Living with Bipolar and Depression



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To Your Wellness & Recovery,
Peter Guess : B.Soc.Sc.(Social Work)
3 September 2015

The starting point for me in managing bipolar - for both the person with bipolar and the supporter - is understanding and accepting (maybe over time) the 3 C's. These are Cause, Cure and Control. Let me explain (also reference the FAQ section).

To quote another article I wrote on this site about bipolar:
"It is a neuro-chemical disorder. You did not cause it, you cannot cure it and you cannot control it, but you can manage it. It is highly treatable although it may take time to find the best mix of medication and lifestyle change that will bring you into balance." - in How Do I Know I Have Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD)?

Begin by accepting that "I did not cause it" in any way. It is biochemical or a chemical imbalance. Neurological. It is not just something in the persons head, psychological make-up, thinking process or imagination. It is very, very real. But something we cannot yet fully explain in terms of medical science. Accept this fact. I recall how much shame and guilt I lived with, secretly thinking it was something I did or did not do. The shame was often like a toxic substance as I felt unworthy, something was wrong with me - and I just could not find a way to fix it. Yes, there were stressors or triggers along the way. And yes, there was a tipping point - a point when suddenly everything suddenly catapulted out of control.

This brings us to the next fact.

"I cannot cure it." No adjustment of lifestyle, attitude or whatever, will fix this condition. It is chronic and life-threatening, much like a seemingly simple allergy or the more complex, diabetes. Don't fight this like I did for 13 years, wasting valuable time and quality of life.

Here is the sticky one. "I have no control" over this bipolar disorder (or the person with the bipolar). Yes, you can learn to manage it with a medical plan and health professionals. Understand, however, that this is a very unpredictable disorder. Getting the best mix of medication may take very long. Just when you think all is well, suddenly the doses or drugs need to be changed. Or several stressful events reactivate an episode of mania or depression.

You can learn to manage "a day at a time". But don't fool yourself into a comfort zone that you have the control. This is a journey of trust, hope and love - and great courage! Sound management of bipolar is not about control but about letting go and listening to your wisdom. Yes, I believe that major conditions like this, may take us on a new growth or spiritual path of finding deep courage and unexpected new truth about life. The invitation is to be open to this. This is where the "gifts of bipolar" lie. And these gifts also then become the signs of recovery.

For further help on this site refer to the following:
  • Forums - a wide range of Forum discussion topics deal with how to manage bipolar (out of the current 400 plus posts)
    • use the Search Widget at the top of the page (example key words: tips , help)
  • NewsRoom - use the Quick Links box which provides the main topics or the Google Search Widget
  • FAQ - get answers to Frequently Asked Questions and ask your own questions
  • Free eBook - "Understanding And Treating Bipolar Disorders", is a brilliant eBook with selected tips covering 97 pages of very topical chapters (click the link or the image below)

How to Use Your Creativity to Manage Bipolar

Do you love to dance? Play an instrument? Draw or write? Creative activities 
like these are great tools for managing a mental health condition.

Have You Taken The Positive Thinking Quiz Yet?


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