You can have the finest medical team in the world, working on “your case,” but if you don’t first accept that you have a chronic mental condition and take responsibility for doing what it takes to manage it, you’re wasting time and money. Obviously, it you’re in the throes of an incapacitating depression or mania, this can be hard if not impossible to do, and someone else may (temporarily) need to make these sorts of decisions for you: Also, people respond in different ways to various kinds of medication and therapy, but in general, remember you’re the boss; you’re the one calling the shots, and deciding which resources to utilize (or not).
The key thing to remember is that there’s a lot of help out there, if you want to get things under control, but you have to decide to seek it out and apply the knowledge you receive. You have to decide that you will commit to a course of action, work with your doctors, not against them, and insist that they work with you. It’s vitally important, that you be able to communicate with the doctors and health-care professionals through a journal (see journal information). If you’re not comfortable talking with someone or if they don’t listen to you, look for another doctor.
It’s vital that you and your doctor listen to and respect each other you need to develop a survival mentality. A survival mentality, means deciding that there’s life after diagnosis. Getting the news that you have a mental condition that you’ll be dealing with (in all probability) for the rest of your life, can be major shock. Recognize that there are literally millions of people around the world, dealing with this disorder. You’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you cope it also means that when times do get tough, you do what it takes to get through it. In extreme cases, this may involve voluntarily checking yourself in to a hospital under a doctor’s care. This isn’t an experience that most people would seek out for themselves, but when things get out of hand, it can literally be a lifesaver.
Remember, you first goal is to survive to take care of you. Your secondary goal might be to contribute as much as you can to the lives of your friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, etc. It might be something else entirely, but if you don’t take care of the bipolar disorder first, the other ones are utterly meaningless.
1. Take your medication regularly as prescribed
2. Journal daily (see how to use journal)
3. Be self-aware (see tools to use)
4. Attend a support group
5. If you are not sleeping, call your doctor right away
6. Do not avoid the signs, act before you are unable to do so