for great disappointment and potential damage to their mental health, and we have enough trouble with that as it is! Remember the Total Quality Management trend amongst businesses and other large organisations? TQM suggests that total quality is possible, that you can do a job up to a near ferfect standard of Quality most of the time. You can’t. When my bank, the Fire service, local government and other organisations in the Liverpool area adopted TQM, the medical psychologists were never busier, having their clinics filled with managers with smashed self confidence and low self image because they couldn’t perform to the Quality targets derived from TQM. They hit their limits and were psychologically crushed by the experience.

    There is much we can do if we are prepared to push at the boundaries, if we make a hard effort and believe in ourselves to accomplish more, if we constantly challenge ourselves. But we can do anything! That’s what kids think. “When I grow up I’m gonna be an astronaut….” As adults we must learn to accept the things we cannot do and enjoy the things we can.

    What we need is realism, not fantasy.

  23. Before I was diagnosed with a mental illness at 20 (1968), I was a lively, ambitious, quite talented AND smart young woman. I had even achieved my dream job in the Senate! Not a week later, I was in the psychiatric ward of the hospital, with the label of “schizophrenic.” Well, it has all been downhill since then.

    I have a tendency to agree with Graham – we bipolars DO have limits. Not only are we constrained by taking our medications and visits to DRs and therapists, but our self-esteem is in the toilet. As the old saying goes, “My nerves are shot.” I take PaxilCR for panic attacks and anxiety; Valium to “bring me down,” and the antipsychotics, Depakote and Zyprexa. Not to mention, the Fentanyl patch and Percocet for unrelenting back pain. I could no more do what I did at 20 than I could fly. “The stuffing has been knocked out of me.”

    I was, however, a landlady for 30 years. And – I was a good one, running the house, taking care of repairs, interviewing tenants and making sure they paid their rent on time. I even had to let some of them go for non-payment of rent. Yes – I functioned, but barely. I was married twice, and am now twice-widowed.

    I’m NOT on a “pity-pot,” here, Dave, just trying to explain that it is NOT that easy for people with bipolar to “be all you can be.” The neurons or synapses in our brains don’t work like yours does. There is a chemical imbalance in our brains. We are not, and never will be, “normal.” The most we can hope for is to be highly-functional enough to carry on day-to-day activities without “flipping out.”

    All three of my hospitalizations were for mania. But – I understand what Sue from OH is saying about depression. They’re just “polar opposites” of the same disorder. When the statistics say that 1 out of 5 bipolars commit suicide, there IS a problem there. My heart goes out to ALL bipolar survivors and their supporters. Unfortunately, I have no supporter living with me; only the Community Mental Health center here. I like the idea from above about “giving ourselves a hug.” I NEED one…

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you ALL real good.

  24. Thank you Dave for all your emails that are so encouraging and give knowledge and understandig in dealing with our loved ones bipolar problems. Unfortunately you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. In the case of my loved one he
    doesnt need help at all there must be something wrong with me for even suggesting such a thing.
    He is happy with his ups and downs and with his excuses, lying and cheating (I think
    he does cheat but cannot prove it). It is a very comfortable life not to be accountable for ones actions especially the fits of anger, the abusive speech ,the humiliating things that the supporter has to endure and at times some physical abuse the supporter has
    been given.
    The spending sprees that amount to huge debt that will never be paid. Being completely irresponsible, not having to worry about bills, etc.
    Making friends believe that he is perfectly alright, everyone else is the problem.
    Thank you so much for the education you are giving me free of charge – understanding the problem is very helpful to me. As the supporter I just feel like I am spinning my
    wheels, getting nowhere. with my loved one.
    I feel that he needs help now but I cannot force a grown man to do what is good for him.
    Educating himself about his illness is not something that he wants to do.
    Maybe I just need to learn more to be able to be more effective.
    We have separated as the abuse escalated and there seems to be no end to his present episode. AT least today, he seems to be content with his new found entertainment. Please keep sending you emails – I enjoy them very much and I have learned many things so far. Thank you Natalie

  25. To GRAHAM: Backatcha!! I needed that “hug” tonight, especially. Nice to know someone cares 🙂

  26. Dave from what I read the first time you have gone through some discouraging and disheartening times in dealing with you mother until you found the effective way to help her. I believe that you will understand that I am going through the same things myself.
    Teach me how to do better please. Natalie

  27. Hi Dave:

    Thank You, for all the info that you always provide to all of us, that have to support a Loved One, with this condition!! I truly believe, that we can do anything we want if we really want it that bad. But it is also a shame that a lot of our loved ones have the help at the palm of their hands and don’t do anything to take advantage of it!! It is very sad, that is what is happening with my qualifier, he refuses to go and get help, he thinks he is in control of the situtation, and he is killing himself w/crack,meds/alcohol.

    Regards to all,

    May God Bless you all!!


  28. You sure are right about that i hope my friend stays on her med as long as it will take> I feel she is the greats person i know,i love her

  29. i would like to hear more because i,m marrying a man that i love dearly ad he has bipolar ad i understand him but sometimes he can get irrated but i understand him ad we get along great ad he dosen,t mind talking about his bipolar ,his doctor wants to write a book about him i would like to hear your reponse it would be very much appreciated

  30. To CAROLYN: If you love your man even though he has bipolar disorder, before you get too involved, ask yourself a couple of questions. Is he under treatment – does he take his medications and see a psychiatrist/therapist? How long have you known him? Have you ever seen him in an episode, or is he just “pulling the wool over your eyes,” and behaving well to “put you off?”

    Bipolar disorder takes many forms. As you read the other posts on these blogs, you may even get curious as to whether your boyfriend would exhibit any of these behaviors.

    And, most of all, are you prepared for a life with this man with whatever insecurities and self-esteem issues he might have.

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck; just be sure you go into this relationship with your eyes WIDE open. May God bless you real good.

  31. Dave:
    I am quite sure that my son (age 29) is bipolar. With the help of my daughter we have been looking into what we can do. He has resisted help from qualified professionals in the past. We are both getting information on the disease and trying to figure just what to do from here. I will continue to read the information that you send and will come up with a “plan” soon. Any ideas?
    There is a support group in our area which we will begin to attend.

  32. First to Lisa (I think) about not being able to afford your meds. Many of the pharmaceutical companies offer free meds or co payment of $5 ish.Get the name of the company from dr. and call and request application. it all goes through your doctor. Meds are sent there. I have done this many times over the years.
    I see everyones point of view on doing anything. We can do many things we don’t think we can but we must stay on meds. and avoid stressful situations and jobs.
    I have been bipolar and PTSD plus on physical disabillity from injury over 20 yrs. I have found when my pain level is up I can feel an episode coming (anxiety, irritable, seclusion etc)
    I am not sure why but I feel like the last 3 yrs I am slipping slowly. I don’t want any more friends (I have a couple). I would rather be in my house. I have been looking for a part time job which is difficult but when I had one before I did feel more useful, contributing and some reason to get up. Right now I don’t.
    I go to NAMI meetings sometimes but hard to get myself to go now.
    Good luck to all and thanks Dave. I would buy some of your aids if I had any money.
    God’s blessings to all- Barbara

  33. One last thing I forgot to mention. If you take alot of supplements as I do you can take small little dixie cups and label as you need to (i.e. am, noon, pm). fill them up and then stack, in order. That way you also know if you remembered or not, good idea?? It works for me for many years now. Good luck.
    Another thing I want to mention and I hope I am not offensive to anyone. My faith in God has saved my life many times. I am never alone and he’s never let me down. He is my savior.
    God’s blessings again – Barbara

  34. GRAHAM, I totally agree with you. We all have limits, bipolar or not. Only if you have pots of money you can rise above most limitations. It’s usually my finances which create most of my limitations. The only chance I have of ever having my own home again is by winning the lottery. My boyfriend is on disability pay and I am self-employed part time. Even if I could get more work I would never get a 90% mortgage at my age.

    In the “Nutty Nineties” we were always told we could get everything we want just by concentrating on or visualising it. Books were published and workshops were held on the “power of the mind” and “no limits” that made some people believe they could cure themselves of cancer (or possibly bipolar) just by saying affirmations. There were even some people who believed they could grow new teeth. Miracles happen to one in ten million, so you have a higher chance of winning the lottery and then you can buy new teeth (lol).

    As Graham says rightly, if you set your aims too high you will get badly disappointed when you don’t reach them. Dave said in several previous emails that you should set goals within your reach and work towards them, not expect miracles.

    My boyfriend believed there were no limits to what he was able to do, during his manic episode. Now he is stabilised and can see his boundaries clearly in front of him. Dave, I agree with a lot of your emails and most of your advice is really helpful, but not this one.

  35. Hey Dave – I read over your job descriptions. Do you ever use part time people? I ask because I am on disability and can’t loose my benefits. I can earn so much money a month without going into a 9 mo. work program. I believe it is about $650. I would have to look it up. There are probably others on disability that would like to know .
    Thanks for your response.
    Barbara B.

  36. bipolar man is or should i say women are very unprdictable.. one day he laugh with frens and programmed to go for hike or movie and the very night he will not even take the phone call of his fren he dont want to talk to anyone and sleeples in bed helplessly thining about god and suicide. he tell to himself how come is is in this world and on what ground god has punished him or her with this nasty disease which he wont like to have to his worst enemy…

  37. I would like to believe that we can be whatever we set in our minds to be if we have the ability to do the work. We certainly should not expect to be all things to all people but, we must work at setting realistic goals and achievements for ourselves given certain circumstances.
    I am indeed encouraged when I see a person that has a physical handicap or may have autism and are able to accomplish so much in spite of the condition. I believe that there are circumstances such as environment, economic status, religious beliefs, attitude and habits that play major parts in what we place limits on.
    We are all unique individuals with our very own thoughts, DNA, looks, etc… and we should not expect everybody to be able to achieve, learn, behave, or respond at the same level. If someone is really doing the best they can, then that should be good enough.
    If a person is not able to be all that they can be because of a mental condition that they can not control no mater how much support they have or how much medication they take, then that’s when there are exceptions to the rules.
    If we were all the same then it would be insignificant. We are here for each other to love, and share, to give and teach each other what really matters. I am no rocket scientist, No doctor, or lawyer, hell I don’t have a degree. But, dose that make me a failure. What constitutes no limits, doing anything, being whatever you want to be. For Who? If you are not mentally stable, all the aforesaid mentioned won’t mean a thing. Being able to adjust to life unexpected blows and create some balance in between so that we can handle to some degree what we or nobody else can fix is in and of itself no limit.
    It takes more that effort, medication, support and desire, to overcome the debilitating effects of mental illness, It takes acceptance and divine intervention through our belief and faith that we are worthy of all that life has to offer and act accordingly.
    To much of anything is not good for you, but lack of necessity can rob you of life simplest pleasures.
    Set no limits on self love and the love you share.

  38. Barbara says, “We can do many things we don’t think we can but we must stay on meds. and avoid stressful situations and jobs.” Good example. It was the stress of what comes with being a head of a research department in a major bank that triggered my current BP. It would be very unwise for me to go back to that kind of job again, not in such an organisation as that – so, there’s a limit to what I can realistically achieve.

    As Nightlady points out, your teachings in the past have said goals have to be realistic, Dave. This is clearly incompatible with now saying you can do whatever you want, or am I missing something? Have I misunderstood? (I often do, esp. in manic-mode!)

  39. Good morning, David,

    First of all : many thanks for all this info you sent me.
    I think I have bipolar. But, when reading some of your correspondence, I wonder if you are not the pharma labs’s best ally for them to sell me, ZYPREXA, (or other medication -actually to me : they are “drugs”), for example. I do not want to read about people praising medication. ZYPREXA, for example, being a very DANGEROUS medication to my eyes.

  40. Marylise

    I’m sure David can defend himself but I would like to say I have been reading David’s blogs for quite some time and he has NEVER “promoted” drugs. What he HAS said is that, if you have Bipolar, take the medication or you will die. He is quite right about that. Bipolar is a fatal disorder IF it is not treated, and treated appropriately. Remember, BP has something like a 15%-20% rate of mortality, which is higher than many types of cancer. Indeed, it’s probably higher because many people who kill themselves are never diagnosed, for obvious reasons. Almost all those who die will have not taken their medication. So, it’s obvious – and responsible – for him as a counsellor of people with BP to tell them unequivocally, to take their medication, to work with their doctors to get the right balance of medication.

    Sadly there are a tiny percentage of people who never respond to medication, and they probably end up dead, too. But I would bet anything you like, most of those who die (often horribly) will have stopped their meds because they imagine they can survive without them, or that they should be able to do so.

    As for drugs being dangerous … ALL drugs are dangerous. Even common head cures you can buy over the chemist. Even the stuff you can buy in health food shops. Take too many Paracetamol a and they will trash your liver. Even in normal doses, Asprin has caused some people to die with internal bleeding. Take St John’s Wart and you’re BP, you can have a fatal manic episode. Nothing is safe. But we take that risk because life can be quite intolerable without the medication. I stuff 225mg of Lamotrigine down my throat every day to help control my BP although I’m not stable yet. But I don’t give a fig what damage that stuff will do in the long term because it keeps me alive now. Without it I’d have checked out of life a long time ago, just as I tried to do before I was diagnosed.

    So, maybe what David says, what I have said, could in some minuscule way benefit the Pharma industry. So what? They don’t always do a good job but they do make all kinds of stuff that give people a quality life, or even save their lives. I have a friend with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Without chemo-therapy he’d have been long dead. But he’s recoving and in remission. What’s wrong with that? Without the Pharma industry “witches” would still be failing to cure cancers with eye of toad, the juices from bat wings or tiger’s penis and such like rubbish. People would be dying and horribly so. So, what is wrong with an industry making sure that doesn’t happen by supplying, and creating new, drugs that help people live?

    (I have to say I don’t work in the pharma industry, never have done, and never will do because if I did and my animal rights friends found out, THEY’D probably kill me, never mind the BP or the medication!)

  41. When I read your letters I see hope at the end of the tunnel.
    My 13 year old daughter has given us a run for our sanity, and we are still trying to find the right mix of meds to stop the voices so she can continue her schooling. Thank you for your information, I would love to buy your books but of course I can not afford them. I would like to know how long it takes to find the right mixture of meds for my child to be stable. She is a very loving child which at times she still is she just isn’t stable.

  42. It is a relief to know that there are many other people out there with similar problems. I have a 12 year old daughter that has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For years I thought that it was my fault (poor parenting skills). Counseling and medication have brought her a long way and also help me to manage difficult situations alot better. I realize that it will be a long and sometimes hard road, but there is hope.

  43. While medication goes a long way towards stabilizing, you do not touch upon one of the more sticky aspects of bipolar, namely the fact that some sufferers have adapted to, like and depend upon their disorder. I am referring to people (I am living with one) who use their manic phase to carry them through busy times at work. This person even takes on more work thatn he can handle, then begins to cut down on sleep in order to get himself “high” and, Boom, he’s there! He can handle any workload, go 48 hrs without sleep. The corporate world rewards this behaviour and does not see it as dangerous at all.

  44. sun. Yep, that’s the modern corporate world – work you till you burn out. I used ti work in a department of around 30 people Around 8-10 of them/us took time off work sick with stress in side of a year. That’s a hellava proportion but the company didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong. All they said was “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” And they could say that because they knew that any of us could be replaced by more young bucks ready to show their metal and slavish loyalty and commitment to an organisation that didn’t give a monkey’s about them!

    You may think this unkind but I was rather pleased when I heard my ex-Head of Marketing, after moving to anothger job with a different company, had to resign from the post due to stress … she was once heard to complain about me when I was off work with stress, “Why’s HE off sick? We’re ALL under stress but WE’RE here!” Well, now she knows what stress can really do, and I hope she treats her people in the next job she takes with a bit more consideration.

  45. Hey, I just wanted to say that I am bipolar and sometimes I have a hard time keeping things together. I am currently trying to recieve unemployment and also trying to get disability. Has anyone been there?

  46. Sorry, I got interrupted. I am very interested in any position that I would be able to earn money at. I have a Word Processor’s Degree, which I earned at Great Onyx Job Corps Center CCC in April, 1998. I feel that I am qualified for atleast a customer service position. Thank you for all the warmth and consideration that is shown in the process of picking out the right kind of applicant.

    I would also like to add that I also have two children. Eight year old Katie and three year old Jesse. What a blessing children are. But I am afraid of not making a living to support them. I am tired of haveing to depend on the government to support my children and myself.

  47. I tried to click on the additional forms links, but couldn’t. I already printed 10 of the 19 pages of application(don’t you think this is a little long?) Today I will print the other 9. I’m only allowed 10 free prints a day here. Is there a way you could mail the other forms to me, or tell me where I could pick them up? The I-9 form is pretty standard, and so is the W-2. I’ve never heard of the other two, though.

  48. Dear Dave,
    I’m excited to receive your course. I’m in hope of being better able to help my daughter with this problem. She is still waiting for her appointment so she can get meds. Right now she is taking bee pollen to help and it is helping. Her episodes seem less frequent and and my talks with her seem to calm her. That being said I know it is still best to get as much working info as possible.
    The reason I mention this is because having gone through a similar adventure with my wife in the end the best nutrition helps we could find seemed and for my wife did work. She did take meds for 3 1/2 years
    and her psychiatrist told my wife he was going to wean her off the meds
    ansee how she was doing. That started us worrying again and searching and praying even more diligently and our prayers were answered because a woman introduced us to the wonders of bee pollen and as I said it was an answer to our prayers. Now I am not saying this is the answer for everyone but it was and is a godsend to us. It has been 18 years since my wife started taking bee pollen and has not needed meds for her depression since.
    During the time my wife was on the meds and was seeing her psychiatrist certain vitamins seemed to help her while on the medication she was taking. When she was weaned from her meds the bee pollen took over and that is all she has needed to help her stay in control. Her Dr. seemed to be in agreement and we haven’t had to see him since Nov. 1990. I mention this because as I read the other article you sent me in regards to omega 3 oils it made me think that this too might be another help for my daughter.
    I wonder why I need to endure this trial again this time through my daughter (my selfishness showing, sorry) but I know I will be able to make it and so will my daughter as long as I learn what I need to learn.

    Thank You Dave

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