Once you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, do not live in denial over your diagnosis. If you need to get a second or third opinion, go for it. Do not fall into the trap of telling yourself that you do not have bipolar disorder. When I was first diagnosed, I got several other opinions to validate my diagnosis. Each time, the doctor independently diagnosed me with bipolar disorder.
Another way people live in denial is by downplaying their disorder. I met a guy a couple of years ago who told me he had a “mild” case of bipolar disorder. This is a complete contradiction because bipolar disorder is described as an “extreme” shift in mood and energy. He and his doctor apparently think the only medication he needs to treat this illness is an antidepressant. He stated he only visits with his doctor once a year to monitor his illness and medication. Referencing my post Medication, the Start of Your Road to Success, most people with bipolar disorder take multiple medications. Some of these medications include mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications, sleep aids and antianxiety medications.
This individual let out a hateful and nearly physical outburst towards me over absolutely nothing at all. This outburst happened in front of 4 children. My son, who was not even two at the time, was in my arms as he came at me. This is just one example of someone living in denial, who is not getting the help or treatment needed.
I ran a group for individuals with bipolar disorder as well as attended many groups as a participant. I have met several hundred, perhaps thousands, of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder throughout the years. Many of these people have dealt with their own anger at some point due to this illness. If you have this illness and are proactive with your treatment, issues of anger, mood instability, etc. can be lessened and/or completely go away.
Take charge of your illness. It does not define who you are as a person. Yes, it is an illness you will have for life, but you can still lead a perfectly normal life. I do absolutely everything I can, within my control, to stay healthy. My health is priority number one and paramount to everything else. If you cannot function then how can you go to work, take care of your kids, or complete any other obligations you may have? See what I am saying?
Remember, bipolar disorder is a treatable illness. There is no reason you cannot be on “the list” of individuals whose bipolar disorder is stabilized. To maintain this stability in my own life, my entire day is structured in the healthiest way possible. Do not misunderstand me. I am constantly aware that it is an ongoing, daily battle to treat this illness.
I have close to two decades of experience with this illness under my belt. Join The Bipolar Battle Community, so I can help you be proactive with your treatment and feel better.
Until next time, take care of yourself!