20 thoughts on “10 Bipolar Disorder Self-Help Tips

  • December 24, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Those are very good guidelines. I have found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy an enormous help.

    Years of untreated Bipolar II Disorder led to a twisted view of myself. After many years of CBT, I am able to better control my negative thoughts, although I still rely on too many meds.

    Our goal is to keep me stable for a while and then streamline them. I also have been blessed with a fantastic best friend, who is supportive, caring and pushes me when I need it.

  • January 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Points #1 and #8

    I learned to be my own advocate the hard way.

    When I was first diagnosed, it seemed like no medications I tried were working. My doctor, whom I trusted with a kind of desperation, just kept throwing medications at my symptoms. I believe his intent was good, he just didn’t admit he had run out of ideas on how to treat my BP.
    This went on for seven years. Long story short, I had an accident that led to Dr.s reducing my medications-and I never went back up on the dosage from before the acccident.Instead of going to the same Dr., I fired him and found another. My thinking became clearer, I felt better, and I started to manage my illness. The new Dr. was marginally better.I went in-patient once more before I hooked up with an excellent psychiatrist and therapist. It’s been a long road to where I am today-as stable as a BP person can be. I know myself, my patterns.I don’t hesitate to speak up. I know me better than anyone on earth-I’m an expert on “me”. I have built a good support system comprised of various professionals and good friends. I have a plan incase I need to be hospitalized, and my emergency person knows it. I haven’t had to use the plan, but having it in place is comforting, and one less thing to fear.
    Now, I present myself as a person requiring a partner(s) in treatment. I interview the doctors I deal with. I grieve for the 7 lost years of my life, and I am moving forward.
    Be well…

  • February 1, 2009 at 2:00 am

    As I read these tips I thought, “yeah, do that, did that, been doing that…” At the end, I realized that by following the recommended course of action, it might more accurately be written like this:

    1. Stay home.
    2. Lay low.
    3. Give up everything that ever made you feel happy.
    4. Kiss your really big dreams goodbye and work on acceptance.
    5. Sleep, but not too much or too little. If your sleep continues to be a problem, well, try harder.
    6. Learn to embrace structure, even if it feels claustrophobic.
    7. Engage in only those behaviors that ensure other people won’t feel uncomfortable around you.
    8. Read everything, believe some of it, and share what you’re learning if you want to, but know that the people in your life have no plans to put in much effort themselves to understand the things they demand that you understand.
    9. The people who know you don’t really want to help you get well–they just want you to act normal again
    10. Exercise. Don’t exercise. It doesn’t help much either way, and the drugs will make you gain weight regardless.
    11. Keep your doctor appointments. Those quarterly 15-minute medication reviews are just so critical to your success.
    12. Understand that your therapist only cares if your check clears. You can’t buy sincerity and compassion.
    13. If your credibility is something that matters to you, for the love of god, DO NOT tell anyone what your diagnosis is.
    14. Be a friend to yourself. You may well be the only one willing to stick around during the bumpy parts.

    I have been diligent about doing everything I’m supposed to. That has brought stability to my BP, but at a very high cost.

    • March 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I feel the same way about this article as you do. Big hug.

  • February 1, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Hi, May–

    I’m not sure your interpretation of Dr. Fink’s post is fair or accurate. I think you might be reading a tad bit too much into it. I do like the biting sarcasm and dark, edgy humor, though. My wife and I often cope with the absurdity of bipolar (the illness itself and the recommendations for remaining stable) by “joking” about it in this way – laughing till we cry or vice versa.

  • February 4, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I’m out of my medication[lamictal] and I am slipping back into maddness. how can I get REAL help with getting my prescriptions filled? also, is there herbal remidies for bi-polar, so I can get herbs over the counter so I won’t run out of expensive meds? I’m unemployed and I need REAL HELP. I can’t stand being around my family…I’m going to kill them if I can’t get help…HELP ME!!!!!

  • February 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hi, Mary–

    If you cannot afford your medications, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Lamictal, GlaxoSmithKline, may be able to assist you. Visit the GSK For You page or call 1-866-475-3678. Or, Partnership for Prescription Assistance: 1-888-477-2669.

    You can also try contacting your doctor or your state or county’s Department of Mental Health. Your doctor or pharmacy should be able to provide enough medication until you can come up with a long-term solution.

    We sincerely hope this information helps.

  • March 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    what is the best drug for bipolar disorder

  • March 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I am in love with someone who is bipolar, and I want to be able to contribute something in means of help and support for information with medicine, foods and vitiamins.

  • June 3, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I was diagnosed with bipolar a year ago @ age 45 (have suffered since i was around 15 or 16). I lost my marriage & children largely due to my illness – i didn’t react well when i found out he was cheating on me. My moods go from low to lower & lower again with no relief. My doctor only seems interested in prescribing drugs that i have told her just are not working (lithium & avanza) – these drugs have made no difference whatsoever in the year i have been taking them. Last week i told my doc i was so down that even getting out of bed to take a shower would zap every bit of my energy (what little there is of it) & her reply was simply “take a cold shower”. The prob is not the temp of the water!!! My prob is getting out of bed to do it!!!! Why will she not listen? Have seen prob around 8 doctors now and they are all as bad as the last one….. take my money & send me home with more drugs that don’t work!! Not even one doctor has suggested a talk to a councellor & even if she did, i am unable to afford to see a specialist. I am so fed up! I am wasting my life and so want to get better before this thing kills me (if i don’t do it myself of course, which is constantly on my mind). RELIEF PLEASE!

  • January 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I feel for all of you going through this “war” regarding medications. I was diagnosed as bi polar when i was 43 yrs old, although i knew something was wrong since i was a child. for ten years lithium and prozac afforded me a pretty good life. then the prozac stopped working. For three years i have tried every medication on the market for bi polar. some idiot doctors even prescribed anti psychotics, and i am not psychotic. i suffered from weight gain, suicidal ideation and then May of 09 i took a lot of klonopin and overdosed. the biggest problem i have is with the doctors. one prefers one med, another one asks why i am on that. they need to get their chit together. at 56 years old i am miserable and alone. all family members have deserted me and i have done nothing to them. family or friend support is of the utmost of importance. without that i dont think i am able to go on much longer. I am considering weaning off these meds gradually because i seemed to deal with life better by denying anything was wrong. i raised a beautiful family without the meds because i delved into them and forgot about myself and my disease. i feel like there is not much to live for except my son. i barely can get out of bed or even shower everyday. and forget about dating. they hear bi polar and run faster than a hound dog that has backed into a porcupine. (thank God i still have my humor) so if the meds arent doing the trick why suffer with the side effects? i am being transferred to another center where i go for my meds and the first appt i get i am asking for guidance on getting off these f*cking meds already. i see no improvement in 3 years. i also am an empath and i can feel your pain just from reading your blogs. i will pray for all of you.

  • February 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Debra, I will pray for you as well. My meds aren’t working, my doc has way too many patients, my insurance company coverage sucks for mental health, my husband’s fed up with me and wants to throw me out of our home, my daughter and grandkids moved 40 miles away to get away from me, my old cat’s on borrowed time, I have no interest, no energy, minimum hygiene and could go on and on. The only thing sustaining me at this point is my faith in my Higher Power, which I choose to call God. Blessings and prayers to all, Diane

  • July 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I have been medicated for ten yrs. A 58 yr old male.
    My pdoc was unable to help after running through 3 of them I realized I was on my own. Insurance didnt pay for sessions or meds and I was stuck in bed.

    I finally decided , screw the world or anyone who was in the way of me getting better. I ordered meds via internet foreign mail order. And set a moderated schedule for myself. No asking anyone for help. I am self employed so I was able to work little and then run for my bed.

    After 5 yrs I still work only mornings and then go home.
    I have added swimming and piano lessons too.

    A little at a time ….on my own. Which after all is where we are.. Alone.

    Even if people try to understand they cant , or so it appears.

  • December 28, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    I just turned 30 this month,I thought I was alone in this until I read the comments,I too don’t even want to get out of bed to take a bath.Sometimes my arms feel so heavy that I don’t even try to move them.I try to explain to my husband of 10 years what I’m going through and he doesn’t seem to want to find out how to help,and God forbid if I get mad.His first response is have you taken your medicine today.I can’t work.People to me act stupid and get on my nerves.I have no friends and my mom keeps telling me if I don’t straighten up I’m going to lose my family.So, when I go to my therapist and tell her how I’m really doing she says that’s o.k your doing a whole lot better then before.I may not be thinking of killing myself true,but somehow I feel worse.I don’t want people hugging me,or touching me.My meds just like others are not working.I don’t know what to do.

  • August 3, 2011 at 9:26 am

    is bipolar a very sever disease and can’t be control or be fatal for his or her career and family?

    how can I choose a therapist or psychiatrist as every one has different diagnosis and if diagnosed BPD then the medication is different ..so whom to trust and whom not to..do we have to have hit and trail method or wait some drug take long time to show effect…so I am totally pissed off…all these doctor or so called educated for 7-8 year is of no value though they give some relief psychologically that I am taking medication under guidance..I have read once a guy who change drug 25 time to find the right one e useful for him

  • January 22, 2012 at 4:13 am

    these are really good guidelines. but i still don’t know what to do. i wrecked many of my life plans. career oppurtinity. and my parents’ feeling. im deprssed, angry, about-to-explode. because most of my family don’t (really wanna) know about bipolar disorder. they dont take it seriously because it has no physical symptoms. they think i can do what they can do. i pushed myself everytime. and trying to ignore the fact that my family don’t understand about this condition of mine. but i’m always ended up failing stuffs and they still dont think differently about what might happened to me. it makes me sad dan upset though i try to ignore it and keep trying to make myself a better person as an adult now. while i would be angry and depressed and sad at the same time.

  • January 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

    At age 13 I noticed a big slowdown in my activity but my mind was racing with thoughts. At 16 I dropped out of school, just couldn’t cope with the schoolwork. Saw a doctor twice week (was very expensive for my parents) and all he did was sit there until I said something. Prescribed no medication.

    Battled my was through my 20’s changing jobs frequently. I just thought it must be normal to be so impulsive and paranoid. I thought coworkers were teaming up against me. Perhaps they were to some extent but not how I had imagined in my mind.
    Night school gave me a regular routine all through my 20’s, that helped lots. I learned all sorts of things about computer programming which got me get a career in it. Computers don’t complain about my moods so I can deal with them:)

    Still no doctor diagnosed me with anthing but I found a doctor that showed me hynotherapy to help control my mind. That actually helped for 10 years.
    When that failed in my 30’s I started on anti-depressants during long depressive stage. Then things really got bad. Id take lots of time off work. Yell at people I didn’t know. Lots of road rage.

    I’ve only just started on lithium a few months ago, now age 43. It seemes to reduce the mania a little but it it’s still there. It dulls the world around me and any goal i did have now I just gave up on. Gave up on my computer career after 20 years. Could not cope with the meetings 🙁 and still had too much paranoia which would spiral into mania.

    I think If I had have started on lithium earlier I could have kept my career. But It took 20 years for a diagnosis. I even had to suggest to the doctor, “Hey perhaps I’m BP” he’s thought about a few minutes then I had a stack of new meds to take.

  • March 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Great help! Thank you.

  • September 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    One big thing that I have done is writting down my medications (both prescribed and non prescriptions), the things I am allergic too, phone numbers for my husband and mother, doctor, birthdate, address and phone number and given copies to a few friends/family members as well as posted on the fridge and in my purse. That way should I need to be hospitalized the information is there. I have discussed with my children (who are 12 and 9) when they need to dial 911 or get help. I have had discussions with a few people (other than family) what I need when I am having an episode. Also, I keep a list of who I can call and what help they are either willing to help or can help. Example, I can call “Sue” when I need to “vent” or “talk” but she is not in a position to physically be at my side. But “Steve” can be there both emotionally or physically if needed. I also made sure that I have someone to keep my kids if I need to be hospitalized. This “plan of attack” helps me keep calm and know that should I be in a position that I can’t take care of myself, information is available. Help is available. It also reduces a lot of stress.

    • September 12, 2013 at 4:31 am

      Good suggestions Tigermom. Thanks for sharing.


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