Ever thought about how bipolar disorder has changed you? Do you compare yourself to the way you were before your diagnosis? Unless you have had bipolar disorder as long as you can remember, this comparison can unearth painful revelations. Maybe others close to you have pointed out “how you used to be”, which is equally painful.
It is worthwhile to examine such issues. By asking yourself “What good comes from having a mental illness?” Or “How well am I coping with my bipolar disorder?”, “Do I accept my disorder?” and “What can I learn from my bipolar disorder?” – can help you manage living with bipolar disorder and pinpoint where you are today.
First, it’s always easy to spot things we may feel are negatives. They frustrate us and get in the way of acceptance: things like seemingly endless therapy, difficulties in relationships, a parade of medications, each with potential side effects or even the complications of hospitalization to name a few. Then, others with bipolar disorder may mourn the sharp memory they once had, energy, and a good night’s sleep or even experience a diminishing level of self-trust and confidence. Regarding medication and more, there’s helpguide.org.
Fortunately, there’s a flip side to help feel positive about your bipolar disorder today. For instance, during manic and depressive episodes, consider how coping with bipolar disorder takes courage. A result is grace under pressure and an ability to try to take difficulties in stride. Maybe you’ve noticed the humor of a “bipolar moment.” How about taking pride in educating yourself on your challenging mental illness. http://PsychCentral.com is an info.-laden site. Perhaps you’ve discovered new ways to relate and adapt on the job or at school. Hopefully your own list of positives will grow as you take a closer look.
Finally, ask what you can make of your life now. Focus upon what positive qualities you possess today, despite having bipolar disorder. Maybe you are more empathetic and a better listener than before bipolar disorder came along. Use newfound strength drawn from the highs and low’s to comfort you in future episodes. Although some things may be out of our reach sometimes, a deeper appreciation for hard-fought stability and a honed sense of self just may be the gifts of bipolar disorder.
Remember, we are individuals who happen to have a mental illness. We didn’t ask for it. However, we can try to make the best of it by putting our past and present into perspective. We have a lot to offer today, thanks to our experiences. If these are especially hard issues for you, bring them up to your therapist.
Most importantly – the positive parts of who we were before our bipolar disorder diagnosis, are still with us today. Intrinsic qualities, values and abilities like being generous, artistic, creative, or having a sense of humor (and so much more) haven’t gone anywhere. They’ve been here all along.