Having a recovery plan helps you maintain wellness. These tips can help “insure” your ability to successfully manage your bipolar now and in he future.
By Stephen Propst
In battling bipolar, do you sometimes feel like you’re driving around in circles? Are you tired of the twists and turns? Would you like to change course for the better? If you want to get on your way to wellness, a little driver’s education can help.
Here are some important insights for staying on the road to recovery:
- Bipolar can detrimentally impact a person
emotionally, behaviorally, and psychologically, leaving you feeling flat, like a blown tire. Focusing on therapy for the mind—as much as you do on medication for the brain—helps repair the damage and keeps the wellness wheels turning.
- I’ll never have a life again. I can’t do anything right. There’s no hope.
Nix all that negativity! Doing so might be just the jump start you need.
- Society still doesn’t embrace bipolar as a real but treatable medical condition. I’ve learned that being willing to stand up and speak out emboldens my recovery efforts. Consider sharing your story to drive home the truth and help bring stigma to a much-needed stop. You’ll help yourself in the process.
- Your car’s alternator keeps the battery fully charged. Exercising regularly, eating, and sleeping soundly help recharge you and your recovery. Don’t forget to get regular medical checkups just to make sure all systems are go.
- If you have car trouble, you can call AAA/CAA. If you run into trouble with your recovery, you can always reach out to family/ friends, contact your doctor, or call 911. There is no shame in asking someone to help point you in the right direction.
More rules of the road
- Live up to a reasonable set of standards that you establish for yourself, not unreasonable expectations that have been imposed on you by others.
- Worry less about finding the perfect “guru” and more about a doctor/therapist who cares for and respects you and who emphasizes achieving full recovery, not merely eliminating symptoms.
- Align yourself with those who are compassionate, not controlling, and who offer constructive support, not destructive sabotage.
- Ignore backseat drivers who try to steer you in the wrong direction or stall your recovery.
- Don’t discount what seems to be trivial accomplishments when, in actuality, they may be major steps.
- Admit that you don’t know all the answers and that you can’t solve all your problems by yourself.
- Be willing to give yourself more credit and less condemnation.
- Remember there’s always an alternate route you can take when you think you’ve pursued every possible path.
- Do something—volunteer, help a friend, etc.—that gets the focus off of you and onto someone else.
- Be aware of triggers, and avoid what you know magnifies mania or deepens depression.
- Don’t forget there’s a difference between a temporary detour and a dead end.
- When it comes to your recovery, you have to be in the driver’s seat.
Printed as “Mind over Mood: The road to recovery”, Fall 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEPHEN PROPST
Stephen Propst, a former chair of DBSA, is a public speaker and a coach/consultant focusing on living successfully with conditions like bipolar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.