This Takes Time with Bipolar


You know, I was thinking of the expression, “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.” Then I started thinking about how all the things I’ve done well took so much TIME!

Like going to college, right? That took four years! And you know I’m a non-competitive body-

builder, right? Well, it took a long time to look the way I do, and to stay at the weight that I’m at now.

Think about our government leaders – It took time for them to reach the high offices that they’re in now – they didn’t just get there overnight. I’m sure they thought the same thing that I did, that whatever is worth doing is worth doing right, and that those things take TIME.

I even thought about opera singers (I know, and I don’t even like opera!) and how long and hard

they have to train to get their voices to do that. It takes time.

It seems like everything takes time. It takes time for a flower to grow. It takes time for children to grow into adults. It took time for us to get through school. For people with children, it took time to learn to be a parent (that sure doesn’t come easily – I know, because of my goddaughter).

It takes time to learn how to be a good supporter to a loved one with bipolar disorder. Growth takes time. Learning takes time. Maturity takes time. Advancement in a job takes time. Saving money takes time. Getting to retirement takes time. Having grandchildren takes time. Growing old takes time.


Yes. Recovery from bipolar disorder takes TIME.

First of all, just getting your loved one to agree to treatment probably took time. It’s important for them to be a part of their own treatment, and this, too, takes time. Even if your loved one is in treatment for the disorder, recovery isn’t going to happen overnight for them.

Hopefully, your loved one has at least admitted that they have bipolar disorder. But even to get to that point can take a great deal of time in itself. For some people with the disorder, it takes time to get over the denial part. Then, they have to acknowledge that they need help, which can take more time. Then, they have to agree to get that help. Which means agreeing to take medication. Along with agreeing to cooperate with therapy, which means agreeing to see their doctor and therapist. And taking their medication. That means being medication and therapy-

compliant, which many people with bipolar disorder are NOT, at first. It takes TIME.

And all this time, they’re hoping that you’ll be patient, understanding, and supportive. Now, being a supporter of that caliber definitely takes time! It definitely isn’t easy, either. Some of this support doesn’t come naturally to us. And sometimes our loved ones don’t make it easy to support them, either. It takes time to understand some of their bipolar behaviors.

Your loved one, even if they are willing and cooperative with their therapy and medication which they’ll need for recovery, will still need time for it to take effect. It will take time. It may take quite a while before you see changes in your loved one.

But hang in there: Recovery just takes TIME.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. Yes David it does take time, I have a son who is bi-polar, with depression. He is 27. No one but his sister understands why I remain calm when he is explosive. Why I put up with some of the things I do….I am his biggest supporter, I see the good , and know he does not like to be the way he is. He is taking his meds, and does not miss appointments with his doctors. Hope for a recovery

  2. Hi David,
    Yes, it all takes time.
    Takes time to realize all is not well, some things
    are not right and something should be done.
    Takes time to realize you need help, should get help,
    better sooner than later help, start looking for it,
    go get the help, hope it’s the right kind of help,
    and then be willing to take time to try the meds, the
    right kind of meds, keep going back to adjust the meds
    and re-adjust, and re-adjust till they kind of work for
    you. Forever takes a lot of time but forever it must be. Like many other conditions, there is no cure.
    Take the meds, you need them to have a life if you want
    one. The best kind of life you are capable of, or
    willing to try to have. This is bipolar success.
    This is as good as it gets. Think of them as vitamins,
    lots of vitamins you need to keep you going every day.
    Just take them forever,hate them and go on with your
    life. Takes so much time, but everything else takes
    time. Swallow and go. Your life is waiting…
    Would you rather have cancer? On the worst of days,
    see bipolar as a minor inconvenience, if not a blessing. After all, you still “have” time.
    Great article Dave. And thanks for helping us all.

  3. hi there Dave,
    you are so right.
    When my daughter was first diagnosed with Bipolar ( now 2 and 1/2 years ago -my first thought was – its all impossible nothing is ever going to work, my daughter will NEVER going to recover (Rachel was in hospital at this time under suicide watch and she refused to speak to me she had abandoned her children ),
    …..then 1 year down the track I thought, is this it? is this how far my daughter is ever going to progress? Rachel had just
    come out of hospital: she was sleepy and slow and angry and frustrated and given to long periods of depression, she would not engage with her children and was daily at odds with me.
    2 1/2 years after her admission to hospital and ….
    Today my daughter has held onto a job for 18 months, she takes her meds religiously and pays for a therapist ( there was a time she took her meds haphazardly and she thought therapists were a joke, she ridiculed Psychiatrists and she also sincerely believed she was ok everybody else was unwell) Rachel nowdays, regularily engages with her children , she takes more and more of a parental role with them, she has become more involved with our family life and she shows more and more interest in such things as their health, wellbeing, the food they eat and the kind of schooling they are getting rachel does all the shopping by herself each week.
    This has all taken 21/2 years and yes we are still on that journey because all of us: Rachel, her children, myself,are on this journey to wellness together.
    Dave sent out a blog many months ago now about the length of time it takes a person living with Bipolar to recover ….and I was, at first,overwhelmed by that …That recovery takes TIME….and I found out it did and it still does … the journey continues everyday.
    I love my daughter I am everyday amazed at her tenacity and her courage.

  4. David,

    Thank you so much for this e-mail. I really needed to hear this message today. I already knew it, of course. But it helps to be reminded every now and then. It is so hard being on the “outside”. I want so much to help and it is difficult when my help is rejected. I will continue to be there and give whatever assistance I can. Your message today will help me to remain positive and patient.

    Thanks Again!

  5. David,
    Boy, just as I think I can’t do it anymore……I’m trying to find the right meds, the right therapist, the right time…..I’ve just completed the “Dual Diagnosis” aspect of my illness only to understand that I am an addict that will continue to relapse until I can coordinate with all of these people that are willing to help me….or just call one person who is only too willing to “help” me further my addiction! Why do I call him? Because the meds he gives me WORK!!All while trying to go back to school at 46? Yes, time it all takes time, precious time.

  6. Some days I am too tired. mentally, other days I fight like hell to keep it togther. I am not on most medications, I am sure I should be on a few, but I could not stand them any more, either I was too doped out, or I could not feel anything at all, could not fins the right balance. So now I take a few herbals, I have been on them for a while, who knows if it is working or not, I hit a lot of manic highs, mostly lows, abd yes I gert a little frusterated with time. I know it takes time, I have come along to what i used to be, but some days I get impatient, tired of dealing with bi-polar, it is not a thing that will just go away, I know that, but wish time would speed up some days. I am the kind of person who likes to get things done, and then move onto the next….so days it feels like time is so slow, other days it is too fast….strange balance!!
    loved your post about it David, you so bang on with “Time”

  7. hello again, just reading the rest of the posts, I can so relate to, but in my world, I am all alonne with this, I do not have support, my husband thinks Bi-polar is just in the head, and I get so angry with him, tell him it is real, but he does not think so (he is BP to but does not want to believe it) it hurts me to hear it really just inside my head?!!! but reading how “SHONA” is a supporter, good for you, just keep being there whether your person rejects you at first or not, at least they know they have someone there when needed…I do not, I deal with all my issues on my own, talk to no one because there is no one to talk to…feel very alone, so “time” is like an enemy at times….
    (Christine MacDonald)

  8. Living with lifelong depression forced me to learn patience, and patience is one thing that any person dealing with bipolar disorder has to have plenty of. My sister’s first husband was an alcoholic who behaved strangely every so often, and it wasn’t until after he drank himself to death that I realized that he was self-medicating bipolar disorder AND PTSD. Now that I work as volunteer for DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), I frequently run up against people with bipolar disorder, their relatives and friends who are clamoring for instant answers and quick fixes. Sadly, I don’t have any.

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