14 thoughts on “What Percent Of People With Bipolar Disorder Can Achieve Bipolar In Order?

  • September 3, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I agree whole heartedly! I was diagnosed fifteen years but after years of effort have acheived a fair degree of stability on little or no medication.

  • September 3, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I think that a lot of bipolar in order comes from your upbringing. I come from a line of strong females and weak males for example. I am sick but I never give up, infact it is often my motto. I also facilitate a support group for mental illness and there are a lot if people who have the bipolar/mental illness negativity about them. It has always perplexed my why those people simply give up and stop fighting and after 17 months of trying to change their attitudes I finally gave up (can lead a horse to water). I’ve put it down to the illness and some have a victim mentality in life vas well ( hence their upbringing predisposing them to negativity). If your illness has snuck up behind you and caught you by surprise then it will send you on a downward spiral and nobody is going to pick you back up again except you and time. Can’t stop that bipolar in disorder but people can maintain bipolar in order with management, observation of ones self and a can do attitude. I also think those drs and lawyers all sat in a support group at some stage in their lives and let’s not forget the money factor – drs and lawyers have money to pay for good health care where people with bipolar in disorder may come from a different level of society that do not understand how to cope with their illness nor have the money for the best health care available to them to get bipolar in order. The psych students – ive heard they study psychology to figure out their own problems anyway but once again money = fairly functional family = good education = university. There are numerous factors at play in determining disorder or order in my opinion. Hope this makes sense. As usual, good topic.

  • September 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Pet,
    It is great that you have made the effort and proved that it works. Thank you for confirming that we can.

  • September 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    I am not sure I could have made it without the help from my family. You are so right that what we have been taught has a huge influence on how we deal with life.

  • September 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Hi Tom, all I can say is that it’s a journey. It’s taken me 3 years, but I’m on meds without side effects, hold down a full time job that I believe in, raise my 2 children in a way I feel comfortable with, have a great relationship with my husband, friends and family and can tackle my triggers before they overwhelm me. And, I must acknowledge, much of what I have learned has come from you and this website. So, thank you and keep doing your thing. You’re changing more lives, from people all over the world, than you know. All the best, Colette

  • September 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks Colette,
    Whoever said crying is not a beautiful experience must have never gotten a comment like yours. Pushing uphill all the time makes me sometimes forget why I do it. Thank you for reminding and encouraging me.

  • September 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Tom. Thank you, thank you for sharing your perspective with the world. And for not allowing the “Experts” to intimidate you into believing we can’t at least achieve some amount of order in our lives.

    I am 58 and was only correctly diagnosed 1-1/2 yrs ago because, having been left untreated for most of my life, I became ultra rapid cyling (many times 2 to 3 times in a day, mostly about 3 times a week). Many mixed moods and deep depressions made ending my life seem attractive. Meds were combined & changed until we found one that stabilized me to the point of NO emotions, body tics and hand trembling. Doc felt it was a better alternative than what I had been contemplating. I finally fought him on it & stopped taking it and fought to change the other meds to as few as possible. I told him I needed to learn to cope on my own, not be a zombie. He argued but gave in. We found one med that helped reduced the swings & I’ve started to learn to cope, plus he gave me 2 other drugs that I can use at MY discretion, which is briefly, during especially tough days & I had to argue to get him to give me them in LOW doses.

    I wondered why people with bipolar are just drugged to the gills and aren’t taught to cope. No one in the psychiatric field seems to believe we can do it & it irks me that they don’t even at least try to help attempt to learn at least a few coping skills.

    I have been struggling and learning in baby steps on my own–I am very strong willed–stubborn–to overcome as best I can with a clear mind, to be able to feel emotions and to only use meds just enought to keep my moods from skyrocketing or tanking into the abyss. I have a counselor who believes in me who I see occasionally and now I’ve found your blog. I feel so blessed & vindicated. I am so happy–you have affirmed my belief and given me hope that I can quite possibly achieve even more control of this beastly disorder than I had even hoped. How awesome. My instincts were right and I’m going to buy two of your books that I feel will give me a stronger foundation to build upon, a broader perspective and hopefully more skills.

    Thanks for being a strong voice for us.

    • September 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Jeanette,

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your experience with us. I am so glad that my ideas are being considered and hope that when more of us speak up about what is possible it will change the way we all see mental conditions.

      Being stubborn is perhaps our greatest asset. It takes a stubborn determination to keep taking the steps necessary to move from disorder to in order. I hope we can inspire each other to keep taking the steps.

  • September 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I was diagnosed several years ago when everything spiralled into oblivious because it “snuck up behind” me “and caught” me “by surprise,” as Lisa put it. That, for me, was the lowest of the lows. Now, maybe 1 1/2 years ago, I was on a good (but heavy-duty) regimen and felt great. I was happy to start high school, I was motivated, I was smiling all the time. Life was good. Then I decided – hey! It would be a great idea to get off of my meds cold-turkey because I didn’t need them. First day was fine. Second was okay, but not great. Third day, I was feeling the full effects of heavy withdrawal. That day… was a turning point in my life.

    I convinced my doctor to get me on the lowest possible doses with mixing and matching other things to achieve the fewest pills and highest effect. That coupled with a panic attack later causing me to get on potassium and fish oil, I now only take 4 fairly small pills – not 7 big pills. I’ve gotten right back into the school game, I’ve been feeling perfectly fine, I’ve had minimal side-effects from meds, no relapses for a long time… and all is good, so long as I spend most of my time in my house (online school.)

    Sure, there are lots of kinks I still need to work out, but it just feels great to have gotten 2/3 up the mountain and stopped for a breather and a good view.

  • September 29, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Hey Tom

    Let me just add my thanks to those already listed in the above posts. Please keep on, keeping on as the saying goes. I know your path is difficult at times. Know that you are not alone.

    One idea I had is that it might be interesting to approach someone in academia to do a study on participants in your workshops. The participants I saw at the one I attended in SF were from a wide variety of backgrounds. Let me know what you think.

    Again, your work is vital. You speak more convincingly on these ideas than anyone else I have seen. We need you. I need you. Thank you friend.


  • January 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I have had bipolar 2 for close to 70 years. It has been both bad and good. I have been creative between
    the most efective for me has bee PROZAC

  • February 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    As a therapist who works with mood issues,I absolutely want to support the idea from the “Black Swan” article that Depression is so much more than what many give it credit(blame) for.
    Many clients I have sat with have opened up to the idea that it can actually be an ally to letting one know that there might be something very deeply buried that is begging to relay an important message to the individual. Looking at this through a somatic psychotherapy framework, it is common that depression will manifest through very real body sensations that are not just “in one’s head”. When going into depression of an ongoing nature(dysthymia), through the body, it can reveal important information towards enlightening a client’s life. If the depression is that of a cyclical or episodic nature, listening to it can help ground a person and manage when a “high” is coming on, or sooth when in a depressive state. This gentle attention gives the individual options that feel empowering, along with the other tools used for dealing with the state and results in gaining a sense of mastery. That said I wanted to clarify that exploration of strong mood states really needs to be done with a seasoned professional, but in my practice it has proven beneficial to clients outside of session after receiving individualized guidance.
    I also very much find truth in and have found that one attracts and gravitates to those who represent the experiences and strong inner knowings of what he or she has come to believe in.
    Many people I have seen, just show up and a connection seems to be born, yet we found each other out of hundreds of possibilities. Plus it happens again and again. Keep supporting this notion! Thank you Tom!

  • February 16, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Tom Wootton values depression for two reasons: 1) Learning something from depression, going through it. 2) Being in the present moment.

    My cosmic egg of depression was cracked by a young psychiatrist I saw for a short time who introduced me to the concept of “recovery.” He explained to me the idea of neuroplasticity, how the brain can and does change, and how we can heal from addiction. No doctor, who had supposedly been in the business of healing, had EVER mentioned anything like this to me. It had always been a lecture about my needing to accept my bipolar illness and that I would need to take medication for the rest of my life. Most of the time I was told that I would probably get worse and that I would not necessarily feel better with the medications. Who wouldn’t be depressed about that kind of devastating news?

    What I see as valuable is MY ability to see the light at the end of an extremely dark tunnel. As I sit here now and think about the type of depression I have had at times in my life, very severe major depression, unable to eat, dress myself or care for myself, it is truly amazing that I could grasp the concept of recovery at all.

    Depression IS all about fatalism and hopelessness. Were other doctors’ poisoned by my negativity or other patients they saw? Were they brainwashed by mainstream medical models? Or do some doctors need to deeply examine their own beliefs and monitor their counter-transference in a better way?

    My ability to hold this light of truth, that I can recover, as a possibility came at the same time you visited our community library and gave a talk about your life and your first book. Aha! I said, here is another friend who believes in something outside the box. Then my mother went to your talk at her community library. I was beginning to feel some support for my recovery.

    True, not every black swan depressive or addict can consider the possibility of health, but can we at least talk about it?

    Dr. Ronald Pies made the statement: “I have seen many hundreds, if not thousands, of patients [with depression] over the past 30 years. I have never had one–no, not one–say to me, ‘Gosh, Doctor, there are some real ?benefits to all this depression!” I would suggest that Dr. Pies perhaps had made up his mind way before he began to see patients, even before beginning medical school, that there is a world of us and them, a world of sick people and healthy people. This is simply not true. It is an illusion created by fear and the ego. How can Dr. Pies patients ever grasp recovery if he himself does not believe or have hope for depressives, or even hope for himself as a professional healer?

  • February 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder (with psychotic features) at the age of 19. I am now 44 and so far have lived a very active and productive life despite this illness. I remember being in the hospital when I was first diagnosed and I told myself that this was just a label and that it wasn’t who I am and I have believed and lived this way my whole life up until now. Two years after I was originally diagnosed I was told by my counselor and a psychiatrist she referred me to that I wasn’t bipolar. I was thrilled and went off of my medication right away. I went 20 years without having a major manic episode. I still experienced depressions with the change of season so I took antidepressants in the winter months and went off in spring and summer months. Some of the winters I chose natural methods such as exercise to beat the blues. In 2005 I was hospitalized for a major manic episode and again in 2008. I have been on so many medications and continue to have episodes. I have started having mixed episodes and rapid cycling. I took medical leave from my job of 20 years and am pursuing disability. I am having a very hard time with this decision. Is there a point when it’s ok to let go and slow down to take care of ourselves? Can this also be a way to achieve bipolar in order?


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