The Bipolar Disorder “Chip” Revealed


How’s it going?

Hope you are doing well.

I am so annoyed, I have a leak in my bathroom.
It’s the craziest thing. It started out as a drip
and now it’s a steady stream of water.

Anyway, I have to go quick today and
get it fixed.

Also, two people asked some really
good questions yesterday on my blog.

Graham N said…

I am curious.
You often mention your great staff and how most
of them are Bipolar or have some other mental
illness. I presume they all have episodes at
some time or other, hopefully not all at the
same time! (Or do they? Does the episode of
one trigger similar in another?)

How do you manage this kind of situation?
How often does it happen?”

Marina said…
“Like Graham, I am also interested in how your
staff might feed off of each other when having
episodes as that happens within our family
with different bipolar people.

Also, I read your postings for supporters
everyday and notice that you appear to have a
tremendous amount of energy and a variety of
activities that you are personally involved in.
Do you have a wife and children — a family of
your own? Anyone other than your mother with

And, doesn’t your very active life
have an effect on any of your bipolar staff/family?
It has been my experience with both of the individuals
who have bipolar in my family that any type of
over-activity can stimulate an episode in them.
Please address this for your readers. Thanks.”

I will be addressesing these questions in a featured
article that I will post really soon.

Okay, here’s today’s headline:


You know the old saying about a “chip
on your shoulder” and about someone
having one?

Well, first let’s talk about what it means
before we talk about someone having one
or not, ok?

So what do we mean when we say that
someone has a chip on their shoulder?
We mean that they have something
bothering them that never goes away.

This can even lead to a bad attitude,
that other people can see, if they’re
not careful.

The point is that it’s something that
they carry around with them. Some-
thing that they still haven’t worked
out. A burden, you could say.

Like a trigger to a bipolar episode,
that lays beneath the surface until
it’s aggravated, and then it goes off.
That’s the bipolar chip!

See, there are some people who have
bipolar disorder that walk around with
a bipolar chip on their shoulder. Who
have let the disorder become a burden
to them.

Who may even walk around with a
bad attitude, or a victim mentality
because of the bipolar chip on
their shoulder.

But you see, you don’t HAVE
to walk around with a chip on
your shoulder, especially a bipolar

If you have bipolar disorder, and you
have read my courses, you know that
you should have a support system,
and a good support system is there to
help you, to keep that bipolar chip OFF
your shoulder!




Having someone help you, like a good
supporter, will help to make your burdens
lighter, and will help keep you from
having a bipolar chip on your shoulder.

Then your burden is lighter, and you
can concentrate on the things you
should be concerned about – like
managing your disorder!

Someone with bipolar disorder who
does NOT have the bipolar chip on their
shoulder is one of those who it’s harder
to tell that they even have the disorder.

Your friend,


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  1. David,
    I really like the way you have used the idea of chip on ones shoulder and related it to people with bipolar, I can so relate to that, Bipolar when in extremes for me is like this annoying bug that wont go away, I have been diagnosed with bipolar for two years, and someone who I can relate to is my cousin older than me who also has bipolar and we are able to talk about how it is for both of us, have understanding for each other. I am working at the moment with a very good therapist who is helping me, being firm, but caring, which is what I’ve needed for a long time. So I’m so glad to hear your BD Chip email, to know that I’m not alone out there, Cos sometimes having BD is a very isolating illness, and support is a vital way of keeping well.

  2. The article about Bipolar being a “chip on your shoulder” is true indeed. I was diagnosed with having Bipolar last year March. I was put on 5 different tablets. I have since cut down & am only taking 3 of which was prescibed to me. I started out as having panic attacks but to a very bad degree. I was hospitalized for a week & told I have Bipolar. I had alot of problems with my child’s father from teh time I was pregnant. She is now 5 yrs old & I have met my soon to be fiance 2 and a half yrs ago who changed my life. I know that I can beat this illness with him & by my side & helping my through this ordeal. My daughter is also the reason for wanting to fight this. I want to lead a normal life.

  3. Hi,
    I’m 58 year old woman diagnosed with bi-polar at 28. It’s traced to both paternal and maternal sides of family. Have not your traditional mood swings, but hospitalized on 4 separate times with severe manic episodes due to stressful events in life. Unfortunately, anti-psychotic and large doses of stabilizing bi-polar medications have paradoxical effect. Even in severe manic and agitated state of mind, I still have perfect memory; but doctors never listed and only prescribe more medications which in turn trigger more mania. I’m getting a medical power of attorney to protect my rights in event of another hospitalization to document my adverse reaction to traditional drugs. Basically, I’ve lived 30 years as unmedicated bi-polar person but to take meds for sleep issues. Again not your traditional sleep medications because I too am unable to sleep on Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata – reverse effect. Exercise and yoga are great therapies to manage stress and everday hyper-activity.

  4. David, I really like the word Chip when referring to having things on your shoulders. I recently carry things because I don’t have someone to talk too. I see my doctor. I recently had an episode where I confronted a girl who was my 21yr daughters past friend about what she did to her at college, and it was horrible and impulsive and now I feel horrible.

  5. David,
    I have suffered from bipolar disorder for nearly 12 years since November 1996. For the past month up until now, I have had crying spells, and every meds that I have taken have made me completely sick. The doctor I have been with for almost 6 years is not returning my phone calls everytime I am having problems with my health or medications. I think you and other viewers should hear me out. I will be 34 on the 1st of April. BD has affected my jobs, including teaching and substitute teaching (which I currently do now). I received a call from Human Resources in another county that I subbed in, and I am now hearing four complaints for four different schools. One school last week (that complained about me) called me around 8:30 am while I was not feeling well and asked me to come to work. I said, sure. I thought everything was fine until this same school said that I came in late and was not following guidelines and procedures. First of all I live an hour away from that school. And I have the documentation from my phone saying that they (the school) called me late. Should I substitute from that county again, to avoid anymore complaints. Or just tell them that rather than taking me off the list to resign? I feel like I want to give up life. I have two small children and a husband. I am currently doing a long term assignment in another county, and I want to be perfect. If I fail again, then I am going to quit substitute teaching altogether because of this BD. It is tearing me apart. I don’t want anymore complaints. I want this BD under control.

  6. In my (limited?) experience, the chip is on the shoulder of the (my) supporter! Of course, I’m not happy about having BP (it’s no picnic) and I’m thoroughly p###d off that I’m not, as present, consistently stable enough to feel able to hold down a permanent job. However, I know I’ll get there in the end, as I have done in the past. (History is useful if you learn from it!) But this time it meant giving up a “prestigous” job in a bank, and losing a comfortable lifestyle. Not rich but comfortable. These losses are more of a concern to my partner, not me! It is she who is concerned about the prestige because she feels my unemployment and illness refects badly on her. She is also annoyed that I have lost a decent income (around $70k per annum) which regards as meaning I am unable to “support the family”. So, while I’m comfortable doing little bits here and there in a voluntary basis and taking a part-time (one day a week) re-training course, while I regain a measure of stability and “emotional” strength, she is mos definitely NOT comfortable for me to be staying home and not working! So much so that it is SHE who is now working (apparently for a pittance cause I never see a dime of it!) and abroad for a total of around half the year.

  7. Thank you David for your response. I felt like todays email was for me. I have had to look for another Doctor and am hoping that in the process my husband will learn to be a better supporter for me. He has also joinded your site and course and that means a lot to me in its self. I feel as though he thinks I CAN just make it go away. I hope and pray that with the support of my mom and him and my faith things will improve. I am not going to give up. Thank you so much.

  8. People are surprised when I tell them I have Bipolar Disorder. Some, like an emploer or supervisor, I may tell before they get to know me very well but they often forget that I have the disorder because I show no signs or symptoms, according to them. Friends, who are closer to me, also say that I “don’t act like someone with the disorder.” I don’t know what they are expecting but I obviously don’t fit their view of the disorder. Maybe it’s because I’m higher functioning and not living off state programs. All I know is that I am very aware of my disorder but others are not. So, I must be doing something right.

  9. Hi David,
    My family on my dad’s side (and we’re a VERY large family) is riddled with this disorder as well as other brain disorders. My dad has bipolar but hasn’t been diagnosed yet. He hasn’t acknowledged his issues until recently and we are hoping that this is the beginning of a healing process for him. As you know, people with bipolar can make some very bad decisions. This has been the case for him and he is now in jail for a mistake he made many years ago. My mom has M.S. and sufferes from depression herself. I am the only one that lives close enough to help take care of her, so the burden on me is overwhelming at times as I also am running his business. My husband and I have been married for 26 years tomorrow. I was diagnosed with bipolar about ten years ago and have been functioning normally for most of those years. We had some really rough times at the beginning. It’s difficult to find a doctor that knows enough about bipolar to be of help and many doctors tend to treat it as regular depression, putting people on the wrong types of meds which was the case for me. Once I received a proper diagnosis and was started on the right meds, things got much better. I was also fortunate to be directed to a wonderful woman that helps me maintain my meds and has helped me through some really scarey dysphoric episodes. My husband and I have six kids, five boys and one girl. Our 22 year old son was diagnosed with Schizo-Affective/bipolar disorder about six years ago and our youngest son (13) was dignosed with the same thing recently so we have had our hands full with these brain disorders. I know several of my aunts and uncles and their children who also have bipolar, schizophrenia or both. I have been dealing with the stigma of “mental illness” for far too many years from people who just don’t understand. I have seen my son be treated differently by his teachers and employers because we had chosen to be honest with them about his disorder. Because of this, with our youngest, we are doing things differently this time. We are very careful about who knows and are constantly reminding him that he can do anything he wants to in life. Our older boy functions great now on his meds and is always the best worker for anyone he’s ever worked for. Our youngest wants to be an actor and so we are encouraging him to follow his dreams. He has just started on a new med and it’s hard to watch him suffer the side effects, but I know first hand that this WILL NOT treat itself. Meds are imperetive to getting back to a “normal” life. But really, what is “normal”? We are all unique and one persons normal may not be anothers. Don’t ever give up. I think it’s wonderful that you have this support system available for those that may not have anyone else. If you have a “chip” on your shoulder, brush it off. Life is too short to allow bipolar to take over! Anything is possible if you just hang in there. Eventually you will find the right meds to help you get regulated, the right doctors to help you, and the right support people to be there for you. You are never alone as long as you know that you have at least one other person out there who knows what you’re going through.

  10. Dear David,

    I have been reading all of your emails and they help out alot! my boyfriend has noticed a GREAT CHANGE in me since reading them. I however can not afford the courses that you have. I can not work at this time due to a car accident that I was in, but would love to take the courses and read the books that you have out. Is there any way that you can help me out? I am a person that is struggling with the Bi-Polar disorder and I belive that it would be extremly helpful to have your help. I was dianosed as Bi-Polar when I was 15 and I did take my self off of my meds when I turned 18 sue to the fact that I did not have insureance to pay for them. Everyone that meets me that does not know that I have this disorder does not think that I am any diffrent than them selves. I know how I was on them and how I am now. I like what they did for me while I was in school and how it helped me to consintrate on my school work, but other then that they made me sleepy or have spirts when I could not sleep at all. they made my hair fall out and my skin white like a ghost, IT WAS HORIBLE! I did end up having a child and I think that it made me ALOT calmer in so many ways. I have not had an episode in almost two years and I am not taking anything!

    I would still like your help to figure out as much about this disorder as I can to help my loved ones understand me just a bit better.

    SIncerly Your Brande G.

  11. This chip business made me think of an article I had read recently pertaining to the mapping of one’s DNA to identify mental abnormalities.
    According to the article, one’s DNA once mapped, can help doctor’s steer them to the proper medication for the affliction without the trial and error method. Dave have you seen this article?

  12. Farnorth.
    My understanding is that an abnormally behaving gene associated with BP has been found and it is known that it over (or under?) produces a chemical but it is not understood how this works. Indeed, as far as I can tell, it is not entirely clear if the errant gene causes BP is is a symptom of BP!
    Either way, it would seem we are a long way from having a precise diagnosis to determine treatment for BP. However, my understanding is that what you describe is the aim for treating a large number of illnesses including BP. Indeed, if such a gene is clearly identified, it may eventually be possible to screen for it before BP occurs and manipulate it so that it does not produce the disease.
    In the meantime, it looks like we’re stuck with trial and error!

  13. I would like to offer an extension to the bipolar “chip” concept. My wife has Bipolar but has to date refused to accept the diagnosis.

    I prefer to think of her moods and behaviour as the result of a binary 0-1 with little dip switches like those in old style remotes.

    Differnt events and stimuli internal and external seem to cause these switches to be moved. Every now and then the wrong combination will lead to an episode. The severity of which is detrmined by the configuration.

    Sometimes I can feel the palpable change in energy when the combination is moving a step closer to episode.

  14. Dave,
    To be ” with a ship on my shoulders”, is what was happened with me the last fifteen years, because my loved one ,supposed BP.When I began to read yours emails and studies ,I began to put a lot of things in her place.I think that the best was if I managed to do an anamenesis .But I’m stiil stepping in the eggs.My loved one says that I’m BP. Each day she says one thing but is taking a med.and maintaining her work. During the whole last time I never left my loved one to give up.I always belived that she is intelligent and capable.I ever denied her illness (???)So she graduate and made pos-graduate. I think it was better don’t confess BP, because prejuidice, but she is saying that is marked in her service.But I think that was my deny, that was make possible my loved one do all she has done until today.I undertand very well the problem of Paula Anne.It seems that some times ,the doctors give up and don’t care.It is amazing. But “meds are imperative to setting a normal life” and “eventually we sill find the right doctor, and supporters” , with the grace of GOD. Lilian P.

  15. Lillian said, “I think it was better don’t confess BP, because prejuidice, but she is saying that is marked in her service.But I think that was my deny, that was make possible my loved one do all she has done until today.”
    I can relate to this. MY employer emcouraged me to take “retirement” because they didn’t think I would (ever?) be fit enough to return to work with BP even though I’m “only” Type 2 ! So, I agree, it can make a difference.

    Moreover, in the UK we HAVE to declare any history of illness when we apply for jobs. If we hold anything back, we can be dismissed without compensation for failing to be truthful – disability rights under the Equality laws don’t make a damned bit of difference. That’s just the way it is!

    Indeed, I recall that one of our staff in the Computer Centre, was targeted by local line managers who waned to get rid of her because they felt she was ineffectual as a result of her BP. The fact that they shouted at her(and sometimes swore, F word and all!)when she mde errors, didn’t do anything for her confidence or her BP! So, she didn’t do well at her job until I became her boss. I’m not crowing but I just handled her differently and and she responded well to my management style.

  16. I don’t know if I have the proverbial “bipolar chip” on my shoulder or not, but, being a person with bipolar, I am ALWAYS aware of it. It colors EVERYTHING I do EVERY DAY. For me, it never seems to “go away.”

    In fact, in any interpersonal relationship I have – whether with friends or strangers – it’s usually one of the first things that comes out of my mouth – that I have bipolar disorder. I feel that it “defines” me in some way.

    I am not exactly “eccentric,” but I DO look at the world differently than “normal” people do. I have been known to “obsess” about some things – like anxiety or “nerves” -whenever I’m in a new experience. And, yes – there are certain times I feel in a “Can’t DO” state of mind. My boyfriend even thinks I should do MORE, instead of asking people to help me when I’m overwhelmed.

    I think it goes back to when I was a child of 11, when I had a life-threatening accident, and was hospitalized for 3 months. Everyone around me – including my family – treated me like a “China doll,” and WOULDN’T allow me to “grow” into myself. That’s the one major reason I can think of that I defer to other people to DO things for me. I don’t call it being “lazy” or “procrastination;” in fact, for a “disabled” person, I think I am capable of doing most anything.

    I am a highly-functioning bi-polar person, but – to answer your question again – I feel the bipolar “chip” on my shoulder every day, and can’t seem to let it go, or forget about it. It is part of who I am, what I can do, and what I think about myself. Once you’re given the diagnosis of “bipolar,” things DO change in your life, and you just have to DEAL with it.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love them. My prayers are with you every day, and may God bless you all real good.

  17. Good morning Dave and Readers: Thank you all for your comments that help all of us who are seriously striving to find new and better ways to deal with an illness that produces such devastation in the lives of so many people when left untreated.
    Bipolar or not, anyone can have a chip on his/her shoulder from some unresolved issue that keeps reappearing until we acknowledge it and learn how to successfully deal with it. There are usually lots of these issues that make-up the chip. Bipolar people are no different than non-bipolars in most areas of their lives. We all have the same needs for love, acceptance, and understanding.

    Whenever my spouse or my adult daughter (who are both bipolar)are showing signs of mania in their behaviors I always look a little deeper at the issues that are at hand and find that there is always some truth in what they are trying to convey to people no matter how unacceptable their words or behaviors are. The drama within our family that is usually created over their tirades and flying-off-the-handle “espisodes” is mainly due to misunderstandings, old un-resolved issues, and of course impatience, anger and frustration. But, I have found that there is always some truth beneath all the drama.
    I think this is where professional psychotherapy is needed not just for the bipolar person (s) but for all of the people who are most intimately involved. I do not have bipolar, but I am human and have my own issues that need to be resolved just as much as my beloved bipolars. Living life with people is the only way to uncover those issues and find resolution. It’s unfortunate that we often give up and lean towards isolation instead.
    Thank you — everyone for sharing your life and thoughts.
    Have a wonderful day.

  18. After reading the rest of the postings from the day, I have such empathy and compassion for those of us who struggle to merely find sometype of a peaceful solution to our delimmas that are sometimes a constant, daily challenge — illness or not. Bipolar is not a bad word, you know. It’s just a health condition that is often totally misunderstood. Finding the just right medicine and/or doctor is not easy, but can be done will persistence and good support.

    I have truly tried to support my husband with his illness over the years not always knowing the exact thing to say or do at the exact time — it’s tricky, you know, and I am just as human as he is.

    Some bipolars have such chips on their shoulders that they don’t want to be cast as different or ill especially when it comes to mental things. They want to be normal. But as someone else said today “What is normal anyway?” We are all searching for peace, love and happiness. And, it’s usually right there in front of us, but we often can’t quite see it because of our own inner blindness.

    For those of you who have supporters, be grateful and try to appreciate the love and care that they have for you — they really do love and care about you no matter how impatient they may appear to be. For you supporters, lean on each other for strength and support.

    My beloved bipolar has isolated himself from anyone who could support him — alone yet surviving the only way he knows how. At this time there is not much anyone can do to help him — he insists on handling his illness by himself and wants to be left alone.

    Thank you, Dave, for this Blog. It’s a great way for people to talk about the things that need to be released from within — built-up thoughts produce anxiety and frustration and that produces drama — the makings for episodes. People need a safe place to talk. You’ve provided that for us.


  19. Suzanne said: “I think it goes back to when I was a child of 11, when I had a life-threatening accident, and was hospitalized for 3 months. Everyone around me – including my family – treated me like a “China doll,” and WOULDN’T allow me to “grow” into myself. That’s the one major reason I can think of that I defer to other people to DO things for me.”

    That may or may not be true. However, don’t forget you may be post rationalising! I mean, looking for an explanation and adopting the first one you find that seems to fit. AS I said, this may be the case or it might not. It MIGHT be the illness!

    I used to (probably still do!) post rationalise, and my last pDoc didn’t help, pushing me to find reasons for the depressions in my cycle. Oh, it all seemed to so rational – “You are not in a happy relationship; therefore, it stands to reason you will be depressed. Therefore, do something about the relationship…” Fortunately, I didn’t ac t on that advice before thinking it through! I recalled how as a child, I would have days when I felt so damned miserable I would cry a lot. People (esp. people at school) would pester me for an explanation. They insisted there had to be SOMETHING that had happened that would explain why I felt why I did. So, I found an explanation that suited them – i.e. “trouble at home.” Of course, there wasn’t any trouble, but it fitted. It offered a reason for them. I started ti believe my own fiction. I would search for reasons why I felt as I did. I now recall how I felt one relationship I had was the cause of my depressive cycles. The relationship ended. Guess what? The depression didn’t!

    A different pDoc told me this behaviour is typical of people who are Dysthymic, that they go into relationships/friendships and get bored with them, sometimes quite quickly. They then hover about trying to make up their minds if they should, or how they should, end the relationship/friendship/ Let it drift? Be open? They worry if the cutting off the relationship will hurt the other person. AND they worry if it will hurt them because experience has shown them that they can make pi## poor decisions when they are depressed, because they know everything seems darker and unsatisfactory, uninteresting when they are depressed. They worry that their negative view of their relationships/friendships are merely figments of the depression. That is why they prevaricate, why they sometimes seem very inconsistent in their behaviour to loved ones, seeming to “blow hot and cold.” (It is my experience that my friendships last longer if there is a gap between myself and my friend such that I cannot see or communicate with them regularly. So, when we do meet or speak, it still feels fresh.)

    I expect this post won’t help much, Suzanne because I’m probably sowing more seeds of confusion, of “does X REALLY make me feel this way? IS it just the depression?” Well, I don;’t know if THIS will help. However, perhaps it will help some of the Supporters out there to understand a little more about why we may behave inconsistently towards them even when we seem “stable”.

    Of course, such confusion WILL result in psychological depression, overlaying the chemical one! But sorting out WHAT is psychological and what is biological is a bitch! It’s like trying to rid a field that is totally covered by a thick briar patch, where each strand of this sharp and painful problem is inter twinded with another, and even if you do start clearing a path, thje b####d starts growing again anyway. Is it any wonder some of us sometimes feel we want to check out?! ;o/

  20. Marina said: “We are all searching for peace, love and happiness. And, it’s usually right there in front of us, but we often can’t quite see it because of our own inner blindness.”

    An interesting thought and most similar to Buddhist teaching that says inner peace comes with knowing the Bodhisattva with all of us, that the key to inner peace is there if only we could see it! As a Zen training manual is titled, “Selling Water by a River.” The selling is the teaching, the water is what is being taught, the river is what we could find without being taught! Once upon a time, this meant something to me and I did find that inner peace, and it lasted a long time – it was not a transitory moment. But mental illness often robs us of the capacity to rationlise and understanding that “truth” becomes impossible by a chemically disturbed mind. No amount of rationalisation will convince someone with full blown mania that there is any truth other than that which they perceive, or that there could possibly be light at the end of the tunnel for anyone experiencing a very deep depression. As the old psychiatrists joke goes, the difference between neurotic and a psychotic is that the neurotic thinks they are mad and the psychotic knows they, the psychotic, are not! There is little or no reasoning with someone who is beset with a BP episode. It is beyond them to see, their illness causes them the blindness to see what it is in front of their eyes! I feel it is pointless trying to reason with them when they are in such a mind because the truth is what THEY think the KNOW it is! To argue against them is as useful as battering your head against a reinforced concrete wall. One has to wait until there is a window of rationality. And then, don’t expect it to last because when the next episode comes along, out of the window will go their rational thinking!

    I don’t mean to sound negative. I think this is realistic. There is no point in thinking we can change what we cannot as this will only lead to disappointment and a perception of failure. One cannot fail to defeat what is undefeatable. One just have to adapt to it and live with it, just as we must conform to the whims of the sea and its tides.

  21. My chip has turned into a rock… I have read all of the above comments, and can relate to each one in some way. They are all very intelligent, personal,and touching.
    There was one, that even stated how well shes had been doing, and how she was High functioning, not on any state programs, well I used to believe that too, I’m 44, and was I diagnosed one year ago. Now that know that my behavior has a disorder, that has helped me not to feel as shameful, or guilty. When was young, my family would say I was the rebel, black sheep, airhead or druggie, which left me isolated-left out “the victom”
    I have always had some problems with relationships, communication,
    and poor decision making skills, which seems to really affect my self-esteem, I do not trust myself, so I tend to give in to what others think is important. Now people tend to disrespect me.
    I have had 29 jobs in 29 years of work have moved 34 times since I was 18. I have been doing fairly well, working as an RN. I hid my Bi-polar in busy-ness. I always was on the run, had to go here or there working two full-time nursing jobs, going to College, raising two kids, grieving a death or divorce, or mental health issues with my daughter and her episodes, or my adopted mother who is an alcoholic. Up until last year, at 43 it hit me so hard, I had been manic for so long, I no longer could hold a job, I have destroyed all of my finances from
    $80,000 to disablity of 30,000 from
    $370,000 house to foreclosure from having a husband and children to just one son, who is 16, he lives with his dad. My marriage has been destroyed by my mania, The love and trust is gone, which makes me feel even worse, My mother and daughter have left me and spread gossip about me to outlying family who call me concerned. A big mess.
    High Drama, I don’t know how to get out, feel peace, I need to get on a schedule or be consistant. I am on my third set of drug therapies. My doctor is patient, caring, and up to date. I really do have a great BP therapy group. It’s makes me feel sad that up to this point, I worked to much, to hard, and to fast to take time to enjoy much, and it took very little to destroy it all. Because I have destoyed my support,I have no-one to talk to, I have to say that just being able to type this out has helped. thanks for that, my rock seems a lighter now.
    Take care

  22. That’s a great terminolgy of words to refer the weight of your problems as a chip on your shoulder. It’s sometimes so big people who don’t even know you can see it pushing down on you.
    I agree with “shez” having bp is very isolating at times. I am lucky that I have people who know me well enough to kinda stay away when they see that chip coming along with me.
    It’s because of this that I isolate myself at times to protect others and myself from making a fool out of myself once again.

    I still wonder at times if it’s the bp or the years of physical and mental abuse I endured trying to love a schzophrenic person who took no effort to help himself. That makes me so thinned skinned and insecure at times. That’s been over for 7 years now but he still trys to bother me from a distance.
    If anyone knows or went through something similar I be happy to hear what you have to say.
    As always God please release any fear,negativity & anxiety from our hearts, souls and minds and please replace it with your infinate love you have for us all. Thank you!

  23. Good Morning All: In just a little while we will have a new topic to discuss from Dave’s support site and we will be on to new ideas and thoughts to be expressed.

    Thank you Graham for your comments that did not appear negative, but as you said realistic — they helped me to understand and accept a little better why no amount of trying to reason or positively influence works during a mania cycle.

    You also helped to clarify the in and out, close and distant behavior patterns of my spouse in our long marriage relationship — which by the way drives me up a tree. I can see by what you have said, I can either learn to live with it or not and make other choices for myself as professionals and self-help literature often direct — not easy when you love someone.

    Thank you, Sweetp, for your courage to talk about what’s real. I am glad you feel lighter.

    Dave, I am having problems publishing my comments on this site — using my password. Any suggestions?

  24. sweetp,
    I feel the same way. I was always the “bad” one in my family. My Dads side was absolutely brutal to me growing up. Ironic part is that’s were the bp comes from. You have lost alot am that is a shame.
    But say goodbye to anyone who decides not be there for you in your times of need. I have been estranged from certain people from my immediate family for years now.
    In the end it’s better to weed out those who take no effort to love you and support you as I sure you would them because it’s obvious they aren’t really interested in loving you back.
    That was one of the reason I attempted suicide 16 years ago.
    You already have enough unnecessary guilt & shame from bp as it is. As long as you take care of yourself truly the best you can with meds. & thereapy that’s all anyone should exspect from you.
    Those who wish to walk out on you aren’t worth putting your mind through more anguish over no matter who they maybe to you in your life.
    Material loss is devastating but better than lossing your physical health. Anytime I start feeling sorry for my losses I try to think of those poor terminally ill kids who haven’t even lived yet.
    So it can always be worse.
    God chose for each and everyone of us to have this illness not as a curse but as a challenge.
    Don’t you always feel better when you’ve made any kinda accomplishment regaurding bp? I sure hope so cuz you never know what tomorrow can bring.
    I hope you are doing well today and maybe this helped just a little.
    After all my little bro. does nothing for his bp and I watch him suffer because of pride and not wanting the label.
    Why the heck do we care so much what others think anyhow, when most of the time those people don’t care for one second what you think of them.

  25. I have recently left my husband of 14 years because he has bipolar disorder but has refused to get treatment. Now this refusal to get treatment has turned into a whole host of other issues. He is an alcoholic, a sex and love addict, and a pot head. Needless to say we have had a rollercoaster of a marraige and I decided to get off the ride. He has recently expressed interest in getting treatment and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to get treatment if you do not have health insurance, have a very modest income and no money for counseling? Do you think that 14 years of betrayal is something that can be overcome in a marraige? I love him deeply. It has not been pleasant to watch him struggle and self sabotage. Now that he wants treatment I would like to be a support to him without enabling him. What is your opinion?
    Thank you,

  26. Beck,
    In my opinion you have done more than enough for your husband and he still walked out and now that he doesn’t have your constant support he wants you back. You will only hurt him and yourself if you give in. He wants to be taken care of with little or no effort on his part. You love him and I understand that but if you help him again he will get nowhere and you’ll be stuck cleaning up the pieces again.
    I suggest you sit back and see if he really wants to get help. He’s a grown up he can do it COMPLETELY on his own. He has to stop pitying himself and accept that God gave him this illness not as a punishment but as a challenge and it is a lifelong one.
    Best thing I ever did was take charge of my own life.
    I’ve been bipolar a long time so I know how hard it is to face daily but you get nowhere sitting around pitying yourself waiting for someone else to take care of everything for you.
    I believe you get back out of life only what you put into it to the best of your ability.
    Too many Bipolar people get into this pity me state and then they exspect everyone to pick up their slack. Bipolar doesn’t make you lazy and ungrateful that is the person not the illness.
    Good luck to you. And bless you for trying with all your might but he needs to prove to you for once he can help himself, without you doing it all for him. If he doesn’t get help first then try to reconcile than he’s just taking advantage of your compassion and generous heart, all the while doing zero to really try to give anything back to you, and self sacrafice is painful enough without him making you do it all over again only to walk in and out after all the years you have done everything to make his life easier he shows not one drop of appreciation let alone love or respect. You can’t blame everything on BP.
    Best of luck to you my dear!

  27. “As always God please release any fear, negativity & anxiety from our hearts, souls and minds and please replace it with your infinite love you have for us all.”

    Personally, I’d rather ask God not to give anyone any kind of mental illness in the first place. If He would only do this it’d be a whole lot kinder and loving than placating those to whom He’s given the illness and their suffering supporters. Grrrrrr …

    (Please, no body say “But God works in mysterious ways” or I’ll scream so loud you’ll hear me from London to New York and way across to Sidney.)

  28. Jennpen:
    If I hadn’t known better, I would of thought you wrote your comments to me instead of Beck. I am ashamed to say how long and how many times I have opened my good heart and compassion for my bipolar spouse who has not gotten better but steadily gotten worse. Thank you Beck, Michelle, Kim, Hopeful, and Jennpen again for all that you have said today. Someone said, “knowledge is power” and I feel so much better about myself as I detach from the craziness of someone who is not ready to do anything for himself yet alone anyone else. I can still love him, but know that there is nothing good that I can do for him at this time.

    Sorry, Graham, but “I” don’t think God makes bad things happen to us, but rather allows what happens naturally. It’s been my understanding that bipolar is a chemical imbalance with genetic propensities. It doesn’t take much from human frailties to trigger brain malfunctions.

    I believe that love works when we let love work along side of the medical and psychological foundations for rebalancing. And, I think God inspires and directs those who listen and are willing. By the way, I appreciate your postings very much.

    Happy day everyone.

  29. “”I” don’t think God makes bad things happen to us, but rather allows what happens naturally. It’s been my understanding that bipolar is a chemical imbalance with genetic propensities. It doesn’t take much from human frailties to trigger brain malfunctions.”

    That is my point. What happens naturally is God’s work because everything is made by God. WE do not make mental illness, He does. God makes the natural process, the genetic problems. So, BP and all the other illnesses are God’s work.


    Look. He is MY God too. So, I feel it’s just as much my “right” to be angry with Him as it is anyone’s else’s right to be pleased or to thank him for what they feel He does for them in regard to BP. If anyone wants to thank Him for the love they feel they get in helping them fight BP or support someone with BP, that’s fine. I level no criticism of them for doing that. My choice is to thank anyone for love, for compassion or support except the people who show these qualities to me because THEY CHOSE to show those qualities. They can be agnostics, wiccans, Christians, Muslims, Humanist, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu’s, Jaynes, who ever, regardless of whether I share their beliefs or not. They either show compassion and love or they don’t. I appreciate those who do. I’m ambivalent to those who don’t. I am not angry with anyone. I am just angry with God. That’s just me. I don’t expect anyone else to share this feeling. I hope no one will insist I share their different feelings. But if they do, so be it – it will make no difference.

    So, I don’t expect anyone to think well of me or even thank me for showing them compassion, kindness or love. These are given unconditionally. That’s why I’m here at the moment, because I feel it is right, not because God told me to do it. He didn’t. It’s my choice. Sometimes I may be angry with people, or more with what they express’ just as I am with God. Some of you may now be angry with me for not sharing your views. But I am not angry with them for not sharing mine. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them, or not love God for that matter. But then, it doesn’t say in the Bible, or any any major religious text as far as I know, that we can’t be angry! Jesus got angry and e sasid we should follow His footsteps. So I can be angry, too. ;¬) (Or even 8¬# !!)

    What matters is that we can, and choose, to show love, compassion and kindness to anyone. No where does it say we that we should not be angry.

    But if any ONE person thinks I’m not fulfilling this object, that I’m not showing love, kindness or compassion in supporting people with BP or to their supporters, say so and I’ll go. I don’t mind.

  30. JenPenn and Beck,
    JP said, “He wants to be taken care of with little or no effort on his part.”
    That may be the case. But it may also be that he has not sufficient ability or motivation, because of the BO, tio take caree of himself. That does not mean it remains Beck’s purpose to continue in that role. Beck’s own health should come first. We just have to remember that, whatever we do – continue giving care and/or emotional support, or withdrawing it, there are consequences. WE have to accept those consequences.

  31. Graham,
    I would never exspect you to believe the way I do. I don’t like it when I have someone forcing their opinion down my throat. I understand about being mad at God. I use to be very much so especially when I was in pure heck in my mind and in real life.
    I was only trying to exspress myself and put a prayer out there for those who might need it.
    I am not mad at you and if anyone else is then they are too judgemental. We all have our own version of reality I think. There’s nothing wrong with yours.
    I just happen to believe we are all here with our problems for a good reason. I won’t elaborate though. I pray everyday and I’ll include you as I always include everyone.

    Dave I keep having trouble logging on I enter my password but it just says required space must not be blank Even if I put in my password.

  32. Grahm n:

    Thanks for your posting. I am certaining not angry with you about what you believe and have no need to try and convince you of anything that I believe in. You can be as angry as you’d like. We are all here trying to connect and find more information and understanding in trying to resolve things that are problematic in our lives and in this case it’s bipolar and support. Your postings are very valuable. I hope to continue reading them.

    You are so right. No matter what choice we make there are consequences that are not easy. For bipolars choosing better health and well-bing is always hoped for but must be by their choice. For supporters, choosing to stay or not to stay is apparenting the question at some point in the relationship, and maybe not. Choosing to click on this sight and spend the amount of time that I have reading the postings of so many has been a good one for me.

    No one knows all the answers for everyone because not all situations are the same, but when people connect because things are the same it behooves us to listen and take note. When someone says, “been there, done that” I listen. I don’t have to waste my time and energy trying to reinvent the wheel. And that’s what this blog site is doing for me.

    Thank you, all of you, for taking the time and energy, good or bad, to talk about your lives and what is real. Quite honestly, I am fed up with the pretense of the world and the mental games we play to show how OKAY we all are.

    Again, I am not bipolar, but I have stayed in a relationship with someone who is and has not chosen to get all the help he needs so he rather plays at it. He loves his highs, don’t we all bipolar or not. He exceptionally smart, but not too wise. He can be wonderfully loving, kind, caring, helpful, and a great guy. We all those things about him. But, he has refused to really accept his illness and allow anyone to really love and support the way we would. Instead he uses his meds when he chooses, and see a doctor when he chooses, and pops in and out of everyone’s lives when he chooses and guess what? It works. It works for most. But, it doesn’t work for me.

    I have been up and down with him on his merry-go-round. I have seen him at his best and at his worst. It’s terribly painful to see someone that you love and care about swing from one place to another over and over and over again.

    I’ve tried everything I know, everything I’ve read, everything the professionals have suggested and still he loves his bipolar. He loves the highs and lives with the lows — self-medicating himself in isolation until we all fear that one day he’ll overdose by accident and then we’ll have to live with that.

    It’s a hard road. The choices are hard, too. As much as I love him and care about him, I can not do it for him. And, he perfectly happy doing it the way he is.

    Our family is fragmented and there is really not a lot of proper support. People just accept him ust exactly like he is, which is a choice. He survives, bless his heart — doing whatever he wants. He always has. He always will.

    And, as for me ….. I must choose, too. And I do. I choose a better, healthful way of living both physically and mentally. I choose to interact with others in the most positive and loving ways I can. I choose to continue to learn and grow and apply my knowledge and talents in ways that helpful to others. I choose to continue to work and play while enjoying the life I have and meeting the challenging that automatically come through sheer mortality. I choose to believe in a God who is loving and cares for me and will guide and direct me as long as I am willing to sit stop, watch and listen.

    We all are hear to listen and to share our stories that are very helpful. It’s a real privilege to take part in all of this.

    Thanks for reading a “long one” — I needed to say what is on my heart this morning. Have a great day, everyone!

  33. MA.
    Good you you, gal! If I may say so (I’m gonna be “judgemental” here, even though I hate that bastard word!) it seems to me you are taking a healthy assertive route to take control of your own Life rather than be steered by your guy. He’s irrational (as are many in a BP episode) so where he steers isn’t going to be a healthy course for anyone! It seems like you’ve done your bit of trying to get him back on course and it’s now what we call “me-time”. Time for MA to live your own life rather than be towed all over the show by someone else who hasn’t a clue where they are going, or why, or even recognises where they been anyway!

    Of course, he may be playing with the BP because he doesn’t like the meds … BUT I have noted it can be the case that, regardless of whether or not the med have an unpleasant side-effect, there are some BP folk who are addicted to the highs and seem to do anything they can to get them! If the meds stop the highs, the stop taking the meds to get the highs back. I can understand this where the meds drop a person into a persistent depressed state. Hell, who wouldn’t want a high for some relief away from that! But there are others who like the buzz of the high anyway. More fool them because every high is generally followed by a low of similar measure! Perpetuating the highs means perpetuating the cycle of mood swings. I don’t know – ‘cos I’m not a doc – but it wouldn’t surprise me if such an unhealthy routine will exacerbate the BP, so that it develops and becomes worse over time. Anyone know about this?? Whatever, I’m trying to stay stable enough, without to many extremes of mood, so as to avoid that risk. BP at my levelc an be bad enough so I sure as heck don’t want it to be any worse!

  34. Graham n:

    Thank YOU! You are a very intelligent and wise soul. Thanks for the added explanation about the whys of playing with the meds. I think you are right-on.

    What’s sad is that I understand that he likes his highs and he’s such a great guy when he’s slightly high — that’s when he wants me in his life. When he super high and manic he needs me in his life. And when he’s depressed he throws in the towel and tells me to get out of his life. I know it’s all the bipolar speaking, but the bipolar is in such control.

    I think relationships are tricky for bipolars and their supporters. That’s why we ALL need help.

    And, thanks again Graham, for the laugh about “what spelling mistakes?” I am laughing at my own little idiocyncrasy — having to have it just right.

    🙂 ma

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