Living the Good Life With Bipolar
Enough of all the serious talk about all of the things we must do in order to take care of bipolar! Yes, taking medications as prescribed is important. Yes, getting psychotherapy is definitely part of the life. Indeed, striving for structure to facilitate balance is wise. But let’s take a moment out of all of the do’s and don’ts with bipolar, and focus on living a great life for a minute.
Today, I hope to encourage you to remember the good times in your life, and to take note. Bring your mind to focus on the last week. Perhaps you have a rather good and smooth sailing week. Perhaps your week has a bit of chaos or ups and downs. Either way, remember the day, or hours that were actually good. Part of reducing the stigma of bipolar, is to change your own perception. You do have good days, and good months, and good years. And, you have the ability to truly enjoy your life. There is someone that you appreciate, something that you enjoy doing, and experiences that are joy filled.
My own patients have shared with me some of their own experiences with happiness. Some have told me that once they realized that there is a difference between joy and mania, and felt stable overall, they truly began to relax and taking time- time to simply enjoy the simple things in life. Small things can make a person happy, like the feeling of the wind on a warm day, flowers blooming in spring, a nice conversation with a friend, listening to a favorite song. Indeed, there may be a calming effect of genuine joy and happiness; some say it is a feeling of contentment. And, people who work through the challenges of bipolar do live full lives and do experiences happiness. Probably one of the most important “tricks” that my patients have told me that they have learned, is to “reframe” how they perceive a “setback” such as a manic or depressive episode that may have even caused some disruption in their life. The idea to keep in mind is that these episodes do not define you. Mental illness does not define who you are as a person, or even what you are capable of achieving. Add to that a shift of focus from the episode to where you are now, and living life one day at a time; taking the time to see the good things that are before you. I looked online for some “happiness blogs” from people who work hard for their mental health and who have the challenges of bipolar disorder
Here are a couple links that I found. They are to blogs written by individuals with bipolar who have found happiness in their lives:
This one is called Thrive with Bipolar : http://www.thrivewithbipolardisorder.com/2011/06/14/happiness-excitement-stress-do-not-necessarily-mean-mania/
This one is called Happiness and Bipolar:http://www.bipolarcentral.com/bipolarsurvivorblog/happiness-and-bipolar-disorder/519/